How is he, Parzival? What fate will find him today??
The fate that is about to find him is: to go through the one experience he has never had… the experience of being defeated. A strange being, with wisdom and magic totally different from
his, but just as strong, is on its way to meet him. Who is it? It is his half-brother, and they will meet soon. But when they meet they will not see each other’s faces, there will be no time to speak and they will not know that they are brothers. They
will both fight the fight of their life, first on their horses and then with their swords and in the end Parzival’s sword will shatter in the very moment he tries to drive home his most deadly blow onto the helmet of Feirefiz.
The sword he took
from Ither shatters, and then the strong man who has fought him stops the fight, because he does not see the advantage, he is getting in this way, as noble and just. So instead they sit down and get to know each other. This shows the finest nobility and is
exactly the opposite of what Parzival did when he killed Ither.
As soon as they understand who they are to each other, they are not only reliefed, but filled with a joy that is hard to describe. Feirefiz is actually at this place at this time because
he has taken upon himself the long journey to the home country of his father and he has learned on his way about Parzival. And for Parzival, who has been alone for such a long time, this meeting is a tremendous gift.
The legend implies that already
then, while they are sitting on the ground, Feirefiz begins to reveal to Parzival the kind of wisdom and magic he possesses: The wisdom and the magic of the stars, of the planets. He explains how Parzival couldn’t defeat him because the powers of the
planets within our solar system protected him and gave him extra strength and agility and strengthened his armour. He shows Parzival, how certain gemstones were used to hold these powers connected to him. Parzival is in this way introduced to the spiritual
knowledge Feirefiz has taken in during his growing up. Thus Parzival widens his horizons.
Soon they are in the camp of the knights of Arthus. Feirefiz meets Arthus himself and his dronning. In that moment, when Parzival for the first time has to live
through the merciful kindness of another human being and manages to do so in trust, in that very moment Kundry the sorceress appears on her mule and relates that a new writing has appeared on the Grail, calling Parzival back into the Grails-castle. Being allowed
to take one person with him he takes Feirefiz.
You might think: but how can he ask a valid question now that he knows everything. But does he?
One of the most holy laws in this world is that while we have to take with us as much as possible crossing
the threshold from the spiritual to the physical world, we have to leave everything behind crossing the other way. So, if you think Parzival can now ask the question knowing what he has to do, that is not really the case. He can only ask the question out of
his compassion and his stepping into his power and responsibility. That is what he has learned on his long way. That is, as strange as it may sound, at the center of all there is to learn on the way to the Grail.
When the question is asked, Anfortas
is healed and Parzival has taken over his function as protector of the Grail and conveyer of the Grails powers, we are made known with a surprising fact:
Feirefiz – looking at the Grail – sees nothing!
Also he has to learn something
entirely new. While he knows a lot about the secrete powers of the cosmos and nature, he knows little about the divine center of the human personality, about the source of love within the human personality. Of course that is not something that can be learned
in the usual meaning of the word. The pictures the legend gives us are either ridiculous or hiding something. The legend says that Feirefiz fell in love with a Christian lady form the Grails environment and that her condition to marry him was that he would
agree to receive the Christian baptism. So he did - and suddenly he saw the Grail !?
To make sense of that let us remember, that the Grail symbolizes (or actually is) the spiritual center, the source of abundance and unselfish love within the human
personality. Falling in love can sometimes lift us far beyond our ego and make us become aware of unselfish feelings and will-powers we normally do not know we have. It also allows a transfer of experiences, of knowledge beyond knowledge between those who
love each other. Of course often we fall back even deeper into our egos, but not always. What happens to Feirefiz is that he through the personality of his beloved gets in touch with the kind of wisdom and magic Christianity understands better than anything
else: The wisdom and magic of the personal love, which is weaving between God and the human soul and which is the secret core of all personal love.
I believe that Wolfram from Eschenbach was cautious and hid this truth under the ridiculous pictures.
He also says that Feirefiz had to renounce his cosmic Gods, but that wouldn’t make much sense, would it now, to carry these wonderful powers in his energy-field and start to teach Parzival about them and then renounce them ?! His new insight might have
transformed Asklepios into Raphael, but that is not the same as renoucing him.
In all early meetings between Christianity and an older spiritual practice we can see how the older practice tries to understand the Christian impulse through its own knowledge
and wisdom and how it than goes forth to understand its own traditions through the new impulse it has accepted into itself. The inauspicious fight between long established spirituality and newly born Christianity is never the result of a spiritual conflict,
but always a result of the limitations and the concealed egos of the people involved.
The community of the Grail is in this moment transformed in two ways:
The new king is not a natural successor of the old one. He does not owe the dignity that
gives him the right to his position to talent or mere vocation; he owes it to his own tenacity and consistency, which in the end call force the mercy of God. He has reached his position by a maturation process that hads led him through pain to freedom, through
freedom to love.
The other transformation in the community of the Grail is that it from now on integrates the cosmic wisdom of the old and allows it to lift its gaze to the stars. After all Christ isn’t just the son of man but also the son of
God, the logos which has created the universe. The two half-brothers stand equal also in this kind of skill and strength and it is about time that Christianity as a whole would listen not only to the sweet shepherds with the grateful personal hearts, but also
to the austere wise men, the magi who understand Christ through the wisdom of the stars, who bring him their threefold gifts of magic.
Blessings of love and light.