Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Parsifal


Wagner`s last and many argue his greatest music drama[he did not refer to them as operas] is Parsifal. Wagner based his work on Wolfram von Eschenbach`s version of the Parzival myth. However von Eschenbach`s work does agree closely with the older version by Chretien de Troyes.
It would be a mistake to label Parsifal as a Christian passion play as many have over the years since its first performance in 1882. Sacred drama it may be but Christian certainly not. There is a thin, a very thin Christian veneer to the drama but only a very superficial understanding would cause one to consider it essentially a Christian work.
Parsifal is inextricably linked to the King Arthur and Holy Grail myths of the high Middle Ages whose roots may be traced right back to pre-christian Celtic times and the myth of the Cauldron which features in many Celtic tales, especially the Cauldron of the god Dagda. A real life magical cauldron, the Gundestrup Cauldron was discovered in a Danish peat bog at Gundestrup and datable to the 1st or 2nd century BCE and probably manufactured in Gaul. Its sides feature images of Celtic deities and sacred magical rituals and the author John Grigsby in his Warriors of the Wasteland considers that it was connected to rituals of human sacrifice because there is a basis for this in Celtic myths and human sacrifice in peat bogs is known to have been practiced in the Celtic and Germanic regions.[See PV Glob`s The Bog People]
Both the Grail[taken from the Old French graal, an adaption of the Latin gradalis] is a dish, a cauldron in other words and like the Cauldron of Celtic myth had curious restorative properties and could provide nourishment and sustenance for the Knights of the Grail as Dagda`s Cauldron could.
Current popular authors associate the Grail with the idea of a bloodline, most especially a messianic bloodline which must be guarded and kept secret.
Wagner whether intentionally or not appears to be responsible in the eyes of some scholars for associating the Grail with the concept of Aryan blood purity. Certainly his Pasifal does seem to associate the concept of the land around Montsalvat being laid waste due to the faithlessness of its king Amfortas who succombed in temptation to the feminine charms of the sorceress Kundry who is taken by some to be a feminine Wandering Jew. The result of this lapse was a loss in blood purity and the onset of physical and spiritual corruption in the Grail lands which only Parsifal, the Aryan redeemer could restore.
Only by his possession of the sacred spear/lance and the Grail could he restore the land and people.
The spear could be likened to a penis, the Grail a womb. The meeting of the two, the animus and the anima would restore Aryan wholeness and blood purity.
Many have also likened the sacred spear or lance with the spear of Wotan, Gungnir which in Wagner`s Siegfried was broken by the hero Siegfried and this marked the end of the gods, the onset of the Goetterdaemmerung, The Twilight of the Gods.
Parsifal in effect is a reborn Siegfried, a hero destined to a higher status who will fulfill his mission where Siegfried failed but nevertheless builds upon Siegfried`s past work.
Where Siegfried, the fearless hero was intent on discovering the emotion of fear[something he lacked] Parsifal`s mission was to discover the emotion of compassion[Mitleid].
On discovering the Valkyrie in a deep sleep[induced by her father Wotan for disobedience] on the summit of a rocky mountain, surrounded by a magical wall of fire that no coward dare cross Siegfried suddenly experienced fear for the first time in his life:

Brennender Zauber
zueckt mir in`s Herz;
feurige Angst
fasst meine Augen:
mir schwankt und schwindelt der Sinn!
Translation by Stewart Spencer:
Burning enchantment
charms my heart;
fiery terror
transfixes my eyes:
my senses stagger and swoon!
By contrast Parsifal finally learned compassion by asking the question, What aileth thee mine uncle?[Eschenbach]

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Aryan" Essentially a Racial or Ethnic Term by L. Austine Waddell


An extract from LA Waddell`s A Sumer Aryan Dictionary.

The title "Aryan" is the Anglicized form of the Sanskrit Arya, the "noble or exalted", a term which is employed in Indian literature, ancient and modern, solely in a racial sense to designate the fair ruling and civilizing race as opposed to the dark aboriginal subject people, and India itself was called the "Land or Region of the Aryas[or Aryans]." It is also used in its proper racial sense by Huxley in the heading in designating the fair long-headed people, now mainly represented in Europe by the British and Norse or Scandinavians, the so-called "Nordics" of modern anthropologists.
It is similarly used in a racial or ruling sense by the Sumerians, Akkads, Amorites, and Hittites in its earlier form of Ar, Ara, Ari, Har or Harri, also meaning "exalted or noble"[see Ar, Ara, etc in Dictionary], and similarly with a like meaning in Ancient Egypt[see Hari, Heri under Ar in Dictionary]; and ancient Greek name of Aeria or Harie for Egypt, probably designated that country as the "Land of the Ari or the Aryans". The Medes, as`Herodotus records, were formerly called Arii; and "Ariana" or "Land of the Ari" was`a title of Persia and the source of the modern name Iran for that land. The title Harri is used by the Mitani or the Early Medes, on their records about 1400 B.C. . Darius-the-Great calls himself on his tomb "an Ariyo of Ariyo descent". It is the Her title of the Ancient Goths, in their great epics, the Eddas, and the source of the modern Herr or "master" of the Teutons and Scandinavians, of the Irish Celtic Aira, a "chief" or "nobleman", and of the Ar in aristocratic[see Ari "Aryan" in Dictionary].
This title Ar, Ari, Arya, or "Aryan", appears, as I have shown, to have originally designated the Early Aryans as "The Ploghmen" from the Sumerian Ar, Ara, "plough", which is now disclosed as the source of the Old English ear, "to plough, to ear the ground" and of "ar-able", etc.[See Ar, "plough" in Dict]. The Aryans are now seen to have been the traditional inventors of the plough and of the Agricultural Era of the World; and the sense of Ara or "the exalted ones" appears to have been used for this title when this gifted race became the rulers of the various aboriginal tribes-the Sumerian also gives the plough sign the meaning of "raise up, exalt" as the secondary meaning of ploughing as "the uplifting" of the earth[see Ara, exalt, in the Dict].

Mr Waddell in his Makers of Civilization in Race and History writes:

"The title Arya, Englished into "Aryan", is the usual term employed for the white race, now called from its western stock "Nordic", from the very earliest Vedic period by the eastern or Indian branch of that race who have uniquely preserved its early traditional history and records; and the same race is similarly so termed by the Ancient Persians who also belonged to its eastern branch. And the title was and is solely used by them in a racial and in no other sense; and especially it is never used by them in a linguistic sense as is popularly supposed-a useage which was only introduced by European philologists a few generations ago. That title Arya literally means in both the Indian Sanskrit, the old classic language of India, and in the Ancient Persian language "the exalted or noble one"; and it is derived as I have shown from the Sumerian Ar, Ara "exalt, lofty, shining, glory"; which is also disclosed as the remote Sumerian root of our modern word "Aristocrat" or "noblest or most excellent governor", derived through the Greek, a word which well defines the older ethnic meaning of the word "Aryan". For the civilizers of the old world are now disclosed to have been more or less exclusively of this Aryan stock, which was essentially an aristocracy of master-men, the ruling race who established Civilization and who civilized the aborigines by their enlightened rule and science; just as in the Greek classic period of Europe, Greek Civilization reached its zenith under a military aristocracy of this same Aryan race, and weakened and became practically extinct with the weakening and practical extinction of this Aryan racial element from the population there. Indeed the later Sumerians do appear also to have used this title in a racial sense in the aspirated form of Ha-ra, which is defined in the bilingual Assyrian glossaries as "The host of the nation or people."

The title Ara, Arya or "Aryan" is found as a designation of rulers or masters to run throughout the whole family of the Aryan languages, including the Egyptian, presumably because the early rulers and masters were of this race. Thus it is in aspirated form the Her, Hera, Hearra or Herr, "lord or master" of the Goths, Scandinavians, Germans and Anglo-Saxons, the Aire "chieftain" of the Irish Scots and Gaels and so on. It is the Arios, Harios or Harri of the Medes, and Arya and Airya of the Ancient Persians in a similar exalted and racial sense; and it is thus proudly used by Darius the Great on his tomb where he calls himself "An Arya of Arya[n] descent", and Xerxes called himself a "Harri". The early sea-going branch of the Sumerians, the Morites or Amorites who have left many "prehistoric" inscriptions in the British Isles, whilst calling themselves Mur, Gut or "Goth" and Kad[forms of Khatti, Catti or "Hittite"], also called themselves Ari, which now appears to be a dialectic form of this title "Aryan".