You shall be keeper of the Grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.
~ The Fisher King, directed by Terry Gilliam
Here is a beautiful visitor, once rare, but now it has us appeared twice this year. Welcome this week to the Ace of Cups.
The Aces represent the complete potential of the suit, and they all depict the hand of Mystery, offering its blessing to us. Since the Cups are the emotions, love, intuition and healing, this card is the very essence of those gifts. It holds all the love that could be possible, and the deep knowing that comes straight from the heart.
The Ace of Cups is really none other than the Holy Grail. We see the dove of peace, symbolized as the Christian Holy Spirit delivering the wafer (the Host, or the body of Christ) into the cup. It is, in Christian terms, a picture of the Holy Communion.
If you would like to read a more conventional assessment, go back to its February appearance by clicking here.
The Fisher King
I felt a delicious zap of synchronicity when I pulled this card today. Having seen it many years ago, just last night, we watched the brilliant 1991 Terry Gilliam film with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, The Fisher King.
In the film, Jeff Bridges plays a radio “shock jock” whose offhanded cynicism sends a disturbed on-air caller on a murderous rampage. Robin Williams is a former college professor whose wife is one of the people killed, and who is so shattered by the tragedy that he has ended up delusional, homeless, and on a mission to fulfill the story of the Fisher King and the Holy Grail.
The Fisher King myth is a very, very old one and takes many forms. This is how it is told by Williams in the movie version:
It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king.
Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the Holy Grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, “You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.”
But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded.
Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself.
He couldn’t love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die.
One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, “What ails you friend?”
The king replied, “I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”. So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king.
As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, “How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?”
And the fool replied, “I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”
The Sacrificial King
In all of the Fisher King myths, the theme revolves around a wounded king who is either impotent or dying, and can only be saved by the power of the Grail. While he waits, slowly deteriorating, he fishes in a nearby river, hoping for rescue.
As you may know, it was once understood that the fate of the crops, the economy, and the people depended upon the vigor and progenitive power of the king. To have an impotent or wounded leader was a recipe for widespread disaster.
Things have not changed so very much, have they?
It seems to me that as long as our leaders (and those who aspire to lead) are wounded, impotent, or unwilling to sacrifice themselves for the good of the people, the land will continue to suffer.
When those seeking power are greedy and only desire their agenda’s triumph, they are disconnected from love, grace, and humility. In that bubble of invincibility and arrogance, they thus put the land and the people in jeopardy.
For those of us not enamored with Christian symbolism, we can easily see the streams pouring from the Cup as the four Elements, plus the fifth sacred thing – Mystery, or Spirit. And so, this card is the sacred Circle, the Divine Feminine. It is a visitation from Grace.
Our Greek ancestors, and later the Romans, always, without fail, invoked The Graces before every meal, journey, festival, or other gathering. Their presence assured harmony and blessings.
Must we know for certain what we need at all times? Do we dare to ask for blessings we are not sure we deserve?
Asking for Grace means that the Divine Ones will fill in the gaps that we may not be aware of, support us in invisible ways we cannot ourselves anticipate, and will know our hearts more clearly than we may understand them.
Be Healed By Your Giving
This week, Grace is given freely. Blessings are bestowed on new love, or any other new beginnings that join hearts to one another, including the gifts of romance, children, and dear friendships.
What forgiveness do you need? Who needs the healing only you can give?
And how might your own simple act of compassion be a gift of magical blessing?
Divinely inspired love, healing, and heart-opening awareness are given freely to you. You do not have to judge whether you deserve it or not; you have only to humbly ask, and then be receptive.
Who thirsts? What sacred Grail lies right there at your own hand?
Give from your heart, and see what miracles may be born.