This is a transcription of the audio lecture Ring of the Nibelungen Explained 03 The Meanings of Siegfried originally given live on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free.
Siegfried is the third opera in this series by Richard Wagner. And in this third part we penetrate even deeper into profound Initiatic mysteries whose true meaning and true content had never before been publicly revealed. In this story of Siegfried we see symbolized aspects of the Cosmic Drama that any initiate from any time or place has to live within their own consciousness. This Cosmic Drama is universal. It has always existed, and it will always exist. Very few have seen the Cosmic Drama for what it is, because very few have lived it.
When we penetrate into this story of Siegfried we are entering into a symbolic representation of levels of the Path that are rarely tread. In the former opera, related to the Valkyries, called Die Walküre, we heard the story of Siegmund and Sieglinde. And in the last portion of that opera, this divine couple is headed up the path, up a mountain. This mountain is symbolic.
When we study Initiation, when we study the complete Path, what we are studying is a great work of conscious development. In many esoteric traditions, this work is symbolized by a mountain. Throughout the history of this race, we have seen the mountain as a symbol of initiatic development: in the Bible when Moses ascends the mountain, in the Greek mysteries we find Mount Olympus, while in the Eastern traditions, Hinduism and Buddhism, we find Kailash, Mount Meru, and other symbolic mountains.
In every case, the mountain is a symbol. Of course, most people who study religion and study mysticism take these symbols literally as if there is literally a mountain somewhere, physically. But we state to make it clear: these mountains are symbolic. So, the mountain that the couple is ascending in the second opera of the series represents the First Mountain of three mountains.
Now in most traditions we only hear of one mountain, and that is because in most traditions we are only hearing about the first stages of the Path of Initiation. The later stages, having rarely been walked, have never been revealed until very recently.
So the First Mountain is the Mountain of Initiation. And it is on this Path, this work of inner development which is accessed through the sexual cooperation between the man and the woman, or in other words through tantrism, is a sacred path that many initiates walk.
In many traditions we find the necessary steps, we find the necessary symbols, even if they are not explicit. Alchemy, Tantrism, Daath-these sciences contain the essential keys symbolized in their depths which represent the process whereby one is born again. And of course, to be born, we know, is a sexual problem.
When Nicodemus told Jesus that he did not understand the Mysteries, Jesus explained to him that it is one thing to be born of the flesh and another thing to be born of the spirit. This birth of the spirit is what is accomplished in the very first few portions of the path of the First Mountain, the Mountain of Initiation. This first portion is symbolized by seven serpents of fire. If you analyze Buddhism or Hinduism, you will find the symbol of the seven serpents is very common.
But this is also symbolized in other ways. These seven serpents are seven individual works within which the initiate has to raise the fire of the Holy Spirit within himself, in the same way that Moses raises the serpent upon the staff in the wilderness.
This process of being "born again" is gradual, and it is accomplished by passing ordeals, by passing tests, by gathering within oneself the necessary elements through scientific chastity working in cooperation with a spouse. And in that process the Second Birth is gradually accomplished, so that as a result, the soul is born. This is symbolized in the last act of the second opera, when Siegmund and Sieglinde are ascending the mountain and Sieglinde is pregnant. She has within a child ready to be born, and this is the soul that will be born as a result of these works ascending the mountain. That child is named Siegfried.
In Kabbalah, we understand that Siegfried is a symbol of the Human Soul, Tiphereth, willpower, which, if you examine the Tree of Life, is directly in the center of the tree, related to the heart. And Tiphereth is the warrior, the fighter. In the Arthurian mysteries, he is Lancelot.
Now if you remember from the previous opera, there is an obstacle, and Siegmund cannot ascend to Valhall, to heaven, with his wife. Brunhilde offers to save him from Wotan, from his own responsibilities, from his Karma, but Siegmund refuses to go to Valhall. He says, "If my wife cannot come, if my love cannot come, I will not go." And so, in the next moment, he enters into battle with Hunding, and Wotan appears and breaks the sword of Siegmund, and Siegmund is killed by Hunding. Hunding, of course, represents our own ego.
What we find symbolized here is a profound Initiatic mystery related with the Fifth Serpent of Fire, which is naturally related with the fifth sphere of the Tree of Life, counting upwards from the bottom, Tiphereth. When an initiate, someone who is accomplishing levels of initiation, has reached the Fifth Initiation of Fire, related to Tiphereth, near the end of that process of raising that particular serpent on the staff, that initiate is given a choice between two directions of their continued development. The choice is the same one that Siegmund faced: to ascend to Valhall, to Nirvana, to heaven; or to remain with his love, with his spouse. What is symbolized there is the choice between choosing the Direct Path-staying because of love, staying in the wilderness because of love-or entering Valhall and receiving protection-escaping the battle, abandoning one's duty, in some sense. Because Siegmund of course, in refusing to enter into Nirvana, to Valhall, does so because of love. And really, the Direct Path is the Path of Love. It is the Path of the Bodhisattva.
We call it the Path of Love because only the initiate who chooses to take this Direct Path incarnates love. And who is love but Christ? Christ, the Krestos, is that universal energy which is descending from above and illuminating the entire Tree. Christ is not an individual. Christ is a force. Christ is love. But that love is exemplified in sacrifice, selflessness. The Christ does not have an "I." The Christ is not individual. Within Christ, we are all one. Within Christ, all the Masters, all the Angels, all the Prophets, are one. In the world of Chokmah, which is related to the Christ, to the Sun, it is a world of unity, of oneness. And that energy, that expression, is an expression of selfless love.
At this moment, the initiate who has reached this degree of development has to choose between incarnating that love-giving birth to that in themselves-or protecting themselves-holding on to their own self-identity, and being saved and taken to Valhall.
In Buddhism, the ones who choose to take the Spiral Path, the easier way, to go to Valhall, are called Pratyekas, or Pratyeka Buddhas. And this term refers to a kind of selfishness, or self-love, a kind of sense of self-being identified with oneself-considering oneself to be real, to have an "I." And typically this idea of the Pratyeka Buddha is related with the "Hinayana" teachings, or the "Foundational Vehicle" (Shravakayana), which seeks enlightenment for one's own sake, which seeks liberation from suffering, but with only the driving concern for oneself.
You also hear this type of practitioner, or this type of initiate, called a "Nirvani," or in some mysteries, they are called the selfish gods, jealous gods. And truly, if you look at the Buddhist Wheel of Samsara, you see that on the wheel itself are heavens in the upper portion of that wheel. Those heavens are part of the Wheel of Suffering, and that is where the jealous gods live. They are gods, they have powers, they are initiates, but they are attached: attached to power, attached to their initiations, attached to their sense of self, to being a so-called "Master." And so they reign in certain levels of heaven, and have powers and abilities, but they are suffering-not in the way we do, but they still suffer.
But of course, in the opera, Siegmund renounces Valhalla. He refuses the protection of Brunhilde and chooses to stay with his love, with his wife, with his spouse. This is a sacrifice of love, and this is the only way through which an initiate enters into the Direct Path: by renouncing Nirvana, renouncing powers. But what happens to him? He dies. Of course that death is symbolic - it is symbolic of the death of the "I," the death of self-love. And it is related to Initiatic, mystical death. That death is necessary in order for Siegfried, the Human Soul, to fully develop himself. But of course he does so in darkness and in obscurity.
So now let us listen to the first act of Siegfried so we can advance in our understanding of this profound opera.
When this act begins, we observe Mime. Mime, of course, is a Nibelung, or in other words, a dwarf, a dweller of the underworld. Mime is a blacksmith-he works in the forge. By twists of fate, Siegfried is raised by Mime, but Siegfried does not know his own identity, nor his parents, nor his history; he only knows Mime.
Now Siegfried has innocence in his character, and courage, because he does not know fear. But Mime does not tell him everything. Mime is very crafty. Mime knows certain things, but does not reveal them.
Being a blacksmith, Mime represents how our own ego, our own mind, has the capability to create. It has the capability to use fire, to use energy, in order to create elements, to create things in the forge. Symbolically, we know in Gnosis is that the forge is always related to sexual power. It is in the forge of the Alchemists where the weapons are created, where Vulcan from the Greek mysteries, the Roman mysteries, forges weapons to give to the warriors. But Mime is not Vulcan. Mime is a Nibelung. He is consumed with envy. He is a schemer. He is a liar. He is a thief. He is our own mind. But in particular, he is the mind of the initiate. Siegfried is born in an initiate-someone who has already surpassed the Fifth Initiation of Fire-someone who has already entered into the Direct Path; in other words, someone who has renounced Nirvana.
Now it is good to point out here that you cannot renounce something that you do not have. If you do not have money, how can you renounce it? If you do not have Nirvana, how can you renounce it? Renunciation is only possible for the one who has some thing to renounce. There are many in the world who now proclaim themselves to be Bodhisattvas and who aspire to enter the Path of the Bodhisattva. And this is wonderful. This is a beautiful aspiration to have. But it is one thing to aspire towards being a Bodhisattva and another thing to actually enter that path. This is a conscious experience; this is something related to the Soul, not related to belief or intention.
The one who renounces Nirvana knows Nirvana, experiences Nirvana, has the power to consciously go in and out of Nirvana at will. Someone who has acquired this Fifth Initiation of Fire has developed in themselves the Kundalini, the Fire of the Holy Spirit, related to the Physical, Ethereal, Astral, Mental, and Causal Bodies. In other words, they have created the Soul. They have created the Solar Astral Body, which gives them the capacity to travel at will in the Astral World, consciously, out of the physical body. This person has created the Solar Mental Body, which gives them the capacity to travel at will in the Mental World, to visit temples, to speak directly with the Gods. And they have created the Solar Causal Body, which is the body of willpower-conscious will-which gives the initiate the capacity to travel in the sixth dimension, free of ego, in absolute ecstasy of the soul.
You have to acquire that before you can renounce it. This is the symbol of Siegfried. Siegfried is the result of that renunciation. The initiate who renounces Nirvana and chooses to take the Direct Path takes the path of the revolution. Very few initiates have taken this path because it is so revolutionary. It is very difficult.
The vast majority of spiritual teachings only teach the most kindergarten level of spiritual studies. Most spiritual schools have no clue about what real initiation is, because most of the religions and schools that exist in this day and age have come from the previous Piscean Era, and so have very little or no knowledge of real initiation, of these first few steps, much less the many steps that follow. And part of the reason for that is that most people who do manage to enter into initiation, and who do manage to reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire after years of struggle, choose to take the easier way, choose to take the Spiral Path, to hold on to the powers they have developed, to maintain their clairvoyance, to keep their ability to travel consciously in the other worlds, to keep their disciples, to be admired, to be respected, to be worshipped. And thus, they only have knowledge up to that level, and therefore that is all they teach-the level of knowledge up to that point.
Those who have entered into the Direct Path are rebels, revolutionaries, very strong characters like Jesus. Jesus was entirely revolutionary in His entire way of being. He is not the type of person that you see depicted in modern Christianity who is weak. Jesus was a man of tremendous strength, a very powerful personality, but a Solar Personality; a very powerful person, like Buddha, who also is often depicted as weak, as very passive. But neither of these Masters was ever passive, and neither one is passive now. They are very revolutionary figures with a very forceful, very strong, very direct teaching which has been misinterpreted and disfigured by man.
Moses was a revolutionary who entered into the Direct Path. Elias, Elijah, all of these prophets are prophets of the Direct Path. And when you study their teachings you see the intensity and the ferocity of what they teach, and mankind does not like that. But the ones who especially do not like it are the Nirvanis-the Pratyeka Buddhas.
It seems odd to us that the Gods fight amongst themselves, but they do. And this is symbolized, of course, in these operas, in the Mahabharata, in the Greek Mysteries, in the Nordic Mysteries. All of the ancient mythologies represent the Gods in conflict. Only the Christian one, which of course has been hacked to pieces, does not demonstrate this. But all the other mythologies do.
The Nirvanis-the Pratyeka Buddhas, those who are attached to their positions and power, to being respected-abhor the Bodhisattvas, reject the Bodhisattvas, criticize, scandalize the Bodhisattvas. And this has always been the case, and continues to be so to this day.
What is important for us to grasp is that the one who enters into the Bodhisattva Path, the Direct Path, basically starts over because that person renounces all of their powers out of love for humanity. They renounce all of their abilities, they renounce all of their internal conscious development, for love of humanity. So they become like Siegfried: with a strong personality but with no real weapons; no real force; innocent; and in the company of their own ego, who in this opera is symbolized as Mime.
Now Mime, of course, has the pieces of the shattered sword which belonged to Siegfried's father. And that sword, of course, is called Nothung, which means "nothing," and this is symbolic of the Kundalini.
In the course of this first act, Siegfried enters to find Mime forging a sword for Siegfried. When Siegfried comes in he brings with him a bear, and in a very teasing way has the bear threaten Mime, to attack Mime. And Mime, of course, is terrified. That bear symbolizes the strength of the earth, the forces of nature, which Siegfried commands.
What is interesting here is that Siegfried represents the Human Soul, this new birth, like Jesus born in the manger, a child born into a place of dampness and darkness, like the cave of Mime, or the manger of Jesus. But that child still has power, being a developed consciousness. And that power is symbolized in the bear-sexual power-which Siegfried controls. And he uses that force to threaten Mime, to threaten his own ego, to say, "I am the one who is really in charge here. You, Mime, might think you are in charge, but you are not." Mime is terrified, because he knows the bear can consume him.
But Siegfried calls off the bear and tests out the new sword that Mime has given him, but of course it breaks. This sword is the weapon, a tool, which the ego offers to the initiate.
All of us have to learn to discriminate, to know how to manage the capabilities of our own mind. There are many capabilities that our own mind, our own heart, has. Our own mind, our intellect, our heart, can produce marvelous works: ideas, and theories, and concepts, practices, ways of understanding, ways of relating. But, they are not sufficient for the work that Siegfried has to accomplish. Siegfried needs weapons that are greater than that which the mind can provide.
In Gnosticism we study that in order to conquer the mind, we need something that is greater than the mind. The mind cannot conquer itself. We can think about things all we want. We can theorize about spirituality. We can read books. We can build a very beautiful intellectual concept about what the nature of God is, what is the nature of self-realization, what is the nature of realization, of liberation. All of these mental concepts, and beliefs in the heart, and practices that we perform, may be fine at certain levels of development, but Siegfried cannot use them. To advance in the Path of Initiation, Siegfried needs a power greater than the mind: he needs Nothung; he needs the power of the nothingness; he needs the Kundalini.
When the sword was broken, it was broken because Siegmund, Siegfried's father, renounced Nirvana, rejected the entrance into heaven, and chose to take the Direct Path. Wotan then came and broke his sword. In other words, he broke his powers. He broke his ability to fight. This is related, of course, to the Serpents of the Kundalini of the first five initiations.
Now in Siegfried, Siegfried needs a sword, but all he has are the shards, the broken pieces. And those shards are those five bodies, those five Serpents of Fire. But they need to be reforged; they need to be put back into the flame and made strong to fight in a new level.
Now there are actually seven Serpents of Fire, but the top two, number six and seven, never fell. These two are Brunhilde and Wotan.
The one who takes the Direct Path enters into a new octave, new stages, new levels, in which that initiate, or Siegfried in other words, has to retemper the sword, to make the sword anew. But of course, at first he asks Mime to do it. Siegfried asks Mime, "Take the shards of that sword and forge it for me." Of course Mime knows he cannot do it.
At the same time, Siegfried tells Mime, "You are not my father. We look nothing alike." This is a very important point as well in this act. Siegfried, of course, symbolizes our own Human Soul, our own consciousness in terms of willpower; in other words, abstract mind, intuitive mind.
Mime, naturally, represents the ego that we have, but the ego that we have grown up in. Siegfried, of course, is raised in Mime's cave. Mime is always telling him, "I am your father and your mother. I am all you know. I have done everything for you. I have protected you, I have fed you, I have taught you everything you know. You owe everything to me." So says our own mind. This is a combination, really, of our personality and our own ego, our own sense of self.
We have to develop the capacity to discriminate, just like Siegfried does, to learn to see the difference between our true self, or true self-nature, and our inherited ego, our inherited personality, our acquired characteristics, which are all false.
You see, Siegfried is given into the hands of Mime to be raised there. This is Jesus being born in the manger amongst the animals. But Jesus did not make the mistake to believe that that was his real home, that that was his true identity. Neither does Siegfried. We have to acquire that same discrimination.
The Path of the Revolutionary, this Direct Path, is a path within which one renounces even one's own self, all the concepts we have of self. Truly, when you come to know yourself, to have true self-knowledge, you come to understand that you are not what you perceive yourself to be. Each one of us has existed in a body previous to this one, we just forgot. And we claim, "Well, I cannot remember, so I do not believe in past lives." Yet, we cannot remember what happened last week, or last month, or last year. How are you going to remember what happened in your last body?
You can develop that memory, you can develop that capacity, through meditation, through transmutation, by developing the powers of Siegfried-the ability to discriminate, to see.
The self that we have now is false; it is acquired. It is acquired because of the nature of our own hypnosis, the way our mind is attached to matter and to sensation, and becomes hypnotized by craving and aversion.
Siegfried commands Mime to reforge the sword for him, and then Siegfried runs into the forest, and at this moment Wotan appears. And Wotan, of course, we have discussed, is symbolic of our own Inner Father, our own Inner Spirit. Wotan is called "The Wanderer." He is like the Spirit that moves over the face of the waters. Kabbalistically, Wotan is both Kether-or the First Arcanum, the Magician- and he is also Chesed-the Seventh Arcanum, the warrior, the fighter, in the chariot. He is also the Fourth Arcanum, the Emperor. He is that wanderer. He is our own Spirit, who illuminates many aspects of the Tree and appears with many faces in the course of the development of the initiate.
He appears in this scene to speak with Mime. And he says that he will challenge Mime to a battle of wits, and they exchange questions. Of course Mime fails. What is curious in this scene is we see how our own ego believes it can outsmart God. And this is really a theme throughout the entire series of operas. You see with Alberich, with Fafner, and with Mime this continual sense that they have, a belief that they have, that they can outwit the Gods. And at times it appears that they do so.
So here we have Mime believing that he can outwit everyone, and our own mind believes that. Our own mind forgets that every action bears a consequence. Our own mind causes us to lose sight of the truth of Karma-that every man will reap what he sows. And so our mind whispers in our ear and tells us, "You can do it. No one will ever find out," forgetting of course, that the one who manages the Karma is God, is our own Being.
So this is the case with Mime and Wotan. Wotan, naturally, traps Mime and says, "Since you failed to answer my questions, I now have your head. But I transfer that right to the one who forges the sword and kills the dragon." And Wotan leaves. Of course we know that that one will be Siegfried.
When Siegfried returns from the forest, he finds Mime dejected; has not reforged the sword for him, Nothung. So Siegfried does it himself. This is again symbolic of how our own ego cannot awaken our consciousness. No belief can awaken us. No theory can awaken our consciousness. Membership in any school cannot awaken our consciousness. Being close to any so-called Master, having a certain collection of books, knowing a certain collection of practices, believing this or that-none of that will actually awaken the consciousness, none of that can forge the sword that we need to fight against ourselves. The only one that can awaken us is ourselves. Even the Buddha stated that: "I cannot save anyone. Each of you has to work out realization for himself."
Now in the Christic mysteries, in the Christian mysteries, it is symbolized a little bit differently. We know that the only one that can save us is Christ, but that Christ is not an individual, that Christ is energy, it is love. And in order for Christ to save us He has to be born in our heart; He has to be born in our mind; He has to live in our actions. And that is only accomplished when we are present, when we are paying attention, when we are conquering and controlling our own ego, our own desires, our aggression, our lust, our envy. That is all Mime; that is all Alberich; that is all Fafner. These things have to be controlled like an animal in order for us to awaken and to do the will of God, to do what is right.
So Siegfried arrives and begins to forge the sword himself. This is related to the second half of the First Mountain. The first half, we know, is related to Serpents of Fire. But then, when the initiate chooses the Direct Path, the sword is broken and the initiate has to begin again to forge the sword anew. The sword, of course, is the Kundalini. It is the force of the Holy Spirit that rises in our spinal column and forms a sword of will-willpower-that we can use to conquer our own inner dragon.
So that process of working in the forge, working in the fires of the Holy Spirit, is a process of raising seven Serpents of Light, in other words, completing the second half of that First Mountain, which is a process that only Bodhisattvas go through. And this is a process of initiation which is gradual and very difficult.
Each serpent is a process of being tested, of being put into the flames, put into the fire, and hammered by the blacksmith. That blacksmith is the Christ who is born in the heart of the initiate, who is born in the heart of that Bodhisattva, who strikes against the mind of the initiate repeatedly with the hammer of Karma to teach the initiate, to form the blade, to make it strong. The heat of the forge is the heat of ordeals, the heat of desire, the heat of passion, the heat of anger, of envy, which the initiate has to withstand in order to forge the sword anew. And throughout the process in the opera, Siegfried is singing very happily, very beautifully, because for him this is his perfection; this is how he acquires his weapon; this is how the Christ develops into a Superman.
In the first stage of this First Mountain, when the soul is first born, really what is happening there is that man is born. We call someone a man because they have acquired Manas. Man comes from Manas, which means "mind" in Sanskrit. And Manas is related with Tiphereth.
In Sanskrit, we know there is this Trimurti, or Trinity: Atman, Buddhi, Manas, which is related to the structure of our own soul. Manas is "mind," but abstract mind, intuitive mind, mind that does not use thought, but it knows. This is the kind of mind that meditation develops.
We also have inferior Manas, which is Netzach, which is related to the Mental Body. But superior Manas is here in Tiphereth, related to the willpower, to our conscious willpower.
Manas, man, human. Hu is "spirit," as in Allah Hu, from Islam. Hu is God's Spirit. So the Hu-man is spirit controlling mind: hu-man, human. Being-our own Being is Wotan, our Inner Buddha. A human being, a real human being, is someone who has the presence of God within them, with the spirit-Hu-controlling the mind-Manas.
So none of us are real human beings yet. We are human beings in development: embryos of human beings. Really, we are just animals that have intellect, because we are controlled by our desires, manipulated by our passions, by our impulses, by our instinct, by envy, by fear. We cannot control our fear, we cannot control our lust, we cannot control our pride. We act humble, we act peaceful, we act serene, but it is fake. In other words, we are all sanctimonious-we act like we have sanctity, purity, moral purity, but we do not. We put on that face, like the Pharisees and the scribes.
In those first initiations of fire, the Man is developed. Any Buddha is a Man. Any Buddha has developed Manas. But very few of them become a Super-Man, something beyond a Man, something beyond a Buddha. And this is Christ.
The Super-Man, the Supernal Man, is born when one enters into the Direct Path and the Christ is born in our heart and mind. This is the arrival of the Superman. Do you know where this term came from? From Nietzsche. Did you know that Nietzsche was a friend of Wagner? That Nietzsche and Wagner were in the same group of people? Is it not interesting that Nietzsche wrote his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra all about the terrors and the wonders of the Superman, or in other words the Christified initiate, while Wagner was writing his ring cycle all about this Superman? And Parsifal, was also about this Superman.
The Superman is the Christified initiate who develops these Serpents of Light. Only the Direct Path can lead one to those initiations. Pratyeka Buddhas, Sravakas, all the Nirvani Buddhas, the jealous Gods cannot receive those initiations-none of them incarnate the Christ. None. They talk about Christ; they might worship Christ, but they do not incarnate Him.
This is the forging of Nothung for the second time. It is the process of completing that First Mountain. And when Siegfried completes it, in the process of completing it, Mime is all the while plotting how to get Siegfried to use the sword for his benefit-to benefit Mime. And then in the end, Mime is planning to kill Siegfried.
This is how our own mind acts like our best friend. That voice you hear in your head is the voice of your own ego, who is always telling you what to do, what to think, what to feel, how to act, all the while as if it is really you-as if that is your real identity. But behind that, in secret, that mind is plotting your downfall. And that is why increasingly through time, and from lifetime to lifetime, from body to body, suffering increases, because our Karma gets heavier, because we continue feeding desire, continue feeding Mime, continue being misled by desire, by passion, by hate, by envy.
Now when Siegfried completes the sword, he splits the anvil to test it. Now the anvil is obviously a symbol of the tool used in the forge, and the forge is a symbol of Tantra. It is the place where all the heat and pressure are gathered. Tantrism is the science to harness energy. The term tantra means "continuum," or "flow," and relates to energy. And if you have studied true Tantrism-not the tantrism that people in the West think of now, which is all black, which is all wrong-but real Tantrism is the science to harness forces which reside within us. The Dalai Lama stated very clearly that the purpose of Tantra is to harness the subtle energies of the body in order to awaken the consciousness. And that is symbolized by the forge. When Siegfried is working in the forge, he is working in Tantrism, in Alchemy, in Sexual Scientific Chastity.
When the sword is finished, he has finished that work, and he splits the anvil with it, which represents a period of abstinence, a period within which he takes a break from the forge, takes a rest. And this happens at different moments through the Path of Initiation. But in this moment Siegfried is prepared to go and fight the dragon, so he commands Mime, "Take me to the dragon." And we enter into the second act.
In all the ancient mysteries and great religions, we have consistent symbols. In Christianity, we can see quite easily that there are three traitors, three intelligences who betray the Christ. We see Pilate, we see Caiaphas, and we see Judas. Each of these three traitors plays a role in the cosmic drama related to the Initiatic process of Jesus. Of course, Jesus lived that universal cosmic drama in order to teach it to us, for us to understand how we have to in turn face our own three traitors, and how to do it.
This opera is the same. This opera by Wagner presents three traitors to us. We see Mime, Alberich, and Fafner. Mime and Alberich are brothers that are both Nibelungen, dwellers of the underworld. Fafner, in this opera, is a dragon, but he was a giant. Fafner made a deal with Wotan to build Valhalla. And in the end of that first opera, Fafner, having killed his own brother, walks away with the ring, the gold, and the Tarnhelm, these magical elements which came out of the Rheingold. Alberich, of course, wants it back. Mime wants it, too. So they are all plotting.
Our ego is not one. Our ego is not an individual. It is not consistent; it is not organized. Our ego is a multiplicity-a seething, chaotic sea of desire-in conflict with itself. Mime and Alberich, symbolized in the story, plot against each other. Fafner and Fasolt, in the first opera, fought to the death because of greed, because of gluttony, because of lust.
These three traitors exist in our own psyche. These are the same three traitors of Moses, the same three traitors of Osiris, the same three traitors of Hiram Abiff. All of these Initiatic stories contain three traitors. Even the Buddha faced the three daughters of Mara. There are three Furies from the Greek Mysteries.
The Initiate who enters into the Direct Path must conquer them. And to conquer the Three Furies, the Three Traitors, requires in-depth self-knowledge, because those three were created by none other than ourselves. They are our own psyche.
Pilate is the Demon of the Mind, the intellect, that demonic intelligence that utilizes our intellect for its own purposes. The intellect in itself is just a machine; it is just a tool, which when it is placed into the hands of God, becomes very useful. But when controlled by the Demon of the Mind, it is a demon, it is a traitor, and it works against the Christ in the same way that Mime and Alberich and Fafner are doing.
Caiaphas is related to the Demon of Evil Will. Caiaphas acts like your best friend. He acts very sincere. He acts as if he is very concerned for your welfare, like Mime is doing. Mime is always telling Siegfried, "Everything I do is for you. I raised you. I fed you. I protected you. I have taught you. I love you. You are my son." All the while, Mime is plotting to kill him.
Judas is the Demon of Desire, the one who sells his master, the one who is driven by instinct.
Now in the story by Wagner, we can see that these three traitors fight amongst themselves in order to conquer and control the Rheingold, to take possession of the ring so they will have power over the world. They all plot against each other. They all plot against the Gods. They all think they are clever enough to outwit everyone else. And we do the same thing.
This is particularly important when we are working with the tools of scientific chastity, when we have some development, because in our hands is the power which the ego wants to take for itself. That is what is represented in this stage of the opera. Siegfried has that sword: the only weapon that can conquer the dragon, and take from the dragon the ring, and the gold, and the Tarnhelm. Mime wants it. Alberich wants it. Wotan shows up to taunt them.
It is interesting. In the first stages of the operas, Wotan is very concerned with the outcome of what is going to happen. He is frustrated, and he is always seeking to find a way to change the situation. But by this point in the opera, he has become more like Loge, more becoming involved in a scene and teasing, and then extracting himself, not taking any real direct action. And the reason is that Wotan, the Father, wants his son-his spiritual son, his Human Soul-to be strong, to develop his will, to not be weak, but to act when necessary, in the right way, and to know how to do it. This is why Wotan is around, is observing, is always watching, but never interferes. He never tells Siegfried what to do. He never tells him what to do. Meditate on that.
Siegfried has to do what he thinks is right. He has to act, but on his own. Wotan does not want to develop a weak soul, a soul that is always lost, without direction, without strength. Wotan needs a warrior. Wotan needs Siegfried to have his own power.
When Siegfried and Mime arrive, Alberich hides himself. And Siegfried hears a bird singing and wishes he could understand the bird. In all the different esoteric traditions, the bird always plays a significant role as a symbol. We have the Kala-Hamsa Swan in Hinduism; the Phoenix bird; the Geryon; we have the vehicle of Rama. Many birds appear, some symbolizing negative elements, and some symbolizing positive elements.
In Christianity, we have the dove, who symbolizes the Holy Spirit, Binah. Binah, of course, in Hebrew means "intelligence," or "understanding," and is related to Shiva in Hinduism-that creative and destructive power.
The bird that appears here sings a song that Siegfried longs to understand but cannot. And that is because his own development is not to that point yet where he has deep comprehension of this level, of Binah. So he crafts for himself a flute made out of a reed and tries to play. This is, of course, related to the Magic Flute of Mozart, and the flute of Krishna.
This flute represents the spinal column with its seven notes, the Seven Churches, the seven chakras, which the initiate plays when using the energy of the Holy Spirit-the bird-trying to imitate that force and utilize it through the spinal column, through the chakras, through the powers of the Seven Churches. But he is unable to do it because his own development is not advanced enough to do it, because he has not killed the dragon yet. In other words, Siegfried needs to know more, needs to develop, needs to understand more.
So he tosses aside that reed-that flute-and takes his hunting horn. The hunting horn, or the trumpet, is also a symbol you find in many religions. In the Torah, it says that you should take your trumpet in order to awaken from your sleep and remember God. And that trumpet symbolizes the sexual force, the phallus. It is how the note is played through Daath-related to the throat-through the sexual transmutation, through mantra, through the Logos-the Word, the sound-played through Daath. Through the throat is how God creates. In other words, this is a symbol of learning how to take those forces in other levels, superior levels, and transform them, transmute them, into music, into the warrior's call.
So he begins to blow his trumpet-his hunting horn. In other words, he is transmuting energy; he is directing forces. When he does that, who appears? Who is called from the depths but his own Leviathan? The dragon, Fafner. And they have to fight. In other words, when we use the sexual energy, the dragon is stimulated. So we need the sword to conquer it.
Siegfried kills the dragon because he is not afraid. The Christ does not have fear. And the Human Soul is that warrior inspired with the Christic force who is able to conquer that dragon and slay Fafner.
He does so by inserting his sword into the dragon's heart. Now the sword is a symbol of will, of transmuted forces, the flaming sword. And when we insert that sword into the heart of the dragon, we penetrate and comprehend the nature of desire. We acquire-through the Nothing, through the emptiness of meditation-the heart of suffering, of how our own dragon hoards the gold of the Rhein, the powers of the Holy Spirit that are placed in the waters. So through meditation, through utilizing the sword with discriminative awareness, we penetrate the heart of Fafner and kill our own Demon of Desire: Judas, the dragon that lies within us.
And what comes from that is blood. When Siegfried, with the blood burning his hands, touches it to his mouth, suddenly he can understand the bird, the singing bird. He can hear words now. And this is because there is a direct relationship between the sexual forces present in Shiva-Shakti, Binah, the Holy Spirit, and the dragon, who is the opposite. The blood is the energy, the pure force of the sexual energy, which of course is in our own blood. Do you know the profound relationship between blood and the sexual waters? Have you studied your own anatomy?
When Siegfried kills the dragon, he touches the blood to his lips, thus he is taking that sexual energy into his throat, Daath, the Tree of Knowledge. And that gives him the capacity to understand the language of the Holy Spirit, the language of the Logos, the Word, the sound of creation.
Now Siegfried grabs the Tarnhelm and the ring. Mime and Alberich fight because they want to control Siegfried. Alberich leaves, and Mime is left to offer his poison drink to Siegfried. And what else is a poison drink but the same poisoned apple of Snow White? That fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, that sacred force which the ego uses to tempt us, to tantalize us. "Drink of this and you will have knowledge. Drink of this and you will have power. Drink of this to refresh yourself." But Siegfried knows that his ego is always trying to deceive him, so he knows not to take the sexual force lightly, not to misuse it, not to abuse it, not to feed his own desire. So instead he kills Mime. He slays him. And then the bird gives him a present.
See, now Siegfried has conquered two of the three traitors. And each time he performs one of these great works he receives a gift, he receives something in return: knowledge. First he receives knowledge of the understanding of the language of the birds: to understand Binah. And second he is given the knowledge of Brunhilde. The bird tells him that on a remote rock awaits Brunhilde. And only someone who has no fear can conquer her, can take her as his own. So of course Siegfried wants to test himself and to acquire this maiden, and he rushes off.
Now what we have to point out here is that at this scene, this stage of the opera, we have moved from the First Mountain into the Second Mountain. The Second and Third Mountains have never been publicly revealed before the last century, so you will not find much, if anything, about them anywhere, unless you look in the Greek Mysteries, and there you will find the symbol of the Twelve Labors of Hercules. Those twelve labors are these two mountains. You will also find those mountains represented in the life of Jesus, but again it is symbolic.
The Second Mountain is a process whereby the walker of the Direct Path descends into an inferior world, in the Klipoth, in order to conquer parts of his ego. And when he conquers that portion of hell, in his own mind, that level is cleaned. And when that cleansing occurs, not only has that initiate conquered that level of his own abyss, but he receives in turn a corresponding level of his own psychological heaven. With each succeeding level, the initiate awakens more consciousness. These are not initiations. Initiations only happen in the First Mountain. The whole Second Mountain is the work of one initiation related to Binah.
This process of descending and ascending is symbolized in many religions once again: when Jesus descends into hell; when Orpheus descends into hell; in the Greek heroes; the Nordic heroes.
But right at the beginning of the Second Mountain, having performed these first works of the Second Mountain, the initiate is going to receive a long-awaited goal, which is union with Brunhilde, which is what we are going to talk about when we hear the description of the third act.
When this act opens, Wotan is going to speak with Erda, who is, of course, the Goddess of the Earth. She sleeps. When we understand Kabbalistic symbolism, we understand that God-or the Being-is a diverse collection of parts, is a multiplicity of aspects, is like a diamond with many faces. And the purpose of liberation is to unify all those parts and to have absolute consciousness of all of them, collected.
So in this scene, really what we are observing are two parts of our own Being-Wotan and Erda-Wotan, being Kether, our own Inner Father, the Wanderer; Erda, being the Divine Mother. But she sleeps. She has wisdom, but she does not have everything. She needs more, too. Wotan arrives there to get information, to find out if she knows what will happen, to find out what can be done. And what is curious about this scene is neither one of them knows.
Neither one of them really can predict with perfection what will happen. And this is because our own God, our own Being, still has not acquired perfect knowledge, because we have fallen. We are part of Him. While we are in darkness, so is He. While we are in imperfection, so is He. While the Human Soul is still imperfect, God still is not fully perfect. In other words, there are levels of development even amongst the Gods.
The ultimate level of the development of the Gods is called Objective Reasoning. It is a form of knowledge that is far beyond what we can comprehend with our little, puny mind.
With all the levels, the heavens, that are acquired in the process of initiation, each time the initiate conquers a new level, he is conquering more and more comprehension, more and more understanding. In fact the totality of walking this path of the Three Mountains is a process of acquiring knowledge, from the very bottom of the Tree to the very top-to acquire knowledge of all the levels of existence. And the sum total of that wisdom, that understanding, is given to God. It is what develops the abilities of God, the understanding of God, the glory and majesty of God. It is not for our glory. It is not for our own benefit. It is for the benefit of the Divine.
You look into the life of Jesus and you see He did what He did not for Himself; He did what He did for humanity and for God, taking nothing for Himself, not even glory. And that is the path of the Bodhisattva. All the glory goes to God, to Wotan.
So in this scene, we see this curious uncertainty among the Gods. And that uncertainty is there because God has placed in us free will, and God respects that. God is not a tyrant.
The universe has manifested itself according to a certain design, and as you descend through the Tree of Life you see more and more laws and things become more and more complicated the further down you go. And into the midst of that, God places his eye, his consciousness, which has to develop itself and acquire knowledge all the way up the Tree. And in each level working upwards the initiate has to develop more and more maturity: spiritual maturity, conscious maturity.
This is the nature of real willpower-to know how to act in the right way at the right time. This has nothing to do with moral codes. There is no golden rule, because at one moment what is right, in the next moment will be wrong. And the only one who can know the difference is the one who listens to the voice of the Silence inside.
Siegfried follows the guidance of the bird. The bird, naturally, is the Holy Spirit who provides the guidance to lead Siegfried up the mountain, to find that remote rock where Brünnhilde sleeps. That rock, of course, is the Second Mountain.
But to enter into that work, one has to pass ordeals; one is tested. With each succeeding level of development of the consciousness, the initiate has to prove that they have the capacity to receive it. Just in the same way that you would not give your child the keys to the car, or some other powerful tool, until that child proved that they were mature enough to handle it. So too does God test us, to only give us access to those things that we can use responsibly.
Siegfried follows the bird up the rocky path and arrives at a clearing. And there he discovers Wotan, but he does not know who Wotan is. And what does Wotan call himself?-the Guardian of the Rock. And He is that. The rock is the foundation stone, which Jesus mentioned many times: the rock upon which you have to build your church, to build the temple. But it is that rock that the builders reject; in other words, the Nirvanis, the Pratyekas, the Nibelung, all reject the full development of that rock because of attachment. This is the same rock that in the wilderness Moses strikes with his staff and water comes out. That is the sexual water which comes from our own rock, the foundation stone, Yesod. This is related with the lunar works of the Second Mountain.
We begin the Second Mountain working through the progressive nine heavens, which are naturally related to the nine Muses who accompany Apollo, which are symbolized by the nine Valkyrie which Odin created. And the first Valkyrie is Brünnhilde, who sleeps on this rock. This is the rock of Yesod, but in heaven, the superior aspect.
So Siegfried has to pass the ordeal to gain entrance into that level of development. And to do so he has to confront Wotan, but he does not know who Wotan is. In other words, Siegfried does not yet know his own self, his own Inner Father, his own Kether. But he has courage, he has willpower to proceed.
Wotan blocks his way with his staff. He says, "You cannot advance; you have to go through me first." So we would say symbolically that Wotan is appearing here as Loge, as Lucifer, as the tempter, as the Guardian of the Threshold, this apparition which we have to have courage to confront and overcome.
Siegfried swings his sword and breaks the staff of Wotan. And what is that? You will remember of course that in the previous opera, Wotan broke the sword. But now the same sword reforged breaks the staff. What has happened? What has changed?
In the previous opera, that sword was the sword of a walker on the First Mountain, who only had a certain level of development, who is still bound by certain laws, certain commandments, certain ways of understanding, certain ways of behaving. But through great works and development of consciousness, Siegfried has arrived at the precipice, the entrance into the Second Mountain. In other words, he has more understanding, he needs to develop his will in a greater degree, and he is able to break the staff of Wotan. This is a very deep symbol.
The staff represents, naturally, the spine. But the staff in particular is Wotan's symbol of his contracts, of his rules, of his laws. What is interesting is that when someone is in the very beginning stages of initiation, this person is bound by the Ten Commandments, by certain rules, by certain contracts that we make with God. We are bound by that, and this is what Moses delivers to the people-basic rules that one must follow in order to reach a certain stage of initiation. But to go beyond, to go into further levels of development, one has to transcend even that.
Now you will remember that those Ten Commandments are given in Deuteronomy. Do you know that Deutero means "second?" In other words, the Ten Commandments are the second law. They are the law given to the beginners. But there is a first law, and that is, "You shall love your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength." In other words, you shall do the will of your God above all things.
The walker of the Direct Path transcends the Ten Commandments and begins to act in a revolutionary way in accordance with his own will. But that is the will of God in him. By appearances it looks contradictory. It appears that he is breaking the law, and Jesus naturally ran into this all the time with all the Pharisees accusing him, "You are breaking the law! You are breaking the law! You are breaking the law!" And what does He say? "I am the law." The Christ is the First Law which transcends the Second Law.
Siegfried represents the Christified initiate who breaks his contractual obligations with lower laws. He is revolutionary. He is beyond the law. He is becoming Christ, to incarnate that.
And this is how we can understand when we look into many Initiatic stories, stories of the lives of great initiates. They appear to do things which contradict those Ten Commandments, or the basic precepts. They appear to do things that are against what we call "moral." And that is because they answer to a higher law.
Wotan withdraws and Siegfried ascends up the mountain. And he finds there a sleeping warrior. This naturally calls to mind many famous stories in Western tradition, such as "Sleeping Beauty" or "Snow White," similar such stories where we find the maiden sleeps and the warrior has to come to awaken her.
But there is a beautiful additional factor here that Siegfried sings, "I must awaken the maid to waken myself." If you watch the opera you will hear him say that. So that is a very direct indication of what this opera is about. Siegfried, naturally, represents the Human Soul, the warrior, the fighter, Lancelot. And who he finds there on the rock is Brunhilde, who is one of the Valkyrie that Wotan created.
Brunhilde is related to the sephirah Geburah on the Tree of Life. In Sanskrit she would be called Buddhi. She is the Divine Soul, or the Spiritual Soul, the feminine soul, the complement of the Human Soul. In other words, Wotan has two souls: one divine, one human; one feminine, one masculine. They are part of him, but he needs them to unite so that he can advance, so that he can grow.
Geburah, or Brunhilde, is called Guinevere in Arthurian mysteries. She is called Helen in the Greek mysteries. She is called Beatrice by Goethe and by Dante. This is a universal symbol.
When Siegfried arrives there he finds this warrior. He does not realize it is a woman, so he begins to remove her armor. He then realizes this is a woman and becomes afraid. Personally, this is my favorite moment in the whole opera, and it is because it represents and demonstrates the humanity of Christ, the tenderness, the beauty: Christ loves. This is not a cold love. It not an indifferent love or a distant love. It is very personal; it very emotional; it is very real.
Siegfried, the Human Soul, perceiving his Divine Soul, experiences a kind of vulnerability. For the first time, his courage is challenged. The initiate who works in this practical science will discover this directly for themselves by working with Alchemy, because any person who is working with Alchemy knows well that no matter how courageous you are, when you enter into intimate union with your spouse, you are vulnerable: as a mind, as a heart, and sexually. Your spouse will know you in ways that you do not even know yourself. Your spouse will see things in you that you have never shown to anyone, and do not want to show. And that is a kind of fear-not fear in the way we tend to think of fear-but fear in a kind of emotional vulnerability and respect.
This is a quality of love that only someone who has really experienced love can understand. It is not fear in the way we usually think of it. It is an aspect of love, which is beautiful, but which is a profound emotional vulnerability.
Siegfried discovers fear in this moment; he discovers what it means to have a weakness-not an egotistical weakness, but to have that emotional vulnerability.
So he decides to awaken her and he kisses her. This is the entrance into the Ninth Sphere, when the man and woman unite, when masculine and feminine forces cross and form that famous cross: the feminine, being horizontal, lying asleep on the rock; the masculine, being vertical, penetrates that and forms a cross. And this is the mystical union.
In terms of the Initiatic symbol, this represents the moment in which the consciousness of the initiate is betrothed to the Divine Soul. In other words, Tiphereth and Geburah unite. And this is a moment of incredible beauty for the initiate, but also provides the necessary elements for that initiate to advance, to grow, to learn.
Of course, in the opera they sing a very beautiful duet proclaiming the mysteries of love. And both of them sense and feel that vulnerability of that relationship, but by uniting with each other, by trusting in that love and trusting each other, they have the courage to renounce everything, to embrace death.
So the end of this opera they sing of that: that even though what they do from love will doom the Gods, will cause the destruction of everything, they do it because of love. And the nature of that symbol will be explained in next week's lecture.
Do you have any questions?
Audience: So practically that is the incarnation of Buddhi.
Right. It is pointed out that this is the moment when Buddhi incarnates into the initiate, physically. And Buddhi, of course, in Sanskrit means "intellect." But this is not intellect in the way we think of it. This is a capacity or a vessel through which we can receive understanding.
Buddhi is our Divine Consciousness, which is receptive-receptive in a way that a vessel is receptive. And what that vessel receives is the wisdom of God, the wisdom of Prana, the wisdom of Atman, the wisdom of Wotan. That wisdom, that light, expresses itself through Buddhi, through Geburah.
So when we learn to meditate-truly meditate-not just concentration, not just mantras, but to enter into Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, to go into levels of perception where we perceive directly without the interference of the ego, what we learn is how to receive through Buddhi, to connect in those brief moments with Buddhi, to receive that understanding.
But in this moment of initiation is when that element of our psyche incarnates, becomes fully active, continually, in the consciousness of the initiate. That is a tremendous step. In a sort of synthetic way we can say that that gives the capacity to access Samadhi continually. Buddhi is that.
Audience: This is what Krishna called the reincarnation of Heroes or Gods-a true reincarnation.
That is interesting. So it is pointed out that this is what Krishna calls the reincarnation of the Gods-a true reincarnation. And this is because it is the Divine Soul that provides that direct knowledge, and provides that direct knowledge to the Human Soul who can then act on it.
Well, Caiaphas does not belong in the sixth dimension. He resides in the inferior part of the fifth dimension. So in other words, our will, which should be in Tiphereth, becomes trapped in the ego, which is in the Klipoth.
Our own will is trapped in hell. That is Caiaphas. We have to renounce that, extract our consciousness from that. Then we can experience real will, free will, which is not conditioned by desire, not conditioned by pride or by envy. It is instead that free, active will of Tiphereth in the sixth dimension. But you can only experience that if the consciousness is fully separated from the ego.
Audience: How is it that only Alberich recognizes the wanderer as Wotan?
That is an interesting question. Well, actually Mime recognizes him for who he is, and Fafner does, too. The Three Traitors know very well the difference between them and God, but they do their best to keep us in the dark. It is like Mime knows all along who Siegfried is, but he does not tell him until Siegfried forces him to. And how does he do that but through meditation?
We have what we call the Pharisee "I", or the mystical "I", which is a very spiritual kind of ego. And this aspect of the psyche can know these teachings very well, can understand them in its way, can teach-can talk about Gnosis, can talk about religion, can talk about God. But it is not God. But it thinks it is God, or at least God-like.
And many of those so-called "masters," or leaders of movements, really are just an enthroned Pharisee "I"-an ego that is attached to being a leader, attached to being admired, to being worshipped, to being followed. And that ego, in its depth, knows that it is fooling the consciousness of the person.
A little deeper into that question, though, is to consider why it is that at this point in the opera, two of those three traitors are dead. Why is Alberich left? What is it about Alberich? And we are going to find that out next week in the next lecture.
Well that is an interesting question. The symbolism there is how our own ego develops tools, and in certain levels we need that. So for example, when we enter into Gnosis we have a lot of ego, when we enter into any kind of religion. But we need that religion, we need that structure, we need those tools in order for us to have some degree of ability to advance and to deepen our understanding. So we learn certain practices, for example: meditation, or concentration on mantras. But really, those tools are weak because the ego has created them. So we could say maybe we inherited a religion from our family or from our country. Maybe we inherited a teaching that some person made up or invented. So there might be a certain, very limited, usefulness of that tool. But when it is really used in a strong way, it shatters, which shows that it has no real strength.
And this is true of many mystical traditions nowadays. When you really apply analysis to them, when you really look into the depth, when you really try to utilize them in a practical way to advance your own self-knowledge, the tools become useless because they are not strong enough to conquer the mind-the mind made them.
It may be the case that some of us find a school like that-a religion or a teaching-and we practice it, but it breaks on us. We find that it has no real strength, so we leave; we go and find another school, another teaching, and we start to use that. The same thing happens-those tools keep breaking.
The same thing can happen here. You can acquire the kind of knowledge we are discussing, but take it only with your ego and become a very egotistical student, not taking it into the consciousness, and develop yourself as a Pharisee-as someone who believes, as someone who agrees. But in the end because you have not developed those tools consciously, they will break. And so you see many students who come to teachings like this and leave because they did not grasp the real use of that force.
Audience: In the case of those who teach lashing yourself, they take the teaching the wrong way.
Right. And so a good example of that is there are many groups who take these teachings in the wrong way. They take it through, we would say, recurrent karmic elements of the psyche. And they translate the teaching according to those elements of their own psyche.
An example of that: there is a certain group who uses these teachings of Gnosis, but in the wrong way because of recurrent elements-things that happened in the past that live inside their minds, in the depths. So they take this teaching and instead of learning how to meditate and conquer the ego that way, they take a whip-physically-and whip themselves, which is wrong.
There are schools that used to do that in past ages. And it was wrong then. They are doing it now by a matter of recurrence, by a matter of repetition, and by misunderstanding the teaching.
And this is true in many other ways: how we can take elements of the ego-which we may not even see-but things that we did in past lives which cause us to have a predisposition in our understanding. So when we hear Gnosis we think, "Oh, yeah!" It turns on a light bulb in the ego. And then we combine those two and we make a tool that is useless or even harmful.
Audience: It is about blood of the dragon. You said Siegfried had blood in his hand. His hands got burned, but not his mouth. Why is that so?
The blood of the dragon is the very pure and root sexual force, which we know is flowing through Yesod. These are the rivers of Eden. When those rivers flow downwards into hell, they become conditioned by that environment. And so they become the rivers of Hades: Acheron, Phlegethon, the Styx, etc. That energy has a lot of potency and a lot of power.
When Siegfried kills the dragon with his sword, he gets blood on his hands and it burns him. This is the nature of how the work in Alchemy, in transmutation, can be painful. The hands is how we work. We work with our hands. It is symbolic.
So in the nature of working on himself to conquer the dragon, it is painful. It burns. And this is true of any ego you work on. It hurts. When you really see your own filthiness and you really see how filthy and disgusting your own mind is, that is painful. So it burns the hands.
But in this opera, he takes and touches the blood into his mouth. And this is a symbol of comprehension in meditation. When you take something in your mouth you are going to consume and digest that, right? And you are going to take it into the throat.
Real meditation is the method to transform impressions: to digest impressions. If we learn to meditate in this way - using the consciousness to transform impressions - then we will not be burned when we transform the energies of the ego. But if we fail - meaning that we instead become identified with those impressions, then we are harmed: the ego is fed rather than being destroyed.
The process of transforming is on multiple levels. Firstly, it is happening because the energy is being transformed up the spinal column. You see the raising of the hand to the mouth, right? Symbolizing the energy moving up, over, and through Daath, through the mouth. And that is what provides the wisdom and the understanding. So transmutation and meditation provide that: comprehension. And that is what gives him the power. Yet there is still pain.
And this is true of any ego in any level. The way to conquer it, you have to learn what real tantra means-to take energy and transform it. Sometimes it is painful. Most of the time it is painful. But the pain is far less than remaining a Nibelung, than remaining as a dweller of the underworld, consumed by envy. That is pain.
Audience: When Wotan comes to Mime, he kind of tricks him into beating the dragon. How might we transfer that into the?...
Yeah. I know the part you are talking about.
Audience: I was not sure what is really happening there. Is he helping the initiate? Is that his way of helping?
My understanding of that scene-when Wotan comes to Mime and asks him questions, they have this test with each other-my understanding of that is it represents how the Being helps us, but not in direct ways.
God is always there behind everything that is going on with us. But you notice in that scene that Siegfried is not there. He is not around. And Siegfried is acting repeatedly, but God is not there to help him directly. And to me, again, this represents the need for Wotan to help his initiate develop, but not directly.
So I can relate that, for example, so many students want God to come down out of the clouds and say, "Okay now you go do this and that because I told you so." But God does not do that. Instead, behind the scenes He works out a few little things. So then we walk into situations that we have to solve. And really that is the work of Loge, Lucifer, or the trainer, who in the Book of Job is doing exactly that: the way he manipulates situations to test him. So that is my understanding of it.
In a way you can see that Wotan could easily kill the ego at any time.
Audience: So he kind of just sets it up and makes sure he is not there.
Yes. Wotan himself could go and kill any of these elements on his own. He could kill Fafner, Mime, or Alberich, easy. But he does not, because if he did that, Siegfried would not grow, he would not learn, he would not develop. And in the end, Wotan would gain nothing. He would be in the same situation.
I hope you will join us for the conclusion of this series next week, which I expect will be far more dramatic and elevated than what we have experienced so far. So I would encourage you if you have the chance to watch the opera before the lecture, because your own understanding of it will be much deeper.