Grail Terms

The Holy Grail as a story that begins with the story by Chrestien de Troyes (c. 1180-1191). It iassociates the grail with a maiden carrying a dish with a wafer (platter with a host) and a young man carrying a bleeding lance. The grail legend is linked with Arthurian Legend in England and stories of Parsifal in Germany. The Christian version is closely linked with a chalice, which is supposed to be the chalice used by Christ at the time of the Last Supper. Underlying this story of a search for an object, is a related story of a quest for the contents of the object, which are assumed to be an elixir of immortality. In the Christian tradition the bread and wine are symbols of the body and blood of Christ as a key to eternal life. The links between bread (spring) and wine (autumn) as linked with sacrifice, renewal and continuing life are found also in Mithraism, in Persia and go back to India. Indeed the notion of a nectar of immortality, which is stolen and needs to be recovered goes back to the Inidan stories of creation, where it is given as a reason for the original creation. In India the nectar of immortality is called Amrita, is closely linked with the word for laws, Rita, and becomes both a reason for and synonymous with the Vedas. In short the Holy Grail is much more than the quest for a cup with the ultimate pep drink. It is a source for Holy Books and the great religiions of the world.