Rembrandt: Man in Armor (1655), according to Rudolf Steiner represents Christian Rosenkreutz at the height of the Chemical Wedding when he is made Knight of the Golden Stone
The Rosicrucian Forerunners
It was the Rosicrucian Christian Knight who founded the Rosicrucian brotherhood. But his spiritual impulse was related to other spiritual masters who were founders of earlier spiritual currents. Their names were Zaratos, Boddha and Skythianos i.e., representatives of three major spiritual currents, respectively: Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and the forerunner current of Manichaeism.
From the original Atlantis doctrine of the One and Triune God, Zoroaster or Zarathustra had understood that a new obstructive principle had intervened in the human sphere that opposed the god of light and wisdom. Zoroastrianism therefore brought for the first time to human consciousness the conception of the cosmic struggle between the principle of good and light, Ahura Mazdao or Ormazd and the principle of evil and darkness, Angra Mainyu or Ahriman. The entire cosmos, with its Seven Heavens, was therefore animated, endowed with soul. For this reason the immense cosmos had the capacity to suffer from this internal struggle for dominance, between spirit and matter, between wisdom and ignorance.
From the heights of the macrocosm the same struggle reverberates into the depths of the microcosm. Just as light and darkness struggled in the cosmos, within the human being the war between happiness and pain was raging. The human being was divided in his soul, in a struggle for the elevation of morality. The Buddha, having traveled all the way from outer wealth, to the understanding of his futility and renunciation, including the origin of pain within the human soul. Thus he arrived at the inner richness: Enlightenment. It is the restoration of the unity of the soul, the inner foundation of completeness. Thus he developed a doctrine of love and compassion that could free man from the sufferings inherent in repeated earthly lives, caused by Ahriman’s entry into the human sphere.
Skythianos inspired Manichaeism, the last esoteric current that flowed into Rosicrucian mysticism, leading it into the future of the sixth age of culture. Skythianos inspired by the spiritual world wrote four books: the Mysteries, the Chapters, the Gospels and the Treasury, which contained Egyptian wisdom in transformed form. Upon the death of Skythianos the four books were bequeathed to his first disciple Terebinthus, who in turn bequeathed them to a widow, who in turn bequeathed them to Cubricus, the original name of the one we call Mani or Manes. Just as we can say that Skythianos was Mani's outer teacher through his four books, so we can say that Mani was Skythianos' esoteric teacher: what is observed in the outer world is the reverse of what happens in the spiritual worlds. Mani's incarnation had come to complete the sacrificial action that the other founding masters of the Rosicrucian current had performed for the Christ.
It was the necessity of the incarnation of Christ first and Mani, that is, the Holy Spirit, in the third century A.D. that went on to cause all the singular facts that led Zarathustra, Buddha and Skythianos to fulfil theirs for the spiritual world. For just as in the Master Jesus-Zarathustra the Christ was embodied, similarly in Mani the Holy Spirit was embodied. In fact, Manichaeism already gathered within itself the fruits of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and finally Christianity. Mani himself was aware that he was an incorporation of the Paraclete, the Comforter promised by Christ after the resurrection: indeed, Mani was an embodiment of the redeemed Lucifer, the new Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Venus finally redeemed and led back by Christ to the Kingdom of Heaven through his incorporation into the Good Thief. His doctrine consisted in the understanding that all dualism is resolvable through the mediation of the third element, the Son, who by sacrificing Himself causes the breath of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, to proceed in union with the Father. The redemption of the macrocosm is thus possible through the redemption of the microcosm, the pivot of which is always "Amor" proceeding from the Solar Spirit, the Christ.
The macrocosmic way of Zaratustra, the microcosmic way of Buddha, and finally the unique way of Skythianos and Mani, became one in the spiritual world and reappeared in 1407 through the individuality of Christian Rosicrucian and his Rosicrucian stream. Only after the foundation of these doctrines on the physical plane and the subsequent excarnation of its founders could this spiritual union take place. The doctrine of Zaroaster and that of Buddha are presented as cornerstones prior to the Mystery of Golgotha, which are then reborn in the form of a single current in union with Christianity, Manichaeism. In fact everything contained in the wisdom of the past is destined to rise again after the Mystery of Golgotha in a new form.
But Manichaeism was swept away by the persecution of the future Catholic Church, so that a new metamorphosis became necessary for the flourishing of esoteric Christianity: of the three seeds, one was made. The Rose that came from the East blossomed on the Cross that foreshadowed Western civilization. And even today these great masters of the Rosecross send their spiritual impulses even though it is necessary for man to find new forms to those same impulses. This was Steiner’s mission: referring to the future development of the Rosicrucian stream, he also said that it was humanity’s task to understand the mysterious figures of Skythianos the exoteric master of Mani, the child of Europe Kaspar Hauser, and the future incarnation of the Maitreya Buddha.
These three individualities stand in such a relationship that: Mani will be the Master of Wisdom who will lead the Esoteric School into the sixth epoch of Spiritual Self culture; just as Maitreya Buddha will lead the spiritual movement of esoteric Christianity that has become the great current of world spirituality, "Christosophy", as a metamorphosis of Anthroposophy. Kaspar Hauser's individuality will be the one who will help unite the esoteric action of Mani and the social action of the Maitreya Buddha, creating the possibility of Social Three-folding in the communities of the Sixth Age of Culture, called the Grail Communities of the Age of Aquarius.
The foundation of the Rosicrucian Order
The Rosicrucian Order was inaugurated in 1407 by Master Christian Rosenkreutz (1378-1484). The Order initially comprised 7 members plus Christian Rosenkreutz, who were represented as a garland of 7 red roses with a white rose blooming in the centre, Master Christian Rosenkreutz. However, the impulse that later came to be called “Rosicrucian”, is prior to the founding of the Order: in the year 46 B.C., Ormus, the priest of the Mysteries of Serapis in Alexandria, met the evangelist Mark and was converted to Christianity together with his six last disciples. Ormus was the bearer of all the ancient hermetic wisdom of Egypt which ultimately came from Atlantis; while Mark carried within himself the renewing fire of Christ: together they formed an esoteric fellowship which made it possible to renew the Egyptian rituality, represented by the Rose of Isis, through the Christian impulse, represented by the Cross. From this union was born the original archetype of the Rite of Misraim of Egyptian Freemasonry, which represents the oldest form of Freemasonry. During his pilgrimage in the 14th century Christian Rosenkreutz was initiated into the Rite of Misraim and, becoming its Grand Master, brought it to Europe, with the symbolic name of Rosicrucian.
However, already in the 13th century, the individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz had an incarnation in Europe: he was a child born within a Cathar community. The child was of fragile constitution but, as a compensation, he had shown from an early age an innate inclination towards a mystical understanding of the world, so that the Cathar environment was congenial to him. At the time of the fall of the last Cathar stronghold, Montsegur, during the Crusade against the Albigensians in 1244, the child, now a boy, was carried in great secrecy by some Knights Templar: this child was actually the legendary “Treasure of the Cathars”. The Templars took the child to a monastery in Austria, Burg Lockenhaus, where he was welcomed into a circle of 12 Mystics, each of whom was the bearer of one of the 12 currents of Wisdom from previous ages of mankind, including that of the time.
The 12 Mystics educated the young man and poured all the wisdom of the world into it, according to the 12 points of view. It came to a climax where the body of the young man became transparent, the etheric body having been completely renewed, and having lost all the “ashes” remaining from the Fall of Man in the Lemurian Era. The young man lay as dead for three and a half days, then what he woke up gave back to the 12 Mystics the wisdom of the world in a new form completely permeated by Christ, that is, it was completely renewed Christian esotericism, which had long since fallen into Gnosticism. This new Esoteric Christianity was the synthesis of all existing religions and worldviews: just as the young man was the Thirteenth among the 12 Mystics, so this renewed esotericism was the spring of all points of view. After the 12 Mystics acquired this new wisdom reborn in Christ, the young man, now in poor health, died.
The individuality in the unknown child was then reincarnated as that personality we know under the initiatory name of Christian Rosenkreutz. He went on a pilgrimage to the Middle East, to Cyprus, then to Damascus and the Holy Land and finally to Morocco in Fez, then to Spain to return to Germany. Each of these places has an occult meaning, for example Cyprus refers to the birthplace of Aphrodite, namely Venus, Isis-Sofia “she who guards the secrets under the rose of initiation”. Damascus refers to the event of the Lightning on the road to Damascus, the event that converted Saul into Paul, the meeting of the Etheric Christ. It is also the moment when he recovers the memory of previous lives and therefore the Holy Land means the understanding of the mysteries of Esoteric Christianity as well as the connection with Judaism. Fez means the knowledge of the magic of elemental beings, and therefore the occult understanding of Nature. Spain represents the knowledge of the Kabbalah, that is, of the esotericism that from Hebrew becomes Christian. Finally, Germany represents the heart of Europe.
Now, like Christian Rosenkreutz, he became the Master of the disciples of his own Masters, the 12 Mystics. These disciples formed the first members of the Rosicrucian Order. Christian Rosenkreutz taught them until the age of 106 what finally became the Rosicrucian tradition as it will be known more recently.
The Initiations of Christian Rosenkreutz
The supreme initiation as Knight of the Golden Stone is described in the Chemical Wedding, published in 1616. In that Incarnation, he was the first to receive a copy of the ego of Jesus Christ from the chalice of the Holy Grail and for this he became a “Rosicrucian Christian”.
As summarized by Virginia Sease:
The first initiation of Lazarus came from the forces of the etheric body; the second initiation of the young man led to such a purification of the astral body that as a result all the ashes present in the physical body as a result of the Fall of Man; and now the third initiation takes place… In this initiation, Christian Rosenkreutz is the first to be endowed with the I of Christ from the chalice of the Holy Grail. First there is the penetration of the etheric body by Christ and then the penetration of the astral body by Christ. In his third initiation, Christian Rosenkreutz receives the I of Christ himself.
Christian Rosenkreutz’s individuality was initiated in three different incarnations at three different degrees: the first degree was received as Lazarus when he was resurrected by Christ Jesus so that his etheric body was pervaded by the solar vital forces of Christ. The second degree received him as the young Cathar of the 13th century in which the 12 Mystics infused all the wisdom of humanity into the astral body, so that all the residue (the ashes) of Man’s Fall were removed from his physical body. Finally he became incarnate in 1378, the incarnation in which he became known by the initiatory name of Christian Rosenkreutz, or Christian Rosicrucian, the one who receives Christ in himself having made roses bloom on the cross. Thus it was that the young man travelling to the ancient centers of the Mysteries throughout the Mediterranean, experienced Christ in the Eteric, in Damascus, as well as the restored phantom. On his return to Europe, he poured all the ancient wisdom of the Mysteries into the European current of Christianity, and when he reached the age of 81, in 1459, he was initiated by Mani, the highest messenger of Christ, giving him a copy of the I of Christ gushed forth from the chalice of the Holy Grail. This initiation into “Knight of the Golden Stone” is told imaginatively in his Alchemical Wedding. In the first initiation, Christ lives in the etheric body, in the second, in the astral body and finally in the third, in his I.
The Master Christian Rosenkreutz
Christian Rosenkreutz, who together with Jesus-Zarathustra was Rudolf Steiner’s Master, chooses those he wants to have as disciples, in an impressive way. Those who are chosen must pay attention to a certain kind of events or a series of events of this kind in their lives:
Christian Rosenkreuz chooses those he wants to have as disciples, in an impressive way. Thosewho are chosen must pay attention to a certain kind of event or a series of events of this kind in their lives: Christian Rosenkreuz chooses people so that, for example, a person reaches a decisive turning point, a karmic crisis in his life. Let’s assume, for example, that a person is about to commit an action that would lead him to death. These facts can be very different from each other. The man in question walks on a path that, without realizing it, leads him into great danger. Leads him to the edge of the abyss, perhaps. So that man, now only one or two steps from the precipice, he hears a voice, “Stop!” So he feels he must stop without knowing why. I must say that, of course, this is only the outward sign to be outwardly qualified to a call of the spirit. To be inwardly qualified, the chosen person must already have an interest in something spiritual, theosophy or some other form of spiritual science. […] many of you here can examine the past course of your lives and find that similar events have happened to you. Today we pay too little attention to these facts. Instead, we should realize how important facts go unnoticed by us. This is an indication of what the more advanced disciples of Rosicrucianism are called. – Rudolf Steiner in O.O.130, “Rosicrucian Christianity,” September 28, 1911.
It was Christian Rosenkreutz the Master of Wisdom with whom the ritual of the Misraim Service was especially united. It was through the action of the “Master C.R.C.” that the Rosicrucian current could flow into the anthroposophical one, in which the Master Jesus-Zarathustra also acted. This union had lasted from one incarnation to another of Christian Rosenkreutz’s individuality. According to Steiner, in fact, he was incarnated in various important personalities of history both sacred, occult and profane. Here we will mention only a few of them:
The solar human being, capable of making the Earth germinate. He was in fact the son of Elohim and Eve, Mother Earth. Cain’s current introduced the manipulation of matter according to Science and Art into human evolution: it therefore represents the magic-occult descending current. Abel, the lunar human being, instead, introduced Religion (as understood in essoteric Christianity), as it was limited to being devoted to creation and offering the gifts already created: it represents the ascending mystical current. Cain, unlike Abel, was in fact an entirely terrestrial man, being born from the union of Adam and Eve when they were already divided. Jehovah, the lunar spirit, recognized Abel’s animal sacrifice and rejected Cain’s vegetable sacrifice. Cain was in fact in communication with Christ, but his sacrifice anticipated the evolution that in that Era, Lemuria, was under the aegis of Jehovah, the Eloah or Planetary Spirit of the Moon. Therefore, the killing of his brother made the Ahrimanic death forces penetrate evolution and, together with the Fall that allowed the entrance of the selfish Luciferic forces, was the reason why Christ chose to descend to Earth. Seth was given by Jehovah as a substitute for Abel, yet he is somehow the bearer of an impulse of balance between Abel and Cain: in the Golden Legend, Seth, because he was wanted by the spirit regent Jehovah, was able to return to the Earthly Paradise to testify as the Tree of Life (Boaz, the source of the etheric body and magic, linked to Cain, the blue blood to oxygenate) and that of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Jakin, the source of the astral body and mysticism, linked to Abel, the oxygenated red blood) had merged into a single tree, which we could call “the Tree of the Knowledge of Life”. From this tree he took three seeds that he planted on Adam’s tomb. The seeds sprouted into a tree which meant the words “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” that is “I am the I Am”, and it is from the wood of this tree that the stirrup of Moses, the beams of Solomon’s temple and finally the wood of the True Cross of Christ were made. That is why Christ will come to be the archivolt that unites the Column of the Strength of Cain (Boaz) with that of the Wisdom of Abel (Jakin) in earthly evolution, and so will every solar initiate.
Egyptian-Caldaic Epoch, 800 B.C. approx.
The builder from Tyre called by Solomon to build the Temple of Jerusalem. Solomon was the reincarnation of Abel. Hiram embodied the prototype of the Master Mason, “Widow’s Son”, the one who knows how to build through physical-etheric force, while Solomon embodied the prototype of the devout man, the one who designs in the Astral World even though he does not have the ability to realize except by magical means (King Solomon’s ring). The Queen of Sheba, Balkis, represents the stellar wisdom that serves as an intermediary for both, in order to bring the astral image to material reality. When Hiram Abiff was killed by the three Ruffians, incarnation of the three forces of the Obstacle, it was the echo of the murder that Cain had committed in his previous incarnation. Balkis, was a previous incarnation of Mary Magdalene, who, although she had joined Solomon, approached the solar spirit by falling in love with Hiram. A Circle of Twelve companions was sent in her search.
Lazarus – John the Evangelist
Greek-Roman Epoch, about 30 A.D.
At the time of Christ, the individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz became incarnated in Lazarus. When he was resurrected Lazarus was going through mystical death, an ancient form of initiation. However, at that time the etheric body was already too incarnated in the physical, making the initiation process risky for the life of the initiate. Resuscitating Lazarus initiated him at the same time into the New Mysteries of Christ: he was thus admitted into the Circle of the Twelve Disciples, like the last and yet the first. He is in fact the only one of the disciples who remains awake under the Cross during the Mystery of Golgotha and to whom is entrusted the Mother, Sophia Mary, the Incarnate Wisdom. Just as Lazarus is Cain reincarnated, so Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Resurrection, is Abel, so that the two find themselves together again: both Lazarus and Magdalene will give life to currents of esoteric Christianity. He was then called John because he was overshadowed by the spirit of John the Baptist (the later incarnation of Adam), and so he wrote his Gospel, associated with the symbol of the Eagle the sublimated water of the sign of Scorpio. For the same reason the two Johns are at the basis of Freemasonry: on the one hand the Grand Masters are traditionally elected on the Feast of John the Baptist (June 24), on the other hand the Bible is opened on the Altar in the Prologue of John the Evangelist. The current of the Baptist represents the Ancient Gnostic Mysteries and essenes, the current of the Evangelist what will become Rosicrucianism: just as the Baptist illuminated Lazarus, making him become John, so the latter united the images of the Ancient Mysteries with the New Mysteries of esoteric Christianity in his Apocalypse.
European Epoch, about 1200
Steiner in fact tells that the previous incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz, a child with an unknown name, was raised in a closed community (the Catara community) until, due to Catholic persecution, it was no longer possible. Thus the child was taken to a Templar stronghold in Austria to safety. It can be said that this child was the treasure that the Cathar survivors took away in great secrecy during the final attack on Montsegur in the crusade of 1244. In his Austrian refuge the child was initiated by a circle of Twelve Mystics who infused him with all the spiritual wisdom of the world, according to the twelve points of view of the Zodiac. The child’s body became transparent for three and a half days, and he lay as dead. Then he returned the ancient wisdom of the Mystics in a completely different, living form: it was the Wisdom of the Rosecross. The child died shortly afterwards, only to be reincarnated in 1378 under the name Christian Rosenkreutz, founder of the Rosicrucian spiritual current.
It was in this decisive incarnation that Christian Rosenkreutz's individuality was united with Archangel Michael, who became his Guardian Archangel. Michael inspired Christian Rosenkreutz to carry on what Mani had begun in the 3rd century with the reunification of the esoteric currents of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism into Manichaeism. Under Michael's tutelage, Christian Rosenkreutz founded the Esoteric School necessary for the development of the conscious soul in the fifth age of culture, the Rosicrucians. Michael led Christian Rosenkreutz to unite the Rose, symbol of Venus and the forces of the purified astral body, i.e., the redemption of Lucifer, with the Cross, as Christ's sacrifice on Golgotha. The forces of the redeemed Lucifer are those of the Comforter, incarnated in the third century in Mani in Persia: the Grail current flowed during the first centuries after Christ from Persia to France where in the Middle Ages Manichaeism was reincarnated in the Cathar current, where the redeemed Lucifer was called "Lucibel." In this sense, Christian Rosenkreutz was the last representative of the Cathars and the first who led the metamorphosis from the fourth to the next era of the conscious soul that began in 1413.
European Epoch, 1378-1484
n this incarnation he is “Christian Rosycross”, the C.R.C. Master whose first name is unknown. In this incarnation Christian Rosenkreutz experiences the Damascus event, that is, he meets the Etheric Christ in the Astral World. In the Chemical Wedding, Christian Rosenkreutz receives an image-copy of the Ego of the Christ Jesus from Mani, who in turn had received it from the Grail as Parsifal, thus making him a "Knight of the Golden Stone," signifying the acquisition of the Resurrection Body.
From this pivotal experience, the Master takes his initiatory name unites the current of the Eastern Mysteries, the Rose, symbol of the goddess Venus, the Isis-Sophia; with the symbol of the Western Mysteries, the Cross, symbol of Western knowledge, the dialectical science, divided between opposites, the four elements. Rosicrucianism is thus Christian Hermeticism, or the union of the two solar currents, the Egyptian with the Christian, a union accomplished under Michael's inspiration. What is described in the seventeenth-century Rosicrucian Manifestos, for Steiner, is history albeit hidden behind symbolic language.
European era, 1696-disappeared in 1790?
Is embodied in the mysterious alchemist Count of Saint-Germain, the mysterious Master of Roses+Crosses, whose work is intertwined with that of the Count of Cagliostro, so that on the one hand the Rosicrucian utopia can manifest itself in the Kingdom of the Sun King by supporting the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité; and on the other so that Freemasonry could take the right direction, that is, that of Esoteric Freemasonry, in other words, the Egyptian Freemasonry of Cagliostro, which represented the Italian Rosicrucian current. Both fought against that part of Freemasonry which, having lost the esoteric meaning of the symbols of their rites, was degenerating towards an atheistic and nihilistic drift. Their plan, however, failed, and so in 1790 Saint-Germain withdrew with a final declaration made to an Austrian friend, Franz Graffer, whom he would report in his memoirs, Kleine Wiener Memorien: “Tomorrow night I will leave. I am required in Constantinople, then in England, I will be there to prepare two new inventions that you will have in the next century – trains and steamboats. At the end of this century I will disappear from Europe, and go to the Himalaya region. I will have to rest; I must rest. Exactly 85 years from now people will be able to lay their eyes on me again. Goodbye.” We know 85 years after this declaration, in 1875, the Theosophical Society was founded under the impulse of Saint-Germain together with the Oriental Masters Morya and Kuthumi.
After ascending as Master of Wisdom, Christian Rosenkreutz is free to incarnate in any century at will in order to assist the developments of spiritual evolution in history. Steiner himself would testify to Christian Rosenkreutz's presence in his own life through the figure of the Paracelsian herbalist Felix Koguzki (1833-1909), whom he met when he was only 21 years old and who taught him the natural sciences from the perspective of alchemy and spagyria. Felix was C.R.C.'s messenger who led Steiner to meet C.R.C. in his then incarnation. However, even when C.R.C. is not incarnated, he can act from his etheric body, which is why the Ritual of the Transmission of the Etheric Nexus to him is essential so that Rosicrucian adepts can connect directly to the Master's etheric body on the astral plane. Such connection with the founder's life body enables the Rosicrucian community to be a living one.
Christian Rosenkreutz thus represents the link between Middle Eastern and Western esotericism. The connection between esoteric Arabic and Rosicrucian esoteric wisdom is declared in the same Pink+Cross Posters, when we learn that Christian Rosenkreutz went to Damcar or rather Damear, in Yemen, the place of origin of Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, to learn the secrets of the wise. He stayed in Damcar longer than expected precisely to learn the wisdom that dwelt there. Sufism.
The Romans called this region Arabia Felix because of its lush vegetation, which made it distinctly different from the desert in the north of Arabia. So etheric forces abound there. According to occult geography, this is the area where the currents of eastern wisdom from Egypt and even before that from India, i.e. the Manu Noah current that brought part of the last Atlantians to Asia; and of western wisdom from the shores of Europe closer to the disappearance of Atlantis, i.e. the current brought north of Atlantis by Skythianos to the islands of Hibernia (Ireland) and Albion (Great Britain). So to speak, these two currents there form an embrace, a “rose”, a meeting place between Eastern and Western wisdom, in a synthesis that was brought to maturity precisely with the impulse of Christian Rosenkreutz and the subsequent Rosecross
Yet Christian Rosenkreutz, having learned the Sufi wisdom, added to it the impulse of Christ. In fact, even before going to the academy in Damascus, he stopped in Damascus where he experienced the “Lightning on the Way”, just like St. Paul. This allowed Christian Rosenkreutz to perceive the Etheric Christ directly in the Astral World. Thanks to this initiatory experience, he was able to bridge the Arabic wisdom as well as to advance further in the Western wisdom: in this way he differentiated himself from Islam by not confusing Jesus with Christ and not considering him “only” a prophet, but the Messiah, the incarnate Solar Spirit. According to Steiner this difference is due to the lunar inspiration at the base of Islam by the Archangel Gabriel, different from the solar inspiration of the Archangel Michael, champion of Christ.
Christian Rosenkreutz understood this capital difference and distanced himself from it: he infused in this oriental wisdom the impulse of Christ, culminating in the Mystery of Golgotha, finally arriving at codifying this initiatory secret, central to esoteric Christianity, through the alchemical operations of his Chemical Wedding.
Chemical Wedding of the Red King of the Sun with the White Queen of the Moon through the intercession of the Holy Spirit