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Book – Mystica Aeterna: Rudolf Steiner’s Rose+Cross


It is not easy to outline Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) in short, as it is certainly more the activities he did than he did not do. Almost unknown is his activity in esoteric orders.

In 1906 within the Theosophical Society Steiner met John Yarker, who invited him to join the Rite of Misraim. Thus Theodor Reuss, Yarker’s representative for Germany, formally gave Steiner and his wife the highest operational grades: 33°, 90°, 96° of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim, entrusting him with the task of founding a lodge in Berlin, named “Mystica Aeterna”. The rite was associated with the Esoteric School of the Theosophical Society as the “Service of Misraim” and immediately accepted also women. At the same time, Steiner worked secretly with the Yarker to revise the rituals of the Egyptian pyramid. From Steiner’s original lodge, other lodges soon budding with the same ritual: in Cologne, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Munich. In the middle of the following year, in 1907, the 100 members are reached, a condition for which Steiner could have become Grand Master, completely independent from Reuss.

Steiner thus began to modify the Misraim Service in order to bring it into line with the Rosicrucian tradition until 1908 when he ceased all relations with the Reuss. Thus was born the “Cognitive Cult”, a ritual that placed the neophyte in relation to the being who presides over spiritual thinking, Michael, in turn herald of Christ and defender of the spiritual current of the Rose+Cross. Divided into nine degrees of the Minor Mysteries plus four secrets of the Major Mysteries, Steiner incorporates magical-theurgical elements into the new ritual, and to further differentiate himself from the previous ritual, he renamed his members “esoteric Freemasons”, indicating in this the union of the Rosicrucian ritual form with the exercises of the Esoteric School.

The Mystica Aeterna became a real “umbrella organization”, under whose auspices the leading figures of European esotericism, belonging to theosophical, Masonic and Rosicrucian orders, met. We can cite, for example, the former student of Steiner Max Heindel, whose American Rosicrucian Fellowship revolves around an Esoteric School with the same nine-degree scale as Mystica Aeterna. Another little-known detail is that it was Steiner who developed the nine degree scale, which was then transferred to O.T.O. before becoming independent from Reuss. We also know that Steiner’s Lodge was born as the German twin of the British section called Mysteria Mystica Maxima, notoriously entrusted to Aleister Crowley in 1912, so that the extended name is “Mysteria Mystica Aeterna” even if the two routes took two diametrically opposed paths.

Steiner modelled the Mystica Aeterna on the basis of the Gold und Rosenkreuz Order, particularly in the nine-degree structure. Since this same order was the basis of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.), in turn the basis of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Steiner also influenced this magical order: some ritual and esoteric aspects of the Rosicrucian degrees (IV°, V°, VI°, VII°, VIII°, IX°) of the Mystica Aeterna were in fact transferred to the higher degrees (6=5, 7=4, 8=3 and 9=2) of Robert William Felkin’s Matutina Star, who recognized Steiner himself as the Secret Chief incarnate, in other words a Master of Wisdom. We can also remember that Steiner went to Rome specifically to meet Giovanni Colazza, Massimo Scaligero’s master, to invite him to his “circle of twelve” of the Mystica Aeterna, the highest European initiates who were to act as a spiritual intermediary to Christian Rosenkreutz, the Master of Rose+Cross.

Seven years after the foundation of the first lodge, there are now 600 members and the work continues regularly until 1914, when the climate of war makes it difficult to manage the lodges located in various territories, now belonging to countries in opposition. Having recently founded the Anthroposophical Society (1913) Steiner ceased all ritual activities under his direct control and finally formally dissolved the Cognitive Worship (1921), at least apparently. In fact, in spite of this, shortly before his death, Steiner communicated in great secret to some disciples closest to him, among the highest ranks of the Mystica Aeterna, his desire to see the ritual awakened and operative again. But some groups, enclosed in modest silence, continued to practice the initiatory deposit of the Mystica Aeterna, as if nothing had happened, cut off from the First World War, remained distant from both the successive vicissitudes of Egyptian Freemasonry and those of the Anthroposophical Society. The same happened after the passage of the Threshold by Steiner, surviving also the Second World War, hidden as they were in the initiatory silence.

We arrive at the present situation, in which this particular rite is almost unknown, forgotten and even denied so that the figure of Steiner could become fully assimilated to the academic world, a true secularization of his work, despite the desire to awaken the rite expressed by Steiner on his deathbed. So here we come to the end of this brief excursus, aimed at shedding light on the question of Mystica Aeterna. It has remained in oblivion too long and its role as a crossroads of several important Western initiatory orders has been too great to be forgotten: the source of the Mystica Aeterna is in the Misraim itself and therefore finds its place in the Western esoteric tradition of the initiatory orders. At the same time, there is no fundamental contradiction between Egyptian Freemasonry and Anthroposophy: they are inextricably linked, though not in the eyes of the profane world, which ignores the deep roots of anthroposophical esotericism. But this secretum only opens a further glimmer in the occult link between the Ancients and the New Mysteries.

600 pages divided into three books, containing the history, rituals and esoteric commentaries published for the first time in Italy, accompanied by specially created images and diagrams.

The work Mystica Aeterna: La Rosa+Croce by Rudolf Steiner is divided into three books:

History of the Misraim Service

Rituals of the Misraim Service

Esotericism of the Misraim Service

Find the three ebooks of Mystica Aeterna: La Rosa+Croce by Rudolf Steiner in all digital stores: Amazon Kindle Store, Apple iBooks Store,, Mondadori Store, and many others…

For an introduction in English, go to Sam Robinson’s blog Pansophers

The text includes:

  1. Historical introduction;

  2. The personalities who have been part of Mystica Aeterna;

  3. The esoteric orders with which Steiner collaborated including the Stella Matutina;

  4. Description of the salient features of Rosicrucianism according to Steiner.

The rituals translated for the first time in Italian with the esoteric commentary:

  1. The rituals of Opening and Closing of the Lodge, with the meditations associated with the degrees;

  2. 1st Grade: Apprentice;

  3. 2nd Grade: Companion;

  4. III° Grade: Master of St. John Giovanneo;

  5. Fragments of the Rituals of the High Degrees (IV° and V°);

  6. Ritual of Transmission of the School of Michael;

  7. … and others.

About the author

Giorgio Tarditi Spagnoli PhD is a free researcher of Spiritual Science, Anthroposophy founded by Rudolf Steiner. He has a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Educational Sciences, with a thesis in Archetypal Psychology and Evolution.

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