waltzing and weeping by the
rivers of the holy grail

by Joel A. Wendt

I never really thought much about the Holy Grail. Vaguely I had had the sense of it for years as a physical object, like some kind of cup.  Later, as I got deeper into various esoteric writings, the Grail seemed to be about some kind of end game on a spiritual path.  You travel the Path, and then you get there - a somewhere called: the Holy Grail.  Unreadable German tales lodged in my memories ... recommended but ignored.  What was it all about?  Sorry not interested.

Recently I saw, with my pure thinking, the actual Holy Grail Idea.  This was a rather weird experience, because I was not looking to do this, but rather this seeing (1) came about while I was in a kind of state of reverie on the afternoon of December, 29th, 2013.   I had been reading a novel, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and was then in a condition of wonder as regards some of this novel’s themes. I next took the book, laid it open upon my chest, closed my eyes and in a kind of floating-way contemplated the feelings evoked by the reading.  This led to an experience of instant pure intuitive knowing, difficult to describe unless one is deeply familiar, in practical terms, with the results of succeeding on the Path of Steiner’s The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.

Best to appreciate that in that instant I was momentarily open and ripe, so as to be able to be shown something.  What I was shown was the connection or relationship between something I was already familiar with, and the Grail Idea.  Prior to that moment I had never even wondered about the Grail, or where I personally fit into the Grail way of describing our inner work.

After sitting with the momentary coming and going of this pure intuition for a couple of hours (I was also reading and watching TV at the same time), I decided I would create an essay  concerning this new appreciation, but I knew also that I needed to write a few concepts down immediately, so as to bring the idea fully into language.  Here is what I wrote:

Holy Grail
The Book of Life
The Book of the Own Soul

These were simply notes, upon which I later would expand - thus this little essay.  The Book of Life and the The Book of the Own Soul were terms I had used for years to describe the core sources of teaching I had drawn from on my own Path.  I considered those existential Books to be far superior to Steiner, or even the Gospels or any other source of knowing and wisdom.  Everything essential that was needed, according to my experience, was in those two Books.  

Not to say reading regular books was not useful and inspiring, but there was something about what was written in my biographical life, and in my own soul, that no ordinary written text could contain.  Something very personal and written just for me.

What I had come to know in my moment of reverie was that Christ had written/spoken into Being the Holy Grail directly into our personal experience.  This made perfect sense, because I had also discovered previously that Christ was far more intimately connected to all of us in ways much more direct than we otherwise could imagine.  Every time I tried to think of Christ as far from us, such a thought would not live.  Only when I admitted how close He was to all of us, could I have a thought that lived.

In preparing to write this little article, I did a Google search for “Anthroposophy and Holy Grail”, and came upon two essays by Adriana Koulias.  I was looking for material from Steiner about the Grail, and here I found an enormous treasure trove, two lectures from 2004. (2)

I wasn’t so much wanting to quote Steiner, but since my plan was to offer this essay to “being human” I felt it was important to touch base with the Steiner-involved world.  I had stopped years ago relying exclusively on Steiner’s works, having found a direct personal relationship to Christ that was entirely satisfactory.

My own path to meeting Christ was two-fold.  Part involved developing thinking along the lines inspired by Steiner’s works on the relationship between thinking and knowledge (GA 2, GA 3 and GA 4) (3).  The other part was somewhat incidental in the beginning, because I was trying to do research on the political/social world, following after Goethe, - i.e. I sought to learn to read the Book of the Social in the same manner as Goethe had learned to read the Book of Nature.

When I succeeded in knowing the social in this way (after about 3 decades of work), I discovered that the Organism of the social/political world - its living structures, processes and order - was in fact an Embodiment of the Word.  The Cosmic Christ expressed His Being, most strongly and directly, in that aspect of the Earth organism that was the totality of human social/political existence (where our biographies unfolded).  No wonder Steiner called Him: the Spirit of the Earth.  I later wrote a book about this, called The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything (4), where I took the religious question, and instead of placing it in opposition to science, I placed this question inside the world of science as a theory offered to replace the weak and ultimately unsatisfactory theories of the Big Bang and macro-Darwinian evolution.

For example, the abstract mathematical aridity of theoretical physics, in its typical versions of a Theory of Everything, really does not explain adequately a lived human life.  But a qualitatively living picture of human existence, which includes a “theory of god”, does work at explaining in a far superior way, all the hard questions of human existence, such as the nature of evil and the meaning of freedom.  My book is over 300 pages long, as it has to be in order to deal with the many questions and nuances involved.

Because I eventually became then, through the act of pure thinking involved in this work, deeply connected to Christ in the Ethereal (the ethereal world can also be called: the thought-world), it did not surprise me that in this moment of reverie, free of any preconceptions about the Grail-Idea-meaning, that I would then see how Christ had embodied the human biography intimately and structurally with/as the Holy Grail via the open secrets of The Book of Life and The Book of the Own Soul.

Steiner, in fact, had tried to get us to realize that the Events of 2000 years ago were actually a combined earthly and heavenly “speaking”, such that if we make living inner pictures of these events they tell us things in a far deeper way than modern theological discourse ever could.

Again: how could Christ be more intimately connected to all of us?  The Grail is not somewhere over there, or around the corner, but right in front of us, just as Christ explains in Luke 17: 20-21 “Asked by the Pharisees when the the kingdom of God was coming he answered: “The kingdom of God doesn’t come with the watching like a hawk, and they don’t say, Here it is, or There it is, because, you know what? the kingdom of God is inside you.”

What Koulias gives us, in her remarkable recounting of Steiner’s spiritual scientific concepts, is the history or story of the Grail Idea over the years, and which hierarchical beings and lofty personalities have played a role in both the Grail and the anti-Grail streams.  What I saw, enriched by my own experiences concerning the Cosmic Christ, was the nature of the Grail as a personal teaching which is directly available to all human beings, as they wake up to the true nature of their biography (Life), and the true nature of what lives inside them (Soul).

But this teaching is almost entirely experiential.  To say Christ is imminent comes close, but all that word imminent says is: close.  Factually, we live the whole of biography  (as well as our post death sojourn) woven into the inside Christ.  He could not be more directly involved in all the details.  He is in our thinking.  He is in our karma.  He is in all that has or is or will be created.

Sure, He has all manner of helpers, but as I explain in The Art of God, Christ operates from outside of Time and Space - in Eternity - which enables Him to focus as needed on all particular lives in each and every single incarnation.  At the same time He is such perfect Love that our biography is organized entirely according to our own needs.   And, over the eons of the Fall into Materialism, we have become very needy indeed.

Steiner, necessarily, in giving us spiritual science, had to do that deed a bit like what science has done over the last 500 years ... give names to all the parts and processes.  So we have the names of all the hierarchies, all the lofty beings, all the Michaelic this’s and that’s, and so forth.  Yet, Reality never ceases to be a whole, however many parts we name.

Steiner did give hints.  He did tell us that a real understanding of the true nature of the Cosmic Christ was a conception that had been lost.  Steiner also did tell us that Christianity was not Anthroposophy, and that the former has much more it will become in the future.

Steiner tried to tell us how to do spiritual research, but since so few get The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity in practice, his best teachings in that regard have not yet been recognized.  We rely far too much on what Steiner said, even to the point of calling some of our scholarly studies, via our thinking about his works, spiritual research.  They are not.  Steiner’s works are not a field we can plow and plow again and again.  We need to learn how to go directly to the source.

He told us about cosmic memory, and the akashic record, but we didn’t pay careful enough attention.  We act as if Steiner was reporting to us the whispering of Angels, when in fact he studied himself at a depth we can hardly imagine.  We are the microcosm, which is a perfect analogue representation of the macrocosm.

In Anthroposophy ... a fragment (5) Steiner tried to explain that we need to study the experiences of the 12 senses and the 7 life processes, because buried in our potential experience of those is the record - the memories of the past and the dreams of the future.  We are, in this sense, ourselves the Holy Grail.  Everything is there.

Some months ago I was meditating in the early hours of the day, around 3 a.m. - the time the liver cycle changes over from one 12 hour process to another.  I had been sitting in an easy chair for nearly an hour, with my eyes closed, and thinking about Steiner’s indications in Anthroposophy ... a fragment about studying the senses.  Very quickly I opened my eyes and then immediately closed them.

In that brief moment I was aware to two movements.  One was from my “I” outward”, as I reached through the perceptual lens of the eye, and touched with my attention the outer world.  The other movement was from the sense world itself, which simultaneously reached in toward my eye to touch me.  In that micro-instance the two movements crossed each other and created a “wave” we call sense-experience.  The sense world had as much consciousness and being as did I.  

This knowledge almost immediately fell away, as my habitual preconceptions overwhelmed the true meaning of the actual experience.  I had not yet the strength to experience the raw reality of the sense world.  I was still in the evolution of consciousness’s mid-stage: the on-looker separation, and only barely into Barfield’s conception: final participation (6).

In my book, The Art of God, I express the idea that reality is paradoxically and simultaneously perfect and imperfect.  It is perfect because reality Embodies the Word, and imperfect because we humans need to see it as unfinished and incomplete in order to find and create our own meaning in the world.  Christ is fine with what the world is, while we are not.  And, Christ is fine with us not being satisfied with the world, because that is the way the world is meant to be at this stage.

Included in this is a perfect relationship between our own potential as thinkers, and the real nature of Life and of the Own Soul.   Our biographical reality compels our thinking to gage and understand its mysteries.  Yet, these mysteries are in many cases particular and unique to our individuality.  Yes, we all have mothers, but all of us also have a particular mother.  Each fact of the biography, while often sharing common general features, is fully individually tailored to who we are, and what are our exact needs.  

And, it makes little difference in particular how we choose to think and feel and act within our own biography.  There isn’t a right Way, just our Way.  The key element is the act of choice itself.  We choose, consequences follow.  This living Holy Grail is itself fully individualized.  

Christ Himself is the macro-Holy Grail, and we, the micro-Grail live within an individualized Grail, which in a mundane way we call our personal biography.  Of The Book of Life and The Book of the Own Soul, we only study and learn that of which we choose to study and learn.  Again, there is no right Way.

There is to this then an art - our individual art or Way, thus the title: waltzing and weeping by the rivers of the holy grail.  With this last nuance: rivers of the holy grail, we recognize that we are not alone.  All of humanity is in one or another stage of individual development, and personal relationship to their particular aspect of the Grail experience.  This is a universal aspect of human biographical existence that Christ expressed in the Gospels in this way:  In my Father’s House are many Mansions.

Only with such thoughts will we begin to find our way to a real perception of the Cosmic Christ.  In the images below (art by the author), I captured different levels of feeling latent in my relationship between the Book of Life and the Book of the Own Soul, which books are not separate and distinct, but form a single whole.  That journey began with the fact that I did not incarnate in this physical, astral, or ethereal bodies at their birth, but around the 31st year, when the original ego/spirit gave them to me (plus his up-till-then biography).

Early on, after the change (7), I was filled with a kind of luciferic intoxication because of my new "skills", and came to think I was enlightened (I had not yet met Steiner's writings, so had no real understanding of what was going on).

So I made this drawing, with the individual in the center, dominating the periphery, and we get then this kind of image (1975 - the I or self as integrated with the whole of the world) - a free-hand drawing:

Subsequently, I lost my luciferic intoxication, fell to earth, and was humbled by Life itself for those excesses.  This resulted in a kind of different "art", as I had by then read Steiner's works on this kind of late-in-life incarnation process, and given some of the "lofty" names of such individuals that incarnated this way, I (who was a member of the working-poor at that time) had to revise my view of myself, so as to appreciate this line from the songs of the Moody Blues: "be a small part of the whole, of a love that exists...".

So if we put the Cosmic Christ as dominating, or surrounding, the "I" in the center, we get this kind of image, overseen by the Idea of the Cross (1981 - the I or self surrounded by the starry world inside of which is also the circling planets, before we ever get to the individual in the center) [notice the alpha and omega - the human being - in the center per an indication of Steiner's]. This is a weaving of seed beads after some artistic methods of Native Americans, and the above words hardly covers the various symbols implied in this image (which is called: the Rainbow Warrior).  The key element is the change from one Idea of my own meaning, to another.  At first, I was full of myself.  Later, I knew, while I was surrounded by Love, I remained just one more human being living a life full of waltzing and weeping.


(1) Cowboy Bebop - and the physics* of thought as moral art: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/CowboyBebop.html
(2) [http://www.anthroposophy.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55:the-grail-stream-and-the-anti-grail-stream&catid=35:articles&Itemid=81]
(3) GA 2: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception (1886); GA 3: Truth and Knowledge (Steiner’s dissertation - 1892); and, GA 4: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (1894)
(4) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/artofgod.html
(5) http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/afragment.html
(6) Saving the Appearances: a study in Idolatry.
(7) Biographical Necessity.  http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/anthro-bio.html