5th of May, 1905
The Ring of the Nibelungs.
During the course
of these lectures we shall see how in his works Wagner rose up to the gods
and at the same time came down to the human beings, in order to set
forth, within the human race itself, redemption and salvation.
Mysteries also in the North. A special being, Wotan, plays a prominent
part in these Mysteries. Particularly in the countries inhabited by the
Celts the last traces of the old Druid Mysteries have been preserved.
In England we may still find them at the time of Queen Elizabeth.
The old sagas
relate first of all of Siegfried, an initiate, who was able, after a
certain number of incarnations, to give up his body to an old Atlantean
initiate for a dwelling. This we may find in all the Mysteries. Even
Jesus sacrificed his body to a higher individuality when he was
baptized by John the Baptist.
initiated stage by stage, in order to bring about the higher development
of the Northern tribes. After the transmigration of the surviving Atlantean
peoples to the desert of Gobi, a few tribes had remained behind
in the North. Whereas four sub-races were continuing their
development in the South, four other sub-races developed in the
North. Here, too, we find four stages of evolution; the last one is
the Twilight of the Gods. The northern sagas tell us about this, and
these legends were conceived by the four preparatory races. Wotan
passes four times through an initiation within these four sub-races,
and each time he rises by one degree. He hangs upon the cross for
nine days; he learns to know the things connected with Mimir's head,
the representative of the first sub-race. Also in this case
crucifixion brings redemption.
During his second
initiation he wins Gunlöd's draught of wisdom. In the form of a
serpent he must creep into a subterranean cave, where he dwells for
three days before he obtains the draught. During his third
initiation, corresponding to the third sub-race, he is obliged to
sacrifice one of his eyes in order to win Mimir's draught of wisdom.
This eye is the legendary eye of wisdom, reminding us of the one-eyed
Cyclops, who are the representatives of the Lemurian race. This eye
has withdrawn long ago, and modern men do not possess it; sometimes,
in the case of newly-born children, a faint trace of this eye may
still be seen. It is the eye of clairvoyance. Why was Wotan obliged
to sacrifice it? Every root-race must recapitulate the whole course
of evolution. This also applies to the third northern sub-race.
Clairvoyance has to be sacrificed once again, in order that
something new might arise, which appeared for the first time in
Wotan. This new element is the intellectual capacity, the
characteristic way in which the Europeans contemplate the world.
incarnation is Siegfried, the descendant of gods. Human initiates now take
the place of gods.
through an initiation. He must awaken Brunhilde, the higher consciousness,
by passing through the flames, the fire of passion. In this way he
experiences a catharsis, a purification. Before his purification he
has killed the dragon, the lower passions. He has become
invulnerable. There is only one point between the shoulders where he
can be wounded. This vulnerable point symbolizes that the fourth
sub-race still lacks something which Christianity alone can
give. The coming of One was necessary, who was invulnerable where
Siegfried was still vulnerable — the coming of the
Christ, Who carries the Cross resting between his shoulders at the
very point where Siegfried could be wounded to death.
called upon to check yet another onset of the Atlanteans. The peoples led
by Atli (Attilas) are of Atlantean origin. The attack of these Mongolian
races must give way to Christianity, personified in Leo, the
Thus the myths
described the course of evolution in symbolical images.
The same thing
applies to the myth of Baldur. Also in Baldur we have before us an initiate.
In this myth we find that all the conditions of initiation are
fulfilled. The riddle of Baldur conceals a truth. The strange
position of Loki in this northern saga can only be understood if we
bear in mind this fact. You know that Baldur's mother, alarmed by
evil dreams, made every living being promise to do no harm to Baldur.
An insignificant growth, the mistletoe, is forgotten, and out of this
mistletoe, which was not bound by any promise, Loge made the arrow
which he gave to the blind god Hodur, when the gods were playfully
hurling arrows at Baldur. Baldur is killed by this mistletoe
You know that
another evolution preceded the evolution of the earth; namely, the kingdom
of the Moon. At that time matter resembled our present living substance.
Some of the Moon-beings remained behind upon the Moon-stage of
development, and penetrated into the new world in this form. They
cannot grow upon a mineral soil, they can only grow upon a living
foundation, upon another living being. The mistletoe is one of these
Moon-plants. Loge is the god of the Moon. He comes from the
Moon-period and is now the representative of something imperfect, of
Evil. This occult connection with the Moon-period also explains
Loge's double nature, male and female at the same time. As you know,
the division of the sexes coincides with the Moon's exit from the
common planet. The Sun-god Baldur is the head of the new
creation. The new and the old creation, the kingdoms of the Moon and
of the Sun collide, and Baldur, the representative of the
civilisation of the Sun, is the victim. Hodur is the blind
inevitable force of Nature. Guilt contains a certain progressive
element. Thus Baldur had to be called into life again in the
Mysteries, after having been killed by Loge through Hodur.
These are the
feelings which fill our soul when we penetrate into Richard Wagner's
Man comes down
to the earth as a soul-being; his body is formed out of the ether-earth; the
human being is not yet man and woman, and he has no idea of possession or
power. The soul is referred to as water; possession, implying power,
is still guarded by the surging astral forces, by the Daughters of
the Rhine. The Ego, or egoism coming out of Atlantis is
gradually prepared. But this human being who was originally a
soul-being possessed something which he must renounce: it is love,
which does not, as yet seek another being outside, but
finds its satisfaction within itself. Alberich must renounce this
self-contained love; the human being must attain love by
becoming united with another individual being. As long as the two
sexes were united, the Ring was not needed; when the human being
renounced psychical love, or the two sexes in one, then the Ring had
to unite externally what had thus become severed. The Ring is the
union of individual human beings, the union of the sexes in the
physical world. When Alberich conquers the Ring he must
renounce love. Now comes the time when the human being is no longer
able to work within a united sphere encompassing everything.
Once upon a time, soul, spirit and body were one; now the Godhead
creates the body from outside. The sexes face one another in a
hostile way; the two giants Fafner and Fasolt symbolized this. The
human bodies are now endowed with one sex instead of two; they create
The human body
is represented in every religion as a temple: the Godhead builds it from
outside. The inner temple of the soul must be built by man himself
ever since he has become an Ego. The creative Godhead still contains
love, it is still creative in the outer temple. The myth explains
this in the passage where Wotan wishes to take away the Ring from the
giants, and Erda appears advising him to abstain from this. Erda is
the clairvoyant collective consciousness of humanity. The god must
not keep the Ring encircling what should become free, in order
to unite it again upon a higher stage, when the sexes shall have
become neutral. Thus the prophetic, clairvoyant power of
earth-consciousness prevents Wotan from securing the Ring, which
remains the property of the giants. Ever since, every human being has
one sex only. (The giant represents the physical bodily structure.)
Now the giants begin to build Walhalla. During a quarrel over
the Ring, Fasolt is killed by Fafner. This is the contrast between
male and female: one sex must first be killed within every human
being: the man kills the woman, and the woman kills the man within