Grail knights as medieval examples of spiritual relationships

Everybody knows the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Stories about brave knights who would save maidens from evil knights or dragons.

In this period a new topic appeared in literature: courtly love. Courtly love was a medieval European literary conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. Medieval literature is filled with examples of knights setting out on adventures and performing various services for ladies because of their “courtly love”. Courtly love was closely connected to the quest for the Holy Grail. And, since this Holy Grail was a highly feminine concept as a result the appreciation of the female grew much higher. Women with their magical ability to create and bear children are in fact Holy Grails of sorts.

As said women in Courtly Love literature were treated with the highest regards. These women often had a high degree of purity and often were good. Of course there were evil women too, just as there were bad knights. Many knights would battle in honor for one queen. These knights would love this queen even if it would mean their deaths, but there was no physical consummation.

One curious thing about this is that knights would always leave again in search of new quests. There was no ‘and they lived happily ever after’. There was always another dragon or evil knight to be slain. Even if the knight would have had a young family. And yet: these knights were no barbarians. It hurt to depart the ones you loved. For the female it would be also have been be difficult. She would lose the protection of her lover and become subject to the advances of other knights. And still she waved him goodbye. Duty called and honor sent a pigeon. Why was this so?

Courtly love and the grail quest were mystery traditions which elevated the actions of the knights from their mundane world into the spiritual world. But still their actions were in the here and now and the center focus of all was a Love. This Love later became Christian, but before that it had the pagan Love for the Goddess.

You would show your devotion to the Goddess to go and fight for what is right in every way possible. The Goddess would offer you quests which you were not allowed to reject. The bigger the quest with the greater dangers, meant the more honor which you could gain. Only a coward would run away from such a quest. A courageous knight would accept these quests. In his heart there was a great faith that if he would follow his heart, the Goddess would take care of him. If the quest would fail, the cause would be the knight and not the difficulty of the quest.

There are great symbolical mysteries concealed in the knights jousting with each other and knights saving maidens from dragons. When you look at it from an energetic perspective, the battles are clashes of pure forces of the spirit with unclean forces of the body. The pure forces are represented by the maidens and the impure forces by the evil knights and dragons. In the victory of the good knight, he has been able to purify unclean aspects within himself and / or of society. The more battles he would win, the more energetically cleansed he would be. His battles are considered good deeds with the ultimate reward of receiving the Holy Grail.

These challenges would always remain. The knight was not permitted to stop his holy quest. It was a way of life. For this reason, the knight would stay with a maiden only to recover from his wounds and then go on for other quests. The idea that knights would fight for a maiden and stay with in a long term relationship is a romantic fabrication.

The relationships of grail knights with their maidens can be seen as medieval examples of spiritual relationships. Yes, you would find and connect with each other on that quest at that time, but as soon as the quest was completed, the need for the relationship disappeared and one would let the other go. In search for other quests in order to grow spiritually as much as possible.


Separating death stars from real stars

Stars as visions

The major arcana tarot card Star is assigned to the constellation of Aquarius. The Star is about visions, trust and hope. These are great things, because visions and hope are longterm plans which give you directions and the strength to continue when things get difficult.

But sometimes, when you have worked for an ideal for a long time, it turns out that reality is different from what you hoped for. The saying in Dutch is: you lose an illusion, but you gain an experience. Everything is good for you, as long as it doesn’t kill you, right?

Death stars as failed ideals

Yes and no. The problem with chasing visions and ideals is that they take a long time before you realize what they are worth. There is an interesting metaphor about a death star here. A death star is a star (vision) which you can still see, but the star in itself no longer exists. This can be the case, because the time which it takes for the light to arrive on earth can take milliions of years. When you look at the stars at night you are actually looking at many years of history.

If you chase a vision for 30 years and it turns out to be not what you hoped for, you have lost these years. Since our years on earth are limited, you can only follow two of such visions in your lifetime. So it is worth considering which visions and dreams you will chase. The beautiful sorrowful song ‘Not even close’ by Tim Finn describes the sorrow of finding out you have chased a death star ( ).

Now, I have been chasing a couple of death stars in my day and to be honest: I am quite reluctant to start chasing new stars. From one side it is logical. When you grow up, you become less idealistic and more realistic. Because of your experiences you have become wiser and you will think again before you will jump into new endeavors.

But as a result I find that I choose not to become quite selective in my dreams and vision. For example, there was a Woman’s March which I did not go to. Because, when I think about it, I have reservations about the idea. But somewhere I wish I was young, idealistic and naïve again. I would love to go and connect with people and share the same emotions. Believing that we can make a change and meeting new people. But if I were to walk along with the march, I would feel like an intruder. A pretender. Dishonest. Because I have lost my naivety.

So there are many activities which happen all around me, but I choose to remain in my house. Because although the activities outside can be enjoyable, when they are not real for me, they only cost me time and energy which I could have spent in something real and worthwhile. But closing myself more and more, does not feel to be a solution.

Rapunzel’s lesson to find real stars

Now, thinking of how I can be able to separate death starts from real stars, I was reminded about a very interesting clue in a German fairytale about Rapunzel (2012). In this story the prince climbs up to the tower on Rapunzel’s golden hair. The witch finds out of the affair and decides to stop it. She cuts of Rapunzel’s hair and uses this hair to pull the prince up. When he is almost at the window, she drops him and he falls into bushes with thorns. Thorns get into his eyes and blind he wanders across the land. At the end of the movie the which tries to kill the prince by pretending to the be voice of Rapunzel and luring him into an abyss ( ). The prince, now wiser, asks the witch to sing a song. As the witch has a cold heart, she cannot sing. But Rapunzel heard the prince and started to sing a most lovely tune. Following the singing of Rapunzel, the prince is able to find Rapunzel. When they finally meet, beautiful healing takes place. When Rapunzel realizes that the prince is blind her heart is touched and her tears fall into his eyes. This magically cures the eyesight of the prince. And when he is able to see Rapunzel in her full glory, her hair magically starts to grow again.

Relating to this story, I can say that I have fallen into the thorns and I am blind. The way to distinguish between a death star and a real star is by means of an open heart. And by realizing what is true. In the case of the prince it is the singing of Rapunzel. When he would have realized this from the start he would never have climbed the tower on that fateful day. It would have saved him much sorrow and many years! Luckily, in this fairy tale all ends well. Which, in turn, gives hope to me.

Why I don’t believe in sins

Sins are 90% of the time the result of unconscious behaviour. We are born in certain circumstances and we behave accordingly. There are not many people who consciously want to hurt other people. I don’t believe that it makes sense that you are punished for the natural results of circumstances that you started out with. I believe that mistakes are allowed and necessary in order to grow. I believe that we are on earth to develop ourselves by becoming conscious by making mistakes. When I die, I believe that I will be judged on how I have developed myself, rather than on the mistakes that I have had to make in order to be able to learn.

De prijs van het taboo op slecht presteren

Bij ons bedrijf is in Londen een IT manager weg gestuurd. Deze man functioneerde totaal niet. Deze man was zo autoritair en zo een controlfreak dat zijn bijnaam Napoleon was. Nu is deze man weg en gaat hij waarschijnlijk weer bij eenzelfde bedrijf aan de slag (op basis van zijn CV). En op basis van zijn gedrag uit het verleden, zal hij waarschijnlijk weer hetzelfde gedrag vertonen. Gevolg: weer veel schade bij het nieuwe bedrijf en vooral bij de mensen onder hem.

Nu is het in het bedrijfsleven not done om publiekelijk te maken dat iemand niet functioneert. Wanneer iemand weg gaat bij een bedrijf worden dingen gezegd als ‘in mutual agreement’. Dit om de persoon in kwestie een nieuwe kans cq. schone lei te geven. In mijn carriere heb ik echter best veel van dit soort destructieve personen voorbij zien komen die het leven van tientallen mensen flink zuur hebben gemaakt.

Ik vind het onzin dat er niet mag worden gesproken over het slechte functioneren van mensen. Ik vind dat het belang van een groep / gemeenschap groter moet wegen dan het belang van een individu. De katholieke kerk had een vergelijkbare houding met betrekking tot pastoors die kinderen misbruikten. Onder de pet houden en overplaatsen die hap. Maar ondertussen zijn er wel vele kinderen het slachtoffier geworden. Vandaag de dag spreekt men er schande van dat de kerken zo lang deze misstanden hebben verdoezeld.

Hopelijk krijgen we in de toekomst eenzelfde behandeling van slechte managers. Iedereen is tegenwoordig lid van dezelfde community LinkedIn genaamd. Misschien kunnen we dan via LinkedIn gaan delen hoe mensen echt presteren? Dan zou zo iemand gedwongen worden om aan zichzelf te werken, in plaats van hetzelfde gedrag voort te zetten op een andere plek. Maar dan moet wel eerst het taboo van slechte feedback van medewerkers worden opgeheven.

Investigating the limits of honoring your parents

One of the Ten Commandments is that thou shalt honor thy father and mother.

This is sounds completely logical. Parents often give up all that they have (had) for your wellbeing. They were the ones who stayed up all night in order to take care of you when you were sick. Not honoring your parents would be extremely disrespectful.

But what are the limits of honoring your parents? If you were physically or mentally abused, would you still need to honor your parents? Long term child abuse seems to have such a hidden motivation. They are my parents, they know what’s best, I most likely have deserved this, ect. Everybody agrees that this is sick behavior, but I would say it would come from this commandment from the Bible that you need to honor your parents. No matter what.

Another aspect of honoring your parents is that they always have done their best for you within their capabilities. Nobody is perfect and raising a child is one of the toughest things one can do. When raising a child you start with all the genetical, emotional and social luggage which you have. You will make mistakes. And since children are one of the greatest mirrors on earth: they will shine back every flaw and mistake which you have made.

But does this mean that you cannot address issues with your parents? Of course not. As a child, as a result of evolution or personal development, you will grow most likely to a higher level as your parents were able to grow. When this happens, the direction of the education shifts from parent to child. The child will then need to explain and address the parent what the next step in the joint development is. This is difficult when honoring your parents becomes a blockade in the family development. Not being able to include your parents in your spiritual development, leads to a gap between the two. The relationship becomes empty and based on the status quo of the past.

Currently, I have an issue with my mother. She is a proud woman. But, I feel, she made a mistake in how she treated me. We are out of contact for about 3 months now. I think that my mother suffers from false pride. She is too proud to admin that she has made a mistake. I assume that she thinks that I am being childish for not having any contact with her. But I stick to my principals, because I no longer accept to be called names by my mother.

Now, the thing is, that if I go to my mother and explain that she has an issue with false pride, she does not want to see this. She does not want to grow. It hurts and this is understandable. But in similar situations she has accused me of having no respect for my mother. And this hurts. Because I do not want to be a smartass to my mother. I tell her these things, because in my experience I have learnt the difference between pride and false pride. And I want to share my insight with her, so that we can have an improved and deeper relationship.

Now, I am in the situation that I will no longer share my insights with my mother. As a result, here I am, alone, feeling the limitations of honoring my mother.

Gurdjieff Movements vs automatismes

We leven in een wereld waar steeds meer is en steeds meer wordt geautomatiseerd. Deze wereld is dan ook steeds meer van alle gemakken voorzien. Echter, de mens wordt op deze manier een onbewuste eindgebruiker. Een slaaf. Omdat hij niet meer weet hoe dingen tot stand komen, verliest hij zijn kritisch vermogen en wordt dus onbewust.

De Gurdjieff Movements zijn in die zin bewustzijnsverhogend, omdat zij geen dans (eindproduct) leert. De Movements leren hoe je verschillende afzonderlijke bewegingen tegelijkertijd kunt uitvoeren (welke uiteindelijk tezamen een dans vormen). De Movements gaan om het proces in plaats van het doel. De Movements zijn erop ingericht om automatismen te voorkomen. Daarom leer je de Movements in stappen van een ledemaat per keer. Vervolgens worden meerdere ledematen samengevoegd in verschillende variaties in een dans. En wanneer je vervolgens alle ledematen in een dans hebt, wordt de volgorde van de passen omgegooid door bijvoorbeeld circular counting. Uiteindelijk ben je in staat om iedere ledemaat te dansen op het ritme wat jij wilt op hetzelfde moment. Dit is bewustzijn in beweging. Met de volgende paradox: want ook al dans je in een ritme en volgens bepaalde passen, toch is het in complete vrijheid. Want, met behulp van de Movements, heb jij de vaardigheid verworven om te kiezen welke bewegingen jij op een bepaald moment wilt maken.