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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Four Mystery Plays
GA 14
The Portal of Initiation (Written 1910)

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 rock.)

—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 doth 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