Source: "Mysteries of the Great Operas" by Max Heindel
REBIRTH, AND THE LETHAL DRINK:
"Birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Has elsewhere had its setting,
And cometh from afar." --WORDSWORTH.
When Siegfried leaves the rock of the Valkuerie and reaches the worldly
court of Gunther, he is given a drink calculated to make him forget all
about his past life and Brunhilde, the spirit of truth, whom he had won for
his very own.
It is usually supposed that the doctrine of rebirth is taught only in the
ancient religions of the Orient, but a study of the Scandinavian mythology
will soon rout that misconception. Indeed, they believed in both rebirth
and the Law of Cause and Effect as applied to moral conduct, until Christi-
anity clouded these doctrines, for reasons given in "The Rosicrucian
Cosmo-Conception" (p. 167). And it is curious to read of the confusion
caused when the ancient religion of Wotan was being superseded by Christian-
ity. Men believed in rebirth in their hearts, but repudiated it outwardly,
as the following story told of Saint Olaf, King of Norway, one of the earli-
est and most zealous converts to Christianity, will show; when Asta, the
Queen of King Harold, was in labor but could not bring to birth, a man came
to the court with some jewels, of which he gave the following account: King
Olaf Geirstad, who had reigned in Norway many years before and was the di-
rect ancestor of Harold, had appeared to him in a dream and directed him to
open the great earth-mound in which his body lay, and having severed it from
the head with a sword, to convey certain jewels, which he would find in the
coffin, to the queen, whose pains would then cease. The jewels were taken
into the queen's chamber, and soon after she was delivered of a male child,
whom they named Olaf. It was generally believed that the Spirit of Olaf
Geirstad had passed into the body of the child, who was named after him.
Many years after, when Olaf had become King of Norway, and had embraced
Christianity, he rode one day, as he often did, by the mound where his an-
cestor lay, and a courtier, who was with him at the time asked,
"Is it true, my lord, that you once lay in this mound?"
"Never," replied the king, "has my Spirit inhabited two bodies."
"Yet, it has been reported that you have been heard to say, on passing
this mound, 'Here was I. Here I lived.'"
"I have never so said," returned the king, "and never will I say so."
He was much discomfited, and rode hastily away, presumably to avoid dis-
cussion of an inward conviction which all the dogmas of the new faith could
As a matter of fact, all ancient people, whether in the East or in the
West, knew much about birth and death which has been forgotten in modern
times, because second sight was more prevalent then. To this day, for in-
stance, many peasants in Norway assert ability to see the Spirit passing
out of the body at death, as a long narrow white cloud, which is, of course,
the vital body; and the Rosicrucian teaching--that the deceased hover around
their earthly abode for some time after death, that they assume a luminous
body and are sorely afflicted by the grief of dear ones--was common knowl-
edge among the ancient Northmen. When the deceased King Helge of Denmark
materialized to assuage the grief of his widow, and she exclaimed in anguish
"The dew of death has bathed his warrior body,' he answered:
"`Tis thou, Sigruna,
Art cause alone,
That Helge is bathed
With dew of sorrow.
Thou wilt not cease thy grief,
Nor dry the bitter tears.
Each bloody tear
Falls on my breast,
Icy cold. They will not let me rest."
Students, when they realize the fact of rebirth, generally wonder why the
memory of past lives is blotted out, and many are filled with an almost
overpowering desire to know the past. They cannot understand the benefit
derived from the lethal drink of forgetfulness, and they look with envy at
people who claim to know their past lives--when they claim to have been
kings, queens, philosophers, priests, et cetera. there is, however, a most
beneficent purpose in this forgetfulness, for no experience is of value in
life except for the impress which it leaves by the purgatorial or heavenly
post-mortem experience. This impress then acts in such a manner that at the
proper time it directs, warns, or urges a certain line of action, and this
warning, or urge, though dissociated from the experience, or rather for the
reason that it is dissociated from the experience wherefrom it was ex-
tracted, acts with a quickness greater than that of thought.
To make this point clear we may perhaps liken this record, graven upon
our subtler vehicles, to a phonograph record, which playing, will cause a
battery of tuning forks placed near it to vibrate as each note is struck.
From the outward point of view there seems to be no reason why a certain in-
dentation on a phonographic record should correspond to a certain one on the
tuning fork, and when the needle falls into that indentation, a definite
sound should be produced which sets the tuning fork vibrating. But whether
we understand it or not, demonstration shows that there is a tie of tone be-
tween that little indentation and the tuning fork. And this does not depend
upon a knowledge of how the impress came to be imprinted on the record, or
what caused the tuning fork to respond to that vibration. It is there,
whether we know all the facts about it, or not.
Similarly, when we have had a certain experience in life, be it joyful or
the reverse, it is condensed in the post-mortem experience, leaving an im-
press upon the soul to warn, if the experience is purgatorial; to urge, if
heavenly. And in a later life, when an experience comes up similar to the
one which caused the impress, the vibration is sensed by the soul, it awak-
ens the tone of pain or pleasure, as the case may be, in the record of the
past life, far more speedily and accurately than if the experience itself
were called up before our mind's eye. For we might not, even at the present
time, be able to see the experience in its true light while we are hampered
by the veil of flesh, but the fruit of the experience, gathered in heaven or
hell, tells us unerringly whether to emulate our past, or shun it.
Moreover, supposing we did know our past lives: that by our present en-
deavors to live well and worthily we had acquired that faculty. Supposing
that we had lived lives of debauchery, cruelty, crime, and selfishness! If
people now despised us accordingly, we would then hold that they ought not
to judge us by the past--that they were wrong in ostracizing us. We would
contend that our present life of worthy endeavor should be made the basis of
judgment, to the exclusion of former conditions, and in this we should be
perfectly right. But then, for the same reason, why should we claim honor
in the present life, adulation or admiration, because in the past life we
were kings and queens? Even if it were true that we had held such posi-
tions, why should we lay ourselves open to the ridicule of skeptics by tell-
ing such stories? So, whether we have memory of our past lives or not, it
is better to concentrate our efforts upon the highest possibilities of to-
There is no doubt, that one who is able to search the Memory of Nature,
and who does so for the sake of investigation in connection with the
progress and evolution of man, will, at some time or other, come into touch
with glimpses of his or her own past. But a true servant who really feels
himself to be a laborer in the vineyard of Christ, will never allow himself
to swerve from the path of service and follow the trail of curiosity. The
Disciple who receives instructions from the Elder Brothers, is warned at the
first Initiation never to use his power to gratify curiosity, and on all
subsequent visits to the Temple this idea is dinned into his ears.
The distinctions between the legitimate and illegitimate use of spiritual
powers are so fine and so subtle, that, as one grows, the restrictions
whereby one seems beset, multiply to such an extent, that were the tale
told to others, ninety out of a hundred would say: "But what is the use
then of having spiritual sight or of being able to leave the body? When you
are so restricted, it seems that the possibility of trespassing is multi-
plied to such an extent, that there is scarcely any use of having these fac-
ulties." Nevertheless, they are of great value, and the responsibility is
only the natural result of added growth.
An animal takes freely anything that it wishes: it commits no sin and is
not held responsible for its action, because it knows no better. But as
soon as the idea of "mine" and "thine" has been imprinted upon our con-
sciousness, then also the responsibility comes. As our knowledge grows, so
does our responsibility; and the finer the soul qualities, the finer the
distinctions between right and wrong. This we observe in our daily lives,
that the standards of the permissible or non-permissible vary according to
the quality of each individual.
And when we aspire to that power whereby we may know the past, we shall
find that we are no more justified in using this power for aggrandizement,
than we would be justified in using it to obtain worldly wealth or power.
So the life, or the lives, we have led are hidden from us for a purpose, un-
til we know how to unlock the door; and when we have the key we shall prob-
ably not want to use it.
For that reason, then, Siegfried is given the lethal drink the moment he
enters the court of Gunther, and straightway he forgets about his past life
with Mime, the dwarf, who claimed him as a son. He forgets how he forged
the magic sword, "the courage of despair," which stood him in such good
stead in the fight with Fafner, the spirit of passion and desire. He for-
gets that he had thus won the Ring of the Niebelung, the emblem of egoism,
whereby he gained knowledge of his true spiritual identity and slew Mime,
the personality, who wrongfully claimed to be his progenitor. He forgets
how, as a free Spirit undaunted by fear, he broke the spear of Wotan, the
warder of creed, and followed the bird of intuition to the abode of the
sleeping spirit of truth. The forgets his marriage to her and the vow of
unselfishness, implied when he gave her the ring.
But each and every one of these important events has left its impress
upon his soul, and now it is to be tested: whether that impress has been
deep or superficial. Temptation comes to us, life after life, until the
treasure laid up in heaven has been tested and tried by temptation on
Earth--whether or not it will withstand the moth of corruption. After the
Baptism, when the Spirit of Christ had descended into the fleshy body of
Jesus, it was taken into the wilderness of temptation to prove its weakness
or its strength. And, similarly, after each heavenly experience we must ex-
pect to be brought back to Earth, that it may be learned whether we shall
stand or fall in the furnace of affliction.
THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS:
When Siegfried reaches the court of Gunther, Gutrune, the fair sister of
the king hands him the magic cup of forgetfulness. Forthwith, he loses
memory of the past and of Brunhilde, the spirit of truth, and stands a naked
soul ready to fight the battle of life. But he is armed with the sublimated
essence of former experience. The sword of Nothung, the courage of despair,
wherewith he fought greed and creed symbolized by Fafner, the dragon, and
Wotan the god, is still with him; also Tarncap, or the helmet of illusion,
which is an apt symbol of what we in modern times call hypnotic power, for
whoever put this magic cap on his head appeared to others in whatever shape
he desired; and he has Brunhilde's horse Grane, discernment, whereby he,
himself, might always perceive truth and distinguish it from error and illu-
sion. He still has powers which he may use for good or evil according to
As we have said previously, our idea of what truth is changes as we
progress. We are gradually climbing the mountain trial of evolution, and as
we do phases of truth appear which we never before perceived; and what is
right at one stage, is wrong at another. Though, whenever we are in the
flesh we see through the veil of illusion symbolized by Loge's flame which
encircles the rock of Brunhilde, her swift charger Grane, discernment is
also with us; and is we only give him free rein, the material brain mind,
which is charged with the lethal drink of forgetfulness, can never gain the
ascendancy over the Spirit.
The early Atlantean Epoch, when mankind lived as guileless "Children of
the Mist" (Niebelung) in the foggy basins of the Earth, is represented in
the Rhinegold The later Atlantean time is an age of savagery, where mankind
has forsworn love, as Alberich did, and forms "the Ring" of egoism, where it
devotes its energies to material acquisitions symbolized by "the hoard" of
the Niebelung, over which giants, gods, and men fight with savage brutality
and low cunning, as set forth in the "The Valkuerie."
The early Aryan Epoch marks the birth of the idealist, symbolized as the
"Walsungs" (Siegmund, Sieglinda, and Siegfried), a new race which aspires
with a sacred ardor to new and higher things--valorous knights who had the
courage of their convictions and were ever ready to fight for truth as they
saw it, and to give their lives as forfeit to uphold their heartfelt convic-
tions. Thus the age of realistic savagery gave place to an era of idealis-
We are now in the latter part of the Aryan Epoch. The truth seekers of
the past have again left the fire girt rock of Brunhilde. We have again as-
sumed the veil of flesh and partaken of the lethal drink, and we are today
actually playing the last part of the great epic drama, "The Twilight of the
Gods," which is identical in its import with our Christian Apocalypse. "The
gospel of the Kingdom" has been preached to us, "the Way, the Truth, and the
Life" has been opened to us, as it was to Siegfried; and we are on trial
now, as he was at Gunther's court, to see if we will live as "married to
truth," or whether we will drag her from her retreat and prostitute her, as
Siegfried did. In order to gain the hand of Gutrune, he wrested the emblem
of egoism, the Ring of the Niebelung, from Brunhilde's hand and put it on
his finger again; he bound her and carried her to Gunther to be his wife; he
prostituted her, and himself committed adultery with Gutrune--for having
once married truth, it is spiritual adultery to seek the honors of the
Heaven and Earth are outraged at this colossal betrayal of truth. The
great World-Ash, the tree of life and being, shakes at its root, where Urd,
Skuld, and Verdande, the past, present, and future, spin the thread of fate.
It grows dark on Earth; Hagen's spear finds the only vulnerable point in
Siegfried's body--his life is the forfeit, and as the highest ideal of the
age has failed, there is no use in perpetuating the existing order of
things. Therefore, Heimdal, the heavenly watchman, souls his trumpet, and
the gods ride in solemn procession over the rainbow bridge for the last
time, to meet the giants in final battle involving the destruction of heaven
This is a very significant point: At the opening of the drama we find
the Niebelungen "at the bottom of the river." Alberich later forges "the
Ring" in fire, which can only burn in the clear atmosphere such as we have
in the Aryan age. During this age the gods also hold their sacred councils
at the rainbow-bridge, which is the reflection of the heavenly fire. When
noah brought the original Semites through "the Flood," he kindled the fire.
"The bow" was then set in the cloud to remain for the age and during that
time it was covenanted that the alternating cycles, summer and winter, day
and night, et cetera, should not cease. In the Apocalypse (IV:3), John is
offered instruction concerning "things which must be hereafter," by "One
having a rainbow around Him"; and later (X:160, a mighty Angel with a rain-
bow on its head solemnly proclaims the end of time. Thus it is plain from
the northern myth and the Christina teaching, that the epoch began when the
bow was set in the cloud; when the bow is removed the epoch will end and a
new condition of things physical and spiritual, will be ushered in.
The other phenomenon attending this time of trouble is set forth in the
ancient myth. Loge, the spirit of illusion, has three children: the
Midgaard Serpent which encircles the Earth, biting its own tail, is the
ocean which refracts and distorts every object immersed therein. Men fear
the treacherous element; their cheeks have always paled at the thought of
what it may do when unleashed. The wolf Fenris, the atmosphere, is also a
child of illusion (optical), and the dread roar of the tempest may strike
fear into the stoutest heart. Hel, death, is the third of loge's children,
and the "queen of terrors." Before man entered concrete existence, as de-
scribed in the beginning of the great myth and in Genesis, his consciousness
was focused in the spiritual worlds where the illusive elements, Loge
(fire), Fenris (air), and the Serpent (water), are nonexistent; hence, death
also was an unknown quantity. But during the present epoch when the consti-
tution of the human body is subject to the action of the elements, death
also holds sway.
At the sound of the trumpet of Heimdal, all the factors of destruction
press forward to the plain Vigrid, the counterpart of Armageddon, where the
gods of creed and their sworn supporters have assembled to make a last
stand. The sons of Muspel (physical fire), press forward from the south,
demolishing the rainbow bridge. The Frost Giants advance from the north.
With an awful roar, Fenris, the temptest-driven atmosphere, rushes upon the
Earth. So terrific is its velocity that the friction generates fire, hence
it is said that its lower jaw is upon the Earth, its upper reaches the Sun,
and fire streams from its nostrils. It swallows Wotan, the god in charge of
the age of air, when the bow was in the cloud. The Midgaard Serpent or wa-
tery element is vanquished by Thor, the god of thunder and lightning, but
when the electrical discharges have finally disposed of the element, water,
there can be no thunder and lightning, hence the northern myth informs us
that Thor dies of the fumes from the Serpent. In our Christian Apocalypse
we also hear of thunders and lightnings, and are told that finally "there
shall be no more sea."
But as the Phoenix arises rejuvenated and beautiful from its ashes, so
also a New Earth, fairer and more ethereal, was seen by the ancient prophet-
ess to arise from the great conflagration where "the elements melt with fer-
vent heat"--"Gimle," she called it. Nor was it without population, for
while the great conflagration was in progress a man and a woman called Life
and Liftharaser (life means life) were saved and from them springs a new
race which lives in peace and close to God.
"A hall I see,
More brilliant than the sun,
Roofed with gold.
On the summit of Gimle,
There shall live
A virtuous race,
An enjoy blessedness
"Thither cometh the Mighty One--all--
To the council of the gods,
In His strength from above.
He who thinketh for all,
He causeth strife to cease,
And establisheth peace
To endure forever."
Thus the ancient northern myth teaches, but from a different angle, the
same truths as found in greater fullness in the Christian Scriptures from
Genesis to the Apocalypse, and it is important that we should realize the
truth of these tales. There are, alas, too many in the class described by
Peter as saying: "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fa-
thers fell asleep, all things continue as THEY WERE in the beginning."
There are few who realize the import of the statement in the second chapter
of Genesis, that "a mist went up from the ground and watered the earth be-
fore it rained," and that thus the children of the mist must have been
physiologically different from the man of today who breathes air since "the
Flood," when the mist condensed and became the sea. But just as sure as
these changes happened in the past, so there is now another change impend-
ing. True, it may not come in our time--"that hour knoweth no man, neither
the Angels, neither the Son," and repeatedly the warning of Noah is held up
before us in this connection. In that day they ate and drank, married and
were given in marriage, but suddenly the waters engulfed them and all who
had not evolved the physiological requisites, LUNGS, necessary to live in
the new condition perished. The Ark carried the pioneers safely through the
To make the next change safely, a Wedding Garment is required, and it is
of utmost importance that we should work upon it. The SOMA PSUCHICON or
"soul body" which Paul mentions (I Cor. XI :44), is an etheric vehicle of
paramount importance; for when the present elements have been dissolved in
the impending change, how shall we survive if we can function only in a
dense body as now!
The Germano-Anglo-Saxon race will of course be succeeded by two more be-
fore the Sixth Epoch is definitely ushered in, but today, and from our
stock, there is being prepared the seed for the New Age. It is exactly the
mission of the Rosicrucian Order working through the Rosicrucian Fellowship,
to promulgate a scientific method of development suited particularly to the
Western people whereby this Wedding Garment may be wrought, so that we may
hasten the day of the Lord.
TANNHAUSER: PENDULUM OF JOY AND SORROW:
In this drama we deal again with one of the ancient legends. It was
given to humanity by the divine Hierarchies who guided us along the path of
progress by pictorial terms so that mankind might subconsciously absorb the
ideals for which, in later lives, they were to strive.
In ancient times love was brutal; the bride was bought or stolen or taken
as a prize in war. Possession OF THE BODY was all that was desired, there-
fore woman was a chattel, prized by man for the pleasure she afforded him,
and for that only. the higher, finer faculties in her nature were given a
chance of expression. This condition had to be altered or human progress
would have stopped. The apple always falls close to the tree. Anyone born
from a union under such brutal conditions must be brutal; and, if mankind
were to be elevated, the standard of love had to be raised. Tannhauser is
an attempt in that direction.
This legend is also called "The Tournament of the Troubadours," for the
minstrels of Europe were the educators of the Middle Ages. They were wan-
dering knights, gifted with the power of speech and song, who journeyed from
land to land, welcomed and honored in court and castle. They had a powerful
influence in forming the ideas and ideals of the day, and in the Tournament
of Song held in Wartburg Castle, one of the problems of that day--whether
woman had a right to her own body or not, a right to protection against li-
centious abuse by her husband, whether she was to be considered a companion
to be loved as soul to soul or as a slave bound to submit to the dictates of
her master--was the question to be decided.
Naturally, at each change there are always those who stand for the old
things against the new, and champions of both sides took part in that battle
of song in Wartburg Castle.
The question is still rife. It is still unsettled with the majority of
mankind, but the principle enunciated is true, and only as we conform to
this principle by elevating the standards of love, can a better race be
born. This is particularly essential to one who is aiming to lead a higher
life. Though the principle seems so self-evident it is not even yet agreed
to by all who make high professions. In time everyone will learn that only
as we regard woman as the equal of man can mankind truly be elevated, for
under the Law of Rebirth the soul is reborn alternately in both sexes, and
the oppressors of one age become the oppressed of the next.
The fallacy of a double standard of conduct which favors one sex at the
cost of the other should be at once apparent to anyone who believes in the
succession of lives whereby the soul progresses from impotence to om-
nipotence. It has been amply provide that, far from inferior to man, woman
is at least his equal and very often his superior in many of the mental oc-
cupations; though that does not appear plainly for the drama.
The legend tells us that Tannhauser, who represents the soul at a certain
stage of development, has been disappointed in love, because its object,
Elizabeth, was too pure and too young to be even approached with a request
that she yield to him. Yearning with passionate desire, he attracts some-
thing of an identical nature.
Our thoughts are like tuning forks. They awaken echoes in others who are
capable of responding to them, and the passionate thought of Tannhauser
brings him, therefore, to that which is called "the Mountain of Venus."
Like "A Midsummer Night's Dream"of Shakespeare, this story of how he finds
the Mountain of Venus, of how he is taken in by this lovely goddess, and is
kept in passion's chains by her charms, is not entirely founded upon fancy.
There are Spirits in the air, in the water, and in the fire; and under cer-
tain conditions they are contacted by man. No so much perhaps in the elec-
tric atmosphere of America, but over all of Europe, particularly in the
north, there broods a mystic atmosphere which has somewhat attuned the
people to the seeing of these elementals. The goddess of beauty, or Venus,
here spoken of, is really one of the etheric entities who feed upon the
fumes of low desire, in the gratification of which the creative force is
liberated in copious quantities. Many of the Spirit controls which take
possession of mediums and incite them to laxity of morals and abuses, who
act as their soul lovers and seriously weaken their victims, belong to this
same class which is exceedingly dangerous, to say the least. Paracelsus
mentions them as "incubi" and "succubi."
The opening scene of Tannhauser introduces us to a licentious debauch in
the cave of Venus. Tannhauser is kneeling before the goddess who is
stretched on a couch. He wakens as if from a dream, and his dream has in-
culcated a longing to visit the Earth above again. this he tells the god-
dess enus who answers:
"What foolish plaint! Art weary of my love?
By sorrow once thy heart was crushed above.
Up minstrel, seize thy harp and sing of bliss divine,
For love's chief treasure, love's goddess is thine."
Inflamed with new ardor Tannhauser seizes harp and sings her praise:
"All hail to thee! Undying fame attend thee.
Paeans of praise to thee be ever sung.
Each soft delight thy bounty sweet did lend me,
Shall wake my harp while time and love are young;
For love's sweet joy, and satisfaction's pleasure,
My sense did thirst, my heart did crave;
And thou, whose love a God alone can measure,
Gave me thyself, and in this bliss I lave.
But mortal am I, and a love divine,
Too changeless is to mate with mine.
A god can love without cessation,
But under laws of alteration,
Our share of pain as well as pleasure,
We mortals need in changing measure.
Too full of joy, again I long for pain,
So, Queen, I cannot here remain."
When mankind emerged from Atlantis, and came into the air of Aryana, the
rainbow stood for the first time in the sky as the sign of the new age. At
that time it was said that as long as this bow was in the clouds the seasons
would not cease to change; day and night, summer and winter, ebb and flood,
and all the other alternating measures of Nature would follow one another in
unbroken succession. In music there may not always be harmony. Discord
once in a while comes in to give appreciation of the melody which follows.
Thus it is with the question of pain and sorrow, of joy and happiness: THEY
ARE ALSO MEASURES OF ALTERNATION. We cannot live in one without craving the
other, any more than we could remain in heaven and gather experiences that
are only to be found upon Earth. And it is this inward urge, this swing of
the pendulum from joy to sorrow and back again, which drives Tannhauser from
the cave of Venus that he may again know the strife and struggle of the
world; that he may there gain the experience which sorrow alone can give and
forget the pleasures which bring to him no soul power. But it is character-
istic of the lower forces, however, that they always seek to influence the
soul against its will; that they always use every endeavor to keep it away
from the path of rectitude; and so Venus who stands as the representative of
these powers in the drama of Tannhauser, warningly and dissuasively says:
"In dust thy soul will soon be humbled,
Adversity thy pride will fell,
Then crushed in spirit, ardor crumbled,
Thou'lt plead again to feel my spell."
But Tannhauser is firm in his purpose. the urge within him is so strong
that nothing can keep him back, and though he still feels the spell, he ex-
claims with great fervor:
"While I have life, but thee my harp will praise,
No meaner theme will e'er my song inspire;
Thou spring of beauty and of gentle grace,
With sweetest songs dost quicken love's desire;
The fire thou kindlest in my heart,
An altar flame will burn alone for thee,
An though in sorrow now from thee I part,
Thy champion I shall ever be.
But I must forth, the life of earth I crave,
Here I must aye remain a slave;
I thirst for freedom though my death it be,
Therefore, O Queen, from thee I flee!"
Thus when Tannhauser leaves the cave of Venus he is the pledged champion
of the low and sensual side of love; and this he goes out into the world to
teach, for that is the nature of mankind; WHATEVER THE HEART FEELS, must
Knowing the country well, he at once turns his steps toward Wartburg
where a number of minstrels are always staying with the lord and lady of the
manor, who to a very large extent are patrons of minstrelsy always anxious
to be entertained, and always lavish with their gifts.
After awhile he meets a band of minstrels who are walking in the woods,
and these, his former friends, are surprised that they have not seen him for
so long. They ask him where he has been, but Tannhauser, knowing that there
is a general sentiment against being with the lower elemental forces in Na-
ture, hides his whereabouts during the period of his absence from them, by
giving an evasive answer. He is then told by the minstrels that there is to
be a tournament of the troubadours at the castle and is invited to go with
Healing that the subject of the song contest is to be love, and further-
more, that the prize will be given to the winner by the hand of the beauti-
ful daughter of the lord, namely Elizabeth, (the lady Tannhauser has loved
so ardently and who so inflamed his soul in past days that it drove him to
the cave of Venus) he hopes by the ardor with which he is inspired, to in-
duce the beautiful maiden to hear his plaint. As we always reap a harvest
of pain whenever we go contrary to the laws of progress, Tannhauser, by this
act, is sowing the seed that will one day bring him the harvest of pain he
coveted in the cave of Venus.
MINSTRELS, INITIATES OF MIDDLE AGES:
When Tannhauser emerged from the cave of Venus one of the first sounds
which greeted him was the chant of a band of pilgrims going to Rome to ob-
tain forgiveness for their sins, and this awakened within him an overpower-
ing sense of his own delinquency. Therefore he kneels and exclaims in deep
"Almighty, praise I give to Thee,
I pray Thee mercy show to me.
By sense of sin I am oppressed,
The load too heavy far for me.
I have no peace, can find no rest
Till pardon I receive from Thee."
While he is thus dejected and feels himself accursed, doomed to roam
alone and unblessed through the world because of his unhallowed love for Ve-
nus, the minstrels come upon him, and recognizing him, endeavor to persuade
him to accompany them to Wartburg, but as said before, it was the PASSIONATE
love of Elizabeth that drove him thence, and he feels that he dare not ap-
proach her. As a last argument, Wolfram von Eschenbach tells Tannhauser
that Elizabeth loves him. Elizabeth has never been at the contests of song
since Tannhauser left, and Wolfram von Eschenbach, one of the purest and
most beautiful characters in medieval history, endeavors to secure the hap-
piness of Elizabeth by bringing Tannhauser back to her though he himself
loves her, and it breaks his own heart to do so. On hearing this, PASSION
fires Tannhauser's soul anew, and he sings:
"Ah, dost thou smile once more upon me!
Thou radiant world that I had lost!
O sun of heaven thou dost not shun me
By stormy clouds so long o'ercrossed.
"Tis May, sweet May. Its thousand carols tender,
Rejoicing set my sorrow free.
A ray of new, unwonted splendor
Illumes my soul, O joy `tis she!"
On meeting Tannhauser at the castle, Elizabeth tells him:
"Now the world to me is darkened.
Repose and joy from me have flown.
Since fondly to thy lays I've hearkened,
The pangs of bliss and woe I've known;
And when this land thou hadst forsaken,
My peace of heart had also fled.
No minstrel could my joy awaken,
To me their lays seem sad and dead.
In slumber oft near broken-hearted,
Awake, each pang was oft recalled;
All joy has from my life departed.
Oh tell me why I am enthralled!"
To this Tannhauser replies:
"All praise to love for this sweet token!
Love touched my harp with magic sweet.
Love through my song to thee hath spoken
And captured, leaves me at thy feet."
Elizabeth then confesses:
"O blessed hour of meeting!
O blessed power of love!
At last I give thee greeting,
No longer wilt thou rove.
Now life anew awakens,
Within this heart of mine;
The cloud of sorrow breaketh.
The sun of joy doth shine."
Thus Elizabeth has inspired love in the hearts of two of the minstrels,
Wolfram and Tannhauser, but how different this love is will be seen from the
way each handles the theme in the contest of song, which follows in the sec-
ond act, where the Lord of Wartburg opens the contest with the following
"As oft in war times, death we braved,
And knightlike battled, honor to maintain,
So, minstrels, you have fought and virtue saved.
Upheld true faith with voice and harp's sweet
Tune up again; another lay indite.
DESCRIBE TRUE LOVE, that we may surely know;
And who so does most nobly this recite
The princess shall reward on him bestow."
In this last verse we gain a true understanding of the relative scope and
mission of knighthood and minstrelsy. It was the duty of knights to follow
war, to defend with the sword all who were in need thereof, to fight with a
strong arm the battle of the weak. In so far as a knight followed the code
of honor then prevailing, and defended the weak, keeping faith with friend
and foe, he learned the lessons of physical and, in a certain sense, of
moral courage, which are so necessary for the development of the soul. Any-
one who enters upon the path of spiritual attainment is also a knight of
noble birth, and it behooves him to realize that he must have the same vir-
tues which were required of knighthood, for upon the spiritual path there
are also dangers and places where physical courage is required. The Spirit,
for instance, cannot come to liberation without physical inconvenience.
Sickness usually attends soul growth to a greater or a less extent, and it
requires physical courage to endure the suffering incident to that attain-
ment, after which we all strive, and thus sacrifice the body for the soul.
It was the mission of minstrelsy to foster this courage and to inculcate
the finer virtues also. All minstrels, therefore, had that poetical strain
which brings us in touch with the higher and finer things in Nature not
sensed by ordinary humanity; but more than that, many among the minstrels in
medieval times were Initiates themselves, or perhaps lay brothers. There-
fore their words were often found to be pearls of wisdom. They were looked
up to as teachers, as wise men, and were friends of the true nobility.
There were, of course, exceptions, but Tannhauser was not one of these,
however. We shall find that he was really a noble soul despite his faults,
and in fact we should remember that we are all Tannhausers before we become
Wolframs. We all respond to Tannhauser's definition of love before we grow
to Wolfram's spiritual conception as given at the contest.
Lots are drawn to see who shall begin the contest, and the name of Wol-
fram appears on the slip first taken from the box. He therefore commences
"Gazing around upon this fair assemblage
How does the heart expand to see the scene!
These gallant heroes, valiant, wise, and gentle,
As stately forests growing fresh and green,
And blooming by their side in sweet perfection,
I see a wreath of dames and maidens fair.
Their blended glories dazzle the beholder,
My song is mute before this vision rare.
I raise my eyes to one whose starry splendor
In this bright heaven with mild effulgence beams,
And gazing on that radiance, pure and tender
My heart is sunk in prayerful, holy dreams.
And lo, the source of all delight and power
Is then unto my listening soul revealed.
From whose unfathomed depths, all joy doth
The tender balm through which all grief is healed.
Oh! never may I dim its limpid waters
Nor rashly trouble them with wild desires.
I'll worship thee, kneeling, with soul devoted.
TO LIVE AND DIE FOR THEE MY HEART ASPIRES.
I know not if these feeble words can render
What I have felt of love both true and tender."
At the end of Wolfram's song Tannhauser starts as if from a dream. He
rises and sings:
"I, too, drank from that well of pleasure;
Its waters, Wolfram, well I know;
Who that has life may dare ignore it?
Hear how its virtues I will show:
But I would not draw near its margin
Unless desire consumed my soul;
Then only would its wave refresh me,
My life and heart make new and whole.
O TIDE OF JOY, LET ME POSSESS THEE!
All fear and doubt before thee fly;
Let thy unfathomed raptures bless me!
For thee alone my heart beats high,
So that I own thy fiery splendor,
Let me with longing ever burn.
I tell thee, Wolfram, thus I render
What I have known of truest love.
Here we have the true description of the two extremes of love; that of
Wolfram being the love of soul for soul, Tannhauser's being the love of
sense. One is the love that seeks to give, the other demands possession
that it may receive. This is only the beginning of the contest, of which we
shall hear fully later, but these being the definitions first given by the
two chief exponents of love, it is well worth noting that Wolfram von
Eschenbach stands as the exponent of the new and the more beautiful love
which is to supersede the primeval conception.
Even to this day, unfortunately, the ancient idea is entertained that
possession is the signature of love. Those who believe in rebirths in al-
ternate sexes, should by this fact be sufficiently convinced that, as the
soul is bisexual and our bodies contain rudimentary organs belonging to the
opposite sex, so it is no more than proper and just that each human being
regardless of the polarity of the present garb, should have the same
privileges as the other.
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN:
During the contest the sublime and heavenly ideals of the companionship
of soul with soul, is sung by the majority of the minstrels, and at each
presentation there comes from Tannhauser a passionate retort defending the
sensual phase of love. At last, enraged at their seeming insipidity, which
he regards as sentimental nonsense, he cries, "Go to Venus. She will show
With this remark his guilty secret is out. It is taken by everyone to
mean that he has committed that which is the worst phase of the unpardonable
sin, namely, intercourse with an etheric entity; and feeling that he is de-
praved beyond redemption, they rush at him sword in hand and would surely
have killed him had not Elizabeth interceded, pleading that he be not cut
off from life in his sins, but be given a chance to repent. Then a band of
pilgrims is heard in the distance and the minstrels agree that if he will go
and seek the pardon of the Holy See at Rome, they will spare his life.
When Elizabeth reveals the grief of her heart in her plea for Tannhauser,
he at last sees the enormity of his sins and is seized with an overwhelming
sense of his depravity. He, therefore, anxiously grasps the suggestion
given him, joins the band of pilgrims, and journeys toward Rome. Being a
strong soul, he does nothing by halves. His contrition is as sincere as his
sin was brazen. His whole being yearns to cleanse itself from impurity that
he may aspire to the higher and nobler love awakened in his breast by
The other pilgrims sang psalms of praise, but he scarcely dared to look
to Rome in the distance, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." While
they refreshed themselves and slept in hospices on the way, he made his bed
upon the snow. When they walked over the smooth road, he walked among
thorns, and when he came to Italy so that no even the fair scenes of that
land should give him joy, he blindfolded his eyes and thus journeyed toward
the Eternal City.
At last the morn came upon which he was to see the Holy Father, and hope
rose in this heart. During the entire day he stood patiently while thou-
sands of others passed by, the ecstasies of heaven on their countenances,
and received there the pardon they craved, going away with lighter hearts,
gladdened and ready to make a new start.
At last came his turn. He stood in that august presence and waited pa-
tiently for the Holy Father's message, waiting and hoping for a kind word to
send him on his way rejoicing. Instead there came the thundered words, "If
you have associated with demons, then there is no forgiveness for you, nei-
ther in heaven nor on Earth. Sooner will this dry staff which I hold in my
hand blossom, than that thy sins will be forgiven."
At this heartless announcement the last spark of hope died within
Tannhauser, and lust, a thing of blood, lifted its head. His love was
turned to hate, and blazing with anger he cursed everything in heaven and on
Earth, swearing that if he could not have true love, then he would return to
the cave and seek Venus anew, and telling his fellow pilgrims to keep back,
he leaves then and journeys back to his native home alone.
Meanwhile the prayers of Elizabeth, the pure and chaste virgin to whom
Tannhauser's love had gone out, unceasingly called for forgiveness for the
sinner. Hopefully she awaited the return of the pilgrims, but when at last
they arrived and Tannhauser was not among them, despair seized her, and
feeling that there was no other way she passed out of this phase of life, to
present personally her petition at the Throne of Grace before our Heavenly
Father. The funeral procession is met by the returning Tannhauser, who is
bowed with unspeakable grief at this sight.
Then another band of returning pilgrims arrive, telling of a great
miracle which has taken place at Rome. The staff of the Pope had budded to
signify that a sinner refused remission on Earth, had found pardon in
Though the legend is clothed in medieval and Catholic phraseology, and
though we may discount the idea that any one man has power to forgive sin or
deny remission, it contains spiritual truths which are becoming more perti-
nent with each passing year. It deals with the unpardonable sin: the only
sin that cannot be forgiven, but must be expiated. As you know, Jehovah is
the highest Initiate of the Moon Period, the ruler of the Angels, who during
this present Day of Manifestation work with our humanity through the Moon.
He is the author of generation and the prime factor in gestation, the giver
of offspring to man and to beast, using the lunar ray as his vehicle of work
during the times which are propitious to generation. Jehovah is a jealous
God, jealous of his prerogative, and, therefore, when man ate of the tree of
knowledge and took the matter of generation into his own hands, he expelled
him from paradise to wander in the wilderness of the world. There was no
forgiveness. He must expiate it in travail and in pain, reaping the fruit
of his transgression.
Before the Fall, humanity had not known either good or evil. They had
done what they were told, and nothing else. By taking matters into their
own hands, and by the pain and the sorrow which followed their transgres-
sion, they learned the difference between good and evil: they became ca-
pable of choice. They acquired prerogative. This is the great privilege
which more than compensates for the suffering and the sorrow man has endured
in expiation of that offense against the Law of Life, which lies in
performing the creative act when the stellar rays are unpropitious, thus
causing painful parturition, and a multitude of other diseases to which hu-
manity is heir today.
In this connection I may mention that the Moon is the ruler of the sign
Cancer, and that cancer, in its malignant form, admits of no cure, no matter
how many remedies science may bring forward from time to time. Investiga-
tion of the lives of persons who suffer from this disease has proved in ev-
ery case that the one involved has been sensual in the extreme during previ-
ous lives, though I am not prepared to say that this is a law, since a
sufficient number of investigations have not been made to establish it. It
is, nevertheless, significant that Jehovah, the Holy Spirit, rules gen-
erative functions through the Moon, that the moon governs Cancer, and that
those who abuse the sex function in a very marked and bestial degree are
later afflicted with the disease called cancer: that that is incurable and
thus bears out the saying in the Bible that all things may be forgiven save
the sin against the Holy Spirit.
There is a mystic connection between the Cherubim with the flaming sword
at the Garden of Eden and the Cherubim with the open flower on the door of
Solomon's Temple: between the spear and the Grail cup: between Aaron's rod
that budded and the staff of the Pope which flowered and the death of the
chaste and pure Elizabeth, by whose intercession the stain was removed from
the soul of the erring Tannhauser. Neither can one who has never know the
awful torment of temptation realize the position of one who has fallen.
Christ, Himself, felt in the body of jesus all the passion and all the temp-
tations to which we ourselves are subject, and it is stated that that was
for the purpose of making Him merciful unto us as a High Priest. That He
was tempted, proves that temptation is in itself not sin. IT IS THE YIELD-
ING THAT IS SIN; therefore, He was without sin. Whoever can thus be tempted
and withstand, is of course highly evolved; but let us remember that none of
the present humanity has yet arrived at that stage of perfection and that we
are better men and women for having sinned, and suffered in consequence, un-
til we have become awake to the important fact that the way of the trans-
gressor is hard, and have turned into the pathway of virtue, whereon alone
is found inward peace. Such men and women are on a much higher stage of
spiritual development than those who have lived lives of purity because of a
sheltered environment. This Christ emphasized when He said that there shall
be more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-and-nine
who need no repentance.
There is a very important distinction between innocence and virtue, and
what is more important still, is that WE SHOULD REALIZE THE FALLACY OF THE
DOUBLE STANDARD OF CONDUCT which gives liberties to or rather condones them
in a man, while insisting that one misstep will ruin a woman for life.
Were I to choose a wife today, and later learn that her life had been
clouded by a mistake for which she had suffered, I should know that such a
one had learned to know sorrow, and had engendered compassion and forbear-
ance thereby, and had thus acquired qualities which would make her a better
and more sympathetic companion than one who stood "innocent" upon the
threshold of life, liable to fall a prey to the first temptation that befell
THE ROD THAT BUDDED:
In the prologue of Faust, God is represented as saying, concerning the
"With vision imperfect he serve me now,
But soon I'll lead him where more light appears;
When buds the sapling doth the gardener know,
That flow'r and fruit will grace its coming years."
This is the actual fact concerning all mankind. At the present time we
all serve God imperfectly because of our limited vision. We have not the
real, true perception of what is wanted and of how we should use the talents
wherewith we are now endowed. Nevertheless God, through the process of
evolution is constantly leading us into greater and greater light, and by
degrees we shall cease to be spiritually barren: We shall flower and bear
fruit. Thus we shall be able to serve God as we would and not as we do.
While the foregoing applies to all in general, it applies particularly to
those who stand in the limelight as teacher; for naturally, where the light
is the strongest, the shadows are also the deepest, and the imperfections of
those among us, who must take up the burden of teaching, are naturally more
marked on that account.
In the story of Tannhauser, the Pope shuts the door of hope in the face
of the penitent because the letter of the law requires it, but not thus is
God's mercy frustrated. The Pope's staff blooms to prove that the penitent
has been forgiven because of the sincere penitence whereby the evil has been
washed from the record made upon the seed atom. Thus by a higher law the
lower has been superseded.
There is in this legend of the Pope's staff, a similarity to the tale of
the Holy Grail and the spear; to the story of Aaron's rod which also
bloomed, and to the staff of Moses that brought the water of life forth from
the rock. All have an important bearing upon the problem of the spiritual
life of the Disciple who aims to follow the path to the higher life and
seeks, like Kundry, to undo the deeds of ill of former lives by a present
life of service to the higher self. The legend of the Grail distinguishes
between the Grail cup itself and the Cleansing Blood which it held.
The story is told of how Lucifer, when he strove with the Archangel
Michael over the body of Moses, lost the choicest gem in his crown. It was
dislodged in the struggle. This beautiful gem, comparable to none, was an
emerald named "Exilir." It was thrown into the abyss but was recovered by
the Angels and from that the chalice or Holy Grail was made which later was
used to hold the Cleansing Blood that flowed from the Savior's side when it
had been pierced by the centurion's spear. Let us first note the fact that
this jewel was an emerald: it was green, and green is a combination of blue
and yellow, and is, therefore, the complementary color of the third primary
color, red. In the Physical World red has the tendency to excite and ener-
gize, whereas green has a cooling and a soothing effect, but the opposite is
true when we look at the matter from the viewpoint of the Desire World.
There the complementary color is active, and has the effect upon our desires
and emotions which we ascribe to the physical color. Thus the green color
of the gem lost by Lucifer shows the nature and effect thereof. This stone
is the antithesis of the Philosopher's Stone. It has the power to attract
passion and generate love of sex for sex, which is the vice opposite to the
chaste and pure love, symbolized by the apocalyptic white stone, which lat-
ter is the love of soul for soul. As this effect of the complementary col-
ors is well know, though not consciously realized, we also speak of jeal-
ousy, which is engendered by impure love, as the green eyed monster.
The Holy Grail finds its replica in the chalice or seed pod of the plant,
which is green. The creative fire slumbers within the seed pod. Likewise
the same phenomenon must become manifest within each one who enters upon the
quest of the Holy Grail. Will is the male quality of the soul; imagination
is the female. When will is the strongest attribute, the soul wears male
attire in a certain life, and in another, where the quality of imagination
is greater, the female garb is taken. Thus under the Law of Alternation
which prevails during the present age of the rainbow, the soul wears a dif-
ferent garment in alternate lives, but whether the gender is feminine or
masculine, the organ of the opposite sex is present in an undeveloped state.
Thus man is now, and will be so long as the physical body endures, both male
In the hoary past, when his consciousness was focused in the spiritual
world, he was a perfect creative unit with both sex organs equally developed
as are many flowers today. He was then capable of generating a new body
when the old one was worn out, but he was not at that time aware to the same
degree as he is now of the fact that he had a body. Then some who were
pioneers--some who saw more clearly than others--told to their compeers the
astonishing story that man has a body. They were often met with the same
skepticism which is now shown to those who affirm that we have a soul.
Thus the symbolical story of Lucifer losing the green gem is the story of
how man ceased to know himself and began to know his wife; of how the Grail
was lost, and of how it may only be found through the cleansing of the pas-
sion filled physical blood which was originally contained in that green ves-
At a propitious time of the year, but neither before nor after, the rays
emanating from the heavenly orbs pierce the planted seed and waken its la-
tent generative force into activity. Then a new plant springs out of the
ground to again beautify the Earth. Thus the act of generation is accom-
plished in perfect harmony with the Law of Nature, and a thing of beauty is
generated to adorn the Earth. The result is different in humans since the
feminine quality of imagination was roused by Lucifer.
Now the generative act is performed regardless of the propitious solar
rays, and as a result sin and death entered the world. From that time the
spiritual light has waned, and we are now blind to heaven's glory.
In the hands of the divine leaders of mankind, once of them signified by
Aaron, the living rod was a vehicle of power. later the blooming rod dried
up and was laid away in the Ark, but we are not to conclude that there is no
redemption on that account, for as man was exiled from the heavenly state
when the green gem of passion and desire rolled from the crown of Lucifer,
who then led mankind through GENERATION TO DEGENERATION; so also there is
the white stone, the Philosopher's Stone, the symbol of emancipation. By
using the power of generation for regeneration, we overcome death and sin.
It then endows us with immortality and leads us to Christ.
That is the message of the story of Tannhauser. Passion is poison.
Abuse of generation under the sway of Lucifer, has been the means of leading
us downward into the gloom of degeneration, but the same power turned into
the opposite direction and used for purposes of regeneration is capable of
lifting us out of the gloom and elevating us to a heavenly state, when we
have thus won the battle. Through passion the Spirit has been crystallized
into a body and only by chastity can the fetters be loosed, for HEAVEN IS
THE HOME OF THE VIRGIN and only in so far as we elevate love from that of
sex for sex to the standard of soul for soul can we shatter the shackles
that bind us. Then, when we learn to make conception immaculate, saviors
will be born who will loose the fetters of sin and sorrow that now bind us.
In carrying out this ideal let us remember, however, that suppression of
the sexual desire is not celibacy; the mind must concur and we must will-
ingly abstain from impurity. This can only be done by what the mystic calls
"FINDING THE WOMAN WITHIN HIMSELF." (Of course for woman, it is to find the
man within herself.) When we have found that, we arrive at the point where
we can live the same pure life as the flower.
In this connection it may also be very illuminating to remember that the
"Dweller on the Threshold" which we must confront before we can enter the
superphysical worlds always has the appearance of a creature of the opposite
sex. Yet it seems to be ourselves. It should also be understood that the
more licentious or lustful we have been, the worse will be the appearance of
this monster, and Parsifal standing before Kundry, when his refusal of com-
pliance has turned her into a virago, is in fact at the very point where the
candidate finds himself face to face with the dweller, before the spear is
given into his hands.
LOHENGRIN: THE KNIGHT OF THE SWAN:
Among the operas of Wagner there is, perhaps, none which is so univer-
sally enjoyed by the large majority of people who see it, as Lohengrin.
This is probably because the story seems, on cursory examination, to be very
simple and beautiful. The music is of an unusually exquisite character,
which appeals to all in a manner which is not equalled by the author's other
operas founded upon myths such as Parsifal, the Ring of the Niebelung, or
Although these last named productions affect people who hear them power-
fully for their spiritual good (whether they are aware of the fact or not),
it if nevertheless, a fact that they are not enjoyed by the majority,
particularly in America, where the spirit of mysticism is not so strong as
it is in Europe.
It is different with Lohengrin. Here there is a story of the time when
knighthood was in flower, and although there is an embellishment of magic in
the advent of Lohengrin and the swan in response to the prayer of Elsa, this
is only as a pretty poetical fancy without deeper meaning. In this myth is
revealed one of the supreme requirements of Initiation--faith.
Whoever has not this virtue will never attain; its possession covers a
multitude of shortcomings in other directions.
The plot is briefly as follows: The heir of the Duchy of Brabant has
disappeared. He is but a child, and the brother of Elsa, the heroine of the
play, who is accused in the opening scene by Ortrud and Telramund, her en-
emies, of having done away with this young brother in order that she may ob-
tain possession of the principality. In consequence she has been summoned
before the royal court to defend herself against her accusers, but at the
opening scene not knight as yet has appeared to espouse her cause and slay
her traducers. Then there appears on the river a swan, upon which stands a
knight, who comes up to the place where court is being held. He jumps
ashore and offers to defend Elsa on condition that she marry him. To this
she readily agrees, for he is no stranger; she has often seen him in her
dreams and learned to love him. In the duel between the unknown knight and
Telramund, the latter is thrown, but his life is magnanimously spared by the
conqueror, who then claims Elsa as his bride. He had, however, made another
condition; namely, that she may never ask him who he is and whence he came.
As he appears so good and so noble, and as he has come in answer to her
prayer, she makes no objection to this condition either, and the couple re-
tire to the bridal chamber.
Although temporarily defeated, Ortrud and Telramund do not by any means
give up their conspiracy against Elsa, and their next move is to poison her
mind against her noble protector, so that she may send him away and then be
again at their mercy; for they hope, eventually, themselves to secure the
principality to which Elsa and her brother are the rightful heirs. With
this end in view both present themselves at Elsa's door and succeed in get-
ting a hearing. They profess to be exceedingly penitent for what they have
done, and very solicitous for the welfare of Elsa. It pains them very much,
they say, that she has been taken in by someone whose name she does not even
know, and who is so afraid that his identity be known that he has forbidden
her, on pain of his leaving her to ask him his name.
There must be something in his life of which he is ashamed, they argue,
which will not bear the light of day, else why should he wish to deny the
one to whom he is willing to link his whole life, knowledge of his identity
By means of these arguments they arouse a doubt in Elsa's soul, and after
some conversation she goes in to Lohengrin, changed. he notices the differ-
ence in her, and asks the cause. Finally she admits that she feels uncer-
tain about him and that she would like to know his name. Thereby she has
broken the condition which he has imposed upon her, and he tells her that
now, having expressed a doubt in him, it will be impossible for him to re-
main. Neither tears nor protestations can change this resolve, so they go
together to the river where Lohengrin calls his trusty swan, and when that
appears he reveals his identity, saying, "I am Lohengrin, the son of
Parsifal." The swan which then comes, is changed and stands before them all
as the brother of Elsa. He then becomes her protector in place of the de-
As said, the story of Lohengrin contains one of the most important les-
sons to be learned on the path of attainment. No one will ever attain Ini-
tiation till that has been learned. In order that we may properly grasp
this point, let us first look at the symbol of the swan and see what is be-
hind it and why the symbol is used. Those who have seen the opera,
Parsifal, or who have read attentively the literature on the Grail, are al-
ready acquainted with the fact that swans were the emblem worn by all the
Knights of the Grail.
In the opera, itself, two swans are mentioned as preparing a healing bath
for the suffering King Amfortas. Parsifal is represented as shooting one of
the these swans, and a great deal of sorrow is manifested by the Knights of
the Grail at this unwarranted cruelty.
The swan is capable of moving in several elements. It may fly i the air
with great swiftness; it also propels itself majestically upon the water;
and by means of its long neck it may even explore the depths and investigate
whatever may be found upon the bottom of a not too deep pond. It is, there-
fore, an apt symbol of the Initiate, who, on account of the power developed
within him, is capable of elevating himself to higher realms, and moving in
different worlds. As the swan flies through space, so may one who has de-
veloped the powers of his soul body travel in that over mountains and lakes;
as the swan dive below the surface of the water, so may also the Initiate go
underneath the surface of the deep in his soul body, which is not in danger
from fire, earth, air, or water. In fact, that is one of the first things
that the Invisible Helpers have to be taught: that they are immune from any
danger which may befall them in the physical body, when they are invested
with the Golden Wedding Garment of which we have spoken so much. Thus they
may enter a burning building with immunity, there assisting those who are in
danger, sometimes in a most miraculous manner; or they may be on board a
sinking ship giving encouragement to those who are about to face the great
The ancient Norse mythology tells us how noble warriors of old, when they
had fought the battle and had finally been overcome or mortally wounded,
sang their swan song. But let it not be supposed for a moment that it was
only the brutal fight fought upon the battle field with sword and lace that
was meant; rather it was the inner fight, the hidden meaning, that a noble
soul who had fought the battle of life well, at the last when he had at-
tained to that which was possible in those days, sang his swan song: that
is he took his oath of Initiation and became capable of entering another
realm to help others there as he had helped them here; for it was ever the
sacred duty of a noble knight to succor those who were weak an heavy laden.
Elsa is the daughter of a king. She is thus of the highest and most
noble birth. No one who is not thus WELL BORN can lay claim to the services
of such a knight as Lohengrin in that manner; that is to say of course,
there is in humanity neither high nor low, save as we stand in the scale of
evolution. When a soul has been long upon the stage of life, has gone to
school for many, many lives, then gradually it acquires that nobility which
comes from learning the lessons and working along the lines laid down by the
schoolmasters, our Elder Brothers, who are now teaching us the lessons of
life. The nobility earned by eagerness to do deeds of mercy for our less
highly advanced fellow beings, is the key to their favor, and therefore when
Elsa as in distress, a noble soul is sent to teach and guide her.
In the Book of Revelation we read about the mystic marriage of the Bride
and the Lamb. There is that marriage in every soul's experience, and always
under similar circumstances. One of the first requisites is that the soul
must have been forsaken by every one else: it must stand alone without a
single friend in the world. When that point has been attained, when the
soul sees no succor from any earthly source, when it turns with its whole
heart to heaven and prays for deliverance, then comes the deliverer and also
the offer of marriage. In other words, the true Teacher always comes in re-
sponse to the earnest prayers of the aspirant, but not till he has forsaken
the world and been forsaken by it. He offers to take care of one who is
thus anxious for guidance, and forthwith conquers untruth with the sword of
truth, but having given this proof, henceforth he requires an absolute un-
questioning faith. PLEASE REMEMBER--let it imprint itself upon your mind,
let it sear itself into your very being with letters of fire, that having
come in answer to the prayer, (which is not only words but a life of aspira-
tion) the indubitable, unquestionable proof is given of the power and abil-
ity of the Teacher to teach, to guide, and to help; and then the requirement
is made that henceforth there must be absolute faith in him, otherwise it
becomes impossible for him to work with the aspirant.
That is the great lesson that is taught by Lohengrin, and it is of su-
preme importance, for there are thousands upon thousands walking the streets
in many cities today, looking hither and thither, seeking a Teacher. Some
Teacher. Some pretend to have found him, or have deceived themselves into
that belief; but the requirement that is enunciated in Lohengrin is an ac-
tual requirement. The Teacher must, will, and does prove his ability. He
is know by his fruits; then in return he demands LOYALTY, and unless this
faith, this loyalty, this readiness to serve, this willingness to do what-
ever is required, is forthcoming from the aspirant, the relationship will be
terminated. No matter how hot may be the tears of repentance which might
follow in the case of the aspirant who had failed in his loyalty to the
Teacher, no matter how sincere his repentance; the next opportunity will not
be forthcoming in the present life.
Therefore, it is of the very greatest importance that those who are seek-
ing Initiation should understand that there is something due them from the
professed teacher, before they accept him. he must show the fruits of his
work, for as Christ said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." This the
genuine Teacher always does without being asked, AND WITHOUT SEEMING TO SO
SO or to want to give a sign. He always furnishes some evidence to which
the mind of the aspirant can cling as an indubitable proof of his superior
knowledge and ability. When that has then been demonstrated, IT IS ABSO-
LUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT LOYALTY TO THE TEACHER MUST FOLLOW; and no matter who
says this, that, or the other thing, the aspirant should not be disturbed,
but cling steadfastly to the proven fact, stick to that which he believes to
be true and faithfully uphold the one to whom he looks for teaching; for
unless that faith is there, there is no use in continuing the relationship.
It is very significant, however, that Elsa's brother was, as we learn
from the final scene, the swan which had carried Lohengrin to his sister,
and who was changed back to his natural shape when Lohengrin departed. He
had been through Initiation. He, no doubt, knew of his sister's plight, as
one soul who is advanced and studying along these lines knows of another's
struggles, but although he saw the predicament of this fair aspirant, or
sister soul, he had no fear, for was he not the means of bringing to her the
succor that she might have had permanently had she been as faithful as he?
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