As we head into the long dark nights of winter, like our people in the past, we draw ourselves closer to the fire and tell stories in the flickering light. The stories for this lecture are those of chivalry, heroism, damsels in distress, Merlin’s trickery, tales of valour, and the royal court of Arthur.
In this lecture I first want to outline the history of the Grail in terms of the Arthurian literature. It is Important for us to see how the origins of the Grail are understood from a variety of perspectives and yet ultimately coalesce around the theme of archetypes. What is the Grail a symbol of? How are the Grail, the lance and the Fisher King related? In the Celtic myth of Peredur, the Grail contains a severed head; in Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval it contains the Host, yet in von Eschenbach’s Parsifal it is a stone. Why such a variation? The second core issue is to focus on the unasked questions of Perceval: Why does the lance bleed? Who is fed from the Grail? But most critically, and especially from a Jungian perspective: What ails Thee my King? This last question is one to which we all have to attend as part of our lifelong journey of individuation.
C. G. Jung Society of Vancouver
25th November, 2011
Museum of Vancouver Joyce Walley Learning Centre 1100 Chestnut St.