Key to the Sacred Pattern

15 November 2006

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 11 Nov 06

On Audio:

On the Laura Lee Show on Monday 14 Nov 06; Carl Munck - Decoding the Ancient Sites

Did some ancient societies have an elaborate system of measuring and mapping an early Earth grid, and encode data into the design of temples? You decide if Munck is onto something with his theories on "archeocryptography". Could be useful to enhancing advancing some theories of church placement as well.

On the Web:

Not of Grail news, but a pretty good deal for those of you trying to trace down your UK roots, Ansestry UK has free searchable immigration records from the UK to the US from 1820 to 1960 until 30 Nov 06

On TV:

For all your Crusade studies, History Channel looks at sex in the Middle Ages Saturday, 18 Nov 06 at 10:00pm CST.

In the News:

A week late, but the Scotsman has a very detailed article about the Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn Chapel.

Tip Site of the Week:

The Alchemy Web Site

A one stop web site for all things relating to Alchemy. There is a lengthy listing of texts, a searchable database of alchemical emblems, discussion groups, and articles to be found here.

07 November 2006

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 4 Nov 06

Sorry I’m a couple days late on this week’s Media Watch. A big promotion at work will throw your writing schedule in the dumper. Remember if you have any news stories, pod casts of interest, or other information for the Media Watch, e-mail me so I can share them with everyone else.

On the Web:

A Different Perspective blog has some commentary on “out of place artifacts” and the Freemasonry’s Tubal Cain. The only thought I have with his theory is that Tubal Cain also a Biblical figure, and people have been named after those. Remember Occam’s Razor folks.

In the News:

Artifacts from the First Temple period were removed this week from the Temple Mount. For those of you that have been following any news from Jerusalem and Temple Mount discoveries, I’m surprised they have found anything with all the looting that has been going on in recent years.

Researchers now think Da Vinci might have been of Arabic descent.

At the Movies:

Amazon has a pre-order deal for The Da Vinci Code, which will be released on 14 Nov 06. If you’re going to get it, you might as well get it cheap.

Evidently everyone is using the Knights Templar as some kind of plot hook these days. Gregory Read is producing Like Minds that is about two psychopathic high school boys that go on a killing spree thinking they are Templars… Nice.

National Treasure 2 is listed on IMDB as being in production. The plot evidently is relating to the Lincoln Assassination.

Tip Site of the Week:

The Blue Letter Bible

Looking for a Biblical quotation? Not sure what some passage means? What to know where Tubal Cain was in the Bible? The days of trying to figure out what the abbreviations in Strong's Concordance and thumbing through pages of text are over. The Blue Letter Bible provides a powerful search for references in the Good Book. There are also on line commentaries, maps, images, and study tools available. A valuable on line resource for tracking down and understanding your Biblical leads.

29 October 2006

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 28 Oct 06

On Audio:

  • This week Dreamlands interviewed Graham Hancock on his new book Supernatural. Even though this has zero to do with the Grail, many of us became Hancock fans after reading Sign and the Seal. After clicking on the link Dreamlands above, hit the listen now link at the upper right hand corner of the page to listen to the interview.

On the Web:

  • Philip Coppens posts an article on his web site that explores the Neapolitan Chapel of Sansevero for all of you who are looking into clues in the symbolism of churches and cathedrals.
  • Of general note, The History Channel has a number of Podcasts that you might want to check out. The page has an items segregated by topics and has a search engine.

In the News:

  • The mystery of Rosslyn Chapel deepens a little as a light box is “rediscovered” in the Chapel that only is seen on 21 Sept or St. Matthew’s Day. The Scotsman reported on this on 27 Oct 06.

Tip Site of the Week:

  • Not being a Catholic, I am not well versused in the patronage, feast days, or back stories of the over 5000 Saints. There are times that the Grail Seeker might need to check out a Saint or two. If you’re in the same boat, check out the Catholic Forum’s Patron Saint Index. This is a searchable database with over 7000 entries that will help cut to the chase when doing research in this area.

22 October 2006

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 21 Oct 06

Folks, it’s been a pretty dry Grail in the media week. I’ve found one article that might be of interest to the Grail Seeker.

To make this blog at least worth reading, I’ll throw out some web sites that I’ve found this week that might be of help to you and your quest.

Grail Literature References

Searchable database of Parzival, line by line

If you know Middle High German, Titus has supplied a line by line searchable database for you. This site is for the hard core thatare looking for occurrences of particular words within the text.

Grail Stories

A list and commentary on Grail literature in the Middle Ages. This is the short course on all the major Grail works is at your finger tips.

Dictionaries and Translation Sites

Foreign Language Dictionaries

Here’s a listing of free on line dictionaries. Latin, Greek, Hebrew, English, French, and German are all listed. There’s also a handy list of biblical dictionaries. A fun dream interpretation dictionary is listed as well. Remember these are not translation sites. But they are good for getting other possible nuances of words that translation software doesn’t quite get.

Lycos has created a means break down language barriers on the Web. Their Bable Fish (a nod to all of you Hitchhiker's Guide fans) translator will translate entire URLs or text string entries. Translation software, in general, has come along way in the last few years, but does have its limitations. Idiomatic expressions, subtitles of meanings, and tense are always a sticking point in any translation program. At very least, it will give you a much clearer picture that you had looking at a foreign language screen. Languages supported for translation into English are: French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.

Word Lingos is another free translation site that supports all the languages of the Lycos translator as well as Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Dutch, Greek, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.

Free Translation has a number of languages listed, but the special character tools listed are unique to this site. You can translate strings of text and change those pesky odd characters like vowels with umlauts in German with this version.

Thanks for the Link-Back

Another kudos goes out to The Quest for the Holy Grail blog for putting a link to Grail Seekers on their page. The Quest blog is taking the search through the Arthurian Romance texts. Check it out. Huzzah

15 October 2006

Grail Seekers Media Watch Week Ending 15 oct 06

  • History Channel has a number of specials of interest this week.

Sunday; 15 Oct 06: 6-7pm CST; Lost Worlds - Knights Templar.

Sunday; 15 Oct 06: 9-10pm CST; Strange Egypt

Monday; 16 Oct 06: 9-10pm; Lost Worlds - Atlantis

Saturday; 21 Oct 06: 6-7pm ; Modern Marvels - Da Vinci Tech.

  • On the Laura Lee Show; Wednesday 18 Oct 06 Gregg Braden talks about the wisdom to be found in ancient texts throughout the world.
  • There were a ton of Friday the 13th articles out this week here, besides mine here are just a few from my Google news search.

Friday the 13th
Belfast Telegraph - United Kingdom
... Also, recently brought to light by Dan Brown's ubiquitous The Da Vinci Code, is the role the Knights Templar may have played in enforcing the stigma attached ...

Calendar date superstitions are a numbers game
Blairsville Dispatch - PA, USA
Oct. 13, 1307. On that date, France's King Philip IV had the Knights Templar imprisoned and subjected to torture and execution

Locals profess little trepidation about Friday the 13th (subscription) - OR,USA
"There is the theory that it became unlucky after the King of France executed the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th," said John Tillman, when asked where he ...

Happy Friday the 13th!
Cinematical - Santa Monica,CA,USA
For example, some feel the original Friday the 13th (or Black Friday) was when hundreds of Knights Templar were simultaneously arrested on Friday October 13 ...

Oooeer! It's Friday the 13th
OhmyNews International - South Korea
On that fateful Autumn day the king of France ordered the destruction of the Knights Templar. Hundreds were killed, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. ...

Why Friday 13th is so unlucky
News Shopper - UK
that the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, in combination with the King of France, sentenced a monastic military order known as the Knights Templar to death .

  • Scholars discuss Sardinia being Atlantis in Rome this week.


  • The Society Perillos site posted an article entitled the Enigma of the Rennes-le-Chateau Cemetary.

  • Other than that, there hasn’t been much activity this week. However, if you’re looking for a good movie next weekend, check out The Prestige. I had a chance to catch a press screening of it this week and reviewed it on my other, more free form blog Kannard’s Random Stuff. Enjoy.

13 October 2006

Thanks for the Link-back

Thanks goes out to Grouchoghandi for the link back to the site. Check out his informative and pretty funny site above. I try to give kudos to those that link to the blog. If you link to us, let me know. Thanks again for every one's support.


12 October 2006

A Day That is Unlucky; for Some

The Arrest of the Templars
from the British Library Web site

Tomorrow, in France the weather will be much the same as it was 699 years ago. A slight overcast sky and the first hints of a damp autumn chill in the wind. Tomorrow morning in 1307, a letter bearing the seal of Phillip the Fair was being opened by sheriffs. Upon penalty of death, the King’s men were not to open this document before sunrise. I’m sure this perplexed many of the simple men whose job was to maintain the rule of the King through out the country side. Many would have to have found someone to read the letter to them. Many more would not know what to make of it after they heard the contents. Phillip the Fair had ordered the arrest of all Templars in France under charges of heresy. This would have compounded the confusion of the sheriffs. The Templars involved in the black arts? The thought would have been like reading science fiction to many of the men.
An undertaking of this scope had never happened before. This was the world’s first large-scale coordinated police action. The plan was to keep the arrest order secret until the moment of the arrests. The logistics of even delivering the orders began on 9 Sept 1307. Thousands of men had to be trusted not to open the King’s orders. They would have had to be further trusted not to reveal the contents to a soul even if they had taken a peek inside.

As with most complex plans, something did not go as intended. What the leak in security was, the world will probably never know. By the time the main Templar preceptory was raided in Paris, nothing was left. The Templar fleet had vanished from the Port of Le Harve along with any documents or treasures the Order held. The number of Templars that were arrested that day is in dispute by historians. Numbers from a few hundred to 15,000 have been reported. Of whatever numbers were arrested, the one that should have escaped must have chosen not to. Jacque de Molay, the Grand Master of the Temple stayed behind and was arrested.

Now this story is not news to anyone that has studied the history of the Templars. The day has been marred since then as an unlucky day. People that know nothing of the Templars will huddle themselves in their houses, simply because they know that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. It amazes me that the shadow of the Knights Templar reaches us even today.

The purpose of this article is not to inform, but to remind. Remind us that of the bravery of Jacque de Molay in staying behind to cover for his brothers. Remind us of the travesty of justice that occurred that day, and unless any populace is watchful could happen again. Remind us of one of the great mysteries of all time? The sometimes touted guardians of the Grail, what was taken away from their preceptory and where did they go? 

So for whatever your reasons are, just take a moment to remember. No matter what your thoughts on the nature of the Templars are, simply to remember their plight on this day is enough to keep the history alive for another year.

08 October 2006

The Return of the Grail Seeker and Article Wrap up Since August.

After a long silence, I think things have calmed down at work enough for me to resume the work of a Grail Seeker… My apologies to all that have been reading the blog. Without further ado, here’s a recap of the Grail and Grail related topics in the media for the last few weeks.

This Week’s Media

  • Monday night on Coast to Coast AM: Publisher of online travel journal, Mysterious World, Doug Elwell will discuss the Irish origins of Halloween, and provide info on fairies and leprechauns, as well as wizards, druids and cryptids.
  • Thursday 12 Oct 06 at 9:00pm EST, the History Channel will premier a special entitled The Secrets of the Dollar Bill. This special will explore the symbolism of US currency and will take a look at the US Treasury Department.

Articles and Interviews from August to Present:

  • The Guardian presented a good article on the melding of Masonic and Pagan symbolism in Nicholas Hawksmoor’s architecture. Hawksmoor was the architect of a number of Churches in London 250 years ago.
  • Physorg reports that scientists from the US Department of Energy find anomalies in silver contents of pottery during the Second Temple period. What does this mean to the Grail Seeker? I’m not sure, but it’s interesting none the less.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls are now being tested for DNA to help piece more of the document’s fragments together.
  • Those of you that follow Carl Jung and his wife’s interest in the Grail and mystics might be interested in this article on Jung’s more mystic bent.
  • I’m guessing that the BBC read my article on Jesus in Japan and was inspired to report on it. Ok, maybe not. But if that interested you, check out their research here.
  • Robert Cooper has a new book out called the The Rossyln Hoax. (Once again avalibe only in the UK at present) I met Robert at a Masonic conference at London’s Canonbury Masonic Research Centre in 1999. He’s not only a very knowledgeable guy, but he also is the Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library in Edinburgh. A summary of the book can be found here.
  • In the realm of fiction, Johny Depp has been tapped in a film version of Dark Horse Comic’s Rex Mundi

09 July 2006

Grail Seeker Media Watch for the Week Ending 8 July 06

  • The Lichfield Mercury News has an article announcing Clifton Powers has written a book about decoding the letters inscribed at the Shepherds at Arcadia monument at Shugborough Hall. “Mr Power's book, Arcadia: The Solution to the Templar Code, claims an acronymic code where each letter stands for a Latin word”; which has nothing to do with Grail mysteries. Of other note relating to this story, Bletchley Park held a contest in 2004 to solve this puzzle. At the time Bletchley Park promised further information on their findings, which has never come. As a matter of fact, I can find no reference to the project on Bletchley’s web site. I’ll report more on this aspect of this story when some of my feelers come back in.
  • Zenit New Agency reported that when Benedict XVI is in Valencia on Saturday (yesterday), he will venerate the Valencia Chalice. This chalice is kept in the cathedral of Valencia and is yet another contender for being the cup used at the Last Supper. As of this posting, I have not been able to find confirmation that this veneration by the Pope happened.
  • There’s been a lot of talk of a relic that was found in Colorado some 45 years ago. Originally, researchers thought that the mystery relic was part of a cross brought to the area by Spanish Explorers. Now the consensus seems to be that it is a sheath to a Masonic sword. Confused? So am I. Here are the articles that are relevant to this topic.

06 July 2006

Fiction For a Grail Seeker part 2

For some reason, I couldn't tack this one on my last post. But without further ado..

While I have not read it yet, Grail Seeker friend Bob Freeman assures me that you horror fans out there will love his latest book.

Bob's blurb on Amazon states...

In the sleepy little town of Somerset an ancient evil awakens, hungering for blood and vengeance... Michael Somers is brought to Cairnwood Manor, an isolated estate in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. But very soon he finds himself drawn into the strange and esoteric world of werewolves, vampires, witches... and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland... If Michael is to survive he must face his inner demons and embrace his family's dark past.

04 July 2006

Fiction Fit for a Grail Seeker

From time to time, even the most ardent of Grail Seekers has to take a break from his/her quest. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite fiction works that would hold a Grail Seekers attention while on vacation.

The Chronicles of the Holy Grail

This Arthurian anthology collects stories of magic, mystery, and adventure inspired by the Holy Grail, in the form of the cup from the Last Supper, by such noted authors as Tanith Lee, Marion Zimmer Bradley, T. H. White, William Morris, and others. In all there are 22 Arthurian stories and 15 original stories. The authors also have a nice introduction to Grail Legend and Arthurian characters in the forward. The range of authors gives one a good feel for the influences and differing thoughts on the Grail.

Foucault's Pendulum

What list of books would be complete without mentioning Umberto Eco's classic Foucault's Pendulum? The story centers on a group of writers that invent a history of various events and tie it up in a nice package around the Knights Templar. The group concludes that the Knight's Templar real goal was to take over the world. Their manufactured history says the time is approaching when the Templar's plans are about to culminate. It was all fun and games for the trio until their fantasy starts to become true. Eco pulls every bit of esoterica out of the wood work for this one. I was amazed at how challenged I was grasping at references. Mathematic puzzles, physics, voodoo, Rosicrucians, Freemasons, metaphysics, philosophy and cultural mythology are all placed in the tale to challenge the reader. If nothing else, the text will challenge you to figure out the rich banquet of the occult.


This film has gone mostly unnoticed by most esoteric minded folks out there, and it’s a shame. Centering on an object called the Loculus, Revelation weaves a 2000 year of an object and what mysteries it holds. Picking and choosing from many underground streams, Revelation visually and contextually well put together film. I hate to say too much of the plot or why the Templars or the bad guys. Check it out. If nothing else, Sci-Fi channel shows it from time to time.

The Adept

Also in the series: The Lodge of the Lynx, The Templar Treasure , Dagger Magic , The Death of an Adept

Authors Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris turn into the esoteric version of Nora Roberts in the Adept series. The books focuses around FBI shrink Sir Adam Sinclair who is a psychically/magically/esoterically powered Adept. The Adepts are charged with fighting evil in whatever form they find it through out the world. Sinclair, of course, surrounds himself with like minded and powered people to save the world from one evil plot after another. The group locks horns with Satan Worshipers, evil Druids, long gone Nazis, and the shadowy Lodge of the Lynx folks.

It sounds as though I didn’t like these books. On the contrary, they are easy on the mind fun adventures in the occult. They’re perfect for an in flight diversion or road trip read. Don’t expect to be too challenged by any of the references or plot points inside.

Tales of the Knights Templar

Also in the series: On Crusade: More Tales of the Knights Templar

I’ll follow up the Adept Series with another Kurtz extravaganza, the Templar Series. Each of the books presents fictional accounts of the Templar’s exploits. Kurtz has collected short stories from sci-fi and fantasy writers relating to the Poor Knights. As with any anthology, you take the good with the bad. Once again, solid historical fiction it’s not; pass the time mind candy it is.

The Word

Wallace’s, at the time it was published, controversial novel deals with a publisher task with presenting the lost gospel of Jesus’ brother; James the Just. Published in 1972, The Word weaves a conspiratorial tale of not only the religious implication, but that of business and academic concerns. I read this one early in college and remembered it opening my eyes to the possibilities of how fragile one’s belief systems can be.


Director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream )presents what it’s like to be a half crazed mathematician who is trying to find the unifying answer in chaotic systems. The main character, Max, is courted by Hassidic Jews looking for the ineffable name of God and Wall Street spooks for his predictive formulas. Aronofsky’s direction and the cinematic style are almost as chaotic as the systems that Max is trying to unravel. But that turns out to be a visual strength. One gets the feeling of what it must be like to be a paranoid genius that really does have someone after him.

02 July 2006

Japan, Jesus, and the Grail

MSN Mainichi via Playboy Weekly (thus proving that, if not truth, fodder for the Grail Seeker’s hunt is truly scattered…) reported on 9 Jun 06 on Japan’s bid for a Grail tradition. The full article can be found HERE. The bad thing is there is no real substance to article. Lore of a lost treasure, a second coming of a messiah, and banners showing the cup of Jesus are interesting; but not the stuff of Grail tradition. When one links this information with other Christian traditions in Japan, an unusual pattern emerges.

Japan has a long standing Christian community that calls itself the Kakure Kirishitan, or Hidden Christians. According to history, Christianity was first introduced in 1549 by missionary Frances Xavier. ( If you’re looking for the Cliff’s Notes version of how Christianity came to Japan, the New York Times did a good piece in 1997 that can be found HERE ) It would seem that the Hidden Christians were persecuted by the country’s Buddhist and Shinto, lost their revolt, and went further underground. End of story… I would have thoughts to if it were not for this. There are some traditions that link Japan with early Judeo-Christian persons and events.

The first two are that the Ark of the Covenant resides now in Japan and the lost tribe of Israel settled there. For purposes of this article, I’m not going to delve into these theories. (If you’re interested the above links will take you to articles that illuminate the subjects.) However, the traditions do exist and lend an amount of plausibility to the Grail side of the story.

Grail Seeker point of logic: Where traditions exist, there is one of these reasons for their existence.

  1. The tradition is as true to the situations/conditions described as possible. Oddly enough this is the hardest to prove. In most instances this is hard to believe that any tradition, in any social group, does not mutate some. Tiny deviances in a tradition’s factual basis can sometimes cast a shadow over its’ validity. The other issue with totally true traditions is that why should evidence be preserved to verify a story that a society knows is “true”? The best example here is one most of us have seen in real life. You walk into a bar one night and talk to someone expounding on their military service record. Most of what this person says is basically true. The person did serve in the military and all of his basic facts are correct. But, the introduction of alcohol into the situation creates variations in otherwise true events.
  2. The tradition is totally false and was invented by someone with an agenda. . Whether the reason was to sell a bill of goods to social group or for the “greater good”, it doesn’t matter. The only good thing about totally false tradition is that it may be able to be totally disproved, and thus discarded for any logical considerations. Take the case of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. Every school child in America would tell you that this story is totally true. The truth is that Mason Locke Weems invented this story for a biography of Washington. Since there was no reason to doubt Weems account, the story has stood almost to this day as a valid American tradition.
  3. The tradition is a mixture of the above statements. This one really stinks for us looking to the past for answers. Oral traditions get muddled, names change spellings, authors own prejudices obscure some facts and shine on others, and are all reasons for fact and error to mix. It is then a most difficult job to pull apart the fact from the errors. This is especially true when two groups of people merge. Either through misunderstanding of the other’s language or culture, or divergent evolution the groups tales get interwoven.

The Japanese Christian tradition that dovetails on the 9 June 06 MSN Mainichi article is that Jesus actually resided in Japan. The village of Shingo claims that Jesus, and his brother, are entombed there. According to village tradition, at the age of 21 Jesus traveled to Japan and returned to Judea 12 years later. Events then unfolded as per the Gospel accounts, with the exception that he escaped crucifixion. Jesus’ brother Isukuri took his place on the cross in Jerusalem. Jesus then fled back to Japan, married there and eventually died there at the age of 106.

In 1935, Sajiro Sawaguchi, a native Shingoite claimed to be a descendant of Jesus. (For a complete article on this topic visit HERE.) Supposedly, Mr. Sawaguchi had documents proving that his blood line claim was factual. These documents were destroyed in WWII and exist only in second hand form. There is a copy of this document in Shingo today. The tradition of Jesus living in Japan is long standing and should be far removed from the influences of Western Traditions. I have seen references on the web that link Kakure Kirishitan oral history to the above story. I am hesitant to even mention this because I can in no way verify this fact. I do know that there is a Hidden Christian holy text: The Beginning Heaven and Earth. Having to keep their faith underground, their sacred thoughts were not in writing until recently. These links exist between Shingo and the Hidden Christians exist, could the “treasure” of the Hidden Christians have a Grail implication?

It is interesting that the Shingo legends have the ring of some of the Gnostic Gospels. Those that subscribe to the “Underground Stream of Knowledge” being the Grail this raises questions of how was the Gnostic influence introduced into early Japanese Christianity? Was it through a source prior to the 1549 missionary trip of Frances Xavier, or was it through one of Xavier’s party for their own ends? Or is there no link at all to Gnostic thought and the similarities are due to divergent evolution?

Those of you out there that lean towards the Holy Blood, Holy Grail line of thinking have just to transpose Japan with the south of France for all of your questions this raises.

As usual, there are no answers. Just a pile of questions and abstract Grail thoughts.

Grail Seeker Media Watch for the Week Ending 1 July 06

This is all the news that I found of any interest this week. If you know of any additions, please let me know.

An interesting article on the Book of Thothweb site entitled The Nature of the Holy Grail explores what the Grail could be.

The Fortean Times Issue #212 has articles on The Priory of Zion and the musical cipher in Rosslyn Chapel. (At least I scooped the Fortean Times on this one…)

Andrew Gough’s Arcadia has an interview with long time Grail researcher Phillip Coppens

History Channel announces Lost Worlds: The Knights Templar Special that will air on 10 July 06 at 9pm EST. The special will focus on their HQ at the Temple Mount, The Temple Church in London, and excavations in Syria.

Bucharest Daily News announces the opening of the first Romanian York Rite Masonic Lodge. At least the first public opening of one. I have no doubt that there were a number of underground Lodges that operated behind the former Iron Curtain.

12 June 2006

The Nanteos Cup

The story of the Nanteos Cup begins during the reign of King Henry VIII. In the late 1520’s, Henry began making steps to separate England from the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church. The disagreement between the Church and King centered round Henry’s desire to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragorn. Catherine had not produced a male heir for Henry and he wished to marry Anne Boleyn in hopes of producing a son. Henry bantered with the Catholic Church for a number of years. Henry exchanged letters and delegates with the Holy See in hopes of winning his annulment. The Catholic position was not only one of Church doctrine, but of politics. The Pope, not wishing to alienate England

In 1533, Henry took matters into his own hands and secretly married the pregnant Boleyn. Parliament then passed an act that dissolved Papal authority in England. This act made an English Court’s decision that Henry’s marriage to Catherine was legally annulled, and therefore his marriage to Boleyn valid. The Parliament’s actions also proscribed placing Henry as the spiritual leader of the newly formed Church of England. The doctrine of the Church of England was the same as Catholic doctrine with the exception of the Pope’s authority in matter of faith. By 1536, all public and ecclesial officials had to publicly denounce the authority of Rome in accordance with the Reformation Parliaments acts.

There was no public outcry for the loss of Papal authority. Most commoners saw the Catholic Church as a spiritual protection racket. The Church charged to perform weddings, baptisms, or funeral services. Without these services, the Church’s stance was that entry into heaven could not be obtained. To Henry, the Catholic Abbeys and Monasteries represented pockets of resistance to his reign. Pragmatically, they also represented a stream of income to the crown. Most Abbeys had large tracks of farmable land and other material assets that could be put to the King’s use. To insure that the monasteries were conforming to the law, Thomas Cromwell organized groups of commissioners to perform ecclesial spot checks. This turned out to be a rather lucrative job for the commissioners. Who had the honor of looting the monasteries where the monks were found to be in violation of the law.

It is during this time the Nanteos Cup surfaces. In 1539, the King’s commissioners were sent to check on the Abbey of Glastonbury. The Abbot of Glastonbury had evidently never denounced Papal authority. Some loyal Catholic had tipped the Abbot off that the commissioners were in the area. Upon hearing this, the Abbot made plans to hide the Abbey’s most prized possession. Along with what ever gold and silver wares the Abbey possessed, an olive wood cup measuring about five by three inches was hidden. One legend says the Abbot sent seven monks to the Strata Florida to safe guard the cup. The Abbot stayed at Glastonbury to cover the monk’s escape. For the Abbot’s devotion to his faith and the cup, the old priest was hung and Glastonbury Abbey was sacked. A second, more likely version, is that the Abbot accompanied the monks and barely escaped the commissioner’s ravages of Glastonbury.

At the Abbey Strata Florida in Cardiganshire, the monks found momentary refuge. Supposedly, they hid their treasure under a loose floor board in the main chapel. It wasn’t long before the commissioners picked up the monk’s trail. For a second time, the former Glastonbury Monks were informed that their position was in jeopardy. The group of seven could not go to ground forever. They had to find a patron to shield them from the King’s agents or leave the country.

The monks then made contact with the Powell family. It was also rumored that the Powell family was partners with the neighboring Stedman family in a rather extensive smuggling operation. There was said to be a tunnel running nearly a mile from the coast to the Powell’s manor. The local tavern talk was that the Powell’s loyalties to the King were bought with bribes to the local magistrates. Possibly it was the smuggler nature to turn a profit or secret Catholic ties that connected Lord Powell with the monks. For whatever reason Powell’s reasons, the seven monks were directed to fleet to the Powell estate of Nanteos.

When the monks reached Nanteos, the terms of their safe haven was struck with Lord Powell. In exchange for sanctuary, the Abbot would become personal chaplain to the family and the remaining monks would become servants around the estate. Lord Powell agreed and let the monks remain at the estate for as long as they liked. This arraignment went along for years. The monks lived their days with little difference than they had at Glastonbury. The only exception being, hiding in the costal tunnel when prying eyes came to the estate. The monks kept their part of the bargain for a number of years. All the while, keeping the secret of the cup they had spirited away from Glastonbury.

The ravages of age or disease began taking their toll on the monks, until only one remained. On his death bed, the lone Glastonbury monk called for Lord Powell. It was there he entrusted Powell with the olive wood cup and it’s secret. Lord Powell was told that this was the cup used at the Last Supper. It had been brought to Brittan by Joseph of Arimathea after the crucifixion. It must have been with some trepidation he took the cup from the dying monk. Viewing what he had been told was the Holy Grail. The monk charged the Powell Family to guard the cup, until the “Church shall claim her own.”

Lord Powell must have taken his charge seriously, because it stayed in the family for nearly 400 years. In 1739, the Nanteos House was rebuilt by Thomas Powell. The cup was housed in a glass container of an upstairs room. Visitors to Nanteos were even told the generations old tale of how this cup came into the family’s possession. The cup stayed there for another 200 years, attracting pilgrims hoping to receive miraculous healing from the cup. Water that had rested in the cup was sent to serious ill friends and family members all over the world. Richard Wagner made a trip to Nanteos in 1855 to see the cup while writing Parsifal, at the invitation of George Powell. George recounted tales of the cups healing powers to Wagner. It even convinced Tom Mac Donald of Western Mail and South Wales News to write an article on the cup. On 5 July 1934 he recounted the story of an 80 year old man who was healed of some unnamed sickness after drinking from the cup.

The pilgrims that traveled to Nanteos House to drink from the cup have taken a physical toll on the artifact. Those desperate enough to receive the blessings of the cup took to taking bites out of it. Hoping that by ingesting some of the cup, they would be made well again. At some point after the 1934 article was written, a silver ring was placed around the rim to hold the cup’s cracked pieces together. Some say that it was then the miraculous benefits of the cup ceased.

When the last of the Powell family passed away in 1952, the Nanteos House was sold to a Major Mirylees. The Mirylees were somewhat private about the cup. They no longer publicizing the fact they were the owners of the “Holy Grail”. The family did allow a few interviews regarding the cup. One was a 1997 BBC Television documentary and another was an interview granted to the Martinist Review in 1959. In the Martinist Review article, Marjory Mirylees hinted that the cup was still being used to some extent to heal the sick. She also mentioned that sometimes the water that was poured in the remaining portion of the cup turned a yellowish color, and tasted almost like wine. Mrs. Mirylees also assured the reporters that experts had told her the wood had absolutely nothing to do with the color change.

The present Mirylees have moved from Nanteos House. The once proud House has turned into a run down bed and breakfast. Choosing to preserve both the cup and their privacy they moved to Herefordshire and deposited this contender for the true Grail in a Lloyd’s Bank safety deposit box. The only time the Nanteos Cup has been displayed was in 2001, at the launching of a book Nanteos and their Families. At the time, Miss Mirylees said that she still sent water out from the cup.

06 June 2006

Knights Templar Reading Lists

In the last few years there has been a ton of books written on the Templars. The following are good starting points for not only the known history of the Order, but a primer on the conjectural side of Templar history.

Dungeon, Fire and Sword; John Robinson

John Robinson, author of Born in Blood, writes his history of the Knight's Templar in this text. While the text is informative on the Templar's, it tends to turn into a history of the Crusades and the politics of the era. Robinson does have a story telling style to his history and the text is recommended to those who are looking for an over view of what is historically known about the Templars. For those who are looking for speculation about what the Templars could have done or what they might have been involved in during the Crusades, this is not a text you'll want to pick up.

The Templars : Knights of God; Edward Burman

This is a very concise overview of the Templars during the Crusades. The weakness of most texts dealing with the Templars is that the focus tends to be on the Crusades, and mention of the Templars is an after thought. Knights of God attempts to break that mold. The author’s focus is very clear in trying to report on what is known about the organization. It’s a good starter text for anyone wishing to get a historical background of the Knights.

The Trial of the Templars;Malcomb Barber

Malcolm Barber is one of the world’s leading medieval historians. He has written a number of histories of the Templars and of the Crusades. I decided to put this one on the reading list because of the events it deals with. To understand any post 1307 conjectural history of the Templars, one must understand how and why they fell from power. Barber takes a close look at the surviving documentation to report on this subject in depth. There is a very scholarly air about Barber’s writing, but it is in no way impenetrable to the armchair historian.

Sign and the Seal : The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant; Graham Hancock

If one says nothing else about Graham Hancock, it would be that he is a man of adventure. Hancock's was a journalist for a number of prominent English newspapers during the 1970's, and was the Economist's East African correspondent in the early 80's. Trained as a sociologist at Durham University, Hancock's travels impressed upon him that what we know about history is not really what we know about history. It is from this framework we come to Hancock's first crypto-historical book the Sign and the Seal.

Hancock's theory is that the Holy Grail is the Ark of the Covenant. Hancock became fascinated with the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia while on assignment there in 1983. The Falasha's folklore tells that the Ark of the Covenant was taken from Israel by Solomon and The Queen of Sheba's son, and returned to Ethiopia. There exists a church in Axum, that Christian Ethiopians believe houses the Ark. Hancock goes on to claim that the Knights Templar figured out where the Ark was and went to Ethiopia to find it.

Hancock's arguments are rather compelling. The present day practices of Ethiopian Christians and architecture bearing Templar Crosses, go a long way in presenting his case. Should the Ark of the Covenant still exist, Hancock's argument will make you think there is no better place in the world that it would reside.

As to the Holy Grail connection, Hancock uses Grail Literature as a hidden code to decipher that the Grail is the Ark. While the argument for the Ark residing in Ethiopia is compelling, the link between the Grail and the Ark is not so. The strength of this text is in Hancock's interviews with Ethiopian Religious leaders and research into the history of Ethiopia.

The Templars and the Grail : Knights of the Quest

Dr. Karen Ralls explores the legendary and literary links between the Templars and the quest for the Grail. I was fortunate enough to meet Karen at a conference in 1999 in London. At the time she was an Deputy Curator of the Rosslyn Chapel Museum. Her insights on things Grail related yield some interesting results. She also supports the web site Ancient Quest

Templar Documents Sold at Auction in London

Click here for the full source article

In London this past week John Goodchild auctioned off deeds of the Knights Templar dating back to the 12th and 13th Centuries. These deeds relate to holdings in the Lofthouse and Newland areas in England. The documents also have references to Temple Newsam Given the Da Vinci Codefuror, the street value of any such documents has risen significantly. I suspect that a close watch of upper end action houses lots will yield a number of such items up for sale in the coming months.

Goodchild supports a local research center in Wakefield, a displays what is simply known as the Goodchild Collection. According to a UK ARCHON search, this collection simply houses some family’s deeds from the Wakefield area. Goodchild as also written a texts relating to the Wakefield area . However, I cannot find any references on the net to the book News from Newland. It’s likely that the book is available at local book shops. Goodchild’s books and research generally follow the history of the Wakefield area. The majority of Goodchild’s texts are published by Tempus Publishing and Wakefield Historical Publications. The conspiracy theorist in me, that I do try to suppress when writing this blog, notes that Wakefield Historical Publications web site does display the Fleur-de-lay at the top and bottom of every page.

Points I found interesting about the article

  • The Templar documents came from a large estate that Goodchild is not willing to name. I know there are numerous donations to charities and the like that hold anonymity clauses. But Goodchild states that he is not “prepared” to disclose this information. I know this is a matter of semantics, but interesting none the less.
  • Goodchild states in the article that he had no idea of the value of the Templar documents he held. This is a rather odd statement. How could a retired archivist not know anything related to the Templars would hold significant value?

Once again, the job of the Grail Seeker leads to more questions that answers. I just wonder what else is in Mr. Goodchild’s achieves.

31 May 2006

Freemasonry Book Lists

Most people come to researching Freemasonry through a few different avenues.
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • Origins of the organization and its links to other groups (Templars, Rosicrucians, Kabalistic Schools)
  • The meaning of Rites and rituals
  • Freemasonry’s link to past historical movements (The American Revolution, The French Revolution, Robert the Bruce)

Most of which are very valid lines of inquiry since many lines of modern day Grail are at tangent topical lines. I would give anyone a few pointers if you’re just beginning to look into the subject.

There are a ton of very poorly written and thought out texts about Freemasonry. I tend to stick to the texts that present either historical or conjectural account of the organization. Generally the more inflammatory the text is, the poorer the research and the argument is. The The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight is a prime example of my assertion. Emotion tends to take the place of logic in books of this type. This is not to say that there are no valid arguments for “Masonic conspiracies”. One has only to look at the Henry Morgan affair in the early 1800’s and the 1980’s Italian P2 lodge scandals for that. Keep one thing in mind when exploring historical events and Masonry. Events center around groups of men that are Masons, not Masonry acting as an organization. Most Masonic Lodges these days have problems putting together summer picnics, let alone controlling countries and banking systems.

If you’re interested in the ritual of Freemasonry, another word of caution. Ritual varies from State to State, and Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction. Don’t expect to pick up a text containing a particular Degree’s work and try to dissect it word for word. Use these texts to grasp the stories and lessons they present. I fear that one would be wasting their time if they did such a thing. The rituals have changed so much over the years, if such a link existed, it is lost.

Below are some primer texts

Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry; Brent Morris

If you know nothing of Freemasonry and want a good place to start, this is it. Brent Morris is the editor of The Scottish Rite Journal and a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. He takes pains to paint what modern day Masonry is truly about and what he perceives as its origins.

Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry; John Robinson

This has to be the finest book on the subject of the first three degrees of Masonry, and Freemasonry’s connection to the Knights Templar I have ever read. Robinson came to his hypothesis quite by accident. Robinson began by investigating a little known late middle ages English Revolt, which lead him to the Templars/Freemasonry connection. Robinson also goes into exhaustive detail and explanation of the Blue Lodge Degrees. This is the text that started me down the road I am on now, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Freemasonry & the Birth of Modern Science; Robert Lomas

Robert Lomas of Hiram Key and The Second Messiah fame explores the English Royal Society and it’s links to Freemasonry. Although, some of the links are tenuous, their overall hypothesis of Freemasonry being the driving force behind the Royal Society is valid enough. This text also gives a good look into Freemasonry in the years before the official formation of the Grand Lodge of England.

Duncan's Ritual of Freemasonry

Duncan’s Ritual is a guide to all of Freemasonry’s Ritual. From the Blue Lodge Degrees, and York Rite degrees; one is presented with the verbiage from work. Keep in mind my previous admonition; view these works as guides to the stories and lessons taught within the Degrees and not something to be dissected word by word.

A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry

Written by A.E. Waite, this text is exactly what it says. It takes numerous topics from Masonic history and ritual and attempts to explain their meanings. Waite was a prolific writer of all things occult in the early 1900’s. Waite’s research is exhaustive and once again hits on many tangent Grail lines. We will be seeing more of his texts as the reading lists go on.

The Temple and the Lodge; Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh

The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail give conjecture of what happened to the Knights Templar after the 1307 arresets. Their thesis is that the Templars fled to Scotland and fought with Robert the Bruce against the English. They further hypothesis that the Templar’s rituals turned into Freemasonry. Baigent and Leigh extend their research into Freemasonry during the American Revolution and the formation if the US.