Four Mystery Plays
The Soul's Awakening (Written 1913)
Enter left, Magnus Bellicosus, Romanus, Torquatus, and Hilary, in deep conversation, and pausing in their walk. While Torquatus is speaking (page 183), Ahriman enters left, glides stealthily across the stage unnoticed by the speaker and exits right.
And if his headstrong mood will not be changed,
How can prosperity attend the work
Which Hilary is fain to dedicate
In loving service to his fellowmen?
What our friend's true companion in his work
Did give as reason why he did object,
Hath weight not only amongst men who form
Opinions based on outer facts of life.
Are not these arguments advanced by him
Also in harmony with mystic views?
Yet it lies not within the spirit group
Which holds our projects in its firm embrace.
Those who succeeded to our mystic task
Were Benedictus' pupils; — 'tis for them
That Hilary would make a field of work
In which their spirit-fruitage can mature.
The wise powers ruling over destiny
Have, in the temple, joined them to ourselves;
Our friend, however, represents alone
The wisdom which to us within the shrine
As spirit-law and duty was revealed.
But art thou sure that thou dost understand
This spirit-law? More simply it might mean
That Benedictus and his pupils too,
Whom in his way he to the spirit led,
Should still remain within the temple's shrine
And not at this time tread the hard rough road
To which friend Hilary would lead them on.
For but too easily can spirit-sight
Be turned, upon that road, to soul's dream-sleep.
I did not think to hear such words from thee.
To Hilary's companion, in his work,
Such words might be allowed, who knowledge gains
From books alone, of little inward worth.
But thou art bound to recognize the signs
Which are begotten on the mystic way.
How Benedictus' pupils were impelled
To come to us, speaks clearly to our souls.
They are joined with us that we may obey
What their clairvoyance doth to them reveal.
Another sign doth still make manifest
That full rich blessing from the spirit-powers
Upon that project hath not been outpoured
Which in the temple showed itself to us.
Capesius hath now withdrawn himself From
Benedictus and his pupil's group.
That he should not yet in its fullness feel
The wakefulness of soul already sought
In him by Benedictus, doth cast sad doubt
E'en on our teacher's personal competence.
The gift of seership still lies far from me:
Yet intuition often doth reveal
Within my soul the meaning of events.
When for the first time in our sacred fame
I saw Capesius within our group,
The thought oppressed me, that fate set him there
To be both near to us and yet far off.
Thine intuition I can fully grasp.
But at that very moment none amongst
Our new-found mystic friends so closely knit
By fate to us as Strader, could I find.
Such intuition is to me a sign
To show my soul the road, where I may then
With reason search: but when I come to act
I cast aside the intuition dim
That first directed and inspired my thought,
Such is the mystic rule for me ordained.
In spirit-realms I find myself indeed
With Benedictus' pupils close allied;
Yet, if I leave my inner mystic group
And find my way back into life on earth,
By Strader's side alone dare I do this.
But Hilary's companion in his work
Finds not in Strader's soul true spirit-strength
Such as can prove of use in outer life.
And if myself I heed my inner voice
It is revealed that he entirely lacks
The rightful mood to tread the mystic path.
What outward signs can show him of these things
And what his reason grasps of spirit-life,
Arouse the explorer's zeal in him;
From inward spirit-life he stands far off.
What can the spirit products of this man
Be but obscurely woven mystic dreams?
Upon the spirit path his friends have trod;
He hath not made sufficient progress yet
To join himself to foes of his own soul,
Who bring to many a mystic danger great
When they pursue him into life on earth.
If thou dost think him safe from such attacks
Nought hinders thee from working for him there
So that this great scheme may be brought to pass
Which Hilary would carry out through him.
For when our friend's companion comes to know
How highly thou dost rate the man whom he
Dares think of little worth, he will in truth
Misdoubt his own opinion. Thou alone
Canst win him over to the cause we serve.
For well he knows that in thine outer life
Thou hast invariably achieved success
In all thou hast with forethought wise essayed.
If thou wilt Strader take, dear Hilary,
As thy companion, and, from this thy work
Keep Benedictus' other followers
On spirit paths from all illusion free,
Thou shalt not stand alone; — I offer thee
Not only what now Bellicosus asks
As my assistance; but will also help
With all the worldly goods at my command
In making Strader's plan a real success.
How canst thou think that Strader at this time
From Benedictus' pupils would depart
To follow his own spirit-aims alone?
The others are as near him as himself.
In human life they well may stand so close;
But only that part of his soul which still
Is deeply sunk in spirit-sleep can hold
That they in spirit too are one with him.
But soon, methinks, it will be evident
How that part can grow ripe to waking life.
(Enter left — Capesius, Strader, Felix Balde, and Dame Balde; as if coming to a standstill during their talk because of the importance to them of the following dialogue.)
To seek the spirit in mine inmost soul
Is all I can accomplish at this time.
Were I to load myself with outward work,
That spirit might be brought to realms of sense.
Most rashly should I strive to grasp the cause
Of being in those worlds whose essence true
I have not fully grasped within myself.
Of cosmic being I can see no more
Than hath already shaped itself in me.
How shall my work do good to other men
If in creating I but please myself?
Thy meaning is, I take it, that thy work
Will only carry thine own being's stamp,
And in that work, thou dost but manifest
To outward cosmic life thy personal self?
Till I encounter with mine inner world
A being strange to me, 'tis even so.
How far I now can pierce another's soul
I realized with pain, when for a while
I was awake and could with clearness judge.
Thou speak'st as I have never heard thee speak —
But ne'er could I so understand thy mind
As I do now, when naught speaks but thyself.
In all thy words there rings the mystic mood
Which I have sought unwearied many years,
And which alone can recognise the light
In which the human spirit feels itself
A part of cosmic spirit through clear sight.
Because I felt how near I'd drawn to thee
I sought thee, fleeing from the kind of life
That was about to slay mine inner world.
Capesius and Felix Balde):
I often understood your present speech; —
And then I thought it wise; — but not a word
In all your speech can I now understand.
Capesius and father Felix both
Conceal dark meanings in transparent words ...
Do I not feel these words of yours are but
The cloak of forces; forces of the soul
That exile me from you unto those worlds
Which lie remote from all your spirit-paths?
Worlds I have no desire for, — since I must
Deep in my soul adore that world of yours.
The opposition I can lightly bear
Which from without now menaceth my work;
Yea, e'en if all my plans were devastate
Upon this opposition, — I could bear.
But your worlds I can never more forego.
A man cannot attain the spirit-world
By seeking to unlock the gates himself.
Once didst thou give me pleasure, when of old
Of thine invention thou wast wont to speak.
Then, when enlightenment was granted thee
By what thou didst not strive to understand
Thou wast far nearer to the mystic mood.
To strive for nought, — but just to live in peace,
Expectancy the soul's whole inner life:
That is the mystic mood. When waked in man
It leads his inmost soul to realms of light.
Our outward tasks do not endure such mood.
If them thou wouldst through mysticism seek,
Mystic illusion will destroy thy life.
Capesius and Felix Balde):
I need you sorely, — yet I find you not.
The being that unites us you do scorn.
Yet how can men be found to undertake
True cosmic work if mystics all decline
To leave their separateness?
Into the world of active daily life
The tender being of the inner sight
Cannot be introduced, for it will fade
E'en as ye cross the threshold back again.
In faith devout, revering spirit-sway
With spirit-sight reposing in the heart: —
Thus mystics should draw nigh the world of deeds.
And if they strive to tread it otherwise
The work of error they will then behold;
But wisdom's radiance they will never see.
I once saw clearly through another's soul;
I knew that I saw truly what I saw,
Yet only that soul's error could I see.
This was my fate for spoiling spirit-sight
By my desire for outer deeds on earth.
Thus speaks Capesius who hath advanced
Beyond me far upon the path of souls.
And yet my spirit-vision only wakes
When thoughts of action wholly fill my soul,
And it is flooded with a living hope
That for the spirit it may build a home
And kindle there on earth the light that shines
So warmly through the spirit-worlds on high,
And seeks, through human sense-activities,
A new home in the daily life of earth.
Am I a son of error — not your son,
Ye wide-flung spirit-realms where wisdom dwells!
(Strader turns away, for a moment, from the companions with whom he has been conversing; and now he has the following spirit-vision — Benedictus, Maria, Ahriman appear — in the guise of his thought forms but nevertheless in real spirit-intercourse; first Benedictus and Ahriman, then Maria.)
In wide-flung spirit-realms where wisdom dwells
Thou seekest aid to still thy questioning doubt,
Which makes the secret of thine inner life
Lie like a burden on thine earthly thought.
And thou shalt have an answer, such an one
As spirit-spaces from the depth of soul
Are willing to reveal through this my voice.
But learn to understand thy fancied thought,
The knowledge thou hast oft made bold to speak,
Which thou wert only dreaming hitherto.
Give to thy dreams the life, which I am bound
To offer thee from out the spirit-world;
But turn to dreams whatever thou canst draw
By thought from all thy sense-experience.
Capesius and Felix cast thee forth
From out the spirit-light which they behold;
They place th' abyss betwixt themselves and thee —
Do not complain that they have done this thing,
But gaze in thine abyss.
Aye, gaze therein!
Thou shalt behold there what to thee seems meet
For human spirits on their cosmic path.
'Twere well for thee, if other spirit-powers
Did tell thee when thy soul is sunk in sleep;
But Benedictus tells thee when awake,
So slayest thou the answer in beholding!
Aye, gaze therein.
I will. What do I see?
Two forms confused? They change, yea, and they tear,
One at the other tears — a battle now —
The phantoms fight each other furiously, —
Destruction reigns, and from it gloom is born; —
From out the gloom now issue other shades
With ether's light around them, — flick'ring red;
One of the forms quite clearly leaves the rest;
And comes to me; — sent from the dark abyss.
(Maria steps forth from the abyss.)
Thou seest demons; — summon up thy strength,
They are not thus, — before thee they appear
What they are not. If thou canst hold them fast
Until their phantom nature shall become
Illumined to the being of thy soul
Thou wilt behold what value they possess
In evolution of the cosmic scheme.
Thy power of sight doth fade ere they unfold
The forces which will make them luminous.
Illuminate them with thine own self's light.
Where is thy light? Thou rayest darkness out —
Perceive thy darkness all around thyself —
'Midst light thou dost create the baffling gloom;
And feelst it when created by thyself.
Yet then thou ne'er canst feel thyself create.
Thou wouldst forget thy longing to create,
Which reigns unconsciously within thy soul,
Because thou art afraid to ray out light.
Thou wouldst enjoy this light that is thine own
Thou wouldst enjoy therein thyself alone;
Thou seekest thyself, and seekest to forget;
Thou let'st thyself sink dreaming in thyself.
Aye, list to her; thy riddles she can solve
But her solution solves them not for thee.
She gives thee wisdom — so that with its aid
Thou canst direct thy steps to foolishness.
Wisdom were good for thee — at other times,
When on thee spirit-day doth brightly shine.
But when Maria speaks thus in thy dreams
She slays thy riddle's answer by her words.
Aye, list to her.
What mean such words as these?
Maria, are they born from out the light?
From out my light? Or is my darkness that
From which they sound? O Benedictus, speak;
Who brought me counsel from the dark abyss?
At thine abyss's edge she sought thee out.
Thus spirits seek out men to shelter them
From those who fashion phantoms for men's souls
And so conceal the cosmic spirit's sway
With mazy darkness, that they cannot see
Reality, save in the web of self;
Look further yet within thy dark abyss.
What now lives in the depth of mine abyss?
Gaze on these shades; upon the left, blue-red
Enticing Felix — and the others see
There on the right — where red with yellow blends —
Who are intent to reach Capesius.
They both do feel the might of these same shades: —
And each in loneliness creates the light
Which foils the shades who would deceive men's souls.
He would do better did he show to thee
Thy shades — yet this thing could he scarcely do; —
He hath the best intentions certainly.
He only sees not where to seek those shades.
They stand behind thee, critically near,
Yet thou thyself dost hide them now from him.
So now I hear in mine abyss these words
Which once I thought the prating of a fool,
When Hilary's adviser uttered them ...
Sire Felix tempers for himself the blade
That rids him of his danger; one who treads
The path thy soul takes needs another kind.
The sword Capesius doth fashion here,
And bravely wields in battle with his foes,
Would be for Strader but a shadow sword
Should he commence therewith the spirit-fight
Which powers of destiny ordain for souls
Who must change spirit-being, ripe for deeds
With mighty power, to earth activity.
Thou caust not use their weapons in thy fight;
Yet thou must know them, so that thou mayst forge
Thine own from out soul-substance thoughtfully.
(The figures of Benedictus, Ahriman, and Maria disappear; i.e., from outward sight; Strader wakes up from his spirit-vision; he looks round for Capesius, Felix Balde, and Dame Balde, who again approach him; he has seated himself upon a rock.)
Dear Strader, even now the spirit drove
Thee far from us — thus it appeared to me.
(He pauses a while in the expectation that Strader will say something, but since the latter remains silent Felix continues.)
I would not seem to cast thee coldly forth
From out our group to other paths of life.
I only wish to check thy further steps
In that illusion which confuseth thee.
What spirit sees in spirit must by souls
In spirit also be received and lived.
How foolish were it if Felicia
Should take the fairies living in her soul,
Who also fain would only live in souls,
And make them dance upon a puppet's stage;
Their magic charm would be completely lost.
I surely have been silent long enough, —
But speak I will, if thou art going to cast
Thy mystic mood upon my fairy sprites!
They would decline with thanks to have their power
Drawn out of them, that they might be brought up
And suckled fresh with mysticism's milk.
I honour mysticism; but I fain
Would keep it distant from my fairy realms.
Felicia, was it not thy fairy-tales
That set my feet first on the spirit-path?
Those stories of the air and water-sprites,
Called up so oft before my thirsting soul,
Were messengers to me from yonder world
Whereto I now the mystic entrance seek.
But since thou cam'st with this new mystic art
Into our house thou hast but seldom asked
What my fair magic beings are about.
More often thou hast only thought of worth
That wears a solemn air of dignity;
While those who caper out of sheer delight
Are uncongenial to thy mystic ways.
I do not doubt, Felicia, that I
Shall one day comprehend the meaning hid
Deep in the being of those wondrous elves
Who show their wisdom through a merry mask;
Yet now my power hath not advanced so far.
Felicia, thou knowest how I love
Those fairy beings who do visit thee;
But to conceive them as mechanical —
Embodied dolls — this goes against the grain.
As yet I have not brought them to thee thus;
Thy fancy flies — too high; but I was glad
When Strader's plan was told me, and I heard,
Thomasius also strives to represent
The spirit cased in matter visible.
I saw in spirit dancing merrily
My fairy princes and my souls of fire
In thousand doll-games, beautified by art;
And there I left them, happy in the thought,
To find their own way to the nurseries.