Monday 18 March 2019

Meeting a Master

In my book Meeting the Masters I gave no names of any of the spiritual beings who spoke to me (though I did for one of their helpers), and that's because I was given no names. When I asked, out of natural curiosity, I was told it was not important. The implication was that names can make one focus too much on personalities to the detriment of the spiritual message imparted. There was, however, one occasion when I was given a name and in the book I describe this as follows: "I was talked to by one of the higher Masters. He spoke kindly and, unusually, gave his name though it was not one I was familiar with."

That passage may seem to imply that I didn't understand the name so couldn't reproduce it. That was not the case. I didn't mention the name in the book because I felt at the time that it was not my right to do so. This may seem an odd thing to say since I was writing about the Masters anyway, but it was what I felt and so I left it at that. A name can make a connection and I wasn't sure if that was a desirable thing then. However, I have recently had the impression that I should give the name of this Master. Again, I can't say what has prompted this or even if it matters in any way at all, but the feeling received curious confirmation by a book I have just finished reading which is Beowulf in the translation by Tolkien.

I've never read Beowulf before though I know the story, of course, and did read a child's version ages ago. It's a heroic epic poem, 3182 lines long, in Old English, possibly going back to the 8th century but preserved in just one manuscript which scholarship dates to around the early 11th century. Although set in Scandinavia, it is an English poem written by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon. The story is familiar. Beowulf is a young warrior belonging to the tribe of the Geats who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, whose hall is constantly attacked by the monster Grendel, a hideous creature of great strength supposedly descended from the Biblical murderer Cain. Beowulf succeeds in killing Grendel and then when Grendel's mother attacks the hall in revenge, he descends into her underground lair and kills her too. Richly rewarded by Hrothgar, he returns home in great honour and becomes king. Fifty years later a dragon goes on the rampage after treasure is stolen from its hoard. Beowulf tracks the beast to its den in an ancient burial mound and manages to kill it but at the cost of his own life.

At this point you may be thinking that the Master was called Beowulf but, no, that was not his name. There is a section in the poem, about 700 lines in, when Beowulf is compared to an ancient hero who was also a dragon slayer, and that hero's name was Sigemund. This was the name given by the higher Master when he spoke to me. At the time I was not, as I say, familiar with the name and wrote it down phonetically as Siggermund because that was how it sounded to me. But Sigemund seems the correct spelling though there are different versions of the name ranging from Wagner's Siegmund in Die Walkure to Sigmund in the Volsunga Saga which is where the story is best known. Neither of which I knew then.

What I find intriguing in Tolkien's notes on the reference to Sigemund in his Beowulf translation is that he says this "is the oldest reference to the Sigemund story that is now extant, even in point of manuscript date." Thus it precedes both the Volsunga Saga and the Niebelungenlied. He makes this point because in later versions it is Sigemund's son Siegfried who kills the dragon, as also in Wagner. But Tolkien thinks that it is these later accounts that have embellished the story (as often happened with myths and legends which grew as they moved through time) and that Sigemund acquired a son who took over his exploits. So, for Tolkien, Sigemund not Siegfried is the original dragon slayer and prime hero.

This is interesting to me because it gives the name extra significance. Sigemund is a kind of ur-hero of Northern European civilisation and the fact that this is the only name any of the Masters gave me seems to have some relevance, to me at any rate. What is more, it was the name of one who was described as a higher Master and whose tone and manner were certainly that of a being of extraordinary power and authority. He didn't speak to me much but I can still remember that it was like being in the presence of a great king. I'm not making this up or exaggerating.

There is one other incident connected with Sigemund which I feel obliged to mention even though I could justifiably be accused of straying into realms of fantasy. But it exists and so I do mention it. That is the similarity of something in his story with something in the story of Arthur. I don't know if this incident occurs anywhere else and is a staple of myth or if it is unique to these two. I am referring to the successful drawing of a sword from a firm foundation (stone or tree), a task that has defeated all those who have tried before. This is confirmation that the hero is the true son of a divine or royal father, and is both an initiation and acceptance of destiny. Sigemund and Arthur are, in this sense, related.

So, for what it is worth, Sigemund was the name of one of the Masters who spoke to me, the only one I was ever given. I'd be curious to hear if this name means anything to anyone else.

Note: It may be remarked that Sigemund is a pagan name so I should make clear my belief that the spiritual beings who spoke to me act under the overall authority of Christ. 


John Fitzgerald said...

I think Galahad also draws a sword from a stone after everyone else fails on the day he arrives at King Arthur's court. Galahad, of course, is a very Christ-like figure. Siegemund, as you describe him, appears more of an Archangelic figure, a bit like the Eldils in 'That Hideous Strength.' Shades for me of St. MIchael (who crushed the serpent) and St. George (who slew the dragon), spiritual standard-bearers both who wage war on the darkness and bring light to the forsaken places.

William Wildblood said...

You may well be right in that, John. The impression was of immense power and a great love but one that had nothing soft in it, very masculine you might say. It was rather like the embodiment of an archetype and, as you say, a bit like the appearance of an Eldil too. I remember that Michael was quite shaken up afterwards as though a huge force had been through him and it was explained to me that this was why he (Sigemund) could not stay long. Goodness knows what he was doing turning up in a small flat in Bath!

Faculty X said...

In Anglo-Saxon:

Si: Be

Ge-mund: Meditation

William Wildblood said...

Is that really so Faculty X? It sounds rather good but I thought it meant something like Victory Protection.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I think I know the guy you mean. Glasses? White beard? Cigar?

William Wildblood said...

You think I've made a Freudian slip? No,it wasn't that one.

Faculty X said...

Be meditation, yes.

From the Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon dictionary of Olde English used from 700-1100AD:

"“Faculty X is simply that latent power in human beings possess to reach beyond the present... Faculty X is a sense of reality, the reality of other places and other times, and it is the possession of it — fragmentary and uncertain though it is — that distinguishes man from all other animals”

- Colin Wilson

William Wildblood said...

So it can mean Victory Hand (Sige Mund) or Be meditation (Si Ge-Mund). That's very interesting. Thanks for pointing it out.