Dear List

This concerns Madame Sosostris and her comments on line 53-54 about the one-eyed merchant carrying something on his back that Madame Sosostris cannot see.  I have maintained that this something is the Grail.

Sometime ago i advanced the idea that Weston described the grail as invisible to women.  I got rightfully taken to task for that and had to admit I was commenting sans book or notes.   And, as it turns out Weston did not say it was invisible to woman but she did write that it could not be spoken about by women.

I still have not found my book, curses on who ever i loaned it too, but I did find my notes.   The following is pertinent and taken from those notes.

My edition is/was the 1993 Princeton Paperback.  On page 137 Weston says concerning the grail:  "It is so secret a thing that no woman, be she wife or maid, may venture to speak of it."  Later Weston says, "From this evidence there is no doubt that to the romance writers the Grail was something secret mysterious and awful, the exact knowledge of which was reserved to a few, and which was only to be spoken of with bated breath, and a careful regard to accuracy."  

The one eyed jack in a card deck is either a heart or a spade and on page 70 Weston says that the Hearts suit is associated in the tarot with the cup (Grail?).  The spade suit is apparently associated with the sword and Weston has an entire chapter on the sword dancers of the grail legend.

Madame Sosostris is doing a reading from a tarot deck and so claims to not be able to "see" what the one-eyed merchant is carrying so that she does not have to speak of it.

I renew my idea that the object being carried by the one-eyed merchant is the Grail and that this episode may be central to TSE's note in TWL to Weston and the Grail legend.

Rick Seddon
Portales, NM
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Richard Seddon
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