HOW THIS PUBLICATION CAME ABOUT
Second American English Edition
n Whitsuntide May 12, 848, Parzival succeeded his uncle Anfortas as Grail King in Munsalvaesche Castle situated on the Hornichopf Hill in the Hermitage of Arlesheim, a picturesque village near Basle, Switzerland. This may certainly appear to be one of the most sensational findings of this research report that was originally published back in 1974 by the Goetheanum, School for Spiritual Science in the neighbouring village of Dornach, Switzerland under the title Wolfram von Eschenbach und die Wirklichkeit des Grals (Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail). And indeed, among the anthroposophical community in and around the international headquarters of the General Anthroposophical Society, it caused a veritable, albeit short-lived sensation. For did this book not bring the whole medieval romance of Parzival and the Grail down to earth, so to speak?
But then, just as the general enthusiasm and praise for this work was at its height, a devastating review by the well-known anthroposophical historian Christoph Lindenberg appeared purporting to show that this book was not only way “beyond truth and reality”, but also questioning the integrity of its author. This official denouncement by someone considered a leading authority in the field quickly dampened and dispelled the initial enthusiasm with which the book was received, especially by those who had not really studied it. The sincere hopes expressed by the then president of the General Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Grosse, in his foreword to this remarkable book that it might initiate a serious scientific discussion came to naught; Grosse’s immediate successor in his office, the late Manfred Schmidt-Brabant appeared to take the side of Lindenberg by, among other things, drawing the attention away from the Arlesheim Hermitage to Santiago de Compostella in present-day Spain as the central Grail area, and consequently all discussion in the ‘official’ anthroposophical media concerning this startling new work came to an abrupt halt. The publication by the Goetheanum of the two remaining works in Werner Greub’s trilogy, which were announced as forthcoming in the first volume, was held back until the day of the author’s death on May 12, 1997, when the rights to his literary estate, excluding this present volume, were passed on to his family.
This in a nutshell is the
‘official’ story of a book that was initially published by the Goetheanum*, and subsequently all but ignored, if
not suppressed; one notable exception being the fact that in the year 2000 the
Goetheanum Press finally granted the Willehalm Institute in
The Willehalm Institute
The above mentioned events and those leading up to this publication may themselves lay some claim to being a future footnote to the continuing history of the Grail. They form at least an episode on how the news was gradually spread to the English-speaking world that Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Grail sites have been found. With regard to this translation, the footnote begins with the founding of the Willehalm Institute for Anthroposophy as Grail Research, Royal Art and Social Organics under the name Eremos Institut für Gralsforschung in 1985 in Arlesheim. This was in connection with an exhibition on the historic Arlesheim Hermitage as an English Garden during which for the first time aspects of the work of Werner Greub relating to this ancient Celtic sacred landscape at the foot of the Jura Mountains were presented to the general public in the form of a text The Arlesheim Hermitage as Grail Landscape (see appendix III) as well as guided tours of the Hermitage and evening discussions with Werner Greub in the local museum Trotte. The original name of the Institute, Eremos, Old-Greek for hermit, was chosen in connection with the Hermitage. Its aim was and is to further Grail research in general and the work of Werner Greub in particular, and thereby protect and foster the spiritual heritage of the Arlesheim Hermitage in light of the corroboration by Werner Greub of Rudolf Steiner’s identification of this sacred site as the actual place where Parzival in the 9th century had his decisive meetings with his niece Sigune and his uncle Trevrizent, both of whom lived in seclusion as hermits not far from the Grail Palace Munsalvaesche.
After the close of this six-months long
lasting exhibition, which was well received by the national Swiss press, the
Institute, due to lack of local support, left the Hermitage behind and moved
its base to Amsterdam, Netherlands where, in order to align itself with the
original founder of the House of Orange – not to be confused with the later
William the Silent – it changed its name from Eremos to Willehalm. Willehalm is
the leading figure of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic poem by that name, who in
the following pages of this research report appears as none other than the
mysterious master or singer Kyot the Provençal, the source for Wolfram’s Grail
‘romance’ Parzival. Historically, Willehalm is known as the Frankish Count
In 1991, after having gained the implicit permission from the author, the Institute – now finally settled somehow in Amsterdam – published in manuscript form the second volume entitled Willehalm-Kyot/ Der Gewährsmann Wolframs von Eschenbach (Willehalm-Kyot/ Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Source) of Greub’s projected trilogy based on his finding that Willehalm as master Kyot is the historical source for Wolfram’s works. This second volume, which is carried by the Goetheanum bookstore in Dornach, contains a documented foreword by the publisher on the dramatic background of this edition that, as already mentioned, was originally announced as forthcoming in 1974 by the Goetheanum Publishers, but then, due to internal struggle and strife, never did appear there. Among the documents in this foreword is a motion submitted to the General Assembly of the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach in 1986 requesting the Executive-Council, as the ones ultimately responsible for the publication policy of the Goetheanum Press, to finally inform the members why publication of Greub’s two remaining volumes was being withheld for so long. The motivation to this request to the Executive-Council, who failed to give a satisfactory answer, included a letter from the noted writer and researcher Count Adalbert von Keyserlingk, son of the Count at whose estate Rudolf Steiner in 1924 held his course on biological-dynamic agriculture. In this letter, the Count called Greub’s work “Ein Ereignis für die gesamte Gralsforschung” (an important event for Grail research as a whole). A translation of the letter can be read in appendix IV.
Also included in the foreword were references
to two favourable reviews on How the Grail Sites Were Found from
non-anthroposophical journals. One was published in 1975 in a French journal
established by Déodat Rocher on the Cathars Cahiers
D’études Cathares, Nr 68. Entitled “À propos Guillaume d’Orange”, its
writer, Madame S. Hannedouche wryly noted: “The book has only one fault, it is
written in German.” The other review appeared in the Swiss Zurich Journal Die Literarische Tat on
Based on the historic source of Wolfram’s Parzival and the dating of Parzival’s Grail kingship by means of planetary calculations, these findings provide a great number of other well-founded dates as well as the settings of the history of the Grail that Wolfram narrates. Such a provocation cannot be ignored by a science that until now has merely based itself on assumptions. Werner Greub’s findings must be thoroughly examined by German and Roman scholars, experts in Celtic Studies, geographers, geologists, astronomers and archaeologists. It would be worth their while. The result of Greub’s research is to regard Wolfram primarily as a chronicler. It sets the Grail history back into the 9th century, and dates and localizes all the events. Kyot the Provençal turns out to be the author of the epic poems translated by Wolfram into Middle High German. He (Kyot) is a contemporary to, eyewitness of and actor in the events. Greub even succeeds in answering the question as to why the source, Kyot the well-known master, is no longer known, and he is furthermore in a position to recognize the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Pisces of the Grail year 848 as the star of the Three Kings above the cradle of the year 7 B.C. All this sounds as fabulous as it is. A real effort is required. May one take this notice, which cannot begin to repeat the rich and varied chains of evidence and their triangulation, as a challenge to joint research that should not first and foremost deal with the polemics, but advance the subject at hand.
This second volume also contains a ground plan and description of the Grail castle Munsalvaesche derived from the original Middle High German text of Wolfram’s Parzival, which can be consulted here in appendix II.
Willehalm in The
In the meantime, connections were made with family and
The Translator’s Note to this publication
entitled Wolfram’s Grail Astronomy, published by Paul Platt from Star
Cross Press in
With the private pre-publication of these chapters on the Grail astronomy in Wolfram von Eschenbach from the work by Werner Greub (1909-1997) for the American conference on Astrosophy and the Grail to be held in Boulder, Colorado in June 1999, the scientific discussion about this exciting, even ground-breaking new research that Rudolf Grosse, the then President of the General Anthroposophical Society, anticipated in his introduction written in 1974, seems finally to enter a second decisive phase. For since Lindenberg wrote his scathing review entitled Beyond Truth and Reality of Greub’s first book Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail (translated later as How The Grail Sites Were Found, ed.) in the organ of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany Die Drei (December 1974) – Two Misleading Paths for Grail Seekers (the other ‘false’ one being the book Spear of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscroft) all ‘official’ discussion came to an abrupt halt and the publication by the Goetheanum of the two remaining volumes in Greub’s trilogy, which were announced as forthcoming in the first work, was held back until the present day.
This is not the place to completely counter this criticism, because for one thing it is directed primarily against the geographical aspects of the first tome by Greub, which is not (yet) available in translation. Suffice it to say however, that this dramatic turn of events caused quite a stir, because here the Goetheanum, home of anthroposophy that according to Rudolf Steiner can also be called science of the Grail, was after all accused of nothing else than publishing an anti-Grail work!
From Grail Christianity to Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy
Soon however, as word spread in America about
the devastating criticism by Lindenberg, it did become necessary to counter it,
because it threatened to do the same thing in the New World as it already had
in the Old, namely to prevent potential readers from studying this book
themselves and making up their own minds as to its merits. It had already
caused some anxiety to the publishers of Wolfram’s Grail Astronomy who,
not being able to read German, were unable to judge the matter for themselves.
Therefore, it was decided to a write a thorough step-by-step rebuttal of
Lindenberg’s review, include it in the appendix to Werner Greub’s third volume From Grail Christianity to Rudolf Steiner’s
Anthroposophy and present it
during the said conference in
Towards a Willehalm Society
For Grail Research, Royal Art and Social Organics
In the beginning of this introduction, we referred to the apparently sensational finding that Parzival was crowned King of the Grail during a Christian mystery play enacted at the Grail castle on the Hornichopf Hill in Arlesheim during Whitsuntide 848. Indeed, apparently sensational, because put in this way it expresses only the apparent, external side of this eminently spiritual event. In the sense of this book as elaborated towards the end of the magnificent chapter on Wolfram’s Astronomy, indeed in the highly contemporary sense of Wolfram’s Parzival, the real marvel is, paraphrased in the incredulous words of Trevrizent (P. 798): the circumstance that Parzival won the Grail by having God the Father enforce the Holy Trinity to fulfil his [Parzival’s] wishes! That is the underlying significance of what Werner Greub calls the Star of Munsalvaesche, the repetition of the Star of Bethlehem, over the Arlesheim Hermitage skies at Whitsuntide in the year 848. This means nothing less than that Parzival overcame the age-old hereditary principle, the bloodline of the first Adam if you will, replacing it with a new spiritual principle of the second Adam. He was, after all, not destined by birthright to become Grail King (Grail Knight yes, but not Grail King), but nevertheless won the Grail through his own incessant striving for it. He was the first one, as it were, to enact Rudolf Steiner’s most important and lasting work The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom). This is what so amazed Trevrizent, calling it the greatest miracle ever and then coming quickly with the pertinent advice to practice humility, for from this newly gained spiritual stature, arrogance looms in the wings. Our Willehalm, as spiritus rector of the Grail events and, according to Greub, Parzival’s teacher for a year and a half must have played a leading role in preparing him for this Grail coronation. This new Parzival paradigm points at the same time to a new concept of knighthood, indeed kingship, through a new Royal Art that we wish, in continuation of Rudolf Steiner and Herbert Witzenmann, to call Social Organics – also known as the noble, but difficult art and science of realizing the idea of the threefold nature of the social organism. This new principle of civilization is, after all, destined to transform and supersede the more than 2000-year-old democratic principle. Within eyesight of the Arlesheim Hermitage, this new principle was instituted in an archetypal way through the founding anew of the Anthroposophical Society during the so-called Christmas Conference of 1923 by Rudolf Steiner and some 800 anthroposophists, who had come from the four corners of the world to assemble in the Carpenter Shop – the first Goetheanum had been burned down and reduced to ashes – on a historic hill in Dornach. This can be seen as nothing less than a collective renewal of the bond between heaven and earth, dear Horatio (Hamlet), originally established individually by Christ during the mystery of Golgotha in Palestine that, even though much denied and besieged from within and without, can be duplicated, multiplied as it were, by establishing a living copy of it in one’s own (professional) practice and (smaller or greater) circle of friends and associates.
This is not the proper context to elaborate on this new principle of civilization, no matter how significant it may be. Much more than giving a timely reminder of it is not possible here. However, we did indeed want to at least give some idea how the Grail can be quested in the 21st century and refer the interested reader to other spiritual scientific study material in English made available by the Willehalm Institute, such as The Principles of the Anthroposophical Society as a Basis of Life and Path of Training and The Just Price – World Economy as Social Organics both by Herbert Witzenmann (1906-1988), former member of the Executive-council of the General Anthroposophical Society.* This publication must be seen in the context of the previous ones put out by the Institute, and we beg potential critics who may find this reference to social organics as a Grail impulse a little on the shallow side, to respectfully take this into consideration.
How The Grail Sites Were Found – Prospects And Acknowledgments
We now return to the title of this publication on a more personal note. It was indirectly suggested by the author Werner Greub himself when, towards the close of the afore-mentioned exhibition on the Arlesheim Hermitage in 1985, he handed us a chapter from his third volume for publication as a guide book to the Grail sites in this old English Garden. This particular chapter on the Hermitage has not yet seen the light of day in the German original, but is included in our English translation of the third volume, which is only available directly from the Institute as private study material, since we have not yet acquired the translation rights from the Werner Greub Literary Estate. In the course of translating this volume, the idea then arose to use this title for this current publication with its German title as the subtitle. This first (and second) edition contains no bibliography and index of place names. We hope to make this up in a later edition. In the notes at the end, there is a note on the books used for the translations of Wolfram’s texts.
With an expression of many thanks to all those who aided us in one way or another, such as Jan Pohl from the Goetheanum Library in Dornach and Herman Boswijk from the Rudolf Steiner Library in Den Haag, Holland and of course Joseph Morel from the Goetheanum Press for granting us the translation rights, we close this introduction on the eve of a fourth visit to Canada and the USA. As reading material for the flight we have already laid aside our copy of Holy Grail Across the Atlantic – The Secret History of Canadian Discovery and Exploitation by M. Bradley in order to connect with the local lore. Upon arriving in Montreal, our old homing ground in the sixties, we hope to further present and promote this present volume, including the setting up of an international, interdisciplinary research team to carry out further research on the sites discovered by Werner Greub, especially on the Hornichopf in Arlesheim and also on those sites suggested by him in Africa that are waiting to be discovered. (The Dutch author D. Koelman, in his book Foenix en Graal has already made some interesting claims there. Also, the young German research pair Katharina and Konrad DeGand is treading new historical, geographical and karmic/spiritual grounds in the wake of Werner Greub’s research.) For as Greub himself states, only (but not exclusively) archaeological research will ultimately help prove to a sceptical world the reality of the Grail as narrated by his beloved poet-historian Wolfram von Eschenbach and the enigmatic Master Kyot as historic forerunners of Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy or science of the Grail.
Amsterdam, Whitsuntide 2001 Robert Jan Kelder
Willehalm Institute for Anthroposophy as
Grail Research, Royal Art and Social Organics
Postscript: The introduction to the improved second edition in letter-size was, apart from the different format, similar to the first except that at the end the following box was inserted. The conditions for ordering this edition mentioned in this text no longer apply; for further particulars see appendix VII on the Willehalm Institute and its publications.
An extended errata version for this second edition, done with the kind and keen help of Paul Platt in Sheffield (MA) was printed by the Willehalm Institute Press in the Great Barrington area (MA) in August 2001.
* A second facsimile hardcover edition was published in 1996. A French and Dutch translation is forthcoming.
* See Munsalvaesche in America – Towards the New Grail Community a report published by the Willehalm Institute (4th ed.) on two working visits to America and Canada between 1997 and 1999 at the invitation of the Anthroposophical Societies, respectively the Social Science Section of the Goetheanum in America to give slide shows and lectures on the work of Werner Greub and Herbert Witzenmann. On the work of the latter, see Appendix VII.
* Herbert Witzenmann had no part in the actions and decisions by his fellow Executive-council members mentioned earlier with regard to the work of Werner Greub. This is because since 1974 he was formally on leave from all the daily meetings of the council and thereby not co-responsible for any decisions flowing out of these meetings. This contractual arrangement was made by him because of irreconcilable differences of opinion between him and the other Council members on the nature of the Anthroposophical Society and the Goetheanum, School for Spiritual Science.