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Siegfried: Page 596
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contemplated in advance, since in T.1.3.2, under the influence of Hagen’s potion, he employs its magic to disguise himself as Gunther, so that he can abduct Bruennhilde on Gunther’s behalf and delude Bruennhilde into thinking himself Gunther. Since Siegfried is the last of the Waelsung race, created by Wotan in the first place to pre-empt Alberich’s long-term plan to win back his Ring power from Fafner and overthrow the gods, clearly Siegfried has been prompted subliminally by Wotan’s intent that he should do what the gods can’t do, take the Ring from Fafner, in order to keep Alberich from regaining his power. That Siegfried is already being influenced by Wotan’s unconscious mind, Bruennhilde, follows from the fact that Bruennhilde is his metaphysical mother. It was by virtue of Wotan’s planting the seed of his longing for redemption from Alberich’s curse in Bruennhilde during his confession, that Bruennhilde, the womb of Wotan’s wishes, figuratively gave birth to Siegfried, who is actually Wotan reborn, minus consciousness of his true identity.

There’s a wealth of meaning in this. First, Alberich’s Hoard of treasure has now been transmuted into the Hoard of knowledge which Wotan has obtained both from his wanderings over the face of the earth (Erde, or Erda), and his union with Erda in the bowels of the earth, where he gained knowledge from her, and in exchange gave her the seed out of which sprang their daughter Bruennhilde. This is just a metaphor for the fact that Wotan, or Light-Alberich, is identical with Dark-Alberich, and that, just as Alberich, employing the power of the Ring (the power of conscious thought), obtained a hoard of knowledge in the bowels of the earth (from Mother Nature) to gain worldly power, so too has Wotan during his travels. Wotan’s wanderings into and over the earth (Erda) are Wagner’s metaphor for historical man’s collective experience of himself and his world. This hoard of knowledge is now embodied in both Alberich’s Ring, and in the hoard of knowledge Wotan imparted to Bruennhilde, and which Erda had taught him. And Wotan’s motive in seeking knowledge from Erda was partly his fear of Alberich’s curse on his Ring, which Erda prophesied would culminate in the twilight of the gods. Thus, by carrying off Alberich’s Ring, and the Tarnhelm of imagination which will allow Siegfried to transmute illusion into truth, or truth into illusion, Siegfried also effectively carries off Alberich’s Hoard of knowledge. Siegfried is no more aware of the hoard’s worth than he will later be aware that it is Bruennhilde’s hoard of repressed, unconscious knowledge, imparted to her by Wotan, which is his true source of inspiration.

So in carrying off (i.e., taking possession of) the Ring Siegfried is in fact carrying off the body of knowledge previously embodied in the Nibelung Hoard. But note, he is carrying it off not to keep it himself: in T.P.2 he will leave it with Bruennhilde so she (i.e., his unconscious mind) can keep its power safe. In other words, having taken this dangerous hoard of knowledge from Fafner, from the silent depths of the unconscious, as it were, Siegfried is at risk that this knowledge will wake in him, become conscious in him, so, just as Wotan repressed his hoard of knowledge when it was threatening to rise to consciousness in him, by storing it in his unconscious mind Bruennhilde during his confession to her, Siegfried will likewise repress this hoard of knowledge by leaving the Ring with Bruennhilde, to keep its power safe. Furthermore, by carrying off the Tarnhelm, i.e., imagination, Siegfried will employ this aspect of the Ring’s power to create that veil of illusion, sustained by cunning deeds of art, which, as Loge’s protective ring of fire around Bruennhilde, keeps the unspoken secrets held for Siegfried by his unconscious mind Bruennhilde.

If Siegfried’s leaving the Hoard behind - while keeping the Ring and Tarnhelm - seems curious, it is even more mysterious that, having just moments ago learned from the Woodbird precisely the use he could make of both Tarnhelm and Ring, i.e., that through the Tarnhelm he can perform

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