Thursday, May 11, 2017

So, I'm in Canada, eh?

I am in Ottawa Ontario, staying with wonderful friends who are treating me like beloved family. Since I have no family, it feels great to be cherished, valued, feted.  I am thinking, just now, of Parsifal's first arrival at the Grail Kingdom. It is his destiny to be King of the Grail Kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love, but he must first voice empathy for the then-sitting King who has a perpetual wound.  Is this wound an analogy for original sin? Must Parsifal offer empathy or simply acknowledge the Grail King's perpetual wound? Ponder, ponder.

In his first entry into the Grail Kingdom, which the young, new, untrained knight bumbled into, Parsifal was greeted with astonishing warmth, feted all night with many dancers, musicians, food.
All in the Grail Kingdom knew Parsifal's destiny, that he would ascend to happiness and love as the next Grail King.

First, he had to acknowledge he saw that Grail King already on the throne was wounded.

That Grail King had to be carried into the hall for the big party shown to celebrate Parsifal's arrivel. The whole kingdom was eager for Parisival to ask of the King, "What is it that ails thee?" and then P would ascend to the throne, giving the kingdom a needed, new king.

Although Parsifal had been raised in a shielded, protective way, for his mother hoped to keep him from his destiny as a knight. His father had been a knight and had died in far away lands without ever seeing his son. Parsifal's mother believed in the impossible. A mother cannot shelter her child from the child's destiny. It was Parsifal's destiny to be a great knight and the next Grail King.

So she had sent him off with a broken down horse, shabby clothing and no armor, hoping no one would take her son seriously and he would soon return home. He never returned home. He never saw his mother again.

When Parsifal set off, young, naive and untrained, he just went along, wherever his horse went was okay. The horse brought Parsifal to one kingdom and that one took him in. The king had a daughter and he immediately had an instinct that Parisfal would make a good husband for his princess daughter. Parsifal stayed with that king and his kingdom many weeks. And that first king tried to mentor Parsifal in the ways of knighthood.

That first king gave Parsifal some poor advice.  He told Parsifal that since he was so young and inexperienced, he should not ask a lot of questions.

When Parsifal witnessed the Grail King being carried on reclining bed into the Great Hall for Parsifal's welcoming party, Parsifal did, truly, have a question for that Grail King. P. wanted to ask 'what is it that ails thee?" but he did not because he was naive and untrained and he remembered the first king's advice, that he not ask too many questions. So P's moment to meet his destiny as Grail King passed.

When he awoke the next morning, no one was in the entire castle. All the people who had happily showered him with gifts, such as a fine steed and an excellent set of armor and all the women who had danced and parried with him were gone. His horse and aror remained. He walked through the castle calling out. When he was sure the castle was empty, he put on his armor and fine new clothing, mounted his fine new horse and left. The drawbridge from the castle to land was down. He rode across that drawbridge and when half way across it, it stopped and looked back but he could not see the castle.

He spent many years trying to find that Grail Castle again. He married. He visited the great Round Table in another kingdom. He searched and searched. When he was ready to step into his destiny, he came upon the Grail Kingdom again, just as unexpectedly as he had the first time. On his second visit, he had matured. He knew he should voice his empathy for the King's wound. So he did so.

As soon as Parsifal asked his question of the Grail King, rays of light appears on him. A throne was brought forth for him. A crown, a royal robe. and all in the great hall of the great castle bowed down before their new King.

I'm chewing my cud on Parsifal. I have a sense I might be ready for the message of Wolfgang von Eschebach's great, epic poem, published in the 14th Century but, previously, it had been told by roving storytellers for a long time.

I sometimes think I have discerned why this tale has arisen so strongly for me. I sat down to write this, hoping to find out. It slipped away.