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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)

Scene 11

The same. Enter Benedictus and Strader.

Thou didst speak gravely, and Maria spoke
Right harshly to me also, when ye two
Showed yourselves to me at my life's abyss.

Thou know'st those pictures have no real being;
Their content only strives to make its way
Into the soul and takes pictorial form.

Yet it was hard to hear these pictures say:
‘Where is thy light? Thou rayest darkness out,
’Midst light thou dost create the baffling gloom.’
So spake the spirit through Maria's form.

Because in thine ascent thou hadst attained
To higher levels on the spirit-path,
The spirit, which had led thee to itself,
Used darkness as a symbol to depict
The state of knowledge which was thine before.
This spirit chose to use Maria's form
Because thy soul itself so fashioned it.
The spirit, my dear Strader, at this hour
Works mightily within thee and will lead
Thee with swift flight to lofty grades of soul.

And yet these words still terrify my soul:
‘Because thou art afraid to ray out light.’
The spirit spake this also in that scene.

The spirit had to call thy soul afraid
Because in thee those things were cowardice
Which would, in lesser souls, be bravery.
As we advance, our former bravery
Turns into fear which must be overcome.

Oh! how these words do pierce me to the heart!
Romanus lately told me of his plan:
I was to carry out the work myself
No longer with thee but without thine aid.
In this event, he was prepared to use
All that he had to succour Hilary.
When I declared that I could ne'er consent
To separate the work from out thy group,
He answered that in that case it would be
In vain to make more effort. He it is
Who backs the opposition to my work,
Which Hilary's companion offereth.
Without these plans my life must worthless seem.
Since these two men have torn away from me
My field of action, all that I can see
Ahead is life reft of the breath of life.
In order that my spirit may not show
Discouragement I need that bravery
Of which thou spak'st just now. But whether I
Shall find my strength sufficient for the task
Is more than I can say, for I can feel
How that same force which I must needs set free
Will likewise work on me destructively.

Maria and Johannes have just now
In seership progressed; what recently
Hindered them from bridging o'er the gap
Between the mystic life and world of sense
Is no more there, and in the course of time
Aims will appear in which both thou and they
Can take part jointly. 'Tis not guidance, but
Creative strength that flows from mystic words:
‘For that which must will surely come to pass.’
And so in wakefulness we must await
The way in which the spirit sends the signs.

A vision came to me not long ago
Which I must hold to be a sign from fate.
I was aboard a ship, thou at the helm,
The labouring oars were under my command;
And we were bearing to their place of work
Maria and Johannes; there appeared
Another ship quite close to us; on board
Romanus and the friend of Hilary—
They lay athwart our course as enemies.
I battled with them;—as the fight went on
Lo! Ahriman stood by their side to help.
While I was bitterly engaged with him
Came Theodora to my side, in aid,—
And then the vision vanished from my sight.—
I dared to say once to Capesius
And Felix that I could with ease endure
The opposition which now menaceth
My work from outward sources e'en if all
My plans were ruined—I should stand upright.
Suppose that picture now should show to me
That outward opposition doth imply
An inward fight—a fight with Ahriman:
Am I well armoured also for this fight?

My friend, I can behold in thine own soul
This picture is not fully ripe as yet.
I feel thou canst make stronger still the power
Which showed this picture to thy spirit's eye.
I can feel too that for thy friends and thee
This picture can create new powers of soul
If only thou wilt rightly strive for strength.
This can I feel;—how it shall be fulfilled
Remains a secret hidden from my sight.