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Home :: Books :: Philosophy, Anthroposophy and Literature :: The Guardian of the Threshold

The Guardian of the Threshold

The Guardian of the Threshold

Rudolf Steiner's Third Mystery Drama
Translated by Richard Ramsbotham

From the translator’s Preface:

Rudolf Steiner said of his first Mystery Drama: “if people would exert themselves to some degree to read what is in it – not between the lines but right in the words themselves (…) in a spiritual sense, I would not have to give any more lectures for a very long time” (17 September 1910). At the end of the last lecture he gave in conjunction with the performances of The Guardian of the Threshold, he said: “If from this moment I could no longer either speak or write (…) if people looked for the meaning in all they have been given, they would find all that is needed” (31 August 1912).

The Third Mystery Drama does, indeed, give a prophetic picture of a reality that, were it to become even in some measure realized on the world stage, would, as is said in the penultimate scene of the play: ‘do much to bring about a healing in mankind’.

One way of looking at what the whole play achieves (seen most clearly in the ‘transformed world-temple’ of the last scene) is that it depicts, by its end, a harmonious, threefold collaboration between West, Middle and East – through individuals who have realized, directly, in other words not by means of any traditions, the true inner demands of these three places. The respective connections of Johannes Thomasius with the East, Capesius with the Middle, and Strader with the West, are profound and far-reaching. Their different positions in the ‘Temple’ also involve their attaining a true relationship to the three qualities of Wisdom, Beauty (Appearance) and Strength (Power) respectively. It is asked of these three individuals (scene 9) that they also interrelate with one another harmoniously. These three are then joined by the new fourth quality Maria is able to let stream into this Temple – namely, spiritual love.

Rudolf Steiner’s Mystery Dramas are connected with the tradition (if ‘tradition’ is in any way an appropriate word for what may only ever be completely new and unforeseen) of the greatest spiritual literature. One may think, for example, within the last few hundred years, of the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, of Goethe’s Faust (particularly Part II) and his Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, of Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, of Blake’s Prophetic Books, or of the work of Novalis. No more than has happened with these works, has what is presented in The Guardian of the Threshold yet been realized outwardly. It remains, though, as a great ‘prophetic’, potential reality, which can nevertheless in some measure be realized by living and working with it.

I have had the good fortune to have directed The Guardian of the Threshold twice in recent years. Firstly, with people in and around Botton Village, Yorkshire, leading to performances in Botton and Stourbridge in February and March, 2013. Secondly, at the present moment, with a wonderful eclectic cast of 37 people in Stroud, Gloucestershire, leading to performances in Stroud, London and Forest Row, Sussex, in February and March, 2015. Over this time, I have completed the following translation of the play, which is written in blank verse (iambic pentameter), as is Steiner’s original. With a few minor exceptions, I have also kept to the original rhythms of other passages within the play – for example, the verses spoken by the Soul Forces. (Occasionally, by putting a single letter in brackets, I have indicated that a syllable should be left out when speaking a line.)

The 2015 performances were given at a time when the political and military crisis in Ukraine - which asks so many earnest questions about and is so threatening for the true and healthy relationship between Central and Eastern Europe - was, and still is, at a dangerous point. As I have already alluded to, were what is presented in The Guardian of the Threshold a reality on the world stage, such a crisis would, in this way, not be possible. This translation is therefore given as a small, but well-meant offering into the present and future situation in Europe – that it may find healing.

Richard Ramsbotham, February, 2015

Published by the Stroud Mystery Drama Group.
92 pages
210 x 148 mm
Stapled booklet

Product Code: TGOTT
Weight 130.00 gm
Price: £5.00