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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 Awakening

Scene 4

(The Manager and Romanus, pausing in their walk, speak as follows.)

Thou know'st the mystic friends of Hilary,
And I perceive in thee a clever man
With power to give at all times judgment sure
Both in life's work and in the mystic arts:
And so I value thy considered thought.
But how shall I make sense of what thou sayst?
That Strader's friends should stay in spirit-realms
And not as yet use their clairvoyant powers
Upon the fashioning of things of sense
Seems right to thee. But will the selfsame path
For Strader not be just as dangerous?
His spirit methods seem to prove to me
That nature-spirits always blind his eyes
As soon as strong desire for personal deeds
Drives him to seek some outer work in life.
Within oneself, as all true mystics know,
Those forces must develop in their strength
In order to oppose these enemies;
But Strader's sight, it seems, is not yet ripe
To see such foes upon his spirit-path.

Yet those good spirits who conduct such men
As stand as yet outside the spirit-realms,
Have not yet left his side, but guide his steps.
These spirits ever pass the mystics by,
When they do make their pact with other beings
Who are of service for their spirit mood.
In Strader's methods I can plainly feel
How nature-spirits still give to his self
The fruits of their benign activity.

So 'tis by feeling only thou art led
To think good spirits work in Strader's case;
Thou off'rest little and demandest much.

Are these the spirits I must henceforth ask
If I continue active in this place
Where for so long I have been privileged
To serve the work-plans and that spirit true
Which Hilary's own father ever loved,
And which I still hear speaking from his grave,
E'en if his son hath no more ears for it?
What saith this spirit of that brave strong man
When he perceives these crazy spirits now
Which his son tries to bring within his house?
I know that spirit who for ninety years
Lived in his body. He it was who taught
To me the truest secrets of my work
In those old days when he could work himself,
The while his son crept off to mystic fanes,

My friend, canst thou indeed be unaware
How highly this same spirit I revere?
His servant certainly was that old man
Whom for a pattern thou didst rightly choose.
And I myself have striv'n to serve him too
From childhood's days up to the present time.
Yet I too crept away to mystic fanes; —
I planted truly deep within my soul
What they were willing to bestow on me.
But reason swept aside the temple mood
When at the door it entered into life;
I knew that in this way I best could bring
This mood's strong forces into earthly life; —
From out the temple none the less I brought
My soul into my work. And it is well
That soul by reason should not be disturbed.

And dost thou find that Strader's spirit-way
Is even distantly akin to thine?
I find myself at thy side ever free
From spirit-beings Strader brings to me.
I clearly feel, e'en in his random speech,
How elemental spirits, quick with life,
By word and nature pour themselves through him
Revealing things the senses cannot grasp.
It is just this that keeps me off from him

This speech, my friend, doth strike me to the heart.
Since I drew nigh to Strader I have felt
Those very thoughts which come to me through him
To be endowed with quite peculiar power;
They sway me just as if they were mine own.
And one day I reflected: What if I
Owe to his soul not to myself the power
Which let me ripen to maturity!
Hard on this feeling came a second one
What if for all that makes me of some use
In life and work and service for mankind
I am indebted to some past earth-life?

I feel precisely thus about him too.
When one draws near to him, the spirit which
Doth work through him moves powerfully one's soul.
And if thy strong soul must succumb to him,
How shall I manage to protect mine own
If I unite with him in this his work?

It will depend on thee alone to find
The right relation 'twixt thyself and him.
I think that Strader's power will not harm me
Since in my thought I have conceived a way
In which he may have made that power his own.

Have made — his own — such power — and over thee —
A dreamer — over thee — the man of deeds!

If one might dare to make a guess that now
Some spirit lives its life in Strader's frame
Who in some earlier earth-life had attained
To most unusual altitude of soul;
Who knew much which the men of his own time
Were still too undeveloped to conceive.
Then it were possible that in those days
Thoughts in his spirit did originate,
Which by degrees could make their way to earth
And mingle in the common life of men;
And that from this source people like myself
Have drawn their capability for work —
The thoughts which in my youth I seized upon,
And which I found in my environment,
Might well have been this spirit's progeny!

And dost thou think it justifiable
To trace back thoughts to Strader and none else
That hold a value for mankind's whole life?

I were a dreamer if I acted thus.
I spin no dreams about mankind's whole life
With eyes fast closed. I ne'er had use for thoughts
That show themselves and forthwith fade away.
I look at Strader with wide-open eyes
And see what this man's nature proves to be,
What qualities he hath and how he acts,
And that wherein he fails; — and then I know
I have no option left me but to judge
Of his endowments as I have just done.
As if this man had stood before mine eyes
Already many hundred years ago,
So do I feel him in my spirit now —
And that I am awake — I know full well.
I shall to Hilary lend my support;
For that which must will surely come to pass.
So think his project over once again.

It will to me be of more benefit
If I think over that which thou hast said.

(Exeunt Manager and Romanus. Johannes comes from another direction, deep in thought, and sits down on a boulder. Johannes is at first alone; afterwards appear his Double, the Spirit of Johannes' youth, and finally the Guardian of the Threshold, and Ahriman.)

I was astonished when Capesius
Made known to me how my soul's inner self
Revealed itself unto his spirit's eye.
I could so utterly forget a fact
Which years ago was clear as day to me: —
That all that lives within the human soul
Works further in the outer spirit-realms;
Long have I known it, yet I could forget.
When Benedictus was directing me
To my first spirit-vision, I beheld
Capesius and Strader by this means,
Clear as a picture, in another age.
I saw the potent pictures of their thoughts
Send ripples circling through the world's expanse.
Well do I know all this — and knew it not
When I beheld it through Capesius.
The part of me which knows was not awake;
That in an earth-life of the distant past
Capesius and I were closely knit,
That also for a long time have I known —
Yet at that instant I did know it not.
How can I keep my knowledge all the time?

(A voice from the distance, that of Johannes' Double.)

‘The magical web
That forms their own life.’

‘And clairvoyant dreams
Make clear unto souls
The magical web
That forms their own life.’

(While Johannes is speaking these lines his Double approaches him. Johannes does not recognise him, but thinks ‘the Other Philia’ is coming towards him.)

O spirit-counsellor, thou com'st once more;
True counsel didst thou bring unto my soul.

The Double:
Johannes, thine awakening is but false
Until thou shalt thyself set free the shade
Whom thine offence doth grant a life bewitched.

This is the second time thou speakest thus.
I will obey thee. Point me out the way.

The Double:
Johannes, give life in the shadow-realm
To what is lost to thee in thine own self.
From out thy spirit's light pour light on him
So that he will not have to suffer pain.

The shadow-being in me I have stunned
But not o'erthrown: wherefore he must remain
A shade enchanted amongst the other shades
Till I can re-unite myself with him.

The Double:
Then give to me that which thou owest him:
The power of love, that drives thee forth to him,
The heart's hope, that was first begot by him,
The fresh life, that lies deep hid in him,
The fruits of earth-lives in the distant past,
Which with his being now are lost to thee;
Oh, give them me; I'll bring them safe to him.

Thou knowest the way to him? — Oh, show it me.

The Double:
I could approach him in the shadow-realm
When thou didst raise thyself to spirit-spheres;
But since, desire-powers tempting thee, thou didst
Avert thy mind to follow after him,
When now I seek him my strength ever fails.
But if thou wilt abide by my advice
My strength can then create itself anew.

I vowed to thee that I would follow thee —
And now, O spirit-counsellor, again
With all my soul's strength I renew that vow.
But if thou canst thus find the way to him,
Then show it to me in this hour of fate.

The Double:
I find it now but cannot lead the way.
I can alone show to thine inward eye
The being whom thy longing now doth seek.

(The Spirit of Johannes' youth appears.)

The Spirit of Johannes' youth:
Thanks to that spirit I shall ever owe,
Who was allowed thy soul-sight to unseal,
So that when I appear by spirit-law
Thou wilt henceforth behold me open-eyed.
But thou must first this spirit truly know,
At whose side thou art now beholding me.

(The Spirit of Johannes' youth disappears: only now does Johannes recognise the Double.)

Is't not that spirit counsellor?
Is it mine other self?

The Double:
Now follow me — thou hast so vowed to me —
For I must now conduct thee to my lord.

(The Guardian of the Threshold appears and stands beside the Double.)

The Guardian:
Johannes, wouldst thou tear this shade away
From those enchanted regions of the soul,
Then slay desire, which leads thee aye astray.
The trace which thou dost follow disappears
So long as thou dost seek it with desire.
It leads thee to my threshold and beyond.
But here, obeying lofty Beings' will,
I do confuse the inward sight of those
Within whose spirit-glance lives vain desire;
All these must meet me ere they are allowed
To penetrate to Truth's pure radiant light.
I hold thy Self fast prisoned in thy sight
So long as thou approachest with desire.
Myself too as illusion dost thou see
So long as vain desire is joined with sigh
t And spirit-peacefulness of soul hath not
Become as yet thy being's vehicle.
Make strong those words of power which thou dost know,
Their spirit-power will conquer fantasy.
Then recognise me, free from all desire,
And thou shalt see me as I really am.
And then I need no longer hinder thee
From gazing freely on the spirit-realm.

But as illusion dost thou too appear?
Thou too ... whom I must ever see the first
Of all the beings in the spirit-land.
How shall I know the truth when I must find
One truth alone confronts mine onward steps —
That ever denser grows illusion's veil.

Let not thyself be quite confused by him.
He guards the threshold faithfully indeed
E'en if to-day thou see'st him wear the clothes
Which for thyself thou didst patch up before
Within thy spirit from old odds and ends.
Thou as an artist surely couldst produce
Thy actors in a better style than this;
But thou wilt make improvements by-and-bye,
And e'en this clownish form can serve thy soul.
It doth not have to spend much energy
In showing thee that which it now still is.
Pay close attention to the Guardian's speech:
Its tone is mournful and its pathos marked,
Allow not this: for then he will disclose
From whom to-day he borrows to excess.

Then e'en the content of his speech deceives?

The Double:
Ask not of Ahriman, since he doth find
In contradictions aye his chief delight.

Of whom then shall I ask?

The Double:
Why, ask thy Self.
With my power will I fortify thee well
So that awake thou mayst find the place
Whence thou canst gaze untramelled by desire.
Increase thy power.

‘The magical web
That forms their own life.’
O magical web that forms mine own life
To me reveal the place of no desire.

(The Guardian disappears: in his place appear Benedictus and Maria.)

Myself too as illusion dost thou see
Since vain desire is still allied with sight.

And spirit-peacefulness of soul hath not
Become as yet thy being's vehicle.

(The Double, Benedictus, and Maria disappear.)

Maria, Benedictus, — Guardians
How can they as the Guardian come to me?

I have spent many years with both of you
And this commands me now to seek your aid —
The magical web that forms mine own self.

(Exit, right.)

(Enter Strader, Benedictus, and Maria, left.)

Thou gav'st, when joined in spirit unto me
Before the dark abyss of mine own self,
Wise counsel to direct mine inward sight,
Which at that time I could not understand,
But which will work such changes in my soul
As certainly will solve life's problems, when
They seek to hinder what I strive to do.
I feel in me the power which thou dost give
To thy disciples on the spirit-path.
And so I shall be able to perform
The service thou dost ask for in this work
That Hilary to mankind will devote;
We shall, however, lack Capesius.
Whatever strength the rest bring to the work
Will not replace his keen activity;
But that which must will surely come to pass.

Yea, that which must will surely come to pass.
This phrase expresseth thine own stage of growth.
But it awakes no answering response
In souls of all our other spirit-friends.
Thomasius is not as yet prepared
To carry spirit-power to worlds of sense,
So he too will withdraw from this same work.
Through him doth destiny give us a sign
That we must all now seek another plan.

Will not Maria and thyself be there?

Maria must Johannes take with her
If she would ever find in truth the road,
Which leads from spirit to the world of sense.
Thus wills the Guardian who with earnest eye
Unceasing guards the borders of both realms.
She cannot lend her aid to thee as yet.
And this may serve thee as a certain sign
That thou cant not at this time truly find
The way into the realm of earthly things.

So I and all my aims are left alone!
O loneliness, didst thou then seek me out
When I did stand at Felix Balde's side?

The thing which hath just happened in our group
Hath taught me, as I look on thy career,
To read a certain word in spirit-light
Which hitherto hath hid itself from me.
I saw that thou wast bound to certain kinds
Of beings, who, if they should take a part
Creatively in mankind's life to-day,
Would surely work for evil; now they live
As germs in certain souls, and will grow ripe
In future days to work upon the earth.
Such germs have I seen living in thy soul.
That thou dost know them not is for thy good.
Through thee they will first learn to know themselves.
But now the road is still close barred for them
Which leads into the realm of earthly things.

Whatever else thy words may say to me,
They show me that my lot is loneliness.
And this it is must truly forge my sword.
Maria told me this at mine abyss.

(Benedictus and Maria retire a little way; Strader remains alone; the soul of Theodora appears.)

Theodora's Soul:
And Theodora in the worlds of light
Will make warmth for thee that thy spirit-sword
May keenly smite the foes of thine own soul.

(Disappears. Exit Strader. Benedictus and Maria come to the front of stage.)

My learned teacher, ne'er yet did I hear
Thee tell disciples, who had reached the stage
Of Strader, in such tones the words of fate.
Will his soul run its course so fast
That these words' power will prove of use to him?

Fate gave the order, and it was fulfilled.

And if the power should prove no use to him,
Will not its evils also fall on thee?

'Twill not be evil; yet I do not know
In what way it will manifest in him.
My gaze at present penetrates to realms
Where such advice illuminates my soul;
But I see not the scene of its result.
And if I try to see, my vision dies.

Thy vision dies, — my guide and leader, thine? —
Who stays for thee thy seership's certain gaze?

Johannes flees therewith to cosmic space;
We must pursue; — for I can hear him call.

He calls, — from spirit-space his call rings out;
There sounds within his tone a distant fear.

So from the ever empty fields of, ice
Our mystic friend's call sounds in cosmic space.

The ice's cold is burning in my self,
And kindling tongues of flame in my soul's-depth;
The flames are scorching all my power of thought.

In thy soul's-depth the fire loth blaze, which now
Johannes kindles in the cosmic frost.

The flames fly off, — they fly off with my thought.

And there on distant cosmic shore of souls
A furious fight — my power of thought loth fight —
In stormy chaos — and cold spirit-light —
My thought-power reels; — the cold light-hammers out
Hot waves of darkness from my failing thought.
What now emergeth from this darkling heat?
Clad in red flames my self storms — to the light; —
To the cold light — of cosmic fields of ice.


Last Modified: 28-Apr-2024
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