Mars and the Quest for the Holy Grail

In the medieval legend of Parzival, the hero comes to be known as the Red Knight, so this week, we’ll consider him Mars. He also has several significant encounters with his cousin, Sigune, whom we’ll consider Venus. This week (November 9-14, 2020), the two of them are dramatically opposed in the starry heaven, with Venus/Sigune as morning star in the East, opposing Parzival/Mars in the West, where he will be setting as she rises.

So why does this 9th century story matter now?

Parzival, you could say, represents every human being who seeks knowledge of his true nature as a soul-spirit being. The quest for such knowledge, which can also be described as the quest for the “holy grail,” is fraught with challenge, because knowing the true nature of being human is the richest, deepest, and most sacred knowledge that we can have.

The first time Parzival encounters Sigune, he doesn’t even know his name, nor does he know the destiny that awaits him, which is to become the Grail King. This part of the story happened last month, when Mars came close to the Earth on the same morning that Venus was held in the arms of the crescent Moon.

This week, Parzival comes to his second encounter with Sigune, only now, he’s already been to the Grail Castle, and has even received the grail sword. But while he was there, Parzival didn’t ask the question that would have unlocked the mystery and relieved the immense suffering of the king. This means he’s destined to wander on for many years, righting the wrongs he unconsciously committed.

Mars opposes Venus on Monday the 9th, and then resumes direct motion on Friday the 13th, at which point it becomes more clear that the only way for the human being to arrive at knowledge of the greater self as King, is by recognizing the sacred responsibilities that we have for one another.

You can listen to this post on Interlochen Public Radio, and on my Storyteller’s Night Sky podcast!


p.s. the image of Parzival from the Manesse Codex of the 1300s, a comprehensive source of Middle High German songs and poetry. This week, Mars makes its direct motion, and, like Parzival, begins the journey of righting his wrongs in order to achieve his destined role as Grail King.