Arthurian and Grail Poetry

Initiate

(Copyright 1984, C.M. Joserlin, "Raven")

I have seen the sun at midnight, slain the bull at his command,
Used the power of the crystal, felt the force direct my hand,
Thricefold served the silver lady, sailed upon the darkest sea,
Counted corpses in the forest, chanted runes upon the tree;
I have spoken words of power, summoned Hiram from the grave,
Sung Eurydice to ransom, called 'Phrodite from the wave;
I've recited rhymes to order, chimes that echoed in the brain,
That incited love and joy -- or hate and sorrow, fear and pain;
I have built the greater temple and survived the tests inside,
I have stepped on earth and water and been pierced in feet and side,
I have danced around the fire, walked the circle semi-clad,
I have chased the beasts and shared the feasts of bread and wine we had;
I have travelled to the hidden centers, studied in their lore,
Listened to the quiet murmurs and looked deep into the core,
Bound strong servants to their duties, striven long within the craft,
Drawn the dirk and done the work while being warded fore and aft;
'Till the flower opened to me, and I learned the secret ways,
Found the stone and on me shone the black and white and ruddy rays,
Saw with many-colored vision and through many changes passed,
Let myself become myself, and reached my mastery at last.

Enjoy "Initiate", which echoes the "I have beens" of Welsh bards in a pied conflation of the various initiatory traditions and legends, e.g. both Jesus and Odin were hung "upon a tree", both Jesus and Llew Llaw Gyffes "stepped on earth and water and were pierced", both Mithraists and Egyptians ritually slew bulls, both alchemists and Freemasons speak of "the Work", both the Battle of the Trees and the Grove of Nemi left "corpses in the forest". The opening phrase, "I have seen the sun at midnight", was a pass-phrase of the Eleusinian Mysteries. So Celtic is only one of the ethnicities mingled; but then, how many Welsh "I have been" references were Biblical (i.e. Hebrew)? See Robert Graves' THE WHITE GODDESS and Sir James Frazer's THE GOLDEN BOUGH.