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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 6

A space not circumscribed by artificial walls but enclosed by intertwined plants like trees and structures which spread out and send shoots into the interior. Owing to natural phenomena the whole is moving violently and is sometimes filled with storm. The stage is divided into two groves, separated for a short distance by a row of trees. The grove on right of stage is red, that on the left is blue, the former is appropriated later by Lucifer and his Spirits, and the latter by Ahriman and his Spirits. The dance movements are set to music. Maria and Capesius are on the stage as the curtain rises; then Benedictus, Philia, Astrid, Luna, the Other Philia, Lucifer, Ahriman, and Creatures which move in a dancing fashion and which represent thoughts, lastly the Soul of Dame Balde.

Benedictus (only audible, not yet visible):
Within thy thinking, cosmic thoughts do live.

Capesius (in astral garb):
There echoes Benedictus' noble voice;
His words are ringing in the spirit here,
And are the same as in the book of life
Are written down to aid his pupils' work,
Which souls on earth find hard to understand
And which are even harder to fulfil.
What part of spirit-land is this, where sound
The words which serve to test the souls on Earth?

Hast thou abode so long in spirit-land
In such a way that thou hast learned so much
And yet this region is unknown to thee?

What lives here in its own reality
Souls, versed in spirit-ways, can grasp with ease;
Each thing explains itself through something else.
The whole may stand revealed in light, when part
Seen by itself, may often still seem dark.
But when a spirit-essence doth unite
With earthly nature to create some work,
The soul begins to lose her grasp of things.
And not alone a part, but e'en the whole
Is oft concealed from her by darkness deep.
Why words which come in Benedictus' book
And which were written for men's souls on Earth,
Should echo here, within a place like this,
That is the problem which doth offer here.

Benedictus (still invisible):
Within thy feeling, cosmic forces play.

Again there come the words which on the Earth
Did Benedictus to his pupils trust;
And here in his own voice they echo forth.
They stream through all the limitless expanse
Of this great realm arousing darksome powers.

I feel already what I must pass through
Within the boundless spaces of this realm;
And Benedictus' nearness draws me on.
In this place he will let me gaze on things
Incomprehensible to souls on Earth
The while they dwell in bodies bound by sense,
And e'en whilst serving spirit-pupilship.
So must the master bring them to this place
Where words do not depend on human speech,
But are imprinted on their souls by signs;
Here he transforms to speech world happenings —
A world-descriptive language for the soul.
I'll loose my inmost being from the Earth,
Condensing all my powers within my soul,
And so await whate'er may be revealed
To indicate my way through spirit-space.
And then when I return to life on Earth
'Twill be a thought which, when recalled will shine
As knowledge in mine inmost depth of soul.

Benedictus (appears from the background):
Win thou thyself in power of cosmic thought,
Lose thou thyself in life of cosmic force;
Thou shalt find earthly aims reflect themselves
Through thine own being in the cosmic light.

So Benedictus is in spirit here
And not his words are echoing.
Doth then the teacher bring the lore of earth
To vivify and work in spirit-realm?
But what can be the meaning here of words
Which he doth use on earth in other ways?

Capesius, thou hast in thine earth-life
Entered within my circle, though in truth
Thou ne'er wart conscious of thy pupilship.

Capesius is not within this place;
And his soul will not hear him spoken of.

'Thou wilt not feel thou art Capesius
But him in spirit thou shalt see and know.
For thee the powerful work of thought hath now
In thy soul-body oped the spirit-life.
So that thy soul-life could release itself
From thought's dream-play within thine earthly frame.
Too weak it felt itself to wander forth
From out world distances to depths of soul;
Too strong to gaze at lofty spirit-light
Through all the darkness that surrounds the Earth.
I must accompany each one who gains
The spirit-light from me in earthly life
Whether he knows, or Both not know, that he
Came as a spirit-pupil to myself.
And I must lead him further on those paths
Which he in spirit learned to tread through me.
Thou hast through thy soul-sight in cosmic space
Learned to draw nigh the spirit consciously
Since loosed from body thou canst follow it.
But, not yet freed from thought, thou canst not see
True being in the spirit-realm as yet.
Thy senses' body thou canst lay aside,
But not the fine corporeal web of thought.
Thou only canst perceive the world in truth
When nothing of thy personality
Remains to cloud the clearness of thy sight.
He only who hath learned to view his thoughts
As things outside himself, e'en as the seer
Beholds his earthy form released from him,
Can penetrate to spirit verities.
So look upon this picture that it may
Turn into knowledge through clairvoyant powers
Thoughts, whose true being is built up in space
To forms, which mirror forth the thoughts of men.

(A cheerful subdued light diffuses itself. Philia, Astrid, and Luna appear in glowing clouds.)

(Exeunt Capesius and Maria.)

Voices (which sound together, spoken by Philia, Astrid, and Luna.):
Let thoughts hover round
Like weaving of dreams
And build themselves in
To souls that are here;
Let will that creates
And feeling that stirs
And thought that doth work
The dreamer arouse —

(While this sounds, Lucifer approaches from one side, and Ahriman from the other. They go to their thrones raised on each side at the back of the stage, facing the audience; Lucifer on the right of the stage, Ahriman on the left.)

Lucifer (in a loud voice, emphasising every word):
Within thy will do cosmic beings work.

(On Lucifer's side, beings with golden hair, dressed in crimson and radiantly beautiful representing thoughts, begin to move. These carry out, in a dancing fashion, movements which represent the forms of thought corresponding to Lucifer's words.)

Ahriman (speaking in a loud, hoarse voice):
These cosmic beings do but puzzle thee.

(After these words Lucifer's group is still and the thought-beings on Ahriman's side move and carry out dancing movements which make forms corresponding to his words. They have grey hair and are clad in indigo blue, being square in build, and in appearance distinguished more by force than beauty. After this the movement from both groups is carried on together.)

Within thy feeling cosmic forces play

(The thought-beings on Lucifer's side repeat their movements.)

The cosmic forces are but mocking thee.

(The thought-beings on Ahriman's side repeat their movements, then again both together.)

Within thy thinking cosmic thought doth live.

(Repetition of the movements in Lucifer's group.)

The cosmic thought doth but bewilder thee.

(Repetition of the movement in Ahriman's group.)

(The movements of each group are then repeated four times separately and thrice together.)

(The thought-beings vanish left and right; Lucifer and Ahriman remain: Philia, Luna, and Astrid advance from the background, and speak together the words they spoke before with the following alteration.)

Philia, etc.:
Thoughts hovered around
Like weaving of dreams
And built themselves in
To souls that are here —
Then will that creates
And feeling that stirs
And thought that loth work
The dreamer aroused —

(Philia, Astrid, and Luna vanish. Enter Capesius in astral garb, and after he has spoken a few words Maria joins him, though at first he cannot see her.)

The soul lives out her life within herself:
Believes she thinks because she does not see
Thoughts all spread out in space in front of her —
Believes she feels, because the feelings show
No flash like lightning leaping from the clouds;
She sees this realm of space, and gazeth on
The clouds above her ...; and were this not so,
Supposing that the lightning were to flash,
And not an eye looked up above to see,
She needs must think the lightning was in her.
She sees not Lucifer, from whom the thoughts
Spring forth, from whom the feelings flow!
And thus she thinks she is alone with them.
Why doth delusion lead her captive thus?
O soul, give answer to thyself ... yet ... whence?
From out thyself? Ah, nay ... perhaps that, too,
Were answered ... not by thee ... but Lucifer. ...

And if it were; why then shouldst thou not seek?
Go forth into the deep to find it there ...

A being here, who hears the speech of souls?

Souls are not here divided each from each
As when within the body they are pent.
Here each soul hears itself in other's speech.
So dost thou only speak unto thyself
When I say: ‘Seek thine answer in the deep.’

Capesius (hesitatingly):
Ah, in the deep there threatens darksome ... fear.

Yea truly, fear is there: but ask thyself,
As thou hast forced thy way within her realm
If she doth not reveal herself to thee.
Ask Lucifer, before whom thou dost stand
If on thy weakness he is pouring fear.

Who flees from me will love me all the same.
Children of Earth have loved me from the first
And only think that hatred is my due.
So do they ever seek me in my deeds.
If I had not as ornament to life
Sent beauty to their souls, they would long since
Have pined away in truth's cold empty forms
Throughout the long dull progress of the Earth.
'Tis I who fill the artist's soul with power
And whatsoe'er of beauty men have seen
Hath had its prototype within my realm —
Now ask thyself, if thou shouldst fear me still.

In these domains which Lucifer commands
Fear hath not verily her proper place.
From hence he must send forth into men's souls
Not fear, but wishes, as his gifts to men.
Fear comes from quite another realm of power.

At birth I was the equal of the gods,
Who have curtailed my many ancient rights.
I wished in such a way to fashion men
For Lucifer, my brother, and his realm,
That each should bear his own world in himself.
For Lucifer in spirit worlds but seeks
To show himself as peer among his peers;
To others he but shows his form sublime;
He ne'er would seek imperious rulership.
I wished to give unto mankind such strength
That they might grow to equal Lucifer.
And had I stayed within the realm of gods
This too had been in primal days fulfilled.
The gods however willed to rule on Earth,
And from their kingdom they did one day thrust
My power into the depth of the abyss,
So that I might not make mankind too strong.
And thus 'tis only from this place I dare
Send out my powerful strength upon the Earth.
But in this way my power turns into Fear.

(As Ahriman finishes speaking, Benedictus appears.)

He who hath heard what both these two powers here
Spake from their places out into the worlds
May know from this where he can look and find
Both fear and hatred in their own domains.

In cosmic speech thou shalt perceive thyself;
And feel thyself in cosmic power of thought.
And as thou now didst see outside thyself
What thou didst dream was all thine inmost self,
So find thyself, and shudder now no more
At that one word thou hast a right to use
To prove thine own existence to thyself —

So once more I belong to mine own self! —
Now will I seek myself, because I dare
To see myself in cosmic thought and live.

And thou must add all this which thou hast won
To victories of old to give the world.

(Dame Balde in her ordinary dress appears in the background beside Benedictus.)

Dame Balde (in a meditative voice suitable for fairy tales):
Once on a time there lived a child of God
Who had affinity with those who weave
The thoughtful wisdom of the spirit-realms.
This child, brought up by truth's almighty Sire
Grew up within his realm to ancient strength.
And when his body, radiant with light,
Did feel his ripened will creative stir,
He often looked with pity on the Earth
Where souls of men were striving after truth.
Then to the Sire of truth the child would say:
‘The souls of men are thirsting for the drink
Which thou canst hand to them from out thy springs.’
With earnest speech the Sire of truth replied:
‘The springs, of which I am appointed guard,
Let light stream forth from out the spirit-suns;
Only such beings dare to drink the light
As need not thirst for air that they may breathe.
Therefore in light have I brought up a child
Who can feel pity for the souls on Earth
And manifest the light 'midst breathing men.
So turn and go unto mankind and bring
The light that's in their souls to meet my light
Enfilled with confidence and spirit-life.’
So then the shining light-child turned, and went
To souls who keep themselves alive by breath.
And many good men found he on the Earth,
Who offered him with joy their souls' abode.
These souls he turned to gaze with grateful love
Upon their Sire who dwells in springs of light.
And when the child heard from the lips of men
And joyous mind of men, the magic word
Of fantasy, he knew himself alive
Dwelling with gladness in the hearts of men.
But one sad day there came unto the child
A man who cast upon him chilling looks.
‘I turn the souls of men on earth toward
The Sire of truth who dwells in springs of light — ’
Thus to the strange man did the light-child speak.
The man replied: ‘Thou dost but weave wild dreams
Into men's spirits, and deceiv'st their souls.’
And since the day which witnessed this event
The child who can bring light to breathing souls
Hath often suffered slander from mankind.

(Philia, Astrid, Luna, and the Other Philia appear in a cloud of light.)

Now let every soul
That drinks of the light
Awake to full power
In cosmic expanse.

So too let the spirit
That knoweth no fear
Arise in full power
In cosmic domains.

Let man who doth strive
To reach to the heights
In Beings' foundation.
Hold fast with full strength.

The Other Philia:
Let man struggle on
To him who bears light
And opens out worlds
Which quicken in men
The sense of delight.
This beauty so bright
Awakened in souls,
Inspired to admire,
The spirit leads on
To realms of the gods.
Achievement consoles
The feelings that dare
The threshold to tread,
Which strictly doth guard
'Gainst souls that feel fear.
And energy finds
A will that grows ripe
And fearless doth stand
'Fore powers that create
And fashion the worlds.

Curtain falls whilst Benedictus, Capesius, Maria, Dame Balde, Lucifer, and Ahriman, and the four Soul-forms, are still in their places

Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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