In this lecture given at the Panarion Conference in 1978, Robert Johnson explores the wisdom of the 12th century myth of Tristan and Isolde. The modern era which is now coming to a close began around the period when this myth first appeared, and much wisdom can be extracted from it about the modern man and about our relationships. Johnson first describes the rich time of the 12th century which saw the rise of the Gothic cathedrals and the creation of the first universities,the emergence of the Grail legend and the cult of Mary, and the development of various heresies, such as Catharism. At this time, the Eastern idea that man is essentially God dawned on the Western man.
Johnson illustrates this idea with personal experience from his trips in India. Then he continues with the tragic story of Tristan and Isolde, which recounts Tristan’s struggle with the tremendous power of romantic love for Isolde. Behind the profound psychological dynamic of romantic love stands the “divine fire” which turns our world upside down. Johnson tells us that, nowadays, we have become so clever and insulated, that our love and our passion for something greater than ourselves is almost the only language with which God can touch us. The paradox of love is that it is both divine and human, and if one stays with this paradox and is loyal to both aspects, one may transform and discover the divine in our love relationship and bring it back with humility to the holy place within.
1CD – Format: MP3 – Duration: 1hr 20 min – Also available for streaming.