This ritual is along the lines of the "Quem Quæritas Trope", the oldest-known recorded mystery play, which was usually performed right before Easter Mass . Quotes from Malory's Morte d'Arthur feature fairly prominently. Roodmas (the English name for "Beltaine", as in the set with Candlemas, Lammas, and Hallowmas) should be performed as near 1 May as is practical. By the virtue of the Rod...

Of the furnishings of the Temple

The altar is laid out without candles; an altar cloth is permissible.

The Mystery Play

Music voluntary. The DEACON enters with the tabards and cinctures for the Knights (who are themselves seated in the congregation) -- a black tabard with a red equal-armed cross and a white cincture for BORS, a white tabard with a black equal-armed cross and a red cincture for PERCEVAL, and a red tabard with a white equal-armed cross and a black cincture for GALAHAD -- and lays them on the altar. He then proceeds to the Epistle side and commences (chanted -- 2nd Tone, 2nd Ending):

And then King Arthur and all estates went home unto Camelot,
and the ladies came down to meet them, and all went to Evensong for Pentecost.
And when the king had come out from the church and had come into the upper hall,
he ordered the tables to be laid.
Then each knight went to sit in his place,
as they had in the morning.
Then anon they heard a great cracking and crying of thunder
so that it seemèd them that the whole place should be riven in sunder.
In the midst of this blast entered a sunbeam more clear by seven times than ever they saw day,
and they were alighted of the grace of the Holy Ghost.
Then began every knight to behold each other, and each saw the others,
by their seeming, fairer than ever they saw afore.
Yet there was no man present could speak or utter a sound.
Then there entered into the hall the Holy Grail.

At this point, the Grail procession enters from the West, in order: TWO CANDLE-BEARERS with the great candles for the Altar; the LANCE-BEARER; the THURIFER, with active censer; the PRIESTESS bearing the Grail under a linen cover.

They are singing the following chant as they make their way down the aisle; the DEACON interjects where noted.

O Thou Dragon-prince of the air, that art drunk on the blood of the sunsets!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou Unicorn of the storm, that art crested above the purple air!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou burning sword of passion, that art tempered on the anvil of flesh! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou bright star of the morning, that art set betwixt the breasts of night!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou scented grove of wild vines, that art trampled by the white feet of love!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

The Deacon:
It entered by the great door of the hall, and as soon as it came in,
the hall was filled with odours as sweet as if all the spices of the earth were diffused there.

The Procession:

O Thou dazzling star-point of hope, that burnest over oceans of despair!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou smiling mouth of the dawn, that art freed from the laughter of the night!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou mighty bastion of faith, that withstandest all the breachers of doubt!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou fleeting beam of delight, that lurkest within the spear-thrusts of dawn!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou golden wine of the sun, that art poured over the dark breasts of night!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

The Deacon:
And it passed down the middle of the hall and all around the high seats;
and as it passed before the tables,
they were straightway filled at each place with such meats and drinks
as that knight loved best in the world.

The Procession:

O Thou white hand of Creation, that holdest up the dying head of Death!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou mighty oak of magic, that art rooted in the mountain of life!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou red rose of the Morning, that glowest in the bosom of the Night!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou crimson spear-point of life, that art thrust through the dark bowels of Time!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou sweet perfume of desire, that art wafted through the valleys of love!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou sparkling wine-cup of light, whose foaming is the heart's blood of the stars!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou unfailing cruse of joy, that art filled with the tears of the fallen!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou crimson fountain of blood, that spoutest from the heart of Creation!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou wounded son of the West, that gushest out Thy blood on the heavens!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou wondrous chalice of light, uplifted by the Maenads of Dawn!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou crimson vintage of Life, that art poured into the jar of the Grave!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou Holy Sphinx of rebirth, that crouchest in the black desert of death!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou ravished river of law, that outpourest the arcanum of Life!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

O Thou wild vision of Beauty, but half seen betwixt the cusps of the moon!
I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, IAO!

By now, the procession will have reached the Altar (probably long since); the CANDLE-BEARERS split up, each leaving hir candle on the end of the altar nearest, to go one through each of the gates to the choir area. The LANCE-BEARER goes through the Epistle side (south) gate to the choir, followed by the THURIFER; the PRIESTESS goes through the Gospel side (north) gate. If their canticle isn't finished by then, they should stand until it is, then sit.

The DEACON concludes:
When all were served, the Holy Grail departed at once,
so that they wist not what had become of it, nor whither it went.

A pause here, and then PERCEVAL rises up and says or sings:
Now we have been served this day of what meats and drinks we thought on,
but one thing beguiled us, we might not see the Holy Grail, it was so preciously covered.
Wherefor I will make here avow that I shall labor in the quest of the Sangreal,
that I shall hold me out a twelvemonth and a day, or more if need be,
and never shall I return again unto the court
till I have seen it more openly than it hath been seen here.

DEACON: And when they of the Round Table heard him say so,
they rose from their seats --

here BORS and GALAHAD rise as well --

                                                and made such avows as he had made,
and said they would not cease from their wandering until they should have sat at the high table
where such viands were daily served as that which they had just tasted.

When the DEACON's narration is finished, the KNIGHTS proceed to the altar and vest themselves in their respective tabards (as outlined above). The three then split up and exit, BORS up the north aisle, PERCEVAL up the center, and GALAHAD up the south. All during this action, all but the KNIGHTS themselves sing the following hymn (which should finish sometime after the KNIGHTS have exited):

Blood of the Saints, within the Grail collected,
burn on my lips as I taste of thee,
that I may be in thee as one perfected;
that I be drunken with ecstasy.
Let my e'vry vein with bliss be filled
in my heart's chambers to be distilled.
Of thine ever-welling store,
I shall drink and thirst no more
in light and life, love and liberty.

Lady, I drink, in my exhilaration,
more of thy glory than I can hold.
I have become to thee a fit libation
gather me into thy cup of gold.
Taut and trembling in passion and excess,
I am all given unto thy press.
As I shout and sing in laud:
Be this blood the wine of god!
my joy increaseth a thousandfold.

O holiest of vessels, I adore thee,
heart of my heart, fountainhead of grace,
where I shall be received as those before me,
reaching completion in thine embrace.
I the vine whose fruit is given o'er,
dissolving into the Grail once more,
that when I am poured in turn,
other lips my blood shall burn,
as with thy Saints I shall find my place.

BORS re-enters first, and sinks to his knees facing the congregation, as though exhausted. He speaks as follows:

I almost wish I'd eaten my poor horse
back there, instead of leaving him for crows.
But that's not very knightly, I suppose.
My belly reckons knighthood all too dear;
as for my head and heart, that's far from clear.
My brother would be first to call me knave --
did I act knightly when I chose to save,
instead of him, the damsel in distress?
For truly, both of them were sore oppressed.
Woe for the choice I made! Shame on my head!
For now my only brother wants me dead --
and would have killed me, too, had not a cloud
come down between us.

                                      And it said aloud,
Thou good and gentle knight, now come away
or certainly thou wilt thy brother slay.

I could but do as bidden. But the cost
is that mine honor is forever lost.
How should a knight behave? I've never known;
my breeding bought what I don't really own,
much less deserve. So how shall I prevail?
How can I dare to hope to see the Grail?

The Grail but serves; and therefore so must thou.

I couldn't keep faith with my kinsman; how
then shall I serve? I served my brother ill,
who, though he hate me, is my brother still.
I served a lady well enough, and she
a stranger I'm like ne'er again to see.

Not by the sword, but by the word alone;
so, if thou wilt, thy sword and shield lay down.

What kind of talk is that? What kind of knight
can I be without arms? That can't be right.

The kind that doth no earthly arms require --
now be thou filled with fervor and with fire;
success thy proof, courage thy mail and shield.

So that the light is in me, and I wield
its red flame as a sword unto my hand.

Thine own sound heart hath made thee understand.
Go on, go on, in strength and hope arrayed --
go on, and let no man make thee afraid!

So be it! By the lord of fire and force!

Either he exits, or else goes to stand still on one side.

GALAHAD enters, looking lost and despairing, and speaks:
They acclaimed me once as the knight most perfect;
for me only the Perilous Seat was created,
I alone could draw the sword in the river.
I was God's own chosen, my will was his will.
His Voice in me filled me with holy power.
In me, through me, always I heard him speaking.
Where is that Voice now, in my hour of most need?
My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?
I am a land in a drought; my strength has failed me;
mine is a faith under siege, with no relieving.
Where are you, Lord? Answer me!

                                                           Only silence.
Once, I'd hear him... oh, how this silence kills me!
I have darkness where once I had a beacon,
I have emptiness where was inspiration.
Tears have been my meat every day for months now.
Lord, have I displeased you? Have I done wrongly?
Tell me what to do to make reparation!


Nothing still. So, truly, I am abandoned.
There's no knight can slay me in honest combat;
if I am to die, I must do the killing.
Was this what the sword that I won was meant for?
Can it only be satisfied in my heart's blood?
Is this how we're destined to end, together?

GALAHAD here draws his sword (which he will have fetched while he was offstage)

Come, blade, you at least have not left me wanting.
May be you will speak me a word of comfort,
even if that word is Death. That will end this,
and if, self-slain, I am doomed to damnation,
then, though 'twill be speaking but to condemn me,
one last time I'll hear the Voice that I long for.

He sets the point to his breast, but pauses...

Look at you! I've kept you so keen and stainless --
when I'm dead, there'll be no one to maintain you,
my own blood the marring of your perfection.
Shame on me for thinking I could so treat you!

He takes it in hand again and holds it on high.

Nay, my good and faithful companion, not so!
I drew you, the instrument of my Lord's will;
now you'll be my will and my faith, combining.
And, together, courage and will prevailing,
we'll defeat this wilderness and its shadows!

Either he exits, or else goes to stand still on the other side of the dais from BORS.

PERCEVAL enters, hugging himself and stumbling with grief, and speaks:
They must have been speaking the truth
when they told me I'd never more find it,
for though I have wandered and searched
in the months since it left me behind it,
I've neither seen banner nor stone
of the castle where I failed the test.
But what I have seen in that time
has made plain to me how horrifying
the price of my failure has been,
with the land itself wounded & dying.
And all my fault! Would I had died
ere I vowed myself unto this quest!
The burden of guilt on my head
must be surely beyond all redeeming.
No penance is possible now
for this soul with iniquity steaming.
O woe on me, ninety times o'er!
Break, break my heart! Die in my breast!

He collapses on his knees facing the Altar, weeping, beating his breast with both fists joined. A pause. Then the GRAIL CHOIR sings (Tallis' 3rd Mode melody -- the one Vaughn-Williams Fantasia'd):

In darkest hour, when woes devour,
the heart alone can heal.
When vision fails and purpose quails,
and pain is all we feel,
That tenderness itself can bless
and conjure it to pass.
Know then that this the moment is
to touch true caritas.
Wilt sins recite, thy soul indite,
and flog thy heart with grief?
No, no, not so! In threshing woe
there can be no relief.
Aye, thou art ill, but hold thee still
and touch with gentle art
the well of grace and endless space
within the human heart.

PERCEVAL rises to sing the last verse with them.

These tears of [mine | thine] are as a wine
laid up within [my | thy] breast,
that new afford but slight reward,
but aged make manifest
from their ferment, true nourishment
and comfort of the soul.
Of this virtue, they shall renew,
and what was hurt make whole.

Organ voluntary. The GRAIL CHOIR rises; the LANCE-BEARER comes out of the loft and down to PERCEVAL and hands him the spear, with as much solemnity as possible. He then retires to his place; meanwhile BORS and GALAHAD join PERCEVAL at the Altar and embrace PERCEVAL and each other. The PRIESTESS uncovers the Grail, and blesses each of the three KNIGHTS with it from her place in the loft, then covers it again. The DEACON narrates:

And the three fellows met again in the holy mountain,
and they related all that had befallen them since they parted.
Anon they were blessed of the sight of the Sangreal,
that all three would fain have abode in that bliss forever.
But Sir Bors said one must return to the court,
elsewise were none told of the adventure's achievement,
and for that he was a main earthly man,
he declared that he would go.

BORS returns to his seat in the congregation as the DEACON continues:

Sir Galahad, beholding the Gate of the Supernal open before him,
straightway prayed that he should be translated, and it was even so;
for that pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result is every way perfect,
so did his will carry him to perfection, that he became his most self.

GALAHAD passes up through the south gate into the choir loft and sits, as the PRIESTESS passes down through the north gate to stand on the other side of the Altar from PERCEVAL as the DEACON continues:

Indeed Sir Perceval would fain have followed him,
but that his heart turned him back to the world,
that he might transmit the light and virtue he had received of the Grail thereunto,
if so be all might chance in time to know it for and in themselves.

The Eucharist

Organ voluntary. The PRIESTESS sets down the Grail and comes to the front of the Altar, vesting PERCEVAL as per usual; then the actions of the consecration of the Elements and the commixto occur as in the regular Gnostic Mass, but without speech (they may murmur the words if they so choose).

There should be one large main Cake of Light for this, with additional smaller ones for the congregation, and the Communion proceeds as per usual, with the exception that everyone gets a sip from the common cup rather than having a whole cup of wine to themselves. At the close, PERCEVAL and the PRIESTESS bless the congregation together, he with the Lance and she with the Grail, saying:

May what we have partaken of maintain us in our search for the Quintessence, the Stone of the Philosophers, True Wisdom, Perfect Happiness, the Summum Bonum.

All the celebrants then recess, led by PERCEVAL and the PRIESTESS, to the following hymn (the tune is "Joanna" aka "St. Denio"):

O Flame ever-living, within me arise;
Throw off the dark garment that doth thee disguise.
The Fire of the Heavens thou longest to see
Is even now reaching in longing for thee.

See where it approacheth, in mercy and might,
That Love which hath healing in its wings of Light,
To lead thee, my soul, where the Eternal Gates
Have lift up their heads, and thy triumph awaits.

Though toil and travail have benighted thy way,
With courage unfailing, press on into day.
Those savors that perfume the shimmering air
Arise from the banquet spread out for thee there.

O splendor and rapture! O passionate peace!
O fountain of joy that can never decrease!
That land past perfection anon I will gain,
And feast there forever with my Lord, AMEN.