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Self-Study Guide
Mysteries of the Great Operas
by Max Heindel


  This study guide is intended for use with Mysteries of the Great Operas by Max Heindel. The guide contains two groups of questions for each section in Mysteries of the Great Operas. The first group of questions for a section are questions whose answer may be found somewhere in the section. The second group of questions are labeled as "thought questions." The answers to these questions are not given in the section, but rather can be answered by relating what was said in the section to one's own experience and by using one's creative imagination.

  In using the study guide it is recommended that one first read an entire section from Mysteries of the Great Operas to get an overall picture of the topic being discussed. Then answer the questions below, referring back to the text as needed.

  It is hoped that this study guide will help the reader clarify and make more precise the understanding of esoteric Truths, so that he or she may tred the path with a more certain step.

Section 1 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

1-1] Lucifer pointed out to God that man might have fared better if God had withheld a certain power from man.

1-2] When Lucifer describes Faust, what problem does he point out?

Thought Question:

1-3] Is discord needed in the universe? Why?

Section 2 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

2-1] Why do people need to experience temptation?

2-2] Why is Faust dissatisfied with his "book learning"?

2-3] How can one, in general, open one's consciousness to that of some Spirit?

Section 3 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

3-1] Where is it possible to meet the Spirit of the Earth face to face?

3-2] What is the path by which one may obtain entrance to this location?

3-2] On whom is the aspirant in the Western Mystery School taught to depend for spiritual direction and for obtaining of a soul body?

3-4] Choose the word of phrase in each parentheses which correctly completes the sentence.

In the ordinary process of Nature the human Spirit enters its dense body during antenatal life by way of the (head, feet), and withdraws at death by way of the (head, feet). The Invisible Helpers who have learned to transmute their sex force to soul power in the pituitary body, leave the dense body by way of the (head, feet) and enter by way of the (head, feet). Christ entered the Earth through (the north pole, the vital body of Jesus, the Moon) and when He leaves He will go through (the south pole, the vital body of Jesus, the moon).

Section 4 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

4-1] Why was Faust not able to retain communion with the Earth Spirit?

4-2] If Lucifer served Faust here on Earth, then when would Faust be required to serve Lucifer in return?

4-3] Faust says that it will be time for him to die when he takes on what attitude?

4-4] Lucifer required Faust to sign their contract in blood. Why?

4-5] From where do adherents of the Western Wisdom Teachings get the life energy to obtain knowledge and use it creatively?

Section 5 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

5-1] Which of the following is not a reason why Faust made a pact with Lucifer?

5-2] What types of feelings have the Lucifer Spirits helped mankind to develop?

5-3] What caused the present-day apes to degenerate, instead of progressing?

5-4] What moral choice was Faust faced with when he met Marguerite? What was Faust's choice?

5-5] What moral choice was the priest faced with when Marguerite's mother brought him the jewels which came from Lucifer? What was the priest's choice?

5-6] Why do the Lucifer Spirits incite people to war and murder?

Section 6 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

6-1] a) What sin did Marguerite commit?
b) Consequently, what punishment was inflicted on Marguerite?
c) What caused Marguerite to turn to Christ?

6-2] a) Whom did Faust blame for the disaster which befell Marguerite?
b) What effect did this have on Faust's aims in life?

6-3] Why did Faust, after his death, not have to serve Lucifer?

6-4] Goethe states, "All that is perishable is but a likeness."

6-5] When Goethe states, "The unattainable, here is accomplished." Where is he referring to?

Section 7 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

7-1] Of the arts (sculpture, painting, and music), which has the greatest power to soothe sorrows, calm passions, stir to bravery and otherwise influence humanity?

7-2] In our material existence what do we tend to forget which music is able to remind us of?

7-3] Next to each item on the left put the letter of the item on the right which is most closely related (in the symbolism of Parsifal):

Gamuret weds Herzleide.___ A. As a result of suffering,
one forsakes worldly
attitudes and becomes a
fool from the worldly
point of view.
Gamuret dies and
Parsifal is born. ____
B. The aspiring soul flees
from worldly things and
leaves worldly sorrows behind.
Parsifal leaves Herzleide,
and she dies. ____
C. The dense body must
respond to the commands
given it, whether they
come from the lower or
higher self.
Parsifal is told it is wrong
to kill a swan, and he breaks
his bow.____
D. The harmless life is an
absolute essential
prerequisite to the
helpful life.
The wound in Amfortas' side
begins to bleed afresh at
the sight of the Grail.____
E. The man of the world is
tied to sorrow and suffering.
Kundry is forced to serve
whoever wakes her, whether
it be Klingsor or the Grail
F. When we have sinned, we
feel remorse when we
compare our actions
with the ideal.

7-4] When Kundry tempts Parsifal to engage in "love", how does Parsifal describe Kundry's "love"?

7-5] What did Parsifal discover (in his encounter with Kundry) was the means by which the world is stirred, tossed, convulsed and often lost in shame?

7-6] In the third act when Parsifal is questioned as to how he came to Mount Salvat, what is his answer?

7-7] a) Parsifal obtains the spear subsequent to having withstood what temptation.
b) In what way would Parsifal not use the spear?
c) In what way did he use it?

Section 8 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

8-1] Choose the word or phrase from each parentheses which correctly completes each sentence.

The (desire, vital) body can be powerfully stirred by one particular event, but the effect does not last very long. The (desire, vital) body requires repeated impacts upon it to receive any significant impression, but then the effects last for some time.

8-2] Next to each item on the left put the letter of the item on the right which is most closely related:

The Rhine maidens lived under the
waters of the Rhine.____
A. Ancient humanity was
guided and cared for by
divine hierarchies.
The Rhine maidens spent their
time in frolic and play.____
B. Ancient humanity was
united in spirit. All
felt themselves to be
part of one great family.
There was one lump of Gold in
the Rhine which all danced
C. Humans began to make a
distinction between mine
and not mine, and to work
to further their own
Alberich stole the gold and
swam to the surface.____
D. Humanity emigrated to the
highlands and began to see
themselves as individuals.
By forswearing love, Alberich
was able to form the gold into
a ring.____
E. Primitive humanity dwelt
at the bottom of the ocean
in the dense, foggy
atmosphere of Atlantis.

Thought Question:

8-3] Do we view ourselves differently than we view other people? Do we apply the same standards of morality to ourselves as we do to others? Do we consider the needs or wants of others as important as our own needs or wants?

Section 9 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

9-1] Next to each item on the left put the letter of the item on the right which is most closely related:

The gods built a walled fortress,
A. Creeds and dogmas are not
universally true, and thus
may become outdated when
situations change.
The Sun and Moon were part of
the payment given to the builders
of Valhal.____
B. Creeds and dogmas prevent
one from seeing the
universal light and
Freya, who fed the gods on her
golden apples to preserve their
youth, was given as part of the
payment to the builders of
C. Religion loses some of its
spiritual power when it
tries to make itself
understandable to the
To bind the bargains with the
builders, magic characters
were cut in the spear of
D. Religion, to make itself
comprehensible to the
masses, develops creeds
and dogmas.

9-2] According to the teaching of the Norsemen, those only who died in battle were entitled to be taken to Valhal. What lesson does this contain for the aspirant?

Section 10 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

10-1] What did the Walsungs seek? Why?

10-2] Why did Siegmund leave Valhal?

10-3] Why did Sieglinda (initially) stay in Valhal?

10-4] When Siegmund and Sieglinda flee from Hunding, they know they will have to do battle with Hunding. What will fortify them in this battle? In Life, what will fortify us in our battles against conventionality?

10-5] Which of the following is not one of the factors which influence our lives (according to the symbolism of the Yggdrasil tree)?

10-6] What spiritual truth is portrayed by the myth when Brunhilde refuses to obey Wotan's order to help Hunding as he fights Siegmund?

Thought Question:

10-7] Think of a convention or creed or dogma in the world today which is not in complete agreement with truth? Is this convention or creed or dogma (in spite of its untruth) of some value to those who hold it? What will be needed before its tenants will be able to seek and find the truth?

Section 11 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

11-1] How does fear prevent people from finding truth and living it?

11-2] What did Wotan fear would happen if he did not put Brunhilde (truth) to sleep?

11-3] Next to each item on the left put the letter of the item on the right which is most closely related:

Siegfried, because he is fearless,
is able to forge the sword,
A. Intuition leads the truth
seeker forward.
Siegfried recognizes that he
does not look like Mime and that
Mime is therefore not his
B. Neither conventions nor
illusions can waylay the
fearless truthseeker.
Fafner, the dragon, possesses
the Ring of the Niebelung.____
C. Only the fearless can use
the courage of despair to
seek truth.
Mime hopes Siegfried can slay
the dragon so Mime can get
the Ring.____
D. The desire nature has the
Ego enmeshed in its snares.
When Siegfried slays the
dragon he also slays Mime.____
E. The higher self recognizes
that it is separate from
the dense body, and was
not produced by it.
Siegfried is led by a bird to
where Brunhilde lies sleeping.
F. The lower nature may
scheme to use the power of
the spirit to obtain
material wealth and
worldly power.
Siegfried breaks Wotan's spear
and passes through Loge's
flames to reach and awaken
G. When the soul has
conquered the desire
nature it also is freed
from the dense body.

Section 12 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

12-1] What must the truth-seeker do with truth once he has found it?

12-2] Next to each item on the left put the letter of the item on the right which is most closely related:

Brunhilde makes Siegfried's whole
body invulnerable except at one
point on his back between his
A. One who is married to
truth is able to make
swift decisions.
Siegfried gives Brunhilde the
Ring of the Niebelung.____
B. We can stand the
antagonism we will
encounter as we live
he truth provided we
meet it directly and
do not turn our backs.
Brunhilde gives her horse,
Grane, to Siegfried.____
C. When the Spirit sees
Truth, it also sees that
all things are one.

Section 13 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

13-1] What two advantages are there in feeling the warnings and urgings of conscience (which is the extracted essence of experiences from past lives), rather than remembering the individual incidences of the past lives?

13-2] In one life we encounter certain experiences. After death we retrospect the experiences and build into our consciences an imprint of the lessons learned. Why must we then, in the next life, encounter similar temptations?

Thought Question:

13-3] Why is the person who is able to search the Memory of Nature warned not to use this power to gratify his curiosity? What would be a legitimate use of this power?

Section 14 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

14-1] In each blank fill in a word or phrase which correctly completes the sentence.

Rhine maidens living in the Rhine correspond to the early ____ Epoch. Alberich forswearing love and forming the Ring, and devoting his energies to amassing material wealth and fighting others corresponds to the late ____ Epoch. The birth and work of the Walsungs (truth seekers) corresponds to the early ____ Epoch. The truth being opened to Siegfried and his taking the drink of forgetfulness and his being tempted to see if he will remain faithful corresponds to the later ____ Epoch.

14-2] Which of Loge's children was killed in the final battle between the gods and the giants. What element will be lacking in the "New Earth"?

14-3] When the earth undergoes the changes represented symbolically in the battle on the plain Vigrid, man will no longer be able to function in a dense body as he does now. What vehicle will he then function in?

Thought Question:

14-4] Give an example of a truth which the world knows (in its heart) but to which, in the present day, it is generally not faithful to.

Section 15 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

15-1] If an Ego takes a male body in one life, then in the next life it generally will take on a body of what sex?

15-2] Should women be treated as equals with men? Why?

15-3] What type of "love" did Tannhauser experience in the company of Venus?

Thought Question:

15-4] What are some of the effects of passionate, sensual love?

Section 16 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

16-1] Does true love seek to give, or does it seek to receive?

Thought Question:

16-2] Give an example of what one might do when he or she is filled with "true love".

Section 17 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

17-1] What is the unpardonable sin?

17-2] How must the unpardonable sin be expiated?

Section 18 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

18-1] What did the Lucifer Spirits lead humanity to do with the creative force?

18-2] What must humanity learn to do with the creative force?

18-3] Suppression of the sexual desire, by itself, is not celibacy. What additionally is needed for celibacy?

Section 19 (Mysteries of the Great Operas)

19-1] In what ways is a swan comparable to an Initiate?

19-2] When a Teacher comes in response to the earnest prayers of an aspirant, what does the Teacher do prior to expecting the aspirant to believe in him?

19-3] What does the Teacher require of the Aspirant (in respect to his attitude toward the Teacher)?

Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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