Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Relevance of the Grail
Q. What interests me a great deal is the role
of males or the "masculine principle" in A Feminine World View. Could you
A. Let's start at the
beginning. Central in Western history stands the myth of the Great Mother. She is bearing
Sons and Daughters. The former symbolizing the Vegetation God, the one Who dies every
autumn in order to be reborn in spring. He is Her Son/Lover, the one who is Her
"executive" with regard to safeguarding the harvests. If he takes care of his
responsibilities well, he may become King. King in the Name of the Mother, obviously*. The
Daughter is the Goddess. She represents the substance ("subsistence") of life.
By fulfilling Her duty with regard to taking care of the Whole, She becomes Queen. Queen
in anticipation of once becoming a Mother.
* In later stages the Son/King
took over power from the Mother, while denying his descent from Her. It was the beginning
Q. You mean the topic of today: the Grail
Legend is connected to pre-historic myth?
A. Let's first follow the
adventures of Parcival*. Raised by his Mother only (in that case a boy has to "find
everything out" himself), he got the strong desire of becoming a knight (e.g. start
following a spiritual quest). Three decisive elements can be distinguished. First of all,
his encountering of difficulties e.g. subsequently overcoming them through
"defeating" other knights. This stands for being confronted with inner obstacles
and the need for integration. Secondly, his encounters with women, the latter, who
stimulate him in doing all kinds of selfless actions, which is a vital element in the
mission of a man. Thirdly, his quest for the Grail itself, representing Self-realization
or "Enlightenment". The first time, however, that he reaches the Grail Castle
and indeed was granted to see the Grail**, he miserably failed. Only many years later -
during which he still had to learn a lot - he got his second chance. It was only after
asking the crucial question: "What is the Grail?" - acknowledging the Grail as
the Motherly Womb, out of Which all life sprouts - that he acquired his Kingship. Later,
Christian writers changed this in the expressing of his compassion with the suffering of
the King, after which the King renounced the throne in favor of Parcival.***
* Parcival, meaning: "who
has gone through the Valley", e.g. the one who knows the Great Mother.
** The Grail Chalice symbolizing
the Cosmic Womb, making the Legend a Quest for the Great Mother.
*** Not his achievements, but
his compassion eventually made him a suitable candidate. It is a guarantee, that the
future ruler will have "heart" for his people and the land.
Q. This resembles pretty much the three
elements of the Grail Vision, like it was revealed to you by the Great Mother?
A. The Vision made it possible
for me to truly understand the meaning of the Grail Legend and vice versa. This is really
the fulfillment of a prophecy, the ultimate confirmation and a cause of great, great joy!
I cannot praise the Mother enough for this.
Q. I can imagine that. What is the next
important thing in the Legend?
A. What always has been
underexposed, is the role of women in the tale. Usually, they only play a subordinate role
(as usual), in this case to helping Parcival reaching his goal, as elaborated by earlier
commentators. In reality, their role has clearly a self-affirmative purpose, though. It is
embodied by the figure of Blanchefleur. She loves Parcival, despite the fact, that (in the
beginning) he behaves disrespectful to her. Her mission is to "spinning life",
creating substance, extending her network of relationship with the world around her. This
may not sound very spectacular. However, it is. It symbolizes the "women's" role
of representing the "Web of Life", their central role in the interconnectedness
of the living world. Her patience with regard to Parcival is striking. It is so powerful,
that it forces him to develop selflessness by (step by step) fitting himself in into the
Q. Aren't you afraid, that feminists will
accuse you of promoting traditional "values", in which the women play a passive
role in contrast to the men, who always play the hero?
A. First of all,
"woman" and "men" in the Grail Legend don't stand for actual women and
men, but represent their archetypes, which means "feminine principle" (the soul)
versus "masculine principle" (the ego). In reality, every human being proves to
be a unique "mixture" of both elements. Added to that, it may be said, that
nowadays many women have identified themselves with the patriarchal ego-mind, rather than
representing the "feminine principle".
Q. I also mean this with regard to social
behavior. The example of Blanchefleur tends to emphasize the role of
"housewife", for instance.
A. Obviously, there is nothing
wrong with the role of housewife. After painful experiences with public careers, many
women prefer to lead a life of relative freedom, once again*. But you are right,
"spinning" could indeed become identified with performing the "duties"
at home. This situation has changed drastically though. In my concept, "Spinning the
Web of Life" has now become extended to reclaiming a central role in building the
community. As you know, the Mother's community is the foundation of life, indeed of
society. It has the right to regain political power, in the sense, that it becomes
self-governing. Women representing "substance" e.g. "subsistence" are
the legitimate heirs here, in the sense of once again fulfilling a central role.
"Spinning the Web of Life" therefore is a challenging task, for which
organizational, political, social and spiritual skills are needed.
* Indicator is the use of
anti-depressant drugs. In The Netherlands the usage of these drugs increases every year
with 6%. Women take twice as much as men...
Q. How in the Grail legend the feminine and
masculine principles finally go together?
A. It is absolutely fascinating
to see, how in the legend both "principles" are empowering each other.
This is totally unique, really. Nowhere in the spiritual tradition a similar example can
be found. And not only because of this. Equal emphasis on awakening, personal integration
and selflessness - like revealed by the Vision - exceeds all other approaches, that try to
define the essence of the spiritual Path. Hence, I consider the Grail as belonging to the
top achievements in spirituality.
Q. What does this mean for every day life?
A. First of all, both women and
men are free to identify themselves with either the "feminine" or the
"masculine" principle.* Subsequently, you may then see, that both principles are
complementary. Women represent the substance of life, while men's mission consists of
sacrificing itself to the benefit of the Whole. Both paths lead to nobility. The women,
through their central role in the community, become "Queen", while the men, by
sacrificing themselves to the benefit of the Whole, become "King". (And of
course, finally the two will marry...(laughter)). The inner path and the outer path are
thus two sides of the same coin.
Q. I thought that the Grail is
all about the inner Path.
A. Eventually, the Grail is
worldly oriented, which is another of its unique features, emphasizing the need of making
your spiritual achievements available to healing the world. With this final interpretation
of the Grail Legend, a new spiritual foundation has been created, a foundation upon which
people can start giving their lives a new meaning. Summarizing: In the end, we are back at
the beginning: like in ancient Sumer the Son/lover becomes King and the Daughter becomes
Queen, everything in the Name of the Mother. Re-introducing spiritual nobility to
everyday life corresponds with our concept of Self-sovereignty: A Self-sovereign
individual in A Self-sovereign family, in A Self-sovereign street, in A Self-sovereign
neighborhood, in A Self-sovereign commune....
* See "Androgyny".
Q. Is there any relationship
between the Grail and Christianity?
A. The surprise is, that both
the Grail and the life of Jesus have a link to pre-Christian (pre-Jewish) tradition.
Q. What! How do you explain
A. With regard to Kingship, it
is maybe good to know, that Jesus never considered himself "Son of God". He was
an Enlightened One, which means that he was granted God-realization (like many other
people are). Knowing that you are a Son of the Mother in the matriarchal
tradition (of which Jewish/Canaanite culture still had a memory) means, that you are
destined to become a King. Not a "heavenly", but an earthly one! The continuous
emphasis on the "House of David", into which Jesus seems to have been born; the
formation of an armed (...) bodyguard; his anointment (by a woman!) and his glorious entry
into Jerusalem; his frustration and anger, as he realized the disastrous outcome, bear
witness to that. It was an attempt to actually becoming the Ruler
("Priest/King") of the country!*
Q. This makes it all much
A. As we all know, he failed
miserably. Thus, for Jesus the mission was finished. The only choice left, was to flee or
to die "for his principles", hoping that some kind of post-mortum recognition
would come out of that. It was Paul though, who - using Jesus for his own purposes -
eventually turned a failure into a success, by "spiritualizing" the story,
"upgrading" Jesus to a "God", something Jesus himself would never have
* Courtesy to Ton Hilberink
"Jesjoea, Paulus en de macht", 1995 Uitg. Jan Mets.
Custodian of the Grail
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