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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 Soul's Probation

Scene 7

A chamber in the castle whose exterior was shown in the preceding scene. Decorated throughout with symbols of a Mystic Brotherhood. (For costumes, see note on page 145.) Columns, arches, and vaulted roof with the mystic symbols shown in the Author's ‘Occult Symbols.’ First the Knights assemble; then the Monk and one of the Knights later appears the spirit of Benedictus who has passed away about fifty years earlier. Then Lucifer and Ahriman. The Grand Master seated at a long table with four of the Brethren, indicated in the course of the scene.

Grand Master:
Ye who are joined with me in comradeship
To seek the goal appointed unto man,
And bring that knowledge from the spirit-realm
Into the scope of earth's activities,
As is appointed to our brotherhood,
Must also truly help me in this hour
When heavy trials impend. Then, know ye all
That since our venerated master fell,
A victim by the Powers of Darkness claimed,
Who draw their strength from Evil, helping on
The plan of Wisdom by their natural means,
That is by means of Opposition's strength,
Since Wisdom turneth Evil into Good.
Since that sad loss we strive on earth in vain,
For many a castle of our brotherhood
Hath by our enemies been overwhelmed,
And many Brethren dear to us have fallen
In fight, and followed our great Master home
Into the realm of everlasting light.
For us too doth the hour approach apace
When these stout walls that shelter us shall fall.
Our foes already spy the country round
To find a pretext under which they may
Rob us of our possessions, ne'er acquired
For our own use, but as a means to draw
Around us individuals, in whose souls
We could implant the germs of things to come.
These germs shall ripen when those men themselves
Find their way back from out the spirit-land
To live anew in future days on earth.

First Master of Ceremonies:
That this our brotherhood should be o'erthrown
By some obscure design of destiny,
Is something nowise inconceivable.
But that the fall of our community
Should doom so many brothers' single lives,
Would seem to contravene the cosmic law.
I do not wish my words to make complaint,
Since willingly our brothers suffer death.
But still my soul desires to comprehend
The sacrifice demanded from these men
Who have allied themselves unto a whole,
Because the powers of destiny decree
The overthrow and ruin of that whole.

Grand Master:
The separate life of individual men
Is linked most wisely to the world's design.
Amongst our brothers there will surely be
Some who have given proof of competence
To serve our brotherhood with their soul's power
And yet whose nature still shows many a stain.
The errors and misdeeds of such a heart
Must find their expiation in the pain
Suffered by it in service for the whole.
And he who, blameless both in act and deed,
Must none the less walk in the thorny way
Traced by the Karma of the brotherhood,
Will find his pain requited by the power
To mount aloft unto the higher life.

First Master of Ceremonies:
So then the brotherhood may tolerate
Within its ranks souls not yet purified
Who vow themselves to its exalted aims?

Grand Master:
He who to lofty works is dedicate
Doth mark alone the goodness in men's souls;
He lets the evil work its ransom out
As cosmic justice in its course decides.
My brothers, I have bid you meet me here
In order to remind you with grave words
That we have duties in our days of grief.
We must be ready to lay down our lives
For those high purposes to which we swore
Lifelong allegiance, Truly ye are
My brothers, if undauntedly your souls
Repeat the motto of our brotherhood:
‘Separate existence must be sacrificed
By those who would set eyes on spirit goals,
Piercing the outer veil of world of sense,
And dare to let the spirit's will pour down
And flood their individual purposes.’

First Preceptor:
Exalted Master, shouldst thou design to test
The heart of each man in our brotherhood,
It would repeat that motto loud and clear! —
Yet do we beg thee to explain to us
Why, not content with robbing us of life
And our possessions, now our enemies
Would rob us also of those humble souls
Whom we have tended with unselfish love.
For every day affords new evidence
That not alone compulsion makes our folk
Submit themselves unto our conquerors;
But that indeed they too have learned to hate
The spirit-path which we had shown to them.

Grand Master:
That which we have implanted in men's souls
May die indeed to-day; but these same men,
Who once have breathed our spirit-radiance,
Will come again to earth, and then bestow
Upon the world the fruitage of our work.
Thus speaks unto my spirit oftentimes
Our mighty leader from the realm of death,
When in my quiet hours, I do sink down
Into my soul's deep places, and arouse
Strength to abide awhile in spirit-lands.
Then may I feel the master's presence near
And hear his words, as in the life of sense
I often heard them. Never doth he speak
About our work as drawing to a close;
But only of fulfilment of our aims
In later days that are to come on earth.

(Exeunt the Grand Master and two of the Brotherhood.)

First Preceptor:
He speaks of spirit-worlds in just such words
As men may speak of villages or towns.
The way in which our loftiest brothers speak
Of other states of life oppresseth me.
And yet I am devoted fervently
Unto the progress of our earthly aims.

Second Master of Ceremonies:
I place reliance in our master's words.
The man who cannot hear with perfect faith
The tale of spirit and of spirit-worlds,
Is nowise lacking in capacity
To grasp a revelation of this kind.
The things he lacks are of a different mould.
Though he admit it not, he well may feel
That he is conscious of unworthiness
To be a member of the higher worlds.
A soul must be defiled by secret stains
And eager to deny that they are there,
That will not bow before the spirit-lore.


(Enter the Monk; the Second Preceptor enters and steps up to him)

Second Preceptor:
What errand bringeth thee to this our house
Which is for thee the home of enemies?

I must include amongst my friends all those
Who bear the form of men this is our rule.
But hostile thou mayst well esteem the claim
Which I, by duty bound, must here present.
Those who are over me have sent me here,
And their desire is that the property
Belonging to the Church, as by old deeds
Is well attested, should be given back
To them without dispute. You tract of ground
Upon which ye have sunk your mine, belongs
In law and equity unto the Church.
The manner in which ye possessed yourselves
Of this estate confers no legal rights.

Second Preceptor:
Whether in law we have a right to call
It ours or no, would constitute a case
For legal disputation long drawn out.
But certain 'tis that it belongs to us
If we refer it to a higher law.
You tract of ground was lying lost and waste
When it was purchased by our brotherhood
Not e'en an inkling had ye of the fact
That far below rich treasure lay concealed.
This have we won for human industry:
Its treasures travel far and wide to-day
To distant lands, to further human weal,
And many honest souls are now at work
In shaft and tunnel underneath the ground
Which in your hands lay waste and desolate.

Then it doth not seem fair and right to thee
To urge upon thy brotherhood the need
Of peaceably accepting our demand
That so we may regain our property?

Second Preceptor:
Since we are not aware of any guilt,
But are convinced our cause is wholly just,
We can but wait in quiet confidence
To see if ye are really bent. on strife,
When as before, yourselves are in the wrong.

Then will ye have to thank your headstrong will
If we are driven to a sterner course.

Second Preceptor:
The honour of our brotherhood demands
That only when defeated, sword in hand,
Do we allow ourselves to be despoiled.

So be it! Now my mission is fulfilled,
Between us there is no more need of words.
Will it be possible for me to have
An audience with thy lord, who here commands?

Second Preceptor:
The Master doubtless will concede thee this;
Yet wait, I pray thee, for a little while.
He cannot at this moment come to thee.


O, that mine office forceth me to tread
The halls of this detested brotherhood!
Turn where they may, my eyes must contemplate
Sinful devices and satanic spells. —
Almost a horror seizeth hold on me; —
A crackling and a rumbling fill the air; —
I feel the powers of ill are gathered round.

(Noises heard.)

But as my conscience is entirely clear
I will defy the enemy.

(Noises heard.)

Oh, this
Is terrible.

(The spirit of Benedictus appears.)

Defend me, Saints of Heaven!

Collect thyself, my son. I often came
To meet thee, when the fervour of thy prayers
Transported thee unto the spirit-world.
Take therefore courage in this present hour
And learn a truth which thou must realize
If spirit clearness is to hold its sway
And drive away the darkness from thy soul.

When in my trials I prayed to Heaven for light,
And when my supplication winged its way
To realms celestial, and won repose,
Thou, venerated master, didst appear.
Thou, who wast aye our Order's ornament,
The while thou wert amongst us here on earth,
And out of higher realms didst speak to me,
Enlightening my mind and strengthening me.
My soul beheld thee with its inner eye,
My spirit ear was open to thy words.
In this hour also then, will I receive
The revelation with humility
Which thou shalt cause to flow into my soul.

Thou art within that brotherhood's abode
Whom thou dost charge with wicked heresies.
They seem to hate what we are taught to love
And hold in honour what we count as sin.
Our brethren feel themselves in duty bound
To haste the spirit-brethren's overthrow,
And think their action sanctioned by the words
I spake myself whilst I was still on earth.
Yet do they not imagine that these words
Can only hold the living truth so long
As they are livingly evolved by those
Who have been my successors in my work. —
So let those thoughts which I once held on earth
Rise up afresh and live within thy soul
In harmony with needs of newer times;
And thus behold this Order, which doth seek
Its goal in mystic realms, as I should judge
And look on it, if it had been my lot
To dwell on earth and work with thee to-day.
This brotherhood is vowed to lofty aims;
Those human beings who have joined its ranks
Have premonitions of the days to come
Their leaders see with a prophetic eye
The fruits that shall grow ripe in future times.
Science and daily life shall undergo
A change of form and seek ideals new;
And what this brotherhood doth now achieve,
Whom thou hast lent a hand to persecute,
Are deeds which serve to bring this change about.
Alone by peaceful union of the aims
Sought by our brethren and these heretics
Can good be made to blossom on this earth.

This warning, of which I am worthy found,
How can I act upon it? It departs
Amazingly from all that I have held,
Up to this moment, to be right and good.

(Ahriman and, Lucifer appear.)

But other beings now are drawing nigh!
Why do they come and stand beside thee now?

This further message comes from other realms.
It cannot seem an easy thing for thee
Thy predecessor's bidding to obey,
Reflect — he dwells in everlasting bliss.
And actions by decree and duty there
Desirable, may well upon the earth
Lead to confusion at the present time.
Lift up thine eyes to where he dwells on high
If thou wouldst seek for comfort from the bliss
Which, when the latter days of earth draw near,
By cosmic spirits is to be bestowed.
But if at present thou wouldst act aright,
Be guided only, in the choice of paths,
By that which reason and the senses teach.
Thou hast been able clearly to discern
The sinful ways of yonder brotherhood
Which they would fain keep secret from the world;
Thus hast thou learned that laws for future life
Can well be framed by souls now steeped in sin!
How canst thou wish, now that thou knowest these things,
To live in friendship with the brotherhood?
For error is a poor and sterile soil
Where good fruit cannot come to ripening.

Thy pious mind hath shown the road to thee.
It is most true that times and objects change;
But none the less 'tis not for heretics
To trace the paths on which mankind must tread.
The error of this spirit-brotherhood
Is dangerous, because it speaks the truth,
And yet expresses it in such a way
As makes the truth more deadly than a lie.
A man who openly avowed he lied
Would have to be bereft of common sense
'Ere he could bring himself to such belief
That men would gladly follow where he led.
The spirit-knights indeed are shrewd of mind;
They do not fail to speak about the Christ
Because this name can open every door
That gives admission to the souls of men.
But ever can men easiest be led
Into the service of the Antichrist
When in the name of Christ he is proclaimed.

Conflicting voices from the world of souls
Assail mine ears, as often heretofore,
And always with an aim to counteract
The pious promptings of a mind devout.
How shall I find the paths that lead to good
If by the Powers of Evil they be praised?
Almost it seems to me as if indeed —
But no, such words shall not be thought by me —,
The wisdom of my master shall reveal
The meaning of his words, so dark to me.

I can direct thee to the proper path,
If thou wilt let the words which once I spake
On earth possess thee in thine inmost soul.
And if thou art resolved to find the life
That lives within those words upon those planes
On which thou now canst see me face to face,
The proper path shall be made plain to thee.

Curtain, while the Monk, the Spirit of Benedictus,
Lucifer, and Ahriman are still on the stage

Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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