Enter the Grail

“If knightly deeds, with shield and lance, can win fame for one’s Earthly self, yet also Paradise for one’s soul, then the chivalric life has been my one desire.” ….You are Parsifal! Your name means: Pierce-through-the-heart!…..Wolfram von Eschenback, 1205

Parzival und Condviramur. Handschrift aus der Werkstatt von Diebold Lauber, 1443

The grail saga first appeared in print In 1190, when Irish poet Chretien wrote Perceval or the Story of the Grail.  Understand, however, the story is much older, and was carried for centuries across Europe by wandering troubadours, the rock stars of their day. Real spirituality moves through music, and troubadours were some of the greatest performers not under Vatican supervison. For centuries, the Vatican claimed a monopoly on musical composition. And what many fail to realize is some of the first secular composers were also cannabis users. Some were involved in a movement called “The Society of Smokers,” whose song lyrics involved lines like “I love my smoke.” History has failed to identify what that smoke was, and it’s often mistaken for a reference to opium when it is obviously cannabis they were crooning about.

As this illustration shows, troubadours were not typically solo acts. The best players always prefer to work with other good players (on different instruments) because spirituality moves through telepathy, and the quality of your combo along with the quality of your audience greatly enhances the quality of your performance.

The Commedia dell’arte style of improvisational theater sprang later on from these troubadours, so it’s likely some were doing jazz in the Middle Ages. Improvisation is a doorway to spirituality, but the mainstream tends to despise its powers, preferring total control, lest more slip off the leash. No doubt that’s why they were so opposed to the Cathars, and also opposed to jazz when it emerged in New Orleans. And it was obvious there was a cannabis connection to Congo Square as well as the Cathars, although that’s been mostly wiped out of history.

Wolfram von Eschenback was a knight, composer, singer and lyre player in Germany, and also one of the first to put the grail story on paper. Since Wolfram was illiterate, the song had to be dictated. Wolfram was also the Bob Dylan of his era.

One glaring and notable detail in his grail story is the total absence of Jesus Christ. And that’s because the grail story did not start with Christians, but originated much earlier in ancient Scythia. The story was embellished by the Manichaeans, who were virtually extinguished from Europe in the 6th century by an ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Vatican. Although all texts and records of the Manichaeans were disappeared, the culture went underground, and continued on only through the efforts of troubadours like Eschenback.

Scythian culture was immensely savage, and had to be tamed as it evolved through Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. The tempering was accomplished through the rise of a concept called chivalry. Armored knights had a responsibility to behave in a decent manner, and that was especially true when upholding the rights of the weaker sex. Chivalry ran on love power.

The quest for the grail is the knight’s rite of passage, in which he is transformed into a fully empathetic being, something accomplished by learning the secrets of the grail.

Around 1100, the Cathars appear across Europe, creating cities and villages, mostly in France and Germany. Their name meant “pure ones” in Greek. But when the Pope of Rome realized the Cathars were the dreaded Manichaeans rising from the grave, he launched the first crusade in Catholic history to demolish all their cities and towns while murdering all the occupants. No matter if a few Catholics lived there too, the Pope wanted everyone exposed eliminated. The Inquisition followed to clean up any traces. The only surviving history of any Cathars are edited confessions extracted through torture before death, none of which can be trusted as real. But it’s the same story for anything about Manichaeans. The only documents detailing their history come from persecutors.

One thing you’ll notice about cannabis as it secretly marches through history, the world’s most persecuted plant. Wherever you find cannabis use, you’ll find songs written about it, a line that stretches back through the ages to ancient Scythia and continues through early jazz, rock and hip hop. And that’s because real spirituality moves through music, and not through repressions.

The smoker smokes through smoke,
A smoky speculation.
While others smoke in thought,
The smoker smokes through smoke,
Because smoke pleases him greatly
As he meditates.
The smoker smokes through smoke,
A smoky speculation.

Fumeux fume by Solage, circa 1370

 

 

 

The Real Secret of the Holy Grail

Mani was the greatest avatar of the ancient world and also the greatest portrait painter and calligrapher. He inspired the greatest religious revival of his time, but did not wear expensive robes, nor cultivate toadies. What Mani did was successfully integrate the best of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity.
Mani’s bible equated spiritual energy with light, and considered the light of the sun as Jehovah, and light of the moon as Jesus.
Mani used the Zoroastrian sacrament of mixing hot milk with cannabis flower to heal the blind and lame, serving this elixir in a sacred chalice. The origins of the grail story start in ancient Scythia, long before Mani’s time, and centuries before the arrival of Jesus.
 
Mani lived several hundred years after the mythical birth of Jesus, but he was the most famous Gnostic of his time, and considered himself one of Christ’s appointed agents on earth, just as many Buddhists in India considered him the living Buddha.
Execution of ManiMani was lured back to Persia under false pretense, skinned alive and decapitated for the crime of trying to end war over religion. The gate in Persia where his head was put on a pike still bears his name, although nobody seems to know anything about him. That gate is his only trace.
A holocaust soon followed on Mani’s followers, and it did successfully tamp down his philosophy for centuries, but eventually, all across Europe, a movement very similar to Mani’s appeared. It became known as Catharism. It had no leader. Cathars rejected the crass commercialization of Rome 300 years before Martin Luther came to similar conclusions. They believed in a connection between light and spiritual energy, and worshipped a form of Christianity with a Buddhist flavor, rejecting heaven and hell for reincarnation, just like Manichaeism. 
 
The Pope in Rome at first tried to negotiate with the Cathars in France, around Languedoc. After that failed, he declared the first crusade, the Albigensian Crusade, which could have been an even bigger and more horrific ethnic cleansing than Mani’s. The closest thing I can imagine is the Rape of Nanking. Entire towns were destroyed, women and children raped, and then murdered. It didn’t matter if one was Cathar or Catholic. “Let God sort them out,” said the evil Pope.
 
The last hold-outs were in Montsegur. In 1244, their fort was stormed after a brutal 10-month seige. The 200 inhabitants were thrown on a bonfire.
 
But the night before the siege ended, a small group successfully slipped through enemy lines, carrying their greatest treasure to safety, a green-stained goblet. Perhaps this was an actual artifact from Mani, and if so, would have been the sole surviving possession from the greatest avatar of the ancient world.
 
Monument to the murdered Cathars.

Many decades earlier, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote Parzival, a search for the grail. His grail castle is called Monsalvat, which is similar to Montségur and has the same meaning: “safe mountain.”

The book Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn in the 1930s revived interest in the connection between Catharism and the Holy Grail, and painted Parzival as a veiled account of the Cathars. That research fascinated Heinrich Himmler, who made Rahn an archaeologist in the SS, which, later, helped inspire Raiders of the Lost Ark.
 
It’s a bit lonely connecting these dots from Scythians to Zoroastrians to Mani to Catharism to Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s been a solo adventure, but I’m hoping others will pick up and follow the trail. This is the true secret of the holy grail. It’s not about the actual chalice but the elixir that went inside.
Eventually the real story has to get out.
Maybe I can fit it into Pot Waco.

Ballad of Rainbow Farm

If you’ll gather ’round me, children,

A story I will tell

‘Bout Rainbow Farm Campground,

Michigan knew it well.

It was in the town of Vandalia,

A Saturday afternoon,

Tom and Rollie did the WHEE! fest

They thought time was opportune.

A  local DA attacked them

In a manner rather rude,

Vulgar words of anger,

And litigation did ensue.

The sheriff grabbed son Robert,

Tom and Rollie grabbed their guns;

In the fight that followed

Tom and Rollie were laid down.

As through your life you travel,

Yes, as through your life you roam,

You won’t never see no pothead

Seize children from their homes.