Friday, October 30, 2009

The Quest for Truth in a Sea of Codes and Symbols

As the first chapter of The Da Vinci Code gets underway, Robert Langdon has already returned to the Hotel Ritz and gone to bed when he is awoken by a phone call at 12:32 a.m. The concierge informs him that he has a visitor. Langdon reflects upon the past evening and how the speech he gave might have ruffled a few feathers in the audience. In Dan Brown's novel, time is of the essence.

When Akiva Goldsman took on the task of writing the screen adaptation for The Da Vinci Code, he turned back the clock a few hours and performed some fairly significant editing; amazingly while almost every event in the book is included in the movie, the dialogue is reduced to 10,000 words.

In the novel, Langdon begins his presentation at The American University of Paris with the words, "I'm here tonight to talk about the power of symbols."

Goldsman changes the focus of the evening. The screenplay captures only the face value presentation of Dan Brown's novel, while the novel weaves in knowledge and history behind its many details.

"How do we sift truth from belief?" Together they tell one story from slightly different perspectives that bring meaning neither could have accomplished on their own.

"How do we write our own histories, personally or culturally . . . and thereby define ourselves?"

The novel leaves the story in the hands of a curious professor; the movie hints that there is something of great significance on the horizon waiting for the appropriate time for it to be revealed.

"How do we penetrate years, centuries, of historical find original truth?" "Tonight this will be our quest."

In both the film and the novel Saunière is a Frenchman living in Paris who uses English to write his last words on the floor at the Louvre: "O, Draconian devil! Oh, lame saint!"

The scrambled Fibonacci sequence is a clue that the letters in the above words are also scrambled, but arriving at the names Leonardo Da Vinci and The Mona Lisa is only possible when the scrambled lines are written in English. If the curator had written the words in French they would have appeared "O, Draconian diable! Ah, saint boiteux!" Or in Spanish, "O, Dracon! Oh, santo cojo!"

It would seem that the novel is telling us that something of great importance can be lost in translation.

Words are used to describe the brass strip that marks the Rose Line inside Saint-Sulpice. It's slanted in an awkward angle at odds with the symmetry of the church. The scene asks us to look upon it from a different angle to understand the larger role Saunière plays in the story. Further on, Langdon and Sophie cross the nave at Westminster Abbey on a diagonal as they're approaching Newton's tomb looking for the orb that isn't there.

As it turns out, the apple is the missing orb which happens to be a detail with a little story of its own; an apple falling from a tree supposedly inspired Newton to explore the phenomenon of gravity. With respect to the larger story of the novel, the apple serves as a double entendre.

"Fifteen thousand feet in the air, Robert Langdon felt the physical world fade away as all of his thoughts converged on Saunière’s mirror image poem . . . ."

An ancient word of wisdom frees this scroll and helps to keep her scatter'd family whole. A headstone praised by Templars is the key and atbash will reveal the truth to thee.

The poem is written in metered words, in English, that require a Hebrew cipher to decode it. Langdon takes a few moments to reflect on his knowledge and experience with iambic pentameter. We're told that the Priory, as well as many European secret societies, considered English to be the only pure language because it wasn't rooted in Latin—"the tongue of the Vatican."

When it comes to the Atbash Cipher, Langdon knows its history and uses, Teabing knows the Hebrew alphabet, and Sophie shares how to facilitate the substitution of letters in the process of decoding words. Each area of expertise is needed.

The answer to the riddle for the first cryptex—which is included in the novel but doesn't appear in the movie—begins in English with the "head of stone" identified as BAPHOMET. When vowels are removed and BAPHOMET is written as it might appear in Hebrew, it becomes BPVMTh. When worked through the Atbash Cipher, BPVMTh becomes ShVPYA and translated back to English becomes SOFIA, a word which represents Wisdom.

At the end of the movie, Robert Langdon returns to the glass pyramid outside the Louvre. In the novel we're told the pyramid is constructed of 666 panes of glass, a number which fed conspiracy buffs because it was the number of Satan. Actually, the number 666 is derived using Gematria, which is another tool used to decode Hebrew writings. Langdon doesn't explain how the number is derived, but in its most basic usage, Gematria assigns a numeric value to each letter in the Hebrew alphabet. When the numeric values of letters in a word are added together, their sum provides the numeric equivalent for the word. Numeric equivalents shared by different words or phrases can be compared to extract a deeper meaning as well as authenticate the Divine origin of writings included in the Bible.

In the novel, Sophie described a time when her grandfather wrote the word planets in English and told her that 92 other words of varying lengths could be formed with its letters . . . though their meanings were likely quite varied.

Using Gematria, many words or phrases can have the same numeric equivalent even through they are spelled with different letters. Typically words whose numeric equivalents are the same have a relationship; sometimes they can be interchanged, other times they enhance meaning and understanding, enriching the context in which each is used.

For example, in Hebrew the word echad or "one" has a numerical value of 13 and is equivalent to the word ahava or "love".

Erev, translated as "evening or sunset" has a numerical value of 272 and is equivalent to eber which means "to the other side".

Tahe'r translated "pure or clean" has a numeric value of 214 and is equivalent to ruach meaning "breath, wind, spirit".

As I mentioned previously, numbers are important to this story and it should come as no surprise that numbers are used in multiple ways to gain understanding. My search for words and their numeric equivalents led me to an on-line version of The Holy Bible, organized as wheels within a wheel—with English and Hebrew or Greek side by side, along with numeric equivalents for all. The presentation of this particular bible is grouped according to the Hebrew letters which are identified on its outer rim, strikingly similar to the cryptex found in the novel if it were looked upon from a slightly different vantage point.

* Source for Gematria numeric equivalents: Walter Vaughn

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Spirit of Jacques Saunière

In the opening scene of The Da Vinci Code, Jacques Saunière is critically wounded and trapped within iron security gates at the Louvre. He is the only person remaining with knowledge of a truth that must be passed on and there is only one person on earth to whom he can pass the torch. He gazes up at the walls of his opulent prison and "the world's most famous paintings seemed to smile down on him like old friends."

I imagine Saunière and Eleanor of Aquitaine could chat into the wee hours of the night about being in possession of a secret of untold significance. Saunière figured he had fifteen minutes with which to lay out a path of clues to pass the secret on before his death; Eleanor lived through moments while she was imprisoned when she would have preferred to die, but the secret she carried forced her to continue living. Coincidentally, after she decided to use her old friends—the imaginary King Arthur and his knights—to carry her secret into the world, Henry II eased up on the rules governing her confinement. After ten years of being locked away, she was permitted to live under house arrest.

Fueled by the urgency of Saunière's final moments, Dan Brown didn't waste a minute before he began weaving threads of the 12th century players into his 21st century novel.

In the Prologue of The Story of the Grail, Chrétien de Troyes says:

The man who wants good harvests strows
his seeds on such a kind of field,
God grants a hundredfold in yield;
on barren ground good seeds but lie
until they shrivel up and die.

The Da Vinci Code tells us Robert Langdon's popularity had increased a hundredfold after an incident at the Vatican. And just like the individual characters in The Story of the Grail are a collage of many people, Robert Langdon is little bit of Chrétien, a little bit of Abelard—he refused to speak publicly about his role in the prior year's Vatican conclave—and a little bit of Forrest Gump. As Chapter 1 is getting underway, Langdon is looking at his tousled self in a mirror before thinking "You need a vacation, Robert." Forrest made the cover of Fortune while Langdon is captured in an article in Boston Magazine that's used to introduce him in Paris. Before a crowd of people, the hostess at The American University of Paris quotes "he has a voice that his female students describe as 'chocolate for the ears.'"

Bezu Fache is called "the Bull"; Abelard was called "the rhinoceros." Fache lost his shirt investing in technology stocks; Forrest Gump made a fortune with an investment in Apple, Inc. Fache paces like a caged lion, probably not unlike the lion at the Wondrous Palace.

Sophie has red hair and green eyes, presumably the same as Eleanor. The young cryptologist never told her boss that she was related to Jacques Saunière. He thought this was because she didn't want preferential treatment for having a famous grandfather. Eleanor's grandfather was William IX, a powerful, wealthy, cultured individual who wrote music and poetry and is considered to be one of the first great troubadours. He died when Eleanor was quite young, but left a lasting impression on his granddaughter.

Actually, Jacques Saunière makes quite an impression on The Da Vinci Code. Despite the fact that he dies before the first chapter even gets underway, he influences the path the story takes from beginning to end. We gain a better understanding of Saunière the night that Silas enters the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Sister Sandrine watches silently from the balcony as the monk disrobes and begins striking the floor to break a tile in search of the Priory keystone supposedly hidden beneath it. This is the silent alarm she hoped would never happen. The upper echelon has been compromised. In a sealed enveloped she tucked beneath her bed years ago is a piece of paper with four telephone numbers. Her instructions are to call and warn the others. The fourth number is to be called only if the other three cannot be reached.

The first three phone numbers Sister Sandrine calls leave her terrified as she comes upon a hysterical widow, a somber priest, and a detective working late at a murder scene.

The last number on the list connects her to an answering machine and she cries, "The floor panel has been broken! The other three are dead!"

Thinking outside the novel and reaching back in time, Heloise was a widowed lady known to occasionally have a hysterical outburst. Abelard was a somber priest. And I suspect Eleanor worked late quite often doing detective work that had something to do with a bloody lance. All three indeed are dead!

Who is the Grand Master in this novel, the guardian of the legend of the grail...the keeper? In the church, Silas has found a stone under the tile with the inscription Job 38:11. In the biblical story, Job practices a speech he would give before God...if only he knew where to find Him. For Sister Sandrine, the recipient of the fourth phone call, Jacques Saunière, is nowhere to be found.

Soon afterward, Sophie reflects upon the time she had left school a few days early before spring break and hoped to surprise her grandfather. He wasn't at their Paris home when she arrived. For a moment she considered that he might be working at the Louvre, but then changed her mind when she remembered it was Saturday (the 7th day), a day he rarely worked. "On weekends, he usually—"

An unfinished sentence, clues that complete the picture, riddles, and codes all work to engage the reader's imagination. Saunière's primary concern in the Prologue was, "If I die, the truth will be lost forever." Transposed into reality, no truer statement has ever been said.

Robert Langdon was on the right path but at some point he was bound to realize it wasn't the relics of Mary Magdalene he was in search of. The five letter words that opened each cryptex were related and S-O-F-I-A was properly positioned above A-P-P-L-E. Where do an ancient word for wisdom and apple fit into the story of Mary Magdalene?

Langdon repeated sentiments we've all heard, that partaking of the apple incurred the wrath of God, Original Sin, the fall of the sacred feminine. The middle clue described "Rosy flesh and seeded womb." If you slice an apple horizontally, it bears the signature of the sacred feminine as the seeds appear as a five pointed star; the symbol for the sacred feminine is found in the core of an apple.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gawain's arrival to the story, aligned with the heavens...

A couple of months ago, when I started connecting the lives of Eleanor, Abelard, and Heloise with The Story of the Grail, I recognized that The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury was part of the entourage. While Forrest Gump predominantly captures the layer of the story belonging to the imaginary knights and The Da Vinci Code is given to Eleanor, The Last Templar highlights Heloise's role (Tess Chaykin) and her relationship with Abelard (Sean Reilly).

It should come as no surprise that Khoury's novel and the screen adaptation of The Last Templar by Suzette Couture provide different contributions to the aggregate gemstone that's being formed. But The Last Templar also differed from the other two novels in that its screen adaptation became a television mini-series rather than premiering in movie theaters. The television broadcast was also immediately available on-demand via the Internet, seemingly allowing for the greatest possible viewing audience. And for good reason. The final night of the television presentation provided the last clue needed to bring closure to the story in the same moment it turned the audience back to the medieval tale.

The first time I sat down to write about this night, I wanted to create a special aura for the moment and thought that a full moon shining down on the world, with a subtle illuminating quality would be the perfect addition. It looked wonderful on paper. But I was struck by a thought that I should verify whether or not a full moon actually occurred on January 26th, 2009. Initially, I was disappointed that the date coincided with a new moon; no light at all. Then I had a second urging that hinted I should find out the meaning of a new moon and within a short period of time I discovered this particular night was significant from multiple vantage points.

The new moon by itself represents an opportunity for new beginnings; like a blank sheet of paper that gets written from right to left, it's a time for dreams and intentions to take root. But on this particular date, the new moon was also part of an annular solar eclipse, which so happened to be the longest annular solar eclipse in duration in a family of eclipses known as Saros 131. A cycle that began in the year 1125, when Eleanor of Aquitaine was 3 years old.

I'm not an astrologist, but I grasped the notion that this event was meaningful to the story given Eleanor's role and an article I came upon by Robert Wilkinson which said, "We find 8 Aquarius rising in London, putting the Aquarius stellium and the Eclipse directly on the Ascendant, sure to be of major significance in shutting things down and opening things up in merry Old England!" (full article)

Much of what needs to be accomplished in deciphering The Story of the Grail requires our ability to mine words and images to extract information and meaning. While I was chasing after threads concerning this particular new moon, I arrived at astrologer Lynda Hill's website. She is the author of 360 Degrees of Wisdom:Charting Your Destiny with the Sabian Symbols. In brief, the Sabian Oracle provides an intuitive guide to the energies that influence our lives. It builds upon what the ancient astrologers accomplished when they divided the sky into 360 degrees and then distributed them equally between the twelve constellations. In the early part of the 20th century, a clairvoyant named Elsie Wheeler randomly assigned images to each of the degrees; each image is a phrase that holds a story and brings meaning and energy to moments where their arrival and presence is noted.

When the mini-series for The Last Templar began on January 25th, 2009, the degree of the Sun was Aquarius 7 with a corresponding Sabian Symbol, "A Child Born of an Eggshell." Lynda Hill's commentary on this Oracle suggests a new emergence or urge to give birth to creative and spiritual ideas, it could also imply "the gestation of an idea, process or project that's outside one's direct influence." Jupiter, sitting on Aquarius 5 was at our backs and pushing us forward influenced by the Sabian Symbol "A Council of Ancestors Has Been Called to Guide a Man." This Oracle speaks of inner knowledge, instruction, family lineage, memories of those who have gone before us. Venus on Pisces 24 "An Inhabited Island," is about living with and getting along with others. In all, Jupiter, Moon, Sun, the Moon's north node, Chiron, and Neptune were all positioned in degrees of Aquarius...and generating very Aquarian energy. Follow the link to read her complete write-up on the Sabian Symbols influencing January 25-26th.

With the recent discovery of the many synchronicities in Forrest Gump, I didn't fail to recognize that the Sabian Symbol for January 25th "A Child Born of an Eggshell" was very similar to the name of the band, The Cracked Eggs, that Jenny Curran and Forrest performed with in the novel. Actually, the budding gemstone and the heavens provided an interesting combination with Forrest Gump's initial work connected to the energy of the Sun and the final clue to a very old story provided in the final presentation of The Last Templar connecting to Jupiter. With the Aquarius stellium and eclipse on the Antecedent over London, the legend was seemingly being ushered in by the heavens.

Last week, as I was wrapping up my blog, I had an urge to send a note to Lynda Hill—a person I'd never met, who lived on the other side of the world—about the coincidence of The Cracked Eggs and the Sabian Symbol. She kindly responded by forwarding me the commentary she had just posted on her own blog concerning the upcoming Harvest Moon. While sharing emails of synchronicities, we experienced yet another one. While I was commenting about the arrival of Gawain, Lynda Hill's commentary on the upcoming full Moon, was filled with images of a flock of wild geese flying, miners emerging from the depths with dirt smugged faces set against white snow, and the karmic condition of the full Moon tapping "ideas out of the past for the future." (Read the full commentary)

It seemed to me that a subtle hint had been made known for an opportunity to keep the story aligned with the heavens.

In The Story of the Grail, Gawain makes his first appearance in a seat to the right of King Arthur just as the Proud Knight of the Moor arrives with a message that he has been sent as a prisoner by the knight in red.

"In God's name, sire, who is this knight
who vanquished, by his arms alone,
so fine a knight? I've never known
or seen or ever heard the name
of any warrior who came
from all the isles of the sea,
whose feats of arms and chivalry
could rank with any he can claim."
"Dear nephew, I don't know his name.
I saw him, but did not see fit
to question him or ask him it."

King Arthur proclaimed he would not lie in the same place two nights in a row before he knew where the knight in red could be found. Immediately everyone began packing to go in search of Perceval. That night, King Arthur's court camped in a field next to a wood and when the sun rose in the morning, it revealed that snow had fallen.

On that same morning, Perceval woke up early and set out to find adventure when he came upon the field and observed the snow. He saw the tents across the way but before he could reach the royal camp, he heard a flock of wild geese flying low, honking loudly, bedazzled by the snow while trying to keep a distance between themselves and a falcon which was sweeping upon them at tremendous speed. The falcon swooped upon the flock and struck a single goose who'd been isolated from the rest, knocking her to the ground. It was still early in the day and the falcon continued on, leaving behind his prey.

The young knight saw the goose had been left behind and galloped toward where she had landed. Hurt in the neck, the goose had left three drops of blood on the snow. The goose could still rise above the ground and by the time Perceval arrived, she had flown away again. Perceval was mesmerized by the blood which spread like blushes into the soft whiteness reminding him of Blancheflor, the beautiful maiden he had left behind.

At camp, King Arthur's watch took notice of the knight who appeared from a distance to be sleeping on his horse. First Sagremore, nicknamed "Hothead" was sent to retrieve him. But Sagremore rudely intruded with shouts before spurring his war horse...and was knocked flat to the ground. Kay the seneschal suited up next but came back to camp with a dislocated collar bone and broken arm.

Gawain suggested to King Arthur that it was wrong to jar another's train of thought. "Perhaps he was thinking of some loss or plight that he had undergone, or maybe somebody stole away his lady, and he was downcast, ill at ease." So Gawain ventured across the field at an easy pace and in a friendly manner introduced himself as the king's messenger. Before long, the two knights vowed to be best friends and returned to the king's court together, hand in hand. For three days and three nights everybody celebrated.

The arrival of Gawain to the story is captured in the imagery of this scene. Not only does he have a seat to the right of the king, he was given the name Gawain when he was baptized. We're privy to the knowledge that he stands beneath an oak tree later in the tale, and that his name means the white falcon. The falcon is the solar emblem for success, victory, and rising above a situation and symbolizes spirit, light, freedom, and aspirations. It brings visionary power and wisdom as it leads to an understanding of one's life purpose. Falcons encourage us to calculate risks and strategize our moves. Perhaps more importantly for our present task, the falcon asks us to do whatever is necessary to bring goals and desires into reality.

Wild geese fly at a speed of 30 miles per hour. When they're migrating they fly at 40 miles per hour. And if they need to get someplace in a hurry, they can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour. They honk to encourage each other in their flight as each flap of one bird's wings creates an uplift for the birds that follow; flying in a "V" formation, a flock of geese can experience 71% more distance than if they flew alone. Geese are more than willing to accept the help of others and equally willing to provide what they can to the benefit of the flock. They share leadership, falling back and letting another take the lead. When a goose is injured or ill, two geese stay with it until it heals or dies. Every summer, geese molt and grow new feathers. The path they follow is a learned process that they cling to; they follow that same migration year after year. And every spring wild geese return home to the place where they hatched.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

There's something happenin' here...

Just out of curiosity, I searched my incoming emails this morning to locate the one that confirmed my purchase of Ruth Harwood Cline's translation of The Story of the Grail. It was shipped to me on June 25, 2008. So probably exactly fifteen months ago today, I began this odyssey into the medieval tale.

Somehow, the number of months doesn't surprise me. It's been fifteen years since the movie Forrest Gump was released in 1994. Fifteen is a number that appears multiple times in Eleanor of Aquitaine's life. Her father died when she was fifteen which resulted in her coming under the guardianship of Louis the Fat, King of France, who immediately arranged for her marriage to his son. She was married to Louis VII for fifteen years before the union was dissolved. She was imprisoned by her second husband, Henry II, for fifteen years. Eleanor died in 1204, fifteen years after she had regained her freedom.

Numbers take on increasing importance as this tale comes into its own. Both the novel and the movie Forrest Gump use numbers to mark the progress of the tale. The number 8 gains importance as the larger story we're working on finds closure. In the novel, the number 8 is also the square upon which Honest Ivan drops his chess piece when Forrest "cuts a humongous baked-bean fart that sound like somebody is rippin a bedsheet in haf!"

On September 15th, I wrote about the world of stories and mentioned the meaning that the oak tree brought to the medieval tale as well as where I came upon it in the biblical story of Gideon. In Judges 6, an angel of the Lord appears beneath an oak tree and strikes up a conversation with Gideon, saying "I am with you, mighty warrior." The youth struggles to believe it really is the Lord talking and asks Him to prove it. On three occassions God provides signs to Gideon, that it really is Him.

The detail of the oak tree is what led me to Forrest Gump and when I returned to the movie and read the novel with a new mindset, I was surprised by what was discovered when I began working through their details.

In the novel, which was published in 1986, Forrest reflects more than once on his first win in college football against the University of Georgia Dogs. The University of Georgia Press published the translation of The Story of the Grail by Chrétien de Troyes that I embraced. But there are numerous versions of the tale . . . so how could Winston Groom have known in 1985 or whenever he was writing the novel, that the version published by the University of Georgia Press would be the one used for finding closure to the grail legend in the year 2009?

I also found details in the novel that were familiar to details of my life. When Forrest takes a role in the King Lear play and sets the ceiling of the hovel on fire, I was reminded of an incident in which my former husband, who also happens to be 6'6" just like Forrest, accidentally set a ceiling on fire with a floor lamp that was secretly harboring stuffed animals. I also connected to Winston Groom's comment that Forrest used a few moves he learned from Big Sam in the jungle, that "weren't in the book," during his championship game against Honest Ivan. Forrest used the "queen as bait." My first blog, "The Story behind the Story" proposes that Eleanor of Aquitaine wrote The Story of the Grail while she was Queen of England and used Chrétien de Troyes as her pseudonym.

The movie Forrest Gump shared a connection with my mother and lessons delivered with a box of chocolates as well as the fact that Forrest's momma and my mother both died of cancer on a Tuesday. My mother died on June 11th. In the screenplay, Eric Roth uses the date 06/11/1963 to mark the day when Forrest Gump picks up a book dropped by Vivian Malone on the first day of desegregation. June 11th 1963 was also a Tuesday, but it wasn't the day my mother died. At my mother's funeral, a gentleman told me he thought she was like an angel, just like Forrest describes Jenny after his first encounter with her. In the movie, Forrest's grandpa's grandpa's grandpa came across the ocean a thousand years ago. My father's father's mother's ancestors left Wales and sailed across the ocean in 1635 and settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The synchronicities are even greater when details from the external stories are woven together. The movie Forrest Gump effectively brings the novel to life. In a scene toward the end, Jenny asks Forrest if he was ever afraid when he was in Vietnam. The question launches a series of recollections that move from one memory to another. Forrest remembers what it was like in Vietnam when the rain stopped and the stars were coming out . . . it was just like when the sun set on the bayou. In the bayou there would be a million sparkles glimmering on top of the water . . . just like the mountain lake he saw while he was running across the country. When he recalls the lake reflecting the mountain, he says it was like there were two skies, one on top of the other . . . just like in the desert when the sun came up. The sunrise that marked a new day in the desert cast a glow across the land and you couldn't tell where the heavens stopped and the earth began.

Details that roll from one scene to another can also be found in the stories we've encountered. In both the novel and the movie, the shrimpin' business marks a turning point in Forrest's life that lasts forever. In the novel, Forrest learns how to lay his nets right on the edge of where the ocean tide rolls in and laps over a mound of earth that sets the boundary for the shrimp ponds. The biblical verse Job 38:11 captures the moment when God is recounting his Omnipotence and how He controls the ocean tides: "This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt." It is the verse inscribed on the stone tablet that Silas discovers beneath the floor panel in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in the novel The Da Vinci Code. When Robert Langdon arrives at the Louvre and Bezu Fache introduces himself, Langdon observes, "His tone was fitting--a guttural rumble . . . like a gathering storm." Fache's hair accentuates a widow's peak that precedes him like the prow of a battleship and as they move down the staircase into the sunken atrium, "the message was clear." When Silas enters the Church of Saint-Sulpice he imagines he is standing beneath the hull of an overturned ship. "A fitting image," he thought, because the "brotherhood's ship was about to be capsized forever." The descriptions combine to form the vision that is taken up with the sunken ship called the Falcon Temple in the novel The Last Templar. After hundreds of years at the bottom of the sea, the falcon head washes ashore with the tide. The white falcon is the meaning of the name Gawain in The Story of the Grail which holds the key that unlocks the message of The Holy Bible.

Even more mysterious is that Winston Groom described each of the modern novels in appropriately marked chapters in his book, nearly twenty years before each was written.

The novel Forrest Gump uses Chapters 1-3 to weave in threads of Perceval's story. Forrest Gump was in the Fourth Platoon. Chapter 4 lays out the novel's own contribution to the legend and discusses it as if it were a football game. The chapter opens with Forrest saying, "Now there is a secret thing that Coach Bryant an them done figgered out, an nobody sposed to mention it, even to ourselfs."

The Da Vinci Code focuses on the pentacle, the number 5, and its association with the Sacred Feminine as well as the "End of Days." Chapter 5 of Forrest Gump spoofs Dan Brown's novel seventeen years before it was published. Coach Bryant tells Forrest he will be mystified till the end of his days how Forrest could get an A in Intermediate Light and then receive an F in phys-ed. Forrest says he didn't understand why it was important to know the distance between goal posts in the game of soccer. If you're familiar with The Da Vinci Code, you might recall Robert Langdon's lectures on PHI, the Divine Proportion. Coach Bryant pats Forrest on the back and admits he expected something like this would happen. But he told everyone, "just give me that boy for one season." And they had one heck of a season.

In Chapter 6, Forrest has arrived in Vietnam and his group is positioned in a saddle between two ridges. While caught in cross-fire, Forrest is told to move the machine gun 50 yards to the left of a big tree in the middle of the saddle and then find a safe place for himself. It's a scene that is reminiscent of the willow tree at Fonsalis in The Last Templar. Forrest gets shot in the butt though he doesn't have a strong recollection of when it happened.

Forrest Gump, Chapter 8, weaves a thread to The Story of the Grail and ushers in Gawain's arrival, like the feather on the wind in the movie.

The novel Forrest Gump is the story crystal upon which the remaining four books will attach and grow into the multi-faceted gemstone.

Maybe this is what people have been hoping to find when they searched for the grail that was "a stone from the stars."

For a more extensive comparison of details visit