A MAGICAL AND QABALISTIC
THE DRAMA OF
A COMPANION OF THE HOLY GRAIL
Dedicated to my Beloved Friend
FRATER AD ALTA
Who passed from our view into
THE GREAT HERE AND NOW
November 29th, 1918
exactly four years prior to
the completion of this essay.
The collective tradition of mankind is endowed with a relative infallibil-
ity, and when rightly interpreted, must represent the largest truth, the
most perfect beauty and the purest goodness known on earth. This transcen-
dental truth and goodness and beauty represents the divine substratum of
human nature, the ideal humanity which lies above and behind the aberra-
tions of individuals, races and periods. It is not subjected, as are the
latter, to Time and Circumstance or to the limitations from which the
appearance of error, evil and deformity seem to spring.
The Legend of Parzival is not subject to Time or Circumstance; it repre-
sents a glimpse of the Eternal Reality, the Everpresent Here and Now. The
circumstances of its enactment and the place wherein the festival is
beheld, need not be sought outside the Human Heart that has learned to
beat in time and tune with the Soul of the World. All who are born of
"Heart's Affliction" must eventually find their way to that spot where
they "Scarcely move, yet swiftly seem to run" and having become one with
"The Way, The Truth and The Life" they will discover that the shifting
scenes of the world they had thought to be so real, will pass by them as a
pageant until the Vision of the Grail Itself is presented to their pure
It is in the hope of awakening some spark of the smouldering fire of this
inner consciousness in the hearts of those who may read these lines--not
having previously understood the Legend--and from that spark enkindling
a great fire that will burn up the veils which hide man from Himself--from
God--that I have dared to add these fragments to the great mass of Grail
Literature already given to the world.
And to those who are slumbering contentedly, wrapped round with the
delusion and dreams of this illusory like, I cry with Gurnemanz:
Hey! Ho! Wood-keepers twain!
Sleep-keepers I deem ye!
At least be moving with the morning!
Hear ye the call? Now thank the Lord
That ye are called in time to hear it.
THE COMING OF PARZIVAL
"By pity 'lightened
The guileless Fool--
Wait for him,
My chosen tool."
It is not my intention to set forth the complete Argument of the Great
Musical-Drama of "Parsifal" derived from the ancient legend of Parzival by
Richard Wagner, to whom be all praise and honour.
Those who have not had the privilege of witnessing this festival-play, or
even of reading a good translation of the Libretto, should avail them-
selves of the help that a study of the latter will give them before
expecting to gain a thorough grasp of the interpretation herein set
I shall also suppose that the student has some slight knowledge of The
Mystic Path and of The Holy Qabalah, although I shall endeavor to make
the points dealt with as comprehensive as possible to the uninitiated
enquirer who is prepared to "wake and hearken to the Call".
The Music of Wagner I cannot give you, nor shall I even attempt an inter-
pretation of that which, in the Opera, helps so much toward the opening of
those channels of consciousness whereby we may eventually receive some
comprehensive of the Music of the Spheres.
Fortunately this is not entirely necessary, for the true Path leads to a
point when each individual may feel himself to be a highly-strung musical
instrument whose Will runs over the strings causing complete and har-
monious vibrations in his own being, which will then seem to give forth an
un-formulated but delightful melody.
What is the Key-note of Parzival?
And what is Ecstasy? It has been well described by one known to us as
Frater Perdurabo, and I shall quote his own words:
``There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign.''
"So used some of us to sing in childhood, and we used to think of
that land as far away, farther even than death that in those days seemed
"But I know this now: that land is not so far as my flesh is from my
bones! it is Here and Now.
"If there is one cloud in this tranquil azure, it is this thought: that
conscious beings exist who are not thus infinitely happy, masters of
"What is the path to this immortal land? To the Oriental, meditation
offers the best path. To the Western, there is no road better than
ceremonial. For ecstasy is caused by the sudden combination of two ideas,
just as oxygen and hydrogen unite explosively.
"But this religious ecstasy takes place in the highest centres of the
human organism; it is the soul itself that is united to its God; and for
this reason the rapture is more overpowering, the joy more lasting, and
the resultant energy more pure and splendid than in aught earthly.
"In ritual therefore, we seek continually to unite the mind to some pure
idea by an act of will. This we do again and again, more and more passion-
ately, with more and more determination, until at last the mind accepts
the domination of the will, and rushes of its own accord toward the
desired object. This surrender of the mind to its Lord gives the holy
ecstasy we seek."
Here we have one of the most important keys to the interpretation of the
Drama of Parzival, and also an indication of the result which Wagner
desired to produce upon the minds of his audience.
Unless the Play is properly staged, and the parts taken by those who them-
selves understand at least something of the "Way of Holiness", this effect
is not made upon the consciousness of the onlookers. This is doubtless one
the reasons why Wagner made arrangements that this Work should only be
produced at Bayreuth in a proper setting and under right conditions, for
it represents the summit of his Magical Mountain of which the base was the
Ring. He called it a Stage-Consecrating Festival, and its effects were
intended to exert their influence upon the Drama of Life itself.
We will pass over the early part of the opening Scene with its introduc-
tion of Gurnemanz, Kundry, and Amfortas, and concentrate our attention on
the entry of Parzival; heralded by the falling of a Swan brought down by
his own weapon.
What is this Swan?
How do I know? Never mind, let me quote once again from one who is the
``There is a Swan whose name is Ecstasy;
it wingeth from the deserts of the
North; it wingeth through the blue; it
wingeth over the fields of rice; at its
coming they push forth the green.
In all the Universe this Swan alone in
motionless; it seems to move, as the Sun
seems to move; such is the weakness of
O fool! criest thou?
Amen. Motion is relative: there is
Nothing that is still.
Against this Swan I shot an arrow; the
white breast poured forth blood. Men
smote me; then perceiving that I was a
Pure Fool, they let me pass.
Thus and not otherwise I came to the
Temple of the Grail.''
Thus did Parzival bring down Ecstasy to Earth, although the King-Amfortas-
and his Knights had "esteemed it a happy token, when o'er the lake it
What is this lake? When calm and unruffled, brooded over by the Swan of
Ecstasy, it is the human mind trained by the proper methods to Right
Contemplation. For only when the mind is still may the Sun of the true
Self be seen reflected in its depths. From that it is but one step to the
attainment of Right Ecstasy when the Sun plunges into the depths of
the Mind and the whole being is aflame with the Sacred Fire of the Holy
Parzival had aimed high; he had hit the mark of his Aspiration, little
though his action was at first understood. Yet his Folly saved him, as he
in turn saved others.
When questioned as to his action he answered "I knew not 'twas wrong"
although he flung away weapon, having no further use for it in that form.
What was his weapon? The Bow of Promise and the Arrow of Pure Aspiration.
But he had aspired, he had hit the mark and the promise had been to a
certain extent fulfilled.
The Qabalist will at once recognise the "Path of Samech or Sagittarius the
Archer on the `Tree of Life.'" This is the Path of the Arrow that cleaves
the Rainbow, leading directly from Yesod--The Foundation--to Tiphareth the
Sphere of the Sun, Beauty and Harmony, or the Human Heart wherein the
Mysteries of the Rosy Cross and of the Holy Grail are first--if dimly--
To what other use had Parzival--son of Herat's Affliction--previously put
his weapon? He had shot at all that flies. He had shot at the Eagle, the
bird that fears not to gaze upon the very Sun itself.
What does this eagle mean and what does it foreshadow?
For it is written: "The Eagle is that Might of Love which is the Key of
Magick, uplifting the Body and its appurtenance unto High Ecstasy upon his
This Eagle is known to Occultists as one of the Four Cherubic Beasts and
he represents one of the Four Powers of the Sphinx. Likewise he is attri-
buted by Eliphas Levi to Azoth, the formula of the Alpha and Omega, the
First and Last.
It was by the right use of this Might of Love that Parzival succeeded
where others had failed. For again it is written in Liber Aleph: "Consider
Love. Here is a force destructive and corrupting whereby have many men
been lost: witness all History. Yet without love man were not man.
"We see Amfortas, who yielded himself to a seduction, wounded beyond
healing; Klingsor, who withdrew himself from a like danger , cast out
forever from the Mountain of Salvation, and Parzival who yielded not, able
to exercise the true Power of Love and therby to perform the Miracle of
But though we are now nearing that realm wherein "Time and Space are One"
we must not allow ourselves to be rushed forward too rapidly.
There were many things that Parzival did not know, or which he professed
not to know when questioned. He did now as yet know he True Name--the Word
of His Being--though he had in the past been called by many names. Some
things he knew and remembered clearly; there was one thing he desired to
know and to understand.
What is the Grail!
To which Gurnemanz very properly replies:
I may not say:
But if to serve it thou be bidden,
Knowledge of it will not be hidden.-
Methinks I know thee now indeed;
No earthly road to it doth lead,
By no one can it be detected
Who by itself is not elected.
To which Parzival, without further questioning, replies:
I scarcely move,
Yet I swiftly seem to run.
My son, thou seest
Here SPACE and TIME are ONE.
Now, in truth, have we come to the beginning of the True Path which in the
clear Light is one with the end thereof.
What says Blavatsky in "The Voice of the Silence"? "Bestride the Bird of
Life if thou wouldst know!"
And this Bird--this Swan--so seeming dead until its Powers be known? Some
have compared it to the Sacred Word, the Great Word AUM. For it is
written: "AUM is the hieroglyph of the Eternal. A the beginning sound, U
its middle and M its end, together forming a single Word or Trinity,
indicating that the Real must be regarded as of this three-fold nature.
Birth, Life and Death, not successive, but one."
The Illusory nature of Time and Space, which are but modes of our finite
mind, has been made very clear by Sidney Klein in his excellent book
"Science and the Infinite," but this is no new idea. The attainment of
Ecstasy has proved to Initiates of every land that there is a state of
consciousness wherein both time and space are blotted out--at least
temporarily--and at the same moment the limitations of the "personal ego"
no longer appress us. In that Holy Book known as Liber LXV--Chapter II,
Verses 17-25, we read:
``17. Also the Holy One came upon me, and I beheld a white swan
floating in the blue.
18. Between its wings I sate, and the aeons fled away.
19. Then the swan flew and dived and soared, yet no
whither we went.
20. A little crazy boy that rode with me spake unto
the swan and said:
21. Who art thou that doth float and fly and dive and
soar in the inane? Behold, these many aeons have passed;
whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?
22. And laughing I chid him saying: No whence! No
23. The swan being silent, he answered: Then if with
no goal, why this eternal journey?
24. And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan,
and laughed, saying: Is there not joy ineffable in this
aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience
for who would attain to some goal?
25. And the swan was ever silent. Ah, but we floated
in the infinite Abyss. Joy! Joy!
White swan bear thou ever me up between thy wings.''
But there was much that Parzival must do before taking his ease thus: he
had a mission to accomplish, on earth, though as yet he knew not.
By the use of these examples, we may begin to comprehend what happens
next. A new "movement without motion" on the part of Parzival and
Gurnemanz is now symbolized by the SCENERY in the Drama shifting, at first
almost imperceptibly, from Left to Right. The forest--in which the First
Scene had taken place--disappears; a door opens in the rocky cliffs and
conceals the two; they are then seen again in sloping passages which they
appear to ascend. At last they arrive at a mighty hall, which loses itself
overhead in a high vaulted dome, down from which the light streams in.
From the heights above the dome comes the increasing sound of chimes.
Again we may find a very direct correspondence in the Eastern Teachings as
propounded by Madame Blatvatsky in "The Voice of Silence." She writes:
"Thou canst travel on that Path until thou hast become the Path itself."
Further in Liber CCCXXXIII by Frater Perdurabo we read:
``O thou that settest out upon the Path, false is the Phantom
that thou seekest. When thou hast it thou shalt know all
bitterness, thy teeth fixed in the Sodom-Apple.
Thus hast thou been lured along That Path, whose terror else
had driven thee far away.
O thou that stridest upon the middle of The Path, no phantoms
mock thee. For the stride's sake thou stridest.
Thus art thou lured along That Path whose fascination else
had driven thee far away.
``O thou that drawest toward the End of The Path, effort is no
more. Faster and faster dost thou fall; thy weariness is
changed into Ineffable Rest.
For there is no Thou upon that Path: thou hast become The Way.''
And each must learn to travel this Path, each must overcome his own
obstacles, unmask his own illusions. Yet there is always the possibility
that others may help us do this and, as in the case of Parzival led by
Gurnemanz who travelled that Way before, we may be guided in the true Path
and taught to avoid the many false byways that may tempt us in our search
for the Temple of the Holy Grail. In fact, if our training has been right
and our aspiration remains pure, we must inevitably arrive at the end of
that Road; often we may seem to do so in the twinkling of an eye, and when
we least expect it.
We should remember that every point of this Drama is highly symbolic. The
student may place his own interpretation on that passage which opens into
the Temple of the Grail. On arrival therein we cannot do better than
listen to the advice of Gurnemanz to Parzival, who meanwhile stands spell-
bound with Wonder at what he beholds:
Now give good head, and let me see,
If thou'rt a Fool and pure,
What wisdom thou presently canst secure.
And this WISDOM Parzival does in due course secure, but not until he has
undergone many trials. For WISDOM is the HOLY SPEAR itself, long lost to
the Knights of the Grail but eventually recovered by The Pure Fool.
Meanwhile, during the Feast of the Grail, Parzival stands still and spell-
bound like a rude clod. He sees the CUP of the Grail uncovered, he
witnesses the ceremony of the Companions of the Grail, and he attains a
certain interior UNDERSTANDING which transcends knowledge. For the CUP is
the UNDERSTANDING, though in this instance it was divorced from the WILL
or WISDOM, the Holy Spear which alone is capable of enlightening it
A word may now be said regarding the nature of "The Pure Fool"; and since
this Ritual is one for all time, we shall go back before the Christian Era
(to which the Grail Mystery is usually particularly attributed) back to
Ancient China where the testimony of that Holy Sage Lao Tze gives us no
uncertain clue. The Way of the Tao--Wu Wei--the accomplishment of all
things by doing Nothing, is precisely similar to the "Path" we have been
describing. Lao Tze says:
``The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased as if
enjoying a full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in
spring. I alone seem listless and still, my desires
having as yet given no indication of their presence.
I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look
dejected and forlorn, as I I had no home to go to. The
multitude of men all have enough and to spare. I alone
seem to have lost everything. My mind is that of a
stupid man; I am in a state of chaos.
Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I
alone seem to be benighted. They look full of discrim-
ination, while I alone am dull and confused. I seem to
becarried about as on a sea, drifting as if I had
nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action,
while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude
Thus I ALONE AM DIFFERENT from other men, but I value
the Nursing-Mother (The Great Tao).''
So we see this Fool is not the ordinary sort of foolish and besotted
person to which the form is usually applied. In his Foolishness we find
his difference from his fellows; for in sooth it is the Divine Madness of
Ecstasy which redeems from all pain. It is "That which remains" after the
sorrows and shadows that pass and are done, have left our being. Then
Existence is recognized to be Pure Joy. But Understanding without Wisdom
is Pure Darkness, and in this state is Parzival discovered by Guernemanz
at the end of the Ceremony. This is a darkness even Guernemanz is unable
to comprehend, for he says:
Why standest thou there?
Wist thou what thou sawest?
And Parzival, shaking his head slightly, he continues:
Thou art then nothing but a Fool!
And pushing Parzival through a small door he cries angrily:
Come away, on thy road the gone
And put my rede to use:
Leave all our swans for the future alone
And seek thyself a gander, a goose.
And so it came about that Parzival set out alone upon his Holy Quest.
THE TEMPTING OF PARZIVAL
``For pure will, unassuaged of purpose,
delivered from the lust of result, is every
way perfect.'' Liber Al. vel. Legis
The last Scene of the First Act of this Drama will have enabled us to see
something of the nature of the "Heart" or Temple of the Knights of the
Grail. We are next transported to the "Keep" of Klingsor's Castle, there
to obtain a glimpse of the Heart of a Black Magician. Klingsor represents
one who has "shut himsel f up", who desires to keep his personality and
while retaining possession of the SPEAR or Divine Will to make use of it,
if possible for his own personal ends.
Man is given a certain freedom of will in order that he may thereby
develop the sense of Freedom and so willingly ally himself with the Divine
Will or True Purpose of his Being. Should he make the mistake of
attempting to reverse the process, turning the Divine Will to merely
personal ends, he must inevitably fall. He thereby cuts himself off from
the Universal Current and is slowly but surely disintegrated until he is
finally lost in the Abyss.
For a time, however, as in the case of Klingsor, he may seem to exercise
an illusionary power by taking advantage of the delusions of others. For
he plays upon their emotional natures, which tend if uncontrolled to befog
the mind thus preventing the True Sun of Being from illuminating their
Self-damned, the one desire of such a being is to cause the utter ruin and
downfall of others in order that the terrible loneliness which he--if
dimly--realizes to be his fate, may be assuaged by the presence of his
Klingsor, however, still hopes to capture the Holy CUP itself--which has
remained in the possession of the Knights of the Grail--for this is the
Cup of UNDERSTANDING whereby he may discover a way to reverse this fate
and to make use of its contents, the Divine Substance which is capable of
infinite transformation when united with the Spear or WILL.
Even without this perfect means of transmutation, he has still obtained a
certain power over Astral Matter, which being of a very plastic nature is
capable of transformation into images alluring or terrible according to
the effect to be produced upon his victims.
The Aspirant has been warned of the illusory nature of the Astral Plane in
"The Voice of Silence" which contains instructions for those ignorant of
the dangers of the lower Iddhi (magical powers). We shall refer to these
instructions again in the proper place.
Meanwhile, as the Act opens, we discover Klingsor seated before his magic
mirror in the Keep of his Castle. He is surrounded with the instruments of
his art, which are as complex as the true weapons are simple.
He is evidently aware of the coming of Parzival--the Guileless Fool--and
he realizes that here is a menace to his power, since that power depends
upon beguilement. The question before him is whether this Fool is really
too Pure to be tempted by the subtle blandishments of his magic art.
Kundry--Woman--capable alike of raising man to the heights or dragging him
to the very depths, is the best instrument to his hand. She--the Animal
Soul of the World--while directed by the lower will or intellect--has
within her not alone the possibilities of redemption, but of taking her
rightful place upon the Throne of the Mother if brought to Understanding
the Higher Will and Wisdom of the Father of All.
On the other hand if under the influence of the lower will she is allowed
to seduce man from his aspiration, do that he fails to discover his True
Will (which is one with Destiny and the Will of God and which alone can
direct him in his proper course) she ruins him and at the same time loses
her own chance of redemption. He is then doomed to wander in paths of
illusion having no comprehension of the true Purpose of his Being or hers.
Klingsor exercises a mighty power over Kundry whenever she allows herself
to fall asleep, though much of her time during waking hours is devoted to
the service of the Knights of the Grail. Many of these she has injured
while under the spell of Klingsor. She often desires to make amends but
her heart is torn between this form of activity and desire for case.
Whenever she sinks back into the sloth of Ignorance, or what the Hindus
term the Tamas Guna, she is subject to the art of Klingsor for he is the
maker of Illusion through Learning or the Powers of the mind, the
principle known as Rajas. By means of this mental power many false uses
may be devised for the Love nature, which when wrongly used becomes
destructive instead of Creative and constructive.
Parzival--The Pure Fool--is in that condition mentioned by Lao Tze "His
desires having as yet given no indication of their presence." The crucial
test is whether when they are aroused for the first time he will use them
rightly or wrongly. Therein both Amfortas and Klingsor had failed, though
in different ways. Now comes a third candidate in the form of Parzival and
Klingsor fears greatly for the continuance of his own power.
He knows that even Kundry will be redeemed should Parzival, by rejecting
her advances, and refusing to accept aught but the highest, cause her at
last to Understand and so become released from Klingsor's illusory powers.
Klingsor first lights incense, which in true magick is a symbol of the
aspiration of the lower towards the higher. But there is no Lamp above the
altar, and the Lamp symbolizes the Higher Aspiration to draw up and unite
the lower with itself. The incense alone produces nothing but the smoky
clouds which represent the Astral Plane, and this plane being particularly
attributed to the Desires and Emotions is the one most suited to the work
Klingsor wishes Kundry to perform. It is her Astral body over which he has
the most influence.
His call to her is worthy of notice:
Arise! Draw near me!
The Master calls thee, nameless woman:
She-Lucifer! Rose of Hades!
Herodias wert thou. And what else?
Gundryggia there, Kundry here!
Approach! Approach then, Kundry!
Unto thy Master appear!
And in the incense smoke now appears the figure of Kundry--her Astral
form--half-obedient, half rebellious to the will of Klingsor.
The term "Rose of Hades" should be noticed here, for in a certain sense
Kundry is that same Rose which is to be found in connection with the Cross
in the Rosy Cross Ceremonies. The Cross of Suffering may be looked upon as
represented by Amfortas--as can be shown Qabalistically--and the wound at
his breast is caused by the Rose, Kundry. The Spear and Cup convey the
same Symbolism but on a Higher Plane.
Meanwhile Kundry gradually comes under the spell of Klingsor, who orders
her to use all her wiles to ensnare the approaching and victorious
Parzival; "Whom sheerest Folly shields."
Klingsor, while admitting that he cannot hold Kundry, claims that he can
force her to his will:
``Because against me
Thine own power cannot move''
Kundry, laughing harshly, makes this strange reply:
Ha Ha! Art thou chaste!
This remark causes Klingsor to sink into gloomy brooding. He recalls how
he, too, had once sought the holier life and the service of the Grail.
But, unlike Amfortas who had succumbed to seduction, he, thinking to avoid
a like fate had used his will to attempt something against Nature and God;
the total suppression of his Love nature. This had resulted in an enforced
chastity, giving him power to avoid seduction--'tis true--but likewise
cutting him off from the possibility of redemption. For hear his words:
Irrepressible yearning woe!
Terrible lust in me once rife,
Which I had quenched with devilish strife;
Mocks and laughs it at me,
Thou devil's bride, through thee?
Have a care!
In spite of further threats, we find Kundry still affirming that she will
not conform to Klingsor's demands, yet, such is woman-kind, she quietly
disappears to make ready for the reception and tempting of Parzival; who
is at least a live and vigorous human being.
Klingsor has been watching Parzival's approach to his magic castle,
armed--'tis said--with the Sword of Innocence and protected by the Shield
of Folly. Rather I should interpret this Sword as that of Reason, for
Parzival has learned in his Folly to disarm and defeat the defenders of
Klingsor's Castle with their own weapons.
There is no deeper wound that that inflicted by our own weapons turned
against us; as Amfortas had found to his lasting pain and anguish.
The opportunities we have missed but had the power to take and might have
taken, rankle more deeply than all the vain regrets for those things which
were impossible of attainment.
But the mere possession of the most sacred weapon--as in the case of
Klingsor and the Holy Spear--without further possibility of its right use,
is bitterest of all.
And so we find, when Kundry has `gone to work', Klingsor's Tower slowly
sinks and disappears from sight. At the same time his "Garden of Desire"
rises and his beautiful but illusory creations "The Flower Maidens" appear
before our astonished eyes.
Parzival, whose desires have as yet given no indication of their presence,
has by this time arrived at the wall of the garden. What he beholds is but
subsidiary to his main Purpose to retrieve the Holy Spear, yet he, too,
This may be deemed as Parzival's introduction to "The Hall of Learning" as
it is called by Madame Blavatsky in "The Voice of the Silence." Let us
turn aside for a moment in order to obtain a clearer idea of just what
that term implies. We read in Chapter I, Verses 22-29 as follows:
22. Three Halls, O weary Pilgrim, lead to the end of toils.
Three halls, O conqueror of Mara, will bring thee through
three states into the fourth, and thence into the Seven Worlds,
the Worlds of Rest Eternal.
23. If thou would'st learn their names, then hearken, and
remember. The name of the first hall is IGNORANCE--Avidya. It
is the Hall in which thou saw'st the light, in which thou
livest and shalt die.
Ignorance corresponds to Malkuth and Nepesh (the animal soul), Learning to
Tiphareth and Ruach (the Mind), and Wisdom to Binah and Neshamah (the
aspiration or Divine Mind).--Fra. O.M.
24. The name of Hall the second is the Hall of LEARNING. In
it thy soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every
flower is a serpent coiled.
25. The name of the third Hall is WISDOM, beyond which
stretch the shoreless waters of AKSHARA, the indestructible
Fount of Omniscence.
(Akshara is the same as the Great Sea of the Qabalah. It is also the CUP
of the GRAIL, as WISDOM is the SPEAR.)
26. If thou wouldst cross the first Hall safely, let not thy
mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the sun-
light of life.
27. If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the
fragrance of its stupefying blossoms inhale. * * *
28. The WISE ONES tarry not in the pleasure grounds of the
29. The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of
Enough has been quoted to show the extraordinary correspondences between
the "Garden Scene" of the Drama of Parzival with both the Eastern
Teachings and those of the Holy Qabalah. But this Drama is not subject to
Time or Circumstance.
We left Parzival in a state of wonder upon the wall of Klingsor's Garden.
We next find the "Flower Maidens" bemoaning the loss of their lovers
--their pleasures--slain by Parzival upon his approach to the Castle and
entry to the Garden.
Thye Flower Maidens are easily solaced, however, by the hope that here is
a freash pleasure, stronger and more potent than those lost to them. One
that will more than take the place of all the others.
In this hope they are deceived for--as in real life--pleasures in time
lose their hold (especially if abused) and though we may seek a stronger
and more intense form of amusement, our power to enjoy may become dulled
and lost to us.
The case in point is somewhat different, however, for the Flower Maidens
find that the power to enjoy does not lie with them, for Parzival--with
his One Purpose--is not to be turned aside for the sake of lesser
Why should he, when by waiting he may gain All instead of a mere partial
rapture? Has he not already experienced the Higher form of Ecstasy? The
question now arises whether he had realised that this Higher Ecstasy with
its Purity and STILLNESS is more to be esteemed than the APPARENT ACTIVITY
of the lesser order.
In the Higher forms of Ecstasy characterized by this quality of STILLNESS,
the ACTIVITY is in reality SO INTENSE that it appears to CEASE. But the
resultant Rapture is in that case more refined and consequently more
Powerful than in the Peace which passeth all understanding. Kundry may be
said to have so far sought Rest below the Vibration of the RED RAY, while
Parzival has found it beyond that of the ULTRA-VIOLET.
And so, when later, Kundry uses all her charms to tempt Parzival, she
fails. Her embrace awakens the vibration of the RED RAY in the heart of
Parzival and in this he recognizes, sympathetically, the cause of the
wound of Amfortas and wherein the latter had failed. For Amfortas had been
content to accept LESS than was his DUE, a vibration lower than the one to
which his being was capable of responding.
Once the string of the Instrument or of the Bow has been slackened, its
power is reduced; once the WILL has become the `will' it needs re-tuning
to the Divine or Higher Vibration, but it cannot thus re-tune itself once
self-will has usurped the place of SELF-WILL.
In that case the Holy Spear of Will and Wisdom has been replaced by the
Sword of Reason. This Sword is both useful and necessary until man has
obtained possession of the Holy Spear or become conscious of his true
Purpose, (Just as Reason is necessary until we attain to Wisdom and
Understanding whereby the Truth is directly perceived without the
necessity of inference and deduction) but once the higher faculties have
been acquired and the Higher Will recognized as the true guiding Power of
our lives, our Purpose must be kept pure and unsullied.
This Mystery is made clear in Liber Al vel Legis:
``Let it be that state of manyhood
bound and loathing. So with thy all;
though hast no right but to do thy will.
Do that, and no other shall say nay.
For pure will, unassuaged of purpose,
delivered from the lust of result, is
every way perfect.
The Perfect and the Perfect are one
Perfect and not two; nay, are none!''
So we come to understand how the Perfect Cup and the Perfect Spear--Pure
Understanding and Wisdom--are one; nay, are none since all `knowledge' is
cancelled out in Perfect Ecstasy.
Parzival yields not the the glamour of time and circumstance for he seeks
the Eternal Reality, the everpresent Here and Now. The chance of a brief
reflection of ecstasy on the physical plane does not deter him from his
Quest for that which is CONTINUOUS as the Body of Our Lady Nuit or the
Stars of Heaven. But, meanwhile, since he has left behind him--in the
Temple of the Grail--the true Chalice of Ecstasy, his first duty is to
seek the Holy Spear, the means whereby alone it may be vivified and
Under the influence of Kundry he obtains a glimpse of his true purpose,
the mission of Redeemer. Having realized the cause of the wound of
Amfortas he determines to seek and obtain the means whereby it may be
cured. Nor is he to be turned aside from this deed of compassion for in
vain does Kundry question:
And was it my kiss
This great knowledge conveyed thee?
If in my arms I might take thee,
'T would then a god surely make thee.
Redeem the world then, if 'tis thy aim:
Stand as a god revealed;
For this hour let me perish in flame,
Leave aye the wound unhealed.
But Parzival is determined that he will first heal the wound of Amfortas
--King of the Grail--and he offers Kundry redemption at the price of her
showing him the way back to the Castle of the Grail.
This would perhaps have seemed the reasonable course for Kundry to persue.
But the Task of Parzival, by the proper performance of which he may become
MASTER OF THE TEMPLE, is not thus easy of accomplishment.
He must, in fact, on his return to the Temple bring with him the NEOPHYTE
in his hand. He must have proved his power to raise the Fallen Duaghter
--or Animal Soul--to the Throne of the Mother--Understanding. It is his
task to lead Kundry to the Mountain of Salvation, not hers to show him the
Besides, he has not yet obtained the means of curing the wound of
Amfortas. Mere compassion for his anguish, mere realization of the
cause of the trouble is not enough. Had he returned at this juncture his
mission would have been a failure.
But Kundy--womanlike--does not pursue the reasonable course, and in the
end her intuition produces the finer flowering. Yet she is not conscious
of this for the intuition is clouded in her mind by her emotional nature.
She is aware that she has been flouted, that her charms have failed to
seduce Parzival from the sacred mysteries, as she has seduced Amfortas.
For Parzival has told her:
Should I be damned with thee,
If for one hour
I forget my holy mission,
Within thine arm's embracing!
And this is no pleasant pill for any pretty woman to swallow.
Nor could her appeal to his pity (though in truth washe "By Pity
'lightened") turn him aside from his larger purpose; even when this appeal
was coupled with the promise that he should straightway see the Path to
the Grail if he lingered but an hour.
Desperate, Kundy cries:
``Begone, detestable wretch''
and calling upon Klingsor (the only Master Will she knows) to avenge her
wrong, she at the same time curses Parzival and all the Paths wherein he
might travel, should they lead away from her.
And here the intuition that she is really necessary to his Attainment
actually brings about the next step towards that end, by strange means.
Parzival needs above all to realize the Nature of his True Will. And
Klingsor has at this moment appeared upon the Castle wall; the Damsels
rushing out of the Castle hasten towards Kundry, while Klingsor--poising a
Halt there! I'll ban thee with befitting
The Fool shall perish by his Master's
All else having failed, Klingsor make use of the Sacred Spear Itself. He
hurls his WILL at Parzival, who, being perfectly receptive to the Higher
Power (no matter what the agency used to bring it to him) receives the
Spear, not in his heart, but in his hand. For--as in the case of the
Higher WILL at the time of the opening of the 1001 petalled Lotus, the
Real Flower of the Garden--it is seen gently floating above his head,
within his reach and power to grasp.
And so Parzival grasps his True Purpose and brandishing the Holy Spear
with a gesture of exhalted rapture, he makes the Sign of the Cross
therewith. Now the Sign of the Cross is symbolical of that "Cross of the
Elements" from which the Creative Word issued at the birth of the dawning
A New Word is, as it were, uttered by Parzival and once again the Holy
Spirit may be said to brood upon the Waters of Chaos. For at this moment,
as with an earthquake, the Castle falls to ruins; the false Garden
withers, and the damsels lie like shrivelled flowers strewn around on the
ground. Kundry sinks down with a cry, and to her turns once more--from the
summit of the ruined wall--the departing Parzival:
Where only we shall meet again.
And, having uttered these prophetic words, he disappears among the shadows.
THE REDEMPTION OF THE
``H”chsten Heiles Wunder!
Erl”sung dem Erl”ser!''
Before passing on to the final scenes of this Drama, it is necessary that
we should know something of the Great Ceremony of Initiation into the
Grade of Master of the Temple which Parzival was undergoing. This
knowledge may best be obtained from the Records of the Great Brotherhood
itself, and from the actual examples of those Who have undergone the
Ordeals leading thereto.
The serious Student will be greatly interested in observing how closely
some of the passages we have already quoted, and those we are about to
quote, parallel the events in the Drama as compiled by Richard Wagner. But
it must be remembered that Wagner himself received Instructions in the
great Principles of the Holy Order from certain of the Secret Chiefs and
this accounts for the great harmony between his Work and that of other
members of the Great Brotherhood.
We find in Liver IV these words: "The Master of the Temple has crossed the
Abyss, has entered the Palace of the King's Daughter; he has only to utter
one word, and all is dissolved. But, instead of that, he is found hidden
in the earth, tending a garden. This mystery is all too complex to be
elucidated in these fragments of impure thought; it is a suitable subject
Parzival enters the Abyss when, casting aside every personal consideration
and actuated by Pure Will delivered from the lust of result, he destroys
Klingsor's Garden and Keep.
All that structure, built upon Reason, is shattered, and nothing but a
rubbish-heap remains. For Parzival had discovered the Power of the Word
whereby the Universe vanishes in Fire and Flame. This may therefore be
looked upon as the supreme Banishing Ritual.
But the process of Creation, Preservation and Destruction is continuous;
things must be destroyed on order that they may be renewed. It is from the
rubbish-heap of Chronozon (Klingsor) that one selects the materials for a
god, or for a New Aeon. Understanding is the structuralization of
knowledge, and implies coordination.
But, in the meanwhile Parzival must tend a Garden of his own, for, having
looked upon the "Face of the Father" he has become NEMO--No-man. (It is
interesting to note that Klingsor termed Kundry "Nameless woman", for she,
too, must attain to Understanding in the end.)
A study of Liber CCCXVIII, 13th Aethyr, will give us a fuller comprehen-
sion of this Mystery. Therein we read:
``No man hath beheld the face of my Father. Therefore he
that hath beheld it is called NEMO. And know thou that
every man that is called NEMO hath a garden that he
tendeth. And every garden that is and flourisheth hath
hath been prepared from the desert by NEMO, watered with
the waters that were called death.
And I say unto him: To what end is the garden prepared?
And he saith: First for the beauty and delight thereof;
and next because it is written "And Tetragrammaton Elohim
planted a garden eastward in Eden." And lastly, because
though every flower bringeth forth a maiden, yet there is
one flower that shall bring forth a man-child. And his
name shall be called NEMO, when he beholdeth the face of
my Father. And he that tendeth the garden seeketh not to
single out the flower that shall be NEMO. He doeth naught
but tend the garden.
And I said: Pleasant indeed is the garden, and light is
the toil of tending it, and great is the reward.
And he said: Bethink thee that NEMO hath beheld the
face of my Father. In his is only Peace.
And I said: Are all gardens like unto this garden?
And he waved his hand, and in the Aire across the
valley appeared an island of coral, rosy, with green
palms and fruit trees, in the midst of the bluest of the
And he waved his hand again, and there appeared a
valley shut in by mighty snow mountains, and in it were
pleasant streams of water, rushing through, and broad
rivers, and lakes covered with lillies.
And he waved his hand again, and there was a vision, as
it were an oasis in the desert.
And again he waved his hand, and there was a dim
country with grey rocks, and heather, and gorse, and
bracken. * * *
And he seems to read my thought, which is, that I
should love to stay in this garden forever: for he sayeth
to me: Come with me, and behold how NEMO tendeth his
So we enter the earth, and there is a veiled figure, in
absolute darkness. Yet it is perfectly possible to see in
it, so that the minutest details do not escape us. And
upon the root of one flower he pours acid so that root
writhes as if in a torture. And another he cuts, and the
shriek is like the shriek of a mandrake, torn up by the
roots. And another he chars with fire, and yet another he
annoints with oil.
And I said: Heavy is the labour, but great is the
And the young man answered me: He shall not see the
reward; he tendeth the garden.
And I said: What shall come unto him?
And he said: This thou canst not know, nor is it
revealed by the letters that are the totems of the stars,
but only by the stars.''
We find in the above an exact parallel to the case of Parzival, for he
finds that "The Beatific Vision is no more, and the glory of the Most High
is no more. There is no more knowledge. There is no more beauty. For this
is the Palace of Understanding; and he is one with the Primeval things."
He must wander about in the earth, tending the ROOTS of the flowers;
unconscious of the results of his labours, until the time is ripe for
another to take his place.
The Third Act opens in the Grail's Domain. We perceive a pleasant spring
landscape and flowery meadows towards the back. In the foreground is a
wood which extends away towards the right, and a spring of clear water.
Opposite, and higher up, is a narrow hermitage built against a rock. It is
All this brilliant spring scenery symbolises some of the work of Parzival
who has laboured in darkness for many years. But the Night is nearly
Gurnemanz, now old and in the garment of a simple hermit, yet still
protected by the Mantle of the Grail, is now discovered. He hears a low
moaning which he recognizes as that of Kundry, who--half dead, but now
faithful in service--has found found her way back to the Mountain of
Salvation. Intuitively she had been led to keep her tryst with Parzival
whose last words to he had been: Thou knowest, where only we shall meet
again. She is discovered by Gurnemanz concealed in a small thicket near
the stream. How long she has waited there, who can tell, but the thicket
is now overgrown with thorns.
Upon spying her, Gurnemanz cries:
The winter's fled, and Spring is here!
Awake, awake to the Spring!
The results of the unseen work of Parzival upon the "roots" of her being
soon become apparaent to Gurnemanz. Her first cry, on being aroused from
her deadly stupor, is: Service!
But Gurnemanz--shaking his head--replies:
Now will thy work be light!
We send no errands out long since:
Simples and herbs
Must ev'ry one find for himself:
'Tis learnt in the woods from the beasts.
But Kundry, having in the meanwhile looked about her, perceives the
hermit's hut, and goes in. Gurnemanz, in surprise, remarks how different
is her step, and thanks Heaven that he has been the means of reviving this
"flower" that had formerly seemed so poisonous.
Kundry quitely returns with a water-pot which she takes to the spring, and
while waiting for it to fill, she looks toward the wood and perceives a
strange Knight approaching in the distance. She turns to Gurnemanz, who
seeing the same figure, remarks:
Who comes toward the sanctified stream?
In gloomy war apparel.
None of our brethren is he.
For in his shroud of darkness Parzival--for it is he--is not recognized
even by Gurnemanz, a Companion of the Grail. It is not surprising that
during his wanderings those less enlightened should have failed to
perceive his identity.
He slowly enters, clad from head to foot in pure black armour; carrying,
upright, the Sacred Spear, equipped with sword and shield. He seems dreamy
and vacillating, but seats himself on the little knoll beside the stream.
Gurnemanz, after observing him for some time, finding him silent,
approaches somewhat, and remarks:
Greet thee, my friend!
Art thou astray, and shall I direct thee?
In reply to which Parzival gently shakes his head, but remains silent.
Further questioning only elicits from him the same silent response, for is
it not written that UNDERSTANDING is pure Silence and Pure Darkness.
But the end of this period of silence and darkness is approaching. The
NEMO stage of the "City of the Pyramids" soon gives place to another.
Parzival rises and thrusts his Spear upright in the ground, thus, as it
were, linking Heaven and Earth. He then slowly divests himself of the
black armour. First he lays down his Sword (The power of Reason and of
analysis), and his Shield (The heavy Karma of the World--his Pantacle).
Opening his Helmet (which, being but a symbol of the Cup, has kept him in
a darkness) he removes it; thus allowing the Wine of Sunlight to descend
upon his head.
He then kneels in silent prayer before the Spear, seeking conscious and
enlightened union with the Will of the Universe. Hitherto he has been
guided by that Will, but has remained the while unconscious of Its
direction, he now seeks to participate more fully in the Great Purpose.
While thus engaged in holy meditation, he is recognised by both Gurnemanz
and Kundry. They also realize that he has obtained possession of the
Sacred Spear, so long lost to the Knights of the Grail. Kundry turns away
her face, while Gurnemanz, in great emotion, cries:
To which my happy soul awakes!
Then, having arisen, Parzival recognises them in turn and greetings are
exchanged. He can hardly believe that at last his path through error and
suffering has led him once again to that holy spot. For all seems changed.
His one desire is to find Armfortas, whose wound had so long aroused his
Compassion and Pity, and which he feels it to be his mission to heal. This
may be accomplished by one means alone, the Sacred Spear by which the
wound was made.
And all that while that Parzival--even with this high purpose in view--had
consciously sought to return to The Mountain of Salvation, the path
thereto had been denied him and he had wandered at random, as if:
Driven ever by a curse:
Battles and conflicts
Drove me far from the pathway;
Well though I knew it, methought.
For the Road to Ecstasy is one above thought, and when Ecstasy returns it
is as a Grace rather than as the result of our conscious efforts. Yet it
is the reward of our "wanderings" if our Aspiration has been kept
perfectly pure meanwhile.
The Sacred Spear--The True Will--must not be used save for the highest
ends; and those ends do not become apparent to the conscious mind, till
many a day after it has first been grasped and wielded to destroy illusion.
Then hopeless despair overtook me,
To hold the holy Thing safely.
In its behalf, in its safe warding
I won from ev'ry weapon a wound;
For 'twas forbidden
That in battle I bore it: Undefiled
E'er at my side I wore it,
And now I home restore it.
'Tis this that gleaming hails thee here,--
The Grail's most holy spear.
And then Parzival learns from Gurnemanz that he at last nears the end of
his Quest, for he is already within the Grail's Domain. He learns, too, of
the anguish that has been suffered by Amfortas during his absence, and how
the Knights had been disbanded because Amfortas no longer dared to unveil
the Holy Cup. How Titurel, Father and Founder of the Order, had died--as
other men--when he no longer received the Grail's enlivening beams.
So Parzival, in intense grief, bemoans his foolish wanderings that seem to
have caused such disastrous results through his delay in returning to
Monsalvat on his mission of mercy.
But things could have not been otherwise. We should remember how NEMO
tended his garden and how some of the roots writhed in anguish under the
acid or the knife, while others flourished by means of the oil.
Had his Understanding not been Pure Darkness, his conscious mind would
never have allowed him to complete his Work. But such is the Mystery of
Redemption that these things must be in order that the final outcome may
Sorrow and suffering are great teachers, and the Masters, having no
personal ends to accomplish, are often the Instruments whereby our Karma
comes upon us. As pointed out in Liber IV.:
``The contemplation of the Universe must be at
first almost pure anguish. It is this fact
which is responsible for most of the specula-
tion of philosophy.
Mediaeval philosophers went hopelessly astray
because of their theology neccessitated the
reference of all things to the standard of
man's welfare. * * *
The Ego-Idea must be ruthlessly rooted out
before Understanding can be attained.
There is an apparent contradiction between
this attitude and that of the Master of the
Temple. What can possibly be more selfish than
this interpretation of everything as a dealing
of God with the soul?
But it is God who is all and not any part;
and every "dealing" must thus be an expansion
of the soul, a destruction of its seperateness.
Every ray of the sun expands the flower.
The surface of the water in the Magick Cup is
infinite; there is no point different from any
Thus, ultimately, as the wand (spear) is a
binding and a limitation, so is the Cup an ex-
pansion--into the Infinite.
And this is the danger of the Cup; it must
necessarily be open to all, and yet if anything
is put into it which is out of proportion, un-
balanced, or impure, it takes hurt.''
But--``Ultimately the Magical Will so identi-
fies itself with the man's whole being that it
becomes unconscious, and is as constant a force
Thus had the Spear--The Magical Will--led Parzival back to the Grail.
But, after his long Quest, Parzival is weak and fainting, and this final
temptation--the idea that after all he has FAILED in the Quest--causes him
to sink down helplessly upon the grassy knoll.
Kundry has brought a basin of Water with which to sprinkle Parzival, but
Gurnemanz, waving her off, says:
The holy fount itself
Befitteth more our pilgrim's bath.
And so, by the side of the Holy Spring (The Waters of the Great Sea
--AKSHARA) they remove the greaves from his legs (giving him further
freedom of action) and bathe his feet (Symbol of Understanding). They then
remove his corslet (thus disclosing his Heart) and sprinkle him with the
For there are Three that bear witness on Earth--The Water, the Blood and
the Holy Ghost (the Dove) and he that overcometh shall partake of the
Waters of Life freely.
Upon the contemplation of Kundry's self-imposed task of bathing the feet
of Parzival, he asks gently but wearily: "Shall I straight be guided unto
Amfortas?" To which question Gurnemanz, whilst busying himself, replies:
Most surely; there the Court our
He explains further that even he has been summoned to this Reception
since, upon the death of Titurel, the long neglected office of the
uncovering of the Grail is, by the will of Amfortas, once more to be
We should notice how, apparently by chance--for so seems the Design of the
Universal Initiation of Humanity--all things have been prepared and are
seen to lead up to the Crowning point of the Ceremony.
Meanwhile, Parzival sits wondering at the marked change in Kundry, at her
now humble attitude, so different from her former perversity; while
Gurnemanz performs a further office in the ceremony of Purification by
sprinkling the head of Parzival with the water from the Holy Spring.
Purification being complete, is followed by Consecration, the second step
towards Initiation. Kundry is seen to take a golden flask from her bosom
and to pour some of its contents upon Parzival's feet. Taking the flask
from her, Parzival then invites Gurnemanz to annoint his head with the
same Holy Oil; his now clear vision causing him to remark:
``For I to-day as king shall be
He makes this statement, which is no less than a prophesy of his complete
attainment, as simply and naturally as a child.
A few remarks should now be made on the nature of this Holy Oil and in
regard to the source from whence it came. Liber IV will again supply the
key, for therein we read: "The Holy Oil is the Aspiration of the Magician,
it is that which consecrates him to the performance of the Great Work.
* * * It is not the will of the magician, the desire of the lower to reach
the higher; but is that spark of the higher in the Magician which wishes
to unite the lower with itself."
The Oil, in this instance performs a double purpose, for it represents
both the awakening of the True Self of Kundry, and the desire for
redemption. This Higher Self is represented by Parzival, and Kundry's
Consecration of Parzival is the act which makes her redemption, by him,
Again: "This oil is compounded of four substances. The basis of all is the
oil of the olive, The Olive is, traditionally, the gift of Minerva, the
wisdom of God, the Logos. It is dissolved in three other oils; oil of
myrrh, oil of cinnamon, oil of galangal. The Myrrh is attributed to Binah,
the Great Mother, who is both the understanding of the Magician and that
sorrow and compassion that results from the contemplation of the Universe.
The Cinnamon represents Tiphareth, the Sun--the Son, in whom Glory and
Suffering are identical. The Galangal represents both Kether and Malkuth,
the First and the Last, the One and the Many, since in this Oil they are
One." "These oils taken together represent the whole Tree of Life. The ten
Sephiroth are blended into the perfect gold." This will become clearer
when the whole Drama has been treated from the Qabalistic viewpoint in the
next Chapter. Again: "This perfect Oil is most penetrating and subtle.
Gradually it will spread itself, a glistening film, over every object in
In regard to this latter point we should observe what actually happens a
little further on in the Drama, but first notice one further quotation
which has a very direct bearing on the subject in hand. "The phial which
contains the Oil should be of clear rock crystal (Rock Crystal is
attributed to Malkuth--the Fallen Daughter, but in this case the flask is
of Gold which represents the Breast, Sun or Tiphareth Sphere of the Son or
Higher Self whose influence has been felt by Kundry) and some magicians
have fashioned it in the shape of the female breast, for that is the true
nourishment of all that lives. For this reason also it has been made of
mother-of-pearl and stoppered with a ruby." In this connection we should
note that Kundry produced the golden flask from her bosom, for every
detail of this Drama is symbolical.
Next, Parzival very quitely scoops up some of the Holy Water from the
Spring and sprinkles it upon Kundry's head while she kneels at his feet
I first fulfil my duty thus:--
Be thou baptized,
And trust in the Redeemer!
At which Kundry bows her head and appears to weep bitterly.
This is the first time that Kundry has been truly willing to receive the
higher help. She has done much, according to her own notions of service,
but now she is about to be led to Understand how best she may Serve; for
true Mastery implies true Service.
We should notice, too, the effects of the Holy Oil on Parzival. He turns
round and gazes with gentle rapture on the woods and meadows; which
represent his Garden, as we explained before. Gradually, he realizes the
results of the Work he had carried on in silence and darkness. His memory
awakens and he murmurs:
How fair the fields and meadows seem today!
Many a magic flower I've seen,
Which sought to clasp me in its baneful twinings;
But none I've seen so sweet as here,
These tendrils bursting with blossom,
Whose scent recalls my childhood's days,
And soeaks of loving trust to me.
Gurnemanz attempts to explain this, saying: "That is Good-Friday's spell,
my lord!" Whereas Parzival, reminded of the darkness of his self-
crucifixion and hardly yet realizing its full significance, replies:
``Alas, that day of agony!
Now surely everything that thrives,
That breathes and lives and lives again
Should only mourn and sorrow?''
But Gurnemanz continues:
``Thou seest it is not so.
For: "The sad repentant tears of sinners have here with holy rain
besprinkled field and plain, and made them glow with beauty. All earthly
creatures in delight at the Redeemer's trace so bright, uplift their
prayers of duty. To see Him on the Cross they have no power; and so they
smile upon redeemed man, who, feeling freed, with dread no more doth
cower, through God's love-sacrifice made clean and pure. And now each
meadow flower and blade perceives that mortal foot to-day it need not
dread; for as the Lord in pity man did spare, and in His mercy for him
bled, all men will keep with pious care, to-day a tender tread. So
Tresspass-pardoned Nature wakes now to her day of Innocence."
During this speech, Kundry has been watching Parzival with moist eyes and
a look of beseeching, and he, now fully realizing the results of his work
(for it is High Noon) remarks:
I saw my scornful mockers wither:
Now look they for forgiveness hither?
Like blessed sweet dew a tear from thee
Thou weepest--see! the landscape
And he kisses her softly upon the brow. Here the "dew of pure love" begins
its wondrous action which brings all to perfection. Of this it is written
in Liber IV. "There is, however, a universal solvent and harmonizer, a
certain dew which is so pure that a single drop of it cast into the water
of the Cup will for the time being bring all perfection.
"This dew is called Love. Even in the case of human love, the whole
Universe appears perfect to the man who is under its control, so it is,
and much more, with the Divine Love of which it is now spoken.
"For human love is an excitement, and not a stilling of the mind; and as
it is bound to the individual, only leads to greater trouble in the end.
"This Divine Love, on the contrary, is attached to no sumbol. It abhors
limitation, either in its intensity or in its scope."
Here we obtain the key to the errors of both Klingsor and Amfortas;
together with the true solution of the problem, as obtained by Parzival.
For this Love leads on to ECSTASY, as the drama itself now shows us.
It is MIDDAY, and just as the Sun is then at its height and full beauty,
so we find that Parzival's travels have led him to complete the circle of
his wanderings, and in another moment, The Mountain of Salvation, like a
great Ruby Jewel set in a Golden Ring, will shine out once more. Mean-
while, Gurnemanz and Kundry are seen to cover Parzival with the Mantle of
the Grail, and he, solemnly grasping the Holy Spear and with Kundry at his
side, prepares to follow Gurnemanz.
Now, as if to prove out theory that Parzival had completed the Circle, we
find the scenery once again automatically changing, but this time from
right to left. It will be remembered that on the previous occasion, when
for the first time Parzival entered the Temple of the Grail, this charge
took place in the opposite direction. The passages through which they pass
are similar, but as if reversed. And this time all three traverse them
together as if to symbolise the Sacred Triad, the completion of which is
about to take place.
As before, there are chimes of bells. (The aspirant will notice similar
sounds when entering the Higher Consciousness. They are sometimes called
"The Voice of the Nada.")
Once more Time and Space are One, and the Tableau of the Everpresent Here
and Now appears.
Here we find Birth, Death, Life, Sorrow, Age and Youth mingled together in
Harmony, Joy and Beauty. The vast Temple of the Holy Ghost--the length of
which is from North to South, its breadth from East to West, and its
height from Abyss to Abyss, yet which is also the BODY OF MAN--is open to
There is but a faint light at first. The doors open on either side and
Knights bring Titurel's corpse in a Coffin and Amfortas' wounded body on a
litter. The bier is erected in the middle of the Hall, and behind it is
the throne with canopy, where Amfortas is set down.
Then comes a train of Knights bearing the Holy Grail towards the
sheltering Shrine, where it is placed as before.
Unaware of the approach of the Victorious Parzival, the Knights now
murmur at the death of Titurel the honoured founder of the Order. For this
death, Amfortas appears to have been at least partially responsible,
having failed for so long a time in his office to unveil the Grail. Yet
he, having lost the Sacred Spear--the Higher Will--entrusted to him by his
Father, and having found the human will quite unable to take Its place,
has in the meanwhile suffered awful tortures through this failure to
fulfil his true Purpose.
The Knights, in despair, press towards Amfortas and demand that he--this
once--unveil the shrine and do his office. Whereat, Amfortas in an ECSTASY
OF FEAR, springs up and throws himself among the Knights--who draw back--
while he cries:
Already is death glooming round me,
And shall I yet again return to life?
What one in life can yet stay me?
Rather I bid ye slay me!
For such is the Ecstasy of the Touch of Death the Twin of Love.
(He tears open his dress.)
Behold me!--the open wound behold!
Here is my poison--my streaming blood.
Take up your weapons! Bury your
Deep--deep in me, to the hilts! Ye
Kill both the sinner and all his pain:
The Grail's delight will ye then regain!
But there is no DEATH in the Hall of Ecstasy. Birth, Life, Death are not
successive but One, for Time and Space are One.
And so, at the moment of Amfortas' greatest agony Parzival, the Redeeming
Power, enters unperceived and unexpected.
There is much truth in the old saying, "The unexpected is sure to happen"
and this is more and more clearly realized as we tread the true Path. True
Ecstasy comes at the moment when all seems lost, for the partial and
transient must disappear and become lost, e'er the Real appears. "For to
each individual thing, attainment means first and foremost the destruction
of the individuality."
"Each of our ideas must be made to give up the self to the Beloved, so
that we may eventually give up the Self to the Beloved in our turn."
Suddenly the voise of Parzival is heard:
One weapon only serves:
The one that struck
Can staunch thy wounded side.
The countenance of Amfortas, upon his hearing these words, now displays
HOLY RAPTURE. He totters in ecstasy, while Gurnemanz supports him tenderly.
Be whole, unsullied and absolved!
For now I govern in thy place.
The True Will unhesitatingly takes its rightful place, and since that Will
is one with THE WILL OF THE UNIVERSE, Amfortas without hesitation accepts
Oh blessed be thy sorrows,
For Pity's potent might
And Knowledge' purest Power
They taught a timid Fool.
The Holy Spear
Once more behold in this.
And as all gaze in rapture on the Spear held aloft by Parzival, he
continues, in inspiration, as he gazes at its Point:
O mighty miracle of bliss!
This that through me thy wound restoreth.
With holy blood behold it poureth,
Which yearns to to join the fountain glowing,
Whose pure tide in the Grail is flowing!
Hid be no more that shape divine;
Uncover the Grail! Open the Shrine!
Thus, and not otherwise, came Parzival into his own. The Temple of the
Chalice of Ecstasy is now, for him, The Palace of the King's Daughter. For
thus is it written: "When these shall have destroyed the Universe, then
mayest thou enter the Palace of the Queen, my Daughter." Then only shall
we understand the nature of The Bride's Reception. For:
``The Spirit and the bride say, Come.
And let him that heareth say, Come.
And let him that is athirst come.
And whosoever will, let him take of the
water of life freely.''
Thus, and thus alone; amid Radiant Light, the Glowing of the Chalice of
Ecstasy, the Rising of Titurel from the Tomb, the Death struggle of
Kundry, the Homage of the Redeemed, the Praise of the Knights of the
Grail, and above all the Benediction of the Dove of the Holy Spirit; is
the final Work accomplished--
THE REDEMPTION OF THE REDEEMER.
Nothing now remains but for the scribe to bear witness to the strange
Qabalistic "coincidences" connected with this Drama.
Was Wagner a great Qabalist? Were those from whom he obtained the sources
of his information such? Who can tell?
Rather I would suggest that, being inspired, this Drama must of necessity
conform to all truth, on all planes. For there are certain Numerical
Emanations, called the Ten Sephiroth, and there are certain Vibrations of
a numerical nature connected with Words.
It is not my intention to write a treatise on the Holy Qabalah (those who
wish to study this interesting subject may do so in "Q.B.L. or The Bride's
Reception"), nor to describe fully the "Tree of Life", nor the methods of
drawing numerical meanings from words. The accompanying plate shows the
structure of "The Tree of Life", and the Frontispiece indicates how the
"Chalice of Ecstasy" may be drawn therefrom.
The Qabalistic teaching is that Malkuth--The Kingdom--The Animal Soul--THE
FALLEN DAUGHTER must be RAISED through the Office of the SON--Tiphereth
--The Sun--Harmony and Beauty, to the Throne of the MOTHER--Binah--Under-
standing--THE CUP, when she is again united to the FATHER--Chokmah--Wisdom
--Will--THE SPEAR, thus absorbing all into THE CROWN--Kether--The Pure
Light of the DOVE which descends upon their Union.
Thsi is the Mystery of Redemption and of the Great Work, the Uniting of
the Microcosm and the Macrocosm--Man with God.
The main Formula of the Great Work, that of the Rose and Cross, is
symbolised in the Great Order as 5ш=6ш. This refers to the Microcosm and
the Macrocosm as the Pentagram or Fivefold Star on Unconquered Will and
the Hexagram or Six-fold Star. The Work is to discover their equivalence,
and to unite them.
The first stage of this Union occurs in TIPHERETH, and is accompanied with
the feeling of Ecstasy. This Sephira is that of the SUN, and is
necessarily connected with the Solar Numbers of which 6, 66, and 666 are
the Scale. This is the Sphere of the Crowned King--The Son who unites in
himself both Glory and Suffering.
But since there has been, what we may term, a change of Office in the
Great Hierarchy in this New Aeon, we find that the Number 418 which is the
numeration of "ABRAHADABRA" the Word of the Aeon is also particularly
attributed to this Sphere, since it represents perfectly the formula of
5ш=6ш. (See Sepher Sephiroth, Equinox Vol. I. Number VIII.)
Again 777 is a number representing alike "The Flaming Sword" and the Unity
of all things including the World of Shells. In Greek Qabalah it
corresponds to the word STAUROS--The Cross.
It is worthy of notice, and most careful consideration, therefore, that
with slight adjustment of spelling, the Names of the principle characters
in the Drama have an extraordinary significance.
TITUREL, Founder of the Grail Order, adds to 666.
MONSALVAT, the Mountain of Salvation, adds to 666.
GAMURET, the Father of Parzival, adds to 666.
AMFORTAS, with his Cross of Suffering, adds to 777.
KLINGSOR, who represents Choronozon (333) adds to 333.
GURNEMANZ, Conductor of the New King, adds to 418.
PARZIVAL, The Pure Fool, adds to 418.
KUNDRY and GUNDRYGGIA, alike add to 290.
In the above the Hebrew equivalents of the letters and the old spellings
of the names are used. With small study of the Qabalistic System and the
Grades of the Order based on the Tree of Life, the significance of the
above will become more and more apparent to the Student. An extended
treatise might be written on the subject, but that is not the intention
of the author at this time.
Now, there are several spellings of the name Parzival; the one I have
adopted being that of Wolfram von Eschenbach, from whom Wagner derived the
Drama. The usual spelling--Parsifal--is interesting since it adds to 388,
which, with the addition of 500 (Final Mem. The Water of the Great Sea of
Understanding), becomes 888. By Greek Numeration 888 is the number of
Jesus the Christ.
But there is another spelling, much more significant, and probably the
oldest of them all. PARCHVAL, the numeration of which adds to 326.
It will have been noticed that the most important Points of the Drama are
connected with THE CUP--Understanding--Binah the THIRD Sephira; The SPEAR
--Will--Wisdom--Chokamh the SECOND Sephira, and THE HEART--The Castle of
the Grail--Tiphereth the SIXTH Sephira. If we examine these Spheres on the
Tree of Life we find they form a Descending Triad representing the Bowl of
The Chalice of Ecstasy, the points of which are 326.
Now 326 is the Numeration of IHShVH--The Hebrew Jeheshuah--Jesus--The God-
Man or Redeemer. This Word also symbolises the descent of "Shin" the
letter of the Holy Spirit into the Four Lettered Word IHVH--Jehovah--The
Ineffable Name and the Formula of the Four Elements. Thus PARChVAL
symbolises the whole process perfectly; the Descent of Spirit into Matter
and also of the Redemption.
It also shows the transition to the New Aeon, there being a connection
between this old spelling and that of Parzival the formula of the present
time. For the central letter of the word PARChVAL is "Ch" in Hebrew Cheth,
which spelt in full is 418 the numeration of Parzival, and of the Word of
the Aeon, his Magick Formula.
I need only add that The DOVE--Kether--The Crown--when shown above the
bowl of the CHALICE (in its natural position on The Tree of Life) together
with Yesod--the Foundation and Malkuth--The Kingdom, as the stem and base
of the Cup; completes the Qabalistic Design. This arrangement clearly
shows how the Chalice is one with the Tree of Life and filled by the Holy
The numerical proof is not, however, quite complete--indeed it could never
be completed--but let me draw your attention to the word Grail. The old
spelling is GRAL and here we find G--the letter of The Moon--and R--the
letter of the Sun, coupled with AL, the Great Name of God.
Turning once more to our Qabalistic Design of the Cup drawn on the Tree of
Life, let us examine the Numbers of the Sephiroth involved. We shall
indeed discover the "Chalice of Ecstasy" for we obtain 1 + 2 + 3 + 6 + 9 +
10 = 31, which is the numeration of both AL and LA--God and Not--Key to
the Mysteries both of the Old Aeon and the New and when properly