Heindel and Steiner
by Jeff Auen
To the best of my knowledge, Charles attempted to liberate the Fellowship from an exclusive and binding adherence to Heindel's work and contributions. As I mentioned before, Heindel's strong personality and way of stating occult facts creates a certain fixed view of things but allowed the average person to get the message. In addition, there is a strong devotional and healing element in the Fellowship work that creates strong feelings towards the organization and its mission. Also, many believe it is the only avenue of connection to the mystery Order in Europe.
The Steiner and Heindel issue is long standing. In his early student years, Heindel studied nearly everything but was frustrated by the Theosophical oriented approach to public esotericism. He met a dead end. A patron sent him to Germany to visit Steiner and hear him speak. Heindel recognized a great teacher and seer. He sat in on several lectures and had one or two interviews with Steiner. Nevertheless, he felt that what Steiner was doing was not appropriate for America where pragmatism and clear linear thinking is predominant. In frustration, he felt that he did not find what he was looking for there (a Western oriented spirituality that was accessible to the general public). In this disappointing condition, he states he was visited by an Adept from the actual Rosicrucian Order itself during one night in Germany. He passed a test of trust and was then told to visit a certain location in Eastern Germany where the Rosicrucian Temple was located (within and around a conventional house).
He underwent six months or so of intense spiritual and seership training which produced the ability to enter and explore the spiritual worlds directly both in body and out of body. During this time he was taught the contents of the Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception by his Teacher. He was asked to return to America with a text of this teaching and translate it into English. It had to published before 1910. In the first edition, he dedicated the book to Steiner out of respect for the work he was doing in Europe and for the inspiration he received. This was a mistake because it was totally misunderstood.
The problem was: the teaching found in Heindel's book (much of the early material was "presented" to him by his Teacher) sounded and read very similar to the basic works and lectures by Steiner. Thus people thought he stole the material. Unfortunately this is utterly false. Heindel was only in Europe a short time with Steiner's lectures and he was not interested in Anthroposophy, as such. . And the dedication to Steiner in the first publication lead people to think Heindel took materials and just put them into a simpler form. People can think what the want but these claims are untrue. In later works, Heindel shows that he was a seer and possessed occult knowledge not found in Steiner or any other source In the second edition, he retracted this dedication and explained his relationship to the Order, his initiation, and his first dedication to Steiner. (He was going to write a an East/West text on esotericism and told Steiner. Steiner asked that if anything was to be used from his materials, that proper acknowledgement be used. Heindel agreed.) It is my opinion from parallel studies, that at certain times in lives of both men, they had the same Teacher. This Teacher used certain phrases and methods of explaining occult facts that influenced both men's style and content early on. Both went on to write from their own experience and research and the Teacher receded to the background.
Heindel's followers and students subsequently saw Steiner and Anthroposophy as elitist, overly abstract and intellectual. Thus began the battle and misunderstanding between the two groups.
Heindel produced a wonderful healing and educational organization in the early years. This organization is now in conflict due to opposing views and politics as to how to modernize or remain "true" to older ways. It has failed to grow with times due to strong conservative leadership and dedication to the Founder of the organization. In recent years it has changed and now has a strong net presence.
Charles Weber (and others over the years) tried to show a compatibility between the Heindel's and Steiner's teachings in order to fuse the Rosicrucian elements in Steiner with Heindel and thus make each richer. Anthroposophist often find Heindel's work refreshing and clear; and sincere students of Heindel find Steiner's work goes deeper and is able to fill in many details Heindel did not or could not add. Charles failed in this attempt to expand the foundational teachings of the Fellowship because those in Fellowship refused to see the larger picture and saw his attempts as undermining the Fellowship's central focus on Heindel as the main source of its teaching.
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The intent of this forum is to assist serious students in a discussion of the unique spiritual implications found in this tradition. This group is encouraged to examine practical social and spiritual issues in light of this tradition as well as issues found on the spiritual path.
We believe that this tradition is unique due to its highly detailed and rigorous approach to spiritual development and metaphysical research. Rosicrucianism, in it purist form, is non-dogmatic and universal. This tradition bypasses psychic and mystical inspiration and asserts the necessity for first hand knowledge or Gnosis based on specialized training and the pursuit of true knowledge of the spiritual worlds. Themes include: the nature and purpose of "good and evil" on earth and the cosmos; and role of the Christ in human evolution; the distinction between "Jesus" and "Christ"; new insights into reincarnation and karma; working with souls who have passed on in the after-death conditions; positive and negative effects of esoteric development; critical cycles in human evolution, etc.
Many teachers have contributed to this tradition over the past 100 years. Recommended source materials: The works of Rudolf Steiner; The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception by Max Heindel; Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall; The Rosicrucian Enlightenment by Yates; The Rosicrucians by McIntosh, etc.
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