The power of the feminine principle (Shakti, Prakrit-Nature): Creation, Life, Nurturing – and its cycles. Also representing desire, as well as beauty. Woman, however, (embodiment of the Goddess) can also be redemptress (e.g. Mary in Christianity).
In Wagner’s opera ‘Tristan und Isolde’, desire is linked with Life, and Love with death – sacrificial death (Liebestod), which admits of multiple implications and interpretations. The Romantic hero – and Wagner was one, at least ideally – could only be redeemed by and through woman; in that opera love could not be fulfilled in earthly terms (for it was unlawful). The Romantic ideal was a combination of love, sacrifice, transcendence, union – union through the transcending of the human personality, of individuality itself. Is this not a universal theme, as well as being very German?. In Wagner’s own words, “What Destiny separated in life emerges as life transfigured by death”. Continue reading