Note: The following article is published with permission.

On the Forbidden Letters - by Rene Loman

‘Only seldom the Stone (of Transmutation) was applied to the human body.’  -- Carl Jung

Part 1

- Arnon Grunberg -

In October 2004 Arnon Grunberg's novel The Jewish Messiah was launched. In Tablet-magazine Ruth Franklin says that in The Jewish Messiah there are no unmentionables, 'everything is fair game. (This book) is exhilarating, bewildering, and throat-clutchingly funny. Xavier Radek, the teenage grandson of an SS officer, decides that his purpose in life is to “comfort the Jews,” and starts taking Yiddish lessons with Awromele, the son of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. As the two work together to translate Hitler's Mein Kampf into Yiddish, they fall in love. Urged by Awromele to prove his Jewish bona fides, Xavier undergoes a botched circumcision at the hands of a sight-impaired mohel.' By doing that he becomes a 'Jewish' Messiah, a comforter of Jews.

Why do I take this book to World Mysteries and the Forbidden Letters to Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn? Because through that clumsy circumcision Grunberg's homosexual 'Messiah' loses a testicle. He becomes semi-castrated, just like Set in ancient Egypt, the one God who was, in myth, by times homosexual and symbolized by a stone.
[ see part 2 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters_23.htm  ]

This semi-castration of Set pointed to the Solar Wound
[ see part 3 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters_36.htm  ]
In Wolfram von Eschenbach Anfortas was not literally semi-castrated, but only wounded in one of his testicles. And the alchemist of the Forbidden Letters has, according to the Paris 4, 'no visible wound' on his left testicle, but it is painful nevertheless (in a way one, hence, could say that he was semi-castrated). And he is gay, just like Set and Grunberg's Messiah.

Not enough, the theme of semi-castration is also discussed in 'classical' alchemy. In the Theatrum Chemicum Petrus Bonus states that the Mercurius of alchemy 'is seen to have a gross substance, like the Monocalus.'[emphasis mine] The word monocalus does not exist in any language, but, as Carl Jung points out, it resembles the Latin word monocaleus, meaning 'having only one testicle, semi-castrated.'[1963, n.135, par. 712]

Arnon Grunberg, who is heterosexual and Jewish by the way, has written a book with a stunningly alchemical undercurrent then. Intentionally, or not.

Part 2

'Though The Magic Mountain is full of motifs derived from alchemy and Grail-mythology, this does not seem to have motivated students of Western esotericism to consider Thomas Mann as an obvious object of research.'   Wouter Hanegraaff

'Thomas Mann will come to you as a surprise, we are sure, but it makes sense, as we discovered. Discovered what? That most of his short stories (and none of his novels!) are about alchemy. From the decapitation in 'The Transposed Heads'(1946) to the aggression impulses and the darkness of the Night of the Soul in 'The Wardrobe' (1899).'    The Paris 4

The Paris 4 were obviously wrong when they wrote to Gary Osborn that most of Thomas Mann's short stories, but none of his novels, were about alchemy. Because at least one of his novels, The Magic Mountain is [ see quotes 13 to 22 in part 2 of http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters_47.htm  ]. But they were right that Mann's short story The Wardrobe was an alchemical story. That story was written when Mann was twenty-four.

The Wardrobe was subtitled 'a story full of riddles.' But once you bring in alchemy, the riddles disappear. The Paris 4 inform us that the Wardrobe is about The Night of the Soul, also known as the phase of Nigredo (blackness). It is a phase in which the alchemist has to transmute his lower nature into light. A phase of decomposition first. Of despair and pain. In it the alchemist suffers horrible things:

'That beast has to be let out in a certain crisis in alchemy. It is raw psychic energy (libido). And exactly that dark energy is used to build up the lightbody. It is extremely dangerous and leaves you with a pandemonium of aggression-impulses for several months( and other complaints), and in weaker form for several years (the energy is consumed more and more and the impulses gradually disappear). To safely conduct this energy you need an extraordinary strong mind (he who will overcome). This process is sometimes called the night of the soul. It is absolute horror the first two weeks. Horror still the next three months and quite a burden for about three years, till the whole beast is consumed and transformed into lightbody and chakra's (well hidden then still).' [The Paris 4]

Horror and suffering. What wonder then that the main character and alchemist in The Wardrobe is called Albrecht van der Qualen, Albrecht of the Sufferings. He is traveling from Berlin to Rome and somewhere during his trip he stays in a hotel. 'It is evening and in every respect autumn.'(decomposition)

- Nigredo -

The Nigredo in alchemy is considered a kind of death. So Mann makes van der Qualen cross a bridge with dirty, dark water. This reminds us of the river Styx. That river, in Greek mythology, formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. And van der Qualen is heading for his personal underworld and its horror and aggression-impulses.

Mann stresses the Nigredo (blackening) by repeatedly using the word black in his story. The basic colors of alchemy are white and red though, as all experts on alchemy will know:

'I explained something of the male/female polarity and how it figures in alchemical work and the sulphur/mercury pair which predated the later trinity of sulphur/salt/mercury. She was somewhat surprised to see the white rose as feminine, the red as masculine.' [Levity.com]

These male and female polarities have to be united not only in the crown-cakra, but in the body too. This process is started in the Night of the Soul. [ Cf. quote 1 in http://www.world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters2.htm  ]

And how exactly does Mann communicate these colors? He says, when Albrecht enters his hotel room, that red chairs clash with white walls, like 'strawberries on whipped cream.'[Mann]

In the evening Albrecht, in his room, enters a wardrobe (introversion theme, see footnote 1) and there meets a little girl, a ghost-like, pale girl. That girl appears to him every evening from now on and she tells him lovely stories, yet, at the end, a knife has to be plunged into a belly, and 'for good reasons.'[Mann] (Aggression impulses.) Needless to say that Mann does not give these reasons.

When it comes to the ghost-like girl in the wardrobe, Thomas Mann possibly borrowed from Dostojevsky's The Landlady [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Landlady ], or from E.T.A. Hoffmann character Donna Anna in his story Don Juan. [see footnote 2] But this all is irrelevant to the alchemical symbolism in The Wardrobe of course.

The Hague, The Netherlands, December 2009.


Dear Visitors of World Mysteries,

A few weeks ago I sent Robert Jan Kelder, the translator of Werner Greub's book "How the Grail Sites were found - Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail" the URL to the Forbidden Letters. Kelder gave me the folowing answer:

'(I) Just read the “The Forbidden Letters”. That the Gospels and Parzival are myths is contradicted by strong evidence in the book I translated and published “How the Grail Sites Were Found – Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Reality of the Grail” by Werner Greub and as well in the first three chapters of volume 3 of his Grail trilogy “Erwachen an Goethe” (Getting Up With Goethe) on which I have started an e-serial and translation project. One small detail that is wrong in these forbidden letters: It is not Parzival, but Gawain who fights with the lion in the Magic Castle in Wolfram’s tale, which by the way was situated according to the Grail geography drawn by Greub on the Upper Rhine 15 km north of Basle, on a huge rock called Isteiner Klotz.

I thereupon answered Kelder with the following email:

'Dear Mr Kelder,

Thank you for our email. But as I said on the phone, just because Jerusalem existed in the first century (and Greube possibly found out that von Eschenbach used real geography for his Parzifal), doesn't mean Jesus and Parzival existed. What's more, even if some persons of the Parzival have been historic ones (just like Pontius Pilate or John the Baptist in the Bible) doesn't mean that Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzifal is not about alchemy, just like the Secrets of the Kingdom of God in the Gospel are about that Art.

And you clearly didn't read the Forbidden Letters part 2 where it says:

'A correction on Letter number five. It is not Parzival, but Gawan who has to fight the lion. This makes no difference alchemically. Because Parzival, Gawan, Anfortas, Feirefiz, plus the beheaded man (Sigunes?) are all one and the same person. They all represent different stages in the Work of the Sun. One is guarding the Stone, another one figthing the lion (Night of the Soul), and yet another one is beheaded. '[The Paris 4]

Because you wrote:

'One small detail that is wrong in these forbidden letters: It is not Parzival, but Gawain who fights with the lion in the Magic Castle in Wolfram’s tale.'[Kelder]

Best wishes,

Rene Loman


1] Once the alchemical 'killing' and the psychological stage of introversion are completed, purification and regeneration can begin. Decay precedes the arising of the new being.

2] 'At the end of the performance described in Hoffmann's Don Juan, Donna Anna appears "wholly transformed, her face pale and death, her eyes blank." -'[Goehr & Herwitz]


© 2009 by Rene Loman

Related Books

  • The Jewish Messiah: A Novel (Paperback) by Arnon Grunberg
    From Publishers Weekly
    Mockingly irreverent and verging on the fantastical, Grunberg's satirical comedy featuring a contemporary messiah will amuse some readers and offend others. When Swiss teenager Xavier Radek meets Awromele Michalowitz, a rabbi's son, decides it is his life's mission to comfort the Jews to atone for their suffering. Idealistic and naïve to the point of foolishness, Xavier is a contemporary version of the Jewish folkloric character Gimpel the Fool. Never mind that his grandfather was a superzealous Nazi, and his mother thinks that You-Know-Who had the right idea in exterminating the Jews. Both young men acknowledge the erotic bond between them, first evidenced when Xavier undergoes a botched circumcision. As the action moves from Basel to Amsterdam to Tel Aviv in a series of farcical adventures involving violence, brutality, lust and jealousy, the novel reveals a world made up of bigots and complacent hypocrites. Grunberg's iconoclastic novels are bestsellers in Europe, where they have won numerous literary awards. He has a fine touch for the ridiculous and the macabre, but by the time Xavier becomes the corrupt prime minister of Israel and metamorphoses into a modern Hitler, this abrasive satire becomes an open wound. (Jan.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  • The Magic Mountain - by Thomas Mann

  • Mysterium Coniunctionis (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.14) (Paperback)

  • Parzival and Titurel (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback) Wolfram von Eschenbach (Author),
    Cyril Edwards (Translator), Richard Barber (Introduction)


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