That the legendary Holy Grail of western esotericism has a cosmic dimension of meaning has been the theme of three articles published in the pages of The Oracle previous to this month’s contribution. The Holy Grail story has intrigued the minds and piqued the curiosity of seekers of knowledge for centuries, without, however, yielding up either its secrets or a consensus of interpretation. We ended last month’s article with a quote from a modern exploration of the Grail mythos, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a best seller in the mid 1980s that eventually served as the main source of inspiration for The DaVinci Code, a fictionalized popularization of certain aspects of Grail symbolism.
In last month’s article I wrote of the Language of the Birds, the secret language of Initiates, Alchemists and Adepts of the Mysteries. It could either be spoken or written. I described how it was based on the use of puns, homilies, synonyms, etymologies and plays-on- words that concealed secondary and even tertiary levels of meaning that only made sense to those with the keys to decipherment and the conceptual framework to make sense of the alternate meanings. Several examples of its use relevant to the question of the Grail were presented. Another example of the use of this method and one germane to this subject matter was provided by the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail:
“…In many of the earlier manuscripts the Grail is called the Sangraal; and even in the later version by Malory it is called the Sangreal. It is likely that some such form―Sangraal or Sangreal―was in fact the original one. It is also likely that that one word was subsequently broken in the wrong place. In other words, “Sangraal” or “Sangreal” may not have been intended to divide into “San Graal” or “San Greal”―but into “Sang Raal” or “Sang Réal.” Or, to employ the modern spelling, Sang Royal. Royal blood.”
The dual meaning arises as a result of where one chooses to break the word. Split the term Sangreal between the letters n and g it becomes San Greal, ‘Holy Grail’. Split it between the g and the r and it becomes Sang Raal, or ‘Royal Blood.’ The point here has not to do with the question of which translation for Sangreal is correct, Holy Grail’ or ‘Royal Blood’, rather it is that the mystery of the Grail includes both meanings.
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