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The Da Vinci Code | Study Guide

Dan Brown

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The Da Vinci Code | Symbols


Holy Grail

The Grail is the symbol of the hidden spiritual truth of Christianity. In the novel it is not the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper, as tradition holds. Rather it is something entirely different that would have earth-shattering repercussions in the world if it were revealed: Mary Magdalene, the disciple of Jesus who bore his child. As a symbol of spiritual truth, the Holy Grail also exemplifies the sacred feminine.


Images of a rose occur throughout the text. Roses appear as engraved symbols, as supposed decorations, and even as directions (the Rose Line) leading to the Grail. The rose is also represented in a more abstract form, such as the pentacle and the Star of David. In all cases the rose refers to the divine feminine, especially to Mary Magdalene.


The Holy Grail is also called the Sangreal—or bloodline—of Christ. The blood of Christ flows through the children descended from him and Mary Magdalene. Thus blood is a symbol of spiritual truth. Saunière uses his own blood to write vital clues about the Grail on his body before he dies. His blood points at spiritual truth. Silas torments his body with bloodletting, via the cilice and self-flagellation, in an effort to purify himself. His bloodletting and suffering will, he hopes, make him pure enough to find spiritual truth.

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