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the spirituality of Chivalry-Now permeates all its ideals, we
will consider it, for the moment, as its own domain.
When I refer to the spirituality of Chivalry-Now,
I am not referring to an invisible world of angels and demons, or
an indescribable dimension somehow separate from time and space.
In fact, I won't reference anything at all beyond our everyday experiencefor
this is the world we live in, and there is
more to it than we normally credit.
This is important to consider. First of
all, this makes the spirit of Chivalry-Now open and available
to all people, no matter what their creed or lack thereof. We found
that we don't have to add elements to spirituality that require
a lead of faith or particular dogma. What we seek is always there,
right in front of us.
Spirituality is a conscious relationship
with the mystery that we live in and are part ofthe Mystery
of existence. We refer to this as mystery
because we know that the universe exists, but cannot explain how
or where it came from.
We normally place these mysteries aside
in our day-to-day lives, and look at life with a familiarity that
leads to numbness instead of awe. We talk of spirit and soul as
if their meanings where obvious. The certainty we enjoy, however,
is as ephemeral as an autumn breeze, our confidence based on illusion.
The truth is, our every waking moment is confronted by unfathomable
Mystery and refuse to see or acknowledge it.
Spirituality, in contrast, is the
acknowledgment of Mystery that fosters a relationship with it in
our everyday lives. While even a statement as innocuous
as this might seem like mumbo-jumbo, it carries an obvious imperative:
We do not know the secret of existence. By recognizing and including
this mystery in the grasp of what we know, our knowledge of truth
is that more complete.
Religions have long enticed us with their
symbols and spiritual answers. They point to scriptures for proof,
scriptures that demand our belief, as if faith in itself were enough
to make all their claims true. Consumerism tells us that it doesn't
matter what we believe, as long as we live for the day by purchasing
as many inessentials as possible. Even life and love fail us in
the end with their impermanence.
No matter what we believe or fail
to believe, the Mystery remains, silent, transparent, ever-present,
and therefore more real. Everything we see, including us,
would not exist except for the paradox of something coming from
nothing. It is this indescribable magician's hat where our train
of reason crashes.
Here we find both the source and the nothingness,
within which everything exists. Here we find the ubiquitous question
mark that both precedes and answers all our questions without words.
Chivalry-Now finds important clues
about Mystery in tales about the Holy Grail. The power of
these clues are not revelations from God. They are stories of the
archetypal Quest, grounded in our psyche through the
dynamics of myth and legend. They gain their validity through centuries
of archetypal ponderings of world we are part of, and how it relates
to human consciousness. In other words, from the very relationship
with Mystery itself.
The Grail stories concern themselves with
a particular object of veneration, usually called the Grail.
This object has been various described as a jewel or stone; a chalice
or cup; a platter or basin. Christian legends identify it as the
cup of the Last Supper, but its roots are far more ancient and universal.
We are obsessed with it even today, as modern theories speculate
that the real Grail was May Magdalene, who preserved and carried
the bloodline of Jesus into Europe.
No article or book could ever cover the
legion of Grail them sufficiently. We can extract, however, a general
plot that we can cogently explore:
Suffice it to say, the protagonist is usually
a knight of youthful inexperience. He one day enters a mysterious
castle where he is presented with a vision of the Grail. The object
is venerated by the castle residents, and sheds it own light, like
the sun. The young knight sees it, yet fails to ask what it is,
or what it does.
This failure to ask is important. He
fails the requirement of the Grail (which symbolizes the mystery
of life) because he fails to question it. This differs significantly
from other mythical journeys, where the hero is challenged by some
threat which he must then conquers, or is confronted by a riddle
he must answer. No. He sees something mysterious and fails to respond.
Because of this, the castle and the Grail end up vanishing from
He later learns that if he had inquired
about the Grail, the Grail King would have been healed of
a terrible wound inflicted on his manhood. In Celtic mythology,
the king represents both the land and the people on it. When the
king suffers, so does everything else.
Understanding this, the well-meaning knight
is spurred to rectify things. He searches for the Grail castle,
but cannot find it. The world around him has become a wasteland
where people barely survive. He feels guilty, of course. If he had
spoken up, as natural curiosity should have moved him, all this
suffering would have ended.
He confronts many adventures during his
Quest, and learns from them all. After months or even years of searching,
he is finally called to the Grail Castle again, sees the Grail and
inquires about its secret. The King is healed and the land with
The lesson is fairly simple. This knight,
be he Perceval, Gawain, Galahad or Arthur, is a follower of chivalric
ideals that project him a force for good. But there is more
to life than combating evil and confronting dragons. There is a
mystery that follows everywhere he goes, a mystery that shows itself
only sporadically, in unexplainable ways. In our own lives,
we see hints of this in glorious sunsets, or pondering the infinity
of stars, or intricate detail of a dragonfly's wing. Wordless. Selfless.
Almost time-stopping. Something real yet transcendent of thought
or explanation. We experience it like a whisper or spiritual affirmation.
The bible offers profound descriptions:
"I Am, That I Am,"
"Be still, and know that I am God."
call this a mystical experience, but that convenient
term misses the mark. It is a universal experience we all have at
some point in our lives. Unfortunately, like the young knight, we
usually fail to recognize it for the opportunity is presents, much
less ask what it is. We have "more important things" to
We may enjoy the experience momentarily,
ignore it, fear it, or be thrilled by its sheer grandiosity. What
the Grail stories tell us is that we are required, for the health
of the world around us, to do more. The Grail experience is
nothing less than a conscious connection to the great Mystery of
existence, which metaphorically calls to us. We either respond
or we do not.
Chivalry-Now, like chivalry-then,
urges us to respond with our whole being. When we are aware of the
Mystery, when we relate it to everything we see and do, we become
more complete human beings, rooted in sublime truth. We treat people
better, even with all their faults. We respect and love the world
we live in. The Grail affirms what Genesis tells us, that the
world is good.
Here we find spiritual verification for
all the values that Chivalry-Now represents. This affirmation,
this inner acknowledgment, contributes to our perceptions and guides
our actions. By understanding this fully, we need no further
revelation. By holding on to the memory of the Grail inside
us, we go on to learn deeper truths experientially, every day of
This happens only when we awaken our hearts
and are open to it. Only when we choose to imbibe on its truth as
we experience it daily. Here, in this grand affirmation, we find
the authenticity of life that spirituality offers.
Our hero was closed to it at first. Only
when he learned how the world suffers without this insight, did
he commit himself to finding it again. He asked and then lived
the proper questions. He learned. He lived a brave and virtuous
life, and the world was better for it.
How could it be otherwise? There is no
doubt that we are surrounded by a mystery that we cannot understand,
despite all our wealth of accumulated knowledge. The life that informs
us is part of it. The Chinese call it Tao, while also acknowledging
that the Mystery itself, whatever we call it, remains nameless and
And that it is.
The ideals of Chivalry-Now are rooted
in the affirmation of our existence as something of value. They
tell us not to throw away our lives, but to perfect ourselves as
best we can, to make humanity itself something to be proud of.
In this way we connect the transitory nature
of life with the permanence that it comes fromwhatever that
permanence may be. Here we find subtle meanings that normally escapes
us. Without this direct affirmation, and the connection that it
brings, we remain disconnected, incomplete, like abandoned children
in need of parental insight.
The spirituality of Chivalry-Now
calls us, as individuals, to relate with truth in an honest and
forthcoming way. Not as passive followers, but as active seekers.
It calls us to think and feel with consciousness of the moment,
seeing through illusions that otherwise blind or deceive us.
We do not profess to have all the answers
in our spiritual awareness. If we did, what purpose would there
be in the Quest?
On the other hand, we do not ask for you
to beeline in anything unbelievable either, or on faith, or rooted
in the appeal of arcane sources.
With that promise in mind, we invite you
to join us by participating in your own own personal Quest.
We'd also like
to hear from you.
If you care to be notified of Chivalry-Now updates, send
us a short e-mail
telling us about yourself, and we'll put you on our list. We
also have a discussion group Forum
where you can connect with like-minded people and discuss chivalry
in all its guises.