The two friends meet again and Estella recounts with great enthusiasm the plot of the play she has seen, Disinherited in Body and Soul. She explains that art can achieve its greatest triumphs only by being faithful to life. Listening carefully, we may notice that the play Estella saw is a truncated, tragic and one-dimensional version of the Portal of Initiation.
Sophia expresses how, while admiring how many writers have achieved a mastery in this, she nevertheless feels a certain discomfort in the face of representational art. For in attempting to imitate what appears in life, the greatest artist can never be more than a blunderer, compared with the fullness of nature. Whereas the higher spirits who weave in creation inspire people to continue in a way the work of creation through art; and the most imperfect artistic rendering of what is hidden from external observation can be a revelation.
As the scene closes, the vast differences in perspective on a subject which matters so much to both of them make evident the tensions in their friendship.
Same as scene one: a sitting room
Three years have passed since the events which transpired in scenes one through seven At the start of scene eight, Johannes has just finished a remarkable painting of Capesius. The painting reveals the inner being of Capesius. Capesius speaks glowingly of the painting and of the transformation he has witnessed in Johannes, who has become his friend and pupil. He expresses also how Johannes’s paintings have changed his former views about the impertinence of researching worlds beyond the senses’ range. What he feels about the painting he calls a parable. Through it, he sees the ancient word of wisdom, “Know thou thyself” in a new light.
Strader disputes with Capesius and Maria, pointing out that a spirit power works within every artist, just as it works within a tree or stone. We shouldn’t confuse the capacity to create artistically with the apparent capacity to perceive in the spiritual world. Yet, as Strader studies the painting, his arguments fall away. The painting stirs him deeply; he feels like he would like to break through the canvas to uncover its mystery; he feel as if ghosts were drawing him on… disturbed by the experience he flees the room and Capesius goes after him.
Johannes explains to Maria how, although Johannes could not yet behold Capesius’s past lives, still, through his spirit vision, he has seen much in Capesius which could not come out of the present time. His brush was led by powers Capesius unfolded from previous lives on earth.
Same as scene two: The open air, rocks & springs (the surroundings are to be thought of as in Johannes’s soul)
Johannes is in meditation. The words “O human being, know thou thyself,” which we heard in scene two have evolved and now ring out, “O human being, unfold thy being”. Johannes recognizes how, through these words, a man can conquer himself and find his freedom. They carry in them hope that they can lead man’s spirit, in its growth, from narrowness far out to distant worlds. Johannes feels them sounding in his soul, bestowing strength. He finds he is given certainty, wherever the power of these words follow him. He finds himself again within the spirit of the woman he abandoned. But now he sees how the light of spirit will give him strength to live her self within his self.
Standing in his spirit vision before high purposes of gods, he feels his own weakness. And yet, feeling the blessing of these high purposes, he perceives how in time he will come to recognize his own purpose, which for now remains hidden in seed form. Then, from light-filled heights, a being shines forth to him and through this being Johannes recognizes that he too shall come to free himself. He perceives that he will come to resemble this higher being in future times. Johannes commits himself to following this being; and the vision of his soul is now awakened by a host of spirit-beings who have welcomed him. He has won, through his striving, humanity’s first assurance: the certainty of being. He feels the power of these universal, guiding words: O human being, unfold thy being.
Same as scene three: a room for meditation
This scene illustrates how challenging it is for a clairvoyant to distinguish truth from illusion. It seems to Johannes that the hierophant who is the Spirit of Love is speaking to him. As in the earlier temple scene, this Spirit of Love appears in the form of a person Johannes knows in the sense world: Theodosius.
But in this scene, Theodosius is a mask for Lucifer. The first hint that something is wrong comes after Johannes arrives at what appears to be a marvelous inspiration. After listening to Theodosius, Johannes feels that he has reached the stage where he can rely now on himself to bring forth the powers of love, as he can feel those powers within him. But in the next moment he feels strange. He recognizes the feeling: he has always felt in the past when evil powers wished to seize him. He believes Ahriman is approaching him.
But instead of Ahriman, he is astonished to perceive Benedictus, who has come to offer help and guidance. It takes some time for Johannes to decide that it is truly Benedictus, rather than an illusion. And by this time, Benedictus has departed. Once again, Theodosius (Lucifer) appears and Johannes is comforted and inspired by his words.
Johannes believes he is making good progress when he comes to perceive a spirit who lives within him, hitherto concealed. He invokes this spirit to come forth and reveal himself in his true being. He is shocked when first Lucifer and then Ahriman appear. And, in their words, we recognize the complexity of their influence for, in what they say, truth mingles with illusion and error. Despite his shock and dismay, there is hope in the very fact the Johannes has recognized them and the Voice of Spirits from the Heights speaks:
Your thoughts now guide you
to depths of world foundations;
what, in soul illusion, impelled you,
what in error, has sustained you,
appears to you in spirit light;
light, through whose fullness
human beings, when seeing,
in truth are thinking;
light, through whose fullness
human beings, when striving,
n love are living.
The Sun Temple. The hidden Mystery Place of the Hierophants at the surface of the earth.
The scene opens with Retardus berating Capesius and Strader. Retardus has provided each of them with gifts. To Capesius, he gave a noble mind and the power to speak attractively, convincingly. To Strader, he opened up the way to certain knowledge, to exactness of thought. Retardus had intended that, with these gifts, Capesius and Strader would drive out in Johannes and Maria the inclination to spirit vision. Instead, Capesius and Strader opened themselves to influences from Johannes and Maria. In consequence, Retardus is compelled to withdraw from Johannes and Maria.
Lucifer acknowledges that the wisdom Johannes and Maria have gained conveys powers through which he can be observed. Lucifer can only dominate souls who cannot observe him. Still, if he cannot tempt their souls, his remaining, allotted power will ripen in their spirits fruits of greatest beauty.
Ahriman also must renounce their spirits, recognizing that Johannes and Maria will turn to the light. Still, he will give their souls joy through the senses’ glory. They will not see it as truth, but will have the power to see through it how truth is revealed.
In what now unfolds, we see how closely the destinies of a group who follow spirit pathways are interwoven. Theodosius explains how the Other Maria previously kept her goodness as a thing that came out of unconscious feeling, rather than the light of wisdom. This prevented Theodosius from giving Maria the warmth of love. Romanus explains how Felix Balde previously kept apart from the temple, recognizing illumination only through his own capacity to perceive the spirit within sense phenomena. This prevented Romanus from illuminating the will forces of Johannes and Maria, prevented him from helping them find direction in purposes of worlds.
However, the sacrifice the Other Maria is bringing to the Temple and the will force Felix Balde has expended in making his way to the Temple – these gifts make it possible for Johannes and Maria to progress further.
Philia, Astrid and Luna speak of the soul forces which will now unfold in Johannes, respectively, joy from the growth and change of worlds (Philia), warmth of soul (Astrid) and light of soul, through which he may life out his self (Luna).
Retardus asks how Johannes and Maria will find his power’s benefits, now that he must leave them. In response, Felicia Balde reminds Retardus what she has shown him before: that a human being can kindle the fire of thought without help from Retardus. In resonance, Johannes proclaims that the knowledge which streams from Felicia shall be married to the light which, from the Temple’s source, can shine into human souls.
Retardus expresses concern for Capesius, who has withdrawn himself from Retardus before the Temple’s light could shine for him. But Benedictus points out that Capesius has begun and will find within his own depths of soul what Felicia has brought him in the past.
Strader alone feels lost and in doubt. He does not believe that he shall find the way again to the Temple. But Theodora speaks words of hope to him, encouraging him to trust in himself. He too will find the way to the temple when his time has come.
Sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society in Canada and the Thornhill Group
Supported by donations from Lia Torchio and Julian Mulock
and by the gifts of Northern Star Eurythmy
Location: 901 Rutherford Rd., Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Contact Tim Nadelle at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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