Reviewed by Geraldine Charles
"Yet her voice continues to echo in our ears, faintly floating across the Wasteland of this modern world,
calling us by name, urging us back by long-forgotten ways to the country of the soul."
page 82 (paperback edition)
This is an important book for me. For years I've gleaned bits and pieces of the central myth of Britain, despite misogynist changes made by monkish scribes, and been frustrated by my own lack of knowledge. As a little girl I read books that I barely understood but something struck a chord and I haunted the nearby Pennine hills and valleys, seeking the revolving magical castle of my imagination. Or had I happened upon something deeper?
Ideas and myths of the sacred feminine have deep roots in Britain. We seek the grail as our souls prompt, shouldering through metaphorical thickets and liminal, untamed lands, often barely understanding what it is that we do. More often than not, particularly in my (thankfully) distant alcoholic past, I found myself trapped in the Wasteland. Later, I had the privilege to live in West Wales for a few months, not long enough to belong or to satisfy me, but certainly long enough to suffer from hiraeth - that Welsh word with no real translation into English, combining a kind of homesickness, nostalgia and yearning. Long enough to be drawn back there, time and again.
This book feels like the closest thing to a Grail guidebook I've seen. It includes chapters on Seeking the Cauldron of Creation, Swords of Light and Darkness, the Women of the Grail, Trials and Initiations, the Grail in Glastonbury and much more. The vision journeys and exercises also included also appealed to me; I have to confess that in most books I usually just race on and ignore these. Even better, the meditations can be downloaded from the website at no cost.
It's well-written, too, even lyrical, and holds my interest as few other books on this topic have. I especially liked to have the excellent insights into the names of the nine Morgens and to understand more about Guinevere and her connection to the sacred land. I also particularly enjoyed being led into further speculation about the syncretization of early Christianity with much older traditions in Britain.
In short - I love this book and will certainly be reading it again - probably more than once.
You can get the book (and meditations) at the website: http://www.chalicecentre.net/index.html
A web designer and all-round computer person, Geraldine is responsible for a number of websites. In her spare time she writes articles and poems, loves researching Goddess in mythology and also produces artwork on her beloved computer. She also runs an online correspondence course called "Getting to know the Goddess".