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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.