Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Four of the implements of the Gnostic Mass are pivotal to the Graal romances: the Lance, Graal, Sword and Paten. The Christian context for these items as holy relics divided them between the respective discorporations of Jesus and John the Baptist. The Lance was to have pierced Jesus' side during the Crucifixion, as the Graal, fresh from the dishwasher after the Last Supper, was used to catch the water that then gushed out of the wound. (That wound is typically in the form of the yoni when rendered iconographically. Jesus as the ichthus is already symbolically related to the kteis. The cross itself may represent the lingam. Sunday schoolers take note!) The sword was used for the decapitation of John the Baptist, and the Paten is the platter on which his head was presented to Salome.
Needless to say, the Christian associations are of academic interest to the Thelemic congregant. There are several ways to read that ternary of sacred weapons as applied in the Mass.
|Lance||Fire||Light||Aries||IV. The Emperor||Vernal Equinox|
|Graal||Water||Love||Cancer||VII. The Chariot||Summer Solstice|
|Sword||Air||Liberty||Libra||VIII. Adjustment||Autumnal Equinox|
|Paten||Earth||Life||Capricorn||XV. The Devil||Winter Solstice|
These correspondences are tightly interwoven, and principally refer to the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs.
Of keener academic interest is the role played by the Christian relics in the Crusades which saw the foundation of the Templar Order. John the Baptist was considered the patron saint of the Order. His feast day was June 24th, matching the summer solstice as well as Christmas did the winter.
The Sacred Lance was discovered during the First Crusade by means of the dreams and visions of Peter Bartholomew, a peasant man-at-arms. He told leaders of the Crusade that he had been instructed to relate the location of the Lance to them by Jesus and St. Anthony. In one of the most well-documented events of the First Crusade's trip to Jerusalem, a metal lance head was unearthed from long-undisturbed ground beneath the high altar of the Church of St. Peter in Antioch. This acquisition of the Lance by the Crusaders took place in 1098 e.v., about 20 years before the official founding of the Templar Order in 1118.
But from its first discovery, the Lance was a relic that was brought repeatedly into battle, usually in the vanguard as the symbol of the God-ordained might of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. In that function it would often have been in the midst of Templar Knights, who would usually form the shock troops in a Christian military advance.
The Graal has been frequently and intimately associated with the Templars, who constitute its custodians in many of the early Graal romances. Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival is a seminal account of the Graal milieu. Eschenbach cited his source as "Kyot de Provence," probably none other than Templar propagandist Guiot de Provins. Parzival is also noteworthy for its advocacy of tolerance between Christian and Muslim.
The Graal romances also assign a particular Sword to accompany the Graal and Lance. Details vary, but the main feature of the Sword is that it is broken, and requires a particular magical operation for its repair. Of course, the Templars as warrior monks were hardly unfamiliar with swords.
As mentioned before, the Templars were devoted to John the Baptist, whose special relics are therefore relevant. One of the accusations and confessions in the heresy trials of the Templars was that they maintained a "cult of the head." An image of a disembodied human head, possibly named Baphomet, was alleged to be an object of Templar worship. When the Plate or Dish occurs in the Graal romances (rarely), it sometimes is carrying a glorious head--not neccesarily identified as that of John the Baptist.
All this is but to merely scratch the surface with regard to the mysteries of these "hallows," as the Graal relics are sometimes called.
Love is the law, love under will.
Sources and References