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Twilight of the Gods: Page 904
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away to his audience, Gunther and the Gibichungs, has dredged Wotan’s hoard of runes (now embodied by Alberich’s Ring) up from the silent depths of his unconscious (Bruennhilde) to the light of day, exposing man’s shame (the knowledge which is so unbearable that man – Wotan - could not tolerate being conscious of it). And Siegfried has committed this violation of the trust Bruennhilde and he had in each other, by virtue of his unconscious artistic inspiration, which has now become too conscious to offer man redemption. Thus we hear #134, the motif representing redemption through unconscious artistic inspiration (the true meaning of redemption by love), as Bruennhilde helplessly laments that all her wisdom she gave to Siegfried. Thus, as #150 – the motif representing Wotan’s hoard of runes which Bruennhilde imparted subliminally to Siegfried – sounds in the orchestra, Bruennhilde cries out that in Siegfried’s power he holds her, in his bonds he holds the booty (Wotan’s runes) which, sorrowing for her shame, the rich man Siegfried exultantly gave away. The irony is that Siegfried’s art had to reach its most sublime height of inspiration, to be capable of exposing the formerly unconscious process of this inspiration to his audience. Thus it was that Siegfried was exultant while unwittingly betraying his very own muse of art, giving up her secrets to his audience involuntarily. But Bruennhilde does not realize this yet: she blames Siegfried and meditates vengeance against him for his betrayal of their love.

The emphatic repetition of the Fate Motif #87 in this passage invokes our remembrance of Bruennhilde’s comment to Siegfried in S.3.3, accompanied by #87, that what Siegfried does not know she knows for him. This comment was echoed in T.P.2 when, accompanied by #150, Siegfried told Bruennhilde that he gave her more than he knows how to cherish (i.e., keep, or guard), and that she should not blame him if her teaching left him untaught (i.e., left him unconscious of Wotan’s runes, which she imparted to him subliminally). Siegfried, in this way, unwittingly foretold that he would some day betray this knowledge to consciousness, that in the long run he would not keep its secret. And #134 brings to mind Bruennhilde’s remark to Siegfried in S.3.3, accompanied by #134, that Wotan’s thought (i.e., Wotan’s confession of his runes to Bruennhilde) was just the redemptive love which Siegfried and Bruennhilde share, Wagner’s metaphor for unconscious artistic inspiration. This is the true “Redemption by Love – i.e., by Art – Motif,” which Wagner described at its inception as sounding like the herald of a new religion, namely, secular art, in which religious feeling lives on freed from the burden of dogmatic assertions of fact which cannot be sustained in the face of science’s advancement in knowledge, and mankind’s advancement in maturity.

The following passage from Wagner’s prose scenario for what later became Twilight of the Gods, namely, Siegfried’s Death, contains striking propositions which make it clear that the runes Wotan taught Bruennhilde during his confession are those Bruennhilde imparts to Siegfried, and more importantly, explains why - now that Siegfried has taken possession of Bruennhilde and her unspoken secret - every coward (i.e., every man not gifted with unconscious artistic inspiration, such as the members of Wagner’s audience) can have her, and last, that Loge’s protective ring of fire (which formerly surrounded Bruennhilde, keeping her unspoken secret, and sustaining the veil of maya within which man has historically hidden this secret) is burning out:

“The Walkueren (drawing nearer and nearer, as the stage grows darker):

Bruennhild! Bruennhild! Long-lost sister!

Gav’st thou away thy godlike might?

Bruennhild:

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