Chances are, you've read Dan Brown's thriller, The Da Vinci Code, and like most of us, found it a fun read, fast-moving, and thought-provoking. Dan Brown has a unique gift for integrating history and background into the plot, and, no question about it, The Da Vinci Code has reawakened interest in the story of the Holy Grail.

One of the questions I'm asked, as author of The Grail Conspiracies, is whether The Da Vinci Code "inspired" me. In other words, did I dash off a quickie book to jump on that bandwagon?

I've been asked the same question about my other related book, Joining Miracles: Navigating the Seas of Latent Possibility, and how it relates to The Secret, the book and video by Rhonda Byrne.

I began The Grail Conspiracies and Joining Miracles long before The Da Vinci Code and The Secret came to market. (Indeed, it seems I began long before Dan Brown and Rhonda Byrne even got the inspiration. From what I've read in the media, Dan Brown began on DVC around 2001, and Rhonda Byrne on The Secret around 2004. I had been reading and researching the area for quite a long while, though Grail really got started when I visited the old port of the Knights Templar in La Rochelle, France, in 1990, and Joining Miracles spun off from it, as I’ll get into below.)


Here I'd like to share some additional background on that thriller, The Grail Conspiracies, and on some of the key ideas presented there. I'll also be referring to my Joining Miracles: Navigating the Seas of Latent Possibility, as Grail and Joining were developed simultaneously, are linked in a way you'll see when you read The Grail Conspiracies.

Traditionally, the Holy Grail is the cup of the Last Supper, perhaps also the vessel used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood of Jesus as it fell from the Cross. By legend, that contact with the divine imbued the cup with mystical powers that were there to be tapped by whoever held it. (But, as we'll see, that traditional version of the Grail story is only one of several.)

The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail

I read The Da Vinci Code when it came out in 2003, more than a decade after I had begun researching the deeper implications of the Grail. In the course of that research, I'd had the chance to visit various sites in Europe with Grail connections in the course of researching and developing The Grail Conspiracies.

I enjoyed reading Dan Brown's take, and I understood why he used certain accounts as his basis, but felt then and believe even more strongly now that The Da Vinci Code missed the point of the real Grail truth — the impact of other dimensions of a deeper reality than we normally experience.

Did The Da Vinci Code get the Grail story right? Is the Holy Grail in fact what Dan Brown suggests? Is the Holy Grail what other books, including the earlier book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail,  propose as the true grail? Was the "grail" (as The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail propose) nothing more than a coded reference to the womb of Mary Magdalene, carrying the unborn child of Jesus to form one of the royal bloodlines of Europe? Is the story of the Grail in fact part of a cover story created by a conspiracy stretching back to the time of Jesus?

Have we been misled by a false story created and carried on for most of 2,000 years by a secret cabal? Have we been the victims of a kind of inside joke on us all, for all these years?

The Holy Grail and the Knights Templar

In 1990, when I was taking an extended break from my work as a management consultant and lawyer, I explored many of the same strands that Dan Brown later followed in researching The Da Vinci Code.

As I mentioned, I went to La Rochelle, the main Atlantic seaport of the legendary Knights Templar —  the mysterious order of warrior-monks who were, by legend, guardians of the Grail. I walked through the Templars' Commanderie (headquarters), steps from the port they built a thousand years ago.

(Interestingly — synchronicitously? —  the video camera I was using stopped working while I was inside the Templar Commanderie in La Rochelle, but began working fine again as soon as I left that area. I “loaned” this experience to one of the characters in The Grail Conspiracies, a former investment banker now writing a thesis entitled “Searchers for the Latent Miracle Power: The Knights Templar and the Alchemists.”)

I learned that in October, 1307, the King of France, in alliance with others, ordered the arrest of all Knights Templar and seizure of their property. The strike came on Friday, October 13, 1307, and the Templars —  at the time the strongest fighting force the world had ever known —  mysteriously surrendered without resistance. But the Templars apparently had warning of what was to come, and sent caravans loaded with their treasures to be loaded onto ships at that port of La Rochelle. Where did those ships go? Was what we think of as the Holy Grail among those Templar treasures? (Later, with the approval of a Pope who was strongly under the influence of the French King, the Templar knights were tried as heretics.)

Even then, as I was just starting on what would become the spiritual thriller, The Grail Conspiracies, I sensed that there was another hidden truth of the potential of other dimensions within the story of the Grail, and that the Knights Templar did in fact have a role in that deeper Grail —  a Grail that had been protected not only by the Templars and others, but protected by a thousand-year disinformation campaign designed to mislead those who came with bad intentions.

“What is the Grail? Who is it to serve?”

These, of course, are the two classic questions of the Grail stories and legends that have shaped our culture over the centuries.

What indeed IS the Holy Grail?

Is the Grail, as most of the legends say, the cup or chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper? By legend, that contact imbued the cup with divine powers.

Or is the Grail --- as two recent best-selling books, The Da Vinci Code, and Holy Blood, Holy Grail --  claim, not a cup, after all, but rather the bloodline of Jesus, as passed down through Mary Magdalene? In this version, "Grail" was a code-word used by conspirators over the past 2,000 as a tool for deluding and distracting the attention of those who were not initiated into that conspiracy.

Or is there a third answer to that question, "What is the Grail?" Perhaps the "Grail" WAS indeed a code word for a secret known only to a few. But, as you'll discover in the spiritual-political thriller The Grail Conspiracies, that secret was not a bloodline, nor a hidden lineage.

What WAS that secret encoded within the Grail legends? Perhaps it was, as hinted by Jesus and other spiritual teachers through the ages, the message that we, all humans, have sleeping within us "mystical" or "miracle" powers to shape — or "unfold?" — reality in ways that most of us cannot yet perceive.

What is that deeper Grail?

In looking beneath most versions of the Grail legend (other than the one relied on in The Da Vinci Code) we find that the Grail seekers were, ultimately, on a “. . . quest for mystical union with the otherness that lies buried in the depths of each individual psyche " . . . a divine spark that is part of the Absolute." (The quote is from Mind and Magic, Francis X. King.)

It is this aspect of the Grail quest —  as tapping into that inner spark that links with the Divine — that I think Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code missed, as did other books, such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail. They got it partly right: there was indeed a cover-up of the truth, with the story of the quest for a physical Grail cup used to direct attention away from the deeper "Grail," which is much more than just an artifact.

The story of the Grail as just the physical cup is, I became convinced, an early and very successful instance of "disinformation" – putting out one story to cover a deeper truth. While the stories seemed to be about the quest for a physical cup, in fact they were accounts of a deeper quest for a mystical power within the individual.

Thus while The Da Vinci Code and others got it partly right —  that there was disinformation around the Grail stories —  my studies have convinced me that they missed the deeper truth: that the true Grail relates to a dormant human power latent within us. That is the deeper secret of the Holy Grail. The Grail quest, like the search of the Alchemists, is, on a deeper level, a quest for the secret of how to tap that mysterious, mystical miracle power that is within us all, waiting to be awakened.

In short, as one of the characters in The Grail Conspiracies puts it, "What I'm proposing is that the true, deeper Grail quest was for the same thing as the true quest of the Alchemists: to find the secrets of tapping the higher potentials of the human mind."

The Grail Conspiracies is by no means just another telling of the traditional Grail story. For one thing, it is set in contemporary times. For another, it takes a very different look at what that dormant miracle power within us might be, and how we might access it.

The Grail Conspiracies is on one level, a thriller, a “speculative” spiritual thriller. But it is a mystery story as well — suggesting the deeper possibilities, the possibility that we are all potential miracle workers, that we were born with a sleeping mystical power, and that we have the ability to use that dormant power within to play an active role in unfolding the events of our lives. (For a different take on that deeper secret of the dormant human powers, see the companion book to The Grail Conspiracies, entitled Joining Miracles: Navigating the Seas of Latent Possibility.)

The Grail Conspiracies and Joining Miracles

At the start, and for the first couple of years of tinkering, I thought I was writing just one book, a spiritual thriller, The Grail Conspiracies. But it didn't come together; it felt like forcing a big foot into a small shoe.

The Aha! hit one evening while visiting an aunt, and when I got home I immediately began separating the two. Yet they were still very much related. My solution: As you'll see, parts of what is now Joining Miracles remain in The Grail Conspiracies as "dividers" setting the tone for each day. That's why in this website I refer to them as "companion books."

Joining Miracles and The Secret

Joining Miracles is a spiritual fable of our limitless human potentials.

Without spoiling the plot, suffice it to say that The Grail Conspiracies is about uncovering what the "true" Grail really is.

The Grail, in my view, is not the bloodline of Jesus (as suggested by The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail.) Nor do I think that the real Grail is the cup (or at least just the cup of the Last Supper).

Without giving away too much, my research over a good many years and in a variety of disciplines has led me to believe that there is disinformation around the real Grail, and that there has been a deliberate conspiracy to keep us from recognizing what that deeper Grail is.

I've read that the teachers and advocates of The Secret say that, among several explanations, quantum physics, particularly "measurable energy frequencies or vibrations," along with "The Law of Attraction" are, so to speak, the secret of The Secret.

If so, then in that sense, Joining Miracles and The Secret have some points of similarity. I think that the interplay of human consciousness and what we term quantum physics is at the core of our wider human capabilities.

But when you read Joining Miracles: Navigating the Seas of Latent Possibility you'll find a significantly broader tapping of the possibilities of the hidden aspects beyond what we perceive as "reality." You'll find ways of focusing your consciousness and using other aspects of what we term quantum physics, to affect the reality as it is presented to you.

The Grail Conspiracies and Deeper Secret

Early on, The Grail Conspiracies was briefly test-marketed under the title Deeper Secret, the "market" told us that The Grail Conspiracies was the better title! The two books are essentially the same.

Michael McGaulley
Author, The Grail Conspiracies, and  Joining Miracles: Navigating the Seas of Latent Possibility.

The Grail: Not what we think it is. Not where we've been looking. The most powerful force ever known . . .  a dormant power within the human mind that can direct and focus energies from other dimensions . . . energies  that can be used for good, or malevolently for destruction and evil.

In cities around the world, flash-mobs made up of an army of  angry, rootless kids with nothing to lose riot in what they call “pre-celebrations” of the up-coming concert of Twisted Messiah.

 Twisted Messiah is an international  rock group with nihilistic neo-Nazi overtones, and has made clear its intention to lead this army. Pundits see this as a potential  worldwide "Non-governmental Political Force," a boundless rabble of the alienated ready to regroup as a cult.

500,000 of these kids will attend the live concert at an abandoned air base near Berlin. The concert will be simulcast around the world—an event that journalists will later refer to as  a “Nuremberg Rally on steroids updated to today’s mindset and technologies.”   Lead singer, Jesse Cripes, costumed at first as a Jesus look-alike, then after the intermission in Nazi regalia, introduces the “New Cross” movement.

In Washington, a pair of messages arrive within minutes. The first offers Greg Tapscott “the truth about your uncle,  Paul Tapscott, who was alleged to have been killed in action in France in June, 1944.” Paul was an OSS agent, and in the decades since, the family has been convinced of a long-term cover-up by the OSS, and its successor, CIA.

The second message, from a journalist friend, tells Greg that he is “a butterfly about to set off a storm that spreads around the world” and implies that there is a link between what his uncle turned up back then and what the Twisted Messiah inner cadre is seeking now.

In the old French port of La Rochelle, once the main Atlantic port of the Knights Templar, Greg hears that Paul was sent there to be sacrificed on a “disinformation” mission at the time of D-Day. But it seems that Paul surprised both the Germans and his American handlers by uncovering what was “perhaps the most powerful force or weapon ever known. Or perhaps even the Holy Grail, which is a coded reference to the highest human potential.

In Oxford, a professor who had been a consultant to the OSS during the post-war search for German technologies, breaks his long silence. Paul may have uncovered the deeper secret the occultists within Nazism had been seeking: "the elusive key to tapping a supposed power within the human mind that can direct and focus energies from other dimensions. Today’s scientific findings, particularly in quantum physics, are revealing that our world is far different, more wonderful and mysterious than we realize, and I have long suspected that what your uncle turned up is a crucial tool for understanding what our human capabilities are within that wider, more wondrous reality.”

In London, a man flashing apparent CIA credentials advises Greg to back off his search for information on his uncle, implying that the “chatter” picked up from a “certain terrorist group” (evidently Twisted Messiah/New Cross), indicates they are also on the trail of Paul Tapscott and what he turned up . . . and on Greg’s trail, as well.


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Coded knowledge and hidden human potentials

Adapted from The Grail Conspiracies, a spiritual
thriller by Michael McGaulley, and is based on his research for that 
book.  Keep in mind that The Grail Conspiracies is a work of fiction,
and some of the content has been adapted to fit the narrative.

For additional sources, see the links at the bottom of this page, or to
hyperlinks embedded within the body of the text.


From The Grail Conspiracies

I nearly missed the clue when it came: that word “disinformation” again,
but in a different context.

What if, the author suggested, all those legends of the search for the
physical Grail—the actual cup of Jesus—were in fact deliberate

What if, as another book put it, the Grail stories were “decoys to distract
the uninitiated or unworthy onto a search for something physical, when
in fact the core of the true Grail was a coded reference to the hidden
potentials of the human mind.”

I reread that line—a coded reference to the hidden potentials of the
human mind—not realizing then that I’d soon be hearing something very
like it from a very different source, in a different country.


From later in The Grail Conspiracies

She paused to see how I was taking this. I nodded, saying nothing,
wanting her to continue.

“That may be the source, but it’s been obscured, even hidden. Sad but
true, awareness of that Power has been one of the best-kept secrets
over the centuries.”

“Why hidden?”

“The elites—typically priesthoods—were determined to keep the
knowledge to themselves, as a way of monopolizing power and control.
In other places and other eras, it was dangerous to speak of these
things, because they conflicted with the settled approaches of other
elites. That, as you know, is why the alchemists and others coded their
knowledge, to avoid persecution.”

“Coded? How?”

“Language itself can be coded—messages can be written in a different
alphabet, or in numerical equivalents, or in an unknown language. It can
be by means of symbols, with the Christian cross being a common
example, which—”

She began again: “We associate the cross with the religion and the
death of Jesus on the Cross. But there’s a further code within the
symbol: the cross itself is an ancient symbol for the concept of spirit
entering into matter—the vertical, the spirit, intersecting into the
horizontal, material plane.”

“I’d never heard that before.”

“Knowledge can also be encoded in the form of stories that operate on
multiple levels. The Parables of Jesus are one instance. On one level,
they’re stories about shepherds and birds and ordinary people of a
certain time and place. But they carry universal messages on a deeper
level. The Grail legend is of course another example of a story carrying
a deeper message.”

I listened, part enchanted by her personality, part enthralled by the
excitement in her eyes as she talked about these things. Enthusiasm is
infectious—and magnetizing.

She paused for a sip of beer before going on. “Beyond stories or
legends, the knowledge can be encoded in rituals, which act out the
deeper reality. Both the Catholic Mass and the rituals of the Masons
come to mind in that regard—rituals which operate on the deeper levels
of the mind as the participants act out the roles. Knowledge can even
be encoded in structures, as in the case of the pyramids and the Gothic

That triggered something I’d read from that pamphlet on the Templars,
the one I’d been given back in La Rochelle: “I read that perhaps the
Knights Templar had financed the wave of cathedral construction that
swept across Europe around the 1200's, and that those Gothic
cathedrals were encoded knowledge. What do you think? Any truth to

Something clicked behind her eyes, and she pulled back in the chair.
“Why did you ask me that?”


From later in The Grail Conspiracies

“I believe one of your areas of interest is in coded knowledge,
particularly as it relates to the alchemists and the Knights Templar?”

He went on, now echoing some of what I had already turned up, though
adding new twists. The legends of the quest for the Holy Grail, and the
stories of the alchemists’ quest to turn base metals into gold, were
probably both intended as coded descriptions of an inner, mystical or
spiritual process that referred to developing the hidden powers of the
human mind. Put bluntly, it seems that the Great Work of Alchemy may
have been an encoded expression of a ‘technology’ for getting beyond
the usual human boundaries in order to access the higher powers.”

That idea, of alchemy being perhaps a kind of how-to or technology for
attaining altered states of consciousness echoed what Katje had said.

“Both of these quests,” he continued, “Alchemy and the Grail, were
expressed as stories—to encode the deeper realities behind the
narratives. Why encoded? First, because they wanted to pass on the
great secret—that we humans are able to tap higher powers, that there
is meaning and design, that we can take greater control of the flow of
physical reality. The initiates wanted to keep that knowledge alive, yet
had to encode it to protect themselves. After all, they and the
knowledge they possessed were dangerous to the status quo. This was
the era in which alchemists were burned at the stake, alongside witches
and other supposed heretics.”

He sipped his beer, then went on: “Second, and no less important, they
coded the knowledge in order to ensure that their secrets didn’t fall into
the hands of those who would corrupt and misuse it.”