The Occult Truths of Myths and Legends
Greek and Germanic Mythology: Richard Wagner in the Light of Spiritual Science (CW 92)
16 lectures, Berlin, Cologne, Nuremberg, June 24, 1904 – December 2, 1907 (CW 92)
“All physical events are the shadows of supersensory events. The battle between spiritual forces and materialism is a reflection of the battle between the hosts of Beelzebub and Mammon against Michael. This battle had to be fought first on the higher planes. It was won there by Michael thirty years ago, and the present battle here on the physical plane is a reflection of it. Above, the battle has been decided, but for the individual human being it is not finished yet. If the human beings of today are not equal to this, we will all have to perish and new human beings would have to come. This shows us the juncture, the path, that the individual today needs to take.” — Rudolf Steiner (June 24, 1904)
In this series of previously untranslated lectures, Rudolf Steiner describes how myths and legends portray humanity’s most ancient evolutionary and spiritual history. Folklore presents ancient mystical wisdom in the form of stories clothed in pictures by initiates that enable individuals to understand their content in a more intellectual form in the future.
Focusing on Greek and Germanic mythology, the first part covers the chronicles of Prometheus, Daedalus and Icarus, Parsifal, and Lohengrin, the Argonauts and the Odyssey, and the heroic dragon-slayer Siegfried. From these focal points, Steiner discusses a variety of themes, from the Druidic mysteries and the beginning of Rome to the esoteric background of Wolfram von Eschenbach, and from good and evil and Socrates’ unjust death sentence to the significance of marriage.
The second part features lectures on the nature and significance of Richard Wagner’s musical dramas. Steiner discusses Wagner’s work, from a spiritual perspective, covering his earliest attempts up to Parsifal, his most mature opera. Although Wagner was never fully conscious of the profound meanings behind his compositions, Steiner suggests that his development of Germanic legends was driven by an instinctive, creative, and artistic certainty that accords with profound esoteric facts.
This volume is a translation from German of Die okkulten Wahrheiten alter Mythen und Sagen (GA 92). Cover image: Lohengrin (1916), by Ferdinand Leeke.
C O N T E N T S:
Introduction by Paul King
I: GREEK AND GERMANIC MYTHOLOGY
1. Good and Evil
2. Reading the Akasha Chronicle: Wolfram von Eschenbach
3. Sacramentalism: Daedalus and Icarus
4. Germanic Mythology
6. The Mysteries of the Druids
7. The Legend of Prometheus
8. The Legend of the Argonauts and the Odyssey
9. The Legend of Siegfried
10. The Trojan War
II: RICHARD WAGNER IN THE LIGHT OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE
1. Wagner and the Guidance of Humanity by the Great Initiates
2. From Ancient Astral Clairvoyance to Intellectual Wisdom
3. Wagner and the Birth of the “I” in the Fifth Epoch
4. The Impulse of Wagner toward Reunifying Art, Religion, and Science
5. Parzival and Lohengrin
6. Richard Wagner and His Relation to Mysticism