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Mystery Play, Prelude and Scenes 1-7

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  • Durward Starman
    There is first an introductory Prelude of two friends meeting, one of whom (Sophia) has gotten into anthroposophy while her friend Estella does not relate to
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 30, 2007
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         There is first an introductory "Prelude" of two friends meeting, one of whom (Sophia) has gotten into anthroposophy while her friend Estella does not relate to it; Estella invites Sophia to a performance of HER type of "modern" play. But Sophia reminds her that her society is putting on their Mystery Play tonight, and so she says she can't go with her. They have a brief exchange about their different approaches to life and art and the theater, in which Sophia says some introductory words preparing the audience for a different use of the theater. What follows is the play she is going out to see.
         The Prelude can be read here: http://wn.rsarchive .org/Books/ GA014/English/ APC1925/GA014- 1_prelude. html
       
          Scene One can be read here: http://wn.rsarchive .org/Books/ GA014/English/ APC1925/GA014- 1_scene01. html
       
          One way to approach the Play is to compare it to the fairy Tale, as we've been saying in preparation for reading it together. In that, the central characters are the Young Priince and the cursed Lily. He has seen the beautiful Lily whose curse makes it so that all who touch her must die, and as a result he has lost all interest in life. Similarly, in The Portal of Initiation, the main characters are Johannes and Maria. Johannes is an artist and his love Maria found her way to anthroposophy; but when she introduced him to it, all that resulted was that it killed all the creativity in his soul, so he can no longer paint and is feeling as if he is dying inside, facing an Abyss of nothingness.
       
          In this first scene, they have just gone to a lecture by a speaker like Steiner, and other people who were at the lecture come by on their way out. There are two academics, an older literature professor Capesius and a young scientist Dr. Strader (who amusingly correspond to the 2 Will-o-Wisps of the Fairy Tale). In a rare visit down from the mountains has come the nature mystic Felix Balde (who corresponds to the "Man with the Lamp") and his wife Felicia, who is one of those gifted with the old power to spin fairy tales out of herself. [Felix appears through all the plays, and in his autobiography Steiner tells of knowing a man with natural clairvoyance when a lad, an herb-gatherer named Felix: he is the type of person born with this ability due to former lives as an initiate, like Edgar Cayce was.] We hear that Capesius discovered Felicia and the magic of her words, and they restored life to his soul, and he began visiting her house in the mountains, later bringing Strader with him. All the characters express at length (except Felix who apparently is a man of few words) the deep thoughts and feelings stimulated by the spiritual knowledge they have been exposed to. (Each one's words are filled with meaning and should be read rather than summarized here.)
       
          There is also a woman who has found her way into this society of people, Theodora, who has a gift of prophecy which she cannot control but which impels her to speak strange words at times which she does not herself understand. She suddenly has one of these moods and 'channels' in front of the materialist Dr. Strader, which has an unsettling effect on his 'scientific' certainty of mind, which he explains was the substitute for the religion he was raised in and intended to become a priest in until his discovery of science wrecked his faith in it.
       
         Three friends of Maria named Philia, Luna and Astrid walk through (who correspond to the Lily's 3 maids-in-waiting) , and three men called Theodosius, Romanus and Germanus, aong with the lecturer, Benedictus (the Four Kings), and another woman named Maria (the Green Snake), who Steiner calls The Other Maria, and another named Helena. All these characters express thoughts stimulated by the spirit-science lecture they have just heard, and by each other's words.
       
         But at last they all leave, leaving Johannes alone with his Maria, and he expresses feelings like those of people usually labelled with 'schizo-affective disorder' today--- each person terrified him and made him feel his own nothingness in a horrifiying way, in place of normal human feeling. He saw into each one's soul but it only made him feel that each of them made his partial experience of human nature into a whole being, while he no longer felt a healthy, whole being himself. And a dark past came back to him when the lecturer had said how we must take care how we can destroy those linked to us by love with our powers: Johannes felt accused by his conscience of bringing about the death of a woman who loved him but whom he left. Maria leaves him, saying she cannot help him in this trial, that he must do so alone. The scene then concludes with an interesting exchange between Johannes and Helena.
       
       
       
       
       
         *******Since no one is participating, I won't discuss any of the dialogue or share any insights I've gotten into the Play from reading it again this year. I'll just try to fill in for what no one has done.
          Scene Two can be read here:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene02.html
       
      The Fairy Tale describes, like many traditional fairy tales, a journey, a quest, a transformative adventure/ordeal; at its start, the Lily and the Young Prince are kept apart by a curse, while by its end they are set free. Similarly, the Portal of Initiation starts with Johannes dead in his soul because of the spirit-science Maria has introduced him to. The quest to cure this condition, though, is an inner one. So, Scene Two takes place in Johannes' meditation, where the spirit tells him "O Man, Know Thyself!", and he describes stages of becoming aware, but only really becomes so when he meets Maria there, because he already knows her Spirit in life and so knows he is perceiving reality there too. She says that only Benedictus (the spirit-teacher they both have followed) can help them go forward.
       
        Scene Three is here:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene03.html
         Here, Maria asks Benedictus why the spirit-knowledge that brings her such good brings harm when she tries to give it to others, like Johannes. He says he chose her to be a selfless mediator of spirit-knowledge. A great change comes over her and she angrily protests at being made a puppet, wanting her own self-will: both Benedictus and Johannes realize Maria's soul has left her body and it is possessed by a lower astral being.

         Scene Four starts with Johannes downstage meditating, and the beings Lucifer and Ahriman speak of who they are in his meditation, and Johannes recognizes them from his spirit-science study. The rest of the scene is the equivalent of the opening of the Fairy Tale, where the Ferryman brings over the two Will-O-Wisps who refuse to pay for their passage. Here it is the two academics, Capesius and Strader, who are brought over by the Spirit of the Elements, and who continue thinking and expressing their ideas as they did on earth, which causes terrible thunder and lightning there. They then meet the Other Maria in soul form (the Green Snake) who tells them they need to go to the other side of the River (in one of the two paths, the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic), and meet the "real" Maria, to understand their lives and the mysteries they must solve.
         Scene Four is here:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene04.html
       
         Scene Five is the equivalent of the descent to the subterranean Temple in the Fairy Tale when the Snake goes there and meets the Man With the Lamp. The Four Kings speak to each other and then the Other Maria in soul form appears and Felix Balde just as he is in life. This scene also is happening in Johannes' meditation.
       
      Scene Five:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene06.html
       
      Scene Six is the same setting as Scene Four, as the Woman goes to pay the Ferryman the debt the Will-O-Wisps will not pay. Here, the Spirit of the Elements demands Felicia spin a fairy tale in that world as she has so often done in ours; she does so, and a mocking figure, the Spirit of the Earth-Brain, lampoons her tale with one of his own. This also is all in Johannes' meditation.
      Scene 6:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene06.html
       
      Scene 7 is the one the actors love when performing the Play, as it is staged in the spiritual world and is always so beautiful. It is the equivalent of the Young Prince meeting the Beautiful Lily, the goal of his meditative journey. (It's like a man meeting the Divine Mother, the Virgin Mary or the Goddess, the feminine Principle of the world.) If people were reading this Play together scene by scene, we'd be reading this today or tomorrow, but apparently no one really wanted to.
      Scene 7:
      http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_scene07.html
       
      Starman
      www.DrStarman.com


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    • Durward Starman
      *******It s always a bit of a challenge trying to figure out how to make an internet list like this work. Most people say, Well, just let a list run itself,
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 6, 2008
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        *******It's always a bit of a challenge trying to figure out how to make an internet list like this work. Most people say, Well, just let a list run itself, only step in when the half-conscious bilge (the lower-astral dreck that people have now discovered they can vent using the internet as a soapbox) starts up, the rest of the time people who are sane and have some rudiments of self-control will have normal conversation. But anthroposophy requires the will to be engaged, which doesn't happen when passive. Many members here are engaging their wills in teaching or farming or other areas of real life, of course. But this amazing new communications medium doesn't often seem to be useful for any real cultivation of spirit-science. Case in point, for the second Christmas there was virtually no participation in reading something together for the 12 Holy Nights, the best time to do so. Before the past two years it was going well. Perhaps it will again in future. But obviously no one really wanted to do it this time.
         
           The Play, by the way, is in two halves, the first half of which ended with Scene Seven. After that, there is a second Interlude with the two women meeting again, and then four more scenes. Johannes three years later now has his artistic inspiration renewed in Scene 8. The play ends with the Temple at the surface of the earth, just as in the Fairy Tale. I've gotten a lot out of reading it again for the 12 Holy Nights; it's a pity people here didn't want to study together. Perhaps if any of you are nowhere near anthroposophical communities and would like to consider the benefits of studying together in a way you can't locally, between now and next Christmas we can get it together. Of course, this group could do so at any time, but if the will isn't there once a year at a special time for it, I doubt it would be at other times.

        Starman
        www.DrStarman.com



        To: steiner@yahoogroups.com
        From: DrStarman@...
        Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 15:17:30 -0500
        Subject: [steiner] Mystery Play, Prelude and Scenes 1-7

           There is first an introductory "Prelude" of two friends meeting, one of whom (Sophia) has gotten into anthroposophy while her friend Estella does not relate to it; Estella invites Sophia to a performance of HER type of "modern" play. But Sophia reminds her that her society is putting on their Mystery Play tonight, and so she says she can't go with her. They have a brief exchange about their different approaches to life and art and the theater, in which Sophia says some introductory words preparing the audience for a different use of the theater. What follows is the play she is going out to see.
           The Prelude can be read here: http://wn.rsarchive .org/Books/ GA014/English/ APC1925/GA014- 1_prelude. html
         
         

         

        .



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      • happypick2000
        Dear Dr. Starman, I m only speaking for myself and am impelled to do so from a sense of shame for having betrayed the hopeful trust that s been placed in my
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 6, 2008
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          Dear Dr. Starman,

          I'm only speaking for myself and am impelled to do so from a sense of
          shame for having betrayed the hopeful trust that's been placed in my
          participation. I didn't help with the 12 Holy Nights Study because I
          simply don't know how to using this medium. Secondarily, I have always
          been drawn to The Christ aspect of Anthroposophy, and while He's
          always in everything Anthroposophical, there is far too much involved
          to freely discuss the inner essence of what is, to me, the most
          essential aspect of Steiner's work. Please don't feel I am criticizing
          in any way - I simply cannot seem to find time for the Plays even
          though I realize they depict the Spiritual Worlds. Thirdly, as an RN I
          attempt to bring Anthroposophical medicine to others and myself, in so
          far as I am able, which isn't much due to the enormously huge scope of
          that discipline as outlined by Steiner, Wegman and Marjorie Spock. I
          only offer these facets as an explanation, not an excuse. I was
          pleased to have an "excuse" to read Goethe's fairy tale again - it
          "spoke" to me more this time, so your efforts were not entirely in vain.

          Blessings,
          Sheila

          --- In steiner@yahoogroups.com, Durward Starman <DrStarman@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > *******It's always a bit of a challenge trying to figure out how to
          make an internet list like this work. Most people say, Well, just let
          a list run itself, only step in when the half-conscious bilge (the
          lower-astral dreck that people have now discovered they can vent using
          the internet as a soapbox) starts up, the rest of the time people who
          are sane and have some rudiments of self-control will have normal
          conversation. But anthroposophy requires the will to be engaged, which
          doesn't happen when passive. Many members here are engaging their
          wills in teaching or farming or other areas of real life, of course.
          But this amazing new communications medium doesn't often seem to be
          useful for any real cultivation of spirit-science. Case in point, for
          the second Christmas there was virtually no participation in reading
          something together for the 12 Holy Nights, the best time to do so.
          Before the past two years it was going well. Perhaps it will again in
          future. But obviously no one really wanted to do it this time.
          >
          > The Play, by the way, is in two halves, the first half of which
          ended with Scene Seven. After that, there is a second Interlude with
          the two women meeting again, and then four more scenes. Johannes three
          years later now has his artistic inspiration renewed in Scene 8. The
          play ends with the Temple at the surface of the earth, just as in the
          Fairy Tale. I've gotten a lot out of reading it again for the 12 Holy
          Nights; it's a pity people here didn't want to study together. Perhaps
          if any of you are nowhere near anthroposophical communities and would
          like to consider the benefits of studying together in a way you can't
          locally, between now and next Christmas we can get it together. Of
          course, this group could do so at any time, but if the will isn't
          there once a year at a special time for it, I doubt it would be at
          other times.
          > Starmanwww.DrStarman.com
          >
          >
          > To: steiner@...: DrStarman@...: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 15:17:30
          -0500Subject: [steiner] Mystery Play, Prelude and Scenes 1-7
          >
          >
          > There is first an introductory "Prelude" of two friends meeting,
          one of whom (Sophia) has gotten into anthroposophy while her friend
          Estella does not relate to it; Estella invites Sophia to a performance
          of HER type of "modern" play. But Sophia reminds her that her society
          is putting on their Mystery Play tonight, and so she says she can't go
          with her. They have a brief exchange about their different approaches
          to life and art and the theater, in which Sophia says some
          introductory words preparing the audience for a different use of the
          theater. What follows is the play she is going out to see. The
          Prelude can be read here:
          http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA014/English/APC1925/GA014-1_prelude.html

          > .
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > _________________________________________________________________
          > Get the power of Windows + Web with the new Windows Live.
          > http://www.windowslive.com?ocid=TXT_TAGHM_Wave2_powerofwindows_012008
          >
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