King Arthur & the Holy "Serpent Grail"
Ancient English and Celtic folklore often refers to the legend of King Arthur; who, besides having presided over the well known Knights of the Round Table, was also a central figure in religious folklore. Arthur was alleged to have descended into the Underworld to search for and retrieve the Holy 'Serpent' Grail, which was reputed to have the magical properties of rebirth and reincarnation.
The Grail or Holy Cauldron, after its retrieval by Arthur, was attributed to "revive dead warriors and make them live again". Legend has it that if a dead warrior was placed within the caldron during the night, he would revive again with the breaking of the dawn. Thus, the two opposite forces of night and day, night being the negative force and the day the positive one, became important elements in the worship practices of early Celtic and pre-English tribes who lived in what is now the British Isles. Light, or the first light of the rising sun, became an important and even holy element of religious practice by peoples such as the Druids, whose descendents still attend the annual ceremony of the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in South Anglia.
Regarding the serpent in early worship, this symbolized the act of rebirth, with the serpent's tail representing a phallic symbol and the head and mouth as the vulva or repository of the "seed of procreation". Ancient symbols of this form of regeneration can be found in many religions,, particularly those in Asia and on the Indian Sub-Continent. What is interesting is that this concept was also included in Western cultures; due to the Christian belief in the Resurrection following the crucifixion of Jesus, as written in the New Testament: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believeth in me shall never die".
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