Arming and Departure of the Knights ~ tapestry by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John Henry Dearle

The Hero’s Journey of Grail Leadership

Finding the Wholly Grail of Sovereign Unity

Holly McCann
Grail Leadership Blog
13 min readDec 13, 2018

I have been inspired since childhood by the rich archetypal legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

My favorite Arthurian tale is about the knight Perceval, the wounded Fisher King and the quest for the Grail, originally written in twelfth-century France by Chrétien de Troyes in Perceval, the Story of the Grail.

Perceval is a classic tale of the Hero’s Journey, an archetypal mythology articulated by Joseph Campbell, who outlined the stages of the quest that lives inside each and every one of us: the Departure, the Initiation, and the Return.

In his teachings of the Pearl Sequence in the Gene Keys, Richard Rudd beautifully describes the Grail Question:

What is the highest service I can bring for my fellow human beings and the Earth?

That question, when earnestly asked, initially calls us into the grail quest and ultimately returns even more powerfully at the conclusion of our epic search.

And that question has taken me on quite a magic carpet ride over the past several years.


The Summons ~ tapestry by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John Henry Dearle

Joseph Campbell called the initial stage departure or the call to adventure. Destiny summons the hero, who departs from the world he knows and enters the unknown.

Perceval, who was raised by his widowed mother deep in a sheltered forest, leaves home to become a Knight of the Round Table after a chance meeting with some knights who inspire him.

As the Grail Question first called to me, increasingly loudly, in its many forms ~ who am I? why am i here? why have I achieved heights of success in the material world and still feel unfulfilled? what is my purpose? what are my unique gifts and how can I use them to best serve others? ~ I began to move farther away from the numbing illusion of my comfort zone, of the conditioned reality most know as “the normal world.”


The Failure of Sir Launcelot ~ tapestry by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John Henry Dearle

In the initiation phase, the hero must face a series of trials and tribulations. The hero is tested in battle, skill, and conflict. The hero may not succeed in each action but must persevere. The hero will meet allies, enemies, and mentors with supernatural aid throughout this stage.

Perceval fought many battles and slayed many dragons. As all who embark on this path, I faced many initiations along my quest. And the deeper I journeyed, the more my mentors and otherworldly support came to my aid in perfect timing.

I peeled back seemingly endless layers of fear-based beliefs, encountered deeply hidden personal, ancestral and collective wounds, and revealed very sophisticated survival mechanisms hell-bent on derailing me.

I faced down my most ferocious dragons ~ first believing that slaying them was the answer, until I discovered that seeing, appreciating and loving them magically transformed them into my greatest allies and superpowers as they revealed to me the priceless treasure they had been protecting.

I’ve experienced the dizzying spiral of completing cycles within cycles within cycles as I rode those dragons into the shadowy shamanic depths of the earthy underworld, soared on their backs in bliss-filled ascents through the unbounded spaciousness of the celestial skies, and ultimately found the joy of swimming with them in the primordial abyss of the unknown.

Like an archaeologist excavating through sedimentary layers, digging through centuries’ worth of of overgrowth to find the buried treasure of an original ancient civilization, I have at long last unearthed my own Holy Grail: the essence of the true and authentic Me.

Finding the Wholly Grail of Sovereign Unity

The Achievement of the Grail ~ tapestry by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John Henry Dearle

The more I unleashed myself from the synthetic, conditional matrix of programmed beliefs and patterns rooted in fear, lack and separation, the more I experienced liberation as I came to deeply know and trust that the core essence of me is teeming with the same core essence of our organic universe: unconditional love, abundance and freedom.

At some point, I took a quantum leap out of the Conditional {if this, then that} Matrix into the Unconditional Realm, jumping from the win-lose game to the infinite game of exponential win-wins.

The gateway into this new and ancient realm is the embodied knowing that everything in our universe is made up of unconditional love. It is the foundational energy of the world in which we live, and it is the very substance of our cells.

There is nothing we need to do to create it, to earn it, to prove ourselves worthy of it. We are it. There is nothing that is not some expression of unconditional love.

When I could really allow in this knowing, I could see reality from a whole new lens. Over time, I experienced a cascading effect that has shifted everything in my world.

I began to experience the true and authentic nature of:

  • Trust in the divine perfection of everything, knowing that there is a higher order to events and experiences ~ even when I cannot see or comprehend it. I relax, not needing to control anything.
  • Abundance, knowing that there is more than enough for everyone. I move out of a belief in lack and scarcity, trusting that I will always have more than enough of what I need. I no longer feel a need to compete or worry about missing out. I feel more free to give as I desire, knowing that this simply creates more space for receiving.
  • Power, knowing that my true power is found in the life-force energy that continually moves through me, that is me. I no longer feel compelled to exert power over anyone or anything, nor to give away my power to anyone or anything outside of me.

I see this as Sovereign Unity ~ an awareness that I am a unique, self-determining aspect of a creator field of consciousness and life-force energy. I am whole, yet an individuated part of a larger whole.

When I know myself as a sovereign being, I know that I have 100% authority over myself. I have complete freedom to create my life ~ and total responsibility for the life I create. “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”

I step out of victim mentality, when I really get that I am at some level the creator of all I experience, which also allows me to step out of the perpetrator and rescuer roles as I realize that every other being has this same sovereignty.

I see that I am a vessel, a channel for life force to move through me ~ the same life force that moves through all sentient beings. And yet, the way in which that energy moves through me, the way the light is refracted through the prism of my diamond self, is specific to me. My unique soul signature, the distinct energetic expression that is me, is like a fingerprint. There is no other exactly like it.

What’s more, this life-force energy is actually an ever-evolving, dynamic mash-up of the field of all of our unique expressions put together.

No matter how hard we may try, we cannot actually separate ourselves from that life-force energy, nor from each other. Why? Because we are it. At a fundamental level, I am you and you are me.

This is the Unity part of Sovereign Unity ~ the realization that we are never separate, and we are never alone. What I do to you, I do to myself. What I do for myself, I do for you.

I came to understand that we cannot experience true Sovereignty without knowing our Unity ~ that we are all inseparable from divine life-force energy; and that we cannot experience true Unity without knowing our Sovereignty ~ the understanding of radical personal responsibility and that the unique genius we each bring is an essential piece that makes up the greater whole.

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

For the past thousands of years, as we elevated the masculine principle and suppressed the feminine, we came to believe that the Holy Grail was an object, a chalice made of gold, a treasure that would bring fame and fortune. Many believe it had contained the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Grail, however, is not simply a material object. It is the inseparable combination of the infinite, regenerative flow of life-force energy and the ever-evolving container that is the vessel through which it flows ~ a vessel that is also made of life-force energy.

This is the hieros gamos ~ the sacred union of the divine masculine and divine feminine principles. And it does, in a way, contain the blood of Jesus Christ ~ the lifeblood that is the life-force energy of Christos-Sophia consciousness.

Each of us is a holy grail ~ a physical vessel of divine creation through which source energy continually flows. Each a beautiful expression of Sovereign Unity.

Return with the Elixir: Grail Leadership

Perceval arrives at the Grail Castle to be greeted by the Fisher King in an illustration for a 1330 manuscript of Perceval, the Story of the Grail

As Campbell describes the final phase of the journey, the hero returns home having endured the trials and hardships of the adventure. But the hero is no longer the same. An internal transformation has taken place through the alchemical process of the quest.

After a long and epic hero’s journey, the grail knight Perceval prevails not by overpowering an enemy or by having all the answers, but in asking a fundamental question that unlocks the secrets of the holy grail:

Whom does the Grail serve?

The many variations of the Perceval story, with different answers to this game-changing question, essentially all point to one theme ~ that the Grail is not a treasure to be stashed away, kept for oneself, but rather it is for the purpose of serving something greater than the self.

In this final phase, the hero does not simply return home. The hero returns home with the sacred elixir, to share his or her special brand of healing magic that was revealed during the quest, in service of others.

For me, this service is far different from the forms of service I was providing previously, while steeped in the conditioned matrix. This is not coming from an unconscious place of lack, a seeking to fill a hole that seemed to be capable of being filled with external validation, recognition or money. This is not coming from a place of spiritual ego ~ albeit well-intentioned ~ of needing to fix something that appears broken.

You see, this magic elixir has been alchemized in the fires of the cauldron and carries the higher frequencies of Unconditional Love, Abundance and Prosperity. This energy ~ which is the natural state of everything in our brilliant universe, from the tiniest human cell to the largest galaxy in the cosmos ~ is regenerative, toroidal, and in continual flow.

Torus field

As this sacred elixir is ingested, as Sovereign Unity consciousness is embodied, it must continue to flow outward, which also creates the space for more of it to flow inward. Giving and Receiving. This is the nature of Unconditional Love and Abundance ~ the more we give it away, the more we are filled with it. Creative life-force energy, in continual flow.

The desire to share our unique genius does not come from the head. We seem to choose it as it feels so compelling, so fulfilling of our core purpose; and yet it is moving through us, moving us. It becomes our devotion ~ something we can’t not do.

“My cup runneth over.” As my chalice is continually filled to overflowing, the creative life-force energy that is running through me wants to be shared, wants to be in service, and wants to see the cups of others running over with the energies of love, abundance and freedom.

I could feel it in the Highlands of Scotland when I stood on the hilltop of Dunadd, the site where the ancient Dál Riata kings {those of King Arthur’s lineage} were coronated by ceremonially marrying the land and all her inhabitants, vowing to serve the kingdom through love, honor and harmony with nature, knowing that their health and prosperity were all inextricably connected.

I could feel it on the mystical Isle of Iona in the Scottish Hebrides, the site of the true Avalon, where the Nine Maidens {including Arthur’s half-sister Morganna} led a community of priestesses who loved back to life the wounded warriors who were brought to them for healing.

It lived inside Arthur, Morganna and every one of the Grail Knights ~ the true servant leaders ~ and it lives in the ancestral, cellular memory of every one of us who are called to serve in this epic shift in human and planetary consciousness.

It is the spirit of Sovereign Unity, which flows through the heart of Grail Leadership.

The Last Sleep of Arthur ~ Edward Burne-Jones

Living for millennia in the conditional matrix, however, our awareness of the flow of life-force energy {of love, abundance and freedom} has been reduced to a trickle as we have become disoriented, cut off from the knowing of the unconditional love that we truly are and our connection to all that is. Years and lifetimes of wounding have been cemented over through oppression and repression of the ability to fully feel our emotions. So the trauma gets stuffed down as a way to survive, cemented over but never fully healed.

In Perceval, the Fisher King is ailing from a wound that will not heal ~ and the entire kingdom is suffering for it. Having asked the magical Grail question, empowered by the success of his quest, Perceval heals the Fisher King by touching his wound with a spear. The king is instantly healed and the whole kingdom returns to abundance and harmony.

This is our ultimate grail quest. The journey to face our fears and to open old wounds in a space of unconditional love and compassion so they can finally heal, allowing our life-force to flow through us so fully that we can’t help but serve others through sharing our unique gifts ~ the buried treasure that had been hidden within us all along.

In Arthurian legend, the Siege Perilous was a vacant seat reserved by Merlin for a knight who would be successful in the quest for the Holy Grail. The Siege Perilous was so strictly reserved that it was fatal to anyone else who sat in it. Perceval was one who occupied this seat as a Knight of the Round Table.

The Knights of the Round Table were not simply knights who could fight the best and kill the most enemies. No, the seats at the Round Table were occupied by those few who were the most courageous ~ those who had ventured out on their individual grail quest, faced down their demons, pierced the veil {Perceval} of the unconscious conditional matrix, had their wounds healed by the priestesses in a realm of unconditional love, found the true Holy Grail, and returned with their own magic elixir.

These knights were the wounded healers ~ those with the humility and compassion of one who has had their heart cracked open and truly felt the depth of their own pain.

These knights were the true servant leaders ~ possessing the embodied wisdom that their most precious gifts came from a force greater than their individual self and were meant to be shared in service of something greater than themselves.

And these knights were willing to give their lives to protect what was sacred. At a time when Christian missionaries were brutally forcing people into one way of believing, into a religion that held that all men are born sinners and salvation can only be found through a higher power of the church and clergy, these knights fought to defend the ability for people to live freely as sovereign beings through birthright and to protect the knowing that we are all divine by nature, inseparably connected to the life-force energy that runs through us all.

Co-Creating Camelot

Image by Branislav Knappek

In these times of great upheaval and epic transformation, in a world that is being rocked by the crumbling of our civilization’s systems rooted in the unsustainable energies of separation, fear and lack, it seems that the principles of Grail Leadership ~ of humility, compassion and integrity, in service of Sovereign Unity and a world that works for all ~ can serve to inform the creation of the new-paradigm models that will carry us into the emerging new age.

We can leverage the infinite potential of business as a force for good. We can co-create organizational models that are in alignment and harmony with the sacred geometry of Nature.

We can remember the essence of true power as the life-force energy that flows through us all, embracing self-sovereignty and personal responsibility rather than a fear-based need to control and take power over another.

We can infuse our work with the energy of true abundance, where our prosperity increases as we move away from our need to compete and begin lifting each other up in mutual thriving.

We can embody true leadership, as we form organizations with light-touch governance, empowering self-organizing teams, honoring our contributors by trusting them and giving them the freedom to pursue their gifts without interference.

We can explore new ways of working together within and across organizations, tapping into the unique genius that resides in each and every one of us, and which is far more powerful when operating in synergy rather than silos.

We can see our organizations as potent fields for healing, as we hold each other in compassion while we continue to break out of the chains that have bound us for eons in the conditional matrix of fear-based programming.

In short, we can become role models, beacons for all that is possible as we boldly step into our seats at the round tables, sharing the gifts of our magic elixirs, being the Grail Leaders of this new age in service of a world where everyone has the opportunity to experience what is already theirs by birth ~ to experience the unconditional love, freedom and prosperity that naturally flows through our daily lives as we come fully awake and alive in the awareness of our Sovereign Unity.



Holly McCann
Grail Leadership Blog

Founding Co-Creator & Visionary of Grail Leadership, working with pioneering leaders as we co-create a world of mutual thriving.