Four Mystery Plays
The Soul's Awakening (Written 1913)
The same. Doctor Strader's Nurse sits waiting. Enter the Secretary.
Soon Benedictus will, I hope, appear
And hear himself the message thou dost bring:
He went a journey and hath just returned.
A great man surely doctor Strader was.
At first I did not have much confidence
In Hilary's tremendous plan of work;
But, as I frequently was in the room
Whilst Strader was engaged in showing him
What further needs his plan of work involved,
All my objections swiftly lost their force.
Aye full of spirit, with the keenest sense
For all things possible and purposeful,
He yet was ever heedful that the goal
Should issue clear, nor would he e'er forestall
With flight of fancied thought his labour's end.
He held himself quite as a mystic should;
As people who are anxious to behold
A lovely view from some tall mountain-crest
Keep plodding on till they have reached the top
Nor try to paint the picture in advance.
A man of lofty spirit and great gifts
Thou knewest hard at work in active life.
I, in the short time it was given me
To render earth's last services to him
Learned to admire his loftiness of soul.
A sweet soul, that, except for seven years
Of utmost bliss, walked aye through life alone.
Their wisdom mystics offered him, — but love
Was all his need; — desire for outward deeds
Was naught but love. Love seeks for many forms
Of life in which to manifest.
And what his soul sought on the mystic path
Was needful to his being's noble fire,
As sleep is to the body after toil.
In him the mystic wisdom was the source
Of outward deeds as well; for all his work
Was ever fully steeped in its ideals.
Because in him love was a natural law,
And he had to unite himself in soul
With all the aspirations of his life;
E'en his last thoughts were still about the work
To which in love he did devote himself —
As people part from beings whom they love
So Strader's soul reluctantly did leave
The work on earth through which his love had poured.
He lived in spirit with full consciousness:
And Theodora was with him as aye
She was in life — true mystic souls feel thus.
Because his loneliness knit him to her,
She stood before him still in death. By her
He felt that he was called to spirit-worlds
To finish there his incompleted task.
For Benedictus just before his death
He wrote a message which I now have come
To give into the mystic leader's hands.
So must the life of this our time on earth
Unfold itself yet further, full of doubt; —
But brightened by sun-beings such as he,
From whom a wider number may receive,
Like planets, light-rays which awaken life.
(Enter Benedictus left. Exit Secretary right.)
Before his strength departed, Strader wrote
These few lines for thee. I have come to bring
His message to his faithful mystic friend.
And as he set this message down for me
What were the thoughts which occupied his soul?
At first the latest of his plans in life
Lived in his thought; then Theodora came
To join him in the spirit; feeling this
His soul did gently leave its body's sheath.
My thanks to thee, thou faithful soul, for all
Thy services to him whilst yet on earth.
(Exit Nurse. Benedictus reads Strader's last words.)
‘My friend, when I perceived my strength was spent
And saw that opposition to my work
Did not alone from outward sources rise,
But that the inner flaws of my own thought
Were obstacles to check my plan's success,
Once more I saw that vision which I told
Not long ago to thee. But yet this time
The vision ended otherwise. No more
Was Ahriman my foe; a spirit stood
There, in his stead, whom I could clearly feel
To represent my own erroneous thought.
And then did I remember thine own words
About the strengthening of mine own soul's powers.
But thereupon the spirit disappeared.’ —
There are a few more words, — but I cannot
Decipher them — a chaos covers them
By weaving in a veil of active thought.
(Ahriman appears; Benedictus sees him.)
(There is no longer any illusion about Ahriman. His form is much more inhuman; his right arm is bone, his right hand a claw, and he has a cloven hoof.)
Who art thou, who dost take a shadowed life,
From out my chaos, in the soul's domain?
He sees me, but as yet he knows me not.
And so he will not cause me fearful pain
If I should try to labour by his side.
I can declare to thee what Strader means
To tell thee further for thy personal good.
And also for thy pupils' mystic path.
My mystic group will always know itself
To be in touch with Strader's soul, although
The life of sense no longer forms a bridge.
But when a spirit-messenger draws near
And manifests to us from his own worlds,
Then he must needs first win our confidence,
This he can only do if he appears
Without disguise unto our spirit-gaze.
Dost thou not strive for knowledge of thyself!
So stranger spirit-beings, who might wish
To render thee a service, are compelled
To show themselves as parts of thine own self,
If they may only help thee undisguised!
Whoe'er thou art, tis sure thou only canst
Serve Good when thou dost strive not for thyself,
When thou dost lose thyself in human thought
To rise newborn within the cosmic life.
It is now time for me to haste away
From this environment, for whensoe'er
His sight can think me as I really am,
He will commence to fashion in his thought
Part of the power which slowly killeth me.
Now only do I see 'tis Ahriman,
Who flees himself, but fashions out of thought
A knowledge of his being in myself.
His aim is to confuse the thought of man
Because therein, misled by error old,
He seeks the source of all his sufferings.
As yet he knows not that the only way
For him to find release in future is
To find himself reflected in this thought.
And so he shows himself to men indeed,
But not as he doth feel he is in truth.
Himself revealing, and concealing too,
He sought to utilize in his own way
A favourable hour in Strader's case.
Through him he hoped to strike his friends as well;
But he will not be able to conceal
His nature from my mystic pupils now.
He shall be present in their waking thought
If he holds sway within their inner sight.
So shall they learn to know his many forms,
Which would disguise him whensoe'er he must
Reveal himself unto the souls of men.
But thou, sun-ripened soul of Strader, thou
Who by the strengthening of thy spirit-powers
Didst drive the Lord of Error into flight,
Thou shalt, as spirit-star, shine on thy friends.
Thy light shall henceforth ever penetrate
Into Maria's and Johannes' life;
Through thee will they be able to equip
Themselves more strongly for their spirit-work,
And with strong thought reveal the light of soul
E'en at such times as dusky Ahriman,
By clouding wisdom, seeks to spread the night
Of Chaos o'er full-awakened spirit-sight.