We have now dealt with the testimony of the chief witness to the perpetuity and perfection of the Great Experiment, and if it be necessary--as it is at times and seasons--to conceal or re-express things in an artificial and evasive language, I do not know of a more convincing substituted terminology than that of transmutation by alchemy as a high analogy of God's work in the soul. Other analogies there are, but for the most part unrealised, as, for example, the sublime clause of the Apostle's Creed: "Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi sæculi," which, as it stands, is a testimony to the prospect and not the attainment. The motives which lead to the adoption of artificial language and the circumstances which may help to justify it belong to the term of our inquiry, of which
this is the penultimate stage only. We have now finished for the present with the Mystery of Attainment--or why it was necessary to seek and find the Holy Graal in order that the spiritual knight might in fine be assumed into Heaven, carrying the Palladium with him into those stars whence it first descended; and we have next to determine whether there are other traces which may help us to understand better the Mystery of Loss, or the meaning of the Voided Sanctuary. It is admitted out of hand that the first indications are placed here in respect of the order of time, and that they are introductory and subsidiary only--a place of sidelights and incidental correspondences. The reason is that, although the root-matters must be identical when the term in finality is one, we are dealing in respect of the Graal with a manifestation in Christendom but here with a manifestation in Israel.
The schools of Kabalism can scarcely be said to have done more than emerge partly into public existence when the canon of the Graal literature had already closed; in these schools there were great masters of mystic thought, though more especially on the intellectual side. Now, in its own way, the theosophical scheme of Jewry in exile is a story of loss like the Graal, though it is one which ends in expectation--or, as I should say, in certainty. The loss in external history and in national life was counterpoised by a loss in the sanctuary, as if the arch-natural Eucharist, the Graal which is of all things holy, had been taken therefrom. It was that which of old was written not only in one galaxy of stars but by the power of which the worlds themselves were made. The substitution which, according to the Graal legends, was left with the Christian Church in place of the living sanctities is paralleled closely by that other legend which tells how the stress and inhibition of Israel is because the Divine Word has been withdrawn from the Holy Place, and instead of the true Tetragram, the voice of the priest only pronounces now the name
[paragraph continues] Adonai. But the Eucharist, as I have said, is still the Eucharist, the House from which the Graal has departed is still the Holy House, and all sanctity attaches in like manner to the substituted sacred Name and to the cortex of those letters which now represent the Tetragram--יהוה. There was a time when this name in its true form was pronounced by the High Priest once annually in the sanctuary; it restored the people of God and maintained the Inmost Shrine, keeping open the channels of grace, even as the heavenly dove, descending on Good Friday, renewed the virtue of the Graal. Afterwards, as I have indicated, there came another time when disaster fell upon Israel, with the result that the essential elements of the Name, in which its true pronunciation was involved, became lost even to the sanctuary.
It should be scarcely necessary to say that I am not putting forward the hypothesis of a channel of communication by which something was derived into romance literature from implicits which about the same time or subsequently were developed into Zoharic books. I know that behind the Graal Castle--according to the Longer Prose Perceval--there was the Earthly Paradise, and that the House of the Holy Vessel was also the Castle of Souls. I know that, according to the Zohar, the Garden of Eden is placed in a position which corresponds to that of the Graal itself. I know that both were removed--the Graal into the heavenly regions and the Garden of Eden into that which is no longer manifest. The latter place was connected nearly in Kabalism with the Great Sanctuary--truly a Castle of Souls--wherein all those who are to come await incarnation in turn, for, according to Jewish theosophy, the creation of souls is not successive, or dependent on earthly generation, but eternal in the heavens. I know that there is nothing in literature so like the departure of Galahad as that of R. Simeon ben Jochai; and in spite of great divergences, of distinctions in the root-matter,
the Mystery of the Holy Graal has its subsurface analogy with the Mystery of the Lesser Holy Assembly. I know that the Greater and Lesser Sanhedrim sound like oracular voices speaking in an unknown tongue concerning the Holy House, and we feel that behind the outward offices of religion there was an Inner Church of Israel. I know that, according to the involved scheme of the Sephiroth, the Waters of Life are in Knowledge, which is also the place of the Cup, and this is reserved always for those who are athirst. But these things, with others and many others, do not constitute the lightest shadow of transmission. No French poet could be expected to know thereof; no exponent of Christian legend, even when interpreted mystically, ever looked to Israel for light and leading in those internecine days--however much the name of Provence may suggest a certain difference in mind from the prevalent orthodoxy of the age. That there may be no mistake on this subject among those whom I address more especially, I note further that the peculiar presentation of Graal symbolism which is connected with the name of the reputed Provençal Guiot--who of all only might confess to some curious memories from a course of study at Toledo--is precisely that presentation in which the sanctuary is not voided and the Graal is not taken away.
It is a matter of common knowledge that at the period in question Spain was one place in the world where the Jews were not merely free from raging persecution but where worldly positions of importance were open to their competition. We know further that a great light of Moslem learning shone forth in some Spanish academies. We know finally or may learn that another light had kindled therein among the chosen people themselves. Palestine and the East generally thereabouts may have contributed its portion, and did indeed do so, but the heart and marrow of Kabalism was in Spain. The Jews of Cordova, the Jews of Toledo
and of other places in the Peninsula look great figures in the literature, and so also do certain academies of Southern France, though there the Jews did not find the same peace in their abodes. For them the asylum was Spain, and that indeed must have been little less than a Terrestrial Paradise realised. And as between the South of France and Spain the channels of communication stood wide open, as Provence is the legendary place of the first Graal quest, as the Ideal Castle, the Holy Place, Mont Salvatch, had its abode unapproachable in the Pyrenees, so the imaginative mind may perhaps incline to say that behind the strange legend of the Jew of Toledo there is something undemonstrable of a lost Graal connection; yet this is the stuff only of which dreams are made, and it is well for my own case. The analogy between all the schools in succession is the testimony which they bear in common, and if after other manners they reflected one into another the witness would be weaker in proportion. There is no concert, there is no debt in literature, there is no result in fine, as by a course of development from cycle to cycle of books. The scheme of theosophical Kabalism is distinct, and absolutely, from that of metaphysical alchemy; it is the evidence of two schools which did not know one another, and, although at the root their evidence is of the same kind, the relation between them is that of the pairs of opposites. So also when another and no less noteworthy voice began to speak within the body-legendary of symbolical Masonry, it said what Kabalism had said, but it was not Kabalism speaking behind a later mask. As I must look to be challenged in the gate over the thesis of this book, I assume at this point so much harness as will suffice to dissuade the gentlemen of the counter-guard from considering that I am open to attack as one who seeks to explain that generic literature A is the concealed father of generic literature B, though I speak more seriously as a counsel to some of the confraternities with which I am affiliated
in thought and the pursuit of a term in common. When it is said that God so loved the world, the counterpart in Kabalism is that the Kingdom is in no sense apart from the Crown, and that the progression from Aleph to Tau is complete without break or intermission; but St. Paul is not for that reason a precursor of the Zohar. So also when the Arabian Academies of Spain became the resort of Christian scholars--"men of curious inquiry," as one has said concerning them--it does not mean that from such schools they brought back Sufic mysticism and translated it into romance. It does not mean that there also they met with the corpus materiale of the Kabalah, a final receptacle of the dèbris and drift of all the old theogonies, theosophies and occult knowledge of many places and periods, or that learning there how the Daughter of the Voice was withdrawn from the sanctuary of Israel, they told in another tongue how, after the departure of the Graal, the dwelling of King Fisherman "began to fall," though the chapel thereto belonging never "wasted nor decayed." The voices say one thing, but they do not speak in concert. We know only and realise that Israel is waiting by the waters of Babylon, and it has come to pass that, though we draw from far other places, we are also beside her, remembering, perhaps more dimly and yet with deeper yearning, the glory that once was in Zion.
Of such was the mind of Kabalism, its appanage, its baggage and its quest.