Monty Python and the Holy Grail: trapped between watery tarts and supreme executive power

Film is the modern way of telling mythology. Monty Python did a very good job of re-telling the old mythology of the Grail legend. Do you know why they used coconuts in the first scene were King Arthur comes jumping along pretending to ride a horse? Not only to safe money as the crew has told the world.. No: the coconut is a symbol of sacrifice that turns salt water into sweet. And that is the Grail’s quest as Emma Jung describes it. To turn the salt in the man into sweet. The Grail as the ultimate healer. Ultimate? No something is missing…

Monty Python the Holy Grail

Guard: Who goes there?
King Arthur: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England!
Guard: Pull the other one!
King Arthur: I am, and this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join me in my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master.
Guard: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
Guard: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
Guard: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're banging' 'em together.
King Arthur: So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercia, through...
Guard: Where'd you get the coconuts?
King Arthur: We found them.
Guard: Found them? In Mercia?! The coconut's tropical!
King Arthur: What do you mean?
Guard: Well, this is a temperate zone.
King Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?
Guard: Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?
King Arthur: Not at all. They could be carried.
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: What? A swallow carrying a coconut? 
King Arthur: It could grip it by the husk!
Guard: It's not a question of where he grips it! It's a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.
King Arthur: Well, it doesn't matter. Will you go and tell your master that Arthur from the Court of Camelot is here?
Guard: Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?
King Arthur: Please!
Guard: Am I right? (source Wikepedia)

The swallow in Monthy Python and the Holy Grail -either African or European- is an ancient symbol the mother: if a mother looses a baby, the swallow is the one singing a song of hope for her. In The Grail legend Emma Jung says:

the Grail legend Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz

“The Grail realm” represents the primal image of the mother, the wonderous vessel. It is so self-evident that this is a symbol of the feminine”.

In the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail the sword Excalibur is only referenced upon on the side. Dennis a very political aware farm worker. “You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power because some watery tart threw a sword at you.”  This watery tart, also known as Morgana, lady of the lake is denied any divine interference. This is the clash between the old world and the new world. And it is best seen as a very funny joke. Dennis is very well read, and very aware of his worth. He makes the old noble King Arthur look very silly. I think that is why this is one of the funniest moments of the film. We recognize this. On one hand we are the silly old noble Arthur, claiming our kingdom, at the other hand we are rational beings.

Monthy Python and the holy grail
Knight of the Grail code


Rick Kasparek writes in his “Knight of the Grail Code”: “If the Grail is the symbol of internal healing, perhaps the sword is the tool for taking that healing beyond the individual and out into the world. The Grail focusses our attention internally. Excalibur is something different, and it is something perhaps missing in Jungian psychology. Excalibur is the tool of power in the world. Coupled with the Grail, however, it becomes something new, a sword both cuts and heals.”
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