Goethe's Secret Revelation.
Part III: “The New Melusine” and “The New Paris”
2nd, March, 1905
In the two preceding talks
I tried to explain the basic symbols in Goethe's profound fairy
tale. We have seen, how Goethe, how the mystics of all times have given
the truths which they counted among the deepest ones in characteristic
Today you allow to me to
add two other fairy tales: The New Melusine and The New
Paris. It may seem that something unnatural, something worked out
is in these fairy tales, but you will see, if you delve in these pictures
that also here only an esoteric, mystic interpretation enables us to
give an explanation.
Goethe inserted the fairy
tale The New Melusine at a typical passage of Meister Wilhelm's
Journeyman Years (1807, 1821, 1829). Who penetrates into Goethe's
mind will never abandon himself to the superficial view that Goethe
deals only with putting pictures next to each other like in a kaleidoscope,
that it concerns a mere play with pictures. But he realises that Goethe
expressed his most profound inside.
A man relates it who wants
to develop his soul to higher capacities and, hence, “refrains
from speaking as far as speech expresses something ordinary or accidental,
however, another talent of speech has developed to him that has a intentionally
prudent and pleasant effect.” Like this man, also Wilhelm Meister
deals with secret societies, is directed by mysterious guides.
The man repeats and arranges
the rich experiences of his life calmly. Imagination combines with it
and gives life and movement to the events. He is a philosopher who speaks
in this fairy tale to us, and at the moment when in the end of the story
he gets the longing for developing his soul to a higher condition, he
also understands the ideals of the philosophers.
Let now the fairy tale of
The New Melusine pass our souls in its main trains which deeply
lead us into Goethe's nature.
A young man gets to know
a strange woman in an inn who deeply impresses him. He sees her carrying
a small box and keeping it carefully. He asks whether he cannot do anything
for her, to oblige her. She asks him to continue the journey with the
small box instead of her because she has to stay here some days. However,
he should always take a special room for the small box and close it
with a special key, so that the door cannot be opened with any other
key. He departs. On the way his money runs out; the lady appears and
helps him. Again he spends the money; he believes that in the small
box something could be that may be sold for money. He discovers a crack
in the small box, looks into it, something bright gleams in it. He sees
a chamber with many dwarfs, a girl among them. It exists in double figure
(as lady and as dwarfish girl), outside in a big, inside in a small
size. He is deeply horrified; the lady appears again, and he receives
explanation about the small box. The lady says that her true figure
is that of the dwarfish girl.
This race of dwarfs has
been there long before the human beings, when the earth was still in
the igneous state. It had not been able to hold their ground because
a race of dragons waged war on them. To save the dwarfs a race of giants
is created, however, these soon position themselves on the side of the
dragons. Hence, for the protection of the dwarfs who withdrew into the
mountains still a new race of the knights or the race of heroes as it
is called in the original version had to originate. With it dragons
and giants, on the one hand, dwarfs and heroes, on the other hand, face
each other. However, the dwarfs become smaller and smaller, so that
it became necessary that every now and then somebody of them comes to
the upper world to get new force from the realm of the human beings.
The young man wants to combine
with the lady, and after some other adventures she says to him that
he himself must become a dwarf. She slips a ring on his finger, the
young man becomes small like a dwarf and enters into the world which
he has seen in the small box. Now he is united with the lady. But longing
for the land of the human beings soon awakes in him, he gets a file,
saws through the ring, shoots up suddenly and is a human being again.
Goethe makes an interesting
remark at the end of the fairy tale when in the young man the longing
awakes for being a human being again. This remark is important to understand
the fairy tale. He lets the young man say: “now I understood for
the first time what the philosophers might understand by their ideals
by which the human beings are supposed to be tormented so strongly.
I had an ideal of myself, and appeared to myself sometimes in the dream
as a giant!”
We want to see now what
Goethe wanted to say with this fairy tale. The race of dwarfs, created
before dragons, giants and human being, leads us to the track. The people
of the dwarfs “is still active and busy since time immemorial.
But, in olden times, their most famous works were swords which pursued
the enemy if one threw them to him, invisibly and mysteriously binding
chains, and impenetrable shields. Now, however, they occupy themselves
chiefly with things of comfort and finery.” There it is pointed
to that which the mystics call the “sparklet” in the human
soul, to the self of the human being, which God sank in the human body.
This self of the human being had magic powers, secret magic forces once;
now it serves to make the earth in all cultural works subject to the
human being; in all that the human mind, the self works.
What is the small box? A
world, a small world, indeed, but an entire world. The human being is
a microcosm, a small world in a big one. The small box is nothing but
a picture of the human soul. The human reason, the present consciousness,
as we have got to know it in the Fairy Tale of the Green Snake
in the wife of the old man, designs pictures of the whole big world,
pictures on the small scale. What is summarised in the human soul as
the sum of the thoughts? It is the spiritual spark. If we saw into the
human soul, we would discover the spiritual spark with the seeds of
the future stages. This spark was enkindled in distant past in the human
being who was only gifted with a vague dream consciousness. This spiritual
spark which smoulders in the human soul preceded all physical states.
Compared with the future size, with the perfection of the human being
is that which lives today in him only seed, only something dwarfish.
There were other human races
once; before our age the Atlanteans and the Lemurians lived et etcetera
In the middle of the third, the Lemurian race the endowment with the
spiritual spark, with the consciousness occurred. The self is in the
human being the seed of the eternal which is able to rise by development
of the human being to self-conscious life.
This consciousness came
from another world, preceded the origin of the human being and was there
earlier than the other components of the human being (kama manas). This
self-consciousness is paired with passion even today. The true philosopher
strives for freeing the divine in the human being from the sensuous,
so that it realises its divine origin; manas is released from kama.
Then this released manas develops buddhi from itself, the consciousness
of being in the divine world to strive then to atma.
We know that this spiritual
entity of the human being experienced the most different forms. One
of these stages is called that of the dragons. Also in the Secret
Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky we hear of igneous dragons as symbols
of the time in which the human being descended from his higher spirituality
The way through the raw
physical figure is shown with the giants. The human being must be refined,
he rises up to finer and finer figures, he becomes the hero, the knight.
These spiritual knights have always tried to form an alliance with the
ideal of true humanity; they should live with the dwarfs in good harmony.
“And it is found that afterwards giants and dragons, as well as
the knights and dwarfs have always held together.”
Now the woman tells “that
everything that has been big once must become small and decrease; thus
we are also in the case that we always decrease since the creation of
the world and become smaller, above all the royal family.” Hence,
a princess of the royal house must be sent “every now and then
to the country to get married with an honourable knight, so that the
race of dwarfs would be refreshed again and saved from total expiration.”
For the later-born brother has been so small, “that the attendants
have lost him even from the nappies and one does not know where he has
Now a ring is brought the
ring is always a symbol of the personality and by this ring the dwarf
becomes a human being and combines with the spiritual knight.
In what way does the race
of dwarfs develop? It goes through the physical humanity, through the
different states of consciousness. In what way does the present consciousness
develop? By the law of the karmic human development. We consider it
at an example at first. The child learns to read and write; the efforts,
the exercises which it does, all that passes; what has remained is the
ability to read and to write. The human being has taken up the fruit
of his efforts. What was outside at first, in the physical nature, has
become a part of his.
“You are tomorrow
what you think and act today” or as the Bible (Galatians 6:7)
expresses it: “everyone reaps what he sows.”
We are the products of past
times. Our soul would be empty if it did not collect experience from
the external world. The soul would die away if it did not take up the
lessons from the outside world.
If we want to make the things
which we experience really our own, we must process them. This is the
law of evolution and involution by which we increase our being. We have
to collect force from the surroundings. We collect experiences in the
outside world to make them our spiritual property. Then the mind processes
the experience, which he has collected to return over and over again
to the outside world, in the hours of leisure. Our concepts would atrophy
if we withdrew from the outside world. It is a spiritual respiratory
process, a “giving and taking.” We develop our inside world
outwardly, we soak up the outside world. Goethe showed this evolution
and involution process in this fairy tale in important way. The words
of the young man concerning the ideals point to it. Ideals are what
is not yet, what should be realised in future. What the human beings
lifts out above all is the possibility that he puts ideals, is the possibility
to approach a higher future. Because the human being gives reality the
possibility to grow into a higher future, he cares for idealism.
Goethe also nicely expressed
this truth in the fairy tale The New Paris. In this fairy tale
Goethe speaks of himself. You find it in the outset of Poetry and
Truth. Shortly before, in Poetry and Truth, the young
child Goethe tries “to approach the great God of nature, the creator
and preserver of heaven and earth” setting up an altar. “Natural
products should represent the world allegorically, about these a flame
should burn and signify the human soul longing for its creator.”
The boy lights the flame of the little aromatic candles in the light
of the rising sun. But he damages some things, and concludes that “it
is generally dangerous to want to approach God on such ways.”
It was a certain fact to Goethe that one can approach the divinity only
if the human being awakes the abilities slumbering in him as we could
show that in the Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful
Lily. Also in The New Paris he points to this way.
In the outset of the fairy
tale, Goethe describes how the god Mercury appears to him as boy at
Whitsun Sunday in the dream and gives him three nice apples, a red,
a yellow and a green one. They change in his hand into precious stones
and he sees three female figures in them for which he should select
three worthy young men at Mercury's behest.
While he admires them, they
disappear from him; the fourth female being appears, dances on his hand
and gives him a slap on the forehead, because he wants to catch it,
so that he loses consciousness.
When he awakes, he dresses
himself festively to make visits and comes before the gate where he
finds a strange gate in the wall. It has no key.
A man with a long beard
opens from within; he resembles an Oriental, however, he crosses himself
and shows in such a way that he is a Christian. He shows the marvellous
garden to the boy. From the bushes the birds shout quite clearly: “Paris,
Paris”, then again “Narcissus, Narcissus.”
The new Paris now sees an
even more marvellous garden behind a kind of living wall. He asks whether
he is allowed to enter. The old man permits it, after he has taken off
hat and sword. Led by the hand of the old man, he sees even more marvellous
things. He sees behind a fence of swords and partisans an even nicer
garden, surrounded by a canal. Now he must put on another robe; he receives
a kind of oriental costume. Three strange ropes are shown to him as
warning. Now the swords and partisans put themselves over the water
and form a golden bridge, and he enters. Over there the girl meets him
that he has had dancing on his hand and which has escaped from him.
It leads him to the three young ladies from the apples who are dressed
here in suitable garments and play certain instruments.
The girl who he has recognised
as belonging to him refreshes him with fruits. He delights in marvellous
music. Then he and the girl begin a game with little warriors. Against
the warning he and the girl gets in zeal; he destroys her fighters;
they hurl themselves into the water, this foams, the bridge bursts on
which the play took place, and the boy finds himself sodden and thrown
out on the other side.
The old man comes, threatens
with the three ropes which should punish that who betrays his trust.
The boy escapes, while he says that he is chosen to find three worthy
young men for the three young ladies. Now he is politely led out of
the door. The old man shows him different marks to find the gate again.
The significance of their positions to each other points to the medieval
When the boy returns, the
gate is no longer there, the three objects, plate, well and trees are
differently positioned to each other. However, he believes to note that
after some time they have changed their positions a little bit, and
he hopes that once all marks will coincide. He closes typically: “Whether
I can tell to you what takes place further on, or whether it is expressly
forbidden to me, I cannot say.”
The fairy tale, which is
written in 1811, shows in every line that we have to search something
deeper in it. Not without reason Goethe tied it on the legend of Paris,
changed it in such a way not without reason. The legend of Paris and
Helena, of the Trojan War, is known. Paris has to pass the apple to
the most beautiful one of three goddesses; in return he wins Helena.
Goethe reversed the matter, three, later four young women are there
for whom the new Paris should choose the young men. The boy is led into
a kind of mystery that is triply enclosed, he must always meet new conditions.
A kind of war game develops, an image not a real war. Let us now pursue
the fairy tale step by step.
While Goethe says that the
contents of the fairy tale come from the god Mercury, he points to the
fact that he perceives that which he experiences in this fairy tale
as a message of the divinity. Mercury says to the young man that he
were sent by the gods to him with an important order.
Goethe always wants to represent
the states of human consciousness by women. In this fairy tale are also
four young women who meet the young man immediately in the beginning,
as sent from the god Mercury. Significantly, Mercury gives him apples
at first. The apples change into wonderful precious stones, namely a
red, a yellow, and a green one. Then the three precious stones become
three beautiful young women whose clothes have the colours of the precious
stones. However, they waft away from the young man when he wants to
retain them. But instead of theirs a fourth young woman appears who
then becomes his guide.
Also in The Fairy Tale
of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily Goethe points to four
states of consciousness of the human soul using four female figures.
In The New Paris these four women are characterised even more
intimately by the mystic colours which they wear. If we want to understand
the nature of these women closer as well as the colours which they wear,
we have to look at states of consciousness which the human being has
presently, and those which he can acquire to himself developing his
Today, humanity lives on
the earth in the mineral cycle; the human being is related to the mineral
by means of his physical body. All substances that are found in the
physical human body in chemical compounds may they be salts, sorts of
lime, metals et etcetera-, are also found outside in nature. The human
soul lives within this physical body. From incarnation to incarnation
the human soul lives a life between birth and death again and again
in a body that it receives at birth or already at conception.
In every incarnation, the
human soul has to go through a plenty of experiences. It thereby becomes
richer and richer. One can also say that it thereby becomes purer and
purer, because the soul living originally in raw desires and impulses
appears then within a cultural world in a new body again, lives differently
in this cultural world than, for example, within a body that belongs
to a savage tribe. The human soul lives now in kama-manas, that is in
a spirituality that is still used, indeed, to satisfy the impulses and
passions of the human being. But more and more the longing also arises
in the human soul to ascend to a higher spirituality. This soul state
is expressed in esotericism with the red colour which shines through
from within no dead red colour , a bright one, illuminated from within.
The red colour signifies the consciousness for the astral world in the
initiatory knowledge. If the human being takes his soul contents, his
inner soul-life less and less from the physical surroundings, if he
kindles an internal, spiritual life in his soul, this life of the human
soul is signified yellow, again a bright, beaming yellow colour.
If the human being has achieved
to live no longer in his narrow stubbornness, if he feels linked in
sympathy with the whole world, if he feels like merging in the universe,
this state of the human soul is signified in esotericism with a nuance
of green, with a bright green colour. This is the colour which shows
the human soul in the aura if the single consciousness pours out itself
in the whole world.
Thus these women who are
also precious stones, are signs of that which the young man should make
of his soul. The present consciousness that leads us to all knowledge
produces the connection with these soul conditions. It is symbolised
by the fourth figure, by the small figure that “steps dancing
to and fro“ on the finger points of the young man. This is the
usual reason. The human being penetrates to something higher with the
help of his present consciousness, it is the guide in the sanctum. Only
the fourth state of consciousness that is represented by the girl already
exists; the other three exist only as rudiments, are to be developed.
There is something that appears like remembrance in the soul; something
lives in the soul that points back to former states. At especially ceremonious
moments the human being penetrates into these former soul conditions.
The young man has got a particular order from Mercury. Goethe points
here to his mission. He remembers former initiations.
In the fairy tale it is
now told how the young man is led in miraculous way to a place that
he has not entered up to now nay, at which he has never looked in the
surroundings well-known to him. An old man meets him, leads him in the
inside of a nice garden; at first he leads him within the garden in
the round of an external circle. Birds call to the young man, the chatty
starlings in particular; “ Paris! Paris!” the ones call
and “Narcissus! Narcissus!” the others. The young man would
also like to penetrate into the inside of the garden, he asks the old
man for it; this accepts his request only on condition that he takes
off his hat and sword and leaves them behind.
After it the old man leads
him closer to the centre of the garden. There he finds a golden lattice.
Behind it he sees a gently flowing water which shows a big number of
golden and silver fish in its clear depths. He wants to go further to
find out the state of the centre of the garden. The old man accepts
it, but only on new conditions: the young man must change. He receives
an oriental garment which he likes. Besides, he notices three green
little ropes, any tied in a special way, so that it seems to be a tool
to just not very desired use. On his question for the meaning of the
ropes the old man says that it is for those who betray his confidence
which one would be ready to give them here. Now the old man leads him
to the golden lattice; these are two rows of golden spits, an external
one and an internal one; both fall mutually, so that a bridge originates
on which the young man comes now into the centre. Music sounds from
a temple, and when he enters it, he sees three female figures sitting
in a triangle; the miraculous music sounds from their instruments. Also
the little guide is there again and takes care of the young man.
These are three fields of
existence in which the boy is gradually introduced by the old man. He
enters into the first region, the astral world, coming from the world
of the everyday life; there he finds the animals who call to him. But
he wants to go further into the centre of existence. Something in his
soul pushes him that he should develop higher and higher. He brings
the disposition of this rise with him since his birth; there he has
come from a world, in which he was a psychic-spiritual being, into the
darkening of his psycho-spiritual being caused by the physical world.
But the urge for the spirit has remained awake in his soul it points
the soul to the fact that there is something that it remembers at solemn
moments of life. There also the memory of former stages of existence
appears and that from these a mission results for the present stage
of existence. The boy feels that this mission is based on experiences
of his former incarnations. “I once received the initiation,”
he has brought this initiation from former stages of existence with
him. The memory of a previous initiation appears in him he got in a
previous life. There the master took him also with the hand and led
him from stage to stage. There he also had to perform the symbolic action:
taking off the hat and sword. He had to take off everything that connects
him with everyday things of life in the physical world. Somebody who
ascends to a chela, to a spiritual student has always to do that; in
his inside he has to do it. This is why he/she is called a “homeless
human being;” he has put away what the usual human being calls
his home. This does not mean tearing out from life; he/she stands firmly
on his/her position, but his/her own life is lifted out from the surrounding
When he wants to be led
by the master further on, he gets to the second stage; he has to completely
get changed to put away all clothes of his present existence. He is
fitted with a new set of oriental clothes. This is an indication that
all impulses to attain new wisdom have come from the East to humankind.
(Ex Oriente lux.)
The boy in his oriental
clothes is endowed with the ancient wisdom which the old man with the
lamp represents in the Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful
Lily; he is endowed with a soul capacity remembering ancient initiatory
states. He is led to the river that the soul world separates from the
real spiritual world. The river of passions, the astral world, does
not rage and roar, it is the “gently running waters which let
see a big number of golden and silvery fish in its clear depths which
gently moved to and fro, partly single ones, partly shoals of them.”
This is an image how the human being can find valuable knowledge instead
of raging passions if he has quietened down the astral world in himself.
Swords tilt downwards across
the river separating the astral world from the internal, the spiritual
realm. The human being has to sacrifice what he has, otherwise, for
his protection. He has to sacrifice his personal ego; it has to become
the bridge to the spiritual realm. He has to experience the “dying
and growing.” Two rows of swords, an internal and an external
row, tilt downwards and form the bridge which the boy crosses. This
is an image of the fact that a lower and a higher ego-consciousness
must join with each other to make the transition into the spiritual
world possible to the human being.
Now we can also see why
this fairy tale bears the name: The New Paris. It is Paris
about whom the Greek mythology tells that before his birth the parents
were scared by the prophecy that the fire of the boy, who is born, consumes
everything. Hence, he is abandoned after his birth; a bearess nurses
him for five days. He grows up and after various adventures he is recompensed,
he got married to Helena. However, Helena is synonymous with Selene
the daughter of the light of wisdom. Selene is the symbol of the moon.
Thus the Greek mythology shows the union of the human being with the
consciousness which should lead him to higher and higher stages in the
marriage of Paris with Helena.
Narcissus is the other word
which the chatty starlings called to the boy. About Narcissus it is
told that he is the son of the river god Kephissos and a nymph. So Narcissus
is not of earthly, but of supernatural origin.
One tells also that he once
saw his image in the mirror of a spring. This delighted him so much
that he always stared at himself only. He rejected all temptations of
a nymph, approaching him, and he completely sank into his own image.
Narcissus is a symbol of
the human ego which wants to insist on its separate existence, on its
own self. If the human being remains concluded in his ego, hardens in
his ahamkara, if he is not able to get out of his own little human being,
if he looks always only into himself, has fallen in love with his own
ego, then he does not get beyond himself, then he loses the consciousness
that his ego has its real home in a spiritual world, then he cannot
ascend to his spiritual home, he remains “a dull guest on the
dark earth.” Then he cannot develop the higher consciousness in
himself which leads him upwards, he must pine away. Only somebody who
can combine with the higher female principle in his soul will thereby
ascend. Paris gets married to the daughter of the light, to Selene-Helena.
However, Narcissus fell in love with his own nature and rejects the
union with the spiritual being, which approaches him as a nymph.
While the birds call the
boy: “Paris – Narcissus,” he finds himself faced with
the choice: what do you want to bear in yourself, the Paris nature or
the Narcissus nature? This question is put to everybody who wants to
become a chela, a spiritual student. Everybody must choose the way himself
which his soul has to go.
The boy chooses the way
of Paris, according to the urge working from a former incarnation in
his soul; he wants to become the “new Paris.” Hence, he
must also get to know the so-called threats of initiation if he chooses
the way of initiation. They are shown symbolically with three ropes.
In the initiatory schools, the ropes, which lie around the neck of the
neophyte, show different symbols. Among other things, they represent
the threefold nature of the human being in the world. What is due to
this threefold nature of the human being laces itself around his neck
if he breaks the confidence which is put in him with the initiation.
Since the young man wants to become the “new Paris,” he
is allowed to be led by the old man who leads him over the bridge. He
comes into the second circle which is flowed around by the river, the
water of the astral world. There he finds a wonderful garden which appears
to him like an image of heaven on earth. In the midst of this wonderful
garden, he sees the innermost centre, a temple surrounded by porticoes
from which a heavenly music issues forth. He has arrived at the region
of the spiritual world which manifests itself sounding: in the region
of the creative world word, which sounds through the world as the sphere-harmony.
Here he finds the three women again who were sent to him by the god
Mercury at first.
In the image which now the
boy experiences is expressed what the human being can experience if
he has attained the stage of initiation. The human being is able there
to receive messages from higher worlds.
The woman in red turns first to the boy; the red stone gives him the
strength that he can have insight in the spiritual world. This is the
first stage of initiation. The second stage is not mere imagination,
but life in the spiritual world. Indeed, there the human being still
feels as a special being, he feels as a spirit among spirits, but still
separated. He feels, so to speak, like a sound which is not yet part
of a symphony. This stage is shown in the yellow robe.
Then the human spirit learns
to adapt itself in the sphere-harmony, it learns to regard itself as
a member of the spiritual world, as a sound that resonates in the world
symphony. Then the human being gains the green stone; this represents
the woman in green pictorially. You read in the fairy tale about this
woman in green: “she was that who seemed to care mostly for me
and to turn her play to me; however, I was not able to figure her out
..., she could behave howsoever, she gained little from me, because
my small neighbour ... had completely taken me in for herself ... and
although I saw the sylphids of my dream and the colours of the apples
quite clearly in those three ladies, I probably understood that I would
have no cause to retain them.”
Although the boy gets insight
in those lofty realms by initiation, he feels that he has hard to work
for the life in them. At first he must still dispute with his small
guide, the fourth woman, the human reason.
This happens by a war game.
You read in the fairy tale: the little one led the boy to the golden
bridge; there the war game should take place. They put up their armies.
Against the warning he and the girl get into zeal, the boy overcomes
the troops of the little lady, “which running forth and back disappeared
toward the wall finally, I do not know how.”
The Paris of the Greek mythology
is the cause of the Trojan War, in which symbolically the decline of
a human race and the rise of the new race is shown in which the ego
of the single human being has to show its effectiveness. “The
new Paris” is victorious in a fight which is, actually, a game
that is only the image of a fight, which is nothing that has external
reality. This war game between the human reason and that in the human
being which carries the consciousness that issues from the divine is
not anything that has external reality; it is something that lives only
in spirit that is in such a way that it takes place like in the mirror
image of spiritual events in the human soul. Goethe should announce
the higher things which he beheld not in life but in the art. He should
speak in mental pictures, in images.
After the fight, the boy
meets the old man again, his first guide, and now the consciousness
of his own deepest nature is kindled within him with such certainty
that he can call the words to the old man which should live from now
on in his inside. “I am a darling of the gods!” he calls.
But he still wants to live with that what he requests from the old man
as reward: he wants his guide, the small creature. He wants to lead
his life as a human being striving for knowledge in such a way that
the good human reason becomes his guide at first.
Then he is outdoors. The
old man “indicated some objects at the wall, beyond the way, at
the same time pointing backward to the little gate. I understood him
well; he wanted that I memorise the objects to find the little gate
again which shut behind me all of a sudden. I noticed thoroughly what
faced me. Above a high wall, I saw the branches of ancient walnut-trees.
... The branches reached up to a flagstone; however, I could not read
the inscription on it. It rested on a corbel; a niche in which an artificially
worked well poured forth water from bowl to bowl... that disappeared
in the ground. The well, the inscription, and the walnut-trees stood
vertically about each another.”
The young man stands outdoors;
looking back he remembers the experiences of his previous incarnation,
and at the same time he looks at a moment in future. A second initiation
follows after this one which he remembers; once the spiritual initiation
followed the initiation of wisdom.
In the image of the tree,
the flagstone with the inscription, the well from which the water flows,
a symbol of knowledge is dressed which found its expression in mediaeval
times in old astrological mysticism. It gives the boy the view to the
future: if the same constellation of the stars happens again which allowed
you to find the place where the human being is initiated, if the constellation
of the stars in the future recurs for you, the gate is opened to you
again, and then the initiation on higher level is repeated for you.
He looks at a moment of
reality where he will live through what he has experienced as a prelude
with the initiation. He looks at a distant future in which he appears
on the scene and explains what he has experienced in former incarnations.
A certain constellation
existed at the moment when he was initiated. These signs must recur
if on a higher level the initiation is possible. Then the gate is visible
again, and it depends on the permission, whether one is able to tell
more about the future events.
One must take into consideration
this fine mood, the intimate forces which play a role there speaking
about this fairy tale.
As we see, Goethe also depicts
the evolution of the human soul in these both fairy tales. On the one
side, he expressed his conviction of soul development in his Fairy
Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily in coloured pictures
which is valid to all human beings, on the other side, he puts the initiation
of the higher secrets before our souls in these both fairy tales, The
New Melusine and The New Paris, a Fairy Tale of a
Boy, as it was commensurate with his own nature. An individual
way of his own soul development is represented by Goethe in these two
fairy tales. His whole later soul striving adequate to Goethe's
attitude is included in the Fairy Tale of a Boy in particular.
In a fragment, The Journey
of Megaprazon's Sons it was begun in 1792, but was not continued
, Goethe likewise wanted to show a developmental way of the human soul.
Also this fragment indicates the greatness of what he had to say, also
here he points to a constellation. “Venus” and “Mars”
are the last words of it which are kept to us.
A father sends his seven
sons on a far journey in foreign countries that are not discovered by
others. These are the seven basic members of the human being which theosophy
refers to. The father gives his sons the wish with them: “happiness
and welfare, good courage and glad use of the forces.” Every son
has received own talents from nature; now he should apply them and seek
his happiness and perfection by means of them, every brother in his
way. In this fragment, The Journey of Megaprazon's Sons, the
journey to the spiritual land of ancient wisdom should be shown that
the human being can attain if he develops that from the basic members
of his nature which is predisposed as rudiments in them; if he attains
higher states of consciousness by this development. A found piece of
the plan of the spiritual journey shows how Goethe wanted to depict
So we have done some looks
only at Goethe's most intimate inside and have discovered more
and more profundities which shine through his marvellous poems.
So it is comprehensible
if his contemporaries looked up at him like to a signpost to unknown
worlds. Schiller and some others, they have recognised or, nevertheless,
have anticipated what lived in him. However, many have passed without
understanding him. The German still has a lot to do to exhaust what
is manifested in his great spirits. But the words can apply to them
only too well, which Lessing (1729–1781 expressed about Klopstock
(1724–1803, German poet):
Who does not praise Klopstock?
But does anybody read him? No.
We want to be praised less
But be read all the more.
Our great spirits want to be recognised, and then they
lead to intense spiritual deepening.
They also lead to the world
view which theosophy represents. Wilhelm von Humboldt, one of those
who anticipated what lived in Goethe's soul welcomed the first
translation of the Bhagavad Gita (1823) with the deepest understanding.
“It is worthwhile”, he says “to have lived so long
to take these treasures up in oneself.”
Thus those human beings
who learnt from Goethe were prepared for the theosophical world view.
Oh, a lot can still be learnt