Four Mystery Plays
The Soul's Probation (Written 1911)
The Temple, of the Sun; hidden site of the Mysteries of the Hierophants; Lucifer, Ahriman, the three Soul-Figures, Strader, Benedictus, Theodosius, Romanus, Maria.
(Enter first Lucifer and Ahriman.)
The Lord of Wishes stands as victor here —
He hath been able to o'erpower the soul
Which even in the light of spirit-sun
Still had to feel akin to this our realm.
I seized th' auspicious hour in which to cast
A glamour o'er its vision of the light
To which in dreams alone it had bowed down.
Yet all my hopes must forthwith disappear
That victory is ours in spirit-realms,
Since thou art worsted, comrade of my fight.
Thou wast unable to o'erpower the soul
Which was to bring our labours to their goal.
The human soul that gave itself to me
I can possess and in our kingdom hold
For short earth-lives alone, but all in vain;
For then I must restore it to our foes.
To win outright we need the other, too,
That hath withdrawn itself from thy domain.
The time is not well suited to my arts,
I find no means of access to men's souls.
See, here comes one whom I did sorely plague.
Though ignorant in spirit he draws nigh;
For reason doth compel him to push on.
So I withdraw from him and from this place
Which he can only tread unconsciously.
(The three Soul-Figures with Strader.)
I will myself imbue
With power of Faith's clear light,
I will breathe deep within
The living force of Trust
From soul's aspiring joy;
That thus the light may rouse
The spirit slumberer.
With humble joy of soul
I will inweave forthwith
Sure revelation's word.
I will make dense and thick
The shining rays of Hope;
That light in dark may shine
And twilight in the light,
So powers may bear aloft
The spirit slumberer.
Soul light will I make warm
Love's power will harden too:
That thus they may grow bold
And thus may raise themselves
And mounting up on high
Endow themselves with weight
And free from cosmic loads
The spirit slumberer;
That his soul's love of light
At last may set him free.
My comrades, I have hither summoned you
Who with me seek to find the spirit-light
That should flow streaming to the souls of men.
Ye know the nature of the sun of soul
Oft doth it shine with fullest noontide glare,
And then again like feeble twilight steal
Powerless through mists of visionary dream.
And often doth the darkness drive it out.
The temple-servants' spirit-gaze must pierce
To soul depths where there shines with powerful ray,
The spirit-light that comes from cosmic heights.
Then too it must disclose mysterious aims
That lurk unnoticed in the soul's dark fairs
Intent on shaping man's development.
Those spirit-beings who from cosmic powers
Bestow the spirit-food on human souls
Are present now within the sacred fane
To guide this man's soul from the spirit-night
Into the kingdom of the light on high.
The sleep of knowledge still envelops him;
But spirit-calls already have been heard
In his soul's depths of which he never knew,
That which they spoke deep in his inmost soul
Will shortly find its way to spirit-ears.
This soul hath not been able hitherto
To recognize himself in spirit-light
That through sense-revelation is outpoured,
To show the meaning of all earthly growth.
He saw God's spirit stripped of nature's guise,
And Nature's self estranged from deity.
And so through many lives he had to pass
And stay a stranger to the sense of life;
He could but find such carnal tenements
To carry out his individual work
As barred him from the cosmos and from man.
Now, in the temple he will gain the power
Himself in other beings to behold,
And so at length he will attain the force
That leads from out the labyrinths of thought
And points the way unto the springs of life.
Another man strives to the temple's light;
Though not at once will he approach its doors
And seek for entrance to this hallowed spot.
Throughout a life of studious research
He planted germs of thought in his soul-depths.
And so perforce the spirit-light went forth
To ripen them outside our temple's doors.
'Twas given him to know his present life
To be the product of a former one
Lived in a time that now hath long gone by.
Now he can see the errors of that life
And realize what their result will be,
But lacketh power, those duties to fulfil,
Which through self-knowledge he can recognize.
Capesius shall, through the temple's power,
Learn how a man must, in a single life,
Take up a load. of duties which demand
For their entire accomplishment the space
Of many lives of eartly pilgrimage.
So casting fear aside he will admit
That ancient errors with their consequence
Pursue the soul e'en past the gate of death.
Nor shall he then be vanquished in the fight
By which the spirit-portals are flung wide
If eye to eye, undaunted, he shall brave
The Guardian of the Threshold of that realm.
To him shall by that guardian be revealed
That none may climb up to the heights of life
Who fears to look on destiny's decrees.
His insight will admit with courage then
That of self-knowledge suffering is the fruit
For which she knows no words of comforting.
Will shall become his comrade on the way
Which faceth boldly all that may befall,
And, heartened by a draught from hope's clear spring
Endures the pain of widening consciousness.
Ye have, my brothers, at this present hour, —
True servants of the temple that ye are, —
Set forth the ways in Wisdom's outlines drawn
By which these two who seek the spirit-truth
Shall have their souls brought to their goal by you.
Yet other work the temple-service claims.
Here by our side the Lord of Wishes stands;
He can be present in this holy place
Because Johannes' soul unbarred for him.
The gates which he would otherwise find barred.
The brother who is our initiate
Lacks for the moment courage to withstand
With power the words that from the darkness rise.
The powers of good can only strengthen him.
When on their opposite they test themselves.
'Twill not be long ere he again appears
Here in this temple, compassed by our love:
Yet must his spirit-treasure guarded be
Now that he must descend into the dark.
(Turning to Lucifer.)
Thee must I now address who not for long
Canst occupy the ground where thou dost stand.
The temple's power can at the present time.
Not yet release Johannes from thy grasp.
In times to come he will be ours again,
When those fruits of our sister shall be ripe.
Whose blossoms we already see unfold.
She could behold in bygone earthly lives
How closely linked Johannes was to her.
He followed after her so long ago
As in those far-off days when she opposed
The light whose humble handmaid now she is.
When soul-links prove themselves so staunchly true
As to outlast the spirit's wanderings
Then shall the Lord of Wishes find his power
Unable to effect a severance.
But Benedictus' will itself compelled
Johannes' and Maria's souls to part.
And wheresoe'er men from each other part
There is the field made ready for my power.
I ever work for separateness of soul,
To set the earth-life free, and for all time
To break its servitude to cosmic chains.
Maria's being, in monastic garb,
Turned from its father yonder soul away
That now is dweller in Johannes' form.
This too hath caused some seeds of mine to grow
Which I shall surely bring to ripening.
In human nature there are springs of love
To which thy power can never penetrate.
They are unsealed when faults of former lives —
A load unwittingly assumed by man, —
Are in a later life by spirit seen,
And by the free-will of self-sacrifice
Transformed to earthly action, which shall tend
To bear fruit for the real good of man.
The powers of destiny have granted me
The vision which can penetrate the past;
Already too have I received the signs
So to direct my, free-will sacrifice
That good may pour therefrom for every soul
Whose thread of life shall have to twine with mine
Throughout the evolution of this earth.
I saw how in its earthly frame of yore
Johannes' soul turned from his sire away,
And saw the forces that compelled myself
To make the son repel the father's heart.
Thus is the father now opposed to me
To bring to mind my own offence of old.
Plainly he speaks in cosmic language clear
Whose symbols are the actions of man's life.
That which I set between the sire and son
Must reappear, though in another form
In this my life in which Johannes' soul
Math once again been closely knit to mine.
The suffering which I had to undergo
In severing Johannes from myself
Was but my own act's fated consequence.
If now my soul is faithful to the light
Which from the spirit-forces comes to it,
It will be strengthened by the services
Which it may render to Capesius
In this sore stress of his life-pilgrimage;
And with such forces, similarly won,
Will also learn to see Johannes' star
When he, by fetters of desire misled
Treads not the way illumined by the light.
The spirit-vision which hath led me back
To distant days on earth will teach me now
How I must deal with soul-links at this time
So that life-powers unconsciously prepared
Shall henceforth work awakened for man's weal.
In olden days on earth was formed a knot
Of threads which Karma spins world-fashioning.
Three human lives are interwoven there,
And now upon this fateful knot there shines
This holy temple's lofty spirit-light.
'Tis thee, Maria, I must now address
Of these three souls at this time thou alone
Art present at the place of sacrifice.
May this light operate within thyself
And turn to welfare those creative powers
Which once upon a time thy life-threads wove
Fast in a life-knot with those other two.
The father could not in his former life
His son's heart find; but now in other scenes
The spirit-seeker will accompany
Thy friend's self on its way to spirit-land.
And thine is now the duty to maintain
Johannes' soul in light by thine own force.
Once didst thou hold it in so fast a bond
That it could only blindly follow thee.
Thou didst then give it back its liberty,
When still it clung to thee in fancy fond.
But thou shalt once more find it, when, self-willed,
It wins its individuality.
If thy soul to that light holds ever true
Which powers from spirit-realms bestow on thee,
Johannes' soul will thirst to drink of thine
E'en where the Lord of all Desire holds sway;
And through the love which holds it bound to thee
It will regain the path to light on high.
For ever must a living being strive
Through light or darkness, which hath once beheld
And known the heights of spirit in its soul,
It hath drawn breath from cosmic distances
Of air that pulseth with immortal life,
And living raiseth all our human kind
From founts of soul to spirit-sun sublime.