The Chalice of Ecstasy: Being the Inmost Secret of Parzival
It was also Thoth who played a prominent role in the battle of Re and Set. Set used his evil power to cast clouds over the sun-eye of Re, which Thoth swept away Budge. The dead Pharaoh became one with the sun-god Re by day, and one with the moon-god Thoth by night. In the daytime Thoth journeyed with Re in the solar barque: in the nighttime he travelled alone in the lunar barque.
Not only the right sun-eye in the myth of Re but also the left moon-eye in the famous battle of Horus and Set proved Thoth as the deity of the visionary experience. Fowden summarized the Thoth mythology: Thoth came to be regarded as the origin of cosmic order and of religious and civil institutions. He presided over almost every aspect of the temple cults, law and the civil year, and in particular over the sacred rituals, texts and formulae, and the magic arts that were so closely related.
To him, as divine scribe, inventor of writing and lord of wisdom, the priesthood attributed much of its sacred literature, including, for example, parts of the Book of the dead. And of the occult powers latent in all these aspects of the cult of the gods, Thoth was the acknowledged source. By extension he came to be regarded as the lord of knowledge, language, and all science—even as Understanding or Reason personified.
Arabic Hermes It was said that a damaged manuscript of the Corpus was rediscovered and came into the hands of Michael Psellus in Byzantium of the 11th century. Eschenbach might know the Corpus as a whole through Psellus. The collection as a whole existed as early as the 12th century. However, the Islamic lore of Hermes as found in Parzival cannot be explained by Byzantine mediation.
Al-Kindi testified that an Arabic translation did exist by the mid-ninth century. Victor Zoller, Alchemy and astrology became an experimental and theoretical practice of natural philosophy based on more technical, exact science. Hermeticism was a vehicle and a carrier of a cultural continuity, dissemination, and circulation of Aristotelian natural philosophy. Between natural philosophy and modern science lay alchemy and astrology, acting as a bridge. This juncture produced many kinds of scientific tools and apparatus leading to the scientific revolution. The technical side of Hermeticism had a role in transforming natural philosophy into modern science.
Thus Hermeticism is important in the history of science; however, the importance of Hermeticism has much more than just a technical side. This is clear in psychological interpretation of Hermeticism by Jung. In a sense, Jung discovered psychology in the application of natural philosophy in Hermeticism. There was a carrier, a vehicle who transmitted natural philosophy written in the fourth treatise of Corpus Hermeticum.
That philosophy was primarily Aristotle. A marvelous foundation for the history of psychology was laid by Aristotle. In De Anima Aristotle trans. Aristotle defined soul by three features: the production of movement, perception, and incorporeality. By the term movement, Aristotle meant four types of movement which were not necessarily physical phenomenon but included psychological and natural phenomena; namely, locomotion, alteration, decay, and growth. Aristotle regarded the incorporeality of soul in a different way than Plato did. Unlike Plato, who thought soul is partly immortal, Aristotle thought that soul is substance as the form of a natural body and therefore mortal.
Aristotle trans. The soul is neither without body nor a kind of body Otherwise the soul remains held within the perspectives of life. Then care of soul means only reverence toward life and respect for individual human beings where soul is embodied. Just here Aristotelianism neglects what the Platonists remember: psyche is indeed the essence of living bodies, but living bodies are also dying bodies. Soul refers to that fantasy of death going on, in countless ways, in the midst of the organic and natural standpoint pp. As soul belongs to a body, soul is a complex of faculties holding capacities for cognitively grasping objects.
Sight grasps colors, smell odors, hearing sounds, taste flavor, touch a wide range of objects. Imagination is a movement coming about from the activity of sense- perception. The images are like sense-data but without matter; Soul cannot think without images. Jung c identified the image with the psyche, which is a maxim that archetypal psychology adopted as the soul constituted of images; the soul is primarily an imagining activity Hillman, a.
But, how can soul be immortal when it belongs to a mortal body? The possibility of separate survival of the soul was discussed in detail by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, and many other Medieval and Renaissance philosophers. Whether the intellect is capable of separate existence could only be answered by a division of the concept of intellect in two parts, namely the active intellect and the passive intellect. Aristotle applied his theory of potentiality and actuality to the distinction between different parts of the intellect.
He meant the former as the passive intellect which receives the intelligible forms of things, whereas the latter is the active intellect which transforms potential knowledge into actual knowledge. The passive intellect is perishable and thinks nothing without the active intellect. Aristotle used the analogy of light making potential colors into actual colors to explain this concept.
Davidson commented on this process from potentiality to actuality with imagination as medium: The active intellect leads the human intellect to actuality by Aristotle also distinguished intellect nous from reason logos as a distinction between intuition and logical processing. Intellect is the faculty for setting definitions, whereas reason is the faculty which uses them. Aristotle divided the soul into two parts; one which has reason and one which does not. Intellect as intuition is the source of the first principles. It follows that the first principles of scientific truth cannot be grasped either by science or by art or by prudence The state of mind that apprehends first principles is intuition [intellect, nous] VI.
Descartes omitted this Aristotelian epistemology of intellect and reason. Instead, he established mechanical philosophy of mind based on a dualism between mind and matter. The Cartesian concept of mind is a wider general abode for the entire content of experience of a thinking being as a subject.
The Cup was sent down by God, which means that intellect emanated from the monad which is the unmoved mover. Aristotle thought that the unmoved mover is a cause of all the celestial movement without being affected to be moved by any cause, and equated it with the active intellect. But the question of the fourth, rightly or wrongly, remained.
Jung regarded the krater of Hermetica as the vessel of spiritual transformation which later developed into the actual vas of alchemy. As the anima mundi, the krater is a feminine principle of androgynous Mercury Jung, The masculine half is the sword of the Knights of the Round Table.
In Hermetica IV. The fourth treatise closes with the following passage trans. If you observe it clearly and reflect upon it with the eyes of the heart, believe me, my son, you will find the way to higher things. In fact the image itself will guide you. For sight of the image has a special quality of its own. It dwells in those who have already seen it and draws them upward, just as they say a magnet draws up iron. Emanation and Individuation in Parzival The structure of Parzival has three realms corresponding to the layers of the spirit, soul, and matter.
Tripartition is an idea found in Aristotelian revival of the Medieval Age, in Avicenna for example Hasse, Fideler explained: The three levels are, in a sense, symbolized by three separate locales: the Round Table, or Arthurian society; the Castle of Wonders; and the Castle of the Grail. These levels in turn are typified by certain characters and levels of human experience The interesting thing is that the structure of Parzival corresponds to the order of Jungian archetypes.
The first level corresponds to the ego, shadow, and persona; the second to the anima and animus; the third to the self. Fideler gave insight into the interrelational aspect of each level, which makes sense from the point of view of archetypal psychology: Three levels are linked together through the principle of continuity: there is an interpenetration of levels and characters. The Castle of the Grail may be hidden, but its messengers and envoys secretly ride forth into the realm of everyday affairs.
Also, it is a characteristic of Neoplatonism in which the worldly and the spiritual was not separate but connected by theurgy which employed astrological oracles and Hermetic rituals for the divine to descend to the body and soul. The first four maidens, dressed in brown wool, represent the four elements of earth, water, air and fire.
The eight maidens, dressed in green samite, represent the seven planetary spheres and the sphere of fixed stars. Grail, the divine Monad. The idea that the sequence of emanations closes upon itself in a circle and returns to God can be found in Sohrawardi and Avicenna. The structure of the Grail quest of Parzival can be read by this Neoplatonic and gnostic metaphysics of emanation and return.
In that way, in Parzival, emanation and individuation relate to each other. It was soon after Parzival was written that principium individuationis became a subject matter of medieval philosophy of Duns Scotus. He turns round and gazes with gentle rapture on the woods and meadows; which represent his Garden, as we explained before.
Gradually, he realizes the results of the Work he had carried on in silence and darkness. His memory awakens and he murmurs:. During this speech, Kundry has been watching Parzival with moist eyes and a look of beseeching, and he, now fully realizing the results of his work for it is High Noon remarks:.
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And he kisses her softly upon the brow. Of this it is written in Liber IV. Here we obtain the key to the errors of both Klingsor and Amfortas; together with the true solution of the problem, as obtained by Parzival. It is MIDDAY, and just as the Sun is then at its height and full beauty, so we find that Parzival's travels have led him to complete the circle of his wanderings, and in another moment, The Mountain of Salvation, like a great Ruby Jewel set in a Golden Ring, will shine out once more.
Meanwhile, Gurnemanz and Kundry are seen to cover Parzival with the Mantle of the Grail, and he, solemnly grasping the Holy Spear and with Kundry at his side, prepares to follow Gurnemanz. Now, as if to prove out theory that Parzival had completed the Circle, we find the scenery once again automatically changing, but this time from right to left. It will be remembered that on the previous occasion, when for the first time Parzival entered the Temple of the Grail, this charge took place in the opposite direction.
The passages through which they pass are similar, but as if reversed. And this time all three traverse them together as if to symbolise the Sacred Triad, the completion of which is about to take place. As before, there are chimes of bells. The aspirant will notice similar sounds when entering the Higher Consciousness.
There is but a faint light at first. The doors open on either side and Knights bring Titurel's corpse in a Coffin and Amfortas' wounded body on a litter. The bier is erected in the middle of the Hall, and behind it is the throne with canopy, where Amfortas is set down. Then comes a train of Knights bearing the Holy Grail towards the sheltering Shrine, where it is placed as before. Unaware of the approach of the Victorious Parzival, the Knights now murmur at the death of Titurel the honoured founder of the Order. For this death, Amfortas appears to have been at least partially responsible, having failed for so long a time in his office to unveil the Grail.
Yet he, having lost the Sacred Spear - the Higher Will - entrusted to him by his Father, and having found the human will quite unable to take Its place, has in the meanwhile suffered awful tortures through this failure to fulfil his true Purpose. The Knights, in despair, press towards Amfortas and demand that he - this once - unveil the shrine and do his office.
And so, at the moment of Amfortas' greatest agony Parzival, the Redeeming Power, enters unperceived and unexpected. True Ecstasy comes at the moment when all seems lost, for the partial and transient must disappear and become lost, e'er the Real appears. He totters in ecstasy, while Gurnemanz supports him tenderly. And as all gaze in rapture on the Spear held aloft by Parzival, he continues, in inspiration, as he gazes at its Point:.
Thus, and not otherwise, came Parzival into his own. Was Wagner a great Qabalist? Were those from whom he obtained the sources of his information such? Who can tell? Rather I would suggest that, being inspired, this Drama must of necessity conform to all truth, on all planes. For there are certain Numerical Emanations, called the Ten Sephiroth, and there are certain Vibrations of a numerical nature connected with Words. The Work is to discover their equivalence, and to unite them.
See Sepher Sephiroth, Equinox Vol. Number VIII. It is worthy of notice, and most careful consideration, therefore, that with slight adjustment of spelling, the Names of the principle characters in the Drama have an extraordinary significance. In the above the Hebrew equivalents of the letters and the old spellings of the names are used. With small study of the Qabalistic System and the Grades of the Order based on the Tree of Life, the significance of the above will become more and more apparent to the Student. An extended treatise might be written on the subject, but that is not the intention of the author at this time.
Now, there are several spellings of the name Parzival; the one I have adopted being that of Wolfram von Eschenbach, from whom Wagner derived the Drama. The usual spelling - Parsifal - is interesting since it adds to , which, with the addition of Final Mem. The Water of the Great Sea of Understanding , becomes By Greek Numeration is the number of Jesus the Christ.
But there is another spelling, much more significant, and probably the oldest of them all. It also shows the transition to the New Aeon, there being a connection between this old spelling and that of Parzival the formula of the present time. This arrangement clearly shows how the Chalice is one with the Tree of Life and filled by the Holy Spirit.
The numerical proof is not, however, quite complete - indeed it could never be completed - but let me draw your attention to the word Grail. Share on Twitter Facebook Pinterest. And to those who are slumbering contentedly, wrapped round with the delusion and dreams of this illusory like, I cry with Gurnemanz: Hey! To the Oriental, meditation offers the best path. To the Western, there is no road better than ceremonial. For ecstasy is caused by the sudden combination of two ideas, just as oxygen and hydrogen unite explosively.
This we do again and again, more and more passionately, with more and more determination, until at last the mind accepts the domination of the will, and rushes of its own accord toward the desired object. This surrender of the mind to its Lord gives the holy ecstasy we seek. In all the Universe this Swan alone in motionless; it seems to move, as the Sun seems to move; such is the weakness of our sight. O fool! Motion is relative: there is Nothing that is still. Against this Swan I shot an arrow; the white breast poured forth blood.
Men smote me; then perceiving that I was a Pure Fool, they let me pass. Thus and not otherwise I came to the Temple of the Grail. Here is a force destructive and corrupting whereby have many men been lost: witness all History. Yet without love man were not man. I may not say: But if to serve it thou be bidden, Knowledge of it will not be hidden. Also the Holy One came upon me, and I beheld a white swan floating in the blue. Between its wings I sate, and the aeons fled away.
Then the swan flew and dived and soared, yet no whither we went. A little crazy boy that rode with me spake unto the swan and said: Who art thou that doth float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many aeons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?
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And laughing I chid him saying: No whence! No wither! The swan being silent, he answered: Then if with no goal, why this eternal journey? And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan, and laughed, saying: Is there not joy ineffable in this aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience for who would attain to some goal? And the swan was ever silent. Ah, but we floated in the infinite Abyss. White swan bear thou ever me up between thy wings. When thou hast it thou shalt know all bitterness, thy teeth fixed in the Sodom-Apple.
Thus hast thou been lured along That Path, whose terror else had driven thee far away. O thou that stridest upon the middle of The Path, no phantoms mock thee. For the stride's sake thou stridest. Thus art thou lured along That Path whose fascination else had driven thee far away. Faster and faster dost thou fall; thy weariness is changed into Ineffable Rest.
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For there is no Thou upon that Path: thou hast become The Way. Now give good head, and let me see, If thou'rt a Fool and pure, What wisdom thou presently canst secure. I alone seem listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look dejected and forlorn, as I had no home to go to. The multitude of men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost everything.
My mind is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of chaos. Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be benighted. They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull and confused. I seem to be carried about as on a sea, drifting as if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action, while I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. Draw near me! The Master calls thee, nameless woman: She-Lucifer!
Rose of Hades! Herodias wert thou. And what else? Gundryggia there, Kundry here! Approach then, Kundry!
Unto thy Master appear! Awfulest strait! Irrepressible yearning woe! Terrible lust in me once rife, Which I had quenched with devilish strife; Mocks and laughs it at me, Thou devil's bride, through thee? Have a care! Three Halls, O weary Pilgrim, lead to the end of toils. Three halls, O conqueror of Mara, will bring thee through three states into the fourth, and thence into the Seven Worlds, the Worlds of Rest Eternal.
If thou would'st learn their names, then hearken, and remember. It is the Hall in which thou saw'st the light, in which thou livest and shalt die. In it thy soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every flower is a serpent coiled. Akshara is the same as the Great Sea of the Qabalah. If thou wouldst cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the sunlight of life.
If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms inhale. So with thy all; though hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect. The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none! And was it my kiss This great knowledge conveyed thee? If in my arms I might take thee, 'Twould then a god surely make thee.
Redeem the world then, if 'tis thy aim: Stand as a god revealed; For this hour let me perish in flame, Leave aye the wound unhealed. Eternally Should I be damned with thee, If for one hour I forget my holy mission, Within thine arm's embracing! Halt there! I'll ban thee with befitting gear: The Fool shall perish by his Master's spear! But, instead of that, he is found hidden in the earth, tending a garden. This mystery is all too complex to be elucidated in these fragments of impure thought; it is a suitable subject for meditation.
Therefore he that hath beheld it is called NEMO.
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And know thou that every man that is called NEMO hath a garden that he tendeth. And every garden that is and flourisheth hath been prepared from the desert by NEMO, watered with the waters that were called death. And I say unto him: To what end is the garden prepared? And he that tendeth the garden seeketh not to single out the flower that shall be NEMO. He doeth naught but tend the garden. And I said: Pleasant indeed is the garden, and light is the toil of tending it, and great is the reward.
In his is only Peace. And I said: Are all gardens like unto this garden? And he waved his hand, and in the Aire across the valley appeared an island of coral, rosy, with green palms and fruit trees, in the midst of the bluest of the seas. And he waved his hand again, and there appeared a valley shut in by mighty snow mountains, and in it were pleasant streams of water, rushing through, and broad rivers, and lakes covered with lilies. And he waved his hand again, and there was a vision, as it were an oasis in the desert.
And again he waved his hand, and there was a dim country with grey rocks, and heather, and gorse, and bracken. Wagner's genius comes through most clearly to me in the Ring cycle and "Tristan und Isolde". The topic of sexual attraction as inspired madness permeates both great works, as this topic clearly plays to Wagner's strengths. The considerable symbolic and psychological power of ancient mythology also brings great dimensionality to these operas. If you love Carl Jung, you're likely to also love Richard Wagner. I've sampled Wagner's "Christian" works, though, and they feel dead on arrival to me.
The moral seriousness of Judeo-Christian religion doesn't seem to me to play to Wagner's strengths as a dramatist, and there is little in his own life story that indicates a deep understanding of the type of morality Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe that's why I've never been able to get anywhere with "Parsifal". I feel that Wagner is a genius as an anthropologist, but an imposter as a religious philosopher. With that said, I have to admit that I haven't put in the work to really understand "Parsifal", but I always follow my instincts when it comes to which operas are worth investing my time in, and "Parsifal" does not attract me at all.
I formed this judgement before learning as I've learned here that part of this opera's plot involves denying Jesus's Jewish origins, and now that I've learned this I'm not just disinterested in but actively repelled by this work. Racist pseudoscience is deeply offensive. I have my own strong beliefs about the religious and spiritual meaning of life, and Wagner is not the kind of artist who seems to have much authority in this realm. I'm interested in hearing how enthusiastic Woodduck is about "Parsifal", though. I will try to give it a chance someday. But I also think it's a worthwhile position to cherish Wagner for what he is greatest at - crazy love stories, brilliant reinventions of pagan mythology - and not stretching this adoration beyond its breaking point.
Originally Posted by marceliotstein. Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate! Last edited by annaw; Jun at Originally Posted by annaw. I don't think that it's somehow wrong to listen to the works because I don't agree with all the moral ideas for example C. Lewis who has also written very many Christian books really enjoyed Wagner's operas. I have had a theory now for some time that Wagner's rejection of Jesus's Jewish origins or the Old Testament in general, plays an important part in the storyline and the allegorical meaning of the Ring.
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- APPENDIX A!
- INTRODUCTORY NOTES.
- The Chalice of Ecstasy: Being the Inmost Secret of Parzival.
- The Secret Teachings of All Ages.
- ACT ONE - SCENE ONE.
The idea of the progression from Wotan's legalistic power to his fall he himself wanted could be understood as Wagner's view of progression from the Old Testament to the New Testament. All thoughts on this theory are very welcome! I personally don't think that the Old Testament and the New Testament are somehow contradictory and should be separated in such a way, but this doesn't prevent me from enjoying the Ring immensely. Last edited by millionrainbows; Jun at Why is it that no one will use this method?
In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring! Originally Posted by millionrainbows. As I understand it, the main theme of Parsifal, and indeed of all Wagner's work, is redemption. This is the rejection of power and greed and ego. It could be seen as the rejection of all desire, similar to the surrender of desire in Eastern philosophy, to reach the true "self. It seems to me that there are elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and Schopenhauer in Parsifal, and trying to make disctinctions is somewhat artificial because the different beliefs share so many ideals.
Compassion is at the heart of Buddhism, it is essential to Schopenhauer, and it is the essence of Christianity, its fundamental moral imperative. Perhaps Christianity is disctinctive in demanding a particularly active response.