In the previous two months articles I discussed the remarkable phenomenon of red rain. I quoted chemical engineer and archaeologist Patrick McCafferty who concluded in The International Journal of Astrobiology that the red rain particles were both extraterrestrial and biological in nature and that their source was the interior of comets, but, as he comments, “such an image of a comet, containing a liquid interior teeming with red cells, is difficult to imagine and even harder to accept.” Yet, as difficult as it may be to accept, it appears that a considerable amount evidence, both historical and empirical as well as mythical and anecdotal, leads to such a conclusion. I followed this discussion by suggesting that such a scenario was symbolized by one part of the strange and marvelous vision of the Grail Procession passing through the great hall of the Fisher King, as described in the writings of Chretien de Troyes, ca. 1200 AD, and others. In Perceval: The Story of the Grail, Chretien describes the scene
Then Perceval sat back down beside the lord,
who paid him every honor.
Within that hall of light from the burning candles was as bright as
one could find in any castle.
As they were speaking of one thing and another,
a squire came forth from a chamber
gripping a white lance by the middle of its shaft;
he passed between the fire and those seated upon the bed,
and everyone in the hall saw the white lance with its
white point, from whose tip there oozed
a drop of blood, and this red drop flowed down to the squires hand.
(trans. by William W. Kibler. Garland Publishing, 1990)
We have seen that the lance was a typical symbol frequently employed by ancient people to represent comets. One can see that this association is actually strengthened in Chretien’s account where the lance is described as being white. We saw that the Great Hall itself, like so many other lodges, halls and temples of old represented the celestial vault, the half-dome of the sky. The lance was followed by two young squires bearing candelabra, each with at least ten candles burning. The grail itself, emanating brilliant light, is next borne into the hall by a maiden.
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