The Temple Legend
9. The Essence and Task of Freemasonry from the Point of View of Spiritual Science III
16 December 1904, Berlin *Lecture 9,
Berlin, 16th December 1904
Source for the text.
Shorthand report of Franz Seiler and longhand notes by Marie Steiner von Sivers. For the press the text by Seiler was newly revised.
It is important that we should speak about the higher degrees of Freemasonry, because this manner of instruction sets itself special tasks, certain aspects of which will be discussed in the near future. We are dealing, in the main, with a special rite, that is called the combined rite of Memphis and Misraim. 1 According to legend the Memphis Rite is supposed to have originated with a man called Ormus, who was converted to Christianity by St. Mark in the year 46. It is said that the Crusaders carried this masonic knowledge with them from the Holy Land and founded a Grand Lodge in Scotland in the twelfth century. The legend derives the name Misraim from Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham. He came to Egypt, possessed himself of the country and called it after his name (Misraim or Mizraim — an old name for Egypt). The teaching about Isis, Osiris, Typhon, etc., is supposed to have come from him, cf. Schuster: Die geheimen Gessellschaften, Verbindungen und Orden (Volume 2, Leipzig 1906). According to Heckethorn: (Secret Societies, Book 8, Chapter 20), the Egyptian masonry was founded by Cagliostro. The Rite of Misraim is attributed (Heckethorn, Book 8, Chapter 10) to a foundation in Milan of 1805, i.e., ten years after the supposed death of Cagliostro, which foundation was laid by several masons ‘who had been refused admission into the Supreme Grand Council.’ The Rite of Memphis is said to be a copy of the Rite of Misraim and was founded in Paris in 1839. It is supposed to have been combined with the Misraim Rite towards the end of the nineteenth century, since when it has been known as the ‘Memphis-Misraim Rite.’ John Yarker (see note 16), the ‘Absolute Sovereign Grand Master in and for Great Britain and Ireland of the Combined Scottish, Memphis and Misraim Rite,’ established a Grand Orient (Grand Lodge) for Germany in 1902. I have already mentioned that the Memphis and Misraim rite possesses a great number of degrees, that ninety-five degrees must be undertaken, and that usually the Supreme Leaders of the Grand Orients — i.e. those of Germany, Great Britain and America possess the ninety-sixth degree. These degrees are so arranged that up to the end of about the eightieth to eighty-ninth degree they are divided up in the way I shall presently describe to you.
From about the eight-seventh degree onwards start the real occult degrees into which no one can be initiated who has not made a thorough study of the subject. I always make the reservation that in Europe there is nobody who has undertaken all these degrees or who has really undergone an occult Freemasonry training. But that is of no particular concern as far as Freemasonry goes, because its renewed task still awaits it in the future, and, when the time comes, the Organisation will be available; the vessel will be there which is needed to carry out what has to be achieved.
Now I must mention the various branches of Freemasonry and their tendencies, even if I am only to indicate some thing briefly. First of all, it is to be borne in mind that the whole of the masonic higher degrees trace back to a personality often spoken about but equally very much misunderstood. He was particularly misunderstood by nineteenth century historians, who have no idea of the difficult situations an occultist can meet in life. This personality is the ill-famed and little understood Cagliostro. The so-called Count Cagliostro, 2 Count Alexander Cagliostro, allegedly identical with the Sicilian Joseph Balsamo — a fact which he himself, however, always vigorously denied — died in the Vatican prison in 1795. He is regarded, along with the Count of St. Germain, as one of the most controversial figures of the eighteenth century. In an account of his life by Francois Ribadeau Dumas: (Cagliostro, Allen and Unwin 1967) the attempt was made to put the record straight. For instance, it was quoted out of the Protocol of the trial by the Inquisition that ‘it has not been possible to find a single witness among Cagliostro's accusers who had known Balsamo.’ Furthermore, a passage is quoted from the book by Cagliostro's ‘learned historian,’ Dr. Marc Haven, Le Maitre inconnu Cagliostro: ‘No one has proved that Balsamo and Cagliostro are one and the same person; neither Morands, nor Goethe, not the Commissary Fontaine, nor even the trial of the Holy Inquisition have produced a document which precludes all doubt.’ in whom an individuality concealed itself which was recognised in its true nature only by the highest initiates, attempted originally to bring Freemasonry in London to a higher stage. For during the last third of the eighteenth century, Freemasonry had fairly well reached the state that I have described. He did not succeed in London at that time. He then tried in Russia, and also at The Hague. Everywhere he was unsuccessful, for very definite reasons.
Then, however, he was successful in Lyons, forming an occult masonic lodge of the Philalethes [Searchers after Truth] out of a group of local masons, which was called the Lodge of Triumphing Wisdom. The purpose of this Lodge was specified by Cagliostro. What you can read about it is, however, nothing but the work of ignorant people. What can be said about it is only an indication. Cagliostro was concerned with two things: firstly, with instructions enabling one to produce the so-called Philosopher's Stone; secondly, with creating an understanding of the mystic pentagram. I can only give you a hint of the meaning of these two things. They may be treated with a deal of scorn, but they are not to be taken merely symbolically, they are based on real facts.
The Philosopher's Stone has a specific purpose, which was stated by Cagliostro; it is meant to prolong human life to a span of 5,527 years. 3 In the notes of Marie Steiner von Sivers it is said to be 5,530 years. According to Heckethorn (Book 8, Chapter 20), 5,557 years (see note 13). Ribadeau Dumas (in the work quoted above) states that Cagliostro left many works behind him, among which is one entitled: The Art of prolonging Life. All of them, apart from his Egyptian Ritual, have disappeared. As Ribadeau Dumas says: ‘If they haven't been burned, they must reside in the Vatican archives. Let us hope that, in the light of the new ideas of the occumenical movement and reconciliation with the “separated Brethren”, the Vatican library will one day release these curious documents to which Cagliostro so often referred and through which he might be vindicated.’ To a freethinker that appears laughable. In fact, however, it is possible, by means of special training, to prolong life indefinitely by learning to live outside the physical body. Anyone, however, who imagined that no death, in the conventional sense of the word, could strike down an adept, would have quite a false view of the matter. So, whoever imagined that an adept could not be hit and killed by a falling roof slate, would also be wrong. To be sure, that would usually only occur if the adept allowed it. We are not dealing here with physical death, but with the following. Physical death is only an apparent occurrence for him who has understood the Philosopher's Stone for himself, and has learned to separate it. For other people it is a real happening, which signifies a great division in their life. For he who understands how to use the Philosopher's Stone in the way that Cagliostro intended his pupils to do, death is only an apparent occurrence. It does not even constitute a decisive turning point in life; it is, in fact, something which is only there for the others who can observe the adept and say that he is dying. He himself, however, does not really die. It is much more the case that the person concerned has learned to live without his physical body; that he has learned during the course of life to let all those things take place in him gradually, which happen suddenly in the physical body at the moment of death. Everything has already taken place in the body of the person concerned, which otherwise takes place at death. Death is then no longer possible, for the said person has long ago learned to live without the physical body. He lays aside the physical body in the same way that one takes off a raincoat, and he puts a new body on just as one puts a new raincoat on.
Now that will give you an inkling. That is one lesson which Cagliostro taught — the Philosopher's Stone — which allows physical death to become a matter of small importance.
The second lesson was the knowledge of the Pentagram. That is the ability to distinguish the five bodies of man one from another. When someone says: physical body, etheric body, astral body, Kama-Manas body, causal body, [higher Manas or spirit self] these are mere words, or at best, abstract ideas. Nothing, however, is achieved by that. A person living today as a rule hardly knows the physical body; only one who knows the Pentagram learns to know the five bodies. One does not know a body by living in it, but by having it as an object. That is what distinguishes an average person from one who has gone through such a schooling that the five bodies have become objects. The ordinary person does indeed live in these five bodies: however, he lives in them, he cannot step outside [of himself] and look at them. At best he can view his physical body when he looks down at his torso, or sees it in a mirror. Those pupils of Cagliostro who had followed his methods would thereby have achieved what some Rosicrucians achieved, who had basically undergone a training with the same orientation. They were in a school of the great European adepts, who taught that the five bodies were realities, and not to remain as mere concepts. That is called ‘Knowing the Pentagram’ and ‘Moral Rebirth’.
I will not say that the pupils of Cagliostro never achieved anything. In general they went as far as comprehending the astral body. Cagliostro was extremely skilful in imparting a view of the astral body. Long before the catastrophe broke over him, he had succeeded in starting schools in Paris, Belgium, St. Petersburg and a few other places in Europe, in addition to the one in Lyons, out of which later emerged at least a few people who had the basis for some to proceed to the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth higher degrees of Freemasonry. Thus, Count Cagliostro at least had an important influence on occult masonry in Europe before ending his days in the prison in Rome. The world should not actually pronounce judgment on Cagliostro. As I have already indicated, when people speak about Cagliostro, it is as though Hottentots were to speak about the erection of an overhead railway, because the relationship of apparently immoral outward acts to world happenings is not understood.
I remarked earlier that the French Revolution arose out of the secret societies 4 This almost certainly happened during lecture 5 given on the 4th November 1904, though it is not recorded in the notes. of the occultists, and if these currents were investigated further, they would lead back to the school of the adepts.
It may be that what Mabel Collins depicted in her novel Flita 5 Mabel Collins (pseudonym for Mrs Kenningdale-Cook), 1851–1927, was one of the best authors of the Theosophical Society. Rudolf Steiner wrote an appreciation of her novel Flita, True Story of a Black Enchantress, when it first appeared in German translation. This was published March 1905 in the periodical Luzifer-Gnosis and is recorded in the complete edition in German of Rudolf Steiner's works in Volume 34, Luzifer-Gnosis. is hard to understand. In it she describes, rather grotesquely, how an adept has the World Chessboard in front of him in a secret place, and lets the pieces play, and how he, so to speak, controls the Karma of a continent upon one very simple little board. It does not quite take place as it is described there, but something on a much greater scale than that does actually happen, of which what is described in Flita gives only a distorted picture.
Now the French Revolution certainly proceeded from such things as this. There is a well-known story contained in the writings of the Countess d'Adhémar. It related that, before the outbreak of the French Revolution, the Countess d’Adhémar, one of the ladies-in-waiting to Marie-Antoinette, received a visit from the Count of St. Germain. 6 See note 4 to lecture 5 given on 4th November 1904. He wanted to be presented to the Queen and to beg audience of the King. Louis XVI's minister, however, was the enemy of the Count of St. Germain, who therefore was not allowed into the King's presence. But he described to the Queen with great accuracy and detail the major perils which were looming ahead. Regrettably, however, his warnings were ignored. It was on that occasion that he uttered the great saying which was based on truth: ‘They who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’ 7 According to the account of Madame d'Adhemar, the Count said to her: ‘Madame, they who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind; this is what Jesus said in the Gospels, perhaps not before I did but, anyway, his words have been preserved in writing, only mine could have been made use of.’ Quoted from Heyer: Aus dem Jahrhundert der Französischen Revolution, (Edition 1956). These words, however, do not appear in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament, Hosea, Chapter 8, verse 7. (See also the statement in lecture 5 of the 4th November 1904). and he added that he had uttered this saying millenia previously, and it had been repeated by Christ. Those were words which were unintelligible to the ordinary person.
Count of St. Germain was right. I will only add a few more touches
which are quite correct. In books about the Count of St. Germain you
can read that he died in 1784
8 He is reputed to have died in Eckernfoerde on 27th February 1784.
As proof of this is the death register of the St. Nicholas Church
in Eckernfoerde, according to which he was ‘quietly interred’
on 2nd March 1784.
at the court of the Landgrave of Hessen,
9 Prince Karl, 1744–1836, son of the ruling Landgrave Frederick II,
Danish General and Governor of the Dukedoms of Schleswig and Holstein.
His Freemasonry writing:
La Pierre Zodiacale du temple de Denderah,
appeared in 1824. His memoires, which were dictated 1816/17, appeared
in Copenhagen in 1861 and, in German translation, in Cassel in 1866. In
the latter is to be found a report concerning the Count of St. Germain.
who later became one of the most advanced German Freemasons. The Landgrave
nursed him until the end. But the Countess d'Adhémar recounts in her
10See Karl Heyer's:
Aus dem jahrhundert der Französischen Revolution.
that he appeared to her long after the year 1784, and that she saw him six
more times long after that. In reality he was at that time, in 1790, with
some Rosicrucians in Vienna
11Rudolf Steiner apparently bases his statements on an article by Isabel
Cooper-Oakley in the periodical Gnosis, of 15th December 1903,
the pertinent passage of which reads
The Count of Saint-Germain, by Isabel Cooper-Oakley,
Rudolf Steiner Publications, p. 145 and p. 140 et seq.):
‘Franz Graeffer left us the curious account of a journey by Saint Germain to Vienna. Unfortunately this description is not quite satisfactory. Graeffer himself confesses that it was written on 15th June, long after the event. He says: “A peculiar irresistible feeling has compelled me to set down these transactions in writing once more, after so long a time, just today June 15th 1843.” Further, I make this remark, that these events have not been hitherto reported.’
‘One day the report was spread that the Comte de St. Germain, the most enigmatical of all incomprehensibles, was in Vienna. An electric shock passed through all who knew his name. Our Adept circle was thrilled through and through: St. Germain was in Vienna!
‘Barely had Graeffer, his brother Rudolf, recovered from the surprising news, than he flies to Hiniberg, his country seat, where he has his papers. Among these is to be found a letter of recommendation from Casanova, the genial adventurer whom he got to know in Amsterdam, addressed to St. Germain.
‘He hurries back to his house of business; there he is informed by the clerk: “An hour ago a gentleman has been here whose appearance has astonished us all. This gentleman was neither tall nor short, his build was strikingly proportionate, everything about him had the stamp of nobility ... He said in French, as it were to himself, not troubling about anyone's presence, the words: ‘I live in Fedalhofe, the room in which Leibnitz lodged in 1713.’ We were about to speak, when he was already gone. This last hour we have been, as you see, Sir, petrified ...”
‘In five minutes Fedalhofe is reached. Leibnitz's room is empty. Nobody knows when “the American gentleman” will return home. As to luggage, nothing is to be seen but a small iron chest. It is almost dinner time. But who would think of dining! Graeffer is mechanically urged to go and find Baron Linden; he finds him at the “Ente”. They drive to the Landstrasse, whither a certain something, an obscure presentiment, impels them to drive post-haste.
‘The laboratory is unlocked; a simultaneous cry of astonishment escapes both; at a table is seated St. Germain, calmly reading a folio, which is a work of Paracelsus. They stand dumb at the threshold; the mysterious intruder slowly closes the book, and slowly rises. Well know the two perplexed men that this apparition can be no other in the world than the man of wonders. The description of the clerk was a shadow against reality. It was as if a bright splendour enveloped his whole form. Dignity and sovereignty declared themselves. The men were speechless. The Count steps forward to meet them; they enter. In measured tones, without formality, but in an indescribably ringing tenor, charming the innermost soul, he says in French to Graeffer: “You have a letter of introduction from Herr von Seingalt; but it is not needed. This gentleman is Baron Linden. I knew that you would both be here at this moment. You have another letter for me from Bruehl. But the painter is not to be saved; his lung is gone, he will die July 8th 1805.
‘St. Germain then gradually passed into a solemn mood. For a few seconds he became rigid as a statue, his eyes, which were always expressive beyond words, became dull and colourless. Presently, however, his whole being became reanimated. He made a movement with his hand as if in signal of his departure, then said: “I am leaving (ich scheide); do not visit me. Once again will you see me. Tomorrow night I am off; I am much needed in Constantinople; then in England, there to prepare two inventions which you will have in the next century — trains and steamboats. These will be needed in Germany. The seasons will gradually change — first the spring, then the summer. It is the gradual cessation of time itself, as the announcement of the end of the cycle. I see it all; astrologers and meteorologists know nothing, believe me; one needs to have studied in the Pyramids as I have studied. Towards the end of this century I shall disappear out of Europe, and betake myself to the region of the Himalayas. I will rest; I must rest. In exactly 85 years people will again set eyes on me. Farewell, I love you”. [Said in 1790. Exactly 85 years later (1875) the Theosophical Society was founded.] After these solemnly uttered words, tie Count repeated the sign with his hand. The two adepts, overpowered by the force of such unprecedented impressions, left the room in a condition of complete stupefaction. In the same moment there fell a sudden heavy shower, accompanied by a peal of thunder. Instinctively they return to the laboratory for shelter. They open the door. St. Germain is no more there ...’ and said, which is perfectly true, that he was obliged to retire to the Orient for the span of 85 years, and that after that time people would again become aware of his activity in Europe. 1875 is the year of the founding of the Theosophical Society. These things are all connected to ether in a certain way.
In the school founded by the Landgrave of Hessen, also, there were two main concerns: the Philosopher's Stone and the Knowledge of the Pentagram. The Freemasonry founded by the Landgrave of Hessen at that time continued to exist in a rather diluted form. In fact, the whole of Freemasonry, as I have described it, is called the Egyptian rite, the rite of Memphis and Misraim. The latter traces its origin back to King Misraim who came from Assyria — from the Orient — and, after the conquest of Egypt, was initiated into the Egyptian mysteries. These are indeed the mysteries which originate from ancient Atlantis. An unbroken tradition exists from that time. Modern Freemasonry is only a continuation of what was established then in Egypt.
Before I go into details I would like to say that Freemasonry which extends to the higher degrees is something which, in its more intimate aspect, is quite different from the normal craft masonry. The ordinary craft masonry rests on a kind of democratic principle, and if the democratic principle is to be applied to matters of knowledge, it is obvious that it will lead to a state of affairs in which the brothers who have congregated together will mainly do nothing but bring forward their own views. Truth, however, is something about which one cannot hold one's own views. One either knows a truth or one is ignorant of it. No one can say that the three angles of a triangle add up to 725 degrees instead of to 180 degrees.
When people sit together and have a discussion they talk about their own views, sometimes also about the most elevated things. But all of this exists on the level of illusion, and is just as irrelevant as what a person says who is ignorant of the true sum of the angles of a triangle and only gives his own opinion about it. Just as one is unable to discuss whether the sum of the angles of a triangle have this or that many degrees, so one is also unable to have a discussion about higher truths. That is why the democratic principle is not applicable to matters of knowledge, for there is no basis of argument on which to discuss them. What distinguishes masonry of the higher degrees from craft masonry is that one learns to know the truth step by step. Whoever has recognised a thing can no longer hold more than one opinion about it. One has either recognised it, or one has not done so. The ninety-six degrees have, therefore, a certain justification
At the head is the so-called Sovereign Sanctuary,
who is identical with what is known as the Grand Orient in
Freemasonry, and is in possession of the real occult knowledge.
12It would seem that a person,
rather than a body of people, is here meant. Heckethorn, in talking
about the Order of Memphis, says that: ‘it works 33 degrees and
embraces a far more extensive ritual of workable degrees than any
other rite, every one of its 33 degrees having its appropriate and
elaborate ceremonial easily arranged for conferment and its titles
are purged of ridiculous pretensions. Its government is strictly
representative, as in our own political constitution. The 32 and 31
are the first, second, third and fourth Officers of the Chapter,
Senate and Council and form the Mystic Temple and judicial Tribunal,
the presiding Officer, or Grand Master of Light, having the 33rd
degree to enable him to represent the Province in the Sovereign
Sanctuary (33–95) or ruling body.’
Dr. Steiner speaks at the beginning of this lecture about the Combined Rite of Memphis and Misraim having a great number of degrees, that 95 out of the 96 Degrees have to be undertaken by its members and that the Supreme Leaders of the Grand Orients usually possess the 96th Degree. It seems likely that it is this Supreme Leader who is in possession of the actual occult knowledge and knows the path and the language of the Freemasonry manifesto, through which is revealed the voice of the ‘Wise Men of the East.’ He knows the path and the speech of that which can be picked out in the masonic manifesto, 13See preceding lecture of 9th December in which the text of the manifesto is given in full. and which makes it possible to hear the voice of the Wise Men of the East. When he has reached this step, he is certainly in a position to hear the voice of the Wise Masters. So far, however, must one have worked one's way up, that one is in possession of very definite knowledge, and also of definite inner qualities and inner capacities which by no means purely cover themselves with the conventional bourgeois virtues, but are something more meaningful and intimate. I would note that [compared with] what we have been speaking about here, what theosophical literature reveals of a theoretical or practical nature forms only an elementary part. So that the theoretical side of the higher degrees of Freemasonry far surpasses what can be divulged in popular theosophy. What can be disclosed there is dependent upon the permission given by the adepts to allow these things to be popularised up to a certain grade. But it is not possible to make all knowledge public.
It is correct to say that humanity will be
astonished by some of the discoveries which will be made in the near
future. But they will be rather premature discoveries and will
thereby cause some havoc. The task of the Theosophical Society
consists mainly in preparing people for such things. For instance,
what I described at the beginning as the knowledge of the
Philosopher's Stone was formerly much more universally known
than it is today and, indeed, it was known already during a certain
period of the Atlantean Epoch. At that time the possibility of
conquering death was really something which was commonly known. I
only wish to remark that I was not very happy about allowing this
truth to appear in print recently. Therefore where this should have
come in the discussion about Atlantean times in the Luzifer article,
a row of dots was printed in place of those things which may not yet
14This relates to the articles which appeared in the periodical
Luzifer-Gnosis, in December 1904 under the title
‘From the Akashic Records.’ See
‘Transition of the Fourth into the Fifth Root Race,’
p.66 (Rudolf Steiner Publications Inc., New York, 1961).
It cannot even yet be communicated in its
entirety. There is a very similar piece of information recorded by a
very advanced medium, which appeared in the Theosophical Review
15The article in question appeared in the December issue of the
Theosophical Review of 1904 signed only ‘E.’ Its
contents were the result of a combined exercise undertaken by
‘E,’ the interrogator, ‘T,’ the medium
employed to transmit by automatic means the communications of
‘F,’ the spirit guide. What follows comprises only
a few extracts of the original article.
‘F,’ though a politician and a man of the world, is an enthusiastic humanitarian ... He added that he felt very anxious, for soon an important discovery would be made which would give the doctors a greater power than they had even now, and that it would lead to more cruelty in experiments on animals, for the man who found it out would think he had learned it by vivisection. “But remember, it is not so, it is not a discovery, only a remembrance; for the man who will find it out was an Atlantean, and the Atlanteans were far more learned in medicine than we are; indeed the body had no secrets for them”. I then began to question him about Atlantis ...
They commanded the elements, made fine weather or storm as it pleased them. There were no children, for by an effort of unnatural power they attained to the great secret of causing life without material union of the two forces. The soul returned and reincarnated by an effort of will, taking its form from the natural elements without any other medium. This was what ultimately ended their power, for it could not be allowed to continue. It is dimly figured in a late Hebrew legend by the “tree of life”. There was nothing left of progression, and therefore a cataclysm had to overtake this civilisation, and destroy even its memory.
‘They overset the balance of creation, and so ruined their civilisation. The material cause was that they withdrew the life-force of the earth, and exhausted all the supplies of the life-current. This caused convulsions of nature, and the storm broke, irremediable, terrible, and swamped them. The Titans vied with the gods but were defeated. All religions tell this tale as a note of warning.
‘Your earth is a living creature, and if you can tap its life-current you can work all miracles. The Atlanteans are the souls of today in some cases, but they have been discrowned ... They had to return into ordinary life by the simple way of being born as an ordinary infant.
‘I will now tell you a little more about the wonderful power of Atlantis, so as to make you realise what man has been, and will be in the future ages; for to tell the truth Atlantis was material perfection, to this man can never return, but to perfection he will come in future time.
‘The ways of life of the highest classes were most simple, for nourishment was obtained almost from the air alone. Like orchids, the rulers, and more especially the priests, drew all their sustenance from the substance contained in the atmosphere. Consult any botanist you like and you will see that I am right. You cannot do this, for you are not self-materialised; you are creatures born, and not made by your own will ...
‘It was only the discovery of the great secret, that of the “tree of life”, which simplified matters, and that you will never regain until you cease to care for the power for its own sake. I mean the secret of death and birth. There is no need for men to die. There is no reason for men to be born. I know the secret in part, but not fully, for I am not good enough to be permitted to recall the wonderful power. If I could do this I should at once be tempted to reveal it to you, for it would be, God willing, an eternity of happiness.
‘I will, however, try and define somewhat and give you an example. A man is entirely renewed each seven years; after a while, however, he deteriorates and slowly decomposes. This is owing to ignorance, for if he knew how to regulate the inflow of new particles, he would never choose worse but rather better particles, and the atoms would remain permanently polarised by his will. Man is really held in a single cell; this cell is immortal and descends from generation to generation, creating ever new forms in which a human spirit can manifest. If this cell is retained in the body, and there is no procreation or waste of conservative power, then there is no reason why man should not exist for ever, during the cycle. By his children, however, man reproduces himself, and so destroys his material self. To an adept, to marry is to become a lower creature subject to death. This is truth. Every man or woman who creates can only do so by handing on his immortality. Man is a spirit, and the spirit is the central point of the materialised form. The whole of mankind accepts death as a necessity, and therefore hypnotise themselves into a belief that they must, die, but there is no reason for it if the cell is still intact in them.
‘Think it over and understand that this is one of the chief Christian teachings that has been corrupted. Christ rose from the dead to be the first fruits of life.
‘I want to refer to the new discovery which will be made, and of which I have previously spoken. It was well known once, and will return to the fated man's memory, and he will be hailed as a benefactor of humanity. In the old days of Atlantis when the secrets of the body were entirely unveiled to the caste of rulers and priests, they learnt it in a far more terrible way even than that of vivisection, namely by the stultification of the soul, thus destroying or distorting the power of evolution in a creature. You do not know this, thank God! or the earth would be once more a land of devils ...’ dealing with exactly the same thing in a rather different form. The overcoming of death in Atlantean times is naturally preserved in the memories of the individuals concerned without their being aware of it. There are many people reincarnated today who passed through that period in their former lives and who are led to such revelations through their own memories. That will first of all lead to a kind of overrating of certain medical discoveries. People will imagine that medical science was the discoverer of such things. In reality people will have been led to them through their own memories of Atlantean times.
Certain things will mature in the near future and therefore we shall speak about them. This makes it necessary to see the need of a step by step advance in the gaining of knowledge. This step by step advance is therefore rightly emphasised by those who wish to revive the Misraim and Memphis Rite at the present time. Even if this does not succeed during the next year or two, one must not think that failure in such things is of any significance There is a man at the head of the American Misraim movement, whose significant character constitutes a sure guarantee of constancy in the advance. This is the excellent Freemason, John Yarker. 16Yarker, 1833–1913, was an Englishman who was active within English Freemasonry. When it is here said that he was at the head of the ‘American’ Misraim movement, this is on the grounds of a statement made in the Historical Edition of the Oriflamme, Berlin 1904, co-edited by him, to the effect that only America possessed a legitimate Charter and that Yarker had been appointed in New York in 1872 ‘by S.G.C. 33° as “Chief Representative” and “Guarantor of Friendly Relationships” with the Manchester Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite and Sovereign Sanctuary of the Memphis and Misraim Rite.’ As significant masonic author he had obtained high Degrees in many different connections. (See end of note 1 to this lecture).
It is difficult to say at the moment what form the matter will take in Great Britain and Germany. You will perceive that one must reckon with the human material concerned, and that the German movement, therefore — if it is to concern itself with such matters -will also have to reckon with what is available in this direction. If genuine occultists are to take part in such things they must needs be active in one or other direction. They will not always be able to take part in such things. Even the Masters, when they prescribe something of this kind, have to take their cue from great universal laws.
If, therefore, you hear something concerning the German Misraim-Memphis tendency, you should not imagine that this now has significance for the future. It is only the frame into which a good picture may later be put. This German Misraim Order stands under the overall guidance of a certain Reuss, 17Theodore Reuss, 1855–1923. Authorised by Yarker to inaugurate the setting up of the Memphis-Misraim Rite in Germany. Rudolf Steiner did not know Reuss at that time. An account of this is going to appear in the documentation of the history of Rudolf Steiner's ‘Esoteric School’ (untranslated). who holds the actual leadership in Great Britain and Germany today. Then, the well-known Carl Kellner 18Carl Kellner, 1851–1905, Austrian inventor and big businessman. According to Hugo Göring in the January issue, 1895, of the periodical Sphinx (Official organ of the German Theosophical Society, edited by Hübbe-Schleiden), he invented the process for the manufacture of cellulose and worked together with the medical doctor, Franz Hartmann. Kellner was the Sovereign Honorary General Grand Master for the Memphis and Misraim Rite in Great Britain and Germany and signed himself as such for the Historical Edition of the Great Oriflamme of 1904. also works in this direction. The actual literary work is in the hands of Dr. Franz Hartmann, 19Franz Hartmann, 1838–1912. After an adventurous life and personal acquaintance with H.P. Blavatsky, he founded the so-called ‘Leipzig’ Theosophical Society. He was the editor of the theosophical periodical Lotusblüten. He is mentioned by Rudolf Steiner in his autobiography: The Course of My Life and in the second volume of Rudolf Steiner's letters. who serves the Misraim Rite with his pen to the very utmost. That is as much as I can impart to you in this or that fragment from here or there, concerning this movement.
Now I can
only characterise what is involved here in general terms. There are
four kinds of instruction given in the- Misraim Rite.
20The four kinds of instruction described by Rudolf Steiner are enumerated
by Heckethorn (p. 299), where he deals with the
‘Organisation of the Rite of Misraim.’
He says: ‘Then arose the Rite of Misraim with ninety degrees
arranged in four sections, viz.
1. Symbolic, 2. Philosophic, 3. Mystical, 4. Cabbalistic;
which were divided into seventeen classes.’
‘The Rite of Memphis,’ he says (p. 301),
‘is a copy of the Rite of Misraim and was founded in Paris in 1839.
It was composed of ninety-one degrees, arranged in three sections and
seven classes.’ Where Heckethorn speaks of the ‘Ancient and
Primitive Rite of Masonry or Order of Memphis’ (pp. 253–256),
he states: ‘The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry works
thirty-three degrees, divided into three sections, embracing modern,
chivalric and Egyptian Masonry, as the latter was worked on the continent
last century ... It embraces a far more extensive ritual of workable
degrees than any other rite, every one of its thirty-three degrees
having its appropriate and elaborate ceremonial easily arranged for
conferment, and its titles are purged of ridiculous
On the other hand, when speaking about the Egyptian Rite in connection with Cagliostro, Heckethorn says, (p. 352): ‘The Egyptian Rite invented by Cagliostro is a mixture of the sacred and profane, of the serious and laughable; charlatanism is its prevailing feature.’
From this it appears that the ‘Memphis and Misraim Rite,’ referred to by Rudolf Steiner, is a complex mixture of those rites which confer the Higher Degrees. Heckethorn refers to these as ‘spurious masonry’ (p. 265), in contradistinction to ‘Blue’ or ‘Symbolic’ Masonry, which restricts itself to the three lowest degrees only. The ninety-six degrees can therefore be achieved through four different kinds of instruction or disciplines. These four disciplines, by means of which one advances, are the following: First, the so-called symbolic instruction or discipline. By means of this, certain symbols can be recognised as facts. The person concerned is instructed in the occult laws of nature, through which quite definite effects are produced through cyclic movements in humanity.
The second kind of instruction or discipline is the so-called philosophic one. It is the Egyptian hermetic discipline. It consists of a more theoretical kind of instruction. The third kind of instruction is the so-called mystical discipline, which is based more upon inner development, and which, if rightly applied, would lead above all else to the appropriate manipulation of the Philosopher's Stone, that is, to the overcoming of death. That is essentially expressed in one of the sentences which I read out to you which stated that by means of Freemasonry everyone is able to convince himself of the fact of immortality. It depends, however, as the Cabbala says, whether this is requested or not. The fourth kind of instruction is the Cabbalistic one. It consists in the recognition of the principles of world harmony in their truth and reality, the ten basic ... [Gap]
By means of each of the four paths one can rise to a higher perception through the Misraim Rite. But there is actually no one within the ranks of Freemasonry today who would accept the responsibility of giving practical guidance to anyone, because those concerned have not undergone these things themselves, and the whole affair is a provisional arrangement and only intended to provide a framework for something which is still to come. It is possible that this framework will be filled with occult knowledge. Occult knowledge has to be cast in existing moulds. The important thing is that such moulds exist in the world. If there is molten metal and no mould into which to pour it, you are unable to do anything but let it run out in one lump. So it is also with spiritual currents. It is important that moulds exist into which can be poured the spiritual metal. That is symbolised by the Molten Sea. That will become recognised when what is now seemingly only vegetating receives form for outward manifestation.
time I read to you from a speech by the English Prime Minister Balfour.
21This has not been recorded in the notes at our disposal. In connection
with the speech itself, see note 19 to the previous lecture and the
succeeding note to this.
From that, then, it is already noticeable that certain things are physical
truths today, that are in primeval occult perceptions. If you read Blavatsky's
The Secret Doctrine,
you will find there a passage relating to electricity, which expresses
word for word what physicists are now gradually arriving at. What is
written there is, however, only a hint at what is actually involved.
It is the physical atom which is in question. This was misunderstood
by all outward — but not occult — science until four or five years
ago. It was taken to be [body having] mass in space. Nowadays one is
beginning to recognise that this physical atom bears the same
relationship to the force of electricity that a lump of ice bears to
the water from which it has been frozen. If you conceive of water
becoming frozen to ice, so is the ice also water, and in like manner
the atom of physics is nothing else but frozen electricity. If you
can grasp this point completely and were to go through the statements
about the atom contained in all the scientific journals until a year
or two ago, and were to regard them as rubbish, you will have more or
less the right idea. It is only very recently that science has been
able to form a conception of what the atom is. It stands [in the same
relationship to electricity] as ice does to water out of which it has
been frozen. The physical atom is condensed electricity. I regard
Balfour's speech as something of extreme importance.
22The following extract of Balfour's speech is the part referred to.
Under the heading: ‘Reflections suggested by the New Theory of
‘But today there are those who regard gross matter, the matter of everyday experience, as the mere appearance of which electricity is the physical basis; who think that the elementary atom of the chemist, itself far beyond the limits of direct perception, is but a connected system of monads or sub-atoms which are not electrified matter, but are electricity itself; that these systems differ in the number of monads which they contain, in their arrangement, and in their motion relative to each other and to the ether; that on these differences, and on these differences alone, depend the various qualities of what have hitherto been regarded as indivisible and elementary atoms; and that while in most cases these atomic systems may maintain their equilibrium for periods which, compared with such astronomical processes as the cooling of a sun, may seem almost eternal, they are not less obedient to the law of change than the everlasting heavens themselves.
‘But if gross matter be a grouping of atoms, and if atoms be systems of electrical monads, what are these electrical monads? It may be that, as Professor Larmor has suggested, they are but a modification of the universal ether, a modification roughly comparable to a knot in a medium which is inextensible, incompressible and continuous. But whether this final unification be accepted or not, it is certain that these monads cannot be considered apart from the ether. It is on their interaction with the ether that their qualities depend; and without the ether an electric theory of matter is impossible.
‘Surely we have here a very extraordinary revolution.’
It is interesting to note that Balfour does not use the term ‘frozen’ electricity or ‘coagulated’ electricity as the German translation does. He merely states that matter is the ‘mere appearance of which electricity is the physical basis.’
It is ... [Gap] something which has been published since 1875 [1879?]. 23See note 20 to the preceding lecture. The fact has been known to occultists for millenia. Now one is beginning to realise that the physical atom is condensed electricity. But there is still a second thing to be considered: what electricity itself is. That is still unknown. They are ignorant of one thing: namely, where the real nature of electricity must be sought. This nature of electricity cannot be discovered by means of any outer experiments or through outer observation. The secret which will be discovered is that electricity — when one learns to view it from a particular level — is exactly the same as what human thought is. Human thought is the same thing as electricity, viewed one time from the inside, another time from the outside.
Whoever is now aware of what electricity is, knows that there is something living within him which, in a frozen state, forms the atom. Here is the bridge from human thought to the atom. One will learn to know the building stones of the physical world; they are tiny condensed monads, condensed electricity. In that moment when human beings realise this elementary occult truth about thought, electricity and the atom, in that same moment they will have understood something which is of the utmost importance for the future and for the whole of the sixth post-Atlantean epoch. They will have learned how to build with atoms through the power of thinking.
This will be the spiritual current which will again have to be cast in the moulds which have been prepared for it by occultists over millenia. But because the human race had to pass through the era of the development of understanding and to look away from the true inner work, the moulds have become mere shells. But they still retain their function as moulds, and the right kind of knowledge will have to be poured into them.
The occult investigator obtains his truth from the one side, the physical scientist from the other. Just as Freemasonry has developed out of working masonry, out of the building of cathedrals and temples, so one will in future learn to build with the smallest of building blocks, with entities of condensed electricity. That will call for a new kind of masonry. Then industry will not be able to carry on any more as it does today. It will become so chaotic and will only be able to work purely out of the struggle for existence per se, as long as man does not know ... [Gap] Then it would be possible for someone in Berlin to drive into the city in a cab, while in Moscow a disaster which he had caused was taking place. And nobody at all would have any inkling that he had been the cause of it. Wireless telegraphy is the beginning of this. What I have portrayed is in the future. There are only two possibilities available: Either things go on chaotically, as industry and technology have done until now, in which case it will lead to whoever has the possession of these things being able to cause havoc, or else it will be cast in the moral mould of Freemasonry. *This last sentence appears as follows in the notes of Marie Steiner-von Sivers: ‘These things will either continue chaotically, as industry and technology have done until now, or harmoniously, as is the aim of Freemasonry; then the highest development will be achieved.’
Question: Why is the Catholic Church so antagonistic towards Freemasonry?
Answer: The Catholic Church does not want what is coming in the future. Pius IX was initiated into Freemasonry. He tried, through the Chapter of Clermont, to bring about a connection between the Jesuits and the Freemasons. That did not succeed, and therefore the old enmity between these two remained. Our Jesuits know little about these things, and the clergy are also unaware of what is involved. The actual clergy ... [Large gap]
The Trappists have to keep silent, for it is known that by doing so an important faculty of inspired speech in the next life is implanted. That is indeed only to be understood through a knowledge of reincarnation.