View from Window of Schloss Neuschwanstein...

Tannhäuser, Venus, Lohengrin, and Schloss Neuschwanstein…

View from Window of Schloss Neuschwanstein...

View from Window of Schloss Neuschwanstein…

Odinist music meditation… in honor of Freyja…View from window of the Neuschwanstein, or “new swanstone” castle and the prelude to Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin below… Fittingly, this 19th century scloß in Füssen, Bavaria, was made by King Ludwig II as a tribute to Richard Wagner… he constructed it as a personal retreat and paid for it with his own funds, not those of his country.. The Wagner opera,  Tannhäuser was first performed in in the Royal Theatre of Dresden, 19 October 1845, 169 years ago almost to the day.

The legendary hero, Tannhäuser, is thought to be based upon an ancient Pagan tale which was forcibly Christianized, but we can guess which parts are original.  What we have of the tale is based upon the Bußlied. A gallant knight travels abroad and discovers Venusberg, the grotto of the Goddess Venus, and spends a year worshipping her.  He then desires to return to the world of men and his wish is granted, but he sings a song praising the Goddess at a singing contest, and all but a maiden who loves him, Elizabeth, are horrified.

At first seeking to fit in with Jew worshippers… Tannhäuser goes to Rome to seek “forgiveness”, but the Pope declares that this lover of the sensual Goddess Venus, who is also Freyja, has about as much a chance of forgiveness for his love of Venus,  as the Pope’s staff has of blossoming.  There are different versions… and in the original legend, Tannhäuser becomes dissatisfied with the human world,  while in the opera, the knight dies. Tannhäuser leaves, and the Pope’s staff is suddenly covered with blossoms… messengers are sent after him, but it is too late… for Tannhäuser has returned to the Goddess…

Venusberg by Collier

Venusberg by Collier

Another of Wagner’s operas is Lohengrin,  also based on numerous traditions, especially Parsifal, and partly, I believe, upon the story of Eros and Psyche.  In the opera, a  knight in a swan boat appears to act as champion of a maid accused of murdering her brother. He comes in answer to her prayer. This nameless knight defeats the man who accused Elsa, a noble named Telramund. Count Telramund and the Heathen witch, Ortrud,  daughter of Radbod, Duke of Frisia, are banished.

Ortrud prays to Odin and Freyja  for cunning  to defeat Elsa, the Christian, and bring  Pagan rule back to the land.. The nameless knight had made condition that Elsa must not ask his identity, so Ortrud suggests to Elsa that he could leave her any time since she knows not his name or from whence he comes. Elsa weakens and asks his name.

Telramund then  returns and accuses the knight of sorcery and says their battle was not valid because the Nameless Knight did not tell his identity. Telramund attacks and is killed by the  Nameless Knight, but because Elsa has asked his name, he must reveal it and is bound to leave the world of men forever due to an oath…  Before he leaves, Lohengrin prays that the brother of Elsa, who had been turned into a swan by the Ortrud, the enchantress, be restored to human form. Elsa falls down dead in grief.

It may be that the orgin of the Swan Knight is taken from a legend of Helios, the Sun God, and his heavenly boat making its journey across the water.. It has been pointed out that, in  an earlier version, his name is Helias. [1]  . .

I hope you enjoy the prelude to Lohengrin…

There could not be a better place to watch it from..

Footnotes

  1. Hibbard, Laura A. Medieval Romance in England, New York: Burt Franklin, 1963, p.248 ^

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