Grail Riddles

       Many educated people, from amateurs to scholars, have heard of the Holy Grail and some believe it should remain a mystery! But there are a few religious cults, secret societies and fraternal orders which claim to have inside information, which is a major obstacle for those who want to join this quest and remain free of indoctrination. Even the "inner sanctum" of Scientology in Hemet, California, has a mock-up of the Sword in the Stone, which exposes their interest. This is one of many reasons to clear the air and go public. Our website offers this option, but you are well-advised to consider your talents and aptitudes before you enter this complex maze. In case you are proficient in science and math you may want to start with "Kepler" and if you are more into arts and literature "Chrétien" is a great entry level. Both paths cross many times, even in the religious sense, until they fuse together so you won't miss a thing! You'll need an analytical mind either way and have to be critical of every bit of information. There are many layers of fact and fiction, of truth and disinformation, and if you discard them without caution, it could be like peeling an onion and you'll end up with nothing – just tears in your eyes.     

       We must also keep in mind that most modern interpreters of grail lore are either imaginative amateurs or elderly scholars who spend their time in libraries, at their desk, or in the academic captivity of their peers. Although academics are challenged by students and colleagues, they are bound by a tradition that new "findings" are developed from the established consensus. This means their conclusions could tumble like a house of cards if misinterpretations are perpetuated as we can demonstrate with Kepler. That's why the inhabitants of our "ivory towers" have little in common with the medieval poets. The best of them were the superstars of their time and more famous than Shakespeare, the Beatles and Jonny Depp combined! Their works were recited by other poets and copies upon copies of their manuscripts survived for eight centuries – which validates their importance. The main reason why the mystery hasn't been solved is that we don't even know what a "grail" is, although the medieval poets Chrétien, Robert, and Wolfram offer clues in their works which go on to challenge our leading medievalists. A few attempts were made, but none support the internal evidence. Some obvious riddles are not even recognized, as you can see below. Another problem is that grail romance is a large body of work, which is solely based on the above three poets. Chrétien's Conte du Graal was continued by others who distorted his original concept. Robert had a following in England and France, but they changed his bowl to the Cup of the Last Supper, which forced Wolfram to reduce it to a lapsit exillis, a stone from paradise. Until scholars start a comprehensive comparison of these works, which may take decades, and eliminate continuations and adaptations that were created under "holy orders," we are well-advised to focus on the three original works.

       It was also an age of great ignorance, which made those traveling minstrels a prime source of entertainment, information, culture and wisdom. What they said was taken seriously, discussed publicly, thought about deeply, and memorized word for word.  We overlook that the people of the Middle Ages had a different mindset: Some could remember and quote a text of twenty minutes or longer after hearing it only once, because they had neither newspapers nor books to clog their mind, not to speak of television, radio and the internet! The vast majority could not even read and write, which means they had to memorize everything and could only get information from personal experience and word of mouth. An exception was the elite, mostly aristocrats and churchmen, who had their own information networks. For the majority even the Bible was off-limits, and the average person had to believe in what was preached from the pulpit. (That's how the Magi could be eliminated, to name one example, because they were magicians and astrologers. They were replaced by the "Holy Three Kings" until the Reformation when Bible translations became available.) The only other source of information were the traveling craftsmen and merchants, which was quite a dilemma for those who could not separate fact from fiction. Let's also keep in mind that "poet" is a very deceiving description because they recited or sang very long and complex tales, often in rhyme to make them more entertaining, which could go on for a whole week.

      In those days, the poets and their entourage knocked at every castle's gate for food, lodging, and hopefully some pay. Only a few became famous and were invited to the courts of aristocrats and some became contract players, as still practiced in the entertainment industry. Our first provider of riddles was such a man: The French master Chrétien de Troyes. He was the undisputed superstar of his era and resided at the court of Marie, countess of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, King of France. One chagrin for Marie is that Champagne wasn't invented yet, and the other the poet's untimely death. It's also sad that Marie's castle was razed during the French revolution – not a stone remains! We checked it out in 2007 and the charming hostesses at the official Tourist Office of Troyes admitted they had never heard of Marie de Champagne and Chrétien, only of a street with his name, but c'est la vie...


1. Chrétien de Troyes

 Over a dozen versions of Perceval or "Li Contes dou Graal" survived the times. It was his last work and ends abruptly, probably because of the author's death. But this does not exclude the possibility he was murdered and a continuation existed that was destroyed. When you loan out or buy this work of four volumes, keep in mind that only the first book is by Chrétien! Some of the surviving manuscripts start with a prologue that has allegedly so many errors that some initiates, like A.E. Waite, assumed it is "by another hand."  However, it is established today that the prologue is indeed by the poet and that the mistakes were supposedly made by the copyists. The greatest alleged flaw, the excessive praise of a Flemish count, has led most scholars to (falsely) conclude that the ageing poet had lowered himself to flatter a new patron in exchange for room and board. 

         We can easily disprove this consensus because a simple reversal of the prologue's ambiguities allows us to explain each of these alleged "mistakes" as part of Chrétien's rhetoric and message. For example, the rage on American television was in recent years (2000-2008) a cooking show hosted by a certain Emeril. His popularity is not due to his culinary talents, they are negligible, but to his entertaining style. He is fun to watch because he looks and acts like a Chicago gangster in the movies. When asked in an interview how he invented the outburst bam! that made him famous, he admitted that his studio audience would occasionally lose interest or fall asleep, and that he would get their immediate attention this way.

If we apply this idea to Chrétien, something scholars would rarely think of, we can imagine how the poets repeated some "errors" to keep their audience alert and provoke a discussion of controversial issues. In fact, we will demonstrate how the French poet brought this style to the highest art form by creating the first interactive poem in history – over eight centuries ago! Consequently, we have to consider that the prologue was never understood correctly. If we don't mistake Chrétien for a poetic dreamer, but give him the credit he deserves and honor him as an intellectual and master of his craft, all other controversies and ambiguities get a good explanation as well. This means, however, that we need to always consider two opposing points of view, the orthodox and the heretic, if we want to solve his riddles:


            a) The LOVE Riddle      

Chrétien seems to make a huge mistake in line 49 of the prologue! He attributes a famous text from St John after a dramatic pause to the apostle Paul – and to make sure he gets a reaction claims to have read it there himself. It's easy to imagine how loudly some listeners would have reacted! We might even ask ourselves why none of the copyists caught the "error" if it was one? What makes it even more dramatic is that the disputed Biblical passage defines the Cathar "heresy" more clearly than any other! The quote is from the First Epistle of John, 4-16,17:

God is love, and who lives in love lives in God, and
God in him. Our love is brought to perfection in this.     

When you compare this with Chrétien's words, you may want to consider the role of St Paul in the history of Christianity. Perhaps with Karen Armstrong's help, who personally showed us the light over tea and too many cigarettes, when we were trapped in one of those dark dungeons of the mind! She established St Paul as the founder of Christianity, but our discussion ended with a Gnostic sect called the Paulicians, allegedly because they always had the name of the apostle "on their lips." Karen thought they were orthodox, but they could have been persecuted because of another saint by that name: Paulus Sergius perhaps, or Paul of Samosata?


            b) The COUNT riddle 

          Then there is Chrétien's excessive flattery of a rather sinister historical figure: Philip of Alsace, the count of Flanders. We shall see that this has been noted by many scholars as inconsistent with the poet's style because countess Marie didn't get a fraction of that praise in the work he dedicated to her! With the exception of Frappier, they usually conclude he left Champagne to work on the grail in Flanders. The first problem is that Baldwin III of Jerusalem obtained a relic with the Holy Blood of Christ in Jerusalem, which he gave allegedly to his brother-in-law Count Diederik of Flanders who took it proudly to Bruges (Brugge) on April 7, 1150, where it is still enshrined in the Heilig-Bloedbasiliek and carried in a festive procession once a year through town. Hence, it would be illogical that Diederik's son, Count Philip, ordered Chrétien to write a story about a grail that's not a blood relic, but a golden bowl. Secondly, the count is credited by Chrétien for having provided a book about the grail which he had to merely put into rhyme, yet no trace of this book has ever been found. The third problem is that the count proposed marriage to Marie on numerous occasions – and was rejected each time, which should tell us something about him. The fourth problem is that scholars overlook that the Etymologies (or Origins) of Isidore of Seville was “the most influential book, after the Bible, in the learned world of the Latin West for nearly a thousand years,” and the last problem is the following word play, which could solve all of the above, but no one has ever looked at it as a riddle. Could it be that some scholars are so convinced of their own brilliance that they underestimate the sophistication of  a "medieval poet" and never noticed the ambiguities of "conte" and that etymologies are about "origins"? Could it be that they didn't even get his jokes and simply went by the "general context" of his Biblical quotes?  Let that be a warning to you! And now, in the master's words:

  62 CRESTIIENS, qui entent et paine
  64 Par le comandement le conte
  63 A rimoir le meillor conte
  65 Qui soit contez a cort roial
  66 Ce est li CONTES DEL GRAAL,
  67 Dont li quens li bailla le livre,
  68 Oeez coment il s’en delivre.
Chrétien, who knows and strives
By (the count's or story's) command
To rhyme the better story
Which is told at the royal court
To which the count gave him the book,
Listen how he delivers it.

These are the last seven lines of the prologue where Chrétien used "quens" six times for "count" as a title. In lines 63-66, the poet surprises four times with the more ambiguous "conte" to make a bad rhyme and then returns to "quens" in line 67. This in itself is not necessarily unusual, but right here in the heart of the mystery, when GRAAL is uttered for the first time, would it not be an important message? What makes this riddle even more entertaining is that lines 63 and 64 are reversed in several manuscripts, which forced Roach (above) to use Hilka's numbers who had published a manuscript in another dialect where "cuens" is used instead of "quens." How much does the reversal change the meaning, and did the poet play with it himself to tease his audience? Key to the solution is whether the poem was composed because of a calculation, by a count's command, or even by the command of a "lesser" story! This is a good time to examine the many etymological meanings of "conte" and wonder if they were used in the first interactive poem in history. If you question Chrétien's sophistication, as many have, take a look at a jeu de mots when he describes the grail mystery for the first time. No philology required here, just a clear mind:

Qu'aussi bien se puet an trop teire
Con trop parler a la foiiee.
One could also remain too silent
by talking too much at the same time.  


2. Robert de Boron  

          Although he brought the blood relic to grail romance, almost to taunt Chrétien and Count Philip, he was also the first to recycle because he claims that a vessel from the Last Supper was used by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to collect some blood from Jesus when they washed his corpse for the burial. Hence, his grail was not a golden dish with precious stones, but a simple bowl like the ones in Urgell. Armchair travelers might be interested to learn that this washing took place on a rectangular marble slab on the ground, some twenty feet or so from Mount Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion, and en route to the tomb, which is about a hundred feet away. Amazingly, all three sites can be viewed today, on level ground of course, inside the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. We checked this out on the day of the Solar eclipse in 1999 under the expert guidance of a Spanish speaking Franciscan monk. Needless to add, we could not believe our eyes and ears! If you want to really get confused, check Catholic records and you'll learn that Helena, Constantine's mother, found a Venus temple at the site, which she felt obliged to replace with the church. That would really thicken the plot of the crucifixion – another riddle we may not want to spend too much time with. 

           The experts evaluate Robert's poetic style as rather primitive, almost like the Gospels, and consider him a minor bard. This is unfair, because it is based on a single copy that survived and because they were uncomfortable with his anti-Semitic remarks, which they avoid addressing. Nevertheless, it may be why his work launched the grail cycle that captured the Anglo-Saxon world! Some of it is also due to the talents of latter-day poets who changed the bowl to a challice and transported the scenario across the Channel by replacing the French R with a British L – and Avaron became Avalon! Inspired by this feat, others added Celtic elements and changed Chrétien's graal to greal, thus opening the door for modern Brits to slide the letter G to the left, or westward and like magic the holy San Greal became a bloody Sang Real!  Yes, our quest is going to be something of a "bloody mess," literally. It has been said that the popularity of "blood relics" in the Middle Ages was symptomatic for a period when blood was spilled at the drop of a hat, and we might add that it facilitated the transubstantiation treatese of Aquinas!

        For these and other reasons, we are taking the position that only the first three sources can be trusted. Only Chrétien, Robert and Wolfram are authentic sources, an honor that would have been restricted to the Frenchmen, but because the former died too early, the "second opinion" of Wolfram warranted a third cycle. Its recent loss of importance is due to misguided fusions with Wagnerian mysticism, which we will largely ignore except for some of the great overtures and preludes. Those of you who disagree should spend some time with the Swiss philosopher and Wagner fan Rudolf Steiner – and contemplate his wood carving of Lucifer in the basement of the Goetheanum in Dornach, which we had the pleasure to check out in the 1970s. If you consider the Manichean aspects of Steiners ideas you'll be surprised by what comes to your mind! 

       Hence, we regard Robert as an informed initiate and take his claim seriously that he was the first to introduce the "Estoire Dou Graal." Scholars have finally abandoned their foolish idea, that Robert wrote the first "Story of the Grail" and accepted that he worked after Chrétien, but are still overlooking the ambiguity of "estoire," which means story and history. They are probably confused by the absurd "history" of Britain of Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Catholic bishop, which promoted King Arthur's clan, and because they can't risk their reputation with ambiguities that can’t be “nailed down” – as Robert would say. When we have solved his riddles, we'll see that he contributed the first "History of the Grail," but limited to a Christian point of view. 

       The highlights of his poem in a nutshell: Joseph of Arimathea is thrown by the inhabitants of Jerusalem into a tower where Jesus appears to him and delivers the sacred vessel with some secret words. The relic keeps him miraculously alive for decades until he is liberated by the Romans. Joseph gathers his relatives and disciples and departs with the vessel to settle in an unnamed district in the West. By fraternizing with the Romans, the enemies of the Jews, we can assume that he moved to Rome like Peter. Once settled there, he places a single fish, caught by his brother-in-law Brons, before the vessel and by a divine oracle good is divided from evil. When Petrus raises a question, the guilty must depart in shame. When Moses is allowed to sit on an empty chair, which may be Elijah's, he is swallowed by an abyss. This ritual becomes a regular event and according to its divine orders successive parties leave westward again, this time to the farthest west

Alain, the son of Brons,  is the first to leave with eleven brothers and some "revealed knowledge," but apparently without the secret words. Although his brothers are married Alain remains chaste and celibate. 

The next party is led by Petrus, who has to depart in shame. He has a "charter from heaven" and must await the arrival of Alain's son (?) who would reveal the virtues of the Holy Vessel. His destination in the farthest West are the "valleys of Avaron" (Vaux d'Avaron). Not the  "Isle of Avalon" in the North as claimed later! 

The last to depart is Brons, apparently with the rest of the faithful. He has the honor to take the sacred vessel and the secret words along, which Joseph delivered to him because he was staying behind.     

          Waite seems a bit disturbed that Brons was a "Rich Fisher" because he had, as far as we are told, only caught a single fish. We are baffled by the fact that Alain's son or grandson may have been born by some immaculate conception! Another surprise is that Joseph did not come along to England as later poets claim. In fact, it could be our starting point to investigate how much disinformation was written under the patronage of the Church! Conspiracy-theorists may want to check if some of these latter-day allegories were devised to obscure the message of our three poets. Some of Chrétien's continuators are not free from suspicion either, especially when they worked for Count Philip's descendants.  

          That Robert's "history" is written in a symbolic code is obvious. Petrus and Moses are familiar names. Alain implies the Alans, and Brons could mean from B(a)rons to B(o)rons, from the alpha to the omega. Could this be a message for posterity that Robert de Boron was an initiate? Is his name a pseudonym as well? Is Peter's competition with Paul implied? What could the disappearance of Moses mean? A reference to Elijah or the abandonment of Judaism?  If it's not a story about "wandering Jews" could it be about the origins of Christianity, or both? Although disguised as an advertisement for future works, the last chapter could be seen as an invitation to solve his riddles: 

"Robert de Boron should reveal, but only if you really want to know: 

1. The destination of Alain, the son of Brons. What became of him, the name of the country, and who his offspring would be, and which woman raised him?  

2. What kind of life Petrus led, what became of him, where he went, and where he will be rediscovered? It will be difficult to find him again.    

3. He (i.e. Peter?) should tell us what became of Moses, who was lost for so long.  

4. Where the Rich Fisher went, and where he remained? Too bad he can't bring back the one who is about to leave. Each of these four parts need to be brought together and each part told by itself how it really was. But I am rather convinced that no one can bring these four parts together without first knowing the greatest story of the grail, which is absolutely true. "     

A.E. Waite has spent some time with this riddle and points out that according to the symbolism of the trinity only three had "possession" of the grail: Joseph, Brons, and his grandson (Perceval?), who was to be born in the "fullness of time." Next, Robert concludes that even if he needed to eliminate one of these parts, he would have to tell the fifth and forget the other four. Because it means that one of the four parts is different, which is probably (2), we need to consider that the fifth is the story of Perceval. Waite speculates that Robert had records of a "Fifth Branch," which became a metrical romance about the prophet Merlin. This alludes to grail magic, a subject that will have to wait until we have "grasped" the Magic Sword.

       We presented Robert's riddle in a combination of Waite's interpretation and Konrad Sandkühler's, who worked with a copy from the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), numbered 20047. The German scholar notes that it is from the late 13th century and regrets that only this flawed copy of a lost original exists! Hence, we may have to revise our opinion of Robert as a minor bard – because it is unfair to judge his talents from a single copy. What if the original is collecting dust at the Vatican? Furthermore, his anti-Semitism may have a similar rhetorical function as Chrétien's flattery, especially because some characters in grail romance appear to have been Jewish. Hence, we may be well-advised to listen to Robert and study the "greatest story of the grail, which is absolutely true" of Chrétien and Wolfram before we attempt to solve his riddle.


3. Wolfram von Eschenbach   

          Enough copies of his poem "Parzival" survived the times that its authenticity is beyond dispute. This is also why his "second opinion" of Chrétien's intentions is so important. He follows the French poem in great detail, often scene by scene, and achieves a smooth transition where it ends by taking the hero to his ultimate goal. However, he not only brings Chrétien's story to its logical conclusion but adds an equally long beginning by opening with the adventures of the hero's father, and continues the French tradition by adding riddles to his work. Some have been discussed in great detail and are considered solved, but other riddles are either too complex or have not been recognized. This includes his imaginative word creations, including character names, which can only be deciphered when his esoteric concept is understood.   

          At this time, scholars still dismiss words like "Munsalvaesche" (grail castle) and "lapsit exillis" (grail stone) as flawed writing based on phonetics, and some have suggested that the German poet didn't understand French and Latin. They are overlooking that Wolfram's patron was raised in Paris (like this writer) and spoke French fluently. We should add that we'll deal with Wolfram's esoteric concept and hidden codes on a higher level when we investigate riddles of cosmic symbolism like The Three Drops Of Blood, the Star of Bethlehem, and the Phoenix Myth.   

          Wolfram's riddles can be divided into three groups: The first is well known and regarded by many scholars as solved. The second group identifies those that were recognized, but misinterpreted. And the third group lists unidentified riddles, or riddles that are not mentioned because no one can think of a solution.  

          Although his masterpiece "Parzival" is full of complex allegories that continue to challenge our scholars, the most often discussed riddles in his work pertain to eilfte spân, his brief reference to Chrétien, and his alleged informant Master Kyot. 

          a) eilfte spân    

          The young fool Parzival leaves his mother because he wants to become a knight, and as soon as he is out of her sight she falls to the ground and dies, heartbroken. In the context, the poet goes on to praise her virtues:

 …ein wurzel der güete und ein stam der diemüete, ôwê daz wir nu niht enhân ir sippe unz an den eilften spân! 

Mustard & Passage: ...a root of goodness she, and a branch of humility. Alas that we do not now have her like even to the eleventh generation!     

A.T. Hatto: Thus did a root of virtue, stem of humility, go the way that brings reward. Alas, that we no longer have her kindred with us to the eleventh remove!     

          The eilfte spân was probably revealed by the poet to help us find out when Parzival's mother lived so that we can date the grail events. Only then would we be able to work with his emphasis on the positions of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars throughout the poem. This relates as well to his subtle critique of Chrétien because Wolfram implies he had confused a generation.     

          b) Chrétien  

          Wolfram's only reference (by name) to the French poet is in the last chapter:  

Ob von Troys meister Cristîan disem mære hât unreht getân, daz mac wol zürnen Kyôt, der uns diu rehte mære enbôt. endehaft giht der Provenzâl, wie Herzeloyden kint den grâl erwarp, als im daz gordent was, dô in verworhte Anfortas...  niht mêr dâ von nu sprechen wil ich Wolfram von Eschenbach, wan als dort der meister sprach. sîniu kint, sîn hôch geslehte hân ich iu benennet rehte...   (Downloaded from Bibliotheca Augustana)

 Hatto: If Master Chrétien of Troyes had done wrong by this story, Kyot, who sent us the authentic tale, has good cause to be angry. The Provençal narrates definitely how the son of Herzeloyde achieved the Gral as had been ordained for him after Anfortas had forfeited it... I, Wolfram von Eschenbach, intend to speak no more of it than what the Master uttered over there. I have named Parzival's sons and his high lineage correctly...

          We may have to check some genealogies that go back eleven generations from roughly AD 1200. By modern standards, we would probably come up with 220 to 330 years to reach the ninth century, unless we are invited to search for a specific family. Again, we need to turn to the French master and ask ourselves why Wolfram aged some protagonists by a generation, including the Fisherking and Holy Hermit? 

          c) Master Kyot 

          Most scholars maintain that Wolfram misunderstood the French of his informant Kyot of Provence and dismissed his word constructions. They may be overlooking that his German patron Herman of Thuringia was raised by King Louis VII in Paris with his older daughter, who would later become Marie de Champagne, Chrétien patroness. Hence, they may not realize that he had help to play with French words like Chrétien in his jeux de mots. Why else did scholars suggest he confused Kyot with Guiot de Provins? The latter was a Cistercian monk, but unlike Hélinand de Froidmont, he left the order to write "La Bible," a satirical poem against the Church. To support their mistaken identification some scholars translate Wolfram's ambiguous reference lachantiure to Kyot as "le chanteur", the singer. The English adaptation of Helen M. Mustard and Charles E. Passage (1961) makes a number of valuable contributions to our research, including the option l'enchanteur (magician), which they base on the analogy lampriure (l'empereur). Until well into the 20th century many German scholars were of the opinion that Kyot is an invention. They felt that Wolfram followed the ideas of Chrétien and Robert, who both claimed to have worked from other sources, and took this as some sort of contest to enhance the authenticity of their versions.  

          We take the same position as we do with Chrétien, that it is a serious mistake to underestimate these poets. As we will show throughout this website, Wolfram was a lot more sophisticated than these scholars give him credit for. Not only does he claim access to a lost source, but that it is an important clue that it was discovered by no other than the mysterious Kyot:

Kyot, the well-known master found the first source of this adventure, discarded in Dolet and in heathen writing. To read it he had to first learn the abc's, but without the art of black magic. It helped that he was baptized, or this story would still be unknown. No heathen art could reveal the nature of the Grail and how to discover its mysteries.

          Then there is something that could be a contradiction, because the author of this discarded manuscript understood the grail secret, but not its relevance for Christianity:

The heathen Flegetanis could tell us how the stars (i.e. planets) set and rise again and how each circles before it reaches its starting point. To their course humanity's affairs and destiny are linked directly. Flegetanis saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was too shy to talk about, hidden mysteries. He said there was a thing called Grail, a name he had read clearly in the constellations... 

          Kyot looked at the heathen information he found in the astronomical "Tables of Toledo" and astrological works of the philosopher Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, who was born in Tudela, Navarre in 1089, and died c. 1167, and interpreted it from a Christian point of view. This motivated his ensuing search: 

Kyot, the wise master, set out to trace this tale in Latin books to find the people dedicated to purity and worthy of the Grail. He read the chronicles of many lands, in Britain and elsewhere, France and Ireland, until he found the tale in Anschouwe. There he read the true story of Mazadan, and the exact records about his family...

          In other words, the Kyot we are trying to identify was either a troubadour or an alchemist. That he learned Arabic without the help of black magic supports the latter. He was also a well-known and wise master, a Christian, and an active scholar and traveler. After a long search he found the guardians of the grail in a place called Anschouwe. It should be said that Dolet is usually identified as Toledo (Spain), and Anschouwe as Anjou (France). Good luck in solving this etymological mess!

          d) The prophecy 

          As Wolfram leads his hero Parzival to the grail castle, several "flying allegories" lead to the phoenix, which gets its power of rebirth from the grail, and this is paralleled in the sky by the approach of the planets. The cosmic drama brings Parzival to the ultimate fulfillment of his destiny. The "hidden mysteries" a Heathen astrologer had seen in the stars is confirmed by a Heathen sorceress who appears at King Arthur's court and proclaims Parzival's divine calling:

To Parzival she said: Show restraint in your joy, now that you are blessed, you crown of man's salvation! The inscription has been read: you shall be Lord of the Grail... Seven stars she named in heathen language. The names were familiar to the rich and noble Firefiz (i.e. Parzival's half-brother), who sat there both black and white. She said: "Mark now, Parzival:  The highest of the planets, Zval, and the swiftly moving Almustri, Almaret, and the bright Samsi, all show good fortune for you here. The fifth is named Alligafir. Under these the sixth is Alkiter, and the nearest to us is Alkamer.

          Mustard and Passage attempt to show, like W.J. Stein et al., that there is etymologic evidence that the foreign names are derived from the Arabic and refer to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and the Sun, followed by Mercury, Venus and the Moon. Actually, the text is self-explanatory as it lists the orbits of the planets in the order of their distance to the sun, the bright Samsi. 

          e) Another riddle 

           The most amazing riddle was discovered by the German philologist Hans Eggers in the 1950s and is explained eloquently by Otto Springer. Although Wolfram claimed that he could neither read nor write, Eggers noted he had organized the sixteen books of his poem with a hidden system of eight books or sections. The first section of exactly 108 units of 30 lines each is the story of Parzival's parents. This is followed by 3 sections of 108 units (109-432) until book IX, the core of the work, which only has 70 units of 30 lines. Then there are again 3 sections of 108 units (503-827), until the poem ends after unit 827. For example, after the first section of 108 units, 109 begins the second hidden book with a first sign of life: The unborn Parzival stirs in his mother's womb. This could be taken as solid proof that the units of 108 are an esoteric code that pertains to the grail and deserve our full attention. (Hint: Plutarch's de defectu oraculorum and Plato's Timaeus!)

          Springer almost solved the riddle because he points out that certain scenes have an odd similarity. Many scholars are baffled by both, the paralells and contrasts of Parzival and Gawan, the Grail Castle and the Magic Castle. Even Anfortas and the magician Klingsohr share similar wounds between their legs! Other important characters challenge our imagination as well, like Feirefiz, who is black and white like a book, and Jofreit fils Idoel, a seemingly minor character. Could it be that Wolfram attempted the first alchemist fusion of the Stone of the Wise with words, symbols and ideas? This would mean that if we succeed in fusing the units by superimposing them correctly, the characters should fuse as well to reveal both, the historical events and the secret Truth of Mazadan.        

An important key to the solution may be the foreword, where Wolfram outlines his concept. When you read it, remember to avoid those mirror images that are illusions like blind men's dreams. If you don't believe this, try to take Wolfarm literally and grasp him inside his hand where he has no hair! That's another important hint. You may have to start with Charles the Bald to find someone hairy. Hairy like Elijah or was Elisha the "bald head" we should be interested in? Isn't this what he was called before he had so many boys killed by she-bears? An important clue, because one of Chrétien's continuators said "Joseph hid the grail so well that neither someone bald nor hairy would be able to find it."

As said above, here are two choices for you to enter this maze:

Kepler             BACK   Chrétien 


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