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Independent Study Module No. 41

The Ring of the Niebelung: "The Ring of the Gods"

  By appropriating a part of the Rhinegold, representing the Universal Spirit and forming it into a ring symbolical of the fact that it (the spirit) has neither beginning nor end, the Ego came into existence as a separate entity. Within the confines of this auric ring it is supreme ruler, self-sufficient, and resents encroachment upon its domain. Thus, it placed itself beyond the pale of fellowship. Like the prodigal son, it wandered far from the Father, but even before it realized that it was feeding upon the husks of matter, religion stepped in to guide it back to its eternal home, to free it from the illusion and delusion incidental to material existence, to redeem it from the death incurred in this phase of the dense embodiment, and to show it the way to truth and life eternal.

  In the Teutonic myth, the warders of religion are represented as gods. Chief among them is Wotan, who is identical with the Latin Mercury, and Wotansday or Wednesday, is still named in his honor. Freya, the Venus of Norway, was goddess of beauty, who fed the other gods on the golden apples which preserved their youths. Friday is her day. Thor, the Jupiter of the Norsemen, is said to drive her car over the heavens and the noise then heard is the thunder, and the lightning sparks that fly from his hammer when he strikes at his enemies. Loge is the name of the god of Saturday. (Lorday in Scandinavian, a derivation from lue, the Scandinavian name for flame.) He is really not one of the gods, but related to the giants or nature forces. His flame is not alone the physical flame, but is also a symbol of illusion, and he, himself, is the spirit of deceit, sometimes currying favor with the gods and betraying the giants, at other times deceiving the gods and helping the giants to further his own schemes. Like Lucifer, the fiery Mars Spirit, he is also a spirit of negation, but delights also in obstructing life like the cold Saturn.

  There is in northern mythology a reference to the still earlier cult wherein the deities of the water were worshiped, but the gods we mentioned superseded them, and are said to ride to the judgment seat every day over a rainbow bridge, Bifrost. Thus, we see that this religion dates from the dawn of the present epoch, when mankind had emerged from the waters of Atlantis into the clear atmosphere of the Fifth, post-Atlantean Epoch — in which we are now living — and where they saw the rainbow for the first time.

  It was said to Noah, when he led primitive mankind out of the Flood that so long as the sign of the rainbow remained in the clouds, the alternating cycles of summer and winter, night and day, should not cease, and the northern myth also shows us the gods gathered at the rainbow bridge in the beginning of this era. It and the gods remain until the moment when this phase of our evolution is ended, an event which will be shown to be identical with the description given in the Christian Apocalypse, which the Scandinavian myth will materially help to explain.

  Truth is universal, and unlimited. It knows no boundaries, but when the Ego enveloped itself in a ring of separate vehicles which segregated it from others, this limitation made it incapable of understanding absolute truth. Therefore a religion embodying the fullness of pure truth would have been incomprehensible to mankind and unsuited to help them. Hence, as a child who goes to school and learns a few elementary lessons the first year to prepare it for more complicated problems later, so humanity were given religions of the most primitive nature to educate them to something higher by easy stages.

  Thus the warders of religion, the gods, are represented as desirous of building a walled fortress so that they may entrench themselves behind that wall and focalize their powers against the other faith. The Spirit cannot be limited without enmeshing itself in materiality; therefore, the gods, on the advise of Loge, the spirit of deceit and delusion, make a bargain with the giants, Fafner, and Fasolt, (representing selfishness), to build the wall of limitation. When that wall surrounds the gods they have lost the universal light and knowledge; therefore, the myth tells us that part of their payment to the builders of Valhal was to be the Sun and Moon.

  Furthermore, when religion has thus limited itself behind the wall of creed, the spirit of decay is introduced; it waxes old as a garment, and, therefore, it is also said that Wotan (wisdom or reason), agreed to give the giants, Freya, the goddess of beauty, who fed the gods on her golden apples to preserve their youth. Thus, by listening to advise from Loge, the spirit of deceit, the gods have sacrificed their light, their knowledge, and their hope of eternal youth and usefulness. Still, as already said, this was in a manner necessary, for mankind could not have grasped truth in its fullness then; we cannot understand it even now.

  The spiritual power of religion is symbolized by the magic wand of Aaron in the Bible, by the magic spear of Parsifal in the Grail myth, and by the spear of Wotan in the story of the Niebelung. To bind the bargain with the giants, magic characters were cut in the handle of the spear, which was thus weakened, and in that manner it is shown that religion loses in spiritual power what it gains in material ways when it makes a bargain with the world rulers and panders to the baser appetites.

  According to the teaching of the Norsemen, those only who died in battle were entitled to be taken to Valhal. Wotan desires none but the strong and the mighty warriors. Those who died of illness or in peace upon their beds were condemned to the realm of hell, the underworld. In this also there is a great lesson, for none but the noble and the fearless who spend their days fighting the battle of life to the very last breathe are worthy of advancement. The shirkers who love ease and peace, rather than the work of the world, are not entitled to promotion in the school of life. It does not matter where we work or what the line of our experience may be, so long as we faithfully battle with the problems of life as they appear before us. Neither will it suffice if we do this for a year or two and then lapse into inactivity; we must keep on working and striving until the day of life is done.

  Thus the old Norse religion teaches the same lesson as Paul taught when he counseled "patient persistence in well doing." Even if we realize that we have not all truth, that we are placed under limitations by separateness, the egoism symbolized by the Ring of Niebelung, and by creed and convention symbolized by the Ring of the Gods, still if we fill our appointed niche to the best of our ability throughout our whole life we shall be certain of advancement in a future age. We shall see more clearly through the veil of egoism when we willingly live the life where we have been placed, for the Recording Angels make no mistakes. They have put us in that place where we we have been given the lessons needed to prepare us for a greater sphere of usefulness.

   From what has been said, it is evident that the creed bound condition of the various churches — the insistence on dogma and ritual — are not unmitigated evils, as it may have appeared to many, but in reality the necessary outcome of the limitations incidental to the material existence through the human Spirit is now passing, as thus each class is being properly taken care of. It receives as much truth as it can comprehend, and as is good for its present development. There is no need of worrying about anyone. No one can or will be lost, for, as in God we live, and move, and have our being, so, if one were lost, a part of the Divine Author of our system would be missing, an unthinkable proposition.

  But while a great majority of mankind are thus being taken care of by the orthodox religions, there are always a few pioneers — some whose faculty of intuition tells them of greater heights unscaled, who see the sunlight of truth beyond the wall of creed. Their souls are starving on the husks of dogmas, and they long ardently for the apples of youth, and love sold by the gods to the giants. Even the gods are growing old rapidly, for no religion which is devoid of love can ever hope to hold mankind for any length of time. Therefore, the gods were forced to seek again the advice of Loge, the spirit of deceit, hoping through his wiles to extricate themselves from the dilemma. Loge tells them how Alberich, the Niebelung, has succeeded in hoarding up an immense treasure by enslaving his brothers. With the consent of the gods, he uses deceitful means to capture Alberich and forces him to disgorge all his treasures. He then plays upon the avaricious nature of the giants and finally succeeds in ransoming Freya.

  Thus the curse of the Ring (egoism and selfishness) has tainted even the gods. For the sake of the Ring (power), Alberich, the Niebelung, forswore love. He oppressed his brothers and ruled them with an iron rod. Religion, on its side, forswore love by the sale of Freya. It also stooped to deceit to force the rulers of the world to pay tribute and when the Ring of the Niebelung passed into the hands of the giants the evil fate followed it, for one brother slays the other that he may be the sole possessor of the wealth of the world.

  The gods have indeed regained Freya, but she is no longer the pure goddess of love. She has been prostituted; hence; she is but the semblance of her former self and fails to satisfy those whose intuition sees deeper than the surface; such are called Walsungs in the Scandinavian myth. The first syllable is the derivation of the German word, wahlen, to choose, or the Scandinavian, vaelge. The last syllable means children. They are children of desire for free will and choice, who want to choose their own path and who seek to follow their own divine instinct.

(To Be Continued)


  (You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the course name and Independent Study Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below.)

1. Where was the rainbow seen for the first time?

2. Why was religion embodying pure truth withheld from primitive mankind?

3. What is the great lesson in the teaching of the Norsemen, that only those who die in battle were entitled to be taken to Valhal?

4. Why have the Recording Angels placed each of us in our present environment?

5. What does intuition tell the few pioneers in the Orthodox religion?

6. What is the desire of those whose intuition sees deeper than the surface?

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