Origin of the Grail Legend
According to the Book of Invasions, the ancestors of the Gaels were the Scythians (and according to some older texts, the Goths) who settled around the Russian Steppes. During the time of Moses, Fenius Farsaid was King of the Scyths. Nuil, his son, married Scota, daughter of the Pharaoh Nectanebus, and their son was the legendary Goidel Glas, who created the Gaelic language from an amalgamation of seventy-two known languages under the instruction of Fenius Farsaid, his grandfather who was said to have assisted in the construction of the Tower of Babel. It is Goidel Glas, or Gaedhuil, of which the legend of the Innisfail, the Island of Destiny, is told.

“Gaedhuil, grandson of the King of Scythia was bitten by a poisonous serpent. His father, Nuil, a younger son of the king, carried the boy to the Israelites, where he asked for the aid of their leader, Moses. The man of God prayed over the child and touched him with his rod. The boy rose up, healed.

“Moses told the boy that his descendants would go to a land in which no poisonous serpents lived, a sacred island which would be found in the track of the setting sun.”

The descendants of Goidel Glas spent three hundred years wandering westward in search of the Innisfail of Moses’ prophecy, finally arriving in Spain where their king, Breoghan, built an enormous watchtower on the northern coast in order to search the Western Sea. From it, his son Ith first saw Ireland as a shadow on the water and an illusion in the air.

When Ith told his nephews, the sons of Mil, what he had seen, they scoffed at him, saying he had seen only clouds on the water but Ith persevered and gathering his own forces, took sail for Ireland. When he landed, however, the Tuatha dé Danann, aware of the prophecy, followed Ith and his men back to his ship. Ith was killed in the ensuing battle but his son escaped and brought back word of the Innisfail.

Legend says that when the Gaels, sons of Mil, landed on Irish soil, they marched toward Tara, and there met Eriu, one of the deity queens of the land. Eriu prophesied that Ireland would become theirs and that their race would be “the most perfect the world has ever seen.” The royal druid-bard, Amergin, on hearing the prophecy, sought accommodation with the Tuatha dé Danann, even withdrawing from the island to give the Dananns time to prepare for battle. In this manner, he sought to show the gods that the Gael were a fair and honorable people worthy of Eriu’s prophecy.

Amergin’s reasons for such unprecedented action were compelling. To understand them, we need look no farther than the defining myth of Celtic culture, the legend of King Arthur. Another form of the Phoenix myth, the belief in a Sleeping God or Hidden King who would one day awaken has been applied to many gods, including Inanna, Chronos, Saturn, Venus and Lucifer, as well as Jesus Christ, Ártùr and the Fisher King of the Grail legend.

In many ways, the Sleeping God is a metaphor for spiritual growth and the evolution of humanity; for, when the God awakes or the King returns, he does so to save his chosen people and lead them into a golden age or a promised land. It was this implication that Amergin understood in the words of Eriu. With the aid of the Tuatha dé Danann, the Sons of Mil would become the Chosen People. This was the meaning behind the legend of the Innisfail, the Island of Destiny.

It was not until the middle of the second century of the current era, however, that the path to the destiny promised by Eriu was finally cleared. In the ancient monolithic society, the king stood upon a special stone during the ritual of inauguration. The legend that the Stone cried out the name of the true king when he stood upon it began at Tara when Conn of the Hundred Battles became the Ard Rìgh, the High King.

According to the legend as told by Lady Augusta Gregory in Gods and Fighting Men, Conn went up to the Fortress, or Rath of the Kings at the rising of the sun, and his three Druids and his three poets were with him. “And on this day he chanced to stand upon a stone that was in the Rath, and the stone screamed under his feet, that it was heard all over Teamhair and as far as Bregia.”

Conn asked his chief Druid how the stone came there, and why it screamed, and the Druid replied that it was the Stone of Destiny, the Lia Fail, brought out of Falias by the Tuatha Dé Danann, and that it would cry out the name and the number of the kings of Conn’s race that would come after him. “But,” said the Druid; “it is not I who will name them for you.”

At that, there arose a gray mist and a rider appeared, casting three spears at Conn. When the chief Druid identified him as the king, Conn and his son, Art, were taken by the rider to the land of the Sidhe, to the hidden house of Lugh of the Long Arm.

There they met a young woman, bearing a golden cup and a silver vessel full of red ale. The rider, who was Lugh, told them that she was the Goddess of Sovereignty. When she asked of Lugh, “Who am I to serve?” the king of the Sidhe replied, “Conn of the Hundred Battles, and Art, the son of Conn, and all that will come of his line.”

When Conn of the Hundred Battles stood upon the Stone at Tara, the Lia Fail spoke for the first time, roaring out his name to the heavens. Thus it was that Conn became the precursor of Ártùr and the first Ard Rìgh of that race foretold in the prophecy of Eriu.

The prophecy was complete in Ártùr, the one in whom the blood of all the races of the Western Isles was mixed. The descendants of Ártùr Pendragon include Robert the Bruce, who, with the aid of the Knights Templar, defeated the English at Bannockburn. The present day House of Windsor is also descended from this line.

The Origin of the Grail Legend - Union of the Western Isles

Bloodline of the Western Isles

Lady Gregory collected the stories in Gods and Fighting Men from many original sources, translating them from the early Irish.

Arthurian Timeline
4500 BCE – 400 BCE
   300 BCE –    20 BCE

Arthurian Posts
Ártùr: A Tower of Battle

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