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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 7

The domain of spirit: a scene of various coloured crystal rocks and a few trees. Maria, Philia, Astrid, Luna; the child; Johannes, first at a distance, then coming nearer; Theodora; lastly Benedictus.

My sisters who of old
So oft my helpers were;
In this hour help me too
That Ether of the worlds
May quiver in itself;
Resound in harmony,
And thus resounding reach
And permeate a soul
With knowledge that is true.
I now can see the signs
Which guide us to our work;
For your work must to-day
Unite itself with mine.
Johannes who doth strive
Must be by our designs
To real existence raised.
Within the temple walls
The brethren counsel took
How they should raise him up
From depths to heights of light;
From us they do expect
To fill the soul with power
For such high spirit flight.
From breadths of space shalt thou,
My Philia, win for me
Clear essence of the light;
And fill thyself with all
The charm of sound which wells
From soul-creating power.
That thou mayst give to me
Gifts gathered by thyself
From out the spirit's depths.
Then can I weave for him
Their perfect harmonies
In the soul-stirring dance
And rhythm of the spheres.
And thou, my Astrid,
Dear image of my spirit,
Shalt cause within the light
The power of shade to grow
That colours may shine forth.
To formless harmonies
Thou shalt give shape, and thus
World-substance, weaving life,
May sound upon its way.
So I can give to man
When he doth seek therefor
A spirit consciousness.
And thou, strong Luna, too,
So firm in thine own self;
E'en like the living sap
Hid deep within the tree,
To these thy sister's gifts
Do then unite thine own.
Impress thyself thereon
That he who seeks may find
True wisdom's surety.

I will myself imbue
With clearest rays of light
From cosmic spaces wide.
I will breathe deep within
Sound-substance that gives life
From distant ether-bounds,
Dear sister, that thou may'st
Succeed in this thy work.

Through all the streaming light
I will weave darkness in
To cloud its radiant beam.
I will make dense and thick
The living life of sound;
That glowing it may sound
And sounding it may glow,
Dear sister, that thou may'st
Direct the soul-life's rays.

Soul substance will I warm,
Life's ether harden too.
That they may thus condense
And may thus feel themselves
As living in themselves
And powerful to create,
Dear sister, that thou may'st
Prove wisdom's certainty
To mankind's seeking soul.

From Philia's realm
Shall stream forth delight;
And transforming powers
Of Undines arouse
The sensitive soul.
That he who is roused
May feel all the mirth
And feel all the woe
In cosmic domains.

From Astrid's close web
Love's joy shall come forth.
The Sylphs' airy life
Shall rouse in the soul
Self-sacrifice true;
That consecrate man
May rouse to new life
Souls laden with grief,
Souls yearning for joy.

From Luna's domain
Shall firmness stream forth.
And Fire-Beings' might
Shall form for the soul
Security's strength.
That he who doth know
May find his own self
In weaving of souls
And life of the worlds.

From cosmic spirits I
Will beg their being's light
The soul-sense to enchant,
The sound too of their words
To charm the spirit's ear;
That he, whose wakening nears,
May raise himself aloft
Upon the paths of soul
Unto celestial heights.

The love-streams will I guide
That fill the world with warmth
Unto the heart of man Who is initiate;
That thus he may bring down
Into his work on earth
The grace of Heaven, and give
The joy of holy rite
Unto the sons of men.

From primal powers will I
For might and courage pray
And lay them deep within
The human seeker's heart:
That so trust in himself
May guide him through his life,
Then shall he feel secure
In his own self, and pluck
Each moment's ripened fruit
And draw the seeds therefrom
For all eternity.

With you, my sisters, joined in noble work
I shall succeed in what I long to do.
But hark! There rises to our world of light
The cry of him who hath been sorely tried.
(Johannes appears.)

'Tis thou, Maria! Then my suffering
Hath at the last born richest fruit for me.
It hath withdrawn me from the phantom shape
Which I at first did make out of myself,
And which then held me fast, a prisoner.
Pain do I thank for thus enabling me
To reach thee o'er the pathways of the soul.

And what then was the path that led thee here?

I felt myself from bonds of sense released:
My sight was freed from that close barrier,
Which hid all but the present from mine eyes.
Quite otherwise I viewed the life of one
I knew on earth, and looked beyond the space
Bound by the present moment's narrow ring.
Capesius, whom with the eyes of sense
In his old age I saw — this man
The spirit placed before my soul a youth;
As first he entered on life's thorny path
Full of those dreams of hope, which ofttimes brought
A group of faithful hearers to his feet.
And Strader, also could I see e'en thus
As he appeared in earthly life when young,
E'er he had full outgrown his cloistered youth:
And I could see what he might once have been,
If he had followed out in that same way
The goal he set before himself of old.
And only those who in their earthly life
Are filled already with the spirit's power
Appear unchanged within the spirit-realms.
Both Dame Felicia and good Felix too
Had kept the forms in which they lived on earth,
When I beheld them with my spirit's sight.
And then my guides showed kindness unto me,
And spake of gifts which shall one day be mine
When I can reach to wisdom's lofty heights.
And many things besides have I beheld
With spirit-organs which sense-sight at first
Had shown to me in its own narrow way.
And judgment's all-illuminating light
Irradiated this new world of mine.
But whether I lived in some shadowy dream,
Or whether spirit-truth surrounded me
Already, I could not as yet decide.
Whether my spirit-sight was really stirred
By other things, or whether mine own self
Expanded into some world of its own,
I knew not. Then didst thou appear thyself;
Not as thou seemest at the present time,
Nor as the past beheld thee; nay — I saw
Thee as thou art in spirit evermore.
Not human was thy nature: in thy soul
Clear could I recognize the spirit-light,
Which worked not as man clothed in flesh doth work.
As spirit did it act, that strives to do
Such work as in eternity hath root.
And only now, when I dare stand complete
In spirit nigh thee, doth the full light glow.
In thee my sight of sense already grasped
Reality so fast, that certainty
Doth meet me even here in spirit-realms
And well I know that now before me stands
No phantom shape. 'Tis thy true character
In which I met thee yonder, and in which
'Tis now permitted me to meet thee here.

I feel compelled to speak. A glow of light
From out thy brow, Maria, upward mounts.
This glow takes shape, and grows to human form.
It is a man with spirit deep imbued,
And other men do gather round his feet.
I gaze into dim times, long passed away
On that good man who rose from out thy head:
His eyes do shine with perfect peace of soul;
And deep true feeling glows in every line
And feature of his noble countenance.
A woman facing him mine eye doth see,
Who listens with devotion to the words
Proceeding from his mouth; which words I hear,
And thus they sound: ‘Ye have unto your gods
Looked up with awed devotion until now.
These gods I love, as ye love them yourselves.
They did present unto your thought its power,
And planted courage in your heart; but yet
Their gifts spring from a higher spirit still.’
I see how rage doth spread amongst the throng
At this man's words. I hear their mad wild cries:
‘Kill him; for he desires to take from us
The gifts the gods have given to our race.’
But unconcernedly the man speaks on.
He tells now of that God in human form,
Who did descend to earth and conquer death.
He tells of Christ; and as his words flow on
The souls around grow calm and pacified.
One only of the heathen hearts resists,
And swears it will wreak vengeance on the man.
I recognize this heart; it beats again
In yonder child, that nestles at thy side.
The messenger of Christ speaks to it thus:
‘Thy fate doth not permit thee to draw nigh
In this life; but I shall wait patiently,
For thy path leads thee to me in the end.’
The woman who doth stand before the man
Falls at his feet and feels herself transformed.
A soul prays to the God in human form;
A heart doth love God's messenger on earth.
(Johannes sinks upon his knees before Maria.)

Johannes, that which dawneth in thy mind
Thou shalt awaken to full consciousness.
E'en now within thee hath thy memory
Wrenched itself free from fetterings of sense.
Thou hast found me, and thou hast felt thyself,
As we were joined in former life on earth.
Thou wast the woman whom the seeress saw,
For so didst thou lie prostrate at my feet,
When I as messenger of Christ did come
Unto thy tribe in days long since gone by.
What in Hibernia's consecrated shrines
Was then entrusted to me by that God,
Who dwelt in human form, and did become
A conqueror o'er all the powers of death,
I had to bring to tribes, in whom still lived
A soul that brought a willing sacrifice
To mighty Odin, and with sorrow thought
Upon the death of Balder, god of light.
The power, which from that message grew in thee,
Attracted thee to me from the first day
Thine eyes of sense beheld me in this life.
And since it strove so mightily in us,
And yet remained unrecognized by both,
It wove into our life those sufferings,
Which we o'ercame. Yet in that pain itself
There lay the power to guide us on our way
To spirit-realms, where we might recognize
And know in very truth each other's soul.
Intolerably did thy pain increase
Through all the men who thronged thee round about,
With whom by fate's decree thou art conjoined.
Hence was the revelation of their selves
Able so fiercely to convulse thine heart.
These men hath Karma gathered round thee now,
To wake in thee the power that once did urge
Thee on the path of life, which selfsame power
Hath thus far roused thee, that, from body freed,
Thou couldst ascend into the spirit-world.
Thou standest nearest to my soul, since thou
Hast kept through pain thy steadfast faith in me.
And therefore hath it fallen to my lot
That consecration to complete in thee,
To which thou owest this thy spirit-light.
The brethren, who within the temple serve,
Have wakened sight in thee; yet canst thou know
That what thou seest is very truth indeed,
Only when thou dost find in spirit-realms
A being, unto whom in worlds of sense
Thou wast united in thine inmost soul.
And that this being might thus meet thee here,
Before thee did the brethren send me out.
And this did prove the hardest of thy tests,
When I was summoned here to wait for thee.
Our leader, Benedictus, did I ask
To solve for me the riddle of my life,
That seemed to be so cruel and unkind;
And blessedness streamed from his every word,
Telling of his own mission and of mine.
He told me of the spirit I must serve
With all the power which I have found in me.
And at his words it seemed to me as though,
All in a moment clearest spirit-light
Streamed through and through my soul, and suffering
Was changed to joyous blessedness; one thought
Alone then filled my soul; — he gave me light,
Yea, light, that gave to me the power of sight; —
And in that thought there lived the firm resolve
To this same spirit to devote myself
And make me ready for the sacrifice
Which in due time would draw me near to him.
This thought did generate the highest power:
It gave wings to my soul and wafted me
Into that realm where thou hast found me now.
In that same moment when I felt released
From my sense body, I was free to turn —
My spirit's eye upon thee, and I saw
Not only thee, Johannes, standing there;
I saw the woman too, that followed me
In ancient times; and had bound close to mine
Her destiny. E'en thus was spirit-truth
Revealed to me in spirit-realms through thee,
Who in the world of sense already wast
Made one with me in inmost consciousness.
So did I gain this spirit-certainty
And was endowed to give it unto thee.
Sending a ray of highest, tenderest love
To Benedictus, I went on before;
And he hath given unto thee the power
To follow me into the spirit-spheres.
(Benedictus appears.)

Ye here have found yourselves in spirit-realms;
And so it is permitted unto me
To stand once more beside you in these realms.
I could confer the power that urged you here,
But I could not conduct you here myself.
Thus reads the law, which I must needs obey: —
Ye must through your own selves first gain the eye
Of spirit, which doth here make visible
My spirit to you. Ye have just begun
E'en now the path of spirit-pilgrimage.
Henceforth indeed upon the plane of sense
Endowed with novel powers shall ye both stand,
And with the spirit in your hearts unsealed
The cause of human progress shall ye serve,
For Fate itself hath so united you,
That ye together may unfold the powers
Which needs must serve divine creative work.
And as ye journey on the path of souls
Wisdom will teach you that the loftiest tasks
May be achieved for the weal of men
When souls that gave each other spirit certainty
Unite in faith to do salvation's work.
My spirit-guidance hath united you
To realize each other: now do ye
Unite yourselves to do the spirit's work.
May powers that dwell within this realm confer
On you through these my lips this Word of strength: —
‘The weaving essence of the light streams forth
From man to man to fill all worlds with truth.
The grace of love spreads warmth from soul to soul
To work out bliss eternal for all worlds.
And spirit-messengers come forth to wed
Man's works of love and grace to cosmic aims.
And when the man who finds himself in man
Can wed these twain, there doth stream forth on earth
True spirit-light from his warm loving soul.’


Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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