The HermAphroditic ChAOrder of the SILVER DUSK Presents
A Metamorphic Ritual Theatre Production
The Fool's Journey on Glastonbury Tor The Holy Grail ritual theatre originally devised as a part of
Metamorphic Ritual Theatre Co.'s Feast of VALHALLA Production in Australia Imbolc 2004
was returned to its mythic homelands for Summer Solstice 2005.
Text by Orryelle
Still photos by Mark Heley & Video Stills selected and cropped by Orryelle from Footage by Tor
The Heirophant holds up the STAR card (above right) from Orryelle's Book of KAOS Tarot.
Initiates/Audience gathered at the Red and White Springs at the bottom of the Tor at 7pm.
The central white-clad Grail-Maiden (apparently unnoticed by Parzival) pours the milk of the stars from her breast to the left as in-it-I-ates -following Parzival's lead- drink from the sacred white spring, then pours the blood of the earth from her loins to the right as they drink from the sacred red spring.
As the Heirophant holds up the Fool card (left), Parzival leads the pilgrims off up the front of the Tor (sacred mound), singing: They veer away from the path around the side of the Tor when meeting another minstrel who joins in upon the song...
'The Continuing Tale of the Snake Which Eats its own Tail
Oroboros, Oroboros, Oroboros, Oroboros, Oroboros...'
As they pass by below the 'eggstone' Parzival talks about redeeming himself and this Land for being Foolish enough to dare take this Thirteenth Seat of the Round Table on summer solstice two years prior, in the Thirteenth Tribe Weaving upon this sacred mound.
Following a lower path of the spiral Labyrinth around the side of the Tor, the company reach a triad of trees.
There a strange crippled man hobbles up.
Parzival enquires as to what ails him, to which Amfortas replies a Spear wound, which although many years old will not heal.
As they speak, a white-veiled maiden approaches from the shade of the trees.
She feeds Amfortas from a Chalice, and as he drinks Parzival begins to wonder
(as an aside to the gathered company, but unheard by Amfortas or the Grail Maiden),
'Is this the...?
No, surely not!
Should I say something??...
Should I ask?
...No, it couldn't be!...
And so the question is not asked, and Parzival leads the other pilgrims on upon their way...
As Parzival wonders which path to take, a Flower-Maiden springs out from the greenery and begins to lead him astray.
Another appears from another direction, and together they confuse him, entwining him in ivy, seducing him away from his allotted path...
...But he remembers, and rejects their advances:
'No! I'm on a spiritual quest I cannot concern myself with these creatures of the flesh!'
Continuing on their way around the side of the Tor, Parzival and his company come to a Tree which is strangely split in two, yet grows as if two trees, the path winding between.
Between these two which are one sits the Grail Maiden Priestess, still and silent, holding a silver chalice aloft.
Parzival kneels in adoration before her, astounded that he has apparently found the Grail. But during his poetic reverie with head bowed, the Grail Maiden rises and walks away with his cherished prize.
Rising, Parzival realizes she has gone and runs after her, beckoning the company to follow...
Further along the trail, the Grail Maiden re-appears in Red as Babalon, beckoning Parzival with erotic verse and suggestive gestures.
He rejects her 'lewd advances' and instead pontificates upon his sacred quest for the Holy Grail, totally missing the chalice incarnate that She holds forth at her loins.
Eventually he realizes and reaches for the Chalice, which she continues to lure him with but keeps ever just out of his reach...
She intercepts with her body his attempts to reach the Chalice, and suddenly kisses him...
Babalon (pushing Parzival to the ground):
'...All Fools must Die!'
Parzival (voice dropping from soprano to tenor):
'Oh. I better go and write my Will then...'
He retrieves the Santum Gradale ('Holy Book') from the Heirophant and begins to feverishly orate his Will,
which is to be
'...executed upon my Death,
The little death
The Word of breath
Ah... I inhale spirit
...Ha! I exhale flesh
Thus I manifest
My dreams; the seams
In the tantric tapestry
In the loom I weave my destiny
On the Mound I pierced my chest for thee
In the womb I leave my best for thee
This is the Will: AHA.........'
After waxing eloquent for some time, Parzival seems to awake from his trance and again attempts to retreive the Chalice from Babalon.
(Quicktime Video Sample Here)
Throwing him to the ground, She rips off his three-pronged jesters-hat, revealing beneath two horns with a Baphometic candle betwixt...
They engage in an enactment of the traditional 'Strength/Lust' Tarot trump, she luring yet fending off the Beast. Parzival (lamenting):
Eventually he pounces on Brigid-Babalon, but she pushes him down onto his back, and jumps on top of him.
At this stage of the drama Parzival has obviously recognized spirit as being housed in matter, but because he still sees it as seperate from himself, he is drained from his obsessiveness.
'Babalon I am bleeding in your bed,
How can I do this when my skin is shed..?'
Heirophant (holding up Death Tarot Card):
'But he kept on and he bled and bled,
'til Babalon had fucked him dead.'
Parzival (in the throes of premature orgasm):
My Will be done
My Kingdom Cum
On Earth as it is in Heaven'
The cloaked hooded figure of Death walks solemnly over Parzival's body, leaving a trail of soot behind him as if the grass has burnt in his wake.
Parzival lies drained and comatose. Babalon, drinking from the Chalice of blood with satisfaction, dances away.
Lamenting that Parzival seems to have abandoned his holy quest and left us for a while, the Heirophant leads the party away and on around the side of the Tor...
Eventually Parzival catches up with them as the company pass by the row of Thirteen Arachnean Hawthorn Trees (on this the last day of the Wood Spider in the Druid Calendar).
The Heirophant speaks lines from the Book of Thomas, the missing gospel:
'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny seed, that can barely be seen
Yet when this seed falls upon the tilled earth,
Then a mighty Tree may grow,
Wherein the birds of heaven may roost'
Parzival asks him who he is, and how he knows such things.
The Heirophant draws out his own card from the 'Sanctum Gradale' in reply.
At a Crossroads a black-clad and veiled Crone appears and passes Parzival a lantern.
The Heirophant draws out the Hermit card, and asks that as Parzival now draws within, so might all upon this quest join him in this contemplation.
The company continue in silence now upon their journey around the back of the Tor.
Slowly they spiral around and up to its front path, where the wind whistles madly through the bells on Parzival's stick and sack as he leads them towards the summit of the Sacred Mound...
At the top of the Tor Death waits at the Door of the Tower, while the black-clad Crone lurks within.
Parzival: 'Gwynn Ap Knud, Faery King,
Take us beneath the barrow mound
By cloven hoof and raven's wing...'
(A Raven encircling the Tower caws)
Parzival: 'Why can't I find the Holy Grail and the Spear of Destiny?
I thought it was my Destiny to find it, but alas and alack
Is it my destiny to just be this Fool with this stick and this sack?
This stick... and... my ... ... Destiny?...'
As realization dawns, he wrenches the fool's sack from the end of his stick, revealing...
'...The Spear of Destiny!'
He holds it aloft and there is a flash of lightning, the Blasted Tower of sudden realization...
(Click on image below for Quicktime Movie)
Parzival inverts his snake-entwined Fool's Bell, realizing it is...
'The Holy Grail!
I had it all along...
It's a part of me.'
He brings the Grail and the Spear together.
Musick begins to swell behind Parzival's culminative verse, which begins spoken and becomes sung:
The hunched crone straightens to beautiful maiden, unveiling from Her dark cloak to reveal white and red garments within, as She steps forth from the Tower...
'Stirred into waking by the Staff of Action
The Chalice of Dreams now full-filled
The Graal of Vision, In holy Union
Is pierced by the Spear of True Will
'As the Graal of Musick
The Chalice is the sacred Bell
And as the lightning-flash of the Logos
The Spear is the Vajra Sceptre
And Magdalene is released from Her Tower
As the spear comes forth to intercept Her
'Musick is vivified with the Logos
And from this Hieros Gamos
As a snake sloughs its old skin
Crone becomes maiden ag'in
As the Land is renewed with its Lady.'
The Flower-Maidens dance around Brigid renewed and bedeck Her in wreathes, throwing flowers over Parzival and the assembled initIates also.
Parzival returns the Chalice to Brigid.
Amfortas steps up, still bent in pain, and begins to drink from the Chalice.
Parzival touches his side gently with the base of the Spear and he straightens...
Parzival: 'Twas the Spear of Will that wounded you,
And so tis the Spear of Intent that cures you too
For the harsh Word that can pierce and divide
With the Chalice of the tune now unites
And is softened into song...'
'So revive Amfortas, Fisher King
Arise to the light and the warmth of the mid-Summer sun
Then with a spring in your step
You may dance again, and play
Over the Cliff and awaaaaayyyyyyyyyy....'
'...the continuing tale of the Snake which eats its own tail
Parzival passes the Spear over the shoulder of Amfortas, returning the sack to its tip.
Amfortas dances off down the side of the Tor with the sack on stick over his shoulder, as Parzival sings...
'The continuing tale of the Snake which eats its own tale
Oroboros, Oroboros, Oroboros, Oroboros...
The continuing tale of the Snake which eats its own tail...'
The Video Footage from this Ritual Performance is being edited together with footage from
The FEAST of VALHALLA where this new version of Parzival was first performed, to create a feature-length DVD of Metamorphic Ritual Theatre's 'PARZIVAL: The Fool's Journey'.
If interested in this product-in-the-making (thus helping to motivate us to get on with it!) please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cast at Glastonbury:
Brigid (GrailMaiden/Babalon/Crone) - Alison Rockbrand
Parzival - Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule
Heirophant - Tristram Burden
Amfortas - David Blank
Death - George Karlson
Raven - Tim LokiCoyote
Flower Maidens - Daphne, Fi Mermadelfi
Minstrel - Green
The BOOK of KAOS Tarot