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Parsifal's Quest, continued

8. Amfortas

Journeying all the day long, - but distraught, knowing not why he suffers,

Parsifal loses his way. – In a mountainous region he wanders.

After some time he arrives - at a lake where he meets King Amfortas.

He is the “Fisher-King” told of – in tales of great mystery wonder.

Wearing a hat that is fashioned – from beautiful plumes of a peacock,

Clad in silk garments befitting – his stature, he offers a greeting.

Parsifal isn’t aware – of the pain that is piercing Amfortas,

Nor, that his quest will now be – to assuage and to heal the affliction.

Destiny brings forth the means – to encounter the paths of its choosing.

Night is approaching and shelter – is needed, a safe place to sleep in.

Pardon me, Sire, I’m a stranger – to this land, I’ve come quite a distance.

Where is a place I might rest – and repose, an abode ‘til the morrow?

King Amfortas replies, - “Neither on earth nor on water;

Nothing but wilderness reigns, but – I offer you refuge this evening.

There is a cliff over yonder, - and if you proceed now toward it,

You will soon find a steep path. – When you pass near the edge on the right side,

You will then view my abode. – Follow closely along the stone stairwell.

Soon you’ll arrive at the drawbridge. – Request entrance there, I invite you.

Comfort and honour we’ll show.” – So young Parsifal follows the pathway;

Finds an amazing high castle; - feels reverence for such a wonder.

Enters at last through the portal, - and is given a fine silken garment,

Brought by a squire who declares, - “You are welcome to don this attire.

Walk where you will in the halls - of this realm, on behest of the Grail Queen.

Mysteries lie at the borders – which we know are surrounding the threshold,

Serving to interrelate – the material world to the spirit.

Realms which you enter this evening – exist by the grace of the Grail cup.

That is the chalice of Christ – at the sacrament of the Last Supper.

And it received His blood – on the cross. When the spearhead

Pierced His right side, arose Joseph – of Aramathea and held up the chalice.

This holy cup restores life - from the grounds of the cosmos eternal.

Enter these halls and you tread – in a world that draws near to the spirit.

Strange are events of that evening. - Three hearths warm the halls where Amfortas

Rests and awaits his arrival. – He gestures to Parsifal, bidding,

“Pray, take a seat, next to me here.” – Then suddenly enters a squire.

Swiftly he runs through the chamber. – He carries a lance made of iron;

And from the tip, blood is dripping. – The squire disappears through the doorway.

Sorrow he brings with his coming; - he calls forth a tragic occurrence.

All then remember the wound – of Amfortas, which oozes and festers.

It will not heal; for an evil – befell the great King; an enchantment

Caused him to suffer affliction, – and only one person can free him.

That one will be the new Grail King, - the human aligned to the cosmos.

Eighteen pure maidens proceed – to that chamber of mystery wisdom.

Then six more enter in sequence. – Respanse de Schoyae, the Grail Queen

Enters at last; brings a chalice – ethereal, wondrously glowing:

Vessel most sacred: the Grail, - which she sets down before King Amfortas.

When all are served and assuaged – by the cup are sublimely enlivened,

There comes a squire to the hall. – A magnificent sword he is bearing.

Parsifal”, says King Amfortas, - “this sword that I give you will keep you

Safe in all battles; it served me – quite well in the times when I used it.

That was before God decreed – that my wound be such source of affliction,

Agony such that I can’t- ever wield it again in this lifetime.”

All in the room are aware – of the question that waits to be answered.

All except Parsifal, who’s – feeling mystified, now more than ever.

Yet, if he asks, all will know – that he’s ignorant, of the dilemma.

Wondering if he will ever – unravel the mysteries present,

Parsifal doesn’t inquire, - but retires to his bed, and has nightmares

Where he feels plagued and distressed. - Then the blows of relentless reprisal

Fall from all sides as he parries. – He knows that he rather would perish.

Endlessly killing in swordplay, – upholding the right, is a battle.

When he wakes up at midday - there is nobody left in the castle.

Guilty, but not knowing why, - he is feeling the human condition.

Goose, go away.” says a voice, - “You have failed to ask why the King suffers.

Bear now the brightness of sunlight – illumining weakness and error.

Closed is this castle, with all - that it offers; be gone in disgrace now”

9. The Trial

Parsifal, brave, slow in wisdom - does not understand why he’s banished.

Outwardly ready to win, - and pure of intention; his conscience

Needs to be wakened. – Experience will become conscious.

Questions arise; so, contrary – to what the old knight, Gurnemanz said,

Parsifal must understand. - Meeting others requires self-cognition.

He travels on, in regret – of his failure at that mystery Castle.

Lost in the woods, the trail fades - now that grief has pervaded his feeling.

Pondering over his purpose, - he keeps to a path he discovered.

Suddenly wailing is heard – there’s a maiden’s voice mourning her sorrow.

Lost in lamenting her loss – of the knight once named Schionatolander,

She does not recognise who – is approaching her, there in the forest.

It is Sigune who mourns still; - she finally learns that her cousin,

Parsifal was in the castle – where he was offered the Grail cup.

“Is King Amfortas then freed?” – “Alas, I did not ask him the question!”

Then she condemns her poor cousin, - declares, “You’re dishonoured, accurs-ed;

You may be living in body. - No joy will enliven your soul-life!”

The Blood Drops

Though he can’t give up his quest - time is passing him by as he wanders.

Darkness surrounds him, as winter – winds blow; the first snowflakes are falling.

On a cold day he stands staring, - transfixed, at the path in the fresh snow.

Three drops of blood have been shed, - for, a goose in the wilds has been wounded;

Possibly killed, by a falcon – fair prey in the bleakness of winter.

There, ‘midst black elms, the red blood – on the path in the snowfall reminds him

Of his true love, far away – her red lips, and her gentle demeanour.

Lost and alone in the woodlands, - entranced by his longing, he muses.

He is oblivious to – his surroundings; his being is elsewhere:

Three of King Arthur’s best knights, – on horseback: Sir Segremore, leading,

Dauntless Gawain, and Sir Kay – meet our hero, and challenge him promptly,

As is their custom; but he – is still gazing, entranced, at the blood drops.

Parsifal might have been vanquished! – His guardian angel has saved him,

Rousing him each time to combat. - So two of the knights of King Arthur

Fall before Parsifal’s blows. - They are wounded. Gawain has compassion;

He has perceived that the three - drops of blood are creating enchantment.

Covering them with a blanket - of snow, he makes Parsifal conscious.

He is himself once again, - and regards the three swordsmen in wonder.

Thanks to Gawain, now the fighting – is over; and all, in agreement.

Friendship prevails and they journey – together to King Arthur’s castle.

10. Kundrie, the Sorceress

Welcome and honour are given – to Parsifal, who is now famous.

He who has slaughtered in battle, - has killed the Red Knight, and won kingdoms.

“Knight of the Round Table” he’s - to be named. High esteem has been granted.

There is a noise at the threshold – and Kundrie, the sorceress enters.

Ugly she is without measure - unkempt, foul, offensive, and hairy.

Beastly her hands, with sharp claws; - and with sorcery she is acquainted.

All are astounded, as Kundrie - embarrasses Parsifal, shouting,

Adder’s Fang,” Though she’s unkind, - she knows some of the truth, and disgraces

Parsifal. Yet in a way, - she ‘s a messenger of self-cognition.

Kundrie compares him to his - own half-brother, a pagan from Africa.

Who’s black and white, like a magpie; – for Parsifal’s father had married

Queen Belekane, who was black. – Then “wild” Kundrie declares with great feeling:

“Your own half-brother is nobler. – Fierafis, I hold in honour!”

Parsifal has no idea – about his unusual kinship.

He never knew his own father. - The brave Gahmuret died in battle.-

Each revelation astounds him. - He then leaves the Round Table chamber.

Kundrie however has played - a significant role in his query.

11. Treversant

Saying farewell to Gawain, he takes leave of the splendour of castles

Later Gawain will depart - to the court of the sorcerer Klingsor,

It’s an enchanted location – where mockery of the true Grail quest

Seeks to dishonour the impulse – for virtue, with vice and corruption.

Due to Gawain’s intervention - will courage and purity triumph.

Parsifal and Sir Gawain have a kinship - that’s characterised by their striving.

Parsifal, full of desire, - and wending his way to the future,

Seeks understanding in vain, - at this moment, along the steep pathway.

Doubting the presence of God, he’s quite baffled about his ill fortune;

Yet he continues to wander – the movement assuages his sorrow.

Tryst after tryst is confronted, - but still he can’t capture the essence.

In his despair he is led – to a cave where he meets with a hermit.

Parsifal doesn’t suspect – that he’s meeting for destiny’s purpose.

Then Treversant the wise hermit – speaks words that reveal the dilemma.

Parsifal, there are some facts - which would clarify your situation.

At that magnificent castle – you spoke of, resides King Amfortas

Though he was chosen of yore - to be Grail King, he was unworthy,

For he desired a woman – possessed by an evil magician.

Klingsor the sorcerer, wounded - Amfortas in jousting. Since that day,

Magic enchantment has caused – that the wound should continue to fester.

He is sustained by the Grail – his successor will be the true Grail King….”

Then Treversant says the words - that bring more remorse to our hero.

“Now I must tell you the truth: - Herzeleide, your mother’s not living.

For, she expired on the day – that you left her. She could not continue.

Her whole existence was given - for you to mature and reach manhood.

When you arrived at the court - of King Arthur, to fight for your armour;

It was your uncle, the Red Knight – you killed when you beat him in jousting.”

Then Treversant speaks again - of the wound of Amfortas, by saying,

“Only one person can free him – by asking the question Amfortas.

Needs to confront, and that person - will finally break the enchantment.

Thus it is rumoured; and this – deed must happen before the next season;

Summer approaches ‘ere long. – I have heard that a fool was admonished.

He was allowed to gain entrance – to visit Amfortas one evening.

It was a shame that he didn’t – have presence of mind or compassion.

Out of free will he would need – to find out how to ask the right question.”

Parsifal, grieved beyond measure – admits then that he is the fellow.

Counsel to Parsifal, wise - Treversant can assuage, and advise him.

All is forgiven you know – both your errors and those of Amfortas.

Please do not rue your mistake – but endeavour to humbly correct it.

Seek for the truth in your heart – and the doubts will dispel through your striving.

Positive efforts will conquer - your fears, with a new kind of courage!

Let me now give clear account - of the Grail in its destiny workings.

There is a Mystery Stone, - such a wonder as seldom is witnessed.

In a celestial script – which appears by invisible measures.

All of the names are engraved - of those chosen to serve that pure vessel,

Those who can carry the Grail - and reside in that glorious castle,

You have now had the high honour – to experience with your own senses.

So, do the deed that you failed - to fulfil; may your journey be fruitful.

12. Fierefis

Parsifal changes within – understanding the lesson he needed.

Travelling on he beholds - a strange knight; and he calls out a challenge.

While the opponents are battling, the sword from the Red Knight is broken.

Halt, I will murder no man! – I can see that you haven’t a weapon,”

After Fierafis’ words - shall the fighting be finally over.

So they make friends, and removing - their helmets, regard one another.

He is the brother described - by “wild” Kundrie. The son from the wedding

Cele brated by Gahmuret, - who was also Sir Parsifal’s father.

Queen Belekane was the bride – from an African tribe. Fierafis, having

Black and white skin has been destined – to win whatsoever he wills to.

13. The Departure

Now, as the brothers have met – unexpectedly, Kundrie the seer

Comes from the woods to proclaim, - “You are chosen, Sir Parsifal; go to the castle!

I have the sight, and indeed – ‘tis your name that’s inscribed on the tablet.

When constellations align – there can be no mistaking. So follow!”

Then, by invisible paths – which are opened, the seer can guide them,

Parsifal and his new friend, – named Fierafis, straight to the castle,

There the Grail, light that illumines, – can cleanse and sustain all who enter.

Know that Kondwiramur and - your two sons now await your arrival.

Kardias and his twin brother – named Lohengrin shall know their father!”

Parsifal, needless to say – is astounded by this proclamation.

14. The Grail Message

Meanwhile Amfortas still feels- the pain he has needed to suffer.

Parsifal sits once again – near Amfortas with new understanding.

Uncle, what troubles you?” is – the question he finally utters.

Healing the wound is accomplished! – Amfortas is freed from all troubles.

He is rejuvenated - and once, again vibrant and glowing.

Thus can Sir Parsifal take up - the chalice he’s offered. As Grail King,

He understands the new challenge; – his questions will link him to answers.

Parsifal’s presence of mind – awakens to know a new courage,

Born of the heart. He will need – all his love to fulfil it in freedom.

Surely Kondwiramur too – will partake in this regeneration,

Helping as Queen of the Grail - so the earth can mature: “In the future

Humans, as fruit of the earth world, – will speak forth their sons and their daughters;

Calling them to incarnation – with Christ who is living within us.

Purified unselfish love – will unite with the cosmic intentions.

All individual humans – will take on the form of a vessel.

Each time the Grail force is present – we are striving toward this ascension.”

Love works the transformation – and heals all the possible sorrows.

Deeply in love with Respanse – de Shoyae is Parsifal’s brother.

He has arrived at the castle – and only has eyes for that lady.

Surely Fierafis means – to find his true love and be married!

She is to bear him a son, – Prester John, who will have his adventure;

That shall evolve in another - account of the Grail’s sacred story.

Parsifal’s sons also have – their own mystery pathways to wander.

Kardias rules Pelrapur –and the land that Kondwiramur gives him.

Lohengrin learns to bring wisdom – to world situations from gleanings

Won from the heart’s understanding – of Grail wisdom’s manifestations.

Infinite striving flows forth – whereby streams of experience offer

Ways to unravel the knots – and answer the questions of karma,

Processes calling for deeds – that transform and promote evolution.

So in receiving the chalice - as Grail King, does Parsifal open

Wellsprings for all who aspire – to fulfil universal objectives;

Linking the earth to the spirit, – transforming the evil to goodness,

Each individual human, – being part of a cosmic endeavour.

Katherine Rudolph

Melbourne 2007