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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 Guardian of the Threshold

Scene 2

The same. The persons who were at first assembled have left, with the exception of Felix Balde and Dr. Strader, who remain with Hilary True-to-God, the Grand Master; Magnus Bellicosus, the Second Preceptor; Albertus Torquatus, the First Master of the Ceremonies; Frederick Trustworthy, the Second Master of the Ceremonies; Maria; and Johannes Thomasius.

My son, what thou hast perfected must now
Within this holy place receive the seal,
Which sacred and primeval knowledge gives,
Besides the blessing of the Rosy Cross.
What thou hast brought the world must be through us
Unto the Spirit offered; that it may
Bear fruit in all the worlds, where power of man
Can be made use of for world-fashioning.

That thou mights't give unto the world this work
Thou had'st to part for many years with much
That in thine inmost soul thou loved'st best.
There stood a spirit-teacher at thy side,
Who went from thee, so that thy human soul
Might perfectly unfold its powers in thee.
Thou wast in closer touch with one dear friend
She also left thee, for thou had'st to learn
That which men only learn when they are set
To follow out their soul's powers in themselves.
With courage hast thou passed through this ordeal.
That which was taken from thee for thy good
Is, for thy good, restored to thee anew.
Thy friend stands here before thee: in the shrine
She waits for thee to follow out our wish.
Soon, thou wilt meet thy teacher once again.
These friends, who on our temple's threshold stand,
Desire to join with us-in greeting thee,
As one who brings great knowledge here with him.

Felix Balde (to Thomasius):
Thy mystic art which heretofore aspired
Through inward contemplation toward the light,
Will through thine act be able now to work
Through knowledge gained within the world of sense.

Strader (to Thomasius):
Those souls who after spirit-knowledge strive
While life still unto matter binds them fast,
Will now through thee find out a road by which
They can attain the light in their own way.

Exalted Master, and ye, honoured sirs!
Ye think to see before you now a man
Who, through the Spirit's power and earnest strife,
Was able to produce the work you praise
And can acknowledge with your fostering care.
Ye think that he will certainly succeed
In reconciling science of to-day
With ever-ancient sacred mystic art.
And truly were there anything besides
The voice of mine own soul, which could instil
Belief about it into me, I think
It well might be your words ...

The Master's word
Doth but express that which without a doubt
Thou feelest in thy soul. There is no need
To strengthen what thine inner voice declares.

Ah! were it so, most humbly would I stand
Before you and implore that I might gain
The temple's blessing on this work of mine.
I used to think it so, when first I heard
The word by which I came to understand
That ye would take my work beneath your care
And open gateways to me, which before
Only initiates could e'er approach.
But as I trod the path that led to you
There opened out upon my soul a world
To which, at such a time ye certainly
Would not have wished to lead me. Ahriman
In all his greatness stood before me there.
And then I saw that he it is in truth
Who is the expert in seal cosmic laws.
What human-beings think they know of him
Is of no value. Only he can know
Who once hath seen him in the spirit-world.
It was from him alone that I could learn
The truth about this work of mine in full.
He showed how in the progress of the world
One could not judge effects of such a work;
Since its true progress cannot be appraised
By those impressions men may form of it
Who judge by science and strict logic's law.
Their verdict on it would alone be true
If creature from creator were set free
And freed from him could follow its own path
Throughout the courses of the spirit-life.
Yet now the work is so bound up with me
That it is possible that I might turn
That which I guide back from the spirit-realms
To something evil, even though it were
Good in itself and in its working power.
I must myself from out the spirit-world
Send forth afar my influence on all
Which shows itself on Earth as the result
Of that which I have brought forth from my mind.
And if I should let evil issue forth
From out the spirit-world, through these results,
Then would the truth do damage greater far
Than error, for men follow after truth
According to their insight, error not.
I shall for certain at some future time
Turn the results of this my act to ill,
For Ahriman hath clearly shewn to me
That these results must all belong to him.
While I was at my work, and filled with joy
That it should lead me with such certain tread
Step after step, up truth's great pyramid,
I only noticed in my soul that part
Which lent itself to help me in my search;
And all the rest I left without a guard.
All those wild impulses, which formerly
Were but in bud, could now in quietude
Bloom forth and ripen into full grown fruits.
I thought I dwelt in highest spirit-realms,
But was in truth in deepest night of soul.
It was the strength of these same impulses
Which Ahriman in his own realm revealed.
And so I know the effect that I shall have,
For in the future all these impulses
Will go to form my personality.
Before I took this work in hand, I gave
Myself to Lucifer, because I wished
To learn to know and understand his realm.
Now know I, what I could not see before
When I was lost entirely in my work,
That he it was who wove around my thought
Those beauteous pictures, while within my soul
He planted wild desires, which silent now
Will surely one day gain control of me.

How can one who hath reached such spirit-heights
And knows all this for certain, yet believe
That he hath no escape from evil left?
Why, thou canst see where danger for thee lies;
And so canst crush it, and with courage save
Thyself, and the results of thy great work:
A spirit-pupil is in duty bound
To kill what hinders progress in himself.

I see, thou judgest not by cosmic laws,
I could e'en now fulfil what thou dost wish
And I myself could quite well tell myself
In this same hour all that thou tellest me.
But that which Karma now doth let me do
Will not in future be permissible.
For things must come which will o'ershadow me
And darken all my spirit, till I turn
To that which I described to thee just now.
Then as the world progresses I will seize
With greed on anything that's in my work
Which can be used for harm, and all of this
I will embody in my spirit-life.
Then I shall have to love great Ahriman
And joyfully to his possession give
All that I have produced in earthly life.

(Pause, during which Thomasius meditates deeply.)

If all alone I could encounter this,
And bear it also in my soul alone,
I could await with fullest peace of mind
All that was destined for me on my way.
But it will harm your league as much as me.
Whatever bad shall follow from my work
Both for myself and other souls of men,
Will find its balance through just Karma's law.
The fact that ye fell victims to this fault
Makes it far harder for the life of earth,
Since ye are leaders in this self-same life
And ought to read the spirit-worlds aright.
Ye ought not to have failed to notice then
That it was someone else, and not myself
Who should have had the doing of this work.
Ye should have known it must be put aside
For now; and later would appear again
Through one who otherwise would guide its course.
So by your judgment, ye deprive the league
Of rights it ought to have, if it would still
Direct the service of the Sacred Place.
Because this fate for you was shown to me
I now appear upon your threshold here.
Knowledge would otherwise have kept me far,
For truly I can claim no blessing now
Upon this work, which does both good and harm.

Dear brethren, that which we have just begun,
Cannot be carried any further now.
We must betake ourselves unto the Place
From whence the Spirit can make known His will.

(Hilary leaves the hall with Bellicosus, Torquatus, and Trustworthy. Doctor Strader and Felix Balde also leave. Only Maria and Thomasius are left.)

The hall grows dark. After a short pause the three Spirit forms Philia, Astrid, and Luna appear in a cloud of light, and group themselves so that they completely hide Maria. The following is a spirit-experience of Thomasius.)

The soul is athirst
To drink of the light
Which flows from the worlds,
An all-caring Will
Hides close from mankind.
But eagerly seeks
The spirit to hear
The language divine
Which wisdom in love
Doth hide from the heart.
For danger surrounds
The thoughts that would search
In realms of the soul,
Where far from the senses
Secrets hold sway.

Yet souls are enlarged,
Which follow the light
And work through the worlds
Which bold spirit-sight
Reveals to mankind.
The spirit doth strive
Enraptured to live
In realms of the gods
Which wisdom benign
Makes known to the seer.
There mysteries beckon
The bold keen desire
To win those new worlds
Which far from man's thought
Deep secrets conceal.

It ripens the soul
To picture the sight
Whence powers will spring forth
Which Will, reft of fear
Doth rouse in mankind.
The ransoming powers
From primeval depths
Bring magical might
That sense cannot know,
Close barriered in earth.
And traces are there
That each searching soul
May find out the gate
Fast closed by the gods
'Gainst erring desire.

The Voice of Conscience (invisible):
Now totter thy thoughts
In Being's abyss;
And what was lent as help to them,
Thou now hast lost.
And what shone as the sun for them
For thee is quenched.
Alone in cosmic depths thou wanderest,
Which men intoxicated with desire
Would seek to win.
Thou tremblest in the fundaments of growth
Where men must learn to be bereft of all
Comfort of soul ...

(The last words run straight on into the following ones spoken by Maria, who is still hidden by the Spirit forms and cannot be seen. She speaks at first in a ghostly inward voice.)

So blend thy soul
To powers of love
Which once could penetrate her with the hope
Of living warmth,
Which once could all her will illuminate
With spirit-light.
Rescue from loneliness
The powers of heart that seek
And feel the nearness of thy friend
In the darkness of thy strife.

(The Spirit forms vanish with the cloud of light. Maria becomes visible in her old place. Maria and Thomasius are alone, standing opposite each other. From now onwards the experiences are on the physical plane.)

Thomasius (rousing himself from deep meditation):
Where was I even now? My powers of soul
Unveiled the conflict of my inner-self;
The conscience of the world revealed to me
What I had lost; and then as blessing came
The voice of Love within the darksome realm.

Johannes, the companion of thy soul
May once again be present at thy side,
And follow thee to earth's primeval depths,
Where souls can win perception e'en as gods,
By conquest that destroyeth, yet acquires
By bold persistence life from seeming death.
E'en in the ever empty fields of ice
She may go with her friend, where from his soul
The light will surge which spirits must create
When darkness wounds and maims the powers of life.
My friend, thou standest at that threshold now,
Where man must lose what once he hath attained.
Full many a glance thou hast toward spirit-realms
Directed, and from them hast gained the power
That made thee capable of thy great work.
It seems to thee, that now that work is lost;
Desire not then that it were otherwise,
For such desire must rob thee of all power
Of further progress into spirit-realms.
Whether thou walk'st in error or in truth,
Thou cant keep ever clear the view ahead,
Which lets thy soul press further on its path
If thou dost bravely bear necessities
Imposed upon thee by the spirit-realm.
This is the law of spirit-pupilship.
So long as thou still harbourest the wish
That what hath happened might be otherwise
Thou wilt forego the power which must be thine,
If thou dost wish to stay in spirit-land.
That thou hast lost what thou erewhile hadst won
Is surest sign to thee that thou may'st walk
In safety further on the spirit-path.
Henceforward thou must not rely upon
That understanding which thou hast till now.


Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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