The Grail Quest workshop part 3

The Grail Quest workshop

So the Grail Myth becomes the beginning of a map with which to find our own immortal wounds and how work through them or heal them.  Remember how in the beginning I said, as this was not a workshop that was going to be giving me answers in, the traditional sense of someone giving you answers on a pretty silver platter, or in this case handing you the Grail as it was not the Grail that is important here but the quest itself.  There was about 10 or so people attending this workshop, and while it was wonderful to work with others and here what they had to say about the Grail Myth and its quest, it is difficult to remember just who was there as the work that was being done so internal, reflective and magically strong that the other participants become a part of the tapestry and energy of the workshop, not necessarily individuals?  Did that make sense?  I am not sure that we spent much time looking at one another so much as concentrating on what Nanny Ogg was saying long with what questions and comments were being made by the various attendees..  Needless to say the work shop ran over time, not that I noticed as such.  I know I was quite surprised when one of the attendees said that she had to go as had previous engagement, I was surprised at how much time had passed.  I was certainly engaged with what I was learning, processing and doing.

After we heard a rendition of The Fisher King, Caroline lead us further into understanding our maps, by proving us with helpful handouts to write on and explained some cognitive behaviour therapy, with a candle, or as she explained Candle by The Fire which is less clinical and more about creating our own maps, making our own connections and deepening our understanding of our selves and how we work.  It is about making our own connections, with ourselves, our path and our community, rather than the individualism that so often happens within mainstream psychology, or that is how I saw it. *ponders this*

So why did I do this workshop? Being a Witch and Priestess is not all about spells and rituals, but it is, I am finding, all about magic.  I have herd mutterings about psychology, and self-development being not the focus of magic and Modern Paganism  within certain quarters of the Modern Pagan Movement, but I have to ask how are you supposed to understand what your calling, or quest is without some deep personal work along the way.  How can you get to a place of understanding that Magical work and being a priestess is not all love and light and three times three, with a dash of harm non, but something deeper, something grittier, something dirtier, something, *waves hands* and when you get to that place through a lot of deep personal work realising that it is now your turn to surrender to service, and that surrender is not servitude. *coughs*.. am I over sharing?

What this workshop has taught me is that we are all wounded in some way or other, and like The Fisher King our wounds will not kill us in a physical sense but they can on a personal and emotional sense, render us dead.  Remember the doctors receptionist.. Hi How are you?  And your automatic reply is to say “I’m fine”.  This for me is indicative of a wounding, created in many ways by our society, one where our emotions are subjugated and we are given  a bandage that makes us look happy, even if we don’t feel it, even if we are feeling something else.

These woundings are created by living our lives, the way our parents or lack of parents brought us up, our society and its greedy fear mongering normalisation, remember the Ginshu Knifes.., remember that to be happy you have to purchase more stuff, because according to advertising stuff makes you happy.. and finally remember he who has the most stuff when they die.. Actually they are dead like everybody else, can’t take your stuff with you.  This is not to say that our entire focus should be on feeling sad either, or that we should spend all of our lives poking our immortal wounds as where would the fun be in that?  Its about balance, its about giving yourself to feel what you are feeling, because more often than not you will find that once you have acknowledged what you are feeling that emotion will pass through you.

Finding your quest is not about finding the Grail or being told answers to the ills of your life, but instead it is about asking questions and asking the questions until you find the right question.  If Perceval had stopped the page who had the lance and asked him about it, he would of learned that it was the lance that had caused the Kings mortal wound, and further if he had asked the women or anyone in the procession about the chalice, the Grail and its shinning waters, he would of learned that that was what was needed to heal the King and ultimately the land as the King and land are one.

Too often in this world we are lead to and want to believe what the unhealthy parts of our mainstream society is telling us, via the television and mainstream media.  It is my opinion that mainstream media is now the opiate of the masses.  It is no longer religion as it once was during Marx’s time, but mass mainstream media opiating us, medicating us, with wonderful food and sumptuous clothing, telling us that we are happy in the castle, happy with not rocking the boat, or asking to many questions, to not make a fuss, to keep a stiff upper lip, to follow the script, need I go on?

So we end up on a quest, a Grail quest, which is not about finding the Grail but about finding and understanding yourself, your connections, who you are and what you path is,  through the Quest itself.  Remember Perceval, his quest actually started when he left his mother in order to peruse becoming a Knight, a Knight of the Round Table no less.  Perceval believed that he had completed his quest and was in the process of travelling home to show his mother of the Knight he had become, but this was not his actual quest, not his path, not his service if you will.  I am quite sure that Perceval learned valuable skills and insights while he was learning to become a night, which will help him on his Grail Quest, and perhaps it was a part of this quest to become a Knight, but ultimately Perceval’s quest was the Grail Quest not one to become a Knight, that one was only half of the Story.

Final Thoughts. 

The memories and thoughts and notes I took during this workshop have been milling around in my head for days now with many questions and great food for thought.  I am also coming to the understanding that like most things in life the quest for the Grail to heal the immortal would is a cyclic thing, which is a theme for this year, as you will remember the two books I have been working with Avalon Within ß gosh theme familiar?  And the 13 dark moons, which are both about deep personal work, and ultimately Questing for the Grail, as it is time to heal my immortal wounds once again!

The Fisher King (Grail Post Part 2)

The Fisher King

There are hundreds maybe even thousands of myths, poems, and storeys that are about King Arthur, his royal knights, the quest for the Grail.  In the workshop we used one of the very fist poems that mentions Perceval who is on his quest or thinks he is. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceval,_the_Story_of_the_Grail)  We were told the myth to start out workshop, loosely as follows.  Or how I remember it..

Perceval who is has become a knight, as he always wanted to be, is on his way home to show his mother what a wonderful knight he has become.  As he is travelling down the road he comes to a lake, which he must cross in order to get home.  He sees a man in a boat fishing on the lake.  He calls out to him, asking if he can have passage across the lake so that he can continue on home to show his mum what a wonderful knight he has become.   The man in the boat tells him that he can’t today, however he can tomorrow morning when there is a bigger boat he should be able to cross.   The man in the boat then informs him if he continues down the road and over the hill he will find lodgings for him and his horse.

Perceval turns his horse and continues down the road and over the hill where he sees a huge stunning castle.  When he arrives at the castle servants come out to attend to his and his horses every need. He is then directed to the feasting hall for as there is a great feast that night.

Once he enters the hall he notices how finely everyone is dress, and the tables full to groaning of amazing looking and smelling food some which he has never seen before.  He sees whole roasted pigs, lambs and geese sitting on beds of vegetables, and the most wondrous deserts.   Women on the dance floor like flocks of pretty butterflies and exotic birds their clothing is so beautifully. Even the servants in their castle livery are richly dressed.   As he wonders around the feasting hall the King who is sitting on a dais sees him and calls him over to dine with him gesturing to the seat next to him.  Perceval sits next to the King and on a closer look sees that it is the same guy who was fishing from the Boat that morning on the lake.  However seeing as Perceval has been told before, during his knightly training  that he talks to much and he is in the presents of a king he wisely, he thinks,  decides to keep his mouth shut and not say anything.  During the evening there are several strange events that nobody else seems to notice.  First there is a page who is carrying a sword, the most beautiful sword that Perceval  has ever seen, it is rendered in the most shiniest golds and silvers with an ornate handle and strong blade.  The page presents it to the King who in turns to Percival telling him that it is only one of three such magical swords in the world, it is said that it can slain anything even dragons, however it will shatter but only when it decides it to and nobody can know when that is.  Perceval is surprised when the King then hands it to him as a gift.  Perceval then after admiring the sword hands it on to a nave to have it taken to his room for the night.  Perceval turns back to the crown of lords and ladies who are milling about in the hall in their finery eating the fabulous food, dancing and drinking the amazing wines.  A little while later another page enters with beautiful a lance that is dripping blood, this time the king doesn’t notice the lance and the page proceeds to process through the feasting hall winding in and out and round the people who also do not notice.  Perceval is busting a gut not to say anything but remembers his knightly training and the manners his mother installed into him, and seeing as nobody else was saying anything or even noticing he kept his mouth shut and is reactions to this strange sight damped down.

A little while later, and woman appears, carrying a wonderfully golden Chalice, with gemstones surrounding the edges, the Grail, Perceval here’s from whispers in the room, there is incandescent light rising up from the liquid in the Grail, and behind the woman is a possession of people, young old, infirmed, hansom, ugly, sick and well.  All beautifully dressed in golden colours matching that of the woman and the grail.  After the initial whispers however Perceval notices that nobody is paying attention to the woman holding the grail with its incandescent light and procession, so to decides not to say anything as that would seemly be impolite.  Perceval just watches the woman with the grail and procession winding through the room taking a similar path to that of the page who had the dripping lance.

After the procession has passed and left the room the king who has been conversing with people on the other side,  tells Perceval that he is going to retire for the night, even though it is still quite early.  He goes o to tell Perceval that he has a mortal wound that can not be healed which causes him to be tire easily, and he is unable to walk.  Two pages arrive to carry him in his chair out of the feasting hall.  Perceval stays and watches the people, eats until eventually he tires and retires for the night.  A page shows him to his room with is beautiful and he notices left in his room that his armour has been polished until it is gleaming like when it was new, as to his saddle, and bridle.  He smiles hugely as this will be a most excellent thing for when he arrives home in armour to show his mother was a worthy night he has become.  And with that thought he promptly falls soundly asleep

When he gets up in the morning, he sees his armour all shiny and polished, along with his saddle and bridle, so he goes to see if he can find a squire to saddle his horse and help him into his armour.  But alas nobody seems to be around, the castle is quiet still and empty, this concerns Perceval somewhat so he quickly dresses in his armour and grabs his saddle and the sword the King Gave him, and hurries down to the stable, where he finds his horse who has been groomed and looks beautiful, again Perceval feels uneasy about this and decides that it is indeed time to leave and continue on his journey home to show his mother what a wonderful knight he has become.

He mounts his horse and rides through the castle noticing that still nobody is around.  As he nears the drawbridge he sees that it is beginning to draw upwards, this startles Perceval who spurs his horse faster and races towards the drawbridge, with just enough time for his horse to jump across the gap and land across the mote.  Perceval’s heart it racing, it was all very weird, but he tries not to think about it, and so turns his horse towards home.  Along the way he notices that the trees are wilted, and there are no crops in the fields, and in the paddocks, lay sick and dying animals, as he nears the hills, he finds a woman who is cradling a Knight who has a moral wound that will not heal, and she tells him how this knight received this wound from a lance, and the only way to heal it was with the water from the Grail.  And that this is effecting the land and the King and Land are reflective of each other so that while the king is stick so too is the land, and the people who live there.  Perceval there realised that it was the Lance and Grail that he saw in procession the previous evening, and that he should of perhaps spoken out and saved the king and land.  Perceval felt a bit guilty over that, and so started a quest to find the grail as this was the only thing that could heal the land, so he asked himself,  “Which direction to I go in?”

The end

Except that is not so much an ending as a beginning, or if you read the entire poem, it is the middle, as there is bunches of stuff concerning training and trials and the like that happen from when he leaves home and becomes a Knight, the point to ponder here is the symbolism and what connections that it is making for you? Or in this case me as i was the one attending the workshop.

Druid Therapy and the Grail Workshop Part 1

In the weekend I attended a Grail Workshop fun by my friend and Druid, Caroline aka Nanny Ogg.  This workshop used the fisher King poem as a tool to create a map with which to figure out your own Grail Quest.  Myth is so often more about the symbolism found within the story rather than just the story, and the Fisher King has much excellent symbolism.

Nanny Ogg is in the process of creating something she calls ‘Druid Therapy’, which is a combination of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and deep Druidic Spirituality.  Although it goes with our saying that it is not is not just for Druids, I mean I am a Witch, and got a heap of useful stuff out of the workshop,  so it does have a wider scope that just being for Druids. Anyone with a spiritual connection would fine excellent value in Druid Therapy.   Druid Therapy is something that Caroline likes to call Candle By The Fire therapy or CBTF, as one of the other attendees pointed out,  which is about bring more meaning, connection, magic, spirituality and humanity back into therapy. While at the same time,  keeping it grounded in good sound techniques of CBT and other Psychological modalities, but not to the point of dehumanising it.  Does that make sense?  It is difficult to explain.  At this point I want  to point out that this is and was not a “Therapy” workshop so much as a work shop that explained and provided tools with which to deepen the understanding of the self, using myth, connection and magic.  Druid Therapy is about exploring yourself in a more magical, connected and spiritual way.. Not as flowery as it sounds believe me.  And for those of us on a path that involved magic, deep personal exploration is integral part of how it all works.

For so long psychology has systematically removed spirituality, connection and some could say,  humanity from its process.  It has become more and more clinical relegating  spirituality and magic  in the realm of delusional belief, not significant, or not real.  Psychology, at its worst has become out fixing our broken emotions which are all the ones apart from feeling happy and giving us pills to that we are ‘happy’

It is my belief that it is important that people have a sense of connection with the lives that they live beyond that of clinical behaviour and ‘feeling happy”.   It would seem that our society has deemed feeling emotions as something that is somehow wrong, and indicative of brokenness especially the strong emotions such as sadness, anger, stress, discontent, etc etc.  Because according to society we are meant to be happy all the time and if we are not then we are obviously broken thus need therapy, and or pills to make us happy as is socially acceptable.   Or we are to purchase something in the form of retail therapy as that will make us happy.  Ginsue knifes anyone, second set free for a limited time.  *coughs*

Let me put it another way, how often have you been to your doctors surgery because you are sick and probably feeling quite crappy and when you get there and the receptionist says ‘Hi, How are you do today’, and you answer automatically ‘I’m fine thank you’ or a variation of indicating that you are fine, or happy?  When really you are sick, which is why you are at the doctors, and you are probably feeling like six forms of shit because you are sick. So why are you telling the receptionist at the doctor’s office that you are fine? Think about it.  We have trained, or been trained by the wider society not to acknowledge our feelings, not to feel what it is we are feeling unless we are happy, and so often when we are not happy we tell others that we are without even thinking about it.  How often has a friend asked you how are you? How do you reply? The usal reply that I make is ‘I’m fine, how are you’.  It’s a pretty standard greeting both in face to face and also onlinet.  What would happen if you took a moment and actually told them how you felt?  Actually I am feeling a bit sad today because I am not happy with out something is going? When you ask a friend how they are, do you really want to know or are you just going through the customary greeting call and response?  Think about it.

Druid Therapy uses the Grail story, the quest for the Grail, and is about putting the connection and humanity back not just into therapy, but back into your lives as well.  To acknowledge your mortal wound and the Grail with which you can heal it.  It is not ‘traditional’ therapy and it  doesn’t look it either, as it is not about talking about your feelings  and having a therapist tell you what that means, nor is it about a therapist giving you the answers, as we found out during our workshop, but instead it is about finding our own answer through the medium of myth, and a map which we created during the workshop.  We had to find our own answers.  Druid Therapy is about providing you with a map and tools so that you can find the answers yourself, only those ‘answers’ are actually questions, and to keep on asking questions until we find the right question or series of questions.  So often we want answers so badly, because we believe, or have been lead to believe that the answers will fix us instantly, that we forget or don’t know what the right question is.  So using the Grail myth and Druid Therapy provides us with an invaluable map, tools and connection with which to find the questions.

As this turned into a monster of a post about the Workshop I attended and Druid Therapy, I have decided to split this into three posts, with the first one being explanation of sorts, the second one a rewrite of the Fisher King myth as I remember it, and the third one about the workshop itself.  I will post the second instalment over the next day or so.