Four Modern Mystery Dramas (CW 14)

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Four Modern Mystery Dramas: The Doorway of Initiation • The Trial of the Soul • The Guardian of the Threshold • The Souls Awaken

Written 1910 to 1913 (CW 14)

“We see [in the mystery dramas] direct encounters of someone (Johannes) with their own double—or Doppelgänger. We see the appearance of beneficent spiritual beings on stage, such as the Guardian of the Threshold—and adversarial ones, such as Lucifer and Ahriman, experiencing how the latter two beings work and reveal (or do not reveal) themselves. We experience many forms of spiritual deceptions, trials, and breakthroughs. We experience elemental nature beings (in the fourth play) and the presence of those who have died.” — Richard Ramsbotham (introduction)

Rudolf Steiner’s four modern mystery dramas are powerful portrayals of the complex laws of reincarnation and karma, transporting us to landscapes of soul and spirit where suprasensory beings are visible, active, and influential. Through perception of those hidden worlds, we are given tools to comprehend the background of the struggles we face in everyday life—both in human relationships and in our attempts to practice spiritual development.

Written from 1910 to 1913—during periods of intense inner and outer work—the dramas present powerful testimonies to Steiner’s artistic creativity. By manifesting soul and spirit forms on stage, they foreshadow a dramatic art of the future.

Steiner planned for all four mystery dramas to be performed in August 1923, but this was rendered impossible after the first Goetheanum was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve 1922. The dramas were eventually performed together for the first time in 1930, and since then they have been staged regularly, in many languages, throughout the world.

This fresh rendering into English by Richard Ramsbotham also features his extensive introduction.

This volume is a translation from German of Vier Mysteriendramen (GA 14).

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction by Richard Ramsbotham

1. The Doorway of Initiation: A Rosicrucian Mystery through Rudolf Steiner
2. The Trial of the Soul: Life Pictures in Dramatic Scenes
3. The Guardian of the Threshold: Soul Events in Dramatic Scenes
4. The Souls Awaken: Spiritual and Soul Events in Dramatic Scenes

Rudolf Steiner’s Works
Significant Events in the Life of Rudolf Steiner

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Additional information

Weight 19 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.75 × 9 in


Richard Ramsbotham


Richard Ramsbotham




September 2023






CW 14


Rudolf Steiner Press


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