From that time on the land came to be called the Waste Land. This is the very type of the initiatory night watch. The ordeals that the Heroes undergo are innumerable - they have to cross a bridge that sinks under water or is made of a sharp sward or is guarded by lions and monsters. In addition, the gates to castles are guarded by animated automatons, fairies, or demons. All these scenarios suggest passage to the beyond, the perilous descents to hell; and when such journeys are undertaken by living beings, they always form part of an initiation.
By assuming the risks of such a descent to Hell, the Hero pursues the conquest of immortality or some other equally extraordinary end. The behavior of the Indo-European warrior bands offers certain points of resemblance to the secret fraternities of primitive societies.
Rapine, and cattle stealing, assimilate the members of the warrior band to carnivora. These sound play an important ritual role; they help prepare for the frenzied ecstasy of the members of the group Winter is also the season when the initiates change into wolves. In other words, during the winter the members of the band are able to transmute their profane conditions and attain to a superhuman existence, whether by consorting with the Ancestors or by appropriating the behavior, that is the magic, of the carnivora.
It has been reported both in legends and in historical accounts that in the heat of battle certain warriors enter into a delirious fury, attacking anyone in their reach. For example Cu Chulainn, the hero of the Ulster legend, while still a boy vanquished the three sons of Nechta, the enemy of his people, and returned to his home still in a frenzy. He was seized and thrown into a vat of cold water to cool him down.
The frenzy of the warriors associated with Odin thus expresses the power of ecstasy in battle. This is as much as to way hat they were magically identified with the bear. In addition they could sometimes change themselves into wolves and bears. A man became a berserker as the result of an initiation that included specifically martial ordeals. So, for example, Tacitus tells us that among the Chati the candidate cut neither his hair nor is beard until he head killed an enemy.
Among the Taifali, the youth had to bring down a boar or a wolf; among the Heruli, he had to flight unarmed.
Through these ordeals, the candidate took to himself a wild-animal mode of being; he became a dreaded warrior in the measure in which he behaved like a beast of prey. He metamorphosed himself into a superman because he succeeded in assimilating the magic or religious force proper to the carnivora. The young warrior must transmute his humanity by a fit of aggressive and terror-striking fury, which assimilated him to the raging heat of prey.
The term shanti, which in Sanskrit designates tranquillity, peace of soul, freedom from the passions, relief from suffering, derives from the root sham, which originally had the meaning of extinguishing the fire, the anger, the fever, in short the heat, provided by demonic powers. Such an idea is distinctly - and uniquely - European.
The hero of the quest, Peredur, becomes the guest of a nobleman in a large castle. When all the company saw this, they began wailing and lamenting. But for all that the man did not break off his discourse with Peredur. As he did not tell Peredur the meaning of what he saw, he forbore to ask him concerning it. Peredur then fulfills a prophesy, kills the sorceresses and avenges his cousin. He led an expedition to a foreign land and was victorious. Nevertheless, he was wounded in the foot with a poisoned javelin, and, though no causal nexus is mentioned, the islands of Ireland and Britain were rendered desolate.
Obeying his commands, they spent seven years at Harlech, regaling themselves with meat and drink. Then, setting out for Grassholm, they found there a fair royal place, a great hall, overlooking the sea. This was called the Hospitality of the Wondrous Head. The heads of their most distinguished enemies they embalm in cedar oil and carefully preserve in a chest, and these they exhibit to strangers, gravely maintaining that in exchange for this head someone among their ancestors, or the speaker himself, refused the offer of a great sum of money.
And some men among them, we are told, boast that they have not accepted an equal weight of gold for the head they show There they cleaned out the head, as is their custom, and guilded the skull, which thereafter served them as a holy vessel to pour libations from and as a drinking cup for the priest and the temple attendants. Heads feature a great deal on native Celtic coins, being treated with typical Celtic fantasy, having distorted or non-natural features, huge eyes, and wild hair, and often showing tattooing on the cheeks and bearing, or being associated with, cult symbols such as the boar.
Sometimes smaller heads are chained to a larger central head; some have horns, others are janiform two-faced or in triplicate. Not only did it protect the city from attack. It also ensured the fertility of the surrounding countryside and warded off plague from England as a whole.
It was a prized trophy in battle; but much more than this it was a potent symbol of the total religious attitudes of the Celtic peoples. The head stood for divinity. It was the supreme conveyer of hospitality, the distributor of the divine feast. It had powers of prophecy, healing, fertility, speech, independent movement and incorruptible life. If was regarded as the essence of being, the seat of the soul, the symbol of evil-averting divine power. Its meaning for the early Celtic peoples is clear throughout their history - it can truly be said to contain the essence of their religious philosophy and to be the most distinctive and powerful of all their cults.
Here, Perceval encounters the Grail Knights, who appear like some sort of monastic brotherhood. They dressed in a white raiment with a red cross on the breast. Throughout this story there are strong allusions to alchemy and mysticism. So sweet and so holy an odor accompanies the relics that they forget to eat.
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Sir Gawain gazes at the Grail and it seems to him that there is a chalice within it, albeit there was none at the time. And he sees the point of the lance from which the red blood drops, and he seems to behold two angels who bear two candelabra of gold with lighted candles.
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The damsels go into another chapel, then reappear. He looks and there appears aloft a man nailed to a cross, and the spear was fixed in his side. This continental romance reflects with extraordinary clearness archaic Welsh traditions which can hardly be detected at all in any other Grail text. Such traditions are obvious when Perceval sails across the sea to the isle of the ageless elders.
They came near the castle and heard four trumpets sound at the four corners of the walls very sweetly They issued from the ship and went by the seaside to the castle, and within there were the fairest halls and the fairest mansions that one has ever seen. Perceval looks beneath a very fair tree, which was tall and broad, and sees the fairest and clearest fountain that anyone could describe, and it was all set about with rich golden pillars, and the gravel seemed to be of precious stones.
The chain descended with great precision, and it held on to nothing but the will of Our Lord. As soon as the masters saw it being lowered, they opened a large, wide pit which was in the midst of the hall, so that one could see the hole plainly. As soon as the entrance of this pit was uncovered, there issued the greatest and most dolorous cries that anyone ever heard. In this account Perceval conquers the Grail Castle after his uncle dies.
Joseph [of Arimathea], who was his uncle, collected in it the blood which flowed from the wounds of the Savior of the World. Know well all your lineage and from what folk you are descended. With this, the people were robbed of an illusion - that of the supernatural, the mysterious. The result was that the mystique, the secrecy, was transferred to another object: to the Grail.
It started with historic fact, vouched for by the four gospels, namely, that after Christ died on the cross, a rich disciple of Arimathea named Joseph begged the holy body from Pilate, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and placed it in a new tomb. Here we read that during the trail of Christ before Pilate, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, testified in His favor infuriated the accusers. After Joseph had deposited the body of the Crucified in the sepulcher, the Jews imprisoned him, but when on Easter day the door was opened, he was not to be found.
Brought to Jerusalem he testified that at midnight of the Sabbath day, the prison in which he was confined rose into the air, and fell to the earth. The risen Christ appeared to him, lifted him up, and brought him to his house. Then about the beginning of the 11th century another apocryphon was translated into Old English: the Vindicta Salvatoris. Joseph of Arimathea then became a figure in western literature for the second time.
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Joseph always stood in close relationship with the apostle Philip and the evangelisation of England. Whether or not such a connection is justified or not is hard to judge. It is however conspicuous that 10th and 11th century manuscripts in the Georgian or Gruzinian language, originating in Palestine, translated into Greek, and probably based on a Syrian original, yet again characterize Joseph as the protagonist.
In this Syrian version, however, there is no vessel resembling the grail. Therefore the essential grail part of the legend, deriving as has been shown from Celtic origins, should be considered separate from the Christian components such as Joseph of Arimathea and the collection of the blood. She [Emma Jung] draws attention to the burials of African chieftains, at which bodily secretions from the corpse are collected and venerated as holy. Similar procedures took place at Ancient Egyptian burials, in which certain parts of the body were removed and put aside in special vessels.
These vessels then contained the magical soul-substance of God, and it is not improbable that similar ideas were later carried over to the grail. Among themselves they held a council in order to banish Joseph and expel him from the land, and they informed him at once that he must depart because of his crime, he and all his friends, and also Nicodemus, who was a marvelously wise man, and a sister of his.
The name of the country was the White Isle; well I know that thus it was called. One part belongs to England, which is enclosed and locked by the sea. There they made port and went ashore, built lodges there and whatever else they needed. Two whole years they were there before anyone made war on them or seized a foot of land. But in the third year the people of the country gathered together and made war and often wrought harm.
Often they fought and either won or lost. When Joseph was defeated and there was a famine, he prayed to God, his creator, that He would lend him, by His favor, that Grail of which I tell you and in which he had collected the blood.
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Then he caused a horn to be blown and all went to wash their hands, and seated themselves ceremoniously at the tables. The Grail came at once and served the wine to all and other dishes in great plenty. Thus Joseph preserved the land against his enemies as long as he has life and health. And thus it befell; it is the pure truth. In truth the Rich Fisher descended from him, and all his heirs and, they say, Guellans Guenelaus and his son Perceval.
Veronica, and the destruction of Jerusalem with selected elements from the literary tradition of the Grail. They Crucified appeared to the prisoner in a blaze of light, presented him with the same vessel in which he had collected the holy blood, and told him that he was to have the guardianship of the vessel and would have only three successors, in token of the Trinity. Then the visitant departed. One, however, tried to save his life by revealing where Joseph was incarcerated.
Vespasian had himself lowered into the dungeon and found him still alive.