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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 10

The Temple of the Mystic League mentioned in the first and second scenes. Here Benedictus, Torquatus, and Trustworthy have the robes and insignia of their office of Hierophant as described in the ‘Portal of Initiation.’ The Eastern altar supports a golden sphere; a blue sphere rests upon the Southern altar; whilst the sphere upon the altar of the West is red. As the scene opens Benedictus and Hilary are standing at the altar in the East; Bellicosus and Torquatus at the altar in the South; Trustworthy at the altar in the West; then enter Thomasius, Capesius, Strader then Maria, Felix Balde, and Dame Balde, and later on the Soul of Theodora; and last of all the four Soul-Forces. [East is here at right of stage, West at left.]

The souls of all my pupils have received
The spirit-light, each in that special form
Which was appointed for him by his fate.
What they have now achieved each for himself
Each now must render fruitful for the other.
But this can only happen, if their powers
According unto number's rhythmic law
Desire to join within the holy place
To form the higher unity, which first
Can waken to true life what otherwise
Could only stay in solitary state.
They stand upon the threshold of the shrine,
Whose souls must first unite, and then shall sound
In unison according to the rules
Imprinted in the cosmic book of fate:
That harmony of spirits may achieve
What each alone could never bring to pass.
'Twill bring fresh inspiration to the old
Which here hath nobly reigned since Time was not.
To you, ye brethren, I these pupils bring
Who found their way here through the spirit-worlds
And through the strictest proving of their souls.
The holy customs will they treat with awe,
And treasure ancient sacred mystic ways
Which here are seen as powers of spirit-light.
Ye too, who have fulfilled in truest wise
Your lofty spirit-service for so long,
Henceforth will be entrusted with new tasks.
The cosmic plan loth call the sons of men
But for a time unto the sacred shrine,
And when in service they exhaust their strength
It guideth them to other fields of work.
Even this temple had to stand its trial;
And one man's error had to guard it once,
The guardian of the light — from darkness deep,
One cosmic hour big with the fate of worlds.
Thomasius perceived through inward light
Which rules unconscious in the souls of men,
That o'er its threshold he must not pursue
His way unto the holy mystic shrine
Ere he had crossed that other threshold o'er,
Of which this only is the outward sign.
So of himself he shut the door again
Which you would fain have opened wide in love.
He now will as another come again
Worthy of your initiation's gift.

Our souls here humbly offer sacrifice
Unto the spirit by whose power alone
The inner soul of man is fructified.
And we would strive that our own wills may be
A revelation of the spirit-will.
By cosmic wisdom is the temple led
Which unconfused doth guide to future times.
Thou showest us directions which thyself
Hast read within the cosmic book of fate,
What time thy pupils passed their proof severe.
So lead them now within our sacred shrine,
That they may join their work unto our own.

(Hilary knocks within the Temple; then enter Thomasius, Capesius, Maria, Felix Balde, Dame Balde, and Strader. Trustworthy and Torquatus so guide their entrance that when they come to the middle of the Temple, Thomasius is standing in front of Benedictus and Hilary, Capesius in front of Bellicosus and Torquatus, Strader in front of Trust-worthy, whilst Maria is with Felix and Dame Balde.)

My son, the words man utters in this place
Spell guilt which cries aloud to spirit-worlds
Unless the speaker follows truth alone.
great the guilt, so strong too are the powers
Which strike it, and destroy the one who speaks
And proves himself unworthy of his task.
He who is standing here before thee now,
Was conscious of the working of his words
And tried to full extent of all his powers
To render service to the spirit-world
Before this holy symbol of that light
Which shines upon our Earth from out the east.
It is the will of fate that thou henceforth
"Shalt stand and serve within this sacred place.
And he who consecrates thee to the task
And of his office hands thee now the key,
Doth give his blessing also that it may
Prove of good service, in so far as he
Hath served the sacred customs worthily.

Exalted Master, he would not presume —
This poor weak mortal, who doth dare to stand
Before thee now in body, — e'en to shape
One wish that thy successor he might be
Within this ancient consecrated place.
He is not worthy e'en to place one step
Across the threshold of this mystic shrine,
But what he dares not wish for, for himself,
He must receive in deep humility
Since powers of fate have of necessity
Desired to send this call unto his soul.
It was not I, as I am in my life,
Or as I saw myself a short time back
In spirit, as a wholly worthless soul,
That let me now draw near unto this place.
And yet the man who stands here visible
Hath been, by Benedictus and his friend,
Endowed with second manhood, which the first
Shall henceforth only as a bearer serve.
The spirit-pupilship hath given me
A self that can show forth itself with power
And to the full unfold its own pursuits
E'en when the bearer needs must know himself
Full far removed from lofty aims of soul.
If, in such case, his duty it doth seem
To give this second self that's roused in him
To service in the progress of the Earth
His life must aye observe this strictest rule
To be a light before his spirit-eyes,
That nought from his own self must enter in
Or cause disturbance in that work, which he
Hath not himself arranged or brought to pass
But which his second self must execute.
Concealed within himself he thus will work
That one day he may be what he doth know
To be the future goal of his true self.
Throughout his life he'll carry his own cares
Locked fast in deep recesses of his soul.
I told thee when at first thou called'st me
That I could never tread the temple courts
In mine own human personality.
He who now comes, as though another's life
Had been entrusted to him, sees that fate
Hath laid on him the task of watching o'er
Results of his own work and guiding them
With dutiful attention from this place
For such time as the spirit doth command.

Torquatus (in the South, to Capesius):
Capesius, henceforth 'twill be thy task
To serve the holy temple in this place
Whence love through wisdom shall stream forth to men
As warmly as the sunshine's noontide rays.
He who would to the spirit sacrifice
With understanding of the mystic work,
Must needs face dangers here, for Lucifer
Can in this place draw near with secret tread
To whomsoever faithfully doth try
To carry out the spirit-service here,
And on each word he can impress the seal
That marks the adversary of the gods.
Thou stood'st before the adversary's throne
And saw'st what follows his activities;
So for thine office thou art well prepared.

He who hath viewed the adversary's realm
As powers of fate permitted me to do,
He knows that ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are but words
Which mankind scarce can understand aright.
Who speaks of Lucifer as wholly bad
Might also say that fire is evil too,
Because it hath a power that can kill life;
He might call water evil, since a man
Might in the water easily be drowned.

Through other things doth Lucifer appear
As evil to thee; not through that which he
Himself, in his own being, signifies.

The cosmic spirit who could bring the light
To souls of men when first the Earth was formed
Must render service to the universe,
In ways which in themselves seem neither good
Nor evil unto spirits who have learned
What stern necessity doth oft reveal.
For good can turn to ill, if evil minds
Make use of it for their destructive ends
And what seems evil may be turned to good
If some good being guideth it aright.

So dost thou know what thou wilt have to do
So long as thou dost stand within this place.
Love does not weigh by judgment's rote or rule
The forces that the Universe reveals;
She treasures them for what they may bring forth
And asks how she can mould and use the life
Which is created out of cosmic depths.

Benedictus (in the East):
Yet love speaks often with such gentle words,
And needs support within the depths of soul.
Here in this place she will unite with all
That follows cosmic law with threefold will
And is unto the spirit dedicate.
Maria will unite her work to thine.
The vow she took in Lucifer's domain
Is now permitted to ray forth its powers.

Of import deep Capesius spake words
Which can reveal the truth if they proceed
From that same spirit which can guide mankind
Towards true love, in progress of the Earth,
But which but error upon error heap
When they are fashioned by an evil mind
And in the soul transform themselves to ill.
'Tis true that Lucifer doth show himself
As bearer of the light to man's soul-sight
When it would seek to gaze on spirit-space.
But then the human soul will always wish
To waken also in its inmost depth
What it should only gaze on and admire.
Although upon his beauty it must look
Ne'er may it fall 'neath Lucifer's fell sway
he should gain the power to work within.
When he, the bearer of the light, sends forth
His rays of wisdom and the worlds are filled
With haughty sense of self, and with full light
Each creature's personality shines forth
A pattern of his own imperious self,
Then may the inmost being of the soul
Build up on this appearance, and rejoice
In all its senses, whilst it radiates
The joy of wisdom, all around, that lives
In its own self and loves to feel alive.
But, more than any other spirit, man
Requires a god who doth not only ask
For admiration when his outward form
Reveals itself in glory to the soul,
But One who radiates His highest power
When He Himself doth dwell within man's soul,
And loving unto death foretelleth life.
A man may turn to Lucifer and feel
Inspired by beauty, or some splendour bright,
And yet so live his life within himself
That Lucifer can ne'er find entrance there.
But to that other Spirit man doth cry,
When he can fathom his own self aright:
‘The goal of love for earthly souls — 'tis this
Not I, but Christ, doth live within me now.’

Benedictus (turning to Maria):
But when her soul shall to the spirit turn,
As before Lucifer she vowed it should,
Then to the Temple through her strength, shall beam
The guiding light of Earth's salvation-path.
And Christ will kindle in the hallowed place
Of wisdom warming rays of spirit-love.
What she can thus accomplish in the world
Is done because the course of her own life
Is bound up closely with that knot of fate
Which Karma spins in human lives on Earth.
In some long-past existence, it was she
Who caused the son to leave his father's home;
And now she leads the son to him again.
The soul, which in Thomasius now dwells
In former life was to that one which now
Fulfils itself within Capesius,
As son to father bound by ties of blood.
The father will not now through Lucifer
Demand the debt Maria owes to him,
For by Christ's power, the debt hath been annulled.

Magnus Bellicosus (speaking to Hilary and Benedictus, but frequently turning to Felix Balde and Dame Balde):
Within the holy place doth shine the light
Which flows with power from out the spirit-heights,
When souls can worthily receive its strength.
But yet those lofty powers of wisdom's realm
Which thus reveal themselves in mystic shrines
Have chosen also other paths to souls.
The signs of our own times have made it clear
That all these paths must now lie joined in one.
The temple must unite itself with souls
Who have reached spirit-light in other ways
And yet have been enlightened in good truth.
Now Dame Felicia and her husband too,
Are such as may approach this sacred place
And who can bring to it a wealth of light.

Dame Balde:
I can but tell the fairy-tales that rise
Within my heart quite of their own accord —
I only know about their spirit-source
What oft Capesius hath told to me.
In all humility I must believe,
What he hath told me of my gift of soul;
So also I believe what ye make clear
Why I am called within these temple walls.

Felix Balde:
I followed not alone the outward call
Sent to me by the guardian of this shrine;
But true unto my spirit-pathway's goal
I have applied myself unto the power
Which, as mine inmost guide, doth ever point
In what direction I shall turn my steps,
That I may best be able to fulfil
In life what spirit-powers have foreordained.
This time I saw quite clearly I was meant
To seek that way which Benedictus now
Hath shown his pupils in the spirit-life.
The signs that now I see within this shrine
Appeared to me in vision previously.
For often when my soul did tread the depth
And all self-will had been destroyed in me,
And power and patience could maintain themselves
In that dread loneliness which aye approached
Before I could experience spirit-light,
Then all the universe seemed one with me,
And soon I found myself within that world,
Where life's true purpose was revealed to me.
During such spirit-wand'rings I have been
In many a temple which it seems to me
Resembles that which now my sense perceives,
Just as the writing of the spoken word
Must show a written picture of the speech.

Trustworthy (in the West, to Strader):
Dear Strader, it is now thy destiny
To speak that word henceforth within the shrine
Which will agree with all Thomasius
Makes known to us, as sunset must agree
With that hope-giving glow of morning light.
This word, in its full sense doth seize upon
The working of that Power who showed himself
To thee, when thou wert standing on thy trial.
Thou hadst to stand within that spirit-place
Where thought is strictly ordered to stand still.
For if thine hand should wield a hammer now
And only strike the air, it could not know
The power it hath, unless the blow should reach
Some anvil; even so it is with thought.
It ne'er could really fathom its own depth
If Ahriman were not opposed to it.
All thought within thy life hath cast thee up
On rocks of opposition which have caused
Within thy soul both heavy doubt and pain.
Thus didst thou learn to know thyself through thought,
As light can only gaze upon itself,
Through the reflection of its rays thrown back:
The words of him who serves the temple here
Thus, in a picture, life's reflection show.

In truth the light of thought for long time streamed
But through reflection into mine own life;
Yet for full seven years the spirit showed
Itself to me in its bright splendour too,
And did reveal those worlds unto my soul,
In front of which my soul had formerly
Stood ever still in torment and in doubt.
Within my soul this light must grow so deep
That it shall last through all eternity,
If I would find the path to spirit-aims
And make my own creations bring forth health.

Theodora (becoming visible, as a spirit-being, at Strader's side):
I was allowed to win this light for thee,
Because thy power did strive toward my light,
As soon as thy right time had been fulfilled.

So too thy light, thou spirit-messenger,
Will stream o'er all the words that in this place
Shall be wrung forth from out mine inmost soul.
For Theodora's self is now with mine
To holy mystic service consecrate.

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

The Other Philia:
To Earth's primeval source
Mount thoughts of sacrifice
From many a holy shrine;
Let all that lives in souls,
Let all that spirit lights
Soar up from worlds of form;
Let cosmic-powers incline
With graciousness to men,
To kindle spirit-light
Within their powers of soul.

From cosmic spirits I
Will beg their being's light,
The soul-sense to uphold;
The sound too of their words,
To loose the spirit-ear,
That what hath been aroused
Upon the paths of soul
May not become extinct
In lives of men on Earth.

The love-streams will I guide
That fill the world with warmth
Unto the souls of men
Who are initiate,
That sense of holiness
May be preserved and kept
Within the hearts of men.

From primal powers will
I For might and courage pray,
For these will help to make
Self-sacrifice to grow,
So that it may transform
What now is seen in time
And change to spirit-seeds
For all eternity.

Curtain falls while all the characters, including Theodora, Philia, Astrid, Luna, and the Other Philia are still inside the Temple

Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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