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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 3

In Lucifer's kingdom. A space which is not enclosed by artificial walls, but by fantastic forms which resemble plants, animals, etc. All in various brilliant shades of red. In the background are arranged three transparencies showing the top of Raphael's ‘Disputa,’ Leonardo's ‘Last Supper,’ and Raphael's ‘School of Athens.’ These are illuminated from the back of the stage whenever Maria or Benedictus challenges Lucifer. At other times they are invisible. On the right, Lucifer's throne. At first only the souls of Capesius and Maria are present. After a time Lucifer appears, and later on Benedictus and Thomasius, with his etheric counterpart or ‘double,’ and lastly, Theodora.

Thou, who within the realm of sense art named
Capesius, ...
Art thou the being whom I meet the first
In Lucifer's domain: 'tis dangerous
To feel and breathe the spirit of this place.

Capesius (in astral garb):
O speak not to me of Capesius
Who in the kingdom of the Earth erewhile
Strove through a life which he hath long since known
Was but a dream. Whilst there he bent his mind
Upon such things as ever come to pass
As time streams on. And he had set himself
In that way to discover all the powers
Through which mankind fulfils its spirit-life.
What thus he came to know about those powers
He tried to keep deep fastened in his soul.
Now only in this realm one understands
To judge aright the knowledge he pursued.
He thought the pictures he possessed were true
And could reveal to him reality;
But, viewed from here, they clearly show themselves
As naught but empty dreams, which Spirit-hands
Have woven round about weak men of Earth.
They cannot bear the cold clear light of truth.
They would be utterly afraid and stunned
If they should learn how all the course of life
Is turned by spirits after their ideas.

Thou speakest as I've only heard those speak
Who ne'er have been incarnate on the Earth.
They tell you Earth hath no significance,
That in the universe its work is small.
But he who hath belonged to realms of Earth
And owes to it the best powers that he hath,
Will have a different tale to tell thereof.
He finds important many threads of fate
Which bind Earth's life to that of all the worlds.
E'en Lucifer who works here with such power
Must keep his gaze fixed fast upon the Earth,
And seek to turn men's deeds in such a way
That their results may ripen his own soul.
He knows he'd fall a victim to the dark
If he could find no booty on the Earth,
And so his fate is bound up with that sphere.
So too, with those who dwell in other worlds.
And when the human soul can clearly see
The cosmic goal, which Lucifer desires,
And can compare with it what those powers wish
Who have him as opponent to their aims,
Then will it know that he can be destroyed
Through conquests which it gains o'er its own self.

The human being who here talks with thee
Thinks that fate dreadful, which compels him now
To wear a body round him; which hath yet
The breath of life and keeps its earthly form,
Although the spirit hath no more control.
At such a time this spirit feels indeed
That worlds, he values, fall at one fierce blow.
He feels himself within a prison-house
Narrow and horrible with naught all round.
Remembrance of the life that he passed through
Seems, as it were, extinguished from his soul.
At times he feels aware of human souls,
But what they say he cannot understand;
He only catches some especial words
Which lift themselves from out the general talk,
And bring remembrance of the loveliness
Which he can gaze on in the Spirit-realms.
He's in his body then, and yet is not;
He lives within that frame a life he fears
When he beholds it from this region here:
And he is longing for the time to come
When from the body he will be set free.

The body which is proper to Earth-souls
Bears in itself the means to recreate
In lofty pictures loveliness sublime:
Which pictures, even if their substance now
Seems but a shadow in the human soul,
Are yet the buds which in the future worlds
Will open out to blossom and to fruit.
So through his body man may serve the gods.
And his soul's life doth show in its true light
Only when in his body he doth find
The power to give his “I” reality.

Ah, utter not that word in front of him
Who stands before thee now in Spirit-realms
And on the Earth is called Capesius.
He fain would flee away when that word sounds,
So fierce it burns him here.

So thou dost hate
That which first gives true being unto men?
How canst thou come to live within this realm
If so appalling seems that word to thee?
For no one can arrive as far as this
Who hath not faced the nature of that word.

He who appears to thee hath often stood
Before great Lucifer who rules this realm.
And Lucifer hath made it clear to him
That only souls, who consciously make use
Of powers that from their earthly bodies come,
Can harm the realm which doth obey his will.
Those souls however who go through their life
Within the body, as it were in swoon,
And yet already have clairvoyant power,
These only learn in Lucifer's domain,
And cannot cause it harm in any way.

I know that in these realms of Spirit-life
'Tis not by words, but sight, that one doth learn.
What in this moment I have come to see
Because of thine appearance to me here,
Will later show itself within my soul
As progress in my spirit-pupilship.

Here 'tis not only teaching that one gains;
Duties are also shown one in this place.
Thou hast here spoken with the soul of him
Who calls himself Capesius on earth.
The spirit-glances into former lives
That are accorded thee, will show to thee
Thou owest much through Karma unto him.
Therefore thou shouldst petition Lucifer
That he, great Light-Bearer, give thee the means
Capesius to shield, in life on Earth.
Thou knowest through thy wisdom well enough
What thou canst do for him, so that he may
Be led again to thee in later lives
So that through thee the debt may be wiped out.

And so this duty which I hold so dear
Must be fulfilled through power from Lucifer?

Thou dost desire this duty to fulfil,
And that can only be through Lucifer.
Look! Here he comes, the Spirit of the Light.

(Lucifer appears and, in the course of his speech, Benedictus.)

Maria, thou art asking at my throne
Self-knowledge for that very human soul
Who standeth near thee in the life on Earth.
It cannot learn to know itself aright
Except by gazing deep into myself;
And that it will achieve without thine aid.
How canst thou think that I would grant to thee
All that thou mayst desire for this thy friend?
Thou vainest Benedictus as thy guide,
Who is my strong opponent on the Earth,
Lending unto mine enemies his strength.
Already hath he stolen much from me.
Johannes cut himself adrift from him
And placed himself beneath my guiding hand.
He cannot yet indeed see my true self
Because he hath not yet the seer's full power.
He will attain it later through myself,
And then he will entirely be mine own.
But I command thee not to speak a word
That might apply to him in any way
So long as thou dost stand before my throne.
Any such word would burn me in this place.
Here words are deeds, and deeds must follow them;
But what might follow — from such words of thine —
It must not be —

Thou must give ear to her.
For where words have an equal power with deeds
They come in consequence of former deeds.
The deed is done that conquers Lucifer:
Maria is my spirit-pupil true:
I could direct her to that point, whence she
Could recognize the highest spirit-task,
Which same she will most certainly fulfil.
And in fulfilling it she will for sure
Build in Johannes, power and balm to heal,
Which will release him from thy kingdom's grip.
Maria carries deep within her soul
A solemn holy vow which doth awake
Such healing powers in progress of the worlds.
Soon wilt thou hear all this put into words;
But if with powerful thought thou wouldst suppress
And veil the rays of light through which thou hast
The magic power to strive against, and win
The victory o'er all that selfhood means,
I think that then thou'lt glimpse the healing rays,
Which will in future shine with such a strength
That they will draw Johannes to their realm,
By their all-powerful love.

Johannes soon
Will here appear; yet side by side
With his own wonted form, which on the earth
His soul would recognise, there will emerge
The being whom as his more potent double
Man carries hidden in his nature's depth.
And if Johannes could but recognize
Thee as thou seemest to his earthly form
It could not bring to him all he requires
To help him in the progress of his soul.
But to his double thou shalt now vouchsafe
What he requires upon those spirit paths,
O'er which I shall in future guide his steps.

Johannes then must stand before me now.
I feel full well the power which comes from thee;
It hath opposed me since the Earth began.

(Enter Johannes Thomasius and his Etheric Counterpart from different sides of the stage at the same moment, and meet face to face.)

O mine own Likeness, up till now thou hast
Shown thyself to me only that I might
Be frightened at the sight of mine own self.
I cannot understand thee much as yet;
I only know that thou dost guide my soul.
'Tis thou then who dost baulk me of free life
And dost prevent me from due cognizance
Of what I really am. Now must I hear
Thee speak in front of Lucifer, to see
What I in future years shall yet achieve.

Thomasius' Double:
'Tis true I often was allowed to come
And bring Johannes knowledge of himself.
But I could only work in those soul depths,
Which still are hidden from his consciousness.
My life within him hath for some long time
Been subject to considerable change.
Maria used to stand close to his side.
He thought her bound in spirit to himself;
I showed him that the true guides of his soul
Were only passion and impulsiveness.
He could but think of this as some reproach,
But thou couldst show, 0 Light-Bearer sublime,
To sensual tendencies the way by which
They best might serve the spirit-purposes.
Johannes from Maria had to part,
And give himself forthwith to earnest thought
Which hath the power to purify men's souls.
What from his purity of thought streamed forth
Flowed also unto me, and I was changed.
I feel his purity within myself.
Nought need he fear from me, if he should now
Feel once more drawn towards Maria's soul.
But he belongs, as yet, to thy domain,
And at this moment I demand him back.
For he shall now experience my being,
Without thy guidance and directing will.
He needs me now, that from me there may flow
Into his thought with mighty conscious strength
Both warmth of soul and also power of heart.
Then once more shall he find himself as man.

I count thy striving good. Yet can I not
Grant to thee all that thou dost ask of me.
For should I give thee to Johannes now
In that same form wherein in former years
Thou didst appear before his mind and soul,
He would at present only give his love
To thinking and to knowledge cold and bare,
And all warm individuality
Would seem unfeeling, meaningless and dead.
It is not thus my power must fashion him.
Through me he must discover in himself
His living personality and self.
I must transform thee, if the thing that's right
Shall come forth for his health and progress now.
I have a long time since prepared for all
That now shall clearly show itself in thee.
Henceforth thou shalt appear in different guise:
Johannes will no more Maria love,
As he hath loved her in the days gone by.
Yet none the less he'll love, with all the strength
And all the passion he once gave to her.

The glorious work in which we've gained success
Thou wouldst now turn unto thine own account.
Thou hast Johannes through his power of heart
Marked for thine own one day; and yet thou seest
That thou must make the fetters stronger still
If thou wouldst keep his being for thyself.
His heart will be beneath his spirit's rule —
If that is so then all the knowledge-work
Which he on Earth accomplished, must be giv'n
In future, for their own, to those great Powers
Which thou, since Time began, hast combated.
If thou succeed'st in capturing that love
Which now Johannes for Maria feels
And changing it by cunning to the lust
Which thou dost now require for thine own ends,
Then will he turn the good he did on Earth,
To evil ends from out the Spirit-worlds.

Then he may yet be saved? 'Tis not decreed
That he must fall a victim to the Powers
That want to gain his work now for themselves?

It would be so if all the Powers remained
Just as at present they have formed themselves;
But if at the right hour thou dost allow
Thy vow to take effect in thine own soul
Those Powers must change their course in future times.

So work, compelling forces;
Ye elemental sprites,
Feel now your Master's power;
Smooth now for me the way,
That leads from realms of Earth
That so there may draw near
To Lucifer's domain
Whate'er my wish desires,
Whate'er obeys my will.

(Theodora appears.)

Who calleth me to realms so strange to me?
I like it not, unless the world of gods
Reveals itself in love unto my soul,
And glowing warmth entwining round my heart
Draws spirit-speech from out mine inmost soul.

Thomasius' Double:
Ah, how thou dost transform my very life!
Thou hast appeared, and here am I, a man
Who now can only work when filled by thee.
Johannes shall, through me, be now thine own,
And from henceforward thou shalt have the love
Which once so fearful and so radiant
Was wrested for Maria from his heart.
He saw thee years ago, but did not then
Feel all the warmth of love which was to grow
In secret in the depths of his own soul.
Now it will rise, and fill him full of power,
And turn his thoughts entirely to thyself.

The crucial moment is arriving now,
His strongest power hath Lucifer let loose:
Maria, all the training of thy soul
Thou must put forth in strength to vanquish him.

O Bearer of that Light, which would confine
Love only to the service of the self;
Thou hast from Earth's beginning granted men
Knowledge, when they, still guided by the gods,
Obeyed the spirit, knowing nought of self.
But since that time each soul of man hath been
The place in which thou fightest 'gainst the gods.
Yet now the times are coming, which must bring
Destruction on thyself and on thy realms.
A thinker bold was able to release
Science from all thy gifts in such a way
That unto mankind's gods it gave itself.
But thou dost try once more to get the powers,
Which for the gods are destined, for thyself.
Because Johannes through his work hath now
Deprived thee of that knowledge, with whose fruit
Thou from the first deceived'st all mankind,
So now thou would'st deceive him, through that love
Which, should he follow out his destined path
For Theodora he should never feel.
Thou fain wouldst conquer Wisdom now by Love,
As once 'gainst Love thou didst by Wisdom fight.
But know full well that in Maria's heart,
With which she now opposeth thy designs,
The spirit-pupilship hath planted powers
To keep far off, for ever, all self-love
From Knowledge. Never from this hour will I
Allow myself to be possessed by joy
Such as men feel when thoughts grow ripe within.
I'll steel my heart to serve as sacrifice
So that my mind can always only think
In such a way that through my thoughts I may
Offer the fruits of Knowledge to the gods.
My sacred service shall such Knowledge be,
And what I thus effect within myself
Shall o'er Johannes powerfully outstream,
And oft, in future, when within his heart
These words are whispered from thyself to him:
‘Man's human nature shall through love find out
What gives strength to his personality.’

Then shall my heart this powerful answer give:
‘Once thou wert listened to, when Earth began,
And there didst show forth signs of Wisdom's fruit;
The fruits of Love can only come to man
When they are brought to him from realms divine.’

I mean to fight.

And fighting, serve the gods.


Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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