In a recent trip to my absolutely favorite second-hand bookstore, I came across a 1948 volume titled Esoteric Music Based on the Musical Seership of Richard Wagner, by Corinne Heline. Reading it has been a delight, and an eye-opener.
Ms. Heline was a Southern author specializing in Biblical interpretation, mysticism, and cosmology. The volume, published by New Age Press of Los Angeles, is of a parcel with themes that Ms. Heline espoused in other works:
[Wagner’s] magnificent operas are attuned to the rhythms of the coming Air Age and play directly upon the inner or finer vehicles of man, awakening and stimulating certain latent centers which pioneers of the New Aquarian Age are even now in process of developing. And understanding of Wagner’s operas should form, therefore, a part of the equipment of every serious student of the Mysteries since each and all of them mark definite steps in esoteric development.
Nor does the author merely assert, ipse dixit, these assurances. In her study she selects aspects of Wagner’s prose works — particularly Mein Leben — to support her conclusion that the Meister was entirely aware that he was writing maps, or conscious directions, towards esoteric self-development, and that his aim was to assist individual listeners to the mystic nirvanah.
Once one becomes accustomed to references such as “those who have come to earth as emissaries from the glorious Music Temple on High,” it really is an interesting read. Meistersinger, for example, is a study of the tests and initiations that the soul must endure to attain mastery. Lohengrin is an allegory of “The Degree of Conscious Invisible Helpership,” an intermediate level of conciousness necessary to endure on the greater journey. The Ring is the Cosmic Evolution itself, a sequence of The Water Path (Rheingold), The Air Path (Walküre), The Earth Path (Siegfried) and The Fire Path (Götterdämmerung). Who knew?
It is a cause of constant and sincere delight to me, that an artist such as Wagner can stimulate such intense aesthetic satisfaction, and incite such sincere intellectual analysis, in so many different people, to so many different ends. I have since found the book for sale on Amazon and, unless you prefer (like me) to muddle around dusty book stores and take your chances with cats, the inclusion of this book in your collection will surely mystify and impress your estate dealer upon your demise.