What – or who – is the Gral?

I have used the Germanic (or Cornish) version GRAL rather than grail. This was intentional (although my wayward spelling is legendary) and partly to separate Goodly Company from any overt Holy Blood, Holy Grail influence and align with Wagner’s Parsifal.  

PARSIFAL: Wer ist der Gral? 
GURNEMANZ: Das sagt mich nicht;
doch, bist du selbst zu ihm erkoren,
bleibt dir die Kunde unverloren.

But what – or who – is it in Goodly Company? Parzival is asked this, by various people at different times. He has a stock answer. But that is not to say that he is not telling the truth. Parzival, my Parzival, never lies.

“It is,” I said, “a magic cauldron that gives us all the food and drink we need to live; it is the spring of life from which the peacocks drink. It is the all-seeing, greedy eye of the world that Alexandros brought from Eden.  It is the sacrifice of Melchizadek; the blood of Uranus which waters the earth.  It is the kiste which bears the sacred Eleusian drink; it is the vessel that bears the holy child.  It is the jewel of the lotus, the rose of the world, the pearl without price; it is bronze, it is wood, glass, bone, blood, it is wine, it is nectar.  It is initiation and rebirth, chastity and fecundity, skull and genitals. It is the cup that Christ used at the Last Supper, it is the cup in which Joseph of Arimathea caught Christ’s blood, when he was pierced by the Holy Lance. It is a stone flung from heaven when the world began, it is the emerald smashed from Lucifer’s crown when he rebelled against his Father and Michael hurled him from Paradise.” I paused. Took a breath.  Took another. “It is the blood line of the Redeemer, it is the royal line of Merovée, it is my inheritance…” 

Perhaps if Parzival was taking an interest in the future, he’d have added the futurist car race game (GRAL: Galaxies Racing Automobile League). Or the Californian research company (GRAIL) investigating early detection tests for cancer.

I am sure Loherangrin will come up with some interesting descriptions of his own when it is his turn to explain.