Four Mystery Plays
The Soul's Awakening (Written 1913)
Exterior of a temple somewhat Egyptian in appearance. A place of initiation in the far-distant past in this Earth's third stage of post-Atlantean civilisation. A conversation between the hierophant, the keeper of the temple, and a Mystic. (See explanation of these characters on pages 244 and 245.)
Are all the preparations duly made,
My keeper of the temple, to the end
Our holy rite may serve both gods and men?
So far as human forethought can provide
All hath been well prepared; a holy breath
Hath filled the temple now for many days.
My mystic, seeing that the priest to whom
This very day our secret wisdom's store
Will ceremoniously be revealed
Is to become a royal counsellor;
Hast thou by testing him assured thyself
That he is not entirely given o'er
To wisdom divine, neglecting earthly cares
Shutting his ear to all but spirit lore?
For such a counsellor would do us harm.
The tests were given as the law ordains,
The masters found them adequate; I think
Our mystic hath but little natural taste
For earthly cares; his soul is set upon
His spirit-progress and development
Of self; in spirit trance he oft is seen.
'Tis not too much to say he revels in
The union of the spirit with his soul.
Hast thou then often seen him in this state?
In truth he may thus frequently be seen.
His nature doubtless is inclined toward
The temple's service rather than the state's.
It is enough. Now go to thine own place
And see our holy rite is well performed;
To thee, my keeper, I have more to say.
Thou knowest how I prize thy mystic gifts:
To me thou bearest wisdom far beyond
That which befits thy status in this shrine.
Oft to thy seership have I had recourse
To prove what mine own spirit-sight hath seen.
And so I ask, what confidence hast thou
That this new mystic is for spirit ripe?
Who asks for my opinion? Is my voice
Of any worth?
It aye hath worth for me.
To-day again thou shalt stand by my side;
We must more closely watch this holy rite
With inward sight: and, should the ‘mystic’ prove
E'en in the slightest way unripe as yet
For its high meaning in the spirit life,
I shall refuse him rank as ‘counsellor.’
What is it then that now might be revealed
In this new ‘mystic’ at our holy rite?
I know he is not worthy of the trust
The temple servants seek to give to him.
His human nature is well known to me.
His mystic-sense is not that heartfelt urge
Which stirs in men when light from spirit realms
In kindness draws souls upwards to itself.
Strong passion surges in his being yet;
The craving of his senses is not stilled.
Indeed I would not blame the will divine,
Which e'en in craving and in passion pours
Its wisdom-light o'er evolution's stream.
But when the craving doth conceal itself,
And revel 'neath devotion's mystic mask,
It causeth thought to lie, and makes will false.
The light that weaves the web of spirit-worlds
Can never penetrate unto such souls,
Since passion spreads a mystic fog between.
My hierophant, thy judgment is severe
In dealing with a man who still is young
And inexperienced, who can neither know
Himself, nor take another course than that
Which priestly guides and mystic leaders say
Doth reach the goal along the soul's true path.
I do not judge the man, I judge the deed
That will be wrought here in this holy place.
This holy mystic rite, which we perform
Hath not importance for ourselves alone.
Fate's stream of cosmic evolution pours
Through word and deed of sacred priestly rites.
What happens here in pictures comes to pass
In everlasting life in spirit-worlds.
But now, good keeper, get thee to thy task;
Thou wilt thyself discover how to lend
Assistance to me in this holy rite
(Exit Keeper, right.)
This youthful mystic will not be to blame,
Who hopes this day to dedicate himself
Unto the wisdom, if in these next hours
A wrong emotion, such as may gush out
Unheeded from his heart, should throw its rays
Upon our sacred rite, and in this act
Should through our symbols draw nigh spirit-spheres,
Whence ill results in consequence must flow
Into the current of our human life.
The guides and leaders are themselves to blame.
Have they not learned to know the mystic force
Which penetrates in some mysterious way
With spirit, every word and sign of ours;
And ceases not from action even when
The contents of a soul are poured therein
Which hinders cosmic evolution's course?
Instead of this young mystic consciously
Here to the spirit off'ring up himself,
His teachers drag him like a sacrifice
Into the holy precincts, where his soul
Unconsciously he to the spirit yields.
For verily he would not take this road
If he were conscious master of his soul.
Within the circle of our mysteries
The highest hierophant alone doth know
What mystic truths live in our sacred forms;
But he is dumb as solitude itself.
Such silence his high dignity commands.
The others gaze uncomprehendingly
When of our ritual's real intent I speak.
So am I left to bear my cares alone;
Well-nigh unbearable their burden seems
When all the meaning of our ritual
And of our temple is borne in on me.
One thing especially I deeply feel —
The solitude of this stern spirit-shrine.
Why do I feel so lonely in this place?
The soul must ask this question. When, ah, when
Will to my soul the spirit make reply?