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The Rhinegold: Page 187
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Loge: (#29: [sad vari, in minor]) I have it! Hear what you lack! (#29) Of freia’s fruit you’ve not yet tasted today: (#29) the golden apples in her garden kept you hale and young when you ate them every day. (#30b:) She who tends the garden has now been placed in pawn; on the branches the fruit dries out and withers (:#30b): soon it will rot and fall (#30b). – It troubles me less: (#33b voc?:) in her niggardly fashion Freia always begrudged me the luscious fruit (:#33b voc?): (#30b or #33b?:) for I’m only half as godlike (:#30b or #33b?) (#35:) as you, you immortals (:#35)! (freely, but animatedly and harshly: #34:) But you staked all on the youth-giving fruit, as the giants knew full well; your very lives they’ve threatened: now look to ways of saving yourselves. (#29:) Without the apples (:#29), (#30a:) old and grey, grizzled and grim, withered and scorned by the whole of the world, (#2 chords on strings:) the race of gods will perish (:#2 chords on strings).

As the gods age before our eyes we initially hear Freia’s two love motifs #24 and #25, but #29 (Freia’s golden apples) sounds as Loge explains that they are aging because they haven’t tasted Freia’s golden apples today. We hear #30b, the motif representing Fafner’s ulterior motive in bargaining to take Freia from the gods, that her loss will bring about the end of the gods, as Loge adds that the gardener has been placed in pawn.

Feuerbach observed that belief in Godhead is motivated by man’s longing for immortality, i.e., by man’s fear of death, which will be his inevitable end in a purely natural world sans gods:

“Nature brings death, God alone confers immortality.” [302F-LER: p. 266]

“In theory, in doctrine, immortality is merely a consequence of the belief in God; but in practice, in reality, the belief in immortality is the motive for the belief in God. (…)

(…) … the divinity and eternity of a nature god … do not imply human immortality: nature is heartless, impervious to man’s wishes, without concern for man.” [303F-LER: p. 267]

This is why the gods will perish if they cannot partake of Freia’s golden apples of sorrowless youth eternal. That is, our belief in the gods will perish: since the gods are our invention, if we cease to believe in them, they cease to exist. This, again, explains why #30b is the basis for #97, the motif generally known as Bruennhilde’s Magic Sleep, which is heard as Wotan punishes Bruennhilde with sleep in V.3.3 and takes away her godhead. Wotan deprives Bruennhilde of her divinity because at that point in the Ring drama Wotan, having given up hope that the gods themselves can be redeemed from Alberich’s curse on the Ring, is preparing to hand over the legacy of Valhalla – religious faith itself – to the man Wotan comes to regard as freer than the god, his heir, the mortal, secular artist Siegfried and his muse of unconscious inspiration, Bruennhilde.

Loge, as the archetypal artist, the artistic creativity of the Folk, whose cunning gave birth to the gods and Valhalla in the first place (recalling Loge’s role in conceiving the contract with the Giants to build Valhalla), sees through the gods’ pretensions, knowing as he does how dependent they are on the illusions he creates, the veil of Wahn which substitutes consoling fantasy for the truth. Thus

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