"The Magic Flute" - Bro. Alberti and the Frontispiece of the Libretto on the Occasion of the First Performance in the Year 1791 (Page 29).

Survey of the arch

The adept has taken off his clothes, and with this he also has laid down the insignia of his social standing. Let us remind the following passage in act two, scene one of the "Magic Flute":


(After a pause)
You, the initiated in the temple of wisdom, servants of the great gods Osiris and Isis! With a pure soul I explain, that our today's meeting is one of the most important in our time. Tamino, the son of a king, twenty years old, walks at the north door of our temple, sighing with virtuous heart for an object which we all have to gain by effort and diligence. Shortly, this young man will tear off his nocturnal veil, and will look into the holy place of the greatest light. To guard this virtuous youth, to offer him friendly our hands, has to be one of our most important duties today.

First priest:
(stands up)
He has got virtue?


Second priest:
(stands up)
Discretion also?


Third priest:

Charitable! - If you think he is worthy, so follow my example.
(They blow three times into the horns.)
Moved by the unity of your hearts, Sarastro thanks you in the name of humanity. May ever the prejudice expatiate a blame upon us initiated, wisdom and reason will destroy it like spider web. Our pillars never wobble. The bad prejudice however shall disappear as soon as Tamino himself will possess the size of our complicated art. The gods have decided that Pamina, the gentle, virtuous girl, shall get the charming young man. This is the reason why I tore her off from her proud mother. This woman fancies herself to be great. She hopes to captivate the people by mockery and superstition and hopes to destroy our solid temple building. But she will not succeed in doing this. Tamino, the charming youth himself, shall strengthen it together with us, and, as an initiate, he shall be reward for virtue, but punishment for vice. (All repeat the threefold chord with the horns.)

(stands up)
Great Sarastro, we recognize and admire the wisdom of your speech, but will Tamino fight the coming hard examinations? Forgive methat I take the liberty to reveal my doubt to you! I fear for the youth. What if he looses his mind, and succumbs the hard fight overwhelmed by pain? He is a prince.

Even more - he is a human being!

When we look at the symbolism, we can divide the entrance hall continued with one line by the flaming star, into two halves: One half means life, the other one means death. The youth has turned his back to the symbols of death. He is awaitening an initiation. Based on the symbolism, the initiation of the apprentice degree, of the fellow craft and of the master mason will be carried out in one phase. Formerly the same proceeding was usual for princely persons.

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