The Occult Truths of Myths and Legends: Greek and Germanic Mythology: Richard Wagner in the Light of Spiritual Science
16 lectures, Berlin, Cologne, Nuremberg, June 24, 1904 – December 2, 1907 (CW 92)
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).
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.