01 June 2008

The Grail Quest – Part 1

The sun that had shone so fiercely during the day began to sink slowly, plunging the Temple Mount into a confusion of dark shades and shadows. Migrating birds overhead sang there evening vigil as they returned to the surrounding hills and the safety of the pine trees. The call to prayer echoed across the valleys as multiple minarets, bathed in a green neon glow, simultaneously chanted the Koranic verses of divine submission.

On a similar evening 900 years ago (without the neon) Godfrey de St Omer, one of the founder members of the Knights Templar, committed to writing five short words that would hold the key to a 900 year quest and the future fame and fortune of one individual. Those words translated from the Latin were; ‘The Grail is a fake’. The Grail will never be found but Dan Brown still got his money.

With a supreme stroke of genius the Knights Templar created the myth in order to reap the benefits of 900 years of merchandising even surpassing George Lucas’s Star Wars.

The legend and myth of the Grail and the extraordinary pull of the Knights Templar, which led men to give up their money, possessions, land and livestock to the church, enabled them to become the wealthiest organization and allowed the church to cash in and increase its powerful hold on the Western World and beyond.

The beauty of the Grail is that not only did it not exist but it was never defined as a definite object. Was it a chalice, a plate, a person, a stone and scroll or just good advice? The truth is nobody knows or probably will never know except of course for Dan Brown and a guy I used to work with from Somerset, England.

Roger claimed he knew the exact resting place and secret of the Grail. According to his very secret information, passed down from father to son to internet, the Grail was buried in a chamber below Glastonbury Tor, a strange and almost supernatural hill near the town of Glastonbury in the south west of England.

Together we set off on our own Grail quest. As we drove south west from London I wondered what the Opus Dei, The Priory of Sion, Knights Templar and all the other secret organizations would have thought of us; an observant Jew and Roger the son of parish vicar on their very own Grail quest. We drove passed Stone Henge instilling within us wonder and dread. How did the ancients lift those stones, why did they waste all those virgins lives, if the virgins were martyred did they have 72 terrorists to look forward to in heaven?

Glastonbury Tor said to be the mythical isle of King Arthur’s Avalon, rose out of the landscape, its strange tower looming menacingly. The meeting place of lay-lines, mystics, hippies and spiritualists. Not far down the road are the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, the last resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Every educated English school boy knows the story of King Arthur, Excalibur and the Grail Quest. “Come Lancelot, I said to Roger, let us climb the Tor, retrieve the Grail and all England shall be saved.” He was not impressed. “This is serious, this is the Grail.” Serious business I thought.

We climbed the Tor, noticing the strange ridges that had been cut giving the hill a screw like effect. Roger told me that from the air the Tor represents a pregnant mother. Great, now I have to be careful where I walk.

“How did the Grail get here from Jerusalem?” I asked Roger, genuinely interested in his response. “Some bloke brought over and buried it here I think.” “So you’ve researched this thoroughly then”, I joked with cynicism and sarcasm.

I told Roger of the Crusader sites in Israel and the legacy they left in the form of many national parks. Roger was planning a trip to Israel to research his Grail quest.

We reached the top and stood under the shadow of the tower. Roger asked me the time. “2pm”, I told him. Roger ran round the far side of the tower and began to look around, running his hands along the cold wind-blasted walls. “Quick”, he shouted, “come here I’ve found something”. Not knowing what to expect but still remaining extremely cynical I ran over to him. I saw he was holding a piece of paper and could make out some of the letters on the top of the page. Each letter was in a different color, the first letter was G, the second an O, the third an O, I couldn’t see the next letter but the last two letters were L and E. “Well, I’ll say one thing, Google is the font of all knowledge”, I joked. Roger looked deadly serious, he had been duped. His information had led him to the Tor, he had found the marker stone and had dug out the sacred scroll which would lead him to the Grail.

Roger read the scroll; ‘I Godfrey de St Omer, of the founder members of the Knights Templar, can confirm that the Grail is a fake, sorry and have a nice day.’ “Don’t worry Roger”, I tried to comfort him. “Still from the top of the Tor the view was fantastic!”

Onward to Jerusalem………………

copyright 2008 jc