Friday, July 26, 2013


It occurred to me that the subject of Till Eulenspiegel, the trickster figure of the German Middle Ages, ought to be of more than passing interest to readers.

Let's take a look at the story of his birth, which I'll offer a very brief translation of, for those of you who don't read German.

After his birth, Till was taken to the local church for baptism.  After his baptism, his godmother took him to a bar—a tradition, apparently, in what was clearly a more libertine society—and got drunk. Taking a path between the church in Ampleben and Till's hometown of Kneidingen, she fell into a dirty pool. Picking herself up, she took the child home and washed him in a boiler with warm water. In this way, Till was baptized not once, but three times.

The story, which appears innocent enough at first glance, relates directly to the nature of man's existence on earth.

The first baptism relates to the top of the enneagramatic triangle, the holy force which engenders all life.

The second baptism, in dirty water, symbolizes immersion in the material forces of the natural world, with their corrupting influences. It is a descending movement, as indicated by the fact that the godmother falls from the path into a pool.

The third baptism represents the spiritual side of a man's life, the ascending side of the enneagram, where a man must undergo purification; and this is exactly why Till is baptized in hot water the third time. So the story of his birth recapitulates an esoteric understanding of the process of man's spiritual development.

Not all the Till Eulenspiegel stories lend themselves as readily to interpretation, but this one is pretty nifty.

May your soul be filled with light.

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