Chalice as a Symbol

Why “Chalice.”

The Tao Te Ching suggests that the value of a vessel lies in its emptiness. Celtic and other traditions tell us of a sacred vessel, chalice, or cauldron, focus for a whole community or culture, that can never be emptied.

So many myths concentrated on one symbol, all involved with healing, or fertility, or death, or immortality.

Then there is the Christian symbol of the cup of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus symbolically offered his blood or Spirit for us all without exception. Later, the physical cup became the object of spiritual quest, in the form of the Holy Grail. Quested for but never found, corresponding to real spiritual questions that lead us ever deeper through layers of answers.

And again, in the Sufi tradition, there are the analogies of water taking on the qualities of the vessel that contains it (and vice versa); and the sharing of water, milk, hospitality so essential to the desert and steppe cultures, all made possible through the utility of the “vessel” or chalice.

Esoterically, the “chalice” represents a place in the human body intimately connected with all notions of purification and transformation, living and healing, energy and manifestation.
Perhaps what unifies all these ideas is the breath: the vessel is full (in-breath); the vessel is empty (out- breath). The vessel in this sense, and in a communal sense, can never be filled or emptied. For, are we not One? There is Unity in Community; there is a symbol which can unite us beautifully. This is the virtue of a true symbol in essence beyond words.

A living school is one that at least embraces or looks at all these ideas. Reshad Feild, founder of “Chalice,” says that its purpose is “to keep life alive until the world is awake.”

Through our questions and work together, and all that has been made available to us, we keep the Chalice at least as perfect and as pure as the condition in which we received it. But only so that we can pass it on. Which is up to us, which is up to you …

Please bring us your questions, which will lead us all deeper into the yearning for the One Truth.

Ian Marr

Chalice Prayer


Father, to Thee I raise
my whole being,
a vessel emptied of self.
Accept, Lord, this my emptiness,
and so fill me with Thyself,
Thy Light, Thy Love, Thy Life,
that these Thy precious gifts
may radiate through me
and overflow the chalice
of my heart
into the hearts of all
whom I may contact this day,
revealing unto them the beauty
of Thy Joy and Wholeness,
and the serenity of Thy Peace,
which nothing can destroy.