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Four Mystery Plays

Rudolf Steiner e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Mystery Plays
Main Index
Cover Sheet
1. Portal
Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3
Scene 4
Scene 5
Scene 6
Scene 7
Scene 8
Scene 9
Scene 10
Scene 11
2. Probation
Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3
Scene 4
Scene 5
Scene 6
Scene 7
Scene 8
Scene 9
Scene 10
Scene 11
Scene 12
Scene 13
3. Guardian
Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3
Scene 4
Scene 5
Scene 6
Scene 7
Scene 8
Scene 9
Scene 10
4. Awakening
Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3
Scene 4
Scene 5
Scene 6
Scene 7
Scene 8
Scene 9
Scene 10
Scene 11
Scene 12
Scene 13
Scene 14
Scene 15

Four Mystery Plays

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 4

A landscape which seeks to express the world of souls by its characteristic peculiarities.

Enter Lucifer and Ahriman. Johannes is seen at the right of the stage in deep meditation. What follows is experienced by him in meditation.

O man, know thou thyself; O man, feel me.
From spirit guidance, thou hast freed thyself,
And into earth's free realms thou hast escaped.
Midst earth's confusion thou didst seek to prove
Thine own existence; and to find thyself
Was thy reward, and was thy destiny.
Me didst thou find: for spirits willed
To cast a veil before the eyes of sense;
Which veil I rent in twain. Those spirits willed
To follow out their will alone in thee;
But I gave thee self-will and foiled their aim.
O man, know thou thyself; O man, feel me.

O man, know me; O man, feel thou thyself.
Thou hast escaped from darkened spirit-realms
And thou hast found again the earth's pure light,
So now from my sure ground drink strength and truth.
I make earth hard and fast. The spirits willed
To snatch away from thee the charm of sense;
Which charm I weave for thee in light condensed.
I lead thee unto true reality.
O man, know me; O man, feel thou thyself.

Time was not when thou didst not live through me.
I followed thee throughout the course of life,
And was permitted to bestow on thee
Strong personal traits and joy in thine own self.

Time was not when thou didst not me behold.
Thy mortal eyes saw me in all earth's growth;
I was permitted to shine forth for thee
In beauty proud and revelation's bliss.
(Exit with Lucifer.)

Johannes (to himself in meditation):
This is the sign as Benedictus told.
Before the world of souls stand these two powers:
The one, as Tempter, lives within the soul;
The other doth obscure the sight of man
When he directeth it to outward things.
The one took on the woman's form e'en now,
To bring the soul's illusions 'neath my gaze;
The other may be found in everything.

(Enter the Spirit of the Elements with Capesius and Strader, whom he has brought to the earth's surface from the earth's depths. They are conceived as souls looking out upon the earth's surface. The Spirit of the Elements is aged and stands erect upon a sphere. Capesius and Strader are in astral garb; the former, though the older man of the two in years, here appears the younger. He wears blue robes of various shades, Strader wears brown and yellow.)

So have ye reached the spot ye longed to find.
It proved indeed a heavy care to me,
To grant your wish. Spirits and elements
Did rage in mad wild storm when their domain
I had to enter with your essences.
Your minds opposed the ruling of my powers.

Mysterious Being, who art thou, who hast
Brought me to this fair realm through spirit-spheres?

The soul of man may only look on me,
Whene'er the service which I render him
Hath been achieved. Yet he obeys my powers
Through all the moving sequences of time.

It matters little to me to enquire
What spirit led me hither to this place.
I feel life's powers revive in this new land,
Whose light doth seem to widen mine own breast
In my pulse-beat I feel the whole world's might;
And premonitions of exalted deeds
Thrill in my heart. I will translate in words
The revelation of this beauteous realm,
That hath refreshed me in such wondrous wise;
And souls of men shall bloom, as choicest flowers
If I can pour into their life on earth
The inspiration flowing from these founts.
(Lightning and thunder from the depths and heights.)

Why quake the depths, and why resound the heights
When hope's young dreams surge upward in the soul?
(Lightning and thunder.)

To human dreamers words of hope like these
Sound proud indeed; but in the depths of earth
The vain illusions of mistaken thought
Awake such thunderous echoes evermore.
Ye mortals hear them only at those times
When ye draw nigh to my domain. Ye think
To build exalted temples unto Truth,
And yet your work's effects do but unchain
Storm-spirits in primeval. depths of earth.
Nay more, the spirits must destroy whole worlds,
That deeds ye do in realms where time hath sway
May not cause devastation and cold death
Through all the ages of eternity.

So these eternal ages must regard
As empty fantasy what seems the truth
To man's best observation and research.
(Lightning and thunder.)

An empty fantasy, so long as sense
Doth only search in realms to spirit strange.

Thou may'st well call a dreamer that friend's soul
Which in the joy of youth its goal doth set
With such a noble strength and high desire;
But in mine aged heart thy words fall dead
Despite their summoned aid of thunderous storms.
I tore myself from cloistered quietude
To proud achievement in my search for truth.
In life's storm-centres many a year I stood,
And men had confidence in me, and what
I taught them through my deep strong sense for truth.
(Lightning and thunder.)

'Tis fitting for thee to confess that none
Can tell whence stream the fountains of our thought,
Nor where the fundaments of Being lie.

Oh this same speech, which in youth's hopeful days
So oft with chill persistence pierced my soul
When thought-foundations quaked, which once seemed firm
(Lightning and thunder.)

If thou dost fail to gain the victory
O'er me with those blunt weapons of thy thought
Thou art a fleeting phantom, nothing more,
Formed by thine own deluded imagery.

So soon again such gruesome speech from thee!
This too I heard before in mine own soul,
When once a seeress threateningly did wish
To wreck the firm foundations of my thought
And make me feel the sharp dread sting of doubt.
But that is past, and I defy thy might,
Thou aged rogue, so cunningly concealed
Beneath a mask devised by thine own self
To counterfeit the form of nature's lord.
Reason will overthrow thee, otherwise
Than thou dost think, when once she is enthroned
Upon the proud heights of the mind of man.
As mistress will she reign assuredly
Not as some handmaiden in nature's realm.
(Lightning and thunder.)

The world is ordered so, that every act
Requires a like reaction: unto you
I gave the self; ye owe me my reward.

I will myself create from mine own soul
The spirit counterpart of things of sense.
And when at length all nature stands transformed,
Idealized through man's creative work,
Her mirrored form shall be reward enough;
And then if thou dost feel thyself akin
To that great mother of all worlds, and spring'st
From depths where world-creating forces reign,
Then let my will, which lives in head and breast,
Inspiring me to aim at highest goals,
Be thy reward for deeds commanded.
Thy help hath raised me from dull sentiment
To thought's proud heights ... Let this be thy reward!
(Lightning and thunder.)

Ye well can see, how little your bold words
Bear weight in my domain: they do but loose
The storm, and rouse the elements to wrath,
As adversaries of the ordered world.

Take then thine own reward where't may be found.
The impulse that doth drive the souls of men
To seek true spirit-heights within themselves
Set their own measure, their own order make.
Creation were not possible for man
If others wished to claim what he had made.
The song that trills from out the linnet's throat
Sufficeth for itself; and so doth man
Find his reward, when in his fashioning work
He doth experience creative joy.
(Lightning and thunder.)

It is not meet to grudge me my reward.
If ye yourselves cannot repay the debt
Then tell the woman, who endowed your souls
With power, that she must pay instead of you.

He hath departed. Whither turn we now?
To find our way aright in these new worlds
Must be, it seems, the first care of our minds.

To follow confidently the best way,
That we can find, with sure but cautious tread,
Methinks should lead us straightway to the goal.

Rather should we be silent as to goal.
That we shall find if we courageously
Obey the impulse of our inner self,
Which speaks thus to me: ‘Let Truth be thy guide;
May it unfold strong powers within thyself
And mould them with the noblest fashioning
In all that thou shalt do; then must thy steps
Attain their destined goal, nor go astray.’

Yet from the outset it were best our steps
Should not lack consciousness of their true goal,
If we would be of service unto men
And give them happiness. He, who would serve
Himself alone, doth follow his own heart;
But he, who wills to serve his neighbour best,
Must surely know his life's necessities.

(The Other Maria, also in soul form, emerges from the rocks, covered with precious stones.)

But see I What wondrous being's this? It seems
As though the rock itself did give it birth.
From what world-depths do such strange forms arise?

The Other Maria:
I wrest my way through solid rock, and fain
Would clothe in human speech its very will;
I sense earth's essence and with human brains
I fain would think the thoughts of Earth herself.
I breathe pure air of life, and I transmute
Beings of air into the feeling flow
That surging swells within the breast of man.

Then thou canst not assist us in our quest.
For far aloft from men's endeavour stands
All that must abide in nature's realm.

Lady, I like thy words, and I would fain
Translate thy form of speech into mine own.

The Other Maria:
Most strange doth seem to me your proud discourse.
For, when ye speak yourselves, unto mine ear
Your words do sound incomprehensible.
But if I let them echo in my heart
And issue in new form, they spread abroad
O'er all that lives in mine environment
And solve for me its hidden mystery.

If this, thy speech, be true, then change for us
Into thy speech, that nature may respond,
The question of the true worth of man's life.
For we ourselves lack power to question thus
Great mother nature that we may be heard.

The Other Maria:
In me ye only see an humble maid
Of that high spirit-being, which doth dwell
In that domain whence ye have just now come.
There hath been given me this field of work
That here in lowliness I may show forth
Her mirrored image unto mortal sense.

So then we have just fled from that domain
Wherein our longing could have been assuaged?

The Other Maria:
And if ye do not find again the way,
Your efforts shall be fruitless evermore.

Then tell which way will lead us back again.

The Other Maria:
There are two ways. If my power doth attain
To its full height all creatures of my realm
Shall glow in beauty's most resplendent dress.
From rocks and water, glittering light shall stream,
And colours in their richest fulness flash
On all around, whilst life in merry mood
Shall fill the air with joyous harmony.
And if your souls do then but steep themselves
In mine own being's purest ecstasy
On spirit pinions shall ye wing your way
Unto primeval origins of worlds.

That is no way for us; for in our speech
We name such talk mere fancy, and we fain
Would seek firm ground, not fly to cloud-capped heights.

The Other Maria:
Then if ye wish to tread the other path
Ye must-forthwith renounce your spirit's pride.
Ye must forget what reason doth command,
And let the touch of nature conquer you.
In your men's breasts let your child-soul have sway,
Artless and undisturbed by thought's dim shades.
So will ye surely reach Life's fountain-head,
Although unconscious of the way ye go.

Thus are we thrown back on ourselves alone,
And have but learned that it behoveth us
To work and wait in patience for the fruit
That future days shall ripen from our work.

Johannes (speaking, as it were, from his meditation. Here and in the following scene he sits aside and takes no part in the action):
So do I find within the soul's domain
Those men who are already known to me:
First he who told us of Felicia's tales,
Though here I saw him in his youthful prime;
And also he who in his younger days
Had chosen for his life monastic rule,
As some old man did he appear: with them
There stood the Spirit of the Elements.


Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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