The Beginning of our Quest—Seeking the Grail
There are many legends and myths that relate to a magical
chalice. But alas chalice is just a name that some use. There are many stories
identifying this same talisman as a bowl or possibly a ring. But then again, it
is as well referred to as a cauldron of magic—a magic that would extend
life and provide for no want. This mystical talisman seemed to be ever elusive
in its shape-shifting identity.
Even though many tales abounded, there seem to be few
seekers for this great amulet of power. Usually the legends of this magic were
whispered in the pitch-dark of the night and many believed them to be works of
a fantasy-filled imagination. So, was this then, the reason for the lack of
seekers for this magic of old?
Sherry and I, on the other hand, were ever seeking the
mysteries of heaven and earth. And this mystery of immortality was the primary
one that clawed at the edge of our consciousness—a fascination of the
Otherworld that ever lingered.
It was true to form in our seeking of the mysteries that in
the summer of 1981 Sherry and I did a foolish thing. We traveled to the Celtic
lands of England, Wales and Scotland on a quest of magic and
spirit. We wanted to experience the land that embraced the sacred myths of
Arthur and his knights on their quest for the Holy Grail.
We were fools as represented by the Fool card of the
Tarot—referred to as Philosophical Medicine. The Fool card begins the
Major Arcane before the Magician’s card number 1 and appears again as
card number 21 before card number 22, the World —most modern decks will
number the World card as 21.
The Major Arcane, arcane meaning secret or mysterious
knowledge, may be viewed as a visual and symbolic guide to a spiritual journey.
We begin the spiritual journey through our own innocence and naiveté as
a fool in other people’s eyes, but after the twists and turns of life and
our various experiences, we eventually arrive through perseverance at the World
Card. This card represents the Oneness of self and life.
But our journey is not complete as we continue being the
fool but in a different way. We now have an awakening of reality and the
oneness of life. This spurs us on to further adventures and awakening. And once
again, we are the foolish one or the fool in other people’s eyes as we strive
on for the spiritual and not the material aspects of life ever seeking Divinehood.
While our peers were vacationing in the Caribbean, we were
on a holiday (‘holy-day’) to England. A journey I might add that
we really couldn’t afford. Our home needed work but instead off we went.
In society’s eyes, we were not doing a responsible thing but a foolish
thing. While others were saving for retirement, we were spending money questing
for knowledge and spirit. Most assuredly, this was a foolish thing. We were not
conforming to the norms of society or being responsible adults. We were
abandoning society’s imposed ego-self to acquire the mantles of
archetypical hero’s. Would this not be foolish?
I viewed this pilgrimage to a foreign land as the actual
beginning of a quest that had its roots many years in the past with my
enrollment in the martial arts as a freshman in college. Even though I had
attained a Black Belt, it was not enough. The art I studied focused more on the
physical and little on the mystical or spiritual, which were the real reasons
behind my desire to enter into the martial arts.
My need for martial power—warriorship—had sprung
full blown as a young 16 year-old. It was a visual tale that literally changed
my life—a vision and soul rite of passage, so to speak. It vibrated a
deep soul memory within the core of my being that never left and only grew
stronger. It opened the gate for a birthing of a personal mythology of the
heroic warrior and the sacrifice of heart that would eventually take me across the
world seeking and searching for knowledge and power.
The visual tale was called The 300 Spartans. The ancient
Spartans were the saviors of Western Civilization as a result of their heroic
action and sacrifice at the Pass
of Thermopylae known as
the Hot Gates. In the spring of 480 BCE, King Xerxes of Persia set forth to conquer the
Greek city-states with a titanic army of over 200,000 men as well as a massive
fleet rumored to be close to 1,300 vessels. His final goal was the conquest of
the whole of Europe.
The independent Greek states rallied to the invasion, and as
always, looked to the heroic warriors of the Greek city-states—the
Spartans. Even though there was little love-loss between the Athenians, the
naval power, and the Spartans, this was a time for unity not bitterness over
past woundings and rivalries.
The Spartans were not only the greatest and bravest warriors
that the world had ever seen, but they were also very spiritual as well as
religious. Sparta was a city-state of spiritual
warriors, not merchants, where the women held equality with the men, such an
uncommon practice elsewhere in Greece
at that time. Committed to honoring their deities throughout the year, the
Spartan army was forbidden to fight during one of their religious festivals.
However, the king and his personal bodyguard of 300 were not
honor-bound by the religious laws of Sparta.
These laws kept the rest of the Spartan army from marching to battle, but not
King Leonidas and his personal bodyguard. Aware of the Delphic Oracle’s prophetic
message that Sparta would be sacked or Sparta would mourn the death of a king from the house of
Hercules (where Spartan kings claimed lineage), the Lion, as he was known,
still went forth with his 300 to secure the pass at Thermopylae.
True to their honor and loyalty to their king, the Spartans’ sacrifice
down to the last warrior at these ‘pillars of fire’ echoed
throughout history as one of the foremost examples of bravery, courage and
Leonidas and his courageous sacrifice and loyalty sparked a
soul memory deep within my heart. And from those soul moving qualities of this
one movie, I began to remember my incarnations, and from that day forward,
commenced a quest of spirit that would take me far and wide.
Part 2 Isle of Avalon