Pilgrimage To South Of France
1998 Pilgrimage to South of France
In Lazarus Jesus accomplished the great miracle of the transformation of life in the sense of ancient traditions. Through this event, Christianity is linked with the Mysteries. Lazarus had become an initiate through Christ Jesus himself. Thereby Lazarus had become able to rise into the higher worlds. He was at the same time both the first Christian initiate and the first to be initiated by Christ Jesus himself. Through his initiation, he had become capable of perceiving that the "Word" which had come to life within him had become a person in Christ Jesus, and thus there stood before him in the personality of his "awakener" the same which had been revealed within him spiritually.
Rudolf Steiner, Christianity as Mystical Fact, 1961
Exploring the destinies of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha
in the First Century
and the Grail stories of the Ninth Century
leading to the revelation of the Mystery of the Holy Grail
September 8 - 27, 1998
The South of France is linked with the destinies of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha. The two sisters of Lazarus were both eyewitnesses to the Mystery of Golgotha, and, prior to that, to the greatest of Christ's miracles: the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This geographic region also hosted many of the Grail adventures and was a center for the Cathars. This journey into the early history of Christianity and later Grail Mysteries was led by Robert Powell and Karen Rivers. Music and devotional eurythmy were offered, as well as a presentation/conversation each evening.
In 1996 The Sophia Foundation of North America led a pilgrimage to Asia Minor, Ephesus and Patmos, following the footsteps of John and Mary, who stood at the foot of the Cross at the Crucifixion and later went to Ephesus, where Mary spent the last eleven years of her life. In 1997 the Sophia Foundation pilgrimage to the Holy Land traced the footsteps of Jesus Christ on his path of redemption of humanity and the Earth
The pilgrimage to the South of France served as a link between the Holy Land, the place of origin of Christianity, and Chartres, the great center of Platonic Christianity in the Middle Ages. From the clairvoyant description of Anne Catherine Emmerich, which is more or less identical with the account in The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine, the following description indicates how early Christianity spread from the Holy Land to the South of France.
>After the Mystery of Golgotha, Martha continued to live at the house of Lazarus in Bethany, which was a place of gathering for the disciples and where also the Virgin Mary stayed until she went to Ephesus with John. Mary Magdalene went to live a life of penance in the desert. About four years after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, she went to visit her brother and sister in Bethany. It was the time when the Christians in Jerusalem began to be persecuted, and all three were taken captive, together with the young Maximin, one of the 72 disciples, and Chelitonius, a blind man whose sight had been restored to him by Jesus. Also, Sarah, the former maid of Mary Magdalene, and Marcella, the maid of Martha, were taken captive: seven people in all. The seven of them were put in a small boat that was then towed out on the Mediterranean Sea and cut adrift. They prayed and they survived. The boat was washed ashore at the place now known a Saintes Maries de la Mer in the South of France.
Just as John and Mary, when the persecutions started, were guided to Ephesus, so Divine Providence brought Lazarus, Martha, Mary Magdalene and their four companions to the South of France. Lazarus became the first bishop of Marseilles, before he went to Ephesus. Mary Magdalene went to dwell in a cave at St. Baume, where she lived the life of a recluse, doing penance for some thirty years. She is looked upon as the patron saint of the early Christian Church in Provence, the region in the South of France regarded by many as a kind of paradise. She died shortly before Martha. And Martha went to Aix-en-Provence, and later to Tarascon, where some of her remains were supposedly preserved in the crypt of the church there. Mary Magdalene's skull and some other remains are said to be in the church at St. Maximin. In this atmosphere brought over from the Holy Land by Lazarus, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Maximin, Chelitonius, Marcella and Sarah early Christianity flourished in Provence. So it is no surprise to find that Provence and the neighboring area of Languedoc occupy a special place in the later history of Christianity in its spiritual/mystical form: Grail Christianity. A central figure in this later history is Count William of Toulouse, also known as William of Orange (French: Guillaume d'Orange), who is referred to in the Grail story as Kyot, Parzival's uncle. Count William resided for a time in Orange in Provence, and fought a decisive battle against the invading Arabs near Arles. Later he lived in the town which came to be named after him: Saint-Guilhem-Le-Desert in Languedoc. The second part of our pilgrimage to the South of France was spent in Languedoc. We visited Montsegur which was the last stronghold of the Cathars; San Juan de la Pena on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, a site which, according to Ehrenried Pfeiffer, was a center of Grail Christianity for a time; and Lourdes which was the place of one of the most famous apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Then we journeyed to the north to La Salette, Mont St. Odile, Colmar, Arlesheim and ended our pilgrimage with a visit to the Goetheanum in Dornach.
This was a Grail quest which led us to a number of remarkable sites in France, Spain, and Switzerland. The first site we visited was the cave and area known as St. Baume in Provence, east of Marseille, a place of pilgrimage to Mary Magdalene, one of the world’s most ancient Christian spiritual sites. After a steep ascent to this mountainous area in our bus, we were greeted by a majestic mountain range towering in front of us. Our eyes were drawn to the smooth cliff face at the center of which is a cave where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived the last thirty years of her life in mystical contemplation. Although we were able to climb up close to the cave, we were unable to enter it because of a recent restriction closing it off from public access. Some of our group went on to ascend to the top of the cliff face, where it is said that Mary Magdalene was raised up by Angels, and one of our group had quite a remarkable adventure there.
The focus of the first part of our journey, visiting St. Baume and other sites in the Provence region, was upon the lives of Lazarus, Martha, Mary Magdalene, and the four others who accompanied them in a boat across the Mediterranean, landing at St. Maries-de-la-Mer, west of Marseille, a few years after the Mystery of Golgotha. One of the four was said to have been Mary Magdalene’s black Egyptian maidservant Sara, who is revered as the patron saint of the gypsies and whose shrine, which we visited, is in the crypt of the church in St. Maries-de-la-Mer.
We also visited the crypt of St. Victor’s basilica in Marseille. There, next to the cave of St.Victor, the catacombs are located, where Lazarus, Martha, and Mary Magdalene are said to have stayed before Mary Magdalene went to St. Baume and Martha went on her missionary journey to Aix-en-Provence and Tarascon. Lazarus remained as bishop in Marseille, possibly until after the death of his two sisters, who died in Provence at more or less the same time (perhaps around AD 66). From Marseille, he went to Ephesus in Asia Minor, where he adopted the name John in honor of the Apostle John, who had come to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary about the same time as Lazarus, Martha, and Mary Magdalene went to France. The Apostle John, like his brother, the Apostle James, died a martyr’s death in Jerusalem, having returned to the holy city after the Virgin Mary’s death in Ephesus in AD 44.
There was a special relationship between the Apostle John and Lazarus, which helps us to understand why Lazarus adopted the name John when he came to Ephesus. The raising of Lazarus from the dead, which was a great initiation for Lazarus, marked a turning point. On account of this miracle, the scribes and Pharisees wanted to put both Lazarus and Jesus to death, so “Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews” (John 11:54) and Lazarus remained hidden in his castle at Bethany. It was not safe for him to show himself publicly, because of the threat upon his life (John 12:10). However, since his initiation, he was able to move about outside of his body and was, therefore, able to be spiritually present at Christ’s side. This ability was enhanced through his intimate connection with the Apostle John. Through John, Lazarus bore witness to the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. In each case Lazarus-John, as we may call this union of the Apostle John and Lazarus, is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Here it is a matter of the Apostle John in whom Lazarus was spiritually indwelling, and in this connection, we may recall the words:“Jesus loved Martha and her sister [Mary Magdalene] and Lazarus” (John 11:5). The Apostle John - like his brother James - had been a fisherman, and therefore was uneducated and hardly in a position to write lofty works such as the Gospel of St. John and the Book of Revelations, whereas Lazarus, who was a highly cultivated individual, was. Yet another reason for the name Lazarus-John is the spiritual union between Lazarus and John the Baptist, which took place at the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Essentially these three individuals - Lazarus, John the Baptist, and the Apostle John - were spiritually united with one another.
In the Gospel of St. John we find the following references to Lazarus-John (“the disciple whom Jesus loved”): at the Last Supper: “One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus” (John 13:23); at the Crucifixion: “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved, standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his home” (John 19:26-27); at the Resurrection: “So she [Mary Magdalene] ran and went to find Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2).
However, the most illuminating reference to the Lazarus-John mystery is to be found in the last chapter of the Gospel of St. John. There a group of seven disciples is referred to, who encountered the Risen Christ on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, after having fished there in a boat throughout the night. The seven disciples were: “Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee [James and John], and two others [John Mark and Silas]” (John 21:2). The identification of the sons of Zebedee as James and John is clear from the following passage: “He [Jesus] saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them” (Matthew 4:21). The identification of the two others as John Mark and Silas is given in the account of this event by Anne Catherine Emmerich. John Mark was the son of Mary Mark, one of the holy women, whose house in Jerusalem was a meeting place for Jesus and the disciples (Acts 12:12); and Silas was one of the three youths who accompanied Jesus on his journey to Ur and Heliopolis after raising Lazarus from the dead.
After the seven landed at the shore at the place where the Risen One stood, they had breakfast and then a conversation between Peter and Jesus took place. At the end of this conversation, we read: “Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper” (John 21:20). Of the seven disciples, this can only refer to the Apostle John, the brother of the Apostle James (“the sons of Zebedee”). The text continues: “This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24). This can only refer to Lazarus as the writer of the Gospel of St. John, especially when we bear in mind that the Apostles Peter and John “were uneducated, common men” (Acts 4:13) and that therefore the Apostle John could hardly have been in a position to write such a profound work as the Gospel of St. John. The mystery presented here in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of St. John is unveiled only when it is grasped that Lazarus, who wrote the Gospel of St. John at an advanced age in Ephesus, “bore witness to these things” through the eyes of the Apostle John who accompanied the Virgin Mary to Ephesus, built a house for her there, and after her death in AD 44 returned to Jerusalem where he died a martyr’s death.
According to one tradition, Lazarus was a bishop in Ephesus for about forty years. Known as John the Presbyter (“John the Elder”) - to distinguish him from the Apostle John - he wrote the Gospel of St. John in Ephesus shortly before his death. And shortly before this, around AD 95, he had written the Book of Revelations during his period of exile on the island of Patmos, prior to returning to Ephesus. Lazarus-John thus became the source of inspiration of the stream of Johannine Christianity, the cornerstone of which is the Gospel of St. John (together with the Book of Revelations and the Letters of John).
Together with his sisters he was the bearer of Christianity - in the special form represented by him, Martha and Mary Magdalene - to Provence in France, preparing the way for the later emergence of Grail Christianity from the ninth century onwards, around the time of Charlemagne. The physical journey to Provence made by Lazarus and his sisters lived out in advance the soul-spiritual journey made some seven or eight centuries later by the reincarnation of various personages who had been on Earth at the time of Christ. They reincarnated in the Carolingian Age as the bearers of Grail Christianity. Apart from Charlemagne himself, who was the reincarnation of a great initiate, there was Parsifal who became Grail king, who had lived on Earth as a youth (the youth of Nain) and at the age of twelve was raised from the dead by Christ (Luke 7:11-16). According to Rudolf Steiner, “The founding, the beginning of the Grail mysteries, the first appearance of Parsifal, was at the turn from the eighth to the ninth centuries” - that is, during the reign of Charlemagne (King of the Franks, 768-800; emperor of the Romans, 800-814). Parsifal received his initiation into the Grail mysteries through Titurel, the founder of these mysteries.
“During the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, a great individuality withdrew into the higher worlds in order to await the time which would be ready for his special activity. He remained away for centuries, and eventually returned as King Titurel, to whom the Holy Grail was entrusted, the vessel which was brought from Golgotha to the west by Angels.”
Rudolf Steiner then goes on to describe the nature of Parsifal’s initiation through Titurel. And he also referred to Charlemagne in connection with Titurel: “Charlemagne was the reincarnation of a great Hindu initiate and was the instrument of the spiritual individuality symbolized by the name Titurel.”
The name of Titurel is associated with the first historical Grail site, in Northern Spain, located by Ehrenried Pfeiffer according to Rudolf Steiner’s indications - at San Juan de la Pena, which we visited on the twelfth day of our journey. In the words of Ehrenried Pfeiffer:
“We found a monastery in the ruins, and then came to a place called San Juan de la Pena [St. John of the Rock], which also has some ruins. If one follows it up historically, it appears that San Juan goes back to the years between AD 793 and 852. You find in its ruins certain columns and portals and some occult symbols. We hunted up some historical documents which tell that there was some spiritual knighthood there, knights entirely devoted to the spirit, it is said of them, and that they had at the time the Holy Cup. So we were actually able to trace at least one of the seats of the Holy Grail to this San Juan de la Pena, and this has been historically confirmed. The Holy Cup was there at the time, among its knights, as Dr. Steiner said.”
There is a legend that the Holy Cup used at the Last Supper was at one time in the possession of the knights of San Juan de la Pena and that it was later brought to Valencia. San Juan de la Pena is about fifty miles south of the Pyrenees and stands high up in the Sierra de la Pena mountain range. This could be called the Titurel Grail site (in contrast to the Parsifal Grail site in Arlesheim - see below). It is high above the Valley of the Ebro through which the Saracens swept northward in 718, crossing the Pyrenees to invade France. In 732 the Saracens were defeated at the battle of Poitiers by Charles Martel, Charlemagne’s grandfather, and they withdrew south of the Pyrenees again in 759. The defeat at Roncevalles in 778 encouraged them to invade France again. They did so in 793 and were engaged in battle by the Frankish troops led by Count William, one of Charlemagne’s paladins as well as being his cousin. At the time Charlemagne was absent on a campaign against the Avars in the east. He had put Count William in charge of the defense of the French side of the Pyrenees. The Saracens had invaded in great numbers and were on their way to Carcassonne when they were challenged by Count William who, however, had insufficient troops and was defeated. Nevertheless, Count William’s troops made the Moslem victory such a costly one that the Saracens decided to retreat back into Spain with their booty. Count William was one of the few Franks to survive the battle.
The news of this battle made Charlemagne realize that it was not sufficient merely to defend the French side of the Pyrenees against possible Saracen invasion. Thereupon he decided upon the creation of a buffer zone on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. This led to retaliatory raids into Spain on the part of the Franks, culminating in the conquest of Barcelona in 803, in which Count William played a major part. He was put in charge of the Spanish March, as this buffer zone in the northeastern part of Spain was known.
This historical background is relevant to the founding of the Grail temple at San Juan de la Pena, which was made possible through the creation of the Spanish March. And this ties in exactly with Rudolf Steiner’s indication that the initial founding of the Grail mysteries through Titurel was around the year 800 (“at the turn from the eighth to the ninth centuries”). This background becomes all the more interesting when we take into account that, according to Werner Greub’s research presented in “Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail”, Count William is identical with the knightly hero Willehalm of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s work “Willehalm” and with Kyot in Wolfram’s “Parzival”. Kyot was the uncle of Parsifal and, according to Wolfram, was the source/inspiror of the work “Parzival”. Thus, on our journey from Provence to Spain we visited the little town of St. Guilhem-le-Desert in Languedoc, where the monastery founded by Count William is to be found as well as his hunting lodge, identified by Werner Greub as the site of the ruined castle high up above the monastery. And we also visited Carcassonne where, nearby, the battle of 793 between Count William and the Saracens took place.
Carcassonne was a place where later the Cathars had considerable influence, which led to the capture of the town in 1209 in the crusade against the Cathars. On our way to San Juan de la Pena we also visited the Cathar holy mountain, Montsegur, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwest of Carcassonne. In a private conversation with Ilona Schubert, one of the first eurythmists, Rudolf Steiner mentioned Montsegur together with San Juan de la Pena as a Grail site.
Montsegur was one of the last Cathar strongholds until March 16, 1244, when over two hundred Cathars - after a lengthy siege of their castle on the summit of the holy mountain - surrendered themselves to die in the flames of the bonfire lit for them by the crusaders against the “Cathar heresy”. An unknown hand wrote the following epigraph for the Cathars: “After seven hundred years the laurel will blossom again upon the ashes of the martyrs.” Some have interpreted this to mean that the Cathars knew they would reincarnate in the twentieth century, seven hundred years after their martyrdom. The question is: What is the connection of the Cathars to the Grail stream?
After years of meditation upon this question, I have come to the conclusion that there is a karmic connection of the Cathars to the Grail stream in the following sense. The reincarnation of the youth of Nain (first century) as Parsifal (ninth century) has been referred to already. Moreover, Rudolf Steiner indicated an incarnation of the youth of Nain as the prophet Mani (third century) prior to the incarnation as Parsifal. Mani (215-276, or 216-277) was the founder of a religion, Manichaeism, which was a synthesis of Zoroastrianism and Babylonian astral theology with Christianity, including some elements resembling Buddhism. Despite suffering persecution at the hands of the Persians, leading to Mani’s death as a martyr, Manichaeism spread rapidly and was especially well received in the Orient, as far as China, where Mani came to be known as the Buddha of Light. The followers of Mani did not defend themselves against persecution and were slaughtered like lambs, leading eventually to the virtual eradication of Manichaeism from the world.
It was not only the Persians who persecuted the Manichaeans. Hostility was directed toward them also from the side of the Catholic Church, particularly by St. Augustine, who had been a Manichaean before becoming a Catholic. Thus Manichaeism came to be regarded as heresy and was not tolerated by the Catholic Church.
It is my conviction that the Manichaeans - at least some of them - reincarnated several hundred years later as Cathars. For, allowing for differences in the cultural milieu, there is a remarkable similarity between Manichaeism and Catharism, as has been pointed out and substantiated by a leading Cathar researcher, Deodat Roche. In other words, the spirit of Manichaeism lived on in the Cathar religion not in the sense of cultural transmission but through the reincarnation of certain Manichaeans as Cathars. This would also explain the persecution of the Cathars (as a continuation of the persecution of the Manichaeans).
Against this background, the connection of the Cathars with the Grail stream becomes clear, since Mani, who reincarnated as Parsifal, became Grail king. Mani (third century) reincarnated as Parsifal (ninth century), whereas those of his followers who reincarnated as Cathars did so primarily in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. And they were attracted to incarnate in the region of the Pyrenees on account of the connection of the Grail stream with that area. In this sense Montsegur, on the French side of the Pyrenees, followed on (a few centuries later) as a Grail site from San Juan de la Pena on the Spanish side.
Following the Grail theme, our pilgrimage would not be complete without reference to another Grail site. And to gain a better picture of the connections entailed here, it is helpful to consider a print entitled “Europe as Empress” depicting Europe as a female figure with Spain/Portugal as the head, the Pyrenees as the neck and throat, Italy as the right arm, Bohemia as the solar plexus, etc.
If we take this imaginative picture of Europe as representing a spiritual reality, then Titurel’s Grail temple located at San Juan de la Pena is in the region of the lotus flower (chakra) associated with the larynx - the lotus of the Word - in the spiritual organism of Europe. We could ask: Where is the heart chakra, the lotus of Love, in this spiritual organism?
Before addressing this question, I would like to refer to one of the most famous sites of pilgrimage in the world, Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette eighteen times in the year 1858. After visiting San Juan de la Pena we crossed the Pyrenees back into France and visited Lourdes, staying there overnight. Here it was a quite tangible experience that Lourdes is a feminine counterpart in the Pyrenees to San Juan de la Pena. Whereas the founding of San Juan de la Pena is associated with a miracle connected with St. John [San Juan], representing the Logos stream (“In the beginning was the Logos…”), so Lourdes is associated with the miraculous healing water discovered by Bernadette at the instigation of the Virgin Mary, and is thus connected with the stream of Mary Sophia. San Juan de la Pena and Lourdes represent sites of masculine and feminine polarity in the region of the throat chakra of Europe. Here we may think of the words spoken by Christ to Mary and Lazarus-John at the foot of the cross - “Behold thy son; behold thy mother” - as referring to the mystery of this polarity.
On our journey from Lourdes eastward across France to the region of the heart of Europe, we stayed overnight at another place of pilgrimage, La Salette, in the French Alps. Here the Virgin Mary appeared in 1846 to two shepherd children, Maximin, aged eleven, and Melanie, aged fourteen. In connection with this appearance again a stream of water began to flow, also said to possess healing properties.
From the beautiful mountain site of La Salette, we drove northeast to the famous Mount St. Odile in the Vosges mountains in the heart of Europe, between Strasbourg and Colmar in Alsace. In pre-Christian times Mount St. Odile was a center of Druid spirituality, connected with Chartres, which was also an important Druid center. Mount St. Odile and Chartres lie on the same latitude (48N27). The Druids constructed the so-called “pagan wall” at Mount St. Odile, surrounding the summit of the mountain, enclosing their Sun temple. Through their knowledge of the flow of etheric forces, they shifted over three hundred thousand blocks of stone to build a gigantic stone wall some six miles long. As far as I can tell, the purpose of the wall was to polarize the spiritual forces there so as to create a space within the wall of positive spiritual energy and to “banish” negative energy outside of the wall. It seems that this polarization holds to the present day so that almost the entire space at the summit of Mount St. Odile that is within the wall is positively charged. This can be felt especially by spending a night on Mount St. Odile, as we did. We stayed at the convent there and many of our group experienced the extraordinary quality of positive energy that prevails at the summit.
Mount St. Odile received its name from St. Odile, who founded the convent there at the beginning of the eighth century. St. Odile was born blind, the daughter of the Merovingian Count Eticho. She received her sight several years later when she was baptized. Her father wanted her to marry, but she wanted to become a nun, so she fled. Her father pursued her to Arlesheim, near Basel, where she had taken refuge in a cave. According to legend, here her father suffered an accident when a stone fell on his head. The legend relates that Odile went to his aid and healed him by laying her hands upon the wound. Count Eticho, filled with remorse, bestowed the mountain upon his daughter and enabled her to found the convent there, which became famous on account of Odile’s sanctity, loving-kindness, and healing deeds. As with Lourdes and La Salette, at Mount St. Odile there is a source of healing water, especially for the blind and those with eye problems, which St. Odile called forth by striking a rock.
For our journey it was of great significance to visit Mount St. Odile, which has something of the quality of Mount Salvaesche [Munsalvaesche] (the Mount of Salvation upon which the Grail castle is located in the story of Parsifal). From Mount St. Odile we went to the Hermitage in Arlesheim, the area where St. Odile had taken refuge, a region designated by Rudolf Steiner as “Grail territory”. It was in this area of the Hermitage where, according to Rudolf Steiner, Parsifal encountered Sigune with the corpse of her beloved Schionatulander clasped in her arms. Sigune lived at the Hermitage at that time and in her own words concerning the Grail castle, Munsalvaesche, she said to Parsifal: “It is a mile from here or more.” If we take these words from Wolfram von Eschenbach’s account seriously, the Grail castle must have been not much more than a mile or so distant from the Hermitage. And also the cave of the wise hermit Trevrizent, the brother of the wounded Grail king, Anfortas, must have been close by; also Lake Brumbane, where Anfortas was fishing when he directed Parsifal to the Grail castle, must have been in the neighborhood.
Werner Greub, in his book “Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail”, describes how he was able to identify Trevrizent’s cave at the Hermitage, and also the nearby lake as Lake Brumbane; further, how he was able to locate Munsalvaesche, the site of the Grail castle itself, about 1 ½ miles east of the Hermitage. These were the sites we visited in Arlesheim, and we were particularly fortunate to be able to enter Trevrizent’s cave, which is normally inaccessible to the public. Thus we were able better to understand Rudolf Steiner’s words that destiny led him (the reincarnated Schionatulander) to build the Goetheanum about 1 ½ miles southwest of the Hermitage, and why he designated the entire area as “Grail territory”.
Of course, historically there were several different Grail sites. Titurel’s original Grail temple at San Juan de la Pena was located in the region of the throat chakra of Europe, whereas the Grail castle in Arlesheim is nearer to the heart chakra of Europe and could be called Parsifal’s Grail site, as it was here that important events on Parsifal’s path to becoming Grail king took place. With this shift from San Juan de la Pena to Arlesheim there was a shift from the “lotus of the Word” to the “lotus of Love”. And it was through the Parsifal events in Arlesheim in the ninth century that the way was prepared for the center of Anthroposophy, the Goetheanum, to be built in Dornach - adjacent to Arlesheim - in the twentieth century.
In this light the Goetheanum - especially the First Goetheanum, which was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve, 1922/1923 - can be thought of as a modern Grail temple. Almost one year after the burning of the First Goetheanum, there took place on Christmas Day 1923 the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society at the Foundation Stone meeting in Dornach, where Rudolf Steiner spoke of the Foundation Stone of Love as an etheric structure in the shape of a dodecahedron that could be received into the heart, into the “lotus of Love”. This Grail stone was embodied in a preparatory way by Parsifal in the ninth century. He was a “pure one” (this is the meaning of “Cathar”) - one interpretation of the name Parsifal is “pure fool” - reminding us of the words: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Against this background, it was a special experience to visit the Goetheanum on the last day of our journey, the culmination of our Grail pilgrimage, especially to experience the statue of Christ carved by Rudolf Steiner and Edith Maryon, the sole remaining work of art surviving the flames that destroyed the First Goetheanum, housed now in an upper room at the Second Goetheanum built on the site of the First Goetheanum. The First Goetheanum was a temple of light, color, and beautiful forms. It is now etched into the etheric above the physical structure of the Second Goetheanum.
And it is in the etheric world - in the Earth’s etheric aura - that the Grail temple is to be found, to which we may find access through the Etheric Christ. This is the essence of the Grail Mystery of our time, for which our journey to the various Grail sites was a preparation.