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Three Lectures on the Mystery Dramas

On-line since: 31st October, 2017

II

On the Rosicrucian Mystery,
The Portal of Initiation


The light of the sun is flooding
The realms of space;
The song of birds resounds
Through fields of air;
The tender plants spring forth
From Mother Earth,
And human souls rise up
With grateful hearts
To all the spirits of the world.

Those of you who were present at the performance in Munich will remember that this children's song was the prelude to the Rosicrucian Mystery. Tonight, something of a spiritual scientific nature should unfold itself to us in connection with the content of this drama and with what, one could say, has come to life in it.

If I may, I would like to touch on the long, slow spiritual path that led to this Mystery Drama. When I think about it and look at it, its origins go back to the year 1889, twenty-one years ago; it is not approximately but exactly twenty-one years that bring me back to the germinal point of this drama. In these matters, absolute exactness can be observed. The direction has been quite clear to me in which, in 3x7 years, these seeds have grown (without any special assistance, I can say, on my part), for they have led their own individual life in these 3x7 years. It is truly remarkable to follow the path of such seeds to what may be called their finished form. Their progress can be described as a passage through the Underworld. It takes seven years for them to descend; then they return, and for this they need seven more years.

By then, having reached more or less the place where they first engaged a person before their descent, they must go in the opposite direction for seven years toward the other side; one could even say, onto a higher level. After twice seven years, then, plus seven more years, it is possible to try to embody them, foreseeing that whatever has been right in their development can take on a distinct form. If I were not convinced that within the Rosicrucian Mystery an individual organism has lived and grown for 3x7 years, I would not venture to speak further about it. I feel not only justified in speaking, however, though this is not really the question, but also in a sense obligated to speak about what lives in this Rosicrucian Mystery, not only between the lines, between the characters, in the What and the How, but what is alive in everything in the drama and what must be alive in it.

In various places since the performance of the drama in Munich, I have stated the fact that many, many things of an esoteric nature would not need to be described, that lectures would be unnecessary on my part, if only everything that lies in the Rosicrucian Mystery could work directly on your souls, my dear friends, and on the souls of others, too. I would have to use the enormous number of words necessary in my lectures and speak for days, for weeks, even for years, in order to describe what has been said and what could be said in the single drama. Everything you find in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, [Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, Anthroposophic Press, Inc., Spring Valley, NY, reprinted 1983.] which is written in a somewhat tentative style — and in esoteric matters it is certainly correct to write thus as a description of the path into higher worlds — combined with what was said in Occult Science, [Rudolf Steiner, An Outline of Occult Science, Anthroposophic Press, Inc., Spring Valley, NY, 1979.] can be found, after all, in a much more forceful, true-to-life, and substantial form in the Rosicrucian Mystery. The reason is that it is more highly individualized. What is said in such a book as Knowledge of the Higher Worlds about human development had to be applicable to every individual who wishes to direct his path in some way into higher worlds, applicable to each and every person. Because of this, the book takes on — even with as much concreteness as possible — a certain abstract character, or you might call it a semi-theoretical character. We must hold fast, however, to this point: human development is never merely development in general. There is no such thing as development per se, no such thing as common, ordinary, orthodox development. There is only the development of this or that particular person, of a third, fourth, or twentieth human being. For each individual in the world, there must be a different process of development.

For this reason, the most honest description of the esoteric path of knowledge must have such a general character that it never in any way will coincide with an individual development. Should one actually describe the path of development as seen in the spiritual world, one can do it only by shaping the development of a single human being, by altering for the individual whatever is universally true. The book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, contains, to a certain extent, the beginning of the secrets of all human development. The Rosicrucian Mystery contains the secrets of the development of a single individual, Johannes Thomasius.

It was a truly long descent from all the occult laws of development down to a single, actually real human being. In this process, on this path, what has a tendency to become theory in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds had to be turned almost completely upside down. If it was to go beyond mere theory and particularly if it was to enter the artistic sphere, it had to be completely reversed, because the laws of art are quite different from any others. Just as there are natural laws, so there are also artistic laws, and these cannot be manipulated by the ordinary human consciousness, for then only dry-as-dust allegories would be the result.

Artistic laws must be handled just as Mother Nature handles her own laws when she lets a child, a plant, or an animal come into existence. If everything we can know about the world of nature is to be seen from the one direction that reveals its laws and secrets to the beholder, then whatever is to be revealed in art — any kind of art — must be seen from the other side, from just the opposite point of view. Therefore, it would be the worst imaginable interpretation of a work of art to start from ideas, concepts, or laws we have picked up somewhere, when we approach, say, a poem. Whoever thinks of explaining a work of art by means of abstract or symbolic ideas cannot be considered artistic. The poorest method of looking at a piece of work from the past in which true esoteric power has been invested, for instance, Goethe's Faust, would be to search within this work of art for the ideas and concepts one already has. Bad habits of this kind once prevailed in the theosophical movement in the most horrible way. I can remember something that happened just last year when we were performing Schuré's play, The Children of Lucifer. How shocking it was to the dramatist, who is an artist in the best sense of the word, when someone came up to him to ask, “Does this character represent Atma, this one Buddhi, a third Manas, or maybe this one is Kama Manas?” etc., etc. This kind of allegorizing is simply impossible in a truly creative, artistic process, and it is just as impossible in an explanation or interpretation. Therefore, it can now be said that no one should be pondering the anthroposophical meaning of Johannes Thomasius. To this question there is only one answer: as the main character in the drama, he is nothing more than Johannes Thomasius. He is nothing more than the living figure, Johannes Thomasius, in whom nothing more is portrayed than the mystery of development of one man, Johannes Thomasius.

If one speaks in too general a way about the various characters, one thing will be missing, which is hinted at in the words of the drama itself:

There forms itself out of this circle
a knot out of the threads
which karma spins in world becoming.

There is no development evolving at any point of human history without the knotting of threads within that development, “spun by karma in world becoming.” And no individual development can be described without showing what is at work in the realm of the occult, that is, in the physical environment one looks at with the forces lying behind that physical environment. Therefore, Johannes Thomasius must be placed in the human surroundings out of which his development is proceeding in the real world of physical men and women.

For this reason, the drama has to have a double introduction. The Prelude shows how the cosmic world in which the threads are knotting together for Johannes, threads that “karma spins in world becoming,” how this world confronts the ordinary outside world. One can certainly ask if this must be shown, if there must be a Prelude to show how this cosmic world looks from outside. Yes, it has to be shown. Something would be lacking if it were not so presented. The world in which karma spins its knots was quite different in 5000 B.C., for instance, from the world in 300 B.C. or in 1000 A.D. or today. The exoteric, ordinary, outside world is always changing, too, and its own karma is connected with the environment of a person who wishes to develop himself. Thus, the circle is drawn from outside inward. On the inside is the small circle in which Johannes Thomasius stands: the second Prelude. In the ordinary world outside there are trivial waves touching the shore; in the small circle, great waves are surging high. They show their turbulence, however, only within the soul of Johannes. That is why we are introduced first to the physical plane, and it is shown to us in such a way that the threads, which karma is spinning everywhere within this physical plane, are pointed out.

When you look with occult vision at any group of people, you will find that there are strands extending from one person to another, tangled in the most astonishing way. You see human beings who apparently have little to do with each other in ordinary life, but between their souls are flung the most important, most vital connections. Everything so tangled together has gradually to be illuminated, with the focus on one particular knot. Sometimes, however, whatever is in the process of becoming must be hinted at more subtly. These delicate tones had to be sounded in Scene One, where the action is taking place on the physical plane and people with a wide variety of interests are coming together. Outwardly, they chat about this or that. As they talk, however, more or less on the surface, they are revealing karma. Everyone we first meet in Scene One on the physical plane is bound to the others by destiny. What is most fundamental is how they are bound by destiny. None of the connections have been simply thought out; they are all based on esoteric life. All the threads can come to life, and each thread is quite unique.

The remarkable character of these connections you can guess at when you find such figures as Felix and Felicia Balde meeting with Capesius and Strader. What they say is not the important thing; it is that just these persons say it. They are living persons, not invented characters. I, for one, am well acquainted with them; by that I mean they are not thought out but fully alive. They are real. I have taken especially the figure of Professor Capesius, who has grown quite dear to my heart, directly from life. The extraordinary scene of the seeress Theodora had to be brought into this setting of our ordinary world. She, as one who sometimes looks into the future, now foresees the event that is to happen before the end of the twentieth century, the coming Christ event. It is a future event that can be explained karmically, although it would be wrong to interpret other events so precisely.

Then there is the karmic relationship existing between Felicia Balde and Professor Capesius, which we find hinted at by the peculiar effect on Capesius of Felicia's fairy tales. When, too, we see Strader deeply moved by the seeress Theodora, it suggests that karmic threads are arising in Strader's heart, connecting him to her. These are all threads that lie occultly behind the physical occurrences, and they seem to be spun by karma and directed toward one point, Johannes Thomasius. In him they come together. While so much is being spoken about on the physical plane, a light begins to radiate in Johannes' soul, a light that arouses terrible waves within him. At the same time, however, this light kindles his esoteric development; as a distinctly individual development it will cross his own karma with world karma. We see, therefore, what a strong impression the happenings around him on the physical plane are making on him and how the unconscious greatness in his soul is striving upward to higher worlds.

The journey into higher worlds, however, should not take place without a compass; there must be guidance and direction. Into the midst, then, of these many relationships comes the one who is described as the leader of the group. He is also the one who understands the cosmic relationships and discerns therefore “the knots that karma spins in world becoming”; it is Benedictus, and he becomes Johannes' guide. The karma working in Johannes Thomasius, which perhaps otherwise would have to work another thousand or even thousands of years, is kindled and set ablaze in one particular moment through a karmic relationship between Benedictus and Johannes, lightly drawn in the Meditation Room scene (Scene Three). There we find ourselves at the point where a human being, destined by karma to develop himself, begins to strive upward into higher worlds. In order not to do so blindly, he will be led by Benedictus in the right direction. These thoughts will become clearer when the following passages of Scene Three are presented.

*

A room for meditation.
Benedictus, Johannes, Maria, and a Child.

Maria

I'm bringing you the child.
He needs a guiding word from you.

Benedictus

My child, from now on you shall come
to me each evening to hear the words
that then should dwell with you
before you enter the soul realm of sleep.
Will you do this?

Child

I'll do it gladly.

Benedictus

This evening fill your heart,
till sleep enfolds you,
with strength from these few words:
‘The heavenly powers of light are carrying me
into the spirit's house.’

(The Child is taken out by Maria, who then returns.)

Maria

And now that this child's destiny shall in future flow
within the shadow of your paternal care,
I too may ask your guiding counsel,
for I've become his mother
through powers of destiny,
if not by blood.
You showed me how
to bring him up
from that first day
when I discovered him,
left by his unknown mother at my door.
And all your rules
I followed for his guidance
worked wonders on my foster child.
For every force could come to light
that in his body and his soul lay hidden.
It soon was clear that your advice
sprang from the realm
which sheltered this child's soul
before it built its body's sheath.
We saw it hopefully unfold
and shine more brightly each new day.
You know how hard it was for me at first
to gain the child's affection.
He grew up in my care,
yet nothing more than habit
first joined his soul with mine.
He looked at me, perceiving only
that I gave him all he needed
for the well-being of his body and his soul.
Then came the time when in his heart
love was enkindled
for me, the foster mother.
An outer cause brought forth this change.
The seeress came into our circle.
The child became attached to her
and learned, enchanted by the way she spoke,
one or the other charming word.
Then came a moment when exaltation
laid hold of our strange friend;
our child could see
the glimmering light within her eyes.
He felt his young soul shaken to the core
and, frightened, rushed to me.
From this time on
the child has been devoted
to me in warmest love.
Yet since he now received his care from me
not just through natural impulse
but with awakened feeling —
since his young heart stirs warmly
whenever he looks lovingly at me —
the treasures of your wisdom
have lost their fruitfulness.
And withered now is much
that had already ripened in the child.
I saw revealed within his being
what for my friend has proved so terrible.
I'm ever more a dark enigma to myself.
Do not deny my asking this grave question:
why do I ruin friend and child
when lovingly I try to do for them
the work that spirit guidance
lets me perceive within my heart as good?
You've shown to me the lofty truth:
illusion's veil is covering the surface of our life.
Yet I must have clear knowledge,
if I must bear this destiny
which is so cruel and which works such evil.

Benedictus

There forms itself within this circle
a knot out of the threads
which karma spins in world becoming.
O friend, your sorrows
are part of such a knot of destiny in which
the deeds of gods entwine themselves with human life.
When on the pilgrimage of soul
I had attained that stage
which granted me the honor
of serving with my counsel in the spirit spheres,
there came to me a higher being
which should descend into the realm of earth
to take up its abode within a human body.
Man's destiny is now demanding this
at such a turning point of time.
A great step forward in our evolution
is only possible when gods
unite themselves with man's own lot.
For spirit eyes, which should awake
in human souls, can only be evolved
when first a god has laid the seed
within a human being.
The task was now assigned to me
to find that human being
who might be worthy to accept within his soul
the seed-force of the god.
I had to link a deed of heaven
unto a human destiny.
My spirit's eye made search —
it fell on you.
Your course of life had fitted you
as mediator for new healing forces.
In many lives you had acquired
an openness for the nobility
alive in human hearts.
The precious quality of beauty,
the highest claim of virtue,
you carried in your gentle soul
as spirit heritage.
What your eternal ego
brought down into this life through birth
matured to ripened fruit
in your first youthful years.
You did not scale too soon
the lofty spirit heights.
The longing for the spiritual world
did not arise in you
till you had fully grasped
the senses' innocent delights.
Your soul encountered love and anger while as yet
your thought was far away
from all desire for spirit.
To drink the joy of Nature in her beauty
and pick the fruits of art
was all you wished to find as riches in your life.
And you could gaily laugh
as only a small child can laugh
who has as yet no knowledge
of life's grey shadow side.
You learned to fathom human happiness,
and mourn men's pain, in times
when not an inkling had yet dawned
of questioning the roots of joy and sorrow.
The soul who shows such character
encounters earthly life
as the ripe fruit sprung from many lives.
Its childlike nature is its blossom, not
its root of being.
It was this soul alone that I could choose
as mediator for that spirit
who should attain to active power
within our human world.
So comprehend now that your being
must change into its opposite
when pouring forth from you to other beings.
The spirit in you works
in everything that can grow ripe in man
as fruit for realms eternal.
And therefore much it must destroy
that only has its place within the realm of time.
Its sacrifice in death, however,
is seed of immortality.
What flourishes for higher life
must bloom from death of lower being.

Maria

So this is how it stands with me.
You give me light,
but light that robs me of the power of sight
and tears me from myself.
Am I then nothing but a spirit's mediator
and not my own true being?
No more will I endure
this form of mine,
which is a mask and not the truth.

Johannes

Dear friend, what is it?
Your gaze has lost its light.
Your body's turned into a pillar.
I take your hand —
and it is cold as death.

Benedictus

My son, you've had to meet with many trials;
but now you stand before the hardest one.
You see her body's covering.
And yet before my gaze
her Self soars into spirit spheres.

Johannes

O see, her lips begin to move.
She speaks ...

Maria

You gave me clarity,
yes, clarity that shrouded me
in darkness on all sides.
I curse your clarity,
and you I curse
who made of me
a tool of those wild arts
through which you seek to misguide men.
Not for one moment have I ever doubted
how high you stand in spirit.
Yet now one single instant has sufficed
to tear all faith in you out of my heart.
And I must recognize that they are hell-born beings,
the spirits whom you serve.
I had to mislead others
because you misled me!
I'll flee from you to regions
wherein no word of yours can penetrate,
and yet be near enough
so that my curses can still reach you!
The fire of my blood
you've torn away from me
and given to your own false god
what must be mine.
The fire of this blood,
O may it burn you!
I had to trust
in lying and deceit,
and to accomplish this
you had at first to make of me
a phantom form.
I've often had to see
how deeds and thoughts of mine
were changed into their opposite.
So now let all
that once was love for you
be changed into wild hatred's fire.
I'll hunt through all the worlds
to find that fire
that can consume you.

I cur ... ah ...

Johannes

Who is it that is speaking here?
I do not see my friend —
I see a gruesome being!

Benedictus

Maria's soul is hovering in the heights;
she's left behind her here with us
her mortal semblance only.
And where a human body
is left without a spirit,
there's room which then
the enemy of good seeks out
to step into the realm of visibility.
He finds a body's covering
and through it he can speak.
Just such an adversary spoke
who strives now to destroy the work
I must fulfill
for many human beings' future,
for you as well, my son.
For could I take these curses,
just spoken by Maria's vacant shell,
as other than the tempter's guile,
you should not follow me.
The enemy of good was at my side;
and you, my son, have seen
plunge down into the darkness
the temporal part of her
to whom your whole love radiates.
Because so often spirits
have spoken to you through her lips,
world karma has not spared you
from hearing through them also
the prince of hell.

Now you can seek her finally
and learn to know her being's core.
For she shall be the image of that higher man
to whom you shall aspire to raise yourself.
Her soul is soaring forth to spirit heights
where men can find their being's primal form
that in itself is rooted.
You now shall follow her to spirit realms
and see her in the Temple of the Sun.
There forms itself
within this circle
a knot out of the threads
which karma spins in world becoming.
My son, you have stood firm so far;
you will progress still further.
I see your star in its full radiance.
There is no place in sense existence
for battles such as men must fight
who strive for consecration.
What sense existence hides as riddles
which can be solved by intellect,
what human hearts receive from such existence —
no matter if it comes from love or hate
or whether it bursts forth with frightful power —
this for the spirit seeker must become
a field on which he, uninvolved,
directs his vision from without.
For forces must unfold themselves for him
which are not found upon this field itself.
You had to wrest your way through trials of soul
which only come to those
well-armed to meet those powers
belonging to the spirit worlds.
And had those powers not found you ready
to tread the path of knowledge,
they would have had to lame your feeling
before you were allowed to know
what now has been revealed to you.
The beings who can gaze at world-foundations
lead men who strive into the heights
at first up to that summit
where can be shown
if they have strength
for conscious spirit sight.
Those who possess such forces
can be released out of the world of sense.
The others still must wait.
You have sustained your Self, my son,
when powers of the heights have shaken you
and spirit forces shrouded you in dread.
Your Self has strongly battled its way through,
when doubts were wrestling in your breast
and sought to give you over to dark depths.
You have been my true pupil only
since that portentous hour
when you, despairing, felt
that you yourself were lost,
and yet the strength in you still held you firm.
I was allowed to grant from wisdom's treasures
what gave you strength
to hold yourself,
though you believed no longer in yourself.
So was the wisdom which you conquered
more truthful than the faith
bestowed on you.
You are now found mature.
You now may be released.
Your friend has led the way.
In spirit you will find her.
I can still further give you the direction:
Call forth the fiery power of your soul
with words which, uttered through my mouth,
give you the key to spirit heights.
They will accompany you
when nothing longer guides you
which eyes of sense can still behold.
With your whole heart now willingly receive them:

Light's weaving essence radiates
through far-flung spaces
to fill the world with life.
Love's blessing pours its warmth
through time's long ages
to call forth revelation of all worlds.
And messengers of spirit join
light's weaving essence
with revelation of the soul.
And
when with both, the human being
can jo
in his own true self,
he is alive in spirit heights.

O spirits who can be perceived by man,
quicken with life the soul of this our son.
Let shine in him
what can illumine
his soul with spirit light.
Let sound in him
what can awaken
his self to joyous spirit growth.

Spirit Voice (behind the scene):

Thoughts now guide him
to depths of world-beginnings;
what as shadows he has thought,
what as phantoms he has felt
soars out, beyond the world of forms —
world, of whose fullness
men, when thinking,
dream in shadows;
world, from whose fullness
men, when seeing,
live within phantoms.

(As the curtain falls slowly, the music begins.)

Those last tones of music, composed by our dear friend, Arenson, [Adolf Arenson (1855-1936) composed the music for the four Mystery Dramas at the request of Rudolf Steiner.] bring to expression what is echoing from higher worlds into Johannes Thomasius' soul in the drama. It follows the solemn experience he has had in the Meditation Room, which proved him genuinely mature and strong enough to ascend into these higher worlds. At the end of the scene just recited, we hear words actually sounding out of the spiritual worlds in a completely real way, into a soul that up to a certain level, if I may so describe it, has stood the test. The imponderable had to be touched on gently with words that are more meaningful than one at first believes.

It must be quite clear that the knot spun out of the threads of world karma presents to Johannes Thomasius a fact of the most sublime and powerful nature in that solemn place. What is actually happening?

Johannes Thomasius has to perceive a soul to whom he is joined karmically in a wonderful way (as shown later in Devachan, Scene Seven), ascending directly before him into the spiritual world. It is a unique moment in world history when such a soul enters divine worlds. Naturally, not everything connected with this moment can be fully described, but it is definitely a real happening that anyone conversant with occult life will recognize in its frightening and powerful interweaving of light and shadow.

Such a person knows, too, what happens in the physical world at the shattering moment when a soul disappears into the spiritual world, not with the gradual step of individual karma but suddenly, challenged by world karma. These are moments that are vital for the evolution of mankind. They are also moments when the real, ever-present forces of temptation, peering into our physical world out of the spiritual world (just as the powers of good do), have the strength to take possession of deserted physical sheaths and use them as platforms for their guile and powers of deception. The body is the point from which they launch their attack. Immediately, then, the situation will show itself as maya, illusion, of the worst kind.

Confronted with the small deceptions of karma, a person who is not far developed will be unable to withstand temptation. Confronted with much greater deceptions of karma, something that at a certain stage of development one would no longer have believed to be possible, a soul will recoil terrified, unless it has already gone through certain tragic depths of life experience. One can imagine some people saying that they, too, could have withstood what happened in the Meditation Room — but they should really find themselves sometime in the same situation! The reality is far different from what we might think it to be. In a spiritual reality, strange forces are at work. If someone does not believe this, he should just consider whether or not he has had any genuine experience with a human physical body abandoned by its own soul. Human beings know only ensouled bodies. In this case quite different forces come into play, and it is against these forces that Johannes Thomasius has to stand firm, having been guided to this moment in world karma.

Now two things come into question. Johannes Thomasius first has to endure what is usually known as kamaloka, the world in which there appears to us as a mirror image what we ourselves truly are. Again, this sounds milder when spoken about than it is in reality. When it appears in its reality, there is not merely a picture limited in space to tell us what it is, but it intones this from every corner of the world around us. The whole world is we ourselves. For this reason, when you hear in Scene Two how Johannes Thomasius descends into the depths of his soul where he is “among rocks and springs,” it is not a single mirror image he conjures up, speaking to him out of his soul, but it sounds to him from everywhere around him, out of the rocks and springs, out of his whole surroundings. At such a moment, words that were tame enough as they came out of world theories or philosophical works, or even spiritual scientific writings, suddenly grow into terrifying power, for they sound forth out of the whole world from every side as though, reflected from unending space, they are caught up in the various processes of nature.

O man, know thou thyself!

Thus, they sound when they become audible after living year after year within the soul. The soul then is left, lonely and forsaken, and stands before its Self. Nothing is there but the world — but this world is one's own soul; it contains everything the soul is, what its karma is, everything it has perpetrated.

In a poetic work, only a special theme can be singled out — for instance, an action far in the past, the desertion of a woman — but this comes fully alive to confront Johannes Thomasius' soul. I can say only a few words about this. When it happens, Johannes loses what is necessary for him to lose: confidence in himself, in his strength, even in the ability to find in loneliness the healing for what brings him such agonizing pain on the physical plane when experiencing it there. The following words, therefore, I beg you to take as they should be taken, that is, as shaking the soul and filling it completely. When Johannes Thomasius hears from all the world around him the words, “O man, know thou thyself,” his soul answers, as though his ego were not present:

For many years these words
of weighty meaning I have heard.
They sound to me from air and water;
they echo up from depths of earth.
And just as in the acorn secretly
the structure of the mighty oak is pressed,
within the power of these words
there is contained
all that my thought can comprehend
about the nature of the elements,
of souls as well as spirits,
of time and of eternity.
The world and my own nature
are living in the words:
O man, know thou thyself!

This is answered powerfully “from the springs and rocks.” Then his whole inner being is turned outward:

And now! within me
it is becoming terribly alive.
Around me darkness weaves,
within me blackness yawns;
out of the world of darkness it resounds,
out of soul-blackness it rings forth:
O man, know thou thyself!

(There sounds from springs and rocks:
O man, know thou thyself
!)

You must try to imagine how the Self joins the cosmic process outside. Usually, we stand still or go about our hourly tasks and fail to see what is happening out there. We have no idea of it and believe that we are within our own inner being. But Johannes is following consciously what is going on. Consciously, he keeps pace with the power of all the elements, moves with the hours of the day and transforms himself into the night.

The earth I follow in her cosmic course.
I rumble in the thunder,
I flash within the lightning.

All this leaves the impression with him: I am. This is the moment, however, when the I am becomes the Daimon of his own soul. In the process, man's self-assertion is completely silenced. One can scarcely try to speak out, “I am,” but the soul replies:

... But oh, I feel
already separated from my being.

Then Johannes' own being appears in a limited, constrained form:

I see my body's shell.
It is an alien being outside myself;
it is remote from me.
There hovers nearer now another body ...

Now he can no longer speak with his own mouth but with the mouth of another person. It is the woman to whom he has done a wrong:

‘He brought me bitter sorrow;
I gave him all my trust.
He left me in my grief alone.
He robbed me of the warmth of life
and thrust me deep into cold earth.’

Then he returns to his own body:

She whom I left, unhappy one,
I was now she herself,
and I must suffer her despair.
Self-knowledge lent me strength
to pour myself into another self.

At this point a path is begun that is afterward described at the close of the scene in the words showing the effect of the world and the effect of solitude. In the world everything that streams in from outside works in the most frightful way. What comes from within works in such a way that the solitude is absolutely filled with people. This is a test, a test designed for the purpose hinted at in the words recited to you earlier:

The beings who can gaze at world foundations
lead men who strive into the heights
at first up to that summit
where can be shown
if they have strength
for conscious spirit sight.
Those who possess such forces
can be released out of the world of sense.
The others still must wait.

At this moment Johannes Thomasius would have lost consciousness and been flung back into the sense world if he had not held his ground in Scene Two, the scene we have been discussing in which he confronts his Self. Two things then became clear: his Self, as far as it is aware, has little strength; this deprives him of self-confidence. But the eternal “I” within him, of which he as yet knows nothing, has immense strength. It buoys him up and helps him to surmount the experience in the Meditation Room when Maria's soul departs. He needs, therefore, only the words of Benedictus, the force of those words, to guide him upward.

In the lines read to you, you must sense a Mystery of Words. What this means is not merely something written down in a play. In these lines, cosmic forces are actually contained, down to the very sounds. Indeed, the sounds cannot be changed. The opening of a door into the spiritual world is provided by these words; therefore, they must be heard just as they are spoken. Anything of the nature of the following lines cannot be put together in an arbitrary manner:

Des Lichtes webend Wesen, es erstrahlet
Durch Raumesweiten,
Zu füllen die Welt mit Sein.
Der Liebe Segen, er erwärmet
Die Zeitenfolgen,
Zu rufen aller Welten Offenbarung.
Und Geistesboten, sie vermählen
Des Lichtes webend Wesen
Mit Seelenoffenbarung;
Und wenn vermählen kann mit beiden
Der Mensch sein eigen Selbst,
Ist er in Geisteshöhen lebend.

Light's weaving essence radiates
through far-flung spaces
to fill the world with life.
Love's blessing pours its warmth
through time's long ages
to call forth revelation of all worlds.
And messengers of spirit join
light's weaving essence
with revelation of the soul.
And when with both the human being
can join his own true self,
he is alive in spirit heights.

Only after this can there sound from out the other world what is to sound into the soul. These are only hints, as has been said before.

Johannes Thomasius is then really impelled into the spiritual world. He cannot, however, rise directly into this world into which every person must go; he must first pass through the astral world. In Scene Four you have the astral world represented as Johannes Thomasius perceives it on the background of his own particular, individual past experience. It is not a universal description of this world but rather a description of what, for example, Johannes Thomasius had to experience there. The astral world is quite different from the physical. It is possible to meet a person there and see him as he was decades before, or to see a young man as he will become in future years. They are both realities. In your soul nature, you are still the same today as you were as a child of three. What you see in the soul world is by no means what is shown in man's outer physical form. The physical appearance conceals at every moment what was true before and what will come as truth in the future. When we look into the astral world, it is first of all necessary to overcome the primary maya of the sense world in order to understand the illusory power of time. For this reason, Johannes Thomasius sees in the astral world the person he has met on the physical plane, Capesius, as he once was as a youth, and he sees the one he knows as Strader just as he will be as an old man. What does this mean? Johannes knows Strader as he is now in the sense world with the forces present in his soul on the physical plane. But already within Strader are the conditions for what he will become after several decades. This also has to be included in our knowledge of a human being. Thus, time is rent asunder. It is really so that time is quite elastic in its nature when one enters the higher worlds. In the physical world Johannes Thomasius knows Capesius as elderly, Strader as young; now they stand together in the astral world: Capesius young, Strader old. It is not that time is stretched forward and backward but that one man is shown in his youth, the other in his old age. It is an absolutely real fact.

Something more is shown in this scene, something people react to with adolescent scorn. This is the fact that our soul experiences are greater than we usually think they are, that good and bad have their consequences when experienced within the soul. For example, if we think thoughts that are cruel or even false, they stream into the depths of the world and back again; we are closely connected in our soul experiences with the elemental powers of nature. This is no mere image. From the esoteric point of view, for example, it is a reality when Capesius is brought before the Spirit of the Elements, who leads every human being into existence. Actually, Capesius is confronting what the Spirit of the Elements is concerned with — and concerned with in such a way that when we experience anything in the soul, it is related to the elemental forces of nature. Johannes Thomasius is shown that both Capesius and Strader, out of the depths of their souls, can arouse the opposing powers of the elements. In that world, therefore, thunder and lightning follow what they have felt in their souls as pride or haughtiness, error, truth or lies. In the physical world, the error or lie a person has in his soul is quite peculiar. Someone can stand before us with error and lying in his soul and may appear to be quite innocent. But the moment we look at him with astral vision, we can see raging storms that otherwise are represented on earth only as a picture by the most terrible convulsions of the elements. All this Johannes has to experience and everything, too, that in the astral world can show him the remarkable connections he did not recognize when he met them on the physical plane.

The names given in this Rosicrucian Mystery are not given just by chance. Names such as “the Other Maria,” and so on, all point to definite relationships, so that the “one” and the “other” Maria are not merely “two Marias” but present themselves as Maria-forces to the other characters. “The Other Maria,” the mysterious nature figure, is revealed to Johannes Thomasius as the soul living below the ordinary conscious soul quite inaudibly and imperceptibly as long as man lives only in the physical world. But you must not take these relationships and characters as symbols. The Other Maria is absolutely a real person, a reality, just as the first Maria is. They should be taken for what they really are.

Everything that Johannes Thomasius has experienced passes before the eyes of his soul. He has experienced the astral world. This he can now bring into his consciousness by saying:

In realms of soul I find again
the human beings who are known to me.
The man who spoke about Felicia's fairy tales:
I could behold him here
as in his younger years;
and also he who as a youth
had chosen to become a monk:
here as an old man he appeared to me.
And with them was the Spirit of the Elements.

(End of Scene Four)

Johannes Thomasius has passed through what wipes out time before his eyes, because he has now become mature, sufficiently mature to see into the astral world. Is this world free from error? No, it is not. But in the astral world one thing can become a certainty for man. It will become a certainty for him, if he enters it in purity and without guilt, that there is a higher world shining into the astral world, just as the astral world shines into the ordinary physical world. The only question is whether or not he can see this as it actually is. People who go about in this physical world are themselves only a kind of illusion, in that they have something behind them leading them into the higher world. They stand in contrast to what they have perhaps been in distant or more recent times and what they will become in the future. But certain errors do not show us the astral world in which one is quite entangled in the world of the senses. For instance, they do not show the relationship of the three great forces of our existence: Will, Love, and Wisdom. This is so difficult to discern and understand in its reality that it remains hidden for a long time in the astral world. It is not an easy matter to discover it there. Besides, some relationships that are errors in the sense world are continued on into the astral world.

The working together of will, wisdom, and love, which at this point can only be touched on, takes place in the physical world through human beings. In the higher worlds, it takes place through the beings who expend their forces whenever, on the physical plane, the forces of supersensible beings descend into human souls. This happens through initiates in those temples where there are human representatives for the single world-forces, where human beings have come so far as to renounce the desire to portray the whole human being as he is but limit themselves to portraying a single force. It is the representatives who have taken over. But when man looks into the astral world, those holy places of the representatives of the powers of will, wisdom, and love are shown to him in a picture filled with maya. Therewith is woven a fearful web between the illusion of the sense world and of the astral world.

Now, I should have to talk for weeks if I wished to explain how it is with that figure of the higher powers shown as the initiate of the powers of will; he has met Johannes Thomasius on the physical plane, and there he really seems to be an ordinary, superficial fellow. In such a case the question can arise: are the primal forces of will supposed to work through such a person? Yes, they are. We can perhaps understand that the force manifesting the powers of will can permeate just this kind of less developed human being in the same way as the radiance of wisdom enters a man like Benedictus. We must grasp the following. If we have a beautiful flower in full bloom and place a seed beside it, it may be that the seed when developed will bring forth a still more beautiful flower. The flower can at this moment be considered quite perfect, but, according to cosmic reality, the seed is actually something more perfect. Hence, we have these opposites: Benedictus, the eminent bearer of wisdom, and the man who on the physical plane behaves in such a strange way toward everything said about the spiritual worlds and in such a strange way rejects it all. When in a group of people he hears talk about the spiritual worlds, he says, as if he were unwilling to listen:

I cannot find the bridge that leads across
from mere ideas to actual deeds.

(Romanus, Scene One)

He is a man who finds elsewhere what leads to deeds; to him, any talk about the spiritual is simply empty talk. You could tell this fellow beautiful things about theosophy; to the man he is, now, on the physical plane, it is nothing but words. What he finds worthwhile is the working of machines. When he hears about the Other Maria, how spiritual power has become part of her, kindling a strength of feeling and love in her so that she can perform healing deeds, he is the one who rejects all this, saying merely, “That comes from her having a good heart!” He remains wholly on the physical plane, where he is indeed a philistine, an ordinary fellow, but also at the same time an energetic, determined man of will. Hence, he says:

If this good person has achieved so much
the impulse lies
in her warm heart.
When work is done, men surely need
refreshment and renewal from ideas.
But only training of the will,
combined with skill and strength
in all the genuine work of life,
will further human progress.
When whirr of wheels
is humming in my ears,
and when contented human hands
are labouring at machines,
it's then I feel the powers of life at work.

This is the man of will, the man of action. If you were to talk to him day in and day out about the spirit, his only response would be, “You can't turn a winch with that; meanwhile, what are people going to eat?” This amounts to saying, “Turn your winches all day long, and then, if you have a little spare time, talk about the spirit for amusement!” Here are the forces still latent in the seed, and they are good forces, important forces. Through the powers of will they stream into the world. When people hear about spiritual worlds and receive what is said, each in his own way, this must not be judged theoretically, for it is extremely difficult to arrive at the truth. If you do not understand that a seed must be looked upon as the counterpart to such a person as has just been described, you will be experiencing the same kind of illusion as the one presented by the Subterranean Temple. There it is an astral maya. There is reality in what Johannes Thomasius perceives in the scene with Capesius and Strader when he sees them at different ages. But in Scene Five a maya, a Fata Morgana of the spiritual world, is pictured, from which, after it has been experienced, the soul must free itself. Therefore, you have to take Scene Five as justified only by the fact that reality is intermingled with the maya.

No part of this scene would contribute to Johannes Thomasius' development unless it bore the same relationship to astral experience that the concepts and ideas of the physical world bear to our understanding of the world. What scientific knowledge is for the physical plane, the “Maya Temple” is for the astral world. The “Maya Temple” is no more a reality rooted in the spiritual world than a concept is something we can eat. But concepts must live in the world for an understanding of the world to be possible. Only in this way can there play in from another world what is profoundly illuminating for Johannes Thomasius, that is, to recognize the definite knot in world karma formed when Felix Balde comprehends that in solitary wanderings about the world he must not bury his soul treasures but must bring them to the temple.

Then, for the first time, it is possible for Johannes Thomasius to perceive relationships in the spiritual world that are, so to speak, much more real, and of a more delicate and intimate nature. For example, the projection of the astral world into the physical world takes place when such a thing happens as the inspiring of a man like Capesius by someone who does not really know, herself, how much is living in her soul. In the Mystery Play, Felicia Balde does not know this. In the case of a man of intellect, a man who works intellectually, everything passes through his intellect. There is nothing whatever in the intellect that can give us strength while it instructs us about the world. This lies outside the capacity of the intellect. In a person of exceptional intelligence, a force coming from the spiritual world may pass through the intellect and then continue. At this point, he will be able to speak of the spiritual world in splendid, theoretical terms. The mind, however, does not influence the degree of inner esoteric life or the content of the soul. What comes from theories may reach the soul even without passing through the intellect; it can discover a person who is receptive to the fountainhead of spirit and who can summon up something there that Capesius, for instance, describes on the physical plane. This is clearly shown in his words about Felicia Balde, who lives out there in the solitude with Felix, and what she really means to him — when he says how gladly he listens to her because she speaks out of the most profound, age-old wisdom. It is important for us to grasp fully what Capesius is saying: on the physical plane, there is a woman to whom he likes to listen and from whose lips come things welling up from occult sources. She cannot clothe them in elegant words, but when her words reach the ear of Capesius, he can say:

I must allude
if I'm to tell about it,
to something which in truth
seems far more wonderful to me
than much that I have heard of here,
because it speaks more to my heart.
I scarcely should be able in another place
to bring the words across my lips
which here I find so easy.
I feel my soul, at times,
as though entirely empty and exhausted;
it is as if the very fountainhead
of knowledge had run dry within me,
as if I could not find one word
that seems worthwhile to speak or to be heard.

(Scene One)

Such things exist. Such people, however much they know, feel at these times as if they could get no further.

And when I feel such barrenness of spirit,
then I escape and go where these good people
have their refreshing, quiet solitude.

Then his soul begins to open out, because that is for him the door into the occult world.

And there Felicia tells me many a tale
in pictures fabulous,
of beings dwelling in the land of dreams
and in the realm of magic fairy tales,
who live a motley life.
The tone in which she tells of them
recalls the bards of ancient times.
I do not ask the sources of her words,
but this one thing I clearly know:
that new life wells and flows into my soul
dispelling its paralysis.

The reality of all this Johannes Thomasius can observe on the physical plane, for he is present, but to be able to explain it to himself he has first to look into the astral world. In Scene Six then, in the astral world, Felicia Balde appears to him “just as she is in life.” She gives the Spirit of the Elements one of the hundreds of fairy tales she has told Capesius. Now, however, comes the reciprocal movement to what takes place below the threshold of consciousness.

Felicia has told Capesius her fairy tales. When she tells one that she herself does not understand, the forces arise in his soul that banish his mental paralysis; then he can, in turn, relate something to his audience. It sounds, however, quite different from what Felicia has related. Mysterious forces are active even in Capesius. When one seeks to discover them, he will find their origin in the astral world, where it can be seen how they call forth countercurrents. Wherever there are elemental powers, they call up the kind of reverberations that Felicia's words awaken in the soul of Capesius. The same kind of thing occurs in our brain. A little spirit lives there who perhaps thinks out the most wonderful things. When we try to discover how he comes out of the macrocosm, we are likely to find the Earth-brain, which thinks thoughts on quite a different scale from those appearing in the small human brain. A man will often assert something he does not see in his own brain, but it will look grotesque when it is reflected in the giant Earth-brain. This has to be reflected; hence, the relationship of Gairman, who appears on the physical plane and then as the Spirit of the Earth-brain. About this, too, one could speak for a long time. Were we to look with soul vision at what takes place in the lonely cottage when Felicia tells her fairy tales and afterward behold the Spirit of the Earth-brain, we would discover many a secret, as, for instance, how ironical this Spirit of the Earth-brain is and how often he mocks. Ridicule has to be a concern of his, because he finds much to laugh at in what human beings do.

From an artistic point of view, it is justifiable that the moment this mockery is out of place, Gairman appears in the role he has so often to play and shows himself in his true guise. We see then, after Felicia Balde has told one of her fairy tales before the Spirit of the Elements in Scene Six, how an abnormal effect is produced on the Spirit of the Earth-brain, who translates the tale in quite different words. Felicia relates the story:

... Once upon a time
there was a Being
that flew from East to West,
following the journey of the sun.
It flew on, over lands and over seas;
and from the heights it watched
the busy life of men.
It saw how men love one another,
and how in hate they persecute each other.
Nothing could hinder
this Being in its flight;
for hate and love create
always the same a thousandfold.
But over one house on its way
the Being had to pause.
Within, there was a tired man
who pondered over human love
and pondered, too, on human hate.
His pondering had carved
deep furrows on his brow,
had turned his hair quite white.
In its concern for him,
the Being lost its guide, the sun,
and stayed at this man's side.
It was still in his room
at evening when the sun went down;
and when the sun returned,
the Being was once more
caught upward by the spirit of the sun.
Again it saw the many people in love, in hate,
continue on their earthly course.
And when it came a second time
above the house, still following the sun,
its gaze fell there
upon a dead old man.

The Spirit of the Earth-brain responds in a way that is naturally not at all justifiable:

Once upon a time there was a man
who tramped from East to West;
the urge for knowledge lured him on
to travel over lands and seas,
and by his rules of wisdom
he watched the busy life of men.
He saw how men love one another
and how in hate they persecute each other.
At every single instant
he saw himself at all his wisdom's end.
For how it is that hate and love
forever rule the earthly world
could not be brought into a law.
He noted many thousand cases,
yet lacked a comprehensive whole.
This dry researcher
encountered on his way
a Being of the Light,
upon whom life weighed heavily,
for it was in a constant battle
with a dark shadow-form.
‘Well, who are you?’
inquired the dry researcher.
‘Oh, I am Love,’
one being answered.
‘In me behold dark Hate,’
so spoke the other.
The man, however, could
no longer hear these beings' words.
As deaf researcher, tramped on
from East to West, this man.

These things are distinct experiences of the astral world. Johannes Thomasius has to pass through them in order to ascend into the spiritual world.

Today I will only say briefly that it is necessary for Johannes Thomasius, in order to reach the spiritual world itself, to make a real connection with that world on threads already woven in the physical world. As you will hear later in the recitation of Scene Seven, his connection with the spiritual world arose out of the karma encompassed by incarnations, and this could be revealed only to Devachanic vision. Devachanic elements actually have to play their part. Therefore, I ask you to notice how everything is alive in the living, weaving Devachanic ocean. This can be described, but the details must more or less be hinted at. For a real description, we must go further. Let us not think that we know anything of higher worlds by speaking about them with the words sentient soul, intellectual soul, consciousness soul, alluding to Philia, Astrid, and Luna. These three figures are in no way personifications of the three soul principles, nor are they symbols for them. Listen to the vowels with which each of these characters describes her activities. Try to hear what lives in the vowels. Then you can follow how the sequence of single vowels and single words make clear what is given in a different way as sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls. Should you delete any part of it, it will no longer be intact. Therefore, it is important to listen carefully to the words when, for instance, Luna speaks, so as to get an understanding of the Devachanic element in the consciousness soul:

Ich will erwärmen Seelenstoff
Und will erhärten Lebensäther.
Sie sollen sich verdichten,
Sie sollen sich erfühlen,
Und in sich selber seiend
Sich schaffend halten,
Dass du, geliebte Schwester,
Der suchenden Menschenseele
Des Wissens Sicherheit erzeugen kannst.

I will enwarm soul-substance
and will make firm life-ether.
They shall condense themselves,
they shall perceive themselves,
and in themselves residing
guard their creative forces,
that you, beloved sister,
Within the seeking soul
may quicken certainty of knowledge.

(Scene Seven)

In the movement of the words can be heard in this description of Devachan what otherwise cannot in any way be expressed. This, too, must be taken into consideration. When speaking about higher worlds, we are definitely obliged to speak in many different ways. What I could never say theoretically about the sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls you may perceive, if you have the desire to understand it, from the characterization of the three figures, Philia, Astrid, and Luna. But you must understand that these three are not symbols or allegories of the sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls. Should you ask, “What are these three?” the answer would be, “They are persons who are alive; they are Philia-, Astrid-, and Luna-people.” This always must be kept firmly in mind.

How karma, finally intertwining and twisting itself together, can display in a picture what as microcosm Johannes Thomasius experiences in his soul — this was portrayed in the whole closing scene of the Munich performance. Showing how karma is at work, the various characters stood in their places. Each had his position according to his relationship to another person. If you imagine this actually mirrored in the soul of Johannes Thomasius, you will then have more or less what is contained in this picture of the spirit realm in Scene Seven, which could only with great difficulty be given verbal expression.

(There followed a recitation of Scene Seven by Marie von Sivers, accompanied at the beginning and end by the music of Adolf Arenson.)




Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
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