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Book Reviews
The Spirituality of the Holy Grail
By: Peter L. Fritsch - Christian Alternative, $26.95

Description: The Spirituality of the Holy Grail utilizes the mythology of the search for the Holy Grail as an outline for talking about the nature of the human soul, how it functions, how it is wounded, how it can heal.

Peter L. Fritsch shows the reader how to recognize evil, and deal with its reality, without succumbing to non-Christian duality, or simplistic black and white thinking.

Verdict: Simply put, the Holy Grail just will not go away. Stories of the search for this mysterious prize are as compelling in the 21st century as they were to audiences in the courts of medieval Europe.

As mythologists across the world have said, the quest for the Holy Grail is “the founding myth of Western civilization”. Indeed, the Grail myth persists throughout the centuries like a recurring dream that must be brought fully to consciousness, understood, and resolved.

Likewise, the soul has been a subject of mystery and intrigue for millennia, where Greek philosophers have formed various theories of the human soul, many of which originated in the East.

Here in The Spirituality of the Holy Grail: Restoring Feminine Spirit in the Western Soul, author Peter L. Fritsch dictates us in how to recognize evil, subsequently handle its reality, and all without succumbing to non-Christian duality, or simplistic black and white thinking.

Separated into four chapters - Why the Fisher King Story?, What Is Our Soul?, The Nature of Evil, and How We Understand and Overcome its Influence, and Conclusion: Spiritual Disciplines to Practice to Nurture the Soul - the Introduction opens on Mircea Eliade [a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago, he was also a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day].

Fritsch details how Eliade expressed the absolute truth whilst narrating a sacred history, a trans-human revelation which took place at the dawn of the Great Time in the holy times of the beginning.

We are taught that there are many different words used by the early Greeks and Greek philosophers (the Presocratics especially) to refer to the human soul. While the ancient definitions do not fully encompass our modern understanding of the soul, the ancients’ terms do reflect their attempts at understanding the concept.

Perhaps the most well-known term the ancients used was psyche. For Greek philosophers and poets, psyche referred to breath. However, it did not denote the literal act of breathing but rather the final exhalation one takes at the moment of death. In Homer’s ‘Iliad,’ the psyche is often used to refer to the final breath or fainting.

The second-most common term used by the ancients was thumos. A person’s thumos represented their will or life force and compelled them to action or fulfill their desires. A separate but important concept for the Greek philosophers was the eidolon, a fully realized image of the individual in the afterlife.

According to Greek mythology, once a person had died, their psyche would be released from their bodies. The psyche would travel to Hades where it would live as a shade of that person’s former self, or – if they had been sufficiently virtuous – an eidolon.

Theories of the human soul transformed throughout antiquity, but these definitions generally held fast amongst most ancient Greek philosophers and here in The Spirituality of the Holy Grail we are taken on a new excursion into the realms, one where those interested in growing with Christ will welcome the equal parts of theology, philosophy and rational thinking exuded by Fritsch.

About the Author - Peter L. Fritsch is a workshop teacher, writer, Episcopal priest and spiritual director who touches people from all walks of life and spiritual traditions. Fritsch writes in the areas of healing prayer, dreamwork, honoring intuition, feminine spirituality, and life in Hungary. He teaches workshops on the inner life throughout the United States and Europe. He lives in La Mesa, CA.

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