Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:20 am

Four Mystery Plays
by Rudolf Steiner
GA 14
Translated and Edited with the author's permission by H. Collison, M.A. Oxon., S. M. K. Gandell, M.A. Oxon., and R. T. Gladstone, M.A. Cantab
Copyright © 1925 The Anthroposophical Publishing Company




Rudolf Steiner set down four mystery plays entitled THE PORTAL OF INITIATION, THE SOUL'S PROBATION, THE GUARDIAN OF THE THRESHOLD, and THE SOULS' AWAKENING. They were written between 1910 and 1913 during periods of intense inner and outer work, the dramas are powerful testimonies to Rudolf Steiner's artistic creativity. In bringing soul and spirit forms into manifestation on the stage, they herald a new dramatic art for the future.

Although written to be performed on stage, these dramas may be read in a group setting and still have much of the intended effect. The four plays follow in sequence. It is desirable to read then in sequence.

Table of Contents:

The Portal of Initiation (Written 1910)
Editorial Summary of the Scenes
Beings and Persons Represented
A Prelude
Scene 1
A debating room. Theodora's vision of the coming Christ.
Scene 2
Johannes' meditation among the mountains: ‘Know thou thyself.’
Scene 3
Meditation chamber. Maria's separation.
Scene 4
The Spirit of the Elements. The Soul-world.
Scene 5
The subterranean rock temple. The consultation of the hierophants.
Scene 6
Continuation of Scene 4. Felicia: her First Fable. Germanus.
Scene 7
The Spirit-world. Maria and her soul powers. Theodora's vision of the past incarnation of Maria and Johannes. The scene ends with Benedictus' great mystic utterance.
An Interlude
Scene 8
The portrait of Capesius by Johannes. Strader's bewilderment.
Scene 9
Johannes' second meditation among the mountains three years later than Scene 2. ‘Feel thou thyself.’
Scene 10
As in Scene 3. A trial for Johannes.
Scene 11
The Temple of the Sun. Destiny and debtors.

The Soul's Probation (Written 1911)
Editorial Summary of the Scenes
Beings and Persons Represented
Scene 1
Capesius. His occult exercises; and his despair.
Scene 2
Meditation chamber the same as Scenes 3 and 10 of Play 1. Benedictus warns Maria that Johannes must be free. She resolves to look back upon past incarnations.
Scene 3
Johannes and his painting. Maria resolves not to hinder his freedom by her love.
Scene 4
As Scene 1. Capesius and Strader.
Scene 5
Capesius at the Baldes' cottage. Dame Felicia's fable. Johannes and his double.
Scene 6
The 14th century. The meadows by the Castle of the Mystic Knights. Country folk. The Jew. Thomas confesses to the Monk his love for Keane's daughter.
Scene 7
Same period. The Interior of the Castle. The Grand Master and Council. The Monk's demand. The apparition of his late Master, Benedictus.
Scene 8
Same period. Keane has discovered that Thomas and his sweetheart are the children of the Pint Preceptor and informs the First Preceptor of the fact. The scene closes with a discussion on evolution, and the inspired warning of the Second Master of Ceremonies.
Scene 9
Same period. The Keanes. Dame Keane's fable. The Country folk. Thomas and Cecilia.
Scene 10
Scene same as Scene 5. The return to the present day. Explanation of Scenes 6 to 9.
Scene 11
Meditation chamber as in Scene 2. Maria defeats Ahriman.
Scene 12
The same. Johannes and Lucifer.
Scene 13
The Temple of the Sun. Destiny.

The Guardian of the Threshold (Written 1912)
Editorial Summary of the Scenes
Beings and Persons Represented
Scene 1
The ante-chamber to the rooms of the Mystic League. The reincarnated country folk have been invited to attend a meeting here.
Scene 2
The same. Thomasius is invited to join the league and receive the blessing of the Rosy Cross. He declines on the ground that he has undertaken other work inconsistent with the objects of the league.
Scene 3
The kingdom of Lucifer. The challenge: Lucifer: ‘I mean to fight.’ Benedictus: ‘And fighting serve the gods.’
Scene 4
The house of Strader and his wife Theodora. (Lucifer at work.) Theodora's painful vision of Thomasius.
Scene 5
The house of the Baldes. Strader's vision of his wife Theodora who has recently died. Capesius as a medium.
Scene 6
The groves of Lucifer and Ahriman and their creatures who dance. Dame Balde's fable.
Scene 7
The Guardian of the Threshold.
Scene 8
The kingdom of Ahriman. The reincarnated country folk come here unconsciously in sleep. Strader comes consciously.
Scene 9
The home of Benedictus, overlooking a factory town. The law of number. The Zodiac.
Scene 10
The Temple of the Mystic League. The admission of Thomasius and others.

The Soul's Awakening (Written 1913)
Editorial Summary of the Scenes
Persons, Figures, and Events
Scene 1
Hilary's business is threatened with disaster because of his attempt to introduce into it his spiritual ideals and occult methods. He has engaged as controller of his machinery, Strader, who is generally known to be a failure because of his impractical inventions. With him comes a group of similar " cranks." Hilary's old manager is in despair.
Scene 2
• Johannes is a prey to delusion and loves to wander in his own dreamland. He is warned by Maria and Benedictus. Capesius, in a moment of clairvoyance gets a glimpse of Johannes' inner mood, and is so alarmed that he decides that there can be no blending of spiritual gifts with earthly things, and he withdraws from Hilary's group and goes to the old mystic Felix. Maria urges Johannes to discriminate between truth and self-delusion which can be done by the study of elemental sprites.
• The dance of gnomes and sylphs.
• The Youth of Johannes appears. It is in despair because it is separated from Johannes. Lucifer tries to console it with promises of human wisdom and love of beauty. Theodora offers divine wisdom.
Scene 3
• Arguments on plans of action and occult powers, during which Ahriman glides stealthily across the stage to bring dissension and confusion of thought among the speakers, who are ignorant of his presence.
• Strader's temptations.
• Felix speaks on mysticism.
• The appearance in spirit form of Maria and Benedictus to help Strader, and of Ahriman to thwart him. There is a repetition of Strader's part in Scene 2.
Scene 4
• Similar discussions between Hilary's manager and Romanus. Ahriman had succeeded in separating the various mystics. (see Strader's vision on p. 268.)
• Romanus makes a great impression upon the manager.
• Johannes and his double.
• Ahriman scoffs at the Guardian of the Threshold. Strader with Maria and Benedictus. The vision of the latter is troubled.
Scene 5
• The Spirit World.
• This scene needs careful meditation and some knowledge of the author's system. Attention should be given to the indications of the planetary spheres — Mercury, Venus, Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn — to which in turn we may expand after death. Heed should be paid to the warning given by the Guardian of the Threshold.
• Lucifer here appears as a beneficent guide; so, too, the Other Philia.
Scene 6
• The Spirit World. The same remarks apply. Capesius is struck by the figures of his previous incarnations, as shown in the former plays. The Guardian of the Threshold will allow an even earlier incarnation to appear.
• Theodora's quotation refers to Scene 9 in ‘The Soul's Probation.’
Scene 7
Shows in a remarkable way how the future development of the Baldes and Capesius is going to proceed. The concluding speech of the hierophant fore-shadows the approach of a new Era when candidates for initiation will get the hidden light independently and not under the hypnotic suggestion of the guiding priest.
Scene 8
About 2000 B.C. The hierophant (Capesius) has refused to use his thought power to suggest to the candidate what his vision should be. The candidate has a free vision looking far into the future. A breath of love and freedom is wafted into the closely sealed precincts. The truth shall make thee free. But with this rebellion against the old order, there is a consequence. Lucifer and Ahriman hitherto chained within the temple break their chains and begin to work their will. The ancient temple has been invaded, but the Ego begins to wake. The reader will not over-look, in all this cosmic development, the individual development of the different characters which are difficult to understand from the other plays with-out this glimpse into their previous incarnation. The author has presented it in this order, as it corresponds to the reader's own experience.
Scene 9
Maria's awakening. The reminiscence in waking of what has happened in a spiritual condition.
Scene 10
Johannes' awakening. The quotations refer to Scenes 7 and 8.
Scene 11
Strader's awakening. Benedictus' vision is again clouded. The reason here is probably Strader's approaching death. The quotations refer to Scene 3.
Scene 12
Ahriman's manner, shape, and speech betray the fact that he is being found out by the followers of Benedictus. Ahriman hopes, however, to catch Strader. Note the satire indulged in at the expense of those occultists, theosophists, and others whose air of superiority makes them a laughing stock. Note also the last lines showing the importance of remembering the dead.
Scene 13
Hilary and Romanus.
Scene 14
Strader's death is announced and Hilary's manager is converted.
Scene 15
• Secretary and Nurse.
• The Secretary's speech.
• Ahriman's shape is here even more that of the conventional devil than in Scene 12. This is to show that his true nature is now fully grasped by Benedictus and his followers. This is seen in Ahriman's last speech. Note Benedictus' speech about the dead and their messages (p. 293).
• Benedictus tells Ahriman that one can only serve Good when one does good not for oneself.
• Ahriman's knowledge of his own final destruction.
• The defeat and exit of Ahriman.
• The triumph and initiation of Strader; his future power.
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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:24 am


THE four plays here produced in an English translation in two volumes, are perhaps best described as Christian Mystery Plays. They are intended to represent the experiences of the soul during initiation; or in other words, the psychic development of man up to the moment when he is able to pierce the veil and see into the beyond. Through this vision he is then able to discover his real self and carry into effect the cryptic injunction graven on the old Greek temples Γνωθι σεαυτόν, know thyself. At a later stage he comes to ‘realize’ himself, and finally learns the true significance of the Second Advent of our Lord. This process is known as the ‘Rosicrucian’ initiation — an initiation specially adapted to modern days — the time and manner of which depend on the individual nature and circumstances of each person.

The four plays form one continuous series, and the characters portrayed are of quite an ordinary kind except that they take more than the usual interest in spiritual matters, their first desire being so to improve their own mental and moral state as to make then able to benefit their fellows.

We find amongst them many types — the occult leader and the seeress who explains the coming of Christ. We are shown the spiritual development of an artist, a scientist, a philosopher, a historian, a mystic, and a man of the world; and we hear too the scoffing cynicism of the materialist Fox. We are led to realize how the characters are connected on the physical as well as the spiritual plane; and we learn also about the nature of elementals and the twin forces of hindrance known as Lucifer and Ahriman; the former of whom may be described as an embodiment of the spiritual impulse to action, an impulse always necessary but often distorted to bring about self-glorification rather than the ambition to do good; the latter as an embodiment of an influence which seeks to materialize everything, thus hindering true spiritual growth and freedom. These two influences are given to man that he may gain free will by having perfect liberty to guide them in the one direction or in the other.

With regard to the writing and production of the plays, Doctor Steiner's habit is to write a play whilst the rehearsals are actually in progress, finishing it a few days before the first public performance, and the first play was written and acted in this manner in August, 1910, the second in August, 1911, the third in August, 1912, and the fourth in August, 1913. It was not until then that the complete key to the development of the characters was attainable. The last play explains the progress of the other three, and, following out the hint given in the second play by the account of the previous incarnation in the Middle Ages, traces the characters right back to their earlier incarnation in ancient Egypt.

The plays were performed in Munich every summer under the personal direction of the author and were acted by men and women of several nationalities — all students of his teaching. The audiences numbered some two thousand and were composed entirely of his followers.

In 1913, owing to the difficulties and expense incurred each year in securing an appropriate theatre, his supporters acquired a plot of ground in Munich, and plans were designed for a theatre of their own, but the Munich authorities after much prevarication and delay finally prohibited its building.

Because of this, and because of the hostility which his writings and lectures had aroused in other parts of Germany, Doctor Steiner was led to set up his theatre in Switzerland at the little village of Dornach — not far from Bâle. Here a theatre is being built in accordance with his own designs and it is hoped that the plays will be performed there regularly as soon as the edifice is complete.

In conclusion I should like to express my gratitude to my friends and fellow students R. T. Gladstone, M.A., Cantab, and S. M, K. Gandell, M.A., Oxon, for their most valuable help in the very difficult task of translating the plays into English verse. Only a translator can appreciate the difficulties involved in preserving both the sense and rhythm of the original, and it is no exaggeration to say that without their aid the production of these works in English would not have been possible at the present time.

I would also like to take this occasion of thanking Doctor Steiner himself for permitting me to attend the rehearsals and assist in the performances of the plays. It was a great privilege and pleasure for which I can never feel sufficiently grateful. And last, but not least, I have to thank him for his ever kind and patient attention to all my questions on the subject of these plays and of spiritual science in general.


New York, 1919.
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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:25 am

The Portal of Initiation


The general public has never been admitted to the performance of these plays. The English editor has, however, ventured to give some indication of the costumes and scenery, though this can only be sufficient to give a general idea. The following is a summary of the scenes:



A debating room. Theodora's vision of the coming Christ.


Johannes' meditation among the mountains: ‘Know thou thyself.’


Meditation chamber. Maria's separation.


The Spirit of the Elements. The Soul-world.


The subterranean rock temple. The consultation of the hierophants.


Continuation of Scene 4. Felicia: her First Fable. Germanus.


The Spirit-world. Maria and her soul powers. Theodora's vision of the past incarnation of Maria and Johannes. The scene ends with Benedictus' great mystic utterance.



The portrait of Capesius by Johannes. Strader's bewilderment.


Johannes' second meditation among the mountains three years later than Scene 2. ‘Feel thou thyself.’


As in Scene 3. A trial for Johannes.


The Temple of the Sun. Destiny and debtors.
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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:25 am

The Portal of Initiation





Johannes Thomasius.

Theodosius, whose prototype, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as that of the Spirit of Love.

Romanus, whose prototype, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as that of the Spirit of Action.

Germanus, whose prototype,, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as that of the Earth-brain.

Helena, whose prototype, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as that of Lucifer.

Retardus, active only as a Spirit-influence.

Philia, Astrid, & Luna, Friends of Maria, whose prototypes, as the Mystery proceeds, reveal themselves as spirits of Maria's soul-powers.

Professor Capesius.
Doctor Strader.

Felix Balde, who reveals himself as representative of the Spirit of Nature.

Felicia Balde, his wife.

The Other Maria, whose prototype, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as the Soul of Love.

Theodora, a Seeress.

Ahriman and Lucifer, conceived as Soul-influences only.

The Spirit of the Elements, conceived as a Spirit-influence.

A Child, whose prototype, as the Mystery proceeds, reveals itself as a young soul.

As is usual in English stage directions, right means right of the stage, and not right of the audience as in the original German. So too the left is left of the stage.

The music at the representation of each play was by Mr. Adolf Arenson.

NOTES ON THE COSTUMES WORN: The costumes worn are those of every day, except that the female characters, over their dress, wear bright broad stoles of a colour to suit their character.

Benedictus is is usually in a black riding suit, top boots, and a black mantle.

Lucifer has golden hair, wears crimson robes, and stands upon the right of Johannes. Lucifer appears as female.

Ahriman, the conventional Satan, wears yellow robes and stands upon the left of Johannes.

In the fifth and eleventh scenes and when in spirit form or acting as hierophant, Benedictus wears a long white robe over which is a broad golden stole with mystic emblems in red. He also wears a golden mitre and carries a golden crosier.

On such occasions Theodosius is similarly robed except that the stole, mitre, and crosier are silver and the emblems blue. Similarly the stole, mitre, and crosier of Romanus are bronze and the emblems green. Retardus' costume is a mixture of the above three.

Germanus wears long brownish robes and is made to appear like a giant with heavy clogs, as if tied to earth. Scene 6.

Philia, Astrid, and Luna in the seventh and eleventh scenes and in the other plays have conventional angel-forms; Astrid is always in the centre of this group; Luna is on her right; Philia on her left.

Theodora wears white and has angel's wings in the seventh and eleventh scenes.

The Other Maria is dressed like a spirit (except in Scene 1) but one associated with rocks and precious stones.
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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:26 am

The Portal of Initiation


Sophia's room. The colour scheme is a yellow red. Sophia, with her two children, a boy and a girl; later, Estella.

Children (singing, whilst Sophia accompanies them on the piano):
The light of the sun is flooding
The breadths of space;
The song of the birds is filling
The heights of air;
The tender plants are shooting
From the kind earth;
And human souls in reverent gratitude,
Rise to the spirits of the world.
Sophia: Now, children, go to your rooms and think over the words we have just practised.

(Sophia leads the children out.)

(Enter Estella.)
Estella: How do you do, Sophy? I hope I'm not intruding?

Sophia: Oh no, Estelle. I am very glad to see you.

(Asks Estella to be seated and seats herself.)

Estella: Have you good news from your husband?

Sophia: Very good. He writes to me saying that he is interested in the Congress of Psychologists; though the manner in which they treat many great questions there does not appeal to him. However, as a student of souls, he is interested in just those methods of spiritual shortsightedness which makes it impossible for men to obtain a clear view of essential mysteries.

Estella: Does he not intend speaking on an important subject, himself?

Sophia: Yes, on a subject that seems important both to him and to me. But the scientific views of those present at the Congress prevent his expecting any results from his arguments.

Estella: I really came in, dear Sophy, to ask whether you would come with me this evening to a new play called Outcasts from Body and from Soul. I should so like to hear it with you.

Sophia: I'm sorry, my dear Estelle, but to-night is the date set for the performance of the play, which our society has been rehearsing for a long time.

Estella: Oh yes, I had forgotten. But it would have been such a pleasure to have spent this evening with my old friend. I had set my heart on having you beside me, and gazing with you into the hidden depths of our present-day life. ... I only hope that this world of ideas, in which you move, and which is so strange to me, will not finally destroy that bond of sympathy, which has united our hearts since we were at school together.

Sophia: You have often said that before; and yet you have always had to admit that our divergent opinions need not erect barriers between those feelings which have existed between us in our companionship from our youth upwards.

Estella: True, I have said so. Yet it always arouses a sense of bitterness in me, when, as the years roll on, I see how your affections are estranged from those things in life that seem to me worth while.

Sophia: Still, we may be of much mutual help to one another if we recognize and realize the various points of view which we reach through our different inclinations.

Estella: Yes! My reason tells me that you are right. And yet there is something in me that rebels against your view of life.

Sophia: Why not candidly admit that what you require of me is the renunciation of my inmost soul-life?

Estella: But for one thing, I should admit even that. And that is, that you always claim that your view is the more profound. I can readily understand that people whose conceptions differ radically may still meet in sympathy of feeling. But the nature of your ideas actually forces upon you an inner assumption of a certain superiority. Others can compare views and realize that they do indeed diverge towards different standpoints, but they nevertheless stand related by an equality of values. You, however, seem unable to do this. You regard all other views as proceeding from a lower degree of human development.

Sophia: But you realize, I hope, from our previous discussions, that those who think as I do, do not finally measure the character of man by his opinions or by his knowledge. And while we consider our ideas such, that without vital realization of them life has no valid foundations, we nevertheless try most earnestly not to over-estimate the value of the individual, who has been permitted to become an instrument for the manifestation of this view of life.

Estella: All that sounds very well, but it does not remove my one suspicion. I cannot close my eyes to the fact, that a world-view which ascribes to itself illimitable depth must needs lead through the mere appearance of such depth to a certain superficiality. I rate our friendship too high to point out to you those among your companions who, whilst they swear allegiance to your ideas, yet display spiritual arrogance of the most unmitigated sort, despite the fact that the barrenness and banality of their soul speaks in their every word and in all their conduct. Nor do I wish to call your attention to the callousness and lack of sympathy shown by so many of your adherents towards their fellow men. The greatness of your own soul has never permitted you to stand aloof from that which daily life requires at the hands of the man whom we call good. And yet the fact that you leave me alone on this occasion, when true and artistic life comes to be voiced, shows me that your ideas too with reference to this life are to a certain extent superficial — if you will forgive my saying so.

Sophia: And wherein lies this superficiality?

Estella: You ought to know. You have known me long enough to understand how I have wrenched myself away from that manner of life, which, day in and day out, only struggles to follow tradition and convention.

I have sought to understand why so many people suffer, as it seems, undeservedly. I have tried to approach the heights and depths of life. I have consulted the sciences, so far as I could, to learn what they disclose.

But let me hold fast to the one point which this moment presents to us. I am aware of the nature of true art; I believe I understand how it seizes upon the essentials of life and presents to our souls the true and higher reality. I seem to feel the beating of the pulse of time, when I permit such art to influence me, and I am horrified when I have to think what it is that you, Sophy, prefer to this interest in living art. You turn to what seem to me the obsolete, dogmatically allegorical themes, to gaze on a show of puppets, instead of on living beings, and to wonder at symbolical happenings which stand far away from all that appeals to our pity and to our active sympathies in daily life.

Sophia: My dear Estelle, that is exactly the fact that you will not grasp — that the richest life is to be found just there where you only see a fantastic web of thoughts: and that there may be, and are, people who are compelled to call your living reality mere poverty — if it be not measured by the spiritual source from whence it comes. Possibly my words sound harsh to you. But our friendship demands absolute frankness. Spirit itself is as unknown to you as it is to the multitude. In its place you know only the bearer of knowledge. It is only the thought side of spirit of which you are aware. You have no conception of the living, the creative spirit, which endows men with elemental power, even as the germinal power of nature shapes living entities. Like many another, for instance, you call things in art which deny the spirit, as I conceive it, naive and original. Our conception of the world unites a full and conscious freedom with the power of spontaneous creation. We consciously absorb this power, and do not thereby rob. it of its' freshness, its fullness, and its originality. You believe that the character of man shapes itself, and that we can merely form thoughts and considerations about it. You will not see that thought itself actually merges into-creative spirit; reaching the very fountain of Being; and developing thence into an actual creative germ.

Our ideas do not teach, any more than the seed-power within a plant teaches it how to grow. It is the actual growth itself, and in like manner do our ideas flow into our very being, kindling and dispensing life. To the ideas that have come to me, I am indebted for all that makes life worth while; not only for the courage, but also for the insight and power that make me hopeful of so training my children, that they shall not only be capable and useful in ordinary everyday life, in the old traditional sense, but that they shall at the same time carry inward peace and contentment within their souls. I have no wish to stray from the point, but I will say just one thing. I believe — nay I know — that the dreams which you share with so many can only be realized when men succeed in uniting what they call the realities of life with those deeper experiences, which you have so often termed dreams and fantasies. You may be astonished if I confess it to you: but much that seems true art to you is to me a mere fruitless critique of life. No hunger is stilled, no tears are dried, no source of degeneracy is discovered, when merely the outer show of hunger, or tear-stained faces, or degenerates are shown upon the stage. And the customary method of that presentation is unspeakably distant from the true depths of life, and the true relation-ship between beings.

Estella: I understand your words indeed, but they merely show me that you do prefer to indulge in fancies, rather than to look upon the realities of life. Our ways, indeed, part. — I see that my friend is denied me to-night. (Rises.) I must leave you now. But we remain friends, as of old, do we not?

Sophia: We must indeed remain friends. (While these last words are spoken, Sophia conducts her friend to the door.)

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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:27 am

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 1

Room. Dominant note rose-red. Large rose-red chairs are arranged in a semicircle. To the left of the stage a door leads to the auditorium. One after the other, the speakers introduced enter by this door; each stopping in the room for a time. While they do so, they discuss the discourse they have just heard in the auditorium, and what it suggests to them.

Enter first Maria and Johannes, then others. The speeches which follow are continuations of discussions already begun in the auditorium.

My friend, I am indeed distressed to see
Thy spirit and thy soul in sadness droop,
And powerless to help the bond that binds
And that has bound us both for ten blest years.
E'en this same hour, filled with a portent deep
In which we both have heard and learned so much
That lightens all the darkest depths of soul,
Brought naught but shade and shadow unto thee.
Aye, after many of the speakers' words,
My listening heart could feel the very dart
That deeply wounded thine. Once did I gaze
Into thine eyes and saw but happiness
And joy in all the essence of the world.
In pictures beauty-steeped thy soul held fast
Each fleeting moment, bathed by sunshine's glow —
Flooding with air and light the forms of men
Unsealing all the depths and doubts of Life.
Unskilled as yet thine hand to body forth
In concrete colour-schemes, those living forms
That hovered in thy soul; but in the hearts
Of both of us there throbbed the joyous faith
And certain hope that future days would teach
Thine hand this art — to pour forth happiness
Into the very fundaments of Being;
That all the wonders of thy spirit's search
Unfolding visibly Creation's powers
Through every creature of thine art would pour
Soul rapture deep into the hearts of men.
Such were our dreams through all those days of yore
That to thy skill, mirrored in beauty's guise,
The weal of future men would trace its source.
So dreamed mine own soul of the goal of thine.
Yet now the vital spark of fashioning fire
That burned within thee seems extinct and dead.
Dead thy creative joy: and well-nigh maimed
The hand, which once with fresh and youthful strength
Guided thy steadfast brush from year to year.

Alas, 'tis true; I feel as if the fires
That erstwhile quickened in my soul are quenched.
Mine eye, grown dull, doth no more catch the gleam
Shed by the flickering sunlight o'er the earth.
No feeling stirs my heart, when changing moods
Of light and shade flow o'er the scenes around;
Still lies my hand, seeking no more to chain
Into a lasting present fleeting charms,
Shown forth by magic elemental powers
From utmost depths of Life before mine eyes.
No new creative fire thrills me with joy.
For me dull monotone obscures all life.

My heart is deeply grieved to hear that thou
Dost find such emptiness in everything
Which thrives as highest good and very source
Of sacred life itself within my heart.
All, friend, behind the changing scenes of life
That men call ‘Being,’ true life lies concealed
Spiritual, everlasting, infinite;
And in that life each soul doth weave its thread.
I feel afloat in spirit potencies,
That work, as in an ocean's unseen depths,
And see revealed all the life of men,
As wavelets on the ocean's upturned face.
I am at one with all the sense of Life
For which men restless strive, and which to me
Is but the inner self that stands revealed.
I see, how oftentimes it binds itself
Unto the very kernel of man's soul,
And lifts him to the highest that his heart
Can ever crave. Yet as it lives in me
It turns to bitter fruitage, when mine own
Touches another's being. Even so
Hath this, my destiny, worked out in all
I willed to give thee, when thou cam'st in love.
Thy wish it was to travel at my side
Unhesitating all the way, that soon
Should lead thee to a full and perfect art.
Yet what hath happened? All, that in mine eyes
Stood forth revealed in its own naked Truth
As purest life, brought death, my friend, to thee
And slew thy spirit.

Aye. 'Tis so indeed.
What lifts thy soul to Heaven's sun-kissed heights
When through thy life it comes into mine own
Thrusts my soul down, to death's abysmal gloom.
When in our friendship's rosy-fingered dawn
To this revealment thou didst lead me on,
Which sheds its light into the darkened realms,
Where human souls do enter every night,
Bereft of conscious life, and where full oft
Man's being wanders erring: whilst the night
Of Death makes mock at Life's reality.
And when thou didst reveal to me the truth
Of life's return, then did I know full well
That I should grow to perfect spirit-man.
Surely, it seemed, the artist's clear keen eye,
And certain touch of a creator's hand,
Would blossom for me through thy spirit's fire
And noble might. Full deep I breathed this fire
Into my being; when — behold — it robbed
The ebb and flow of all my spirit's power.
Remorselessly it drove out from my heart
All faith in this our world. And now I reach
A point where I no longer clearly see,
Whether to doubt or whether to believe
The revelation of the spirit-worlds.
Nay more, I even lack the power to love
That which in thee the spirit's beauty shows.

Alas! The years that pass have taught me this
That mine own way to live the spirit-life
Doth change into its opposite, whene'er
It penetrates another's character.
And I must also see how spirit-power
Grows rich in blessing when, by other paths,
It pours itself into the souls of men.
(Enter Philia, Astrid, and Luna.)
It floweth forth in speech, and in these words
Lies power to raise to realms celestial
Man's common mode of thinking; and create
A world of joy, where erstwhile brooded gloom.
Aye, it can change the spirit's shallowness
To depths of earnest feeling; and can cast
Man's character in sure and noble mould.
And I — yes, I am altogether filled
By just this spirit-power, and must behold
The pain and desolation that it brings
To other hearts, when from mine own it pours.

It seemed as though the voices of some choir
(Enter Prof. Capesius and Dr. Strader.)
Mingled together, uttering manifold
Conceptions and opinions, each his own,
Of these who formed our recent gathering.
Full many harmonies there were indeed,
But also many a harsh-toned dissonance.

Ah, when the words and speech of many men
Present themselves in such wise to the soul,
It seems as though man's very prototype
Stood centred there in secret mystery:
Became through many souls articulate,
As in the rainbow's arch pure Light itself
Grows visible in many-coloured rays.

Through changing scenes of many centuries
We wandered year on year in earnest search;
Striving to fathom deep the living force
That dwelt within the souls of those who sought
To probe and scan the fundaments of being,
And set before man's soul the goals of life.
We thought that in the depths of our own souls
We lived the higher powers of thought itself;
And thus could solve the riddles set by fate.
We felt we had, or seemed at least to feel,
Sure basis in the logic of our mind
When new experiences crossed our path
Questioning there the judgment of our soul.
Yet now such basis wavers, when amazed
I hear to-day, as I have heard before,
The mode of thought taught by these people here.
And more and more uncertain do I grow,
When I perceive, how powerfully in life
This mode of thought doth work. Full many a day
Have I spent thus, thinking how I might shape
Time's riddles as they solved themselves to me
In words, that hearts might grasp and trembling feel.
Happy indeed was I, if I could fill
Only the smallest corner of some soul
Amongst my audience with the warmth of life.
And oftentimes it seemed success was mine,
Nor would I make complaint of fruitless days.
Yet all results of teaching thus could lead
Only to recognition of this truth
So loved and emphasized by men of deeds,
That in the clash of life's realities,
Thoughts are dim shadows, nothing more nor less:
They may indeed wing life's creative powers
To due fruition, but they cannot shape
And mould our life themselves. So have I judged
And with this modest comment was content:
Where pale thoughts only work, all life is lamed
And likewise all that joins itself to life.
More potent than the ripest form of words,
However art might weave therein her spell,
Seemed nature's gift, man's talents — and more strong
The hand of destiny to mould his life.
Tradition's mountainweight, and prejudice
With dull oppressive hand will always quench
The strength of e'en the very best of words.
But that which here reveals itself in speech
Gives men, who think as I do, food for thought.
Clearly we saw the kind of consequence
That comes when sects, in superheated speech,
Blind souls of men with dogma's seething stream.
But nought here of such spirit do we find;
Here only reason greets the soul, and yet
These words create the actual powers of life,
Speaking unto the spirit's inmost depths.
Nay even to the kingdom of the Will
This strange and mystic Something penetrates;
This Something, which to such as I, who still
Wander in ancient ways, seems but pale thought.
Impossible, it seems, to disavow
Its consequences; none the less, myself
I cannot quite surrender to it yet.
But it all speaks with such peculiar charm
And not as though it really meant for me
The contradiction of experience.
It almost seems as if this Something found
The kind of man I am, insufferable.

I would associate myself in fullest sense
With every one of thy last spoken words:
And still more sharply would I emphasize
That all results in our soul-life, which seem
To spring forth from the influence of ideas,
Cannot in any wise decide for us
What actual worth of knowledge they conceal.
Whether there lives within our mode of thought,
Error or truth — 'tis certain this alone
The verdict of true science can decide.
And no one would with honesty deny
That words, which are, in seeming only, clear,
Yet claim to solve life's deepest mysteries,
Are quite unfit for such a scrutiny.
They fascinate the spirit of mankind,
And only tempt the heart's credulity;
Seeming to open door into that realm
Before which, humble and perplexed, now stands
The strict and cautious search of modern minds.
And he who truly follows such research
Is bound in honour to confess that none
Can know whence streams the wellspring of his thought,
Nor fathom where the depths of Being lie.
And though confession such as this is hard
For souls who all too willingly would gauge
What lies beyond the ken of mortal mind,
Yet every glance of every thinker's soul
Whether directed to the outer side,
Or turned towards the inner depths of life,
Scans but that boundary and naught beside.
If we deny our rational intellect
Or set aside experience, we sink
In depths unfathomable, bottomless.
And who can fail to see how utterly
What passeth here for revelation new,
Fails to fit in with modern modes of thought.
Indeed it needs but little thought to see,
How totally devoid this method is
Of that, which gives all thought its sure support
And guarantees a sense of certainty.
Such revelations may warm listening hearts,
But thinkers see in them mere mystic dreams.

Aye, thus would always speak the science, won
By stern sobriety and intellect.
But that suffices not unto the soul,
That needs a steadfast faith in its own self.
She ever will give heed to words that speak
To her of spirit. All she dimly sensed
In former days, she striveth now to grasp.
To speak of the Unknown may well entice
The thinker, but no more the hearts of men.

I too can realize how much there lies
In that objection; how it seems to strike
The idle dreamer, who would only spin
The threads of thought, and seek the consequence
Of this or that premise, which he himself
Hath formed beforehand. Me — it touches not —
No outer motive guided me to thought.
In childhood I grew up 'mid pious folk
And, following their custom, steeped my soul
In sense-intoxicating images
Of future sojourn in celestial realms,
Wherewith they seek to comfort and beguile
Man's ignorance and man's simplicity.
Within my boyish soul I sensed the throb
Of utmost ecstasy, when reverently
I raised my thoughts to highest spirit-worlds;
And prayer was then my heart's necessity.
Thereafter in a cloister was I trained;
Monks were my teachers, and in mine own heart
The deepest longing was to be a monk, —
An echo of my parent's ardent wish.
For consecration did I stand prepared
When chance did drive me from the cloistered cell;
And to this chance I owe deep gratitude.
For, many days before chance saved my soul
It had been robbed of inward peace and quiet;
For I had read and learned of many things,
That have no place within the cloister-gate.
Knowledge of nature's working came to me
From books that were forbidden to mine eyes;
And thus I learned new scientific thought.
Hard was the struggle as I sought the path
Wandering through many a way to find mine own;
Nor did I ever gain by cunning thought
Whate'er of truth revealed itself to me.
In fierce-fought battles have I torn the roots
From out my spirit's soil of all that brought
Peace and contentment to me when a child.
I understand indeed the heart that fain
Would soar up to the heights — but for myself,
When once I recognized that all I learned
From spirit-teaching was an empty dream,
I was compelled to find the surer soil
That science and discovery create.

We may surmise, each after his own kind,
Where sense and goal of life doth lie for each.
I altogether lack the power to prove
According to the science of to-day,
What spirit-teaching I have here received:
But clear within my heart I feel and know
My soul would die without this spirit-lore,
As would my body, if deprived of blood.
And thou, dear doctor, 'gainst our cause dost fight
With many words, and what thou now hast told
Of thy life's conflict lends them weight indeed
Even with those who do not understand
Thy learned argument. Yet would I ask
(Enter Theodora.)
Exactly why it is that hearts of men
Receive the word of Spirit readily,
As though self-understood: yet when man seeks
Food for his spirit in such learned words
As thou didst use his heart grows chill and cold.

Although I am at home 'mid just such men
As circle round me here, yet strangely sounds
This speech I have just heard.
What strangeness there?

I may not say. Do thou, Maria, tell.

Our friend has oftentimes explained to us
What strange experiences come to her.
One day she felt herself completely changed,
And none could understand her altered state.
Estrangement met her wheresoe'er she turned
Until she came into our circle here.
Not that we fully understand ourselves
What she possesses and what no one shares.
Yet we are trained by this our mode of thought
The unaccustomed to appreciate,
And feel with every mood of humankind.
One moment in her life, our friend perceived,
All that seemed hers aforetime, disappear;
The past was all extinguished in her soul.
And since these wondrous changes came to her,
This mood of soul hath oft renewed itself;
It doth not long endure; and other times
She lives her life as ordinary folk.
Yet whensoe'er she falls into this state,
The gift of memory doth fade away.
She loseth from her eyes the power to see
And senseth her surroundings, seeing not.
With a peculiar light her eyes then glow,
And pictured forms appear to her. At first
They seemed like dreams; anon they grew so clear,
That we could recognize without a doubt
Some prophecy of distant future days.
Full many a time have we seen this occur.

It is just this that little pleaseth me
Amongst these men; who mingle with good sense
And logic, superstition's fallacies.
'Twas ever thus where men have walked this path.

If thou canst still speak so, thou dost not yet
Perceive our attitude towards these things.

Well, as for me, I freely must confess,
That I would sooner revelations hear
Than speak of questionable spirit-themes.
For even if I fail to read aright
The riddle of such dreams, yet those at least
I count as facts; and would 'twere possible
To see one instance of the mystery
Of this strange spirit-mood before mine eyes.

Perchance it is for look, she comes again.
And it doth seem to me as though e'en now
This mystic spirit-mood would show itself.

I am compelled to speak. Before my soul
A pictured form stands wrapped in robes of light;
From which strange words are sounding in mine ears.
I feel myself in future centuries,
And men do I behold as yet unborn: —
They also see the pictured form; they too
Can hear the words it speaks, which thus resound —
'O ye, who lived in faith's security,
Take comfort now in sight, and look on Me.
Receive new life through Me. For I am He
Who lived within the souls of those who sought
To find Me in themselves, by following
The gospel-words My messengers did bring
And by their own devotion's inward power.
The light of sense ye saw — believe ye now
In the creative spirit-world beyond.
For now indeed ye have yourselves achieved
One atom of divine prophetic sight.
Oh, breathe it deep, and feel it in your souls.'
A human form steps from that sphere of light.
And speaks to me: ‘Thou shalt make known to all
Who will give ear to thee, that thou hast seen
What all mankind shall soon experience:
Once, long ago, Christ lived upon the earth,
And from this life ensued the consequence
That in soul-substance clad He hovers o'er
The evolution of humanity,
In union with the earth's own spirit-sphere;
And though as yet invisible to men,
When in such form He manifests Himself,
Since now their being lacks that spirit sight,
Which first will show itself in future times;
Yet even now this future draweth nigh
When that new sight shall come to men on earth.
What once the senses saw, when Christ did live
Upon the earth; this shall be seen by souls
When soon the time shall reach its fullness due.’

This is the first time we have heard her speak
In such a manner to so many folk.
At other times she felt constrained to speech,
Only when two or three were gathered round.

To me indeed it seems most curious,
That she, as though commanded or required,
Should find herself to revelation urged.

It may so seem; but we know well her ways
If at this moment she desired to send
Her inward soul-voice deep into your souls,
The only reason was, that unto you
The source, whence came her voice, desired to speak.

Concerning this strange future gift of sight;
Whereof she spake, as dreaming, we have heard
That he, who of this circle is the soul,
Hath oft already given full report.
Is it not possible that from his words
The content of her speech hath origin,
The mode of utterance coming from herself?

If matters thus did stand, we should not deem
Her words of any consequence or weight:
But we have tested this condition well.
Before she came into our circle here,
Our friend had never heard in any way
Of that same leader's speeches, nor had we
Heard aught of her before she came to us.

Then what we have to deal with is a state,
Such as so often happens, contrary
To all the laws of nature; and which we
Must merely estimate as some disease.
And only healthy thought, securely based
On fully conscious sense-impressions, can
Pass judgment on the riddles set by life.

Yet even here one fact presents itself;
And what we now have heard must have some worth —
For, even if we set aside all else
It doth compel the thought that spirit-power
Can cause thought-transference from soul to soul.

Ah me, if ye would only dare to tread
The ground your mode of thought doth choose to shun:
As snow before the sunlight's piercing glare
Your vain delusion needs must melt away,
Which makes the moods revealed, in such minds
Appear diseased, abnormal, wonderful.
They are suggestive, but they are not strange.
And small this wonder doth appear to me
When I compare it with the myriad
Of wonders that make up my daily life.

Nay, nay, one thing it is to recognize
What lies before our eyes on every side,
But quite another, what is shown us here.

Of spirit 'tis not necessary to speak
Until there are things shown to us which lie
Outside the strictly circled boundary
Set by the laws of scientific thought.

The clear shaft of the sunlight on the dew
Which glistens in the morning's golden light,
(Enter Felix Balde.)
The hurling stream that riseth 'neath the rock,
The thunder rumbling in the cloud-wrapped sky,
All these do speak to me a spirit tongue:
I strove to understand it and I know
That of this speech's meaning and its might,
Only a faint reflection can be glimpsed
Through your investigations, as they are.
And when that kind of speech sank deep within
My heart, I found my soul's true joy at last.
Nor could aught else, but human words alone
And spirit teaching grant this gift to me.

Felix Balde:
Those words rang true indeed

I must essay
To tell what joy fills all my heart to see
(Enter Felicia Balde.)
For the first time here with us yonder man,
Of whom we oft have heard; and joy doth cause,
The wish to see him here full many times.

Felix Balde:
It is not usual for me that I should
Associate with such a crowd of men:
And not alone unusual —

Aye, 'tis so.
His nature drives us into solitude
Away from all; year in, year out, we hear
Scarce any other converse save our own.
And if this good man here from time to time
(Pointing to Capesius.)
Came not to linger in our cottage home,
We scarce should realize that other men,
Besides ourselves, live on the earth at all.
And if the man, who spake such wondrous words
But recently in yonder lecture-hall,
And who affected us so potently,
Did not full many a time my Felix meet,
When he is gone about his daily tasks,
Ye would know nought of our forgotten life.

So the professor often visits you?

Assuredly. And I may tell you all,
The very deep indebtedness I feel
To this good woman, who doth give to me
In rich abundance, what none other can.

And of what nature are these gifts of hers?

If I would tell the tale, then must I touch
A thing that verily doth seem to me
More wonderful than much that here I've heard,
In that it speaks more nearly to my soul.
But were I in some other place, these words
Would hardly pass the barrier of my lips;
Yet here they seem to flow therefrom with ease.
In my soul-life there often comes a time
When it doth feel itself pumped out and dry.
It seems as though the very fountain-head
Of knowledge had run dry within my heart.
Then can I find no word of any kind
Worthy to speak or worthy to be heard.
And when I feel such spirit barrenness
I flee to these good people, and seek rest
In their reviving, peaceful solitude;
Then Mistress Felix tells me many a tale
Set forth in wondrous pictures, manifold,
Of beings, dwelling in the land of dreams,
Who lead a joyous life in fairy realms.
When thus she speaks, her tone and speech recall
Some oft-told legend of the ancient days.
I ask no question whence she finds these words
But this one thing alone I clearly know:
That new life flows therefrom into my soul,
And sweeps away its dull paralysis.

To hear such splendid witness to the skill
Of Dame Felicia doth, in wondrous wise,
Harmoniously blend in every way
With all that Benedictus told to us
About his friend's deep hidden knowledge-founts.

Felix Balde:
He who spake words to us just now, which showed
(Benedictus appears at the door.)
How in the realm of universal space,
And vast eternities his spirit dwelt,
Hath surely little need to speak o'er much
Of simple men.

Thou errest friend. For me
Infinite value hath each word of thine.

Felix Balde:
It was presumption only, and the bent
Of idle talk, when thou didst honour me
To wander at thy side our mountain paths.
Only because thou didst conceal from me
How much thyself dost know, I dared to speak.
But now our time is up, and we must go —
A long way hence doth lie our quiet home.

It hath been most refreshing once again
To come amongst mankind: and yet I fear
It will not happen very soon again:
There is no other life which Felix deems
Better than living in his mountain heights.
(Exeunt Felix and his wife.)

Indeed I well believe his wife is right,
Nor will he come again for many days.
It needed much to bring him here to-day.
And yet the reason lies not in himself
Why no one knoweth aught of him or his.

He only seemed to me eccentric, strange;
And many an hour I found him talkative
When I was with him; but his mystic speech
And strange discourse remained obscure to me,
When he revealed all that he claims to know.
He spoke of solar beings housed in rocks;
Of lunar demons, who disturb their work;
And of the sense of number hid in plants;
And he who listens to him cannot long
Keep clear the thread of meaning in his words.

And yet 'tis also possible to feel
As if the powers of Nature, through these words,
Sought to reveal themselves in their true state.

Already do I feel forebodings strange
That now dark hours are coming in my life.
For since the days of cloistered solitude,
Where I was taught such knowledge, and thereby
Struck to the very darkest depth of soul,
Not one experience has stirred me so,
As this weird vision of the seeress here.

Indeed I cannot see that aught of that
Should prove unnerving. And I fear, my friend,
That if thou once dost lose thy certainty,
Dark doubt will soon envelop all thy thought.

Too true! And 'tis the fear of just this doubt
That causeth me full many an anxious hour.
From my experience I know nought else
Of this strange gift of seership, save that when
Life's vexing problems sorely trouble me,
Then, ghostlike, riseth from dark spirit-depth,
Before my spirit's eyes, some phantom form
Like some dream-being, grim and terrible,
Pressing with fearful weight upon my soul,
And clutching horribly around my heart.
It seems to speak right through me words like these:
‘If thou dost fail to gain the victory
O'er me with those blunt weapons of thy thought,
Thou art a fleeting phantom, nothing more,
Formed by thine own deluded imagery.’

That is the destiny of all such men,
As do approach the world by thought alone.
The spirit's voice dwells deep in every soul.
Nor have we strength to pierce the covering
That spreads itself before our faculties.
Thought doth bring knowledge of things temporal,
Of things that vanish in the course of time:
The everlasting and all spirit-truth
Are found but in the inner depths of man.

If, then, the fruitage of a pious faith
Is able to give rest to weary souls,
Such souls may wander safely in that path,
And find sufficiency within themselves.
And yet the power of knowledge, pure and true,
Doth never bloom on such a. path as this.

Yet there can be no other way to light
True spirit-knowledge in the hearts of men.
Pride may seduce and change to fantasies
The soul's true depths of feeling, and may see
A vision only where faith's beauty lies.
One thing alone of all we here have heard
From spirit-teaching of the higher worlds,
Strikes clear upon our honest human sense:
That only in the spirit-world itself
The soul can feel itself in its true home.

The Other Maria:
So long as man feels need of speech alone,
And nought besides, so long such words as these
May satisfy bim: but the fuller life
With all its strife, its yearnings after joy,
And all its sorrow, needeth other food
To nourish and sustain the fainting soul.
For me, an inner voice did drive me on
To spend all the remaining days of life
Which were allotted me, in helping those
Whom stress of destiny had smitten down
And plunged in deepest poverty and need.
And far more oft I found it necessary
To soothe the anguish of the soul of man
Than heal his body's pain and suffering.
But I have felt indeed in many ways
My will's weak impotence to comfort men.
So that I am compelled to seek fresh strength
From out the treasured store which floweth forth
Abundantly from spirit-sources here.
The quickening warmth of words which greet my sense,
Flows forth with magic force into my hands;
And thence, like healing balsam, forth again,
When those hands touch some sorrow-laden soul.
It changeth on my lips to strengthening words
Which carry comfort unto pain-racked hearts.
The source of words like these I do not ask;
I feel their truth — they give me living life.
And every day more clearly do I see,
That they derive their strength not from my will
In all its weakness, but create anew
Myself each day unto myself again.

Yet surely there are men enough on earth
Who, though they lack such revelation's aid,
Perform innumerable deeds of good?

In sooth there is no lack of men like these
In many places; but my friend doth mean
A different thing; and if thou didst but know
The life she led, thou wouldst speak otherwise.
Where unused powers in full abundance dwell
There love will cause the seed to germinate
In rich abundance in the heart's good soil.
But our friend here exhausted life's best powers
In never-ending toil beyond her strength;
And all her will to live lay crushed and dead
Beneath the cruel weight of destiny,
Which fell upon her. All her strength she gave
To careful guidance of her children's weal:
And low already had her courage ebbed
When early death took her loved husband home.
In such a state as this, days dull and drear
Seemed all fate had in store whilst life remained.
But then the powers of destiny prevailed
To bring her 'neath the spell of spirit-lore;
And soon with us she felt the vital force
Of life break forth in her a second time.
Fresh aims in life she found, and with them came
Fresh courage once again to fight and strive.
And thus in her the spirit hath achieved
In very truth to fashion from decay
A new and living personality.
And when the spirit in such fruit as this
Shows its creative potency, we learn
It s nature, and the way it speaks to us.
And, if no pride lies hidden in our speech,
And highest moral aims live in our hearts;
If we believe that in no way at all
Our teaching is our own; — but that alone
The spirit shows itself within our souls —
Then may we surely venture to assert
That in thy mode of thinking may be found
But feeble shadows waving to and fro
Athwart the real true source of human life:
And that the spirit, which ensouls our work
Is linked in inward harmony with all
That weaves the web of destiny for man
Deep in the very fundaments of life.
I have been privileged for many years
To give myself to vital work in life:
And during all this time more bleeding hearts
And yearning souls have come before mine eyes,
Than many would conceive were possible.
I do esteem thy high ideal flight, —
The proud assurance of thy sciences:
I like to see the student-audience,
Respectful, sit and listen at thy feet:
And that to many souls thy work doth bring
Ennobling clarity of thought, I know.
But yet regarding thought like this, it seems,
Trustworthiness can only dwell therein
So long as thought lives in itself alone.
Whereas the realm of which I am a part
Sends into deep realities of life
The fruitage of its words, since it desires
To plant in deep realities its roots.
Far, far away from all thy thought doth lie
The written word upon the spirit-heaven
Which with momentous tokens doth announce
New growth upon the tree of humankind.
Thought on the old lines clear and sure may seem,
Yet can it only touch the tree's coarse bark,
And never reach the living sap within.

For my part I do seek in vain the bridge
That truly leadeth from ideas to deeds.

'Tis true our friends do over-estimate
The power that can be wielded by ideas,
But thou dost in another way mistake
The actual course of true reality:
For it is certain that ideas must form
The germ of all the actual deeds of men.

If this friend doth so many deeds of good,
The impulse thereunto lies in herself
And her warm-hearted nature, not in thought.
Most certainly 'tis needful for man's soul,
After the busy day of toil and work,
With noble thought to edify the mind.
But yet 'tis only schooling of man's will
In harmony with all his skill and power
To undertake some real work in life
Which will help forward all the human race.
When whirr of busy wheels sounds in mine ears,
Or when I see some creaking windlass drawn
By strong stout hands of men content to work,
Then do I sense indeed the powers of Life.

Often in careless speech have I maintained
That I preferred things droll and humorous
And held these only full of wit and charm,
Deeming that for my brain at any rate,
They always would provide material
Best fitted to fill up the time that lies
Between my recreation and my work.
But now quite tasteless to me seem such things;
The Power Invisible hath conquered me;
And I have learned to feel that there may be
More powerful forces in humanity,
Than all our wit's frail castles in the air.

And did it seem that nowhere else but here
'Twas possible to find such spirit-powers?

Indeed the life I used to live did offer me
Full many a type of spiritual work:
Yet cared I not to pluck or taste its fruit.
But this strange mode of thought which blossoms here
Seems to attract and draw me to itself
However little I desired to come.

Most pleasant hath this hour of converse been,
And we are debtors to our hostess here.
(Exeunt all, except Maria and Johannes.)

Oh, stay a little while yet by my side,
I am afraid: — so desperately afraid: —

Tell me; what is it aileth thee, my friend?

The first cause was our leader's speech; and then
The chequered converse of these people here.
It all hath moved and stirred me through and through.

But how could simple speeches such as these
Seize on thine heart with such intensity?

Each word seemed in that moment unto me
A dreadful symbol of our nothingness.

Indeed it was significant to see
Pour forth in such short time so many kinds
Of life and man's conflicting tendencies,
In all the speeches that we lately heard.
Yet 'tis indeed a most peculiar trait
Of life, as it is lived amongst us here,
To bring to speech the inner mind of man;
And much that otherwise comes slowly forth,
Stands here revealed in little space of time.

A mirrored picture 'twas of fullest life
That showed me to myself in clearest lines:
This spirit-revelation makes me feel
That most of us protect and train one trait
And one alone in all our character,
Which thus persuades itself it is the whole.
I sought to unify these many traits
In mine own self and boldly trod the path
Which here is shown, to lead unto that goal;
And it hath made of me a nothingness.
Keenly I feel what all these others lack,
And yet I sense as keenly that they all
Have actual part in life itself, whilst I
Stand but on unsubstantial nothingness.
It seemed whole lines of life ran into one
Significant in those brief speeches here.
But then mine own life's portrait also rose
And stood forth vividly within my soul.
The days of childhood first were painted there,
With all its fullness and its joy in life:
Then came the picture of my youthful prime
With that proud hopefulness in parent-hearts
Awakened by the talents of their son.
Then dreams concerning my career in art,
Which formed life's all in those old happy days,
Surged up from out my spirit's inmost depths
Exhorting to fulfil my cherished hopes;
And then those dreams in which thyself didst see
How I translated into coloured form
The spirit-life that liveth in thy soul.

Then saw I tongues of fire spring up and lick
Around my youthful dreams and artist hopes,
Reducing all to dust and nothingness.
Thereafter rose another pictured form
From out that drear and dreadful nothingness —
A human form, which once had linked its fate
In faithful love with mine in days long past.
She sought to hold me by her when I turned
Long years ago unto my home again,
Called to attend my mother's funeral rites.
I heeded not, but tore myself away;
For mighty was the power that drew me here
To this thy circle and the goals of life
Which here are set before our eager gaze.
In those dark days I felt no sense of guilt
When I did rend in twain the bond of love,
That was unto another soul its life.
Nor later when the message came to me
How that her life did slowly pine away,
And finally was altogether quenched
Did I feel aught of guilt until to-day;
But full of meaning were those recent words
In yonder chamber which our leader spake;
How that we may destroy by power misused
And perverse thought the destiny of those
Whom bonds of loving trust link to our souls.
Ah, hideously these words again resound
Out of the picture, thence re-echoing
With ghastly repetition from all sides:
‘Her murderer thou art! her hast thou slain!’
Thus whilst this weighty speech hath been for all
The motive to probe deep within themselves,
Within my heart it hath brought forth alone
The consciousness of this most grievous guilt.
By this new means of sight I can perceive
How far astray my striving footsteps erred.

And at this moment, friend, in dark domains
Thou walkest, and none else can help thee there,
Save he, in whom we all do put out trust.
(Maria is called away; re-enter Helena.)

I feel constrained to linger by thy side
A little while; since now for many weeks
Thy gaze hath held so much of grief and care.
How can the light, which streams so radiantly
Bring gloom unto thy soul, which only strives
With utmost strength to seek and know the truth?

Hath then this light brought naught but joy to thee?

Not the same joy as that which once I knew,
But that new joy which springeth from those words,
Through which the spirit doth reveal itself.

Natheless I tell thee that the self-same power,
Which doth in thee create, can also crush.

Some error must have crept into thy soul
With cunning tread, if this be possible;
And if dull care instead of happiness,
And moods of sorrow flow forth from the source
Of truth itself instead of spirit-bliss
In free abundance: seek then in thyself
The stumbling-blocks that thus impede thy way.
How often are we told that only health
Is the true fruitage of our teaching here,
Which makes to blossom forth the powers of life.
Shall it then show the contrary in thee?
I see its fruitage in so many lives,
Which gather trustingly around me here.
Their former mode of life grows day by day
Strange and still stranger to such souls as these;
As well-springs are fresh opened in their hearts,
Thenceforth renewing life within themselves.
To gaze into the primal depths of being
Doth not create those passionate desires
Which torture and torment the souls of men.

It took me many years to understand
And know the vanity of things of sense
When spirit-knowledge is not joined with them
In close and intimate companionship.
But that the words of highest wisdom's light
Uttered by thee, are empty vanity
One single moment hath sufficed to prove.

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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:27 am

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 2

Landscape: rocks and springs. The entire scene is to be thought of as taking place in the-soul of Johannes Thomasius. What follows is the content of his meditation.

(There sounds from the springs and rocks:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

'Tis thus I hear them, now these many years,
These words of weighty import all around.
I hear them in the wind and in the wave:
Out from earth's depths do they resound to me:
And as a tiny acorn's mystery,
Confines the structure of a mighty oak,
So in the kernel of these words there lies,
All elemental nature; all I grasp
Of soul, of spirit, time, eternity.
It seems mine own peculiarities
And all the world besides live in these words:
‘Know thou thyself, O man. Know thou thyself.’

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

And now — I feel
Mine inmost being terrified to life:
Without the gloom of night doth weave me round,
And deep within my soul thick darkness yawns:
And sounding from this universal gloom
And up from out the darkness of my soul
These words ring forth: ‘Know thou thyself, O man.’

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

It robs me of my very self: I change
Each hour of day, and am transformed by night.
The earth I follow on its cosmic course:
I seem to rumble in the thunder's peal,
And flash adown the lightning's fierce-forked tongue —
I Am. — Alas, already do I feel
Mine own existence snatched away from me.
I see what was my former carnal shape,
As some strange being, quite outside myself,
And infinitely far away from me.
But now another body hovers near;
And through its mouth I am compelled to speak: —
‘Ah, bitter sorrow hath he brought to me;
So utterly I trusted him of old.
He left me lonely with my sorrow's pain,
He robbed me of the very warmth of life,
And thrust me deep beneath the chill, cold ground.’
Poor soul, 'tis she I left, and leaving her
It was in truth mine own self that I left;
And I must suffer all her pain and woe.
For knowledge hath endowed me with the power
Myself into another's self to fuse.
Ah me! Ye quench again by your own power
The light of inner knowledge ye have brought,
Ye cruel words, ‘Know thou thyself, O man.’

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

Ye lead me back again within the sphere
Of mine own being's former fantasies.
Yet in what shape know I myself again!
My human form is lost and gone from me;
Like some fierce dragon do I see myself;
Begotten out of primal lust and greed.
And clearly do I see how up till now
Some dim deluding veil of phantom forms
Hath hid from me mine own monstrosity.
Mine own self's fierceness must devour my Self.
And through my veins run like consuming fire
Those words, that once with elemental force
Revealed the core of suns and earths to me.
They throb within my pulse, beat in mine heart;
And even in mine inmost thoughts I feel
Strange worlds e'en now blaze forth like passions fierce.
They are the fruitage of these very words:
‘Know thou thyself, O man. Know thou thyself.’

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

There, — from that dark abyss, what creature glares?
I feel the chains that hold me chained to thee.
So fast was not Prometheus rivetted
Upon the naked rocks of Caucasus,
I am rivetted and forged to thee
Who art thou, fearful, execrable shape?

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

Oh yea, I know thee; for thou art myself:
Knowledge doth chain to thee, pernicious beast,
(Enter Maria unnoticed by Johannes.)

Chain mine own self — pernicious beast — to thee.
I willed to flee from thee; but I was blind,
Blinded by glamour of the worlds, whereto
My folly fled to free me from myself;
And now once more within my sightless soul
Blind through these words: ‘Know thou thyself, O man.’

(From the springs and rocks resounds:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

Johannes: (As though coming to himself, sees Maria. The meditation passes to the plane of inner reality.)
Thou here, my friend?

I sought thee, friend, although I know full well
How comforting to thee is solitude,
When many varying thoughts of many men
Have flooded o'er thy soul. I also know
I cannot by my presence help my friend
In this dark hour of strife — yet yearnings vague
Drive me in this same moment unto thee;
When Benedictus' words, instead of light,
Such grievous sorrow drew from thy soul's depths.

How comforting to me is solitude!

Yea, I have sought to find myself therein,
So often when to labyrinths of thought
The joys and griefs of men had driven me.
But now, O friend, that, too, is past and gone.
What Benedictus' words at first aroused
Within my soul, and all that I lived through
When listening to the speeches of those men,
Seems but indeed a little thing, when I
Compare therewith the storm that solitude
With sullen brooding hath brought forth in me.
Ah me! when I recall this solitude!
It hounded me into the voids of space,
And tore me from my very self in twain,
Within that soul to whom I brought such grief
I rose, as though I were that other self.
And there I had to suffer all the pain
Of which I was myself the primal cause.
Ah cruel, sombre, fearful solitude
Thou giv'st me back unto myself indeed,
Yet but to terrify me with the sight
Of mine own nature's fathomless abyss.
Man's final refuge hath been lost to me:
I have been robbed of solitude.

I must repeat what I have said before.
Alone can Benedictus succour thee;
Only from him may we obtain support
And that firm basis which we both do lack.
For know thou this I also can no more
Endure the riddle of my life, unless
His gentle guidance solveth it for me.
Full often have I kept before mine eyes
This truth sublime, that o'er all life doth float
Appearance and deception if we grasp
Life's surface only in our moods of thought.
And o'er and o'er again it spake to me:
Thou must take knowledge how illusion's veil
Weaves all around thee; and however oft
It may appear to thee as truth, beware;
For evil fruitage may in truth arise
If thou shouldst try within another's soul
To wake the light that lives within thyself.
Yet in the best part of my soul I know
That even this oppressive weight of care
Which hath o'erwhelmed thy soul, dear friend of mine,
As thou didst tread with me the path of life,
Is part and parcel of the thorny way,
That leads unto the light of Truth itself.
Thou must live through each horror and alarm
That can spring forth from vain imagining
Before the Truth in essence stands revealed.
Thus speaks thy star; and by that same star's speech
It doth appear to me that we shall walk
One day united, on the spirit-paths.
And yet whene'er I seek to tread these paths
Black night doth spread a curtain round my sight.
And many things I am compelled to see,
Springing as fruitage from my character,
Intensify the darkness of that night.
We two must seek clear vision in that light,
Which, though it vanish for a while from sight,
Can never be extinguished in the soul.

But then, Maria, dost thou realize
Through what my soul hath fought its way but now?
A grievous destiny is thine, dear friend,
Full well I know. And yet how far remote
From thy pure nature is the avenging force,
That hath so wholly shattered mine own soul.
Thou canst ascend the clearest heights of truth,
And scan with steadfast gaze life's tangled path;
And whether in the darkness or the light
Thou wilt retain thine own identity.
But me each moment may deprive of Self.
Deep down I had to dive within the hearts
Of those who late revealed themselves in speech.
I followed one to cloistered solitude, —
And in another's soul I listened to
Felicia's fairy lore. I was each one;
Only unto myself I seemed as dead;
For I must fain believe that primal life
Did spring from very Nothingness itself,
If it were right to entertain the hope,
That out of that dread nothingness in me
A human being ever could arise.
For I am driven from fear into the dark
And from the darkness back again to fear
By wisdom stored within these living words:
‘Know thou thyself, O man. Know thou thyself.’

(From the springs and rocks the words resound:)
Know thou thyself, O man.

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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:28 am

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 3

A room for meditation. The background is a great purple curtain. The scene is purple in colour with a large yellow pentagonal lamp suspended from the ceiling. No other furniture or ornaments are in the room except the lamp and one chair. Benedictus, Johannes, Maria, and a child.

I bring to thee this child who needs some word
From out thy mouth.

My child, henceforth each eve
Thou shalt come unto me to hear the word
That shall fill full thy soul ere thou dost tread
The realm of souls in sleep. Wilt thou do this?

Most gladly will I come.

This very eve
Fill thy soul full ere sleep embraceth thee,
With strength from these few words: ‘The powers of light
Bear me aloft unto the spirit's home.’
(Maria, having taken the child away, returns.)

And now, that this child's destiny doth flow
Harmoniously through future days beneath
The shadow of thy gracious fatherhood,
I too may claim my leader's kind advice,
Who am its mother, not by bond of blood
But through the mighty power of destiny.
For thou hast shown to me the way wherein
I had to guide its footsteps from that day,
When I discovered it before my door
Left by its unknown mother desolate.
And wonder-working proved themselves those rules
Whereby thou madest me train my foster-child.
All powers, that deep in body and in soul
Lay hidden, issued forth to light and life:
Clear proof it was that all thy counselling
Sprang from the realm which sheltered this child's soul
Before it built its body's covering.
We saw its early promise blossom forth
And radiate more brightly each new day;
Thou dost know well how hard it was for me
To gain the child's affection, at the first.
It grew up 'neath my care, and yet nought else
Save habit chained its soul at first to mine.
It only realized and felt that I
Gave it the nurture and the food that served
The needs of body and the growth of soul.
Then came the time when in the child-like heart
There dawned the love for her who fostered it.
An outer incident brought forth this change —
The visit of the seeress to our group.
Gladly the child did go about with her
And soon did learn full many a beauteous word
Steeped in the mystic charm that graced her speech.
Then came the moment when her ecstasy
Descended on our friend with magic power.
The child could see her eyes, strange smouldering light,
And, terrified unto the vital core,
The young soul found itself.

In her dismay she fled unto mine arms;
And from that hour did grow her love for me.
Since that same time she doth accept from me
The gifts of life with her full consciousness
Not with blind instinct: aye, and since that day
When this young heart first quivered into warmth,
Whene'er her gaze met mine with loving glance,
Thy wisdom's treasures of their fruitage failed,
And much already ripe hath withered up.
I saw appear in her those tokens strange
That proved so terrible unto my friend.

A dark enigma am I to myself,
And grow still darker. Thou wilt not deny
To solve for me life's fearful questionings
I Why do I mar the life of friend and child,
When I in love attempt to work on them
According to the dictates of my heart
By spirit-lore instructed and inspired?
Oft hast thou taught me this exalted truth —
Illusion's veil o'erspreads life's surfaces —
Yet must I see with greater clarity
Why I must bear this heavy destiny,
That seems so cruel and that works such harm.

Within our circle there is formed a knot
Of threads that Karma spins world-fashioning.
Thy sufferings, my friend, are links in chains,
Forged by the hand of destiny, whereby
The deeds of Gods unite with human lives. —

When in life's pilgrimage I had attained
That rank which granted me the dignity
To serve with counsel in the spirit-spheres,
A godlike Being did draw nigh to me,
Who would descend into the realms of earth,
And dwell there, veiled in form of flesh, as man.
For just at this one turning-point of time
The Karma of mankind made this demand.
For each great step in world-development
Is only possible when Gods do stoop
To link themselves with human destiny.
And this new spirit-sight that needs must grow
And germinate henceforth in souls of men
Can only be unfolded when a God
Doth plant the seed within some human heart.
My task it was to find that human soul
Which worthy seemed to take within itself
The powerful Seed of God. I had to join
The deed of heaven to some human lot.
My spirit's eye then sought, and fell on thee.
Thy course of life had fitted thee to be
The mediator in salvation's work.
Through many former lives thou hadst acquired
Receptiveness for all the greatest things
That human hearts can e'er experience.
Within thy tender soul thou didst bring forth,
As spirit heritage, the noble gift
Of beauty, joined to virtue's loftiest claim:
And that which thine eternal Self had formed
And brought to being through thy birth on earth
Did reach ripe fruitage when thy years were few. —
Thou didst not scale steep spirit-heights too soon,
Nor grew thy yearning for the spirit-land
Before thou hadst the full enjoyment known
Of harmless pleasures in the world of sense.
Anger and love thy soul did learn to know
When thy thoughts dwelt yet far from spirit-life.
Nature in all her beauty to enjoy,
And pluck the fruits of art, — these didst thou strive
To make thy life's sole content and its wealth.
Merry thy laughter, as a child can laugh
Who hath not known as yet life's shadowed fears.
Thus thou didst learn to understand life's joy,
And mourn in sadness, each in its own time,
Before thy dawning conscience grew to seek
Of sorrow and of happiness the cause.
A ripened fruit of many lives that soul,
That enters earth's domains, and shows such moods.
Its childlike nature is the blossoming
And not the ground-root of its character.
And such a soul alone was I to choose
As mediator for the God, who sought
The power to work within our human world.
And now thou learnest that thy nature must
Transform itself into its opposite,
When it flows forth to other human souls.
The spirit in thee ripens whatsoe'er
In human nature can attain the realm
Of vast eternity; and much it slays
That is but part of transitory realms.
And yet the sacrifices of such deaths
Are but the seeds of immortality;
All that which blossoms forth from death below
Must grow unto the higher life above.

E'en so it is with me. Thou giv'st me light:
But light that doth deprive me of my sight,
And sunder me from mine own self in twain.
Then do I seem some spirit's instrument —
No longer master of myself. No more
Do I endure that erstwhile form of mine
Which only is a mask and not the truth.

O friend, what ails thee? Vanished is the light
That filled thine eye: as marble is thy frame.
I grasp thine hand and find it cold as death.

My son, full many trials have come to thee;
And now thou stand'st before life's hardest test.
Thou seest the carnal covering of thy friend;
But her true self doth float in spirit-spheres
Before mine eyes.

See! Her lips move; she speaks.

Thou gav'st me clearness yet this clearness throws
A veil of darkness round on every side.
I curse thy clearness; and I curse thee too,
Who didst make tool of me for weird wild arts
Whereby thou willedst to deceive mankind.
No doubt at any moment hitherto
Had crossed my mind of heights thy spirit reached;
But now one single moment doth suffice
To tear all faith in thee from out my heart.
Those spirit-beings thou art subject to,
I now must recognize as hellish fiends.
Others I had to mislead and deceive
Because at first I was deceived by thee. —
But I will flee unto dim distances,
Where not a sound of thee shall reach mine ears;
Yet near enough that thy soul may be reached
By bitter curses framed by these my lips.
For thou didst rob my blood of all its fire,
That thou mightst sacrifice to thy false god
That which was rightly mine and mine alone.
But now this same blood's fire shall thee consume.
Thou madest me trust in vain imaginings;
And that this might be so, thou first didst make
A pictured falsehood of my very self.
Often had I to mark how from my soul
Each deed and thought turned to its opposite;
So now doth turn what once was love for thee,
Into the fire of wild and bitter hate.
Through all worlds will I seek to find that fire
Which can consume thee — I curse — Ah, woe!

Who speaketh here? I do not see my friend.
I hear instead some gruesome being speak.

Thy friend's soul hovers in the heights above.
Only her mortal image hath she left
Here with us: and where'er a human form
Is found bereft of soul, there is the room
Sought by the enemy, the foe of good,
To enter into realms perceptible,
And find some carnal form through which to speak.
Just such an adversary spake e'en now,
Who would destroy the work imposed on me
For thee, my son, and millions yet unborn.
Were I to deem these wild anathemas,
Which our friend's shell did utter here and now,
Aught else but some grim tempter's cunning skill,
Thou durst not follow more my leadership.
The enemy of Good stood by my side,
And thou hast seen into the darkness plunged
All that is temporal of that dear form,
For whom, my son, thy whole love burns and glows.
Since through her mouth spirits spake oft to thee,
The Karma of the world could not restrain
Hell's princes also speaking thus through her.
Now only mayst thou seek her very soul
And learn her nature's inmost verity;
For she shall form for thee the prototype
Of that new higher life of humankind
To which thou dost aspire to raise thyself.
Her soul hath soared aloft to spirit-heights,
Where every man may find his being's source
Which springs to life and fullness in himself.
Thou too shalt follow her to spirit-realms,
And see her in the Temple of the Sun. —
Within this circle there is formed a knot
Of threads which Karma spins, world fashioning.
My son, since thou hast now attained thus far,
Thou shalt still further pierce beyond the veil.
I see thy star in fullest splendour shine.
There is no place within the realm of sense
For strife, such as men wage when they do strive
And struggle after consecration's gift.
Whate'er the outer world of sense begets
Of riddles soluble by intellect,
Whate'er this world engenders in man's heart
Born tho' it be of love or bitter hate
And howsoever direful its results:
The spirit-seeker must attain the power
In all these things to stand unmoved, serene,
Casting his gaze all unperturbed and calm
Upon the scene where such contentions rage.
For him must other powers unfold themselves
Which are not found upon this field of strife.
So didst thou need to fight to prove thy soul
In combat such as comes to him alone,
Who finds himself accoutred for such powers
As do belong unto the spirit-worlds.
And had these powers found thee not ripe enough
To tread the path of knowledge, they needs must
Have maimed thy powers of feeling, ere thou daredst
To know all that which now is known to thee.
The Beings, who can gaze into world-depths,
Lead on those men, who would attain the heights,
First to that summit whence it may be shown
Whether there lies in them the power to reach
To conscious sight within the spirit-realms.
And those in whom such powers are found to lie
Are straightway from the world of sense set free.
The others all must wait their season due.
But thou, thou hast preserved thy Self, my son,
When Powers on high stirred to its depths thy soul,
And potent spirits shrouded thee with fear.
Right powerfully thy Self hath fought its way
E'en though thy very heart was torn by doubts,
That willed to thrust thee into darksome depths.
True pupil of my teaching hast thou been,
First since that hour, so fraught with fate for thee,
When thou didst learn to doubt thy very self,
And gavest up thyself as wholly lost,
But yet the strength within thee held thee fast.
Then might I give thee of my treasured store
Of wisdom, whence to draw the strength to stand
Assured, e'en when mistrusting thine own self.
Such was the wisdom which thou didst attain
More steadfast than the faith once given to thee.
Ripe wast thou found, and thou may'st be set free.
Thy friend hath gone before and waits for thee
In spirit-worlds, and thou shalt find her there.
I can but add this guidance for thee now:
Kindle the full power of thy soul with words
Which through my lips shall grant to thee the key
To spirit-heights, and they will lead thee on
When naught else leads, that eyes of sense can see.
Receive them in the fulness of thy heart:
‘The weaving essence of the light streams forth
Through depths of space to fill the world with life;
Love's grace doth warm the centuries of time
To call forth revelation of all worlds.
And spirit-messengers come forth to wed
The weaving essence of creative light
With revelation of the souls of men:
And that man, who can wed to both of these
His very Self, he lives in spirit-heights.’
O spirits, who are visible to man,
Quicken with life the soul of this our son:
From inmost depths may there stream forth for him
That which can fill his soul with spirit-light.
From inmost depths may there resound for him
That which can wholly wake in him his Self
To the creative joy of spirit-life.

A Spirit-Voice behind the stage:
To founts of worlds primeval
His surging thoughts do mount; —
What as shadow he hath thought
What as fancy he hath lived
Soars up beyond the world of form and shape;
On whose fulness pondering
Mankind in shadow dreams,
O'er whose fulness gazing forth
Mankind in fancy lives.

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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:29 am

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 4

A landscape which seeks to express the world of souls by its characteristic peculiarities.

Enter Lucifer and Ahriman. Johannes is seen at the right of the stage in deep meditation. What follows is experienced by him in meditation.

O man, know thou thyself; O man, feel me.
From spirit guidance, thou hast freed thyself,
And into earth's free realms thou hast escaped.
Midst earth's confusion thou didst seek to prove
Thine own existence; and to find thyself
Was thy reward, and was thy destiny.
Me didst thou find: for spirits willed
To cast a veil before the eyes of sense;
Which veil I rent in twain. Those spirits willed
To follow out their will alone in thee;
But I gave thee self-will and foiled their aim.
O man, know thou thyself; O man, feel me.

O man, know me; O man, feel thou thyself.
Thou hast escaped from darkened spirit-realms
And thou hast found again the earth's pure light,
So now from my sure ground drink strength and truth.
I make earth hard and fast. The spirits willed
To snatch away from thee the charm of sense;
Which charm I weave for thee in light condensed.
I lead thee unto true reality.
O man, know me; O man, feel thou thyself.

Time was not when thou didst not live through me.
I followed thee throughout the course of life,
And was permitted to bestow on thee
Strong personal traits and joy in thine own self.

Time was not when thou didst not me behold.
Thy mortal eyes saw me in all earth's growth;
I was permitted to shine forth for thee
In beauty proud and revelation's bliss.
(Exit with Lucifer.)

Johannes (to himself in meditation):
This is the sign as Benedictus told.
Before the world of souls stand these two powers:
The one, as Tempter, lives within the soul;
The other doth obscure the sight of man
When he directeth it to outward things.
The one took on the woman's form e'en now,
To bring the soul's illusions 'neath my gaze;
The other may be found in everything.

(Enter the Spirit of the Elements with Capesius and Strader, whom he has brought to the earth's surface from the earth's depths. They are conceived as souls looking out upon the earth's surface. The Spirit of the Elements is aged and stands erect upon a sphere. Capesius and Strader are in astral garb; the former, though the older man of the two in years, here appears the younger. He wears blue robes of various shades, Strader wears brown and yellow.)

So have ye reached the spot ye longed to find.
It proved indeed a heavy care to me,
To grant your wish. Spirits and elements
Did rage in mad wild storm when their domain
I had to enter with your essences.
Your minds opposed the ruling of my powers.

Mysterious Being, who art thou, who hast
Brought me to this fair realm through spirit-spheres?

The soul of man may only look on me,
Whene'er the service which I render him
Hath been achieved. Yet he obeys my powers
Through all the moving sequences of time.

It matters little to me to enquire
What spirit led me hither to this place.
I feel life's powers revive in this new land,
Whose light doth seem to widen mine own breast
In my pulse-beat I feel the whole world's might;
And premonitions of exalted deeds
Thrill in my heart. I will translate in words
The revelation of this beauteous realm,
That hath refreshed me in such wondrous wise;
And souls of men shall bloom, as choicest flowers
If I can pour into their life on earth
The inspiration flowing from these founts.
(Lightning and thunder from the depths and heights.)

Why quake the depths, and why resound the heights
When hope's young dreams surge upward in the soul?
(Lightning and thunder.)

To human dreamers words of hope like these
Sound proud indeed; but in the depths of earth
The vain illusions of mistaken thought
Awake such thunderous echoes evermore.
Ye mortals hear them only at those times
When ye draw nigh to my domain. Ye think
To build exalted temples unto Truth,
And yet your work's effects do but unchain
Storm-spirits in primeval. depths of earth.
Nay more, the spirits must destroy whole worlds,
That deeds ye do in realms where time hath sway
May not cause devastation and cold death
Through all the ages of eternity.

So these eternal ages must regard
As empty fantasy what seems the truth
To man's best observation and research.
(Lightning and thunder.)

An empty fantasy, so long as sense
Doth only search in realms to spirit strange.

Thou may'st well call a dreamer that friend's soul
Which in the joy of youth its goal doth set
With such a noble strength and high desire;
But in mine aged heart thy words fall dead
Despite their summoned aid of thunderous storms.
I tore myself from cloistered quietude
To proud achievement in my search for truth.
In life's storm-centres many a year I stood,
And men had confidence in me, and what
I taught them through my deep strong sense for truth.
(Lightning and thunder.)

'Tis fitting for thee to confess that none
Can tell whence stream the fountains of our thought,
Nor where the fundaments of Being lie.

Oh this same speech, which in youth's hopeful days
So oft with chill persistence pierced my soul
When thought-foundations quaked, which once seemed firm
(Lightning and thunder.)

If thou dost fail to gain the victory
O'er me with those blunt weapons of thy thought
Thou art a fleeting phantom, nothing more,
Formed by thine own deluded imagery.

So soon again such gruesome speech from thee!
This too I heard before in mine own soul,
When once a seeress threateningly did wish
To wreck the firm foundations of my thought
And make me feel the sharp dread sting of doubt.
But that is past, and I defy thy might,
Thou aged rogue, so cunningly concealed
Beneath a mask devised by thine own self
To counterfeit the form of nature's lord.
Reason will overthrow thee, otherwise
Than thou dost think, when once she is enthroned
Upon the proud heights of the mind of man.
As mistress will she reign assuredly
Not as some handmaiden in nature's realm.
(Lightning and thunder.)

The world is ordered so, that every act
Requires a like reaction: unto you
I gave the self; ye owe me my reward.

I will myself create from mine own soul
The spirit counterpart of things of sense.
And when at length all nature stands transformed,
Idealized through man's creative work,
Her mirrored form shall be reward enough;
And then if thou dost feel thyself akin
To that great mother of all worlds, and spring'st
From depths where world-creating forces reign,
Then let my will, which lives in head and breast,
Inspiring me to aim at highest goals,
Be thy reward for deeds commanded.
Thy help hath raised me from dull sentiment
To thought's proud heights ... Let this be thy reward!
(Lightning and thunder.)

Ye well can see, how little your bold words
Bear weight in my domain: they do but loose
The storm, and rouse the elements to wrath,
As adversaries of the ordered world.

Take then thine own reward where't may be found.
The impulse that doth drive the souls of men
To seek true spirit-heights within themselves
Set their own measure, their own order make.
Creation were not possible for man
If others wished to claim what he had made.
The song that trills from out the linnet's throat
Sufficeth for itself; and so doth man
Find his reward, when in his fashioning work
He doth experience creative joy.
(Lightning and thunder.)

It is not meet to grudge me my reward.
If ye yourselves cannot repay the debt
Then tell the woman, who endowed your souls
With power, that she must pay instead of you.

He hath departed. Whither turn we now?
To find our way aright in these new worlds
Must be, it seems, the first care of our minds.

To follow confidently the best way,
That we can find, with sure but cautious tread,
Methinks should lead us straightway to the goal.

Rather should we be silent as to goal.
That we shall find if we courageously
Obey the impulse of our inner self,
Which speaks thus to me: ‘Let Truth be thy guide;
May it unfold strong powers within thyself
And mould them with the noblest fashioning
In all that thou shalt do; then must thy steps
Attain their destined goal, nor go astray.’

Yet from the outset it were best our steps
Should not lack consciousness of their true goal,
If we would be of service unto men
And give them happiness. He, who would serve
Himself alone, doth follow his own heart;
But he, who wills to serve his neighbour best,
Must surely know his life's necessities.

(The Other Maria, also in soul form, emerges from the rocks, covered with precious stones.)
But see I What wondrous being's this? It seems
As though the rock itself did give it birth.
From what world-depths do such strange forms arise?

The Other Maria:
I wrest my way through solid rock, and fain
Would clothe in human speech its very will;
I sense earth's essence and with human brains
I fain would think the thoughts of Earth herself.
I breathe pure air of life, and I transmute
Beings of air into the feeling flow
That surging swells within the breast of man.

Then thou canst not assist us in our quest.
For far aloft from men's endeavour stands
All that must abide in nature's realm.

Lady, I like thy words, and I would fain
Translate thy form of speech into mine own.

The Other Maria:
Most strange doth seem to me your proud discourse.
For, when ye speak yourselves, unto mine ear
Your words do sound incomprehensible.
But if I let them echo in my heart
And issue in new form, they spread abroad
O'er all that lives in mine environment
And solve for me its hidden mystery.

If this, thy speech, be true, then change for us
Into thy speech, that nature may respond,
The question of the true worth of man's life.
For we ourselves lack power to question thus
Great mother nature that we may be heard.

The Other Maria:
In me ye only see an humble maid
Of that high spirit-being, which doth dwell
In that domain whence ye have just now come.
There hath been given me this field of work
That here in lowliness I may show forth
Her mirrored image unto mortal sense.

So then we have just fled from that domain
Wherein our longing could have been assuaged?

The Other Maria:
And if ye do not find again the way,
Your efforts shall be fruitless evermore.

Then tell which way will lead us back again.

The Other Maria:
There are two ways. If my power doth attain
To its full height all creatures of my realm
Shall glow in beauty's most resplendent dress.
From rocks and water, glittering light shall stream,
And colours in their richest fulness flash
On all around, whilst life in merry mood
Shall fill the air with joyous harmony.
And if your souls do then but steep themselves
In mine own being's purest ecstasy
On spirit pinions shall ye wing your way
Unto primeval origins of worlds.

That is no way for us; for in our speech
We name such talk mere fancy, and we fain
Would seek firm ground, not fly to cloud-capped heights.

The Other Maria:
Then if ye wish to tread the other path
Ye must-forthwith renounce your spirit's pride.
Ye must forget what reason doth command,
And let the touch of nature conquer you.
In your men's breasts let your child-soul have sway,
Artless and undisturbed by thought's dim shades.
So will ye surely reach Life's fountain-head,
Although unconscious of the way ye go.

Thus are we thrown back on ourselves alone,
And have but learned that it behoveth us
To work and wait in patience for the fruit
That future days shall ripen from our work.

Johannes (speaking, as it were, from his meditation. Here and in the following scene he sits aside and takes no part in the action):
So do I find within the soul's domain
Those men who are already known to me:
First he who told us of Felicia's tales,
Though here I saw him in his youthful prime;
And also he who in his younger days
Had chosen for his life monastic rule,
As some old man did he appear: with them
There stood the Spirit of the Elements.

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Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:30 am

The Portal of Initiation

Scene 5

A subterranean rock-temple: a hidden site of the Mysteries of the Hierophants.

At the right of the stage, Johannes is seen in deep meditation.

Benedictus (in the East):
Ye, who have been companions unto me
In the domain of everlasting life,
Here in your midst I stand to-day to ask
The help of which I stand in need from you
To weave the thread of destiny for one,
Who from our midst must now receive the light.
Through bitter trials and sorrows hath he passed,
And hath in deepest agony of soul
Prepared the way to consecrate his life
And thus attain to knowledge of the truth.
Accomplished now the task assigned to me,
As spirit-messenger, to bring to men
The treasured wisdom of this temple's shrine.
And now, ye brethren, 'tis your sacred task
To bring my work to full accomplishment.
I showed to him the light that proved the guide
To his first vision of the spirit-world,
But that this vision may be turned to truth
Your work must needs be added unto mine.
My words proceed from mine own mouth alone,
But through your lips world-spirits do sound forth.

Theodosius (in the South):
Thus speaks the power of love, which bindeth worlds
And filleth beings with the breath of life: —
Let warmth flow in his heart that he may grasp
How by the sacrificing of that vain
Illusion of his personality
He doth draw near the spirit of the world.

His sight from sleep of sense thou hast set free;
Love's warmth will wake the spirit in his soul;
His Self from carnal covering thou hast drawn;
And love itself will crystallize his soul
That it may be a mirror to reflect
All that doth happen in the spirit-world.
Love too will give him strength to feel himself
A spirit, and will fashion thus his ear
That it can hear and know the spirit-speech.

Romanus (in the West):
Nor are my words the revelation
Of mine own self. Through me the world-will speaks.
And since thou hast thus raised unto the power
To live in spirit-realms the man to thee
Entrusted, now this power shall lead him forth
Beyond the bounds of space and ends of time.
To those realms shall he pass wherein do work
Creative spirits, who shall there reveal
Themselves to him; demanding from him deeds;
And willingly will he perform their work.
The purposes of those who mould the worlds
Shall fill his soul with life; there too the earth's
Primeval sources shall enspirit him;
World potencies shall there empower him;
The mights of spheres shall there enlighten him,
And rulers of the worlds fill him with fire.

Retardus (in the North):
From the foundation of the world ye have
Been forced to suffer me within your midst.
So must ye also to my words give ear
In your deliberations here to-day.
Some little time must surely yet elapse
Before ye can fulfil and bring to pass
What ye have set forth in such beauteous words.
No sign as yet hath come to us from earth
That she doth long for new initiates.
So long as this spot, where we council hold,
Hath not been trodden by the feet of those
Who, uninitiated, yet have power
The spirits to release from things of sense,
So long the task is mine to check your zeal.
First must they bring us message that the earth
Doth seem in need of revelations new.
For this cause hold I back your spirit-light
Within this temple, lest it may bring harm
Instead of health to souls that are not ripe.
Out of myself I give to man on earth
That faculty which lets the truths of sense
Appear to him the highest, just so long
As spirit wisdom would but blind his eyes.
Therefore let simple faith be still his guide
In matters of the spirit: let his will
Its hidden inspiration still receive
From dim desires which feel their way through life.

From the foundation of the world we have
Been forced to suffer thee within our midst.
But now at length the time hath run its course
That was allotted to such work as thine.
The world-will in me feels that they approach —

(Felix Balde appears in his earthly shape: the Other Maria as a soul form from out of the

— Who, unitiated, can release
The spirit from the outward show of sense.
No more 'tis granted thee to check our steps.
They near our temple of their own free will
And bring to thee this message, that they wish
To help our spirit labours, joined with us.
They found themselves till now not yet prepared
For union, since they clung to the belief
That seership must stand from intellect aloof.
Now have they learned whither mankind is led
By reason, which, when severed from true sight,
Doth err and wander in the depths of worlds.
They now will speak to thee of fruits which needs
Must ripen through thy power in human souls.

Ye, who unconsciously have forwarded
My work till now, ye shall still further help —
If ye will distant keep from all that doth
Belong unto my realm and that alone;
Then shall ye surely find a place reserved
For you to work as hitherto ye worked.

Felix Balde:
A power, which speaks from very depths of earth
Unto my spirit, hath commanded me
To come unto this consecrated place;
Since it desires to speak to you through me
Of all its bitter sorrow and its need.

My friend, then tell us now how thou hast learned
The woe of world-depths in thine own soul's core.

Felix Balde:
The light that shines in men as learning's fruit
Must needs give nourishment to all the powers
Which serve world-cycles in the earth's dark depths.
Already now a long time have they starved
Well-nigh entirely reft of sustenance.
For that which grows to-day in human brains
Doth only serve the surface of the earth,
And doth not penetrate unto its depths.
Some strange new superstition now cloth haunt
These clever human heads: they turn their gaze
Unto primeval origins of earth
And will but spectres see in spirit spheres,
Thought out by vain illusion of the sense.
A merchant surely would consider mad
A purchaser, who would speak thus to him:
‘The mists and fog, that hover in the vale,
Can certainly condense to solid gold;
And with such gold thou shalt be paid thy debt.’
The merchant will not willingly await
To have his ducats made from fog and mist;

And yet whene'er his soul doth thirst to find
Solution of the riddles set by life,
Should science offer him such payments then
For spirit needs and debts, right willingly
Will he accept whole solar systems built
Out of primeval world-containing fog.
The teacher who discovers some unknown
And luckless layman, who would fain presume
To heights of science or of scholarship
Without examinations duly passed
Will surely threaten him with his contempt.
Yet science doth not doubt that without proof
And without spirit earth's primeval beasts
Could change themselves to men by their own power.

Why dost thou not thyself reveal to men
The sources of this light of thine, which streams
Forth from thy soul with such resplendent ray?

Felix Balde:
A fancy-monger and a man of dreams
They call me, who are well-disposed to me:
But others think of me as some dull fool
Who, all untaught of them, doth follow out
His own peculiar bent of foolishness:

Thou show'st already how untaught thou art
By the simplicity of this thy speech:
Thou dost not know that men of science have
Sufficient shrewdness to make just the same
Objection to themselves; —
And if they make it not they well know why.

Felix Balde:
I know full well that they are shrewd enough
To understand the objections I have voiced,
But not so shrewd as to believe in them.

What must we do that we may forthwith give
The powers of earth what they do need so much?

Felix Balde:
So long as on the earth men only heed
Such men as these, who wish not to recall
Their spirit's primal source, so long will starve
The mineral forces buried in earth's depths.

The Other Maria:
I gather, brother Felix, from thy words,
That thou dost think the time hath now expired
When we did serve earth's purposes the best
By showing forth from depths of our own life
Though uninitiate, by wisdom's light
The living way of spirit and of love.
In thee the spirits of the earth arose
To give thee light without the lore of books:
In me did love hold sway, the love that dwells
And works within the life of men on earth.
And now we wish to join our brethren here, —
Who, consecrate, within this temple serve, —
And bring forth fruitful work in human souls.

If ye unite your labour now with us,
Then must the consecrated work succeed.
The wisdom which I gave unto my son
Will surely blossom forth in him as power.

If ye unite your labour now with us,
Then must the thirst for sacrifice arise.
And through the soul life of whoever seeks
The spirit-path, will breathe the warmth of love.

If ye unite your labour now with us,
Then must the fruits of spirit ripen fast.
Deeds will spring up, which through the spirit's work
Will blossom from the soul's discipleship.

If they unite their labour now with you
What shall become of me? My deeds will prove
Fruitless to those who would the spirit seek.

Then wilt thou change to other forms of being:
Since now thou hast accomplished all thy work.

Henceforth thou wilt live on in sacrifice
If thou dost freely sacrifice thyself.

Thou wilt bear fruit on earth in human deeds
If I myself may tend the fruits for thee.
Johannes (speaking out of his meditation, as in the previous scene):
The brethren in the temple showed themselves
To my soul-sight, in feature like
To men who in the world of sense I know.
Benedictus alone, was like himself in Spirit.
He who stood on his left seemed like that man
Who through the feelings only would draw nigh
The spirit-realms. The third resembled him,
Who doth but recognize the powers of life
When they show forth through wheels and outward works.
The fourth I do not know. The wife who saw
The spirit's light after her husband's death,
I recognized in her own inmost being.
And Felix Balde came just as in life.

The curtain falls slowly
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