I spent last evening reading a small book about the Holy Grail. I’ve been fascinated by it ever since I saw a movie about King Arthur when I was a young lad. I was totally enamored by the Knights of the Round Table and the chivalry surrounding Arthur’s court. Even as a youngster, I knew the story intended to teach me more than just the worshipped devotion of a group of warriers committed to a king. There were just too many supernatural ideas brought out in the story. The whole legend became one of my favorite reads; and when the adventures of knighthood found their way to my dreams, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
It wasn’t until I became a Freemason that I made a rather profound connection between the sword, the stone, and the grail. The stone represents the foundation stone symbol we know so well in Masonry. The sword, representing the virile power that is drawn from the foundation stone also represents each of us. Freeing the sword from the stone may have to do with freeing ourselves from the material and mundane so that we can make the spiritual journey toward enlightenment. Of course, the grail represents that which has been lost and must be found again.
I envision the quest for the grail, then, to be my personal search for the God in me. I like to contemplate this profound idea of a God that shares Its Divine essence with, and in, humanity. It seems to be at the root of every esoteric school that I know.
And it’s such a grand thing. The idea that there is a divine spark which dwells within me, and that flicker of light alone makes me the heir to immortality.
Thus, it could be that the quest itself is the whole meaning of human evolution–a quest to raise the human consciousness from the level of the mundane to the God-attuned inner self. In Masonry, our task, in the end, is to re-integrate our fallen personality with the Wisdom and Love of That Which is Above Comprehension. This is nothing less than the process of absorbing our duality into the center of pure being. King Arthur certainly represents this duality.
Of course, I must also admit the grail for which I have searched has represented different things at different times in my life. It has been my search for moral purity, for triumphant faith, for soldierly heroism, for unconditional love, even gracious charity; all of these things have been important, depending on my needs and understanding at certain points in my life.
But the quest is ultimately a search for Truth. It is the journey which gives me the conscious link to my spirit; or, on a cosmic scale, a trip that bridges the chasm between earth and heaven. It happens that this journey is articulated within the allegories presented in the thirty two degrees of Masonry; which may well correspond to the 32 paths of the Kabballa. So it is a profoundly spiritual and religious thing we do.
It also occurs to me, if organized religions would have revealed that there is indeed path working to be done in approaching the golden dawn of truth, and the way is not so narrow after all, the Scottish Rite may have never needed to be. But Alas! The problem with orthodoxy is that it almost always abrogates the nature of God to a vehicle for answering the wrong questions.
It is our fault, of course. We, who know nothing about Omnificence and Grace, invented a God to take credit for all the unknown causes of all effects which we either admire or dread, without understanding them. The result is that most all faith systems of our world still seem to insist on making their own God. We are taught to pray to an image man has created to obtain what he wants.
For instance, it seems remarkable that, in this age of information, there are still many who see God as some kind of a super-human person, usually masculine, who has power to bring us either fortune or misery. It would seem that our many philosophies and belief systems have together produced a myriad of complex concepts created to help us understand our relationship with an entity that is unknowable.
In reality, any concept we have of God is not real. It can be only a reflection of one of the many faces or disguises we have invented to make the divine seem compatible with our level of human understanding. I do not yet fully understand my God. But I know that It is not a he.
In the chaos of my own journey, any attempt I make to personalize God to fit into my world is simply a reflection of my own ego. I am therefore content not to understand what God is; but, rather, to contemplate what the Divine may be. In my own duality, it is enough for me to simply know that I myself am a Temple in the process of becoming Holy. If I build well, then perhaps I will at least feel at oneness with the unknowable.
To me, this would seem to be the essence of the esoteric journey.