Sancho Panza and Don Quixote meet 'Cid Hamet Benengeli'
Near the end of Part II of Don Quixote, Quixote and Sancho have a curious conversation. Quixote mentions a painter who would always reply, "whatever it turns out to be" when asked what he was painting. He says the painter or writer, it is all the same, who brought to light the history of this new Don Quixote must be one of this sort. In keeping with the other veiled content in the book, we may assume this passage has a hidden allusion.
What type painting is not known immediately, but is whatever it turns out to be? In Elizabethan times a particular painting fad fit the bill perfectly. This was the genre of painting known as "Perspectives". A "Perspective" was a painting that seemed just a jumbled mass of colors until looked at from a certain angle. Then it looked like a normal painting. In King Richard II one of the characters says:
"Like perspectives which, rightly gaz'd upon,
Show nothing but confusion-eyed awry,
And sonnet 24 proclaims, "perspective it is best painter's art." So it is perhaps not surprising that the author of Don Quixote believed his best art was to paint a prose perspective. We all know Don Quixote is a mad, jumbled mass of adventures of a poor deluded man who believed himself a knight-errant. But eyed awry would the canvas show a different picture?
There is a story that when Alexander the Great left India it amused him to have the Hindus believe a giant had been there. He had his soldiers construct a gigantic table and chair, along with the plate, cup, and spoon, and left them behind. With Don Quixote this artifice is not necessary. Without question a giant WAS there. Just as with the Shakespeare Plays, and Spenser's Faerie Queen, Don Quixote exhibits the undeniable imprint of a colossal intellect. But there are those who believe a question still remains. They believe that the true author has always been concealed in a cloud of dust, and the question now, as in days of yore, is still "Who was that masked man?"
My fellow Baconians and I are Quixotes of another milieu. Come along and enjoy the adventure as I don (pun intended) my cardboard visor and tilt at the windmill of the authorship question. After that I will eye awry Don Quixote to see if, from another perspective, another meaning presents itself.
Scholars remain baffled by the veil that hides the man who wrote Don Quixote. This says more about them than about the veil. It seems that a minimum knowledge of the romance languages suffices to tear it away. A passing acquaintance with French, Spanish and Latin is sufficient to solve the simple puzzle that conceals the author of Don Quixote, and the book was written in an age in which most educated people were acquainted with these languages.
The primary key is the French language, and a mere a smattering of French suffices. In French "Je" means "I". For example, the French say, "Je suis", I am. However, when the "Je" precedes a vowel, the "e" is dropped, as in "J'aime", I love. In French "manche" means sleeve, but "Manche" also means the English Channel because the English Channel is shaped like a sleeve. In French the "a" ending is feminine, and the "e" ending is masculine. In Spanish the "a" ending is feminine, and the "o" ending is masculine.
This is emphasized at the very end of the book where Quixote is named as Quijano and his niece as Quijana in accordance with the custom among the people, in the case of women, of giving a feminine termination to a name with a masculine ending.
In "Manche" the ending is masculine because in French the English Channel is masculine. However, "sleeve" has a feminine form in Spanish (manga), and in "del la Mancha" the English Channel is feminine. "Ote" in French means "to hide", and "qui" means "who." In Spanish Don Quixote is Don Quijote.
Is there anyone simple enough to think it is accident that Don Quijote de la Mancha makes perfect sense in French as "D'on qui j'ote de la Mancha", i.e. "Of one who I hide of the English channel"? In the English version the book has the title, "Don Quixote de la Mancha." This incorporates the "X", defined in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a person or thing unknown or unrevealed." The title is, "D'on qui "X" ote de la Mancha", i.e., "Of one ("X") who is hid of the English Channel."
Who was this "One" of the English Channel who was hidden? We are told in Don Quixote that Cid Hamet Benengeli, the Arabian historian, is the real author of the book. Cid is a title in Spanish that equates with Sir or Lord. In French "et" means "and". "Ben" means "son of" in Hebrew, and engeli is obviously England. So we have "Sir Ham, and son of England". This is so transparent it is not even a veil. Sir Bacon, and son of England. Francis Carr, in his article, "Cervantes, England and Don Quixote" says we are told exactly 33 times in Don Quixote that the real author is the Arabian Historian, Cid Hamet Benengeli. I have not taken the time to verify the count, but if true, it is very significant. 33 is the numerical equivalent of Francis Bacon's name, and is used elsewhere to refer to Bacon. For example in the First Part of King Henry the Fourth the word "Francis" appears 33 times upon one page.
More evidence is present in the title pages of the works as they appeared in Spain and France. In the title page of Part II that appeared in France in 1618 "La Mancha" is changed to "La Manche" so that it is obviously the English Channel, but the name of the knight has become Don Qvichot. Apparently, the alternate title used in Spanish was too obvious in French. The 1605 title page in Spain had the "Qui" portion of the title separated from the remainder of the title as follows:
Hildalgo Don Qvi-
Xote de la Mancha
This was followed by "Compuesto por Miguel de Cervantes", i.e. "composed [written] for Miguel de Cervantes." In this same title page the name of the hidden author is present in the design. The square enclosing the crest of Cervantes has the word "Burguillos" written across the top of the square. The word "Ano" is at the center of the left side of the square. And the words "Con privilegio" are at the bottom of the square. Thus "B", "A", and "Con" connect in sequence to spell "Bacon".
The author of Don Quixote used different writing styles at will. This has been treated at length by John J. Allen in his article "Style and Genre in Don Quijote" in the Spring 1986 issue of the "Cervantes" magazine. Allen demonstrates the presence of a wide range of writing styles. One style is used for the treatment of the instinctual `passion' of Rocinante. Another style is used for the comic narration of Sancho. Yet another for the naive rustic lyrics of Antonio. And still another for the narration of the literary tragedy of Grisostomo. The stylized penance of Eugenio is afforded it own unique writing style.
The pieces enacted as literature in the eclogues of Garcilaso and Camoens in Part II, Chapter 58 are set forth in their own distinctive writing style. Allen says the author's mastery of different writing styles is evident in the varieties of rhythm, of vocabulary, of the distance between the speaker and his subject, in short in the rhetoric of even brief excerpts. In "Resurrecting Marley" I have shown Bacon had the ability to use different writing styles at will. This ability was certainly unique. It is conclusive evidence that the gigantic intellect behind Don Quixote was that of Francis Bacon.
In Don Quixote we are told more than once that the real name of Don Quixote was Quejana. In French and Spanish "Que" means "that, or who." At the end of the book he is named Quijano and his niece Quijana using the "who" prefix. In Latin "Jana" is Diana, the moon-goddess, but it is also the feminine form of Janus, the two-headed god who begins the year, and looks both to the past and to the future. If we would seek the real Don Quixote we must look at Diana, the moon-goddess, and Janus, the two-headed god who looks at the same time to the past and to the future. This is all very significant in connection with Bacon's writings, and has a cluster of meanings.
Under the cult that sprang up around Queen Elizabeth, and was elaborated by Bacon at such length in The Faerie Queen, Elizabeth was Diana, the virgin moon goddess. In view of this it is very interesting that a work appeared under the name of Cervantes with the title of, "La espanola inglesa" that applied to the figure of Queen Elizabeth powers similar to those attributed to the Virgin Mary by the Catholic cult of Hispanic tradition.
See the article "Un unicornio en la corte de una reina virgen: "Ginecocracia" y ansiedades masculinas" by Mar Martinez-Gongora in the Spring 2000 issue of the Cervantes magazine. A plank in the Baconian platform is the idea that Elizabeth was Bacon's mother. Many people suspect Bacon wrote Cryptomenytices Cryptographia. In the dedicatory poems prefixed to that work we are told the author is 'Homo Lunae', THE MAN IN THE MOON, and in the preface that he was 'born of Selenic lineage.'
Under the mask of Spenser Bacon wove the great chaste huntress Diana into his Fairy Queen written in honor of Queen Elizabeth. As a patroness of hunting, Diana resembled Pan, universal nature, and also represented Nature, and man's ideas about Nature, or Philosophy. So the emblem of Diana also played an important part in Bacon's Great Instauration ideas. At the same time she is Janus. These two together are the great mythological fountainhead that gave birth to the emblematic underpinning of the Shakespeare plays. In addition, Diana is very important in the doctrine of the Templars and Cathars with which I will later demonstrate Quixote is connected.
Another major idea is associated with the moon. In the Ptolemaic cosmological system the earth was the center of the universe. The sun and all the planets moved in a series of circles enclosing the earth. The circle immediately outside of the earth was the circle of the moon. All who lived on the earth were said to be in the sublunary sphere. That is, they are subject to the dominion of the moon, or in other words they were all lunatics, mad my masters, MAD! The other face of "X", the hidden one, was the madman in us all. No less than the hero in Scaramouche Bacon was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
I have shown in my essays that the Janus Design plays a major part in the Shakespeare plays. This design seems to be present in Don Quixote also. I say "seems" because unlike the plays, that are designed with four sets of tables consisting of the respective four sets of 32 speeches corresponding to Bacon's four logic tables-in Don Quixote this schema does not exist so that is no easy way to test for the Janus Design. On the other hand the Janus Design has two faces. One face looks toward the past, and one toward the future. In Don Quixote there is definitely a face looking toward the past dealing with an aspect of knowledge from the past, and the corresponding face looking toward the future seems to be an inquiry into the form of the universal madness that afflicts humanity.
In the brief interval of some nine months during 1605/1606 when the Parliament was not sitting through fear of the plague, Bacon wrote and published his Advancement of Learning. Apparently He produced Don Quixote during this same time. In the Thomas Shelton translation of Don Quixote that appeared in England in 1612 there is a letter by Shelton at the beginning of the book (written in 1611 since the book was registered in London in January 1611) and the first sentence says:
"Having translated some five or six years ago, The Historie of Don
Quixote, in the space of forty days."
Everyone rejects this. Translated the first half of Don Quixote (over 550 pages) in forty days? No way. But Shelton was obviously a mask for Bacon, and Bacon was capable of prodigious intellectual feats. Many people have believed the English, Shelton version, was the original version of Don Quixote and that from this version a translation into Spanish was made. I think this is exactly what happened in 1605. Bacon dictated his writings to secretaries, and I think, over a 40-day period, he dictated the entire translation of Don Quixote into Spanish. This is certainly not any more remarkable than the idea that his apothegms were the result of one morning's work while he was ill.
It is significant that in the Advancement of Learning produced during this same period, Bacon said:
"To me it seemeth best to keep way,
With Antiquity usque ad aras [even to the altars]"
and that in the chapter of Don Quixote that deals with the "Story of the One who was Too Curious for His Own Good" the same "usque ad aras" phrase is used..
Don Quixote was actually two books. It is customary now to call these Part I, and Part II. The change from hidalgo in 1605 Part I title page to caballero in 1615 Part II title page is suggestive. It is significant that between 1605 and 1615 Bacon's status changed from Sir Bacon to Lord Bacon. Was that the reason for the change? It is note worthy also that Quixote's adventure in Part II begins with Quixote headed for the city of El Toboso because they were to have ceremonies there in honor of the feast of St. George. In "Secrets of the First Folio" I have shown the Merry Wives of Windsor was connected with the feast of St. George, and also the relevance of St. George to the Rosicrucians with whom Bacon was connected. It is note worthy also that St. George was the patron saint of England.
Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day, the birthday of St. George on April 23, 1616. Isn't this just a bit much coincidence to swallow? It is significant also that under his mask of Shakespeare, Bacon has a play (A Midsummer Night's Dream) that deals with Midsummer madness and that there are two chapters in Don Quixote that deal with the same theme. In their article "Midsummer Eve and the Disenchantment of Dulcinea" in the Spring 1984 issue of the Cervantes magazine Alfred Rodriguex and Karl Roland Rowe demonstrate that a "hitherto unnoted facet of the second part of Don Quijote is Cervantes' use of traditional Midsummer rituals as context for chapters thirty-four and thirty-five" of Part II of Don Quixote.
As regards the subject of Bacon's authorship of Quixote the story of The Captive in the book is also very significant. French corsairs capture the Captive and the lovely Zoraida. After they rob them they set them adrift in a small boat. This is surprising. The Captive and Zoraida had thrown their jewels overboard before they were captured. They had very little left to rob which should have angered the French. Moreover the French, were traditional enemies of Spain. Not only are the Captive and Zoraida not thrown overboard to drown. Not only is the beautiful Zoraida not raped. They are set adrift in a small boat so with any luck they can reach Spain. They are given biscuits and water. Zoraida is even given forty gold escudos. Furthermore she is allowed to retain her fine clothes. In view of this the actions of the French corsairs seem surprisingly sympathetic. A rationale presents itself when we are given the sudden but inconspicuous revelation that these Frenchmen who behave so courteously are Protestant. The pirate captain said,
"he was content with the prize that he had and did not wish to stop at any port in Spain.and would go on to La Rochelle, the port from which he had put out."
The identification of La Rochelle with the Protestant Reformation in France is well known (For more detail on this see "Organic Unity in Unlikely Places" by Carroll B. Johnson in the Fall 1982 issue of the Cervantes magazine). This lenient treatment of the captives does not at all fit in with the historical context of Cervantes and his readers. They were members of imperial Spain committed to the defense of Roman Catholicism as the state religion against Protestantism in northern Europe. If Francis Bacon of Protestant England was the author, however, it makes a great deal of sense.
On the sirbacon.org site Francis Carr provides quite a number of parallels between phrases in the Plays, and in Don Quixote. I will not rehash those here, because they can be viewed there. What I am more interested presently is examining the meaning of Don Quixote. And although that can only be done in a cursory fashion within the space of this article, I hope to make a beginning. In order to do this some considerable background is needed, so bear with me while I sketch in a little information before I deal with the work itself.
Everyone knows Don Quixote became mad from reading too many "novels of chivalry" and, as a consequence, believed himself a Knight Errant and set out on a series of adventures to rescue damsels in distress and to right the wrongs of the world. People tend to think this is all there is to the story. But, from another perspective, another set of meanings appears. In Don Quixote, as in the Shakespeare Plays, Bacon deals with an aspect of knowledge from the past. This time, instead of antiquity, the knowledge comes from the Middle Ages. This is the knowledge concealed in the stories of the Quest for the Holy Grail. On the surface these are adventures of knights and their ladies against a background canvas of life in the feudal courts. Underneath are hidden allegories depicting adventures through which individuals pass who apply techniques for the development of spiritual faculties and the attainment of higher levels of consciousness.
The Grail stories reprise inner adventures from more than 1500 years earlier of initiate ordeals in the state sponsored Ancient Mysteries. Many episodes in Don Quixote are modeled on the adventures of the Grail Knights, and others that are not still deal with experiences that relate to initiate trials and ordeals.
It is the old story of the cave in Plato's Republic. Socrates compares this world to a cave in which people sit fettered with their backs to a fire. They see only shadows cast on the wall of the cave before them by objects moving between them and the fire that is behind them. One of them escapes and makes his way to the outside world. When he returns and tries to describe the real world to the prisoners of the cave they think he is mad. To men of our world the real world is illusion. To men of the real world our world is illusion. The views are incompatible. They are mad from our viewpoint. We are mad from their viewpoint. Don Quixote believes in a reality he has read about in books. This reality is generally called Chivalry. A careful reading reveals the Chivalry of Don Quixote is that of the Quest for the Holy Grail. An understanding of the Grail Quest shows it dealt with the trials, ordeals, and adventures of Initiatism. Initiates are people who have escaped, or are escaping from the shadow world. Ordinary people have only heard about these people in books. Initiates undergo certain trial and ordeals that enable them to develop latent inner faculties that move their lives from the "shadow world" into the real world. Compared with their world the life of ordinary man is a life of madness in a world of illusion. But to ordinary man accounts of their world are tales of imagination by writers of fiction, and people who think they are real are mad.
The best work of the Grail material is "Parzival" by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Among the best works on Parzival are "The Spear of Destiny" and "The Cup of Destiny" by Trevor Ravenscroft. The source of "Parzival" was said to be an Arabian historian, as was the source of Don Quixote. In the Parzival story the hero is a "divine fool" concealing great portents behind his naive and childlike simplicity. Don Quixote is a "divine madman" of the mold of those men who, in higher states of consciousness, appear "mad" from the view of ordinary consciousness. Don Quixote is very much like those tales of the comic figure of the East, Mullah Nasrudin, which are actually Sufi teaching stories.
In fact, the author of Don Quixote uses a number of the Nasrudin stories. Nasrudin often seems a madman in his stories. This is at times because he is attuned with true reality and the world is not, and at other times because his higher state of consciousness prompts him to exhibit a mirror in which we see ourselves. He says he is upside down in this world. Instead of Nasrudin it is the world that is mad. Idries Shah says:
"Nasrudin is the mirror in which one sees oneself. Unlike an ordinary mirror, the more it is gazed into, the more of the original Nasrudin is projected into it. This mirror is likened to the celebrated Cup of Jamshid, the Persian Hero; which mirrors the whole world, and into which the Sufis `gaze'."
Don Quixote is another version of this same mirror.
In the Grail romances the Knights had a special quest. Their adventures were directed toward the discovery and possession of the mysterious Holy Grail. Knights Templar played a special part in these works. They were the guardians of the Holy Grail.
Unlike the popular conception Knights Templar were actually mystics, or "initiates" if you will, who possessed, and guarded a very special, secret knowledge. The "Holy Grail" was a symbol that operated on a number of different levels. At one level it was the grail in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood from Christ on the Cross. At another it symbolized the "Grail" formed by the interaction between the activated pineal gland and pituitary gland. In still another it had to do with a special bloodline. In "Perlesvaus" one of the major Grail stories, Perceval in his search for the Grail happens upon a castle. The castle houses, instead of the Grail, a conclave of "initiates" familiar with the Grail. Two "masters" clap their hands and are joined by thirty-three other men.
These are all Templar Knights. "They were clad in white garments, and not one of them but had a Red Cross in the midst of his breast." In Parzival, Eschenbach emphasizes that the guardians of the Grail are Templars. The Grail castle was named Munsalvaesche (the Mount of Salvation) and Parzival first meets a Knight Templar who has come from the castle and attempts to block his way. At the Grail castle are many Templars who guard the Grail.
Eschenbach, author of "Parzival", the major work on the Holy Grail was a Templar Knight. He said he got his information from Kyot of Provence. In order to understand the historical background behind the Grail stories it is helpful to look at Provence in Southern France where, for one brief shining moment, in the half-century or so preceding 1209, there truly WAS "a spot known as Camelot." According to Eschenbach, Kyot said his story had an Arabian source in Spain. Sufis, who had their ultimate origin in Arabia, had spread to Spain and then from Spain to the Provence region of France. Wandering Sufi troubadours assimilated to the mystical Sufi doctrine the traditions of Courtly Love, whose deity was The Lady. Through service and sacrifice to The Lady the aspirant won the prize of the Rose. This tradition engendered extended and complicated allegories dealing with love whose emblem was the Rose. A Manichaean influence was also present, brought in by the commerce of the Levant (the eastern end of the Mediterranean) in the eleventh century. Manes, a Persian mystic of the 3rd centry A.D., born in the faith of Zoroaster and inspired by the doctrines of the Chadeans, was an initiate of the Mysteries of Mithras. His doctrine was rooted in Persian dualism.
At the time a veritable "Golden Age" had blossomed in Provence. One of the principal seats of this flourishing civilization in Provence was the neighborhood of Albi. The initiates who lived in Provence were at first commonly known as "the good men." When they became localized in this area they became known as Albigenses, i.e. the people of Albi. They were known in other areas as Cathars, or "Brothers of Purity." They were broadly tolerant thinkers, and were devoted to special forms of meditation, and other initiate techniques. Cathars, following the Persian dualism, proclaimed the existence of not one god, but of two. One of these was entirely disincarnate-the god of love. The other was the god of power, or of evil, who ruled over all material creation and over the world. The Cathars called him "Rex Mundi", i.e., "King of the World". According to the Cathars Christ had taught the doctrine of AMOR, love. But love had been inverted into the perversion of ROMA, the Roman Catholic Church. Although these "good people" regarded themselves as Christians they repudiated the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. They had the quaint notion that Rex Mundi was responsible for setting up the Roman Catholic Church as a means for destroying human souls. The principle stronghold of the Cathars was in a remote region of Provence in their famous castle, Montsegur (Mount Security), located atop a mountain peak in the remote oriental Pyrenees. In one of his Grail romances, Wolfram von Eschenbach declares that the Grail castle was located in the Pyrenees. According to Wolfram the name of the Grail castle was Munsalvaesche-apparently a Germanicized version of Montsalvat, a Cathar term. Also the lord of the Grail castle was named Perilla in one of Wolfram's poems. Interestingly enough, the actual lord of Montsegur was Raimon de Pereille, and his name, in its Latin form, appears on documents of the period as Perilla.
The golden age of Provence ended horrifically during the period from 1209 to 1244. In 1,209 Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade against the Albigenses. All who took part in his "Holy Crusade" were assured a place in heaven, plus all the booty they could plunder. When an officer inquired of the Pope's representative how he might distinguish heretics from true believers, the reply was, "Kill them all." A huge army of these Christians from Hell sallied forth to bring true Christianity to southern France. They pillaged, raped, and murdered until even Rex Mundi must have been satiated. These wholesale atrocities were the first example of genocide in modern European history. In the town of Beziers alone at least fifteen thousand men, women and children were slaughtered wholesale, and hundreds of adolescent girls were driven away at pike point so they could be raped and slaughtered at leisure later. These "soldiers of God" left the whole country of Provence a wasteland. And, on March 14, 1244, the Cathar Castle at Montsegur finally fell after a prolonged siege. At dawn of March 15th more than 200 people were brutally dragged down the mountainside, locked into a large wood-filled stockade at the foot of the mountain, and all burned alive, en masse.
In 1136 Geoffrey of Monmouth had brought King Arthur and Arthurian literature to the attention of the world with his Latin text, "History of the Kings of Britain." But it was only in 1188 that the first work that furnished the general pattern and prototype for subsequent Grail narratives was written. This came from Troyes, from the court of the count of Champagne where, significantly, an influential school of Cabalistic and esoteric studies, influenced by the "good people" of Province, had flourished since 1070. It was here, at the Council of Troyes in 1128, that the Templars were officially incorporated, and for the next two centuries Troyes remained a strategic center for the order. And it was here that the French writer Chretien de Troyes composed "Le Conte du Graal", "The Story of the Grail." Chretien begins the work by dedicating it to Philippe d'Alsace, count of Flanders, and says that it was from Philippe that he heard the story in the first place.Chretien's work is unfinished. Chretien died around 1188, possibly before he could complete the work. Three other writers (Gautier, Manessier, and Gerbert) continued Chretien's tale in their "Conte du Graal" all known as continuations.
Following the work by Chretien, around 1200, the German, Wolfram von Eschenbach, a Knight Templar, and initiate of high degree, wrote the book that was the most important and knowledgeable of all the Grail works. The title of this book was "Parzival". In it Eschenbach says the original source of his information was an Arabian mystic named Flegetanis who compiled an account of the mysterious Grail while he was studying with the Arabs in their colleges at Toledo in Spain. Kyot of Provence, a jongleur (one of the grades or divisions of the Troubadours), discovered the records of the Arabian Flegetanis in Toledo, and passed the knowledge on to Eschenbach.
The deeply esoteric nature of Eschenbach's Parzival is signaled in the Gamuret prelude to Parzival. Leading scholars have shown their lack of understanding by viewing it as of little significance-a mere afterthought added only after the whole work had been completed. In the prelude a city with an unspecified location called Petalamund is described. It is under siege. A battle is taking place at each of its 16 gates. Two separate armies wage the battle at the sixteen gates. A black army and a white army each lay siege to eight gates of the city. Not only should this strange description raise a flag, even more significantly it is a microcosm of the entire work which, as a whole, is divided into 16 parts.
A very slight acquaintance with esoteric doctrines suffices to throw light on this dark matter. In the writings of India, especially in Tantra Yoga, there is said to be seven important centers in the human body. They are described by Indian seers as wheels of force, and are, therefore, called chakras, a word that means wheels or circles in Sanskrit. They are described as composed of vortices of subtle matter, around which a secondary force rushing around the vortex produces a shape that resembles the petal of a flower. Each chakra or center has its own distinctive number of petals. The fifth chakra, or throat center, called by the Hindus, the Vishuddha has 16 petals. And it is just this center that was said by the famous occultist, Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, to be the most important center for the present race. The reason for this is, according to her esoteric doctrine, we are in the fifth root race and the chakra that corresponds to its root race is most important for humanity.
Other major Grail works were as follows:
a. Diu Crone by Heinrich von dem Turlin (also known as The Crown) (ca. 1230)
b. Didot-Perceval (also known as Petit Saint Graal) (ca. 1200)
c. Mabinogion, "Peredur" (ab Evrawc) (ca. 1200)
d. Grand-Saint-Graal (also known as History of the Holy Grail) (ca. 1200-1220)
e. Joseph d'Arimathie by Robert de Baron (ca. 1190)
f. Perlesvaus (also known as The High History of the Holy Grail) (ca. 1200-1210)
All of these were in French except that of the German Turlin, and the Welsh Mabinogion. The Perceval versions, which form the bulk of the existing Grail texts, differ considerably from each other, but their distinctive feature is the insistence upon the sickness and disability of the ruler of the land, the Fisher King, that resulted in the barrenness and wasting of the land. In the Gerbert version of the story the hero, having partially achieved his task, wakes to find that the Grail Castle has disappeared, and that he is alone in a flowery meadow. As he goes through this fertile land he is amazed because only the day before it had been a desert waste. Arriving at a castle he is received by a solemn procession, with great rejoicing, for through him the people have regained the land and good which they had lost. When Perceval asks about the Grail, the mistress of the castle says:
"All this was done by what he said,
This land whose streams no waters fed,
Its fountains dry, its fields unplowed,
His word once more with health endowed."
Like Gawain before him, he has "freed the water" and restored the land.
A major feature of the Grail stories is the Grail castle in which the hero views the procession that carries the Holy Grail. This account is particularly interesting in Eschenbach's Parzival. Eschenbach describes how Parzival washes the rust from his armor off his face and hands and under his eyes after he arrives at the Grail Castle. He who approaches the Grail must be cleansed of all earthly impurities. Next Parzival receives a gift of a cloak of flawless Arabian silk and is conducted to the great central room of the Grail Castle where the dying Fisher King Anfortas is brought in and placed on a cot, and then he witnesses the Grail Procession. Two maidens of noble birth enter through the door at the end of the great hall. Each wears a wreath of flowers on her loose-flowing hair, and each bears in her hand a candle burning on a golden candlestick. They are followed by two others carrying ivory stools that they set down before Parzival and his host. These are joined by more ladies-two groups of four who also have their own special duties to perform. Four carry tall candles, while the other four carry a tabletop made from transparent garnet hyacinth. They lay the tabletop on the snow-while ivory stools. Two maidens, the daughters of Celtic knights displaying them on two cloths. Four more maidens accompany the knife carriers. This group numbers six in all. They bow courteously and join the other twelve.
Eschenbach is careful to ensure that we are aware of the exact number of ladies who serve the grain. He tells us,
"If I count correctly, there must now be eighteen ladies standing there. And look at this moment come another six, making altogether so far twenty-four ladies. These latter six come arrayed in costly garb, one half of silk that is interwoven with gold, the rest of silk from Nineveh. They and the other six who went before wear gowns alike, of priceless worth, each made of two fabrics combined."
Now comes the bearer of the Grail herself. Her name is Repanse de Schoye. Her countenance is as radiant as the dancing sun. She is clothed in a garment of Arabian silk. Upon an archmardi of a deep shade of green she bears the emblem of supreme purity, the perfection of paradise. This was the thing called the Grail, which surpasses all earthly perfection. The nature of the Grail is such that she who watches over it must preserve her purity and renounce all falsehood. Repanse de Schoye places the Grail before the host and stands in the center with twelve maidens on either side of her.
What does all this mean? Ravenscroft tells us Parzival is undergoing an `out-of-body' experience. We must look to accounts of spiritual experiences to understand this. One such account is that given by Saint Theresa of Spain. She says our soul resembles a Castle made all of diamonds, or the clearest of crystals, where there are many facets just as in Heaven there are many mansions. And at the very center is the chiefest of them all, where there takes place many things that are of deepest secrecy between God and the soul.
In the Mysteries the initiate was placed in a deathlike sleep for a period of three days while his spirit endured the ordeal of initiatism in the subtle world. The "temple sleep" was originally implemented in the initiations of Ancient Egypt. The candidate was wrapped in grave clothes and buried in a tomb, and went through a form of ritual death. At the conclusion the hierophant raised the initiate in what amounted to a ritual resurrection from the tomb. In the book, "Winged Pharoah" Joan Grant, who was born with the ability to remember events from her past lives, recounts in detail the ancient initiation experience.
In the episode of Lazarus in the Gospels, Lazarus was undergoing a similar initiation experience. He was out of his body for three days. The Gospel account implies Lazarus failed the experience and actually died, and Jesus had to use his powers to bring him back. The crucifixion of Christ in the Gospels staged the secret initiation for the whole world to see. After three days Christ is resurrected just as were the Egyptian Initiates. In fact, the book of Revelations tells us that Christ was also crucified in Egypt. In the initiation there Christ was tied to a cross for three days while he was out of his physical body undergoing the initiation trials.
Parzival fails in his first experience in the Grail castle. He should have shown compassion and love by asking King Anfortas the appropriate question, "Brother, What ails thee? Why do you suffer?" If he had done this he would have succeeded in his quest for the Holy Grail. As it was he wakes up and finds himself alone in the Grail castle, and when he leaves it the castle vanishes behind him. This describes the experience we have all had when we wake and the whole tapestry of inner experience dissolves and is lost to us. The initiate must gain the ability to retain that consciousness that exists on the other side of sleep. The ensuing experiences of Parzival show how this can be done. He must now pass through his entire life all over again. But HE MUST PASS THROUGH HIS LIFE BACKWARD. TIME IS REVERSED. This is an all-important clue for the esoteric discipline. And the whole secret of the technique is to review each night the personal activities and events of the day in reverse order to which they originally took place.
(Similar elements are in the Shakespeare First Folio. I have described in "Secrets of the First Folio" how, in the First Folio, at the location of Julius Caesar, time is reversed. In that article I dealt mainly with the physical realm. The First Folio is also an initiate document. The features of 16 and the two pairs of 12 are in it just as in Eschenbach's Parzival. At the point of the highest development of physical man, Julius Caesar, Bacon shows the time reversal. At this stage in the cycle of the soul's experience it must learn to transcend the physical, and start the long climb toward the place from which it originally fell.)
In the limited space of this article I can only glance at some of the salient features of Don Quixote. Certainly primary among these is the matter of his madness. In his writings Bacon frequently gives evidence that he views the whole human condition as insane. In his "Masculine Birth of Time"he writes,
"This gives us a hint how we should proceed in this universal madness."
There are many other examples in his acknowledged writings that he held this view. But the major example is in that fantastic compendium of learning titled, "The Anatomy of Melancholy". I don't have space here to argue Bacon's authorship of "The Anatomy of Melancholy". That has been done on numerous occasions by various Baconians. In my opinion, more than adequately. Apparently after His fall in 1621 Bacon used the writing of this book as a form of cathartic therapy. I cite this book here because it is helpful in understanding Don Quixote.
Anyone who wants to see how Bacon viewed the human race has only to read the forward to this book, "Democritus Junior to the Reader." He piles example upon example showing the whole world is mad. He says he has taken upon himself the task of anatomizing this madness. He divides man into the inner man and the outer man. The inner spiritual man has the faculties of reason, memory, and imagination; while the outer physical man has the faculties of motion and appetite. Don Quixote obvious corresponds to the inner man, Sancho Panza to the outer man. According to The Anatomy of Melancholy in the body the spiritual is located primarily in the head, and the physical in the belly. Panza is Spanish for belly. Much of the humor in the novel comes from the contrast between Don Quixote's intellectual interpretation of the world and its interaction with Sancho's bodily hungers and functions. Their travels together teach each of them that human experience is made up of both mental imagination and physical reality. More significantly the processes of initiation continually draw the outer physical man closer to the inner spiritual man, and in Don Quixote as their adventures proceed we see their personalities gradually growing closer together.
The Anatomy of Melancholy discusses idleness, learning, old age, and an over active imagination as causes for madness. All enter into the madness of Don Quixote. The largest section in The Anatomy covers Love Melancholy, and this is the major part of Don Quixote. Love Madness provides the most evident evidence in ordinary everyday life that ordinary people ordinarily considered sane are actually stark raving mad. Everyone has a model in their mind they have built from the most disparate, irrelevant bits of life experience of the Ideal Loved One. The phenomenon of love is almost always a misunderstanding. The person out there in some way invokes the inner model, and people "fall in love" not with the actual person out there, but with the inner model they think is the person out there. In this madness the person out there is the least part of the matter. This is shown very well in Don Quixote where Quixote harbors the mad devotion and mental image of Dulcinea Del Toboso who he wouldn't even know if he bumped into her on the street. And the phenomenon of love is hilariously caricatured with the episode at the Inn of the encounter in the dark between Quixote and the Asturian.
The lass from Asturia is described as broad-faced, flatheaded, with a snub nose. She is blind in one eye and cannot see very well out of the other. And her other defects were "improved" by her bodily "graces". She was very short, slightly hunchbacked, and she had to keep looking at the ground a good deal more than she liked. In the episode in the dark in the Inn, the muleteer had arranged to meet with this paragon of loveliness to have a little sport with her that night. She had given him her Word that, as soon as the guests were quiet and her master and mistress asleep, she would come to him and let him have his way. And it must be said of the good lass that she never made such a promise without keeping it, for she prided herself greatly upon being a lady and keeping her word.
Don Quixote's makeshift bed was the first one encountered upon entering the room. As Quixote lay there, his mind filled with mad visions of knightly exploits the lovely lass from Asturia, clad in her nightgown and barefoot, bumped into his bed in the darkness. Quixote seizes her by the wrists and draws her down to him. Her nightgown of sackcloth seems to him to be made of the finest and flimsiest silken gauze. The glass beads on her wrists appear to him to be the finest oriental pearls. Her hair, which resembles a horse's mane more than anything else, seems like filaments of the brightest gold of Araby whose splendor darkens even that of the sun. Her breath, reeking of yesterday's stale salad, seems a sweet and aromatic odor. In short he imagined her as having the same appearance and manner of the image he had built in his mind of those princesses whom he had read about in his books, who, overcome by love and similarly bedecked, came to visit their badly wounded knights. To him it seemed that it was the goddess of beauty herself whom he held in his arms. So great was his madness that neither his sense of touch nor the girl's breath, nor anything else about her could disillusion him, although they were enough to cause anyone to vomit who did not happen to be a mule driver. And thus Bacon depicts the phenomenon of love.
From a casual view the episodes in Don Quixote could be a clinical description of madness until we reach the penultimate episode in the first book. Then, all of a sudden, we are given an allegory so thinly veiled its significance is obvious, and it displays the whole book from a different perspective. This episode is the story told by the goat herd Eugenio about he and his rival Anselmo's love for Leandra. In a small village there lived a farmer who had a daughter uniquely endowed with surpassing beauty, grace, wit, and modesty. Her name was Leandra and her fame had spread to all the surrounding villages.
Then there came to the village a certain Vicente de la Rosa, son of a poor peasant who lived there. He had been taken away from the village when a lad of about twelve and now returned twelve years later. Although he made a display of gaudy uniforms, an inventory made by the peasants verified that, in fact, he had only three uniforms, each of different colors.Vicente de la Rosa was a musician, a poet, and a gallant and soon won the love of Leandra. She ran away with the soldier and afterwards was found by the villagers in a mountain cave, naked save for her chemise, and without the large sums of money and extremely valuable jewels with which she had left home. She had handed everything over to her lover on the night that she disappeared. He had then borne her away to a rugged mountain and there shut her up in the cave where they had found her. She further told how the soldier, without depriving her of her honor, had gone off with all her possessions and left her alone.
On the very day that Leandra was returned to the village her father took her to a convent in a near-by city. With Leandra shut away, her suitors left the village and went to a valley where they became shepherds pasturing a large number of sheep. So the place became converted into a pastoral Arcadia, being full of shepherds and sheepfolds, and there was no spot in the valley where the name of the beauteous Leandra was not heard.
Immediately after hearing this story Don Quixote sees, coming down the slope of a hill, a large number of people clad in white after the fashions of penitents. There had been a drought that year and the people from a nearby town had organized the procession for prayer and penance, and they bore in their procession a covered image of The Virgin.Quixote imagines it must be some high born lady that they are forcibly carrying off and determines to rescue her. Sancho says,
"Can't you see that's a procession of penitents and that lady they are carrying off on the litter is the most blessed image of the Immaculate Virgin?"
But Don Quixote charges down to them and demands that they free at once the lovely lady who they are carrying away. He is struck senseless by one of the penitents.
Vicente is a variation of Vincent, which means "conqueror". Vicente de la Rosa is the conqueror of the Rose. This refers to the doctrine of the Sufi troubadours with their traditions of Courtly Love, whose deity was The Lady. Through service and sacrifice to The Lady they won the prize of the Rose. This tradition engendered extended and complicated allegories dealing with love whose emblem was the Rose. That Vicente wins Leandra though he seems clearly in third place compared to the other two suitors shows that the LOVE is a gift that comes through grace rather than innate qualifications.
Quixote's next action seems mad on the surface, but is actually eminently sane in conformity with this doctrine. The Catholic Church has abducted The Lady. In order to overcome the goddess worship that prevailed universally the Church substituted the Blessed Virgin. In doing this it abducted the Lady. The substituted figure was not the same. The pagan goddess had three aspects: maiden (virginity), mother (fertility), and crone (death). She comprised the trinity that brought life and death in her one figure. She was Isis, among Her many other names. Her symbol, the dove, was the symbol of Mary Magdalene, the Cathars, and Saint John the Baptist. She was Mother Goddess, Kali, and the Rose, and contained the "underground stream" of secret knowledge preserved from the Ancient Religion. The Grail Knight Quixote was trying to free her from the clutches of the Church.This also parallels the first visit of the Grail hero to the Castle of the Holy Grail.
When Parsival had his first unsuccessful visit to the Castle of the Grail and failed to ask the compassionate question of the wounded Anfortas, "Brother, what ails thee?" He failed in the test of LOVE, and it is LOVE that is the enabling agent that allows the outer physical man to contact the inner spiritual man. The episode of Leandra deals with this mystic subject of love. And Quixote's fails in his attempt to rescue The Lady, as Parsival failed in his first test of LOVE. Like the lyrics from the song, "What's love got to do with it, do with it?" we may ask the same question. In order to provide some material for logical confrontation I will relate a personal experience. Many years ago I experimented with meditation. I had embarked on a period where I conscientiously meditated at a specific time for a half-hour each day.I did this for several weeks with no apparent result. Then I thought, Buddha proscribed the acquisition of certain mental qualities, and Christ after him, taught the doctrine of love. So I decided I would see how attitudes affected meditation. I made an effort to have an attitude of altruistic love toward everyone during my daily life. I continued my period of daily meditation. Soon after this I began to experience a curious phenomena.
During the day I would experience psychic flashes where I would see things happen before they actually took place. For example, I was walking beside a building and in one of these psychic flashes I saw a man who I had not seen for several months come around the corner of the building and speak to me. The next moment this actually happened. Then one night, not long after this, while I was "sleeping" I found myself standing in the midst of an exquisitely beautiful meadow. There was an indescribable charm to this place. Shortly afterwards I opened my eyes and I was lying in my bed. The charm of the beautiful place still hung like a spell over my mind. There had been no loss of consciousness in the transition from actually being in the meadow and being in my physical body. It was as if I had stepped from one room into another. Apparently love was the enabling agent that allowed the interaction with the spiritual realm. That's the short answer to what love has to do with it. The long answer deals with special magical techniques found in doctrines such as India's Tantra.
There is another stream of significance associated with the story of the Lovely Leandra. The lives of the Shepherds dwelling in the valley are devoted to Leandra. This invokes the Arcadia Theme. In the Italian Academies Arcadia was frequently denoted by a fountain which was associated with an underground stream. This stream was the river Alpheus-the central river in the actual geographical Arcadia in Greece, which flowed underground, and was said to surface again at the Fountain of Arethusa in Sicily. The stream denoted the "underground" esoteric tradition of esoteric doctrines. During the sixteenth century Arcadia and the "underground stream" became a prominent cultural fashion. In England it inspired Sir Philip Sidney's most important work, Arcadia.
Arcadia had still another, more hidden, connotation. There is evidence that the Merovigians were the "bloodline" of the Holy Grail. In this connotation Arcadia has to do with a "subterranean" bloodline. According to evidence provided in the book, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" The Merovingians were connected with Arcadia's royal house, and at some unspecified date toward the advent of the Christian era they supposedly migrated up the Danube, then up the Rhine, and established themselves in what is now Western Germany. The Merovingian dynasty issued from the Sicambrians, a tribe of the Germanic people collectively known as the Franks. Between the fifth and seventh centuries the Merovingians ruled large parts of what are now France and Germany.
In Part I of Don Quixote we have seen Quixote pass through a number of Grail experiences. The author actually shows Quixote cleaning the rust from his face exactly as Parzival does at the Grail Castle. Quixote is taken back to his starting point the first time, sorely battered, seated on an ass. This shows that he has come to understand the great toil required for the Great Work. The second time he is taken back to his starting point immobilized in a cage. He now understands the contemplative nature of the work. That he must turn within himself. Moreover he has the key of retrospection.
There is a significant distinction between Part I and Part II of Don Quixote. In her article, "Fiction and the Androgyne in the Works of Cervantes" in the Spring 1983 Cervantes Magazine, Ruth Elsaffar notes a very significant feature of Don Quixote. She says:
`Don Quixote sets out in Part I at dawn on a sweltering day in July and wanders in an arid terrain throughout his adventures. In Part II, on the other hand, he sallies forth at night, and despite his continued inland journeying, he seeks out, again and again, the places where water can be found. The water episodes in Part II mark events of deep moment in Don Quixote's journey."
We remember that in the Gerbert version of the story Perceval, having partially achieved his task, finds the Grail Castle has disappeared, and as he goes through the fertile land he is amazed because only the day before it had been a desert waste. Arriving at a castle he is received by a solemn procession, with great rejoicing, for through him the people have regained the land and good which they had lost. When Perceval asks about the Grail, the mistress of the castle says:
Like Gawain before him, he has "freed the water" and restored the land. Water in Don Quixote symbolizes the inner or spiritual world. In "Secrets of the First Folio" I have shown that this theme of the ancient myths contrasting the barrenness and the fertility of the earth was very much a part of the content of the concealed allegories of the Plays.
The contrast between Part I and Part II is the contrast between the outer world and the inner world. In Part I Quixote is more often outside in the open. In Part II he is more often closed in. Part II deals mainly with the inner world. As this part begins the initiate has reached the point where there begins to be an air of unreality to the things of the outer world. This is shown near the beginning of Part II, where Quixote and Sancho encounter a wagon of strolling Players, disguised as the stereotype figures of life. There is Death, an Angel, A Queen, A Soldier, an Emperor and a Devil. Quixote says,
"When I first saw this wagon I thought that some great adventure must be awaiting me, but I perceive now that one must actually touch with his hands what appears to the eye if he is to avoid being deceived."
Later Quixote says to Sancho,
"Tell me, have you not seen some comedy in which kings, emperors, pontiffs, knights, ladies, and numerous other characters are introduced? One plays the ruffian, another the cheat, this one a merchant and that one a soldier, while yet another is the fool who is not so foolish as he appears, and still another the one of whom love has made a fool. Yet when the play is over and they have taken off their players' garments, all the actors are once more equal."
"the same things happens in the comedy we call life, where some play the part of emperors, others that of pontiffs-in short, all the characters that a drama may have-but when it is all over, that is to say, when life is done, death takes from each the garb that differentiates him, and all at last are equal in the grave."
"It is a fine comparison," Sancho admitted, "thought not so new but that I have heard it many times before. It reminds me of that other one, about the game of chess. So long as the game lasts, each piece has its special qualities, but when it is over they are all mixed and jumbled together and put into a bag, which is to the chess pieces what the grave is to life."
A stage after this on the path is when the person gains the inner awareness that allows them to begin realize that all that happens to them is the result of karma. That always, and in everything they are meeting their self:
"If Socrates leave his house today, he will find the sage seated on his doorsteps. If Judas go forth tonight it is to Judas his steps will tend. Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through outselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves."
This is shown when in his next adventure Quixote meets and fights with The Knight of The Mirrors.
The next adventure is that of the Knight of the Green-colored Greatcoat. As Quixote and Sancho were proceeding along a road a man came up behind them. He was mounted on a handsome flea-bitten mare and wore a hooded greatcoat of fine green cloth trimmed in tawny velvet and a cap of the same material. The trappings of his horse were green and mulberry in color. His spurs were covered with highly polished green lacquer. Don Quixote dubbed him the Knight of the Green-colored Greatcoat. The Knight of the Green-colored Greatcoat is with Quixote when Quixote has his great adventure with the lions and afterward Quixote goes with him to his house.
Ravenscroft says the episode in Parzival where the Arthurian knights mistake Schionatulander for the Knight, Ither of Gahevies, although Schionarulander wears a green coat, is designed as a pointer by Eschenbach. He says Eschenback wants us to see Schionatulander in the complementary colour to the Red Knight, and there is certain specific information that can only be understood by comparing the two knights together.
In Parzival, Gawain hears the roar of a lion, and the gigantic creature springs upon him with terrifying ferocity. After a terrific struggle Gawain finally slays the lion. When we look at the intrepid Quixote's meeting with the lion we see an entirely different situation. Quixote catches sight of a cart flying royal flags coming down the road toward him and Sancho. Believing this must be a new adventure he mounts his trusty steed Rocinante and charges forth to do battle. It turns out that in the cart there are two fierce lions in cage, which the governor of Oran was sending to court as a present for the King.
"And are the lions large?" Inquires Don Quixote.
"The largest." Says the driver.
Quixote conceives the idea of exhibiting his courage by doing battle with the lions. He compels the driver to open the cage of one of the lions and let him out so he can meet the lion in one to one combat. Hearing this Sancho wisely thrashed his Donkey to its utmost speed and departed the scene as fast as it would carry him. But when the driver opens the cage, the first thing that the extraordinarily big and horribly ugly creature did was turn around, put out a claw, and stretch itself all over. Then it opened its mouth and yawned very slowly. Next it stuck its head out of the cage and gazed in all directions. And then turned its back, presented his hindquarters to Quixote, and very calmly and very peacefully lay down and stretched itself out in the cage once more.
We need to reconcile the two accounts. In order to do this we need to look at what the lion signifies. The lion signifies the whole realm of the feelings, that is the sympathies and antipathies, pleasures and aversions, which the Grail-seeker must master and keep on the tightest reign. To conquer the Lion, he must make his feelings as depersonalized and objective as his thinking, so that the power of the feeling itself becomes an inspired form of cognition which informs him of realities rather than his own selfish likes and dislikes. Quixote had progressed so far at this point that the lion simply rolled over and went to sleep rather than engaging in a terrific struggle with him.
Now we come to Quixote's most significant adventure. The episode is nothing less than an account of the Grail Castle experience. Quixote has heard all around La Mancha that there was a wonderfully deep underground cave belonging to Montesinos, and that it would behoove him to dare descend into this cavern. Inside, he was told, were such sights to be seen as would stop the heart and chill the blood. We are told that he planned to make his way into the Cave of Montesinos of which so many marvelous stories had been told in that region. And also meant to look into the true source and headwaters of the seven lakes that are commonly known as the Lakes of Ruidera. In English we would call these the "Lakes of Rumor." In Quixote water symbolizes the inner spiritual life, and these seven lakes are the seven chakras in the human body, while the underground cave symbolizes the inner descent within ones own self.
Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and a poor author called "Cousin" took the road to the cave. They spend the last night at a little village where they purchased enough rope to lower Quixote even if the cave's bottom was as deep as hell. They lower Quixote until they no longer hear his voice and by this time they had let him have the entire 100 fathoms of rope. They waited half an hour then pulled him up again. When they had him all the way up they saw his eyes were closed and he appeared unconscious. They tried to awaken him, but it was only after a considerable length of time that he at last regained consciousness, stretching himself as if he had been roused from a profound slumber and gazing about him with a bewildered look.
Then Quixote gave them an account of his experience in the cave. He said that at a depth corresponding to the height of twelve or fourteen men he saw a recess in the wall. He decided to enter the recess and rest a little. As he sat in the recess lost in thought, suddenly and without his doing anything to bring it about a profound sleep fell upon him, and then he awoke to find himself in the midst of the most beautiful, pleasant and delightful meadow. It was at that moment that his eyes fell upon a beautiful castle the walls and battlements of which appeared to be built of clear, transparent crystal. Then a venerable old man clad in a hooded cloak came from the castle to conduct him into the castle. He took him into the crystal palace, where, in a low room that was made entirely of alabaster Quixote beheld a tomb of marble on which lay a knight stretched out at full length. The old man told Quixote that the enchanter Merlin held the knight there under a spell and added that the duenna Ruidera and her seven daughters were held there through Merlin's magic art, and that Merlin had turned the daughters into seven lakes.
Quixote next turned and saw through the crystal walls the Grail procession of lovely damsels passing through another chamber. There was a double file of the loveliest maidens in the world, dressed all in black, with huge, oriental, white turbans on their heads.They were followed by their majestic queen, Belerma. She was dressed also in mourning but wrapped from head to foot in a long, diaphanous white veil.Quixote continues in almost the same language and details used by the poet of the English Gawain and the Green Knight to delineate the physique of King Arthur's youngest half sister, Queen Morgan le Fay. In her hands she carried a fine piece of cloth, and wrapped in it, so far as Quixote could make out, was a mummified heart, all dried and withered. This is very significant. The heart is the organ in the most often equated with love. The episode in the Grail Castle is a test of LOVE, and it was only through LOVE that it can be passed. The mummified heart, all dried and withered symbolizes that LOVE is all dried and withers and must be resuscitated and brought back to life again.
After his description Quixote asked Sancho how long it was since he went down. Sancho told him it was a little more than an hour. Quixote said that could not be so for he counted three whole days that he spent in those remote regions that are hidden from the sight. That is, the initiation of Quixote was three days just as in the ancient initiations. It is worthy of note also, that it was recorded of King Arthur that he once survived an initiation requiring him to lie for three days "under the slab".
In Chapter 30 of Part II Don Quixote meets with a beautiful huntress. In the reality shifts built into the book she is explained as a Duchess, but she is, of course, the Huntress Diana, goddess of the moon and of the sublunary sphere, deity of the Knights Templar and of the Cathars . She subjects Quixote and Sancho to a number of tests that have a marked resemblance to those of the Ancient Mysteries, most notably those in the statement of Proclus:
"In the most interior sanctities of the Mysteries, before the presence of the god, the rushing forms of earthly demons appear, and call attention from the immaculate good to matter."
We member that in one of her aspects Diana was also triform Hecate. The initiates in the Eleusenian Mysteries were beset by a demonic phantom called the Empousa (said to be Hecate herself) which changed into many shapes. One of those the Huntress has deceive Quixote is La Trifaldi. Sancho calls her Three Skirts, or Three Tails. (In The Tempest, also an allegory of initiates in the Mysteries, there is a character, Trinculo, whose name means three tails). Sancho and Quixote are subjected to a number of illusory images just as the initiates were in the Eleusenian Mysteries. And Sancho is told he must subject himself to 3300 lashes (there's that number 33 again) if he will release Quixote's Mistress Dulcinea del Toboso from enchantment. Mortification of the flesh is one of the common themes of those who would release themselves from the hold of the physical world.
The next adventure of Quixote is his encounter with the enchanted "Talking Head." In his book, "The Sufis" Idries Shah explains that, among the Sufis, the head represented a special state of consciousness, and this head is also found in the Grail Romances, and in the Cathar doctrines.
In his last test in the book, Quixote is challenged and fights with the Knight of the White Moon. In this fight Quixote is defeated and forced to promise to retire to this village for a year. Soon after he returns to his village Quixote falls ill and after three days he dies.
This knight, whom Quixote battles, symbolizes the domain of the physical world, or world of form, in the sublunary sphere. And how, indeed, can Quixote conquer him as long as he is in his domain? There is only one way. This is symbolized in the Gospels by the crucifixion of Christ. This is the initiation where the lower self dies. And here the story of Quixote ends.
Comments for Mather
See : Carrying Coal to Newcastle : Second Takes & Hidden Allusions in Don Quixote
Ashe, Geoffrey - The Arthurian Handbook - Garland Publishing -
Baigent, Leigh, Lincoln - Holy Blood, Holy Grail - Delacorte Press - 1982
Bailey, Alice A. - Initiation, Human and Solar - Lucis Publishing Company - 1967
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de - The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote - Samuel Putnam translation - Viking Press - 1949
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de - The Adventures of Don Quixote -J.M. Cohen translation - Barnes & Noble - 1999
Eschenbach, Wolfram Von - Parzival - Penquin Books - 1984
Goodrich, Norma Lorre - The Holy Grail - HarperCollins Publishers - 1992
Grant, Joan - Winged Pharaoh - Ariel Press - 1985
Matarasso, P.M. (Trans) - The Quest of the Holy Quail - Penquin Books - 1969
Ravenscroft, Trevor - The Spear of Destiny - G.P. Putnam's Sons - 1973
Ravenscroft, Trevor - The Cup of Destiny - Samuel Weiser, Inc. - 1988
Waite, A.E. - The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail - Rebman Limited - 1909
Weston, Jessie L. - From Ritual to Romance - Doubleday Inc. - 1957
This site posts the bi-annual editions of the Cervantes magazine. Most articles are in Spanish, But many are in English. Also at this site may be Found the title pages of the original Quixote books.