Siegfried, the Truth Seeker

LETTER NO. 27 - February, 1913

As we give our children picture books to convey moral lessons which they could not grasp intellectually, so the Divine Leaders of infant humanity used myths to convey great spiritual truths which have germinated for ages unconsciously to us, but have nevertheless been potent factors in shaping the line of human progress. You would scarcely thing that the Faust myth embodies the great problem of Freemasonry and Catholicism, and shows its ultimate solution, but we shall see in future lessons that this is true. At the present time I take just a point from the great northern epic, THE RING OF THE BIEBELUNG, to show how the great truth that the truth seeker must "leave father and mother," as Jesus and Hiram Abiff did, was conveyed to the Children of the Mist (NIEBEL is mist and UNGEN is children in German), who lived in the foggy atmosphere of Atlantis. Later I may take that legend up for consideration.

Wotan is the chief of the gods, who are always at war with the giants. They build a fortress called Valhalla where the Valkyries, daughters of Wotan, bring the faithful who have fallen in battle defending the faith. Truth lost its universal aspect when its warders walled it in and limited it. But Wotan has other children who love truth so dearly that they flee from Valhalla to be free. They are armed with a sword called "child of distress" (representing the COURAGE OF DESPAIR), wherewith the rebel against creed and dogma ever arms himself, casts conventionality to the wind, and seeks truth. Wotan sends his minions after the fugitives, and bids Brunhild the Valkyrie, who represents the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, to help slay them. She refuses; and Wotan, who has made himself invisible, parries the sword thrusts of his valiant son, Siegmund, who is killed in the unequal fight.

The dominant church does not view the complacence the secession of its children. It would even prostitute the Spirit of Truth to do its bidding, and when that fails, it uses subtle means to accomplish its ends. Its intentions were good, but it has degenerated. As Wotan puts Brunhilde from him in tears to sleep on a fire-girt rock, he tells her that she shall not wake till one appears MORE FREE THAN HE HIMSELF. Truth cannot be found in creed-bound religion; who seeks it must be untrammeled by allegiance to any one.

Such is Siegfried (translated, he who through victory gains peace), the son of the slain Siegmund and his sister-wife Sieglinda. The latter died after giving birth to him. He is thus free from father, mother, and all earthly ties; his only heirloom is a broken sword, the "Child of Distress." Fostered among the Niebelungen (ordinary mankind), he feels his divinity, and chafes at the limitations of his sphere. His foster father, Mimir, is a cunning smith; but every sword forged by him is shattered by the young giant at the first blow. Oft had Mimir tried to forge the "Child of Distress, and failed; for NO COWARD can do that. So long as we fear the church, public opinion, or anything else, we cannot free ourselves.

The courage of despair overcomes fear, and Siegfried finally forges the sword himself. With it he slays Fafner, the dragon of desire which broods over the treasures of the earth, and Mimir, his foster father, the lower nature. He is then absolutely free. A bird, the voice of intuition, tells him of Brunhilde, the beautiful Spirit of Truth, who may be awakened by ONE WHO IS FEARLESS AND FREE. Siegfried follows the bird of intuition on his quest; but Wotan, his ancestor, seeks to bar him with his spear, representing the power of creed upon which the sword in Siegfried's hand was once broken. That sword is stronger since Siegfried forged it, and Wotan's spear is weaker since the first blow, for creed always weakens when assailed. Siegfried, the free and fearless one, shatters Wotan's spear; and pursuing his way through the fire to the rock of the Valkyrie, he enfolds the beautiful Spirit of Truth in a loving embrace and wakens her with a kiss.

Thus the ancient myth told the truth seeker what was required to find truth. We must leave father and mother, creed, dogma, conventionalities, preconceived opinions, and worldly desires behind; we must never fear conflict with established authorities, but we must follow the inner voice through fire if need be; then, and then only, can we find truth.

Therefore the Rosicrucians insist that all who come to them for deeper teachings MUST BE FREE from allegiance to any school, and the candidate is not bound by oaths at any stage. Whatever promises he makes are made to himself, for liberty is the most precious possession of the soul, and there is no greater crime than to fetter a fellow-being in any manner. May we all remain true to the great heritage, and valiantly resists any infringement of this sacred right.