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The Mystery of the Grail: Initiation and Magic in the Quest for the Spirit Paperback – November 1, 1996
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One of the strengths of Julius Evola is that he appreciates and explains the syncretic elements of Christian belief and culture fully, describing their antecedents in other traditions, without hostility. Today the parallels between elements of the Christian faith and other faiths such as Zoroastrianism or Islam are often presented and taken as proofs of the inauthenticity of Christianity, by foes of Christians. Evola, though not a Christian, but baptized as one, and living in the thoroughly Catholic Italy and Europe, does not partake nor represent any such sort of deconstructive tribal antagonism against Europe and the West. Rather, Evola explores virtuously such parallels without judgmental and propagandistic aims. Hence, while his work is often appreciated by non-Christians more so than others, Christians could most certainly benefit from studying his works just as well. The Baron reveals the deep antediluvian Tradition that lies under the exoteric forms with which we are generally most familiar.
The Grail mystery is a key symbol in Julius Evola's works over his lifetime, in many important ways acting as an indispensible nexus between polytheistic heathen, pagan exoteric forms, and the other more monotheistic exoteric forms. This explanation of the Grail tradition is indispensible for a complete understanding of the rich archetypal symbolism pervading so much of Western thought, religion, myth, and art.
Anyone who loves Le Morte D'Arthur, or Wagnerian Parsifal, needs to read this book to come to a more full understanding of the context, symbolism, and hidden meanings that infuse these works which are in themselves deriavative of other older works that are almost inaccessible to the contemporary English speaking reader of today.
After Revolt Against the Modern World, understanding the Baron's opus as a whole requires a careful reading and study of this book.
Grail legends take on different flavors depending on the age from which they spring, but for the novice student who comes expecting merely the cup of Christ's blood from Joseph of Arimathea (a medieval rendition) or the chalice from which Christ drank at the Last Supper, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Evola was a mystic and an esotericist, and this is the slant from which he writes. Mere facts and legends are of no interest to him save their elevation of man from his the sleep of forgetting to near Olympic heights, and this is what the Grail has long represented for occultists and seekers. As you read, you will come to know which of the many versions of the story the author supports and his own veiled conclusions as to what the Grail actually is. It is all covered here, from the ancient Tuatha of the north, the fall of the Morning Star, the Fisher King and even the King of the World, everything needed to embark upon your own exciting Grail voyage is established.
Evola's main idea is the promotion of the Medieval "Ghibelline" ideology, which is developed in this book (the original title is "the Mystery of the Grail and the Ghibelline Imperial idea"). Both the Ghibelline ideology and the history of the Grail are, according to Evola, based on ancient pagan North-European or Indo-Iranian myths (including the Hero-Warrior and the King of the World), which he opposes to the Semitic, "Guelf" ideology, which is represented by Christianity. Although Evola claimed not to support the contemporary fascist movement, it is difficult not to recognize some fascist themes in his theories (admittedly, some of those themes were very widespread in the later 19th century and early 20th).
In any case, his exposition of the myth of the Holy Grail in Medieval literature, and of its links with ancient myths and Medieval ideologies is very enlightening, even if you can disagree with some of his conclusions. The last part of the book discusses the Ghibelline heritage through the Templar Knights, the Rosicrucians and the Free-Masons. Evola shows how the latter have lost the traditional hermetic spirit of their origins after the French Revolution when they adopted modern positivism and materialism.