From Ritual to Romance by Jessie L Weston, part of the Mythos / Bollingen series, a 1993 paperback from Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Acknowledged by T.S. Eliot as crucial to understanding ‘The Waste Land,’ Jessie Weston’s book has continued to attract readers interested in ancient religion, myth, and especially Arthurian legend. Here she reinterprets the saga of the Grail by exploring the legend’s Gnostic roots.
Drawing from J.G. Frazer, who studied ancient nature cults that associated the physical condition of the king with the productivity of the land, Weston considers how the legend of the Grail related to fertility rites—with the lance and the cup serving as a sexual symbols. She traces its origins to a Gnostic text that served as a link between ancient vegetation cults and the Celts and Christians who elaborated on the story. Conceiving of the grail saga as a literary outgrowth of ancient ritual, she seeks a Gnostic Christian interpretation that unites the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God.” — back cover
“Rebel Angels is a digital-first comic book series about a revolution in Hell ten thousand years after Eve bit into that juicy apple and Satan took on The Big Guy. The demon masses are wising up and asking themselves “What the hell were we thinking?” Join fallen angel Balthazar on his quest for meaning and redemption in a mad, morally inverted world where the bad rule the good and hope is a sin.” [via]
“It means a turning away from the pursuit of the popular ideals of the outer world, in the conviction that those ideals are but shadows, images and temporal substitutions for the eternal Reality that underlies them, to the keen and undivertible quest of that Reality itself and the recovery of those genuine secrets of our being which lie buried and hidden at ‘the centre’ or innermost part of our souls.” [via]
“I am the king: you know it, friend! We wed.
That is the tale of how my wooing sped.
And oh! the quest: half won—incredible?
I am so brave, and pure—folk love me well.
But oh! my life, my being! That is dead,
And my whole soul—a whirlwind out of hell!” [via]
“Again the cursed cry: ‘What quest is this?
Is it worth heaven in thy lover’s kiss?
A queen, a queen, to kiss and never tire!
Thy queen, quick-breathing for your twin desire!’
I shudder, for the mystery of bliss;
I go, heart crying and a soul on fire!” [via]
“Yet the thought chilled me as I touched the reins.
Ah! the poor horse, he will not. So remains,
Divided in his love. With mastered tears
I stride toward the parapet. My ears
Catch his low call; and now a song complains.
The bridge is bleeding and the river hears.
Ah! God! I cannot live for pity deep
Of that heart-quelling chant—I could not sleep
Ever again to think of it. I close
My hearing with my fingers. Gently goes
A quivering foot above them as they weep—
I weep, I also, as the river flows.
Slowly the bridge subsides, and I am flung
Deep in the tears and terrors never sung.
I swim with sorrow bursting at my breast.
Yet I am cleansed, and find some little rest.
Still from my agonised unspeaking tongue
Breaks: I must go, go onward to the quest.” [via]