Holy Grail Across The Atlantic?


Foreword to the Third, North-American Edition





s 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.”


With these words we ended the previous introduction to the first edition, written in Amsterdam in the beginning of June 2001; in this foreword to the third edition a short overview shall be given as to what became of these aspirations.


On June 28, 2001, within two weeks upon arriving in Montreal, Canada, the first (limited) edition of How The Grail Sites Were Found was presented during an informal lecture by the translator to members of the Anthroposophical Society in (Old) Montreal. A second, improved, edition of 50 copies of this research report was then published in Montreal on July 5, 2001, after which it was presented in the Peterborough Town Library in New Hampshire on July 19 – the first time that this novel work was ever publicly introduced to an English-speaking audience and mentioned in the press.* Afterwards, similar talks and slide shows under the title How The Grail Sites Were Found were organized by the Willehalm Institute in three other libraries in the New England area of the United States: in the Rudolf Steiner Library in Ghent, NY,** the Bushnell-Sage Memorial Library in Sheffield, MA and the Woodstock Town Library, NY. On September 6 the circle was closed with the Anthroposophical Society in Montreal organizing a public presentation at the Atwater Library.

          In all of these talks an attempt was made, as the previous introduction put it, “to connect with the local lore”, i.e. to refer to and comment on the book by M. Bradley Holy Grail Across the Atlantic – The Secret History of Canadian Discovery and Exploration (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, 1988).

          Since this foreword is being written in Lachine Public Library, a suburb of Montreal, and since good fortune has it that this edition will now be distributed in North America by a newly found publisher comrade-in-arms, Jacques Racine – whom I thank for his warm words of introduction during the recent presentation at the Montreal Atwater Library – it seems more than fitting to present our North American reader with a short summary of and commentary on this “local Grail lore” in the light of this book by Werner Greub with the sub-title Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail. After all, no one landing on these shores with a book proclaiming that the medieval Grail sites of Wolfram von Eschenbach have been found in Europe, can do so without dealing at some length with a book purporting to show that the mysterious “Castle at the Cross” in Nova Scotia and later Montreal were Grail sites from the 14h to the 18th century, because they harboured and protected nothing less than the “Holy Grail” itself during that period. And if that is not enough: Montreal was even founded by a semi-secret society with a view to just doing that!

          We will look how the concepts of King Arthur and the Holy Grail, Camelot and the Grail castle  Munsalvaesche as well as the question of Wolfram’s source, the enigmatic Kyot, are dealt with in Michael Bradley’s book; we begin, however, with a philosophical question: How sure is Bradley of all of the above (and more); does he actually believe, as he himself puts it “this unorthodox interpretation of Western History?” in his book, which was published with assistance of the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council? His answer is: “Yes, I believe it to be the truth.” He then immediately weakens this, however, by continuing:


At least, I believe it to be a much closer approximation of the truth than the history taught in universities. After twenty years of research, and some minor contributions to what might be called ‘conventional’ interpretations of history, I have concluded that the acceptable history of textbooks is inadequate and misleading. While I’m willing to grant that some of the details may be wrong and that some people may have been erroneously consigned to a role in the Great Conspiracy, I have come to believe sincerely that the facts of Western History (such as they are known) argue the presence of an almost-hidden group of people which has moulded major patterns of human development, which has managed humanity at crisis points. We have been guided in our progress by a secret organization. (p.13)


Now, as anyone who has, or will, read Greub’s book shall agree, there are major differences in style and content between Bradley’s book and Greub’s research report. Yet, at this point, however, they overlap to some extent; it is for example Greub’s contention that the history textbooks covering the first half of the 9th century – based as they are, according to him (and other scholars) on biased court and church ‘historians’ of that period – need to be rewritten in the light of his discovery that the poet-knight Wolfram von Eschenbach is to be regarded as an exact historian of the Grail Family, a theme hitherto consigned to the realm of romantic fables. Another point that they have in common is that both works seem to have been largely, if not completely ignored by the established academic world. Here, however, as we shall point out, the similarities end.  

          As befits a book addressing a North American audience Bradley begins his book with a summary of the more recent literary, historical and archaeological research on, as well as folklore around Glastonbury and King Arthur, “The Christmas King of Camelot”. After all, this theme is a household word here, and was not John F. Kennedy administration synonymous with Camelot?  But which King Arthur, one could ask, for there are several serious candidates from around the 5th and 6th century vying for this prestigious title, all possessing the qualifications for this post of supreme military commander of the Celts. Here the first major difference between the two books comes to the fore, for King Arthur by Werner Greub – and here he follows Rudolf Steiner – is not one or another historical personage, but a title or rank in the sense that what Caesar was for the Romans, Arthur was for the Celts – with the original Arthur already stemming from Great Britain before the mystery of Golgotha in Palestine. Perhaps this explanation will now cause the North American – and especially the British reader – to shake his head in a little less disbelief upon reading that Greub has King Arthur putting up his army camp on the banks of the rivers Birs in Dornach, below Basle, Switzerland in the 9th century!

          If we now look at what Bradley understands, or rather believes, the Holy Grail to be (p. 23 ff.), he first dismisses the myth that “Arthur invented the ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’ as something of a chivalrous make-work project to absorb his younger knight’s hormone energy.” He then turns to the legend that Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to Glastonbury: “It supposedly resided there for some time.” 

          It resided? Yes, it, for here Bradley also rules out the popular and common belief based on the medieval French Grail author Robert de Boron and the continuators of Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval that “the Holy Grail was the ‘cup of the Last Supper’, the same vessel (in tradition) which Joseph of Arimathea held aloft to catch the blood of Jesus when the Centurion, Longinus, pierced Christ’s side with a spear.” Instead, he embraces the unorthodox, if not heretic view first popularised by the best-seller Holy Blood/Holy Grail in the 1980’s, namely that the words Holy Grail are derived from the French “sang real”, San Graal, referring to the holy blood of Jesus Christ, that through His marriage with Maria Magdalene is said to live on until this very day in His offspring.*

          He then hastens to assure his readers “that this interpretation of the Holy Grail as a lineage of people is not merely my own. Aside from the linguistic contributions of Jean-Michel Angebert in unravelling the component parts of that artificial word graal, we will discover that the troubadours themselves used extended and complex poetic allusions making it clear that the Holy Grail was a succession of people related to each other.” He then drives this linguistic, associative frame of mind to absurdity by falsely bringing in “Wolfram von Eschenbach, whose Grail Romance Parzival is perhaps the greatest literary product of the medieval period” in order to support his claim that the Holy Grail is the Holy Blood, for, as he says, “this Bavarian troubadour states frankly that men and women issued from the Holy Grail to become leaders of communities.”

          The only specific case of this, however, that Wolfram gives (at the end of his Parzival) is that of Lohengrin, Parzival’s first son and the twin brother of Kardeiz. The latter is called from Munsalvaesche to become Prince of Brabant, but under the strict condition that he remain anonymous, that he not be asked by the beautiful Princess of Brabant who he is, i.e. he cannot divulge his family origin, his bloodline, but must be judged on his own individual merits. This was not because of any self-imposed secrecy, but a direct consequence of the turning point that Parzival’s revolutionary Grail Kingship marked in history, already alluded to in the previous introduction and that will become clearer at the end of this foreword and fully elaborated in the book itself. The Princess, however, did not keep her word not to bridle her curiosity and so, much against his will, Lohengrin had to depart. The first attempt at implementing the new Grail impulse – a Grail monarchy no longer dependent on the bloodline, the hereditary principle – had failed. Europe, indeed the world at large, was consequently saddled for centuries to come with a succession of kings and queens who came to the throne on the basis of the bloodline – discounting of course those despots and dictators, such as Napoleon, who enthroned themselves by other, more violent means.

          According to Bradley and his school of thought (perhaps speculative belief system would be a better term), his Holy Grail is the much sought after secret of the Cathars. And again he bases himself falsely on Wolfram von Eschenbach by saying (on p.90):


The exact nature of the Cathar secret has been much debated, but the knowledgeable minnesinger, Wolfram von Eschenbach makes no bones about it. In his romance, Parzival, von Eschenbach states clearly that the Templar-guarded Holy Grail reposed in the castle of ‘Munsalvaesche’, which most scholars agree was the Cathar citadel of Montségur.


Bradley seems to be an advocate of the sociological consensus theory of the truth, meaning that if but enough scholars believe something, it must then also be true. Not the number of people believing something determines the truth of something, however, but only the correct underlying train of thought and the corresponding observations. Montségur was in all likelihood a Grail site from the 12th or 13th century, but – as this research report by Werner Greub makes clear – it cannot be Wolfram’s Grail castle Munsalvaesche. Moreover, nowhere does Wolfram state that the Knights Templar from the 12th century guarded this Grail castle. Wolfram calls the knights guarding the Castle “Templeisen”, which means nothing more than that: Castle guards. Bradley’s own abstract and highly speculative dating system of the Parzival poem (p. 332 ff.), placing it back to the 5th or 6th century (instead of the 9th) in order to synchronise it with the dates of his King Arthur, is moreover impossible to rhyme with Knights Templar from the 12th century playing a role in it.

          But even Bradley himself admits that he does not really know what he is talking about. In the chapter The [Grail] Dynasty in the 20th century, in which he attempts to describe the Canadian Co-operative Commonwealth Foundation (CCF) of the “Grail knight-at-heart”, Tommy Douglas during the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties and other political movements for social-economic reform in North America and Europe as Grail impulses: “It is not very helpful to call the [Jesus] lineage the ‘Grail Family’, because we do not know what this Grail was, and in any case there is reason to suspect that this bloodline may be the Grail.” As Wolfram experts know and as the reader of this book by Werner Greub shall see, there is not a shred of evidence to be found by Wolfram to support Bradley’s claim that the Holy Grail is the Holy Blood, quite the contrary.

          Equally inconsistent and misleading is what Bradley maintains (on p. 328) about Wolfram’s source Kyot: “He [Wolfram] says that he got the story from Guiot of Provence, ‘a troubadour, monk and spokesman for the Templars.’” The footnote placed there refers to the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln (p. 294-295), but fails to note that Wolfram never mentions all of those things about Kyot, whose historical existence is doubted by most scholars – except of course by Werner Greub, who identifies him in this research report as William of Orange, a paladin of Charlemagne and the main character and hero of Wolfram’s epic poem Willehalm.

          In this way, Bradley joins the choir of those misinterpreting Wolfram von Eschenbach’s work in order to serve their own rather preconceived ends. In places where this proves well-nigh impossible, such as Wolfram’s mysterious description of the Grail as the stone “iaspis excillis,’ he simply dismisses this as a religious pun. Thus he writes (on p. 336):


In describing the Grail as a stone, Wolfram is indulging in a little joke based on a well-known religious pun. Peter, the disciple, is considered to be the founder of the Church, the ‘rock’ upon which Christianity as an organized religion was built. ‘Peter’ means ‘stone’ in Latin, and Peter was the foundation of the Papacy. So Wolfram is just saying that the real foundation of Christianity is the Grail family, of which Jesus was a part, and not Peter.


What a far cry this is from the Wolfram immanence of Werner Greub’s research into these very same themes as the Grail – “the symbolic cosmic foundation stone of the earth,” not a cup, but a stone left on earth by a heavenly host of angels, symbolized by the semi-precious stone jasper made from silica that the philosophers of antiquity viewed as the symbol for the cosmic egg, the quintessence out of which the physical earth was born; Munsalvaesche – which Greub locates on an ancient Roman quarry on the Hornichopf Hill situated in the Arlesheim Hermitage in Switzerland, an ancient Celtic sacred site, and Wolfram’s source Kyot – who is identified as the historical William of Orange, 9th century paladin of Charlemagne and patron saint of the knights!


But nevertheless, for all that, a quite different picture emerges from Bradley’s book where – instead of basing himself on the speculative quicksand of much of the secondary literature – he comes up with his own research and experiences. In this sense, his accounts of the clandestine operation to secure a safe haven for the “Holy Grail” in Nova Scotia, in order to protect it from religious persecution in Europe, through the (navigational) skills and exploits of Prince Henry Sinclair – “Glooscap” for the local Micmac Indians – a century before the alleged discovery of America by Columbus, and of the subsequent founding of Montreal (Ville Marie) in 1625 through the combined efforts and preliminary explorations of Jacques Cartier, Samuel Champlain, Maisonneuve, Jeanne Mance and other members of the “Holy Colony” in the service of the secretive French Compagnie du Saint-Sacrament (with headquarters in the Seminary Saint Sulpice in Paris, France)  makes for quite fascinating reading and is, as far as I can see, quite original and worth while. Why – as also other, more academically inclined Canadian historians have asked themselves – are there such glaring omissions and errors in the maps and accounts of Champlain of his voyages in and about Nova Scotia? Why indeed were 17 or more people, including Jeanne Mance and Sulpician priests, left out of the first census of the population of Ville Marie in 1666? These are only two of the many unanswered questions, even riddles in the history of the founding of these two supposed Grail sites in the New World from 1398 to around 1750. For at that time the situation in Europe had apparently returned to normal, allowing the “Holy Grail” to return home, but not after it had anticipated or even caused from its secret hideout the French and American Revolutions!

          Bradley ends his book with “the faith and confidence that the Grail would not abandon the Western World in the crisis years of our immediate future…by overcoming the social parochialisms and cultural expectations that he or she may have inherited by birth to create and defend new and more humane communities.”


After this brief summary of Bradley’s book, spiced with a few observations of our own, one could rightfully ask: What is one to make of all this? Well, for one thing – one cannot, of course blame this on Bradley, a non-German speaking author, alone – there is absolutely no mention of or even reference to Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy as an epistemologically based science of the Grail, or to its social component the Royal Art of Social Organics, or let alone to this book itself.

          In the previous introduction How This Publication Came About and in the appendix dealing with the devastating review by Lindenberg, we have offered some explanations as to why this could be: after its publication in 1974 by the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, Werner Greub’s work was, so to speak, shelved, put on the index as a so-called anti-Grail book. *

          This leads us, finally, to the question how Bradley’s book – that more appropriately should have been called Holy Blood Across the Atlantic – and others in this line, such as the more recent works by (Sir) Laurence Gardner on The Bloodline Of The Holy Grail and Genesis Of The Grail Kings can be seen in the light of Werner Greub’s Grail research and, more in general, Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy. We have anticipated this here and in our previous introduction by mentioning the spiritual and world historical significance of Parzival’s revolutionary attainment of the Grail kingship under the Star of Munsalvaesche in the year 848, where we referred to the incredulous words of amazement by Trevrizent marking this turning point in history. This is indeed what initiated a new age in the development of the Grail Monarchy, a new Royal Art of Social Organics, a development that only came to the full light of day with the foundation of the new mystery wisdom or anthroposophy by Rudolf Steiner at the beginning of the 20th century. By holding on to the bloodline, to the heredity principle, one is in effect advocating an old Grail impulse; and by ignoring this new principle of civilization and at the same time advocating social-economic reform based on this old Grail impulse, one is in effect – whether one is conscious of it or not – standing in the way of the new Grail impulse, of the necessary advancement in consciousness from the intellect to intuition that is so desperately needed for mankind to live in dignity, indeed to survive on this earth.

          This is what can be said in all brevity concerning the book Holy Grail Across The Atlantic and others in its wake on the basis of this book. What remains is the challenge of transforming an old Grail impulse, no matter how fascinating and true in the past, into the new one: “The Times They Are A-Changing”; Bob Dylan once sang, “The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind”, i.e. the new Grail wisdom as brought down to earth by Rudolf Steiner and further delineated by one of his staunchest defenders: Werner Greub.



This third edition of How The Grail Sites Were Found contains the corrections of the previous edition that were made with the kind and keen help of the writer and astrosopher Paul Platt, from Sheffield (MA) during our lecture tour this summer in New England. The historian Richard Roe, from Ghent (NY) has also made some valuable corrections. An index will have to wait for a future edition. Suggestions or comments on this volume can be made to the address given at the beginning of this book. In a new edition of Munsalvaesche in America – Towards The New Grail Community I hope to report in more detail on this last North American visit and about the ongoing attempts to set up a branch here of the Willehalm Institute for Anthroposophy as Grail Research, Royal Art and Social Organics; out of this can then grow the interdisciplinary research team mentioned in the previous introduction to perform the outstanding research. On The Kardeiz Saga To Review, Recall and Renew The Anthroposophical Society a book with the working title A Union Of People is in the make.


Robert J. Kelder,

Lachine Saul Bellow Library,

Montreal, September 11, 2001


* Both the Peterborough Transcript and the Monadnock Ledger published (on July 13) in full our articles announcing the talks.

** In the Conference Room of this library of the Anthroposophical Society in America two additional talks were held: the first one was entitled Social Organics – A Grail Impulse For The 21st Century during which a new edition of Herbert Witzenmann’s The Just Price – World Economy as Social Organics was presented. During the second talk Munsalvaesche in America – Towards The New Grail Community a new edition of Herbert Witzenmann’s social-aesthetic essay The Principles Of The Anthroposophical Society As A Basis Of Life And Path Of Training with a Foreword Introducing the Kardeiz Saga To Recall the Anthroposophical Society was presented. Both editions included extensive forewords See appendix VII for further detail on the work of the Willehalm Institute.

* Holy Blood/Holy Grail by M. Baigent, R. Leigh and H. Lincoln, first published in 1982, ends on an ominous note: “There are many devout Christians who do not hesitate to interpret the Apocalypse as nuclear holocaust. How might the advent of Jesus’ lineal descendant be interpreted? To a receptive audience, it might be a kind of Second Coming.” Ominous because it confuses the Second Coming of Christ – which according to Rudolf Steiner has taken place in the previous century in the supersensible etheric or living realm as an ongoing event (as the Bible says symbolically ‘in the clouds’) to be experienced by everyone who manages to elevate himself or herself to that height – with the imminent physical incarnation of Ahriman in a climate of death and destruction. All publications on the Grail that in one way or another follow this line of confusion only serve in the end to strengthen the violent climate and chaotic pre-conditions necessary for this anti-Second Coming, an event that cannot be totally prevented as such, but only minimized in its disastrous effects by recognizing its various cloaks of disguise and deception.

* That this is, moreover, symptomatic for the general state of affairs during the last 25 years, I have attempted to show in the lengthy introductions to the recently presented new editions of working translations of Herbert Witzenmann’s The Just Price – World Economy As Social Organics and The Principles of the Anthroposophical Society.