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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Four Mystery Plays
GA 14
The Soul's Awakening (Written 1913)

Persons, Figures and Events

The experiences of soul and spirit portrayed in this play are to be conceived as following, at about a year's interval, those delineated in ‘The Guardian of the Threshold.’

    1. Benedictus, the personality in whom a number of his ‘pupils’ recognize the sage who knows the deep spiritual connection of earthly events. In my earlier soul pictures ‘The Portal of Initiation’ and ‘The Soul's Probation,’ he is portrayed as the Hierophant of the Sun-Temple; in ‘The Guardian of the Threshold’ he represents that spiritual movement which seeks to substitute the actual spiritual life of modern times for the merely traditional views upheld therein by the Mystic Brotherhood. In ‘The Soul's Awakening’ Benedictus must no longer be conceived only as a sage who has authority over his pupils but also as having his own soul's destiny interwoven with theirs.

    2. Hilary True-to-God, the adept in traditional spiritual life, which, in his case, is accompanied by individual spirit-experience. He is the same individuality who appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as Grand Master of a Mystic Brotherhood.

    3. The Manager of Hilary's business of sawmills.

    4. Hilary's Secretary. He appears in ‘The Guardian of the Threshold’ as Frederick Clear-Mind.

    1. Magnus Bellicosus named Germanus in ‘The Portal of Initiation.’ In ‘The Soul's Probation’ and in the ‘Guardian of the Threshold’ he is the Preceptor of a Mystic Brotherhood.

    2. Albertus Torquatus named ‘Theodosius’ in ‘The Portal of Initiation.’ He appears in the ‘Soul's Probation’ as the First Master of Ceremonies of the Mystic Brotherhood.

    3. Professor Capesius appearing in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as First Preceptor.

    4. Felix Balde, representing in ‘The Portal of Initiation’ a kind of Nature-mysticism, but here, a subjective mysticism. He appears as Joseph Keane in ‘The Soul's Probation.’

    1. Romanus who is here re-introduced under the same name used for him in ‘The Portal of Initiation’ because it expresses the inner state of being to which he has worked upwards during the years which elapse between ‘The Portal of Initiation’ and the ‘Awakening.’ In ‘The Guardian of the Threshold’ the name given him of Frederick Trustworthy is the one by which he is supposed to be known in the physical world, and the name is used there because his inner life has very little to do with the events represented. In ‘The Soul's Probation’ he appears as Second Master of Ceremonies in the medieval Mystic Brotherhood.

    2. Doctor Strader, the individual appearing in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as the Jew, Simon.

    3. The Nurse of Doctor Strader, the individual called Mary Steadfast in ‘The Guardian of the Threshold.’ In ‘The Portal of Initiation’ she is known as ‘The Other Maria’ because the imaginative perception of Johannes Thomasius constructs, under her guise, an imaginative picture of certain nature-forces. Her individuality appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as Bertha, Keane's daughter.

    4. Dame Balde who appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as Dame Keane.

    1. Maria whose individuality appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as the Monk.

    2. Johannes Thomasius whose individuality appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as Thomas.

    3. Hilary's wife.

    1. Lucifer.

    2. Ahriman.

    3. Gnomes.

    4. Sylphs.

    1. Philia, Astrid, & Luna, The spiritual beings through whose agency the human soul-forces are connected with the cosmos.

    2. The ‘Other’ Philia, representing the element of Love in the world to which the spirit-personality belongs.

    3. The Soul of Theodora whose individuality appears in ‘The Soul's Probation’ as Cecilia, foster daughter of Keane and sister of Thomas.

    4. The Guardian of the Threshold.

    5. The Double of Johannes Thomasius.

    6. The Spirit of Johannes Thomasius' Youth.

    7. The Soul of Ferdinand Fox in the realm of Ahriman (Scene 12). He appears as Ferdinand Fox only in ‘The Guardian of the Threshold.’

  7. The personalities of Benedictus and Maria also appear as mental experiences, to wit: In the second scene as those of Johannes Thomasius, in the third scene as those of Strader. Maria appears thus to Johannes Thomasius in Scene 9.

  8. The individualities of Benedictus, Hilary Trueto-God, Magnus Bellicosus, Albertus Torquatus, Strader, Capesius, Felix Balde, Dame Balde, Romanus, Maria, Johannes Thomasius and Theodora appear in the spirit-realm in the fifth and sixth scenes of this play as ‘souls’; and in the temple in the seventh and eighth scenes as personalities living in a far distant past.

In connection with ‘The Soul's Awakening’ it is advisable again to draw attention to a point already made with reference to the preceding soul-pictures. Neither the events of soul and spirit nor the spiritual beings are intended to be mere symbols or allegories. Anyone interpreting them in this manner would quite misconceive the real being of the spiritual world. Even in the mental experiences which are shown (in the second, third, and tenth scenes) nothing merely symbolical is portrayed. They are genuine experiences of the soul, as real for a person who has access to the spirit world as are persons and events in the world of the senses. Such a person will find ‘The Awakening’ a thoroughly realistic soul-picture. Were the case one of mere symbolism or allegory, I should certainly have left these scenes unwritten.

In response to various questions, I had once more attempted to add a few ‘supplementary remarks’ in explanation of this ‘soul-picture’; but as on former occasions, I again suppress the attempt. I feel averse to adding material of this kind to a picture intended to speak for itself. Such abstract considerations have no part to play in the conception and working-out of the picture, and would only be a discordant element. The spiritual realities, here set forth, present themselves to the soul as convincingly as physical things present themselves to our bodily perception. Yet, as is natural, an unclouded spiritual vision views the beings and events shown in pictures painted by spiritual perception otherwise than the physical perceptions would behold the same beings and events. On the other hand, it must be said that the manner in which spiritual events array themselves before the perception of the soul determines alike the tendency and construction of such pictures.