Source: "Mysteries of the Great Operas" by Max Heindel
THE RING OF THE NIEBELUNG: THE RHINE MAIDENS:
Repetition is the keynote of the vital body and the extract of the vital
body is the intellectual soul, which is the pabulum of the Life Spirit, the
true Christ principle in man. As it is the particular work of the Western
World to evolve this Christ principle, to form the Christ within that it may
shine through the material darkness of the present time, reiteration of
ideas is absolutely essential. Unconsciously the whole world is obeying
When newspapers start out to inculcate certain ideas into the public
mind, they do not expect to accomplish this by a single editorial, no matter
how powerfully written, but by articles of daily recurrence they gradually
create the desired sentiment in the public mind. The Bible has been preach-
ing the principle of love for two thousand years, Sunday after Sunday, day
by day, from hundreds of thousands of pulpits. War has not yet been abol-
ished, but the sentiment in favor of universal peace is growing stronger as
time passes. These sermons have had but a very slight effect is so far as
the world at large is concerned, no matter how powerfully a particular audi-
ence might be moved for the time being; for the desire body is that part of
the composite man which was impressed at the time and was stirred thereby.
The desire body is a later acquisition than the vital body, hence not so
crystallized, and, therefore, more impressionable. Because it is of a
finer texture than the vital body, it is less retentive, and the emotions so
easily generated are also easily dissipated. A very small impact is made
upon the vital body when ideas and ideals filter into it through the auric
envelope, but whatever it gets from study, sermons, lectures, or reading is
of a more lasting nature, and many impacts in the same direction create im-
pressions which are powerful for good or for ill according to their nature.
In order that we may benefit by this law of cumulative impacts, we take
up for study, another of the great soul myths which throws light upon the
mystery of life and being from a different angle, so that we may learn
whence we have come, why we are here, and whether we are going more thor-
oughly than before.
As previously said, all myths are vehicles of spiritual truths veiled un-
der allegory, symbol, and picture, and, therefore, capable of comprehension
without reason. As fairy stories are a means of enlightenment to children,
so these great myths were used to convey spiritual truth to infant humanity.
The Group Spirit works upon animals through their desire bodies, calling
up pictures which give to the animal a feeling and a suggestion of what it
must do. Likewise, the allegorical pictures, which are contained in myths,
laid the foundation in man for his present and future development. Subcon-
sciously these myths worked upon him and brought him to the stage where he
is today. Without that preparation he would have been unable to accomplish
that work which he is now doing.
Today these myths are yet working to prepare us for the future, but some
are more under their spell than others. The path of empire and civilization
has followed the Sun's course from east to west, and in the etheric atmo-
sphere of the Pacific coast these mythical pictures have almost faded away,
and man is contacting spiritual realities more directly. Further east, par-
ticularly in Europe, we find still the atmosphere of mysticism brooding over
the land. There, people love the ancient myths which speak to them in a
manner incomprehensible to the westerner. The soul life of the people among
the fjords and fjelds of Norway, on the heaths and moors of Scotland, and
the deep recessed of the Black Forest of Germany, and among the Alpine Gla-
ciers, is as deep and mystical today as a thousand years ago. They are in
closer touch with Nature Spirits and other gabled realities by feeling than
we who have gone ahead upon the path of aspiration by direct knowledge. If
we recall this feeling and combine it with our knowledge, we shall have at-
tained an enormous advantage. Let us, therefore, try to assimilate one of
the deepest mystical stories of the past, The Ring of the Niebelung, the
great epic poem of northern Europe. It relates the story of man, from the
time when he dwelt in Atlantis, until this world shall have come to an end
by a great conflagration and the Kingdom of the Heavens shall have been es-
tablished, as foretold in the Bible.
The Bible tells us of the Garden of Eden where our first parents dwelt in
close touch with God, pure and innocent as children. It tells us how that
state of being was abrogated and how sorrow, sin, and death came into the
world. In ancient myths, like The Ring of the Niebelung, we are also intro-
duced to mankind living under similar conditions of childlike innocence.
The opening scene in this drama of Wagner represents life under the waters
of the Rhine where the Rhine maidens swim about with rhythmic motion and a
song upon their lips, imitating and undulating swell of the dancing waves.
The waters are lighted by a great lump of lustrous gold and around this the
Rhine daughters circle as planets move about the central Sun; for we have
here the microcosmic replica of the macrocosm where the heavenly bodies move
around the Central Light-giver in a majestic circle dance.
The Rhine maidens represent primitive humanity during the time when we
dwelt at the bottom of the ocean in the dense, foggy atmosphere of Atlantis.
The gold, which lighted the scene as the Sun illuminates the solar universe,
is a representation of the Universal Spirit which then brooded over mankind.
We did not then see everything in clear, sharp contours as we view objects
around us today, but our internal perception of the soul qualities in others
was much keener than it is now.
The individual Spirit feels itself an Ego and designates itself "I" in
sharp contradistinction to all others, but this separative principle had not
entered into the child men of early Atlantis. We had no feeling of "me" and
"thee"' we felt ourselves as one great family, as children of the divine Fa-
ther. Neither were we troubled about what we should eat or drink any more
than children now-a-days are burdened with the material necessities of life.
Time was to us one grand play and frolic.
But this state could not continue, or there would have been no evolution.
As the child grows up to become a man or woman to take its part in the
battle of life, so also primitive mankind was destined to leave its natal
home in the lowlands and ascent through the waters of Atlantis, when they
condensed and flooded the basins of the Earth. Evolving humanity then en-
tered the aerial conditions in which we live today as told of the ancient
Israelites who went through the Red Sea to enter the Promised Land, and of
Noah, who left his native place when flood waters descended.
The northern myths tells us the story in another way, but though the
angle of vision is different the main points of the narrative bring out the
same essential ideas. In the Garden of Eden our first parents did not think
for themselves. They obeyed unquestioningly whatever commands were given
them by their divine leaders, much as a child in early years does as its
parents wish because it has no sense of self. It lacks individuality.
This, according to the Bible story, was gained when Lucier imbued them with
the idea that they might become like the gods and know good and evil.
In the Teutonic myth we are told that Alberich, one of these children of
the Mist (NIEBEL is mist, UNG is child-they were thus called because they
lived in the foggy atmosphere of Atlantis), coveted the gold which shone
with such luster in the Rhine. He had heard that whoever obtained the gold
and formed it into a ring would thereby be enabled to conquer the world and
master all others who did not possess the treasure. Accordingly, he swam up
to the great rock where the gold lay, seized it and swam rapidly towards the
surface, pursued by the Rhine daughters who were in great distress at the
loss of this treasure.
When Alberich, the thief, had reached the surface of the water he heard a
voice telling him that no one could form the gold into a ring as required to
master the world, save by forswearing love; this he did instantly and forth-
with commenced to rob the Earth of its treasure and gratify his desire for
wealth and power.
As said before, the gold, as it lay in its unformed state upon the rock
of the Rhine, represents the Universal Spirit which is not the exclusive
property of anyone, and Alberich represents the foremost among mankind who
were impelled by the desire to conquer new worlds. They first became
ensouled by the indwelling Spirit and emigrated the the highlands above; but
when once in the clear atmosphere of Aryana, the world as we know it, they
saw themselves clearly and distinctly as separate entities. Each realized
that his interests were different from those of others; that to succeed and
to win the world for himself, he must stand alone, he must look after his
own interests regardless of others. Thus the Spirit drew a ring about it-
self and all inside that ring was "me" and "mine," a conception which made
him antagonistic to others. Hence in order to form this ring and keep a
separate center it was necessary for him to forswear love. Thus, and thus
only, could he disregard the interests of others that he might thrive and
master the world.
Alberich is not alone is his desire to draw a ring around himself for the
purpose of gaining power, however. "As above so below" and vice versa, says
the Hermetic axiom. The gods are also evolving. They also have aspirations
for power-a desire to draw a ring around themselves-for there is war in
heaven as well as upon Earth. Different cults seek to master the souls of
men and their limitations are also symbolized by rings.
THE RING OF THE GODS:
By appropriating a part of the Rhinegold, representing the Universal
Spirit and forming it into a ring symbolical of the fact that it (the
Spirit) has neither beginning nor end, the Ego came into existence as a
separate entity. Within the confines of this auric ring it is supreme
ruler, self-sufficient, and resents encroachment upon its domain. Thus, it
placed itself beyond the pale of fellowship. Like the prodigal son, it wan-
dered far from the Father, but even before it realized that it was feeding
upon the husks of matter, religion stepped in to guide it back to its eter-
nal home, to free it from the illusion and delusion incidental to material
existence, to redeem it from the death incurred in this phase of the dense
embodiment, and to show it the way to truth and life eternal.
In the Teutonic myth, the warders of religion are represented as gods.
Chief among them is Wotan, who is identical with the Latin Mercury, and
Wotansday or Wednesday, is still named in his honor. Freya, the Venus of
Norway, was goddess of beauty, who fed the other gods on the golden apples
which preserved their youths. Friday is her day. Thor, the Jupiter of the
Norsemen, is said to drive her car over the heavens and the noise then heard
is the thunder, and the lightning sparks that fly from his hammer when he
strikes at his enemies. Loge is the name of the god of Saturday. (Lorday
in Scandinavian, a derivation from lue, the Scandinavian name for flame.)
He is really not one of the gods, but related to the giants or nature
forces. His flame is not alone the physical flame, but is also a symbol of
illusion, and he, himself, is the spirit of deceit, sometimes currying favor
with the gods and betraying the giants, at other times deceiving the gods
and helping the giants to further his own schemes. Like Lucifer, the fiery
Mars Spirit, he is also a spirit of negation, but delights also in obstruct-
ing life like the cold Saturn.
There is in northern mythology a reference to the still earlier cult
wherein the deities of the water were worshiped, but the gods we mentioned
superseded them, and are said to ride to the judgment seat every day over a
rainbow bridge, Bifrost. Thus, we see that this religion dates from the
dawn of the present epoch, when mankind had emerged from the waters of
Atlantis into the clear atmosphere of Aryana-in which we are now loving-and
where they saw the rainbow for the first time.
It was said to Noah, when he led primitive mankind out of the Flood that
so long as the sign of the rainbow remained in the clouds, the alternating
cycles of summer and winter, night and day, should not cease, and the north-
ern myth also shows us the gods gathered at the rainbow bridge in the begin-
ning of this era. It and the gods remain until the moment when this phase
of our evolution is ended, an event which will be shown to be identical with
the description given in the Christian Apocalypse, which the Scandinavian
myth will materially help to explain.
Truth is universal, and unlimited. It knows no boundaries, but when the
Ego enveloped itself in a ring of separate vehicles which segregated it from
others, this limitation made it incapable of understanding absolute truth.
Therefore a religion embodying the fullness of pure truth would have been
incomprehensible to mankind and unsuited to help them. Hence, as a child
who goes to school and learns a few elementary lessons the first year to
prepare it for more complicated problems later, so humanity were given reli-
gions of the most primitive nature to educate them to something higher by
Thus the warders of religion, the gods, are represented as desirous of
building a walled fortress so that they may entrench themselves behind that
wall and focalize their powers against the other faith. The Spirit cannot
be limited without enmeshing itself in materiality; therefore, the gods, on
the advise of Loge, the spirit of deceit and delusion, make a bargain with
the giants, Fafner, and Fasolt, (representing selfishness), to build the
wall of limitation. When that wall surrounds the gods they have lost the
universal light and knowledge; therefore, the myth tells us that part of
their payment to the builders of Valhal was to be the Sun and Moon.
Furthermore, when religion has thus limited itself behind the wall of
creed, the spirit of decay is introduced; it waxes old as a garment, and,
therefore, it is also said that Wotan (wisdom or reason), agreed to give the
giants, Freya, the goddess of beauty, who fed the gods on her golden apples
to preserve their youth. Thus, by listening to advise from Loge, the spirit
of deceit, the gods have sacrificed their light, their knowledge, and their
hope of eternal youth and usefulness. Still, as already said, this was in a
manner necessary, for mankind could not have grasped truth in its fullness
then; we cannot understand it even now.
The spiritual power of religion is symbolized by the magic wand of Aaron
in the Bible, by the magic spear of Parsifal in the Grail myth, and by the
spear of Wotan in the story of the Niebelung. To bind the bargain with the
giants, magic characters were cut in the handle of the spear, which was thus
weakened, and in that manner it is shown than religion loses in spiritual
power what it gains in material ways when it makes a bargain with the world
rulers and panders to the baser appetites.
According to the teaching of the Norsemen, those only who died in battle
were entitled to be taken to Valhal. Wotan desires none but the strong and
the mighty warriors. Those who died of illness or in peace upon their beds
were condemned to the realm of hell, the underworld. In this also there is
a great lesson, for none but the noble and the fearless who spend their days
fighting the battle of life TO THE VERY LAST BREATH are worthy of advance-
ment. The shirkers who love ease and peace, rather than the work of the
world, are not entitled to promotion in the school of life. It does not
matter where we work or what the line of our experience may be, so long as
we faithfully battle with the problems of life as they appear before us.
Neither will it suffice if we do this for a year or two and then lapse into
inactivity; we must keep on working and striving until the day of life is
Thus the old Norse religion teaches the same lesson as Paul taught when
he counseled "patient persistence in well doing." Even if we realize that
we have not all truth, that we are placed under limitations by separateness,
the egoism symbolized by the Ring of Niebelung, and by creed and convention
symbolized by the Ring of the Gods, still if we fill our appointed niche to
the best of our ability throughout our whole life we shall be certain of ad-
vancement in a future age. We shall see more clearly through the veil of
egoism when we willingly live the life where we have been placed, for the
Recording Angles make no mistakes. They have put us in that place where we
we have been given the lessons needed to prepare us for a greater sphere of
From what has been said, it is evident that the creedbound condition of
the various churches-the insistence on dogma and ritual-are not, unmitigated
evils, as it may have appeared to many, but in reality the necessary outcome
of the limitations incidental to the material existence through the human
Spirit is now passing, as thus each class is being properly taken care of.
It receives as much truth as it can comprehend, and as is good for its
present development. There is not need of worrying about anyone. No one
can or will be lost, for, as in God we live, and move, and have our being,
so, if one were lost, a part of the Divine Author of our system would be
missing, an unthinkable proposition.
But while a great majority of mankind are thus being taken care of by the
orthodox religions, there always a few pioneers-some whose faculty of intu-
ition tells them of greater heights unscaled, who see the sunlight of truth
beyond the wall of creed. Their souls are starving on the husks of dogmas,
and they long ardently for the apples of youth, and love sold by the gods to
the giants. Even the gods are growing old rapidly, for no religion which is
devoid of love can ever hope to hold mankind for any length of time. There-
fore, the gods were forced to seek again the advice of Loge, the spirit of
deceit, hoping through his wiles to extricate themselves from the dilemma.
Loge tells then how Alberich, the Niebelung, has succeeded in hoarding up an
immense treasure by enslaving his brothers. With the consent of the gods,
he uses deceitful means to capture Alberich and forces him to disgorge all
his treasures. He then plays upon the avaricious nature of the giants and
finally succeeds in ransoming Freya.
Thus the curse of the Ring (egoism and selfishness) has tainted even the
gods. For the sake of the Ring (power), Alberich, the Niebelung, forswore
love. He oppressed his brothers and ruled them with an iron rod. Religion,
on its side, forswore love by the sale of Freya. It also stooped to deceit
to force the rulers of the world to pay tribute and when the Ring of the
Niebelung passed into the hands of the giants the evil fate followed it, for
one brother slays the other that he may be the sole possessor of the wealth
of the world.
The gods have indeed regained Freya, but she is no longer the pure god-
dess of love. She has been prostituted; hence; she is but the semblance of
her former self and fails to satisfy those whose intuition sees deeper than
the surface; such are called Walsungs in the Scandinavian myth. The first
syllable is the derivation of the German word, walhlen, to choose or the
Scandinavian, vaelge. The last syllable means children. They are children
of desire for free will and choice, who want to choose their own path and
who seek to follow their own divine instinct.
"The Valkuerie" is the name of the second part of Wagner's great musical
drama, founded upon the northern myth of the Niegelungs, and the bearers of
the name were children of Wotan, as were also the Walsungs.
The appropriateness of this name will be at once apparent when we under-
stand that the mission of the Valuerie was to go to battles whether fought
between two or more, take the slain upon their horses, and carry them to
Valhal. Therefore, a battle field or a place of combat was called VALPLADS,
the place where Wotan, the god, chose the valiant ones who died fighting the
battle for truth (as they saw it), to be his companions in the realm of
bliss (as they conceived it). Brunhilde, the spirit of truth, was therefore
chief among the Valkueries, the leader of her sisters, the other virtues.
She was the favorite daughter of the god Wotan.
But when the gods had limited themselves and shut away the universality
of truth by the Ring of Creed and dogma--symbolized by Valhal--the Walsungs,
who are truth seekers first and foremost, rebelled. They manifest under
different aspects as shown by the names given them in the northern myth.
The root of their name is SIEG, a German word which means victory, and it is
highly appropriate, for no matter what odds are against it, truths will win
in the end.
Siegmund, the courageous one, who is impelled to seek truth no matter
what the consequences, may be slain as the result of his audacity. We shall
hear how and why, presently. Sieglinda, his sister and later his wife, who
has the same inward urge but dares not openly follow it, may die in despair.
She transmits the hunger for the truth to their offspring Siegfried, he, who
through victory gains peace, so that what one generation of truth seekers
fails to accomplish, will eventually be achieved by their descendants, and
in the end truth will triumph over creed and stand supreme.
We are taking time by the forelock when relating or hinting at events
which will be unfolded in the beautiful tale before us, but we cannot re-
frain from iterating and reiterating that glorious thought, "For now we see
through a glass darkly." Though the walls and limitations of physical ex-
istence are about us in every direction, the time is coming when "we shall
see and know even as we are known."
When Siegmund, impelled by the uncontrollable desire for truth, leaves
Valhal, Wotan is enraged and in order to put a check on the independent
spirit of the Walsungs, he orders the marriage of Sieglinda to Hunding, who
is the spirit of convention. She swoons despairingly in his arms, for she
has not the courage to leave her ancestors as her brother had done. Thus
she is a fit symbol of those who, though they rebel in their innermost na-
tures, are married tot he conventions of the world and are afraid to make a
radical change from the established code of the church, for fear of what
people will think of them. Thus, though outraged in their innermost nature
and thwarted in their holiest ambitions, they continue to bear the yoke of
conventionality and go through the established church services for the sake
In the course of time, Siegmund comes by chance to the house of Hunding
and finds his sister whom at first he does not know, but when they have rec-
ognized each other, he induces her to flee with him. They bout know that
this acts of theirs, this outrage against Hunding, the spirit of convention,
will not be condoned by the gods, and to fortify themselves in the battle
which they know is before them, they take with them a magical sword called
Nothung. NOTH is need or distress, and UNG as we have already seen, means
child. Thus the sword is the child of distress, the courage of despair.
This sword had been buried to the hilt in Yggdrasil by no less a person than
Wotan, himself, against just such an emergency as this. In order that we
may thoroughly understand this beautiful symbol and the seemingly paradoxi-
cal conduct of Wotan, it will be necessary to elucidate the meaning of
Yggdrasil, the World Ash, the tree of life and being, as explained in the
According to their concept, this wonderful tree reached from Earth to
heaven. One of its roots was in the underworld with Hel, a terrible hag who
ruled over those who had died of disease and were not, therefore, qualified
to dwell with Wotan in Valhal. They represent the class of people who are
indolent and neglect to fight the battle of life to the last. Hel has three
children, who are closely akin to her and are always fighting the gods. who
have the welfare of man at heart. They are symbols of the elements which
make up the material world where death alone reigns. One is the Midgaard
Serpent, a prodigious monster encircling the Earth and biting its own tail:
it is the ocean. The other is the wolf Fenris, which is so subtle, yet so
strong, that nothing can hold him: He represents the atmosphere surrounding
the Earth and the winds which cannot be controlled. Loge, with whom we have
already become acquainted, is the spirit of fire, deceit, and illusion. The
other root of Yggdrasil is with the Forest Giants in chaos, whence this
whole universe originated. The third root is with the gods.
Under the roof, which is with Hel, the Serpent, Nidhog, lies gnawing. It
is the spirit of envy and malice which is subversive of good: NID means
envy, and HOG, to fell. Because Yggdrasil, the tree of life in manifesta-
tion, lives by love, envy and malice would fell the tree and bring it down
to death and Hel. But under the root that is with the gods, is the fountain,
fountain, Urd, whence the three Norns, or Fates, fetch the water of
life--the spiritual impetus wherewith to water the tree and keep its leaves
fresh and green. The names of these three Norns are Urd, Skuld, and
Verdande. Urd is from the German, UR, the past, primordial, or virgin state
in relation to man and the universe. She spins upon her wheel the thread of
fate generated by us in the past; and Skuld, a name signifying debt, is the
second Norn, who represents the present. To her, Urd delivers the thread of
fate of past lives which we must expiate in this embodiment. It is then
given to Verdande, the third Norn, whose name is a derivation of WERDENDE,
the German word for becoming. She represents the future, and when the
thread of fate symbolizing the debt paid at the present time is handed to
her, she breaks it off piece by piece. Thus this wonderful symbol tells
just that when the causation generated in past lives has worked itself into
effects in this life, the debt is cancelled for all time to come.
The northern mythology further tells us that besides these three chief
Norms, there were many others, and that one officiated at each birth and
took charge of the destiny of the child then born. We are also told that
these Norns, or Fates, did not work according to their own will but were
subject to the dictates of the invisible Orlog. The name is a corruption of
the word UR, meaning primordial, and LOG, law. Thus we see the northenr
symbol teaches that the Norns were not subject to the gods, and that our
destiny is not ruled by caprice but by an inexorable law of Nature, the Law
of Cause and Effect.
Under the third root, which was with the Frost Giants, was the well of
Mime. The Frost Giants, or nature forces, had existed prior to the estab-
lishment of the Earth. They had helped its formation and, therefore, knew
many things which were hidden from the gods. Therefore, even Wotan, the god
of wisdom, was wont to go to the well of Mime to drink therefore, that he
might receive a knowledge of the past. He also had to drink from the foun-
tain of Urd that he might renew his life.
Thus we see that the Hierarchies, who help us to evolve, are themselves
living to learn; and the very fact that they are learning shows their li-
ability to err, and, also the reason why Wotan, their chief, should provide
the sword, Nothung--the courage of despair--so that in an emergency those
against whom he erred might have a weapon wherewith to defend themselves.
Much more might be said about this wonderful World Ash, the Yggsdrasil,m but
the student has now sufficient information to enable him to understand the
relation of the sword to that which follows.
When Siegmund and Sieglinda, fortified with the magic sword--the courage
of despair--leave the house of Hunding, the spirit of convention, to seek
truth in the wide world, the outraged Hunding needs not the command of Wotan
to pursue them with intent to kill. Wotan bids Brunhilde, the Valuerie, to
be invisibly present at the expected battle and fight for Hunding, the
spirit of conventionality. But the spirit of truth cannot fight against the
truth seeker, so Brunhilde sorrowfully refuses to comply with Wotan's or-
ders. When Siegmund meets Hunding in deadly combat and is about to vanquish
him, Wotan interposes his spear, and upon that the sword, Nothung, is shat-
tered and Siegmund, defenseless, is killed by a blow from Hunding.
Thus truth is ever upon the side of the truth seeker in his battle
against the conventionalities of the church and social customs. But when
the power of religion, which furnished him the courage of despair necessary
to stand up for his convictions, is pitted against the power of creed sym-
bolized by the spear of Wotan, many an earnest soul has been vanquished,
though not convinced. Siegmund may die, and Sieglinda may follow him to the
grave, broken-hearted, when, assisted by Brunhilde she has given birth to
Siegfried, the victor; for, as already said, the thirst for truth once felt
can never be quenched until it has gained satisfaction.
In the meantime, Wotan powerless to abandon Valhal, the Ring of Creed, is
forced to put away from himself Brunhilde, the spirit of truth, who has dis-
obeyed him; for it is a condition of creed that it be autocratic and brook
no gainsaying. But as all religions are inherently imbued by a spirit of
love and a sincere desire to benefit and uplift mankind, Wotan feels an
overwhelming sorrow at the step which is necessary for the continuance of
the policy he had adopted, and which he adheres to despite the heart-rending
pleadings of Brunhilde. It is a terrible thing to part company with truth,
and both feel this more keenly than words can express, when the poor creed
bound Wotan must perforce put Brunhilde to sleep, as he says:
"Never to be wakened, until one shall come who is more free than I."
And in that saying he discloses the principal requirement in the quest of
truth. "Unless a man leave father and mother," said Christ, "He cannot be-
come my disciple." All limitations must have been swept away before we can
hope for success in the quest of truth.
SIEGFRIED, THE TRUTH SEEKER:
We have seen that it is necessary to set aside all limitations of reli-
gion, family, environment, and whatever else hinders in order to be able to
grasp truth, but there is still another great requirement, or one which per-
haps is comprehended in the first. We cling to our religion, our friends,
and our families through fear of standing alone. We obey conventions be-
cause we fear to follow the dictates of the inner voice that urges us on to-
ward the higher things which are incomprehensible to the majority; and
therefore in reality, fear is the chief obstacle which prevents us from get-
ting at truth and living it.
This is also shown in the Ring of the Niebelung. Wotan decrees that
Brunhilde, the spirit of truth, is to be put to sleep, because he fears the
loss of his power if he retains her after she has rebelled against his
limitations and refuses to shield Hunding, the spirit of convention. He
pronounces her doom in sorrow, saying that she must remain asleep until one
more free than he, the god, shall waken her. "Perfect love casteth out all
fear," and only the fearless are free to love and to live truth. Therefore,
Brunhilde is put to sleep on a desolate rock, and around her burns forever
a circle of flame kindled by loge, the spirit of delusion. No one but the
free--the unfettered and fearless soul--can ever hope to penetrate that
circle of hallucination (conventionality) and live to love the reawakened
spirit of truth, ever lovely and young.
Thus the second part of the mystic drama ends with the abandonment of
truth, and the triumph of convention. Creed is firmly established on Earth.
Siegmund, the truth seeker, lies vanquished and dead. His sister-wife,
Sieglinda, also has paid with her life for entering the quest and it would
seem as if Brunhilde must sleep forever. now the Walsungs have only one
representative, the orphan child Siegfried, who was left in the cave of
Mime, the Niebelung, by the dying mother, Sieglinda.
In time, however, the child grows up in youthful vigor, developing the
strength of a giant. Beautiful as a god, he is a strange contrast to Mime,
the ugly Niebelung, a dwarf who claims to be his father. This Siegfried can
scarcely believe, for when he looks about him in the forest, he sees that
the nestlings resemble their parents, that the young of all animals have the
same characteristics which are found in their parents. He alone is differ-
ent from the one who claims him as a son.
When with prodigious strength he has caught a bear, and leads it into the
cave of Mime, the latter is almost paralyzed with fear, an emotion utterly
unknown to Siegfried. Mime, one of the most cunning smiths among the
Niebelung, has forged sword after sword for the use of this young giant, but
each in turn has been shattered by the powerful arm that wielded it. Mime
has indeed tried to weld the sword Nothung, the child of distress, which was
shattered upon the spear of Wotan in the fatal fray between Siegmund and
Hunding. The fragments of this sword were brought by Sieglinda to the cave
of Mime, but NO ONE WHO IS A COWARD can either forge or wield the sword,
Nothung, the courage of despair; therefore, Mime, despite all his skill, has
failed every time he has tried. One day when Siegfried taunts him because
of his inability to make a sword that will stand, Mime brings out the frag-
ments of Nothung, and tells him that if he can weld it, it will serve him
well. Possessing that cardinal qualification of the trust seeker, fearless-
ness, Siegfried accomplishes with unskilled hand what Mime has failed to do.
He forges anew the magic sword and is thus prepared for the quest of truth
Though ages have passed since Alberich, the Niebelung, was forced to part
with the Ring as ransom to the gods, neither he nor his tribe have forgotten
the power wielded by its possessor. And the longing to regain the lost
treasure is still rife among all of them. For mankind, being inherently
spiritual and free, will never be reconciled to the loss of individuality
insisted upon under the regime of the church. Though, like Mime, they may
be imbued with an uncontrollable fear; though they may cringe and fawn be-
fore the higher powers, as Alberich fawned before Wotan, they always,
whether subconsciously or otherwise, remember their spiritual heritage and
seek to recover their estate as free agents, unbound by creed or other
To this end they scheme and plot in the most subtle manner, as symbolized
by the aid Mime gives Siegfried to forge anew the sword once shattered by
Wotan. He sees that the young truth seeker is fearless. He knows that
Fafner, one of the giants, who obtained the Ring from the gods, broods over
his treasure in the form of a huge dragon, awe inspiring in the extreme. He
can scarcely believe it possible for anyone to vanquish this monster, but he
believes that if it can be done, this fearless young giant, Siegfried, is
the only one able to accomplish the feat. It has, indeed, been said that
the one who forges Nothung, will slay him; and Mime trusts to his cunning
and hopes that if Siegfried kills the dragon, he, Mime, may be able to ob-
tain possession of the Ring of the Niebelung and become the master of the
There is a very deep spiritual significance in this tale, namely, that of
the lower nature, plotting to use the higher self or its own vile purposes.
Siegfried (he, who through victory gains peace), is the higher self at that
stage of its pilgrimage where it has been left all alone, without kith or
kin, where it sees that the shape of clay symbolized by Mime is not part of
it, but of an entirely different race and breed, where it is ready to con-
tinue its search for truth, attempted in previous lives as did Siegmund and
Sieglinda, from whom the indomitable courage, that knows neither fear nor
defeat, has been inherited.
But though the seeking soul may forsake the world, as did Hertzleide, the
mother of parsifal, who gave birth to the truth seeker in a dense forest,
and as Sieglinda who bore the child, Siegfried, in the cave of Mime, the
lower nature follows, scheming to use the power of spirit for worldly ends.
Alas! how many have left the churches in despair because of creed, as
Siegmund left Wotan; who have gained a certain knowledge of the higher
things and have then misused their heavenly powers of hypnotism and mental
suggestion, to attract to themselves the goods of this world, seeking rather
the things of Earth which fetter than the treasures of heaven which free the
There has never been an age on Earth when this part of the great myth was
so generally enacted as it is today. There are many thousands of people who
represent in themselves, Siegfried and Mime--Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. They
are roused to a greater or lesser realization of the powers of the spirit,
of their divine nature and attributes as Siegfried was, but the lower phase
of their nature, Mime, keeps on scheming for material benefit.
And whether we call this use of the divine powers, Christian, or by an
other name, it is not the science of the soul. We should be honest with
ourselves and recognize the fact, that He, who had not a place whereon to
lay His head, and who was the very embodiment of the attracting Christ
power, refused to use that power for His own benefit. Even at the point of
death He refrained, and it was said of Him that others He saved, but Him-
self, He could not (would not) save because the Law of Sacrifice is greater
than the law of Self-preservation: "For what shall it profit a man, though
he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
The moment we set out upon the path in earnest, the lower nature is
doomed despite all its efforts of cunning to save itself. And when Mime
plans to send Siegfried against the dragon, Fafner, the spirit of desire, he
has in fact sealed his own fate; for when the soul has conquered the desire
for worldly possessions, we are dead to the world, even though we may still
live here and perform our work in the world. We are then in the world, but
not of it.
Led by Mime, Siegfried finds the giant Fafner guarding the cave where he
has hidden the hoard of the Niebelungs. The lower nature always urges the
higher to seek the material wealth of the world, seeking, thereby, to obtain
standing and power in society. It is, alas, all too common, this desire and
thirst for wealth and power! We are all like Mime, ready to risk our lives
in the quest of gold. And though Mime quakes at the very thought of being
near the dreadful dragon, he keeps on plotting, for he knows that when the
Ego, represented by the Ring of the Niebelung, is so enmeshed in the snares
of materiality that the body may be said to own it, when all its energies
are directed by the lower nature, there is no limit to the power it may at-
tain. But Siegfried, the fearless truth seeker, when he has vanquished the
dragon, representing the desire nature, also slays Mime who is emblematic of
the dense body.
Freed from the mortal coil, the Spirit is able to understand the language
of Nature. Intuitively it senses where truth, represented by Brunhilde, the
Valkuerie, is hidden, and following this intuition, represented in the myth
by a bird, he starts for the fire girt rock, to wake and to woo the sleeping
beauty. But though we may, by laying aside the physical body, enter the
realm where truth is to be found, the pathway is not by any means clear; for
Wotan, the warder of creed, stretches his spear across the path of
Siegfried, endeavoring to the last to dissuade or discourage the independent
searcher for truth. However, the power of creed, represented by the spear
of Wotan, was weakened when he bargained with the giants; in other words
when it appealed to the lower side of man's nature. And in token of this
weakening, magic characters were cut upon the shaft of the spear. This is
therefore, easily broken in twain at the first blow from Nothung, the cour-
age of despair.
When the truth seeker has come to the point here described, he will no
longer allow himself to be thwarted in his quest, whether the opposing power
be devils like Fafner or gods like Wotan. Every obstacle he removes with
ruthless hand for he has only one desire in the world, an overweaning crav-
ing to know truth. Therefore, after shattering the spear of Wotan, he
presses onward, led by the bird of intuition, until he comes to he circle of
flame hiding Brunhilde, the sleeping spirit of truth. Neither is he daunted
at sight of loge's flames of illusion and hallucination. He plunges boldly
through, and behold! there lies that for which he has panted during many
lives. He stoops, gathers Brunhilde in his strong, yet tender arms, and
with a fervent kiss he awakens the spirit of truth from her age long sleep.
THE BATTLE OF TRUTH AND ERROR:
There are no words adequate to convey a conception of what the soul feels
when it stands in that presence, far above this world (where the veil of
flesh hides the living realities under a mask) also, beyond the world of de-
sire and illusion where fantastic and illusory shapes mislead us into be-
lieving that they are something very different from what they are in real-
ity. Only in the Region of Concrete Thought, where the archetypes of all
things unite in that grand celestila choir which Pythagoras spoke of as "the
harmony of the spheres," do we find truth revealed in all its beauty.
But the Spirit cannot stay there forever. This truth and reality--so ar-
dently desired by everyone who has been driven to enter the quest by an in-
ward urge stronger than the ties of friendship, relationship, or any other
consideration--is but a means to an end. TRUTH MUST BE BROUGHT DOWN TO THIS
REALM OF PHYSICAL FORM, IN ORDER THAT IT MAY BE OF REAL VALUE IN THE WORLD'S
WORK. Therefore Siegfried, the truth seeker, must of a necessity leave the
rock of Brunhilde, return through the fire of illusion and re-enter the ma-
terial world to be tempted and tried, to prove whether he will be true to
the vows of love which pass between himself and the re-awakened Valkuerie.
It is a hard battle that is before him. The world is not ready for
truth, and however vehemently it may protest its desire in that direction,
it schemes and plots, by all means within its great power, to down anyone
who brings the truth to its doors; for there are few institutions that can
bear the dazzling brightness of its light.
Not even the gods can endure it, as Brunhilde knows to her sorrow, for
was she not exiled by Wotan, because she refused to use her power on the
side of convention! Any anyone who steps upon conventionalities, to uphold
truth, will find that the whole world is against him and that he must stand
alone. Wotan was her father and he professed to love her dearly. Yes, he
did love her in his way, but he loved the power symbolized by Valhal more.
The Ring of Creed, whereby he dominated humanity, was more desirable, in his
eyes, than Brunhilde, the spirit of truth; so he put her to sleep behind the
circle flame of illusion.
If such be the attitude of the gods, what then may be expected from men
who do not profess such high and noble ideals as th gods, the keepers of re-
ligion, were supposed to inculcate into them? All this and more than we can
put into words--much that it will do the student good to meditate
upon--flashed upon the mind of Brunhilde in the moment of her parting from
Siegfried, and, in order to give him at least a chance in the battle of
life, she magnetizes, as it were, his whole body to make him invulnerable.
Every place is thus protected save one point on the back between the shoul-
ders. Here we have a case analagous to that of Achilles, whose body was
made invulnerable in all places save one of his heels. Thee is a great sig-
nificance in this fact; for as long as the soldier of truth wears this
armour, of which Paul speaks, in the battle of life, and boldly faces his
enemies, it is certain that, however hard he is beset, eventually he will
win. Because, by facing the world and baring his breast to the arrows of
antagonism, calumny, and slander, he shows that he has the courage of his
convictions, and a power higher than he, the power that is always working
for good, protects him no matter how great the onslaught he faces. But woe
be unto him, if at any time he turns his back! Then, when he is not watch-
ing the onslaught of the enemies of truth, they will find the vulnerable
spot be it in the heel or `twixt the shoulders. Therefore, it behooves us
and everyone else who loves truth, to take a lesson from this wonderful sym-
bology, and TO REALIZE OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ALWAYS LOVE TRUTH ABOVE EVERY-
THING. Friendship, relationship, and all other considerations should have
no weight with us compared with this one great work with truth and for
truth. Christ, who was the very embodiment of truth, said to His disciples,
"They have hated me, and they will hate you."
So let us not deceive ourselves: The path of principle is a rugged road,
and strenuous is the labor of climbing. On the way we shall probably lose
caste with everyone near and dear to us. Though the world now professes to
grant religious freedom, the day of persecution has not yet ended. Creed
and dogmatism are still in power, ready to prosecute and persecute anyone
who does not go along the conventional lines. But so long as we face them
and pursue our path regardless of criticism truth will always come out un-
scathed from the battle. It is only when we show ourselves to be cowards
and cravens, that these inimical forces can give us our death blow through
this vulnerable spot.
Another point: when Siegfried starts out from the rock of the Valkuerie
to re-enter the world, he gives to Brunhilde the Ring of the Niebelung.
this Ring, as you remember, was formed from the Rhinegold, representing the
Universal Spirit, by Alberich the Niebelung. And we also remember that he
could not shape this nugget until he had forsworn love; for friendship and
love ceased when the Universal Spirit was surrounded by the ring of egoism.
From that time the battle of life has been waged in all its fierceness: ev-
ery man's hand being against his brother because of his egoism, which impels
each to seek his own, regardless of the welfare of others.
But when the Spirit has found truth and has come in contact with the di-
vine realities, when it has entered the Region of Concrete Thought, which is
heaven, an has seen that one great verity--THAT ALL THINGS ARE ONE and that
though they may seem separate here, there is an invisible thread uniting
each with all, when the Spirit has thus regained universality and love, it
cannot be separate any longer. So, when it leaves the realm of truth, it
leaves behind the feeling of separateness and self, symbolized by the Ring.
Thus it becomes universal in its nature. It knows neither kin nor country,
but feels like the much misunderstood Thomas Paine, when he said, "The world
is my country; to do good is my religion." This attitude of mind is alle-
gorically represented when Siegfried gives to Brunhilde the Ring of the
As you will remember, the Valkueries were daughters of Wotan, the chief
god of the Norse mythology. They rode through the air on horses at great
speed, to any place where deadly combat, whether between two or a greater
number, was in progress. As soon as a warrior fell dead they lifted him
tenderly to their saddles and carried him to Valhal, and abode of th gods,
where he was resuscitated and lived in bliss forever after. You remember,
also, that the name Valkuerie was interpreted as--chosen by acclamation.
those who fought the battle of life to the very end were chosen by acclama-
tion to be the companions of the gods.
Brunhilde as chief of these daughters of Wotan, and her horse Grane, was
the swiftest of the steeds. This animal, which had thus faithfully carried
the spirit of truth, she gave to her husband; for TRUTH MAY EVER BE
CONSIDERED THE BRIDE OF THE ONE WHO HAS FOUND IT. The horse, therefore, is
symbolical of the swiftness and decision wherewith one who has married truth
is able to choose aright and discern truth from error--only, PROVIDED HE RE-
Thus with the love of truth in his heart, and mounted upon the steed of
discernment, Siegfried starts out to fight the battle of truth and bring the
world captive to the feet of Brunhilde. Heaven and Earth hang in the bal-
ance, for he may revolutionize the world if he is faithful and courageous;
but if he forgets his mission and becomes enmeshed in the sphere of illu-
sion, the last hope of redeeming the world is gone. The TWILIGHT OF THE
GODS IS CLOSE AT HAND, when the present order of things shall be done away,
when the heavens shall melt in the fiery heat so that out of the travail of
Nature a New Heaven and a New Earth may be born, wherein righteousness as a
garment shall clothe all and everything.
Let us now turn our eyes from heaven, from Siegfried and Brunhilde, to
Earth, where the world, which the truth is to set free, waits for the coming
hero. The northern myth introduces us to the court of Gunther, a king hon-
est and upright according to the standards of the world. Gutrune, his sis-
ter, is the highest lady in the land, her brother being unmarried. Among
the courtiers there is Hagen, a name which means hook, signifying inherent
selfishness. He is scion of the Niebelungs, related to Alberich who formed
the fatal Ring. Ever since the days when that Ring passed out of their
possession, the Niebelungs have kept close watch upon its possessors:
first, Wotan, who tricked Alberich and robbed him of the Ring, then Fafner
and Fasolt, the giants who had built Valhal for Wotan, and who forced him to
give them the Ring in part payment to ransom Freya, the goddess of love and
youth, whom Wotan had prostituted and sold for the sake of power: then when
Fafner slew Fasolt, the Niebelungs watched closed the cave where Fafner lay
concealed, brooding over the hoard of the Niebelung as a huge dragon. And
Mime, the foster father of Siegfried, paid with his life for scheming to ob-
tain possession of the coveted treasure. Nor was Siegfried safe from their
vigilant watch, save when he was at the rock of the Valkuerie; for no
Niebelung, nor one who is a cur or coward, can ever penetrate beyond the
circle flame of illusion into the realm of truth. Therefore, the Niebelungs
do not know what has become of the Ring when Siegfried emerges anew into the
world, though, of course, they surmise that it has been left with Brunhilde,
and instantly commence plotting how to obtain it.
The court of Gunther lies directly in the path of Siegfried, and Alberich
speeds ahead and informs Hagen that the last known possessor of the Ring is
coming. Together, they scheme how to find out its whereabouts and obtain
possession, but each in his black heart, also plots how to outwit the other
and obtain the treasure for himself alone; for there is no honor in the
battle of the separate self; each is against all others regardless of who
they are. Though in the world we find co-operation for a common purpose,
the question that is uppermost in the mind of every one who participates is:
What can I get out of it? Unless this is plain and a personal reward is in
sight, the great majority of mankind are unwilling to work. The apostle
tells us, "not to be concerned with the things for self alone, but also, TO
BE MINDFUL OF THE THINGS OF OTHERS." and we have given intellectual assent
in the Christian countries, but, alas! how few are willing to live up to the
ideal of unselfish service.
Continued with file "RC1028.TXT"
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