May 12, 1905
consciousness must first be born out of the all-embracing consciousness
of the earth. This takes place through Wotan's union with Erda; Brunhilde
is born out of this union. She still possesses something of a wide and deep
world-consciousness. To begin with, however, this consciousness
withdraws to some extent. Wotan also begets Siegmund and Sieglinde
with an earthly woman. They represent the two sexes of the soul, the
male soul and the female soul. It is not possible for one to live
without the other. The female soul, Sieglinde, is captured by
Hunding. The soul must now submit to the physical brain. Siegmund,
the soul imprisoned within the body, now begins to go astray. The
soul is not strong enough to approach the Divine; the gods renounce
Siegmund and his sword is shattered by Wotan's spear.
must now be left to the human Self which is active entirely in the sphere
of the senses: to Hagen, the son of Alberich. The lower earthly forces
begin to play the chief role. All the powers conspire against the union
of the male and female soul-element: even Wotan must help Fricka against
Siegmund on account of Hunding. Fricka represent the male-female soul
upon a higher stage. She urges Wotan to sever the connection between
male and female soul upon the earthly plane.
Upon a cosmic
plane the male and female soul-elements are united, but upon the earth
the blood and the senses influence human life. This is deeply indicated
in the love between brother and sister, the forbidden element. If the
original chasteness is to maintain its rule, Siegmund and Sieglinde,
the physical element, must die. Sieglinde is doomed to be killed by
Brunhilde, the all-encompassing consciousness, if the whole evolution
of the earth is not to be obstructed. Brunhilde, however, helps her
and gives her Grane, her horse, which bears the human being through
the events of the earth. Brunhilde withdraws into exile. Flaming fire
surrounds her rock. Clairvoyant consciousness is now surrounded by
the fire through which the human being must first pass in order to
become purified, if he wishes to reach once more the all-encompassing
consciousness and to experience the catharsis.
female soul-element, gives birth to Siegfried, the human consciousness
which must again rise to higher worlds. He grows up secretly, guarded
by Mime. He must overcome the lower nature, the dragon, in order to
obtain power. He also overcomes Mime. Who is “Mime”? Mime
can bestow something which renders invisible, the tarn-cap, the
outcome of a power which remains invisible to ordinary human beings.
The tarn-cap is the symbol of magicians, both of the white and of the
black order. Even a magician of the black path may walk about
invisibly in our midst. Mime is one who can bestow the tarn-cap which
he has obtained out of the black forces of the earth. He strives to
turn Siegfried into a black magician, but Siegfried rebels. He has
killed the dragon, has taken up a drop of its blood, the symbol of
passions, and is thus able to understand the speech of the birds (of
the earthly world of the senses). He is able to tread the path of the
higher initiates and is shown the path leading to Brunhilde, the
We have so far
considered three phases of northern evolution. First of all the dwarf,
then the giants, and now the human being. The Valkyria belongs to the
second phase, and in Siegfried the human being itself is born. Imprisoned
within his body he must find his way back again to the pure, white wisdom.
The Twilight of the Gods.
The fourth part
of the Twilight of the Gods expresses that in the northern world the
human being has not yet reached maturity and has not attained a
complete initiation. Siegfried still possesses one vulnerable spot,
where Christ bore the Cross. Siegfried cannot as yet take the Cross
upon himself. This symbolizes in a profound way what the peoples of
the North still lacked, and it also shows that Christianity was still
a necessity for them. Siegfried cannot unite himself with Brunhilde.
He is the human soul born out of a mortal woman, out of the union of
Siegmund and Sieglinde. Brunhilde has remained virgin; she is the
In the last
phase, knowledge must be reached because man is not as yet able to unite
himself with virgin wisdom. Consequently his impulse toward higher
knowledge takes on the farm of desire. This is the last stage which
must be conquered. The fact that Siegfried wishes to become united
with Brunhilde in earthly passion leads to an exchange of
possessions; she gives him the horse and he gives her the ring. Until
the union with the higher Self has been reached, the ring,
symbolizing coercion from outside, does not lose its power.
The human being
dives down into lower consciousness, he is struck with blindness.
Siegfried forgets Brunhilde and weds Gudrun, the lower consciousness.
He even agrees to court Brunhilde for another unworthy man. This
signifies that during the last phase, before Christianity arises, the
human being follows the dark path of d falls prey once more to dark
powers. The unrighteous union of Brunhilde with Gunther is the cause
of Siegfried's ruin. He must incur death through the lower powers in
the nets of which he has become entangled. (Hagen.)
The last phase
approaches; the Norns appear once more. It is the phase in which the
all-embracing consciousness is lost:
End ewiges Wissen!
Der Welt melden
Weise nichts mehr.
Hinab zur Mutter, hinab!”
is wisdom eternal!
The world nothing more
Hears from the Wise!
Descend to the Mother, below!”)
The higher wisdom
which was formerly given to the sons of the gods is lost upon the earth, it
returns to the Eternal. Humanity must now rely upon itself
Tristan and Isolde.
One who has
a deeper vision, like Wagner, will discover that the Tristan theme is
able to give a clearer insight into the problem connected with the dual
aspect of sex.
The male and
female elements are important only upon the physical plane. Tristan has
the deep longing to be whole and undivided, to reach perfect harmony
and a consciousness which is no longer male or female. This note of
longing re-echoing throughout the drama may be expressed as follows:
Tristan does not wish any longer to be merely Tristan, merely
“I”, but he wishes to take up within him Isolde, so that
in him live Isolde and Tristan.
The two have lost
every consciousness of a division. This re-echoes in the final verses of the
poem expressing redemption from a separate, divided form of existence:
In der Duftwellen
In des Welt-Atems
the blissful ocean's
rising and fall,
In the tidal's fragrant
In the world's breath, wherein
stirreth the All,
to drown, and
These words are
born out of a deeper knowledge. The surging ocean of bliss is the astral
world, and Devachan is the sphere resounding in fragrant tones. The
life-principle is the breath of the world; everything must be
contained within it. To be no longer severed and divided in the
sphere of consciousness, but to “drown and sink down”
unconsciously into an undifferentiated element — this is
highest bliss. Within earthly life it is indeed highest bliss to
overcome it, to overcome sense-life through spiritual life. Desire
seeking to destroy what pertains to the earth still takes on
the form of desire. Nevertheless it is a noble form of desire if the
element of desire contained in this aspiration is overcome.
This is the problem which Wagner tries to solve in his “Tristan
and Isolde”. All these thoughts did not live consciously or
abstractly in Wagner; they were thoughts contained in the myth
It is not
necessary for an artist to have these thoughts in an abstract form. Just
as a plant grows in accordance with laws of which it knows nothing, so
the cosmic forces within myths have a life of their own; these are forces
which are also active within the human being and they penetrate into
a work of art.
is still entangled in the earthly element; he must perish in it. Brunhilde
realizes the relationship of facts and understands what is at stake.
So she yields the ring to the Daughters of the Rhine, to an element
which has not penetrated into the working influences of this
evolution of the world goes back to the originally virgin substance.
The older northern world conception is replaced by another one which
does not appeal any longer to what pertains to the external world of
the senses, but to what has remained virgin — to the soul.
has become involved in the external world of the senses through her union
with Siegfried rides into the fire, and love is born out of it. The whole
tragedy of this thought is deeply felt by the peoples of the north,
because they realise that what they were once able to understand
begins to perish.
Love is born
out of the Spirit, out of the sea of fire, the originally virgin substance.
est per Sanctum Spiritum ex Maria Virgine!”