Off the Shelf

“The Serpent Grail”

By Marcus Pan

The Serpent GrailPhilip Gardiner is up to his tricks again. Using as many disambiguous terms, relationships and crackpot theories as possible, him and ally Gary Osborn now have the same things to say as they did about the Temple of Solomon[1] – in short, that the proverbial grail, as seen in myths, legends and biblical tellings, is not so much a solid object as it is an anology to a perfect Gnostic truth.

Here’s the thing – and I said something like this before when I discussed Gardiner’s work – I have no trouble digging the “grail as analogy” or “temple as analogy” theories. They’re probably closer to the truth than a cup that caught the blood of Christ or a temple secretly built at the foot of a great mountain. I think the stories themselves hide a moralistic or ethical truth within themselves, much like classic fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm which were mostly used to frighten children straight.

But once again Phil’s running off with the idea and kicks out yet another boorishly drawn attempt to not only state this theory and prove it (as theories tend to enjoy), but to try and turn it into a Theory of Everything. And he says almost the same thing with similar points made in Gnosis as well – only this time he’s honing in on the “grail isn’t real” line rather than the “temple isn’t real” line.

Snakes again are everywhere. He uses the same cut-up syllabillic techniques he did in Gnosis and he throws in those extra numbers here and there and this time piques it up with some modern science and medicine along the snake-as-healing line. In addition to the no-real-grail gist he spends some time analyzing the “three levels of the grail triad”. This is his way of explaining the ultimate in karmic consciousness – a oneness principle that any hardworking human can attain if he/she were to learn the true secrets of the grail story – that it is an instructional guide to becoming ultimately enlightened.

He does an excellent job of keeping away from anything really interesting or outright funny. There’s no claims of being a messiah, prophet or god on either of the author’s parts. Instead we are treated to hundreds of pages of “this ancient culture had a picture with a squiggly line and therefore knew the truth about the healing snake knowledge thing stuff” rhetoric. If it wiggles, it’s representative of the snake. If it’s long it’s probably a phallus and if it’s dark and round it’s probably a vagina.

Some of the most annoying clichés of argument are here. The “some people say” (what people are never defined), “many believed that” (whole bunches thought the world was flat once, too) and “it was once believed” (great Philip/Gary, let’s go ahead and talk about some the silly beliefs of old). My absolute most hated form is here too – “Don’t you think…?” This is used by very weak arguers, in an attempt to force a person to go along their lines simply because they have nothing to SHOW them their lines. Instead they assault the reader with lines like “Isn’t it possible?” and “Don’t you think?” It’s the Bugs Bunny approach.

Truthfully, Philip Gardner and Gary Osborn are excellent researchers. It’s just that they try to tie it together into one big jumble and that simply doesn’t wash – distance, oceans and lack of communication across cultures makes it difficult to believe that the same animal or symbology can become synonymous worldwide. And that’s just one disparaging reason, there are others that I can name if I gave it more thought which I’m not inclined to do after how long it took me to read this thing.

End result is that either they are crackpots with too much reading time on their hands, or I’m educated stupid and so are you because all around you the entire fucking world has disguised the fact that you’re a godhead with wiggly things and golden cups.

"The Serpent Grail" by Philip Gardiner with Gary Osborn
Copyright © by Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn
ISBN: 1 84293 129 6
Published in the UK in 2005 by Watkins Publishing
Contact Information:
Duncan Baird Publishers
Post: 749 Guerrero, San Francisco, CA, 94110, USA
Phone: (415) 647-1812
Fax: (415) 647-1656
[1] See my review of Gnosis: The Secret of Solomon’s Temple Revealed in Legends #155.

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