Thursday, September 2, 2010

Inside the Grail Legend

“...if one is to find the Grail, [that] means not to fall prey to a mood.” The Holy Grail as interpreted by Robert Johnson

There are many, many truths to be gained from study of this most unique of legends, the Holy Grail. Following the lead of Carl and Emma Jung and Marie Louise von Franz, Robert Johnson writes in his book, He, that “what the Grail myth is telling us is that in his relationship to the interior feminine a man should relate to her, that interior feminine [self] on a feeling level and not on a mood level.” The author distinguishes the terms mood and feeling by explanation: he writes, a mood is the result of the interior self unconsciously in possession, the anima or interior feminine self of a man; a feeling is a value, the ability to value. “If a man has a good relationship with his anima, his feminine self, he is able to feel, to value, and thus find meaning in his life. If a man is not related to his anima... he has no capacity for valuation. So sharp collision between the two types of interior experience a man goes through."

In the Legend of the Grail, Percival is guided to his feeling senses, his anima. In discovering a bit of this sense, he is useful and creative; in doing so, he must not however seduce or be seduced by the interior feminine self. Granting himself seduction is destructive towards his goal of finding the Grail Castle. He is, in the legend, most thoroughly advised not to fall prey to a mood. “As soon as a man falls into a mood, he has no capacity for relationship, no power for feeling and therefore no capacity for valuation.” All moods, good or bad, are trouble.

While under the spell of a mood, the one who feels its effect is like a person bewitched. “He cannot think, he cannot function, he cannot relate; he may think he’s doing a great deal, but there is just so much churning inside. If something is not already wrong, a man in a mood will make it wrong.” And if they are not wise to it, a man’s loved ones may also fall victim to his moods. A man may, in fact, in that state of mind think that they are quite responsible for his moods!

Robbed of a sense of relatedness or meaning, a man in a mood we learn in the Grail legend, is a man who cannot find fulfillment. He is easily bored. Thus “if something is wrong with one’s ability to relate, the meaning in life is gone. So depression is another term for mood. One finds that most of the content of a psychosis for a man is anima. It’s a haunting, a possession.” A mood is a little madness then, which overtakes. Many times a person may be overtaken by a mood. There is then wild enthusiasm for this or for that, but the mood runs its course and then the thing is forgotten; much time and money is expended by those in a mood. While in this state he does not ‘run his own house’ and then is impossible to live with; he is terribly critical of exterior, in the flesh women at this time, soundly blaming them for any number of things to which they stand mystified!  A man must learn in his quest for the Grail to look for fulfillment but not good moods, lest he is again in possession by something destructive. It’s as if in the mood he declares, “You are going to make me happy--or else!”

The anecdote to this is to learn to live in time, moment to moment. One can learn to recognize the advent of a mood and refuse it. It is one's responsibility to know what is going on within himself so as to live consciously-- the point of this quest for the Holy Grail. “A man who has this kind of self-knowledge begins to develop ego strength,” writes Johnson. When truly enthusiastic, a man is filled with the Spirit of God. He is vibrant and creative. A great creativity flows, one which is stable and productive. It is not the petulance of a child.

The truest genius of a flesh and blood woman is that if she can be consciously aware of her innate feminine nature, not critical of others, and strong enough to stand up to this “spurious femininity” when a man’s mood presents such; he will likely come out of his mood and return to his senses. Many in this world are in the possession of a mental illness, a foul mood which befalls them either frequently or intermittently. They may say they’re having a bad day while in this state. And when comes its opposite, because balance is necessary, mania or depression appears. Chaos may also result owing to the lack of feeling or valuing. Careful reflection and conscious awareness is the point of Percival’s methodical search. The myth, if we follow it through, tells us that Percival triumphs.

No comments: