Christian Rosenkreutz is the name of an important incarnation of the Individuality of Lazarus-John that was initiated by Christ-Jesus, and became the 'disciple that Jesus loved' - the author of the John's Gospel and the Book of Revelation. He is one of the masters of the White Lodge, and one of the two masters of Rudolf Steiner. Also Daskalos mentions him as his master or teacher 'Yohannan'.
The individuality of John or Christian Rosenkreutz connects esoteric ('Johannine') christianity with the rosecrucian movement and contemporary spiritual science or anthroposophy. This Individuality has been incarnating every century, a well-known incarnation was as the Comte de Saint-Germain in France during the time of the French Revolution.
The etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz works esoterically in the rosecrucian stream of initiation, but also exoterically in the world and enabling clairvoyant vision of Christ in the etheric.
- Christian Rosenkreutz' calling, a spiritual calling that can occur in a Man's life, see Topic 1 on Q00.006 - spiritual events at various points in life
- the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz: its origin, evolution and impact (1911-09-27-GA130)
- as the inspirer of Helena Blavatsky's book 'Isis Unveiled' (1877), and Lessings 'Education of the human race' (1780) (1911-09-27-GA130)
- Christian Rosenkreutz and Master Jesus were the two masters of Rudolf Steiner (see References below)
- incarnations (see FMC00.166 below)
- this Individuality incarnated in every century after his incarnation as Christian Rosenkreutz (GA264)
- an early incarnation is said to be Hiram Abiff, 'The Son of the Widow' and Master Builder of the Temple of Solomon, see Paradise Legend or Streams of Abel and Cain
- during the time of Christ
- Flos or Flor: "The same soul who lived in Flor and of whom the legend tells, was reincarnated in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as the founder of Rosicrucianism" and "in the grandparents of Charles the Great (747-814) [were] Flor and Blancheflor, lived the rose and the lily" (1909-05-06-GA057). If the legend is correct and this is to be taken literally, it might point to another incarnation around the 7th century AD, even though Rudolf Steiner states we shouldn't consider Flor and Blancheflor as 'outer figures' (meaning actual people) as they are symbols.
- Christian Rosenkreutz (1912-01-27-GA130) - incarnation (1378-1484) with initiation by Manes in 1459
- his initiation (1911-11-28-GA130, 1912-06-17-GA130),
- his teachings and the start of Rosecrucian movement (1924-01-06-GA233a)
- Comte de Saint Germain's life (around ca 1691 or 1712-1784) has been documented by others in history. He travelled to ao Netherlands, Russia, Belgium England, Germany, Italy, and met with many important figures and famous individuals
- Master 'M', one of the two masters that Rudolf Steiner refers to. See Rudolf Steiner and the White Lodge#Steiner.27s masters. See also note in the Discussion area on Alois Mailander.
- comparison of the nature and differences between Johanine and Pauline Christianity (1902-05-04-GA087)
FMC00.166 gives an overview of some key incarnations of the author of John's Gospel, Christian Rosenkreutz, one of Rudolf Steiner's masters.
FMC00.311 shows the widely published illustration of 'Le Comte de Saint-Germain'. This gravure (made by Nicolas Thomas in 1783) is supposedly a copy of an original painting which has since been lost. Note that Rudolf Steiner did mention that there was confusion around the name of Comte de Saint-Germain, and more things were attributed to this name than the relevant incarnation in this context. An implication of this may be that one cannot be sure regarding this portrait either. A lot can be said about such representations and all the rumours about them, see eg Hella Krause-Zimmer or Christian Lazarides under 'Further reading' section below.
FMC00.227 shows paintings by Rembrandt of a man who visited him, said to be an incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz, see quotes by Lievegoed and Vreede below. A lot can be said about such representations and all the rumours about them, see eg Hella Krause-Zimmer or Christian Lazarides under 'Further reading' below.
Lecture coverage and references
Rudolf Steiner made explicit mention of Christian Rosenkreutz and Master Jesus as the two Masters of the White Lodge representing the Christian and Rosecrucian European stream in which he worked.
He lectured extensively on the Gospel of John (30 lectures in GA100, GA103, GA112, GA117A (and GA094/094.3, GA097) as well as the Book of Revelation (60 lectures, see Schema FMC00.258), putting these in a modern explanatory context - more than any other source.
Furthermore, he lectured specifically on 'The Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz' in GA130 (see references from schema FMC00.166) :
.. covering details of the tasks and deeds of Christian Rosenkreutz and Rosicrucian Christianity, such as his influence on G.E. Lessing and Madame Blavatsky. Other related topics include the mission of Gautama Buddha on Mars, the Bodhisattva Jeshu ben Pandira and his connection with the Gospel of St. Matthew, the coming of Maitreya Buddha, the workings of karma, the living etheric reality of Christ today and the future stages of his increasing manifestation to humanity.
It was said: Flor and Blancheflor are souls incarnated in human beings who have lived on Earth. According to the legend, these two were the grandparents of Charles the Great. But those who studied the legend more deeply, saw in Charles the Great the figure who, in a certain sense, united esoteric and exoteric Christianity. This is expressed in the coronation of the Emperor. But in the grandparents of Charles the Great, Flor and Blancheflor, lived the rose and the lily — typifying souls who were to preserve in its purity the esoteric Christianity which had been taught by Dionysos the Areopagite and others.
The rose — Flor or Flos — symbolised the human soul who has received the impulse of the I, of Personality, who lets the spiritual work out of his Individuality, who has brought the I-force down into the red blood.
But among the Initiates it was said: The same soul who lived in Flos or Flor and of whom the legend tells, was reincarnated in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as the founder of Rosicrucianism, a Mystery-School having as its aim the cultivation of an understanding of the Christ Mystery in a way suited to the new era. Thus esoteric Christianity found refuge in Rosicrucianism.
Since the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Rosicrucian Schools have trained the Initiates who are the successors of the ancient European Mysteries and of the School of the Holy Grail.
Note: Charlemagne or Charles the Great (747-814).
(SWCC) elaborates on the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz
Christian Rosenkreutz is an individual who is active both when he is in incarnation and when he is not incarnated in a physical body; he works not only as a physical being and through physical forces, but above all spiritually through higher forces.
.. Man lives not only for himself but also in connection with human evolution as a whole. Usually when Man passes through death his etheric body dissolves into the cosmos. A part of this dissolving etheric body always stays intact, however, and so we are always surrounded by these remaining parts of the etheric bodies of the dead, for our good, or also to our detriment. They affect us for good or ill according to whether we ourselves are good or bad. Far reaching effects emanate also from the etheric bodies of great individualities. Great forces emanating from the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz can work into our soul and also into our spirit. It is our duty to get to know these forces, for we work with them as rosicrucians.
We have to see the occult process in such a way that the fruits of the initiation of the thirteenth remained as the residue of his etheric body, within the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. This residue inspired the twelve as well as their pupils that succeeded them, so that they could form the rosicrucian stream. Yet it continued to work as an etheric body, and it then became part of the new etheric body of the thirteenth when he incarnated again.
... All the forces of the wonderful etheric body of the individuality of the thirteenth century had remained intact, none of them dispersed after death into the general world ether. This was a permanent etheric body, remaining intact in the ether spheres thereafter. This same highly spiritual etheric body again radiated from the spiritual world into the new incarnation, the individuality in the fourteenth century.
At that time Christian Rosenkreutz traveled through the whole of the known world. After he had received all the wisdom of the twelve, fructified by the mighty Being of the Christ, it was easy for him to receive all the wisdom of that time in the course of seven years. When, after seven years, he returned to Europe, he took the most highly developed pupils and successors of the twelve as his pupils, and then began the actual work of the rosicrucians.
By the grace of what radiated from the wonderful etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz they could develop an absolutely new world conception. What has been developed by the rosicrucians up to our time is work of both an outer and an inner nature. The outer work was for the purpose of discovering what lies behind the maya of the material world. They wanted to investigate the maya of matter.
Just as Man has an etheric body, so does the whole of the macrocosm have an etheric macrocosm, an etheric body. There is a certain point of transition from the coarser to the finer substance. .. What lies between physical and etheric substance is ... lives in the world in a certain form both in the macrocosm and in man. In the world outside man [the rosecrucians] revered it as the mighty garment of the macrocosm. They saw it arising in man when there is a harmonious interplay between thinking and willing. ... The rosicrucians sought the strength to achieve such harmony of willing and thinking in their own soul in the force radiating from this etheric body of the thirteenth, Christian Rosenkreutz.
Thus the forces radiating from the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz continued to be active in the nineteenth century too. And a renewal of theosophical life could come about because by 1899 the little Kali Yuga had run its course. That is why the approach to the spiritual world is easier now and spiritual influence is possible to a far greater degree.
The etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz has become very strong, and, through devotion to this, Man will be able to acquire the new clairvoyance, and lofty spiritual forces will come into being. This will only be possible, however, for those people who follow the training of Christian Rosenkreutz correctly. Until now an esoteric rosicrucian preparation was essential, but the twentieth century has the mission of enabling this etheric body to become so powerful that it can also work exoterically. Those affected by it will be granted the experience of the event that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus. Until now this etheric body has only worked into the school of the rosicrucians; in the twentieth century more and more people will be able to experience the effect of it, and through this they will come to experience the appearance of Christ in the etheric body. It is the work of the rosicrucians that makes possible the etheric vision of Christ. The number of people who will become capable of seeing it will grow and grow. We must attribute this re-appearance to the important work of the twelve and the thirteenth in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
If you can become an instrument of Christian Rosenkreutz, then you can be assured that the smallest detail of your soul activity will be there for eternity.
and other excerpt
[Hundred years rule]
Now it is also of great importance to know that in any century the rosicrucian inspiration is given in such a way that the name of the one who receives the inspiration is never made public. Only the highest initiates know it. Today, for instance, only those occurrences can be made public that happened a hundred years ago, for that is the time that must pass before it is permissible to speak of it in the outside world. The temptation is too great that people would idealise fanatically a person bearing such authority, which is the worst thing that can happen. It would be too near to idolatry. This silence is not only essential in order to avoid the outer temptations of ambition and pride, which could probably be overcome, but above all to avoid occult astral attacks which would be constantly directed at an individuality of that calibre. That is why it is an essential condition that a fact like this can only be spoken of after a hundred years.
Through the works of the rosicrucians the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz became ever stronger and mightier from century to century. It worked not only through Christian Rosenkreutz but through all those who became his pupils. From the fourteenth century onwards Christian Rosenkreutz has been incarnated again and again. Everything that is made known in the name of theosophy is strengthened by the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz, and those who make theosophy known let themselves be overshadowed by this etheric body, that can work on them, both when Christian Rosenkreutz is incarnated, and when he is not in incarnation.
It was known to the College of the twelve wise men that a child was to be born who had lived in Palestine at the time of Christ and had been present when the Mystery of Golgotha had taken place. This Individuality possessed great powers of heart and a quality of deep, inward love which circumstances had since helped to unfold in him. An Individuality of extraordinary spirituality was incarnated in this child. It was necessary, in this case, for a process to be enacted which will never be repeated in the same form. The following does not describe a typical initiation but is an altogether exceptional happening. It was necessary for this child to be removed from the environment into which he was born and to be placed in the care of the Twelve at a certain place in Europe. But it was not the external measures adopted by the twelve wise men that are of essential importance; what is important is the fact that the child grew up with the Twelve around him, and because of this, their wisdom was able to stream into him. One of the Twelve, for example, possessed the Mars-wisdom and therewith a definite quality of soul — a mood-of-soul tempered by the form of culture standing under the influence of Mars. The forces of the Mars culture endowed this soul with the faculty, among others, of presenting the occult sciences with fiery enthusiasm and ardor. Similar planetary influences were also at work in other faculties distributed among the Twelve.
The development of the child’s soul proceeded harmoniously under the influences pouring from the twelve wise men. And so the child grew up, under the unceasing care of the Twelve. Then, at a certain time, when the child had grown into a young man of about 20, he was able to give expression to something that was a kind of reflex of the twelve streams of wisdom — but in a form altogether new, new even to the twelve wise men. The metamorphosis was accompanied by violent organic changes. Even physically the child had been quite unlike other human beings; he was often very ill and his body became transparent, as though filled with light. Then there came a time when for some days the soul departed altogether from the body. The young man lay as if dead … And when the soul returned it was as though the twelve streams of wisdom were born anew. He spoke of new experiences. There had come to him, from the Mystery of Golgotha, an experience similar to that of Paul before Damascus. Thereby it was possible for all the twelve world-conceptions, religious and scientific — and fundamentally there are only twelve — to be gathered together, synthesized in one. The twelve basic world-conceptions were gathered together into one whole which could do justice to them all.
It remains now to be said that the young man died very soon afterwards. His life on Earth had been brief. His mission had been to create a synthesis of the twelve streams of wisdom in the sphere of thought and to bring forth the new impulse which he could then bequeath to the twelve wise men who were to carry it further. A great and significant impetus had been given. The name of the Individuality from whom this impulse originated was Christian Rosenkreutz. The same Individuality was born again in the fourteenth century and this earthly life lasted for more than a hundred years. In the new earthly life he brought to fruitfulness, in the outer world too, all that he had lived through in that brief space of time. He traveled all over the West and over practically the whole of the then known world in order to receive anew the wisdom which in the previous life had quickened in him the new impulse — the impulse which, as a kind of essence, was to filter into the culture of the times.
In GA 264 - Zur Geschichte der Esoterischen Schule,
S. 238: Seither ist Christian Rosenkreutz die führende Wesenheit im abendländischen Geistesleben. Er ist seitdem in jedem Jahrhundert inkarniert, ebenso wie auch der Meister Jesus.
The Rosicrucian stream is the oldest stream of wisdom on earth. Cain was the builder of cities, that is to say, of a man-built world. He came to earth in one of his incarnations as Hiram, the builder of Solomon's temple. Hiram knew how to bring cosmic reality through human will onto earth in spiritual forces. Lazarus, moreover, was the reincarnation of Hiram, the builder of the temple. He was the same individual who lived in Cain and Hiram — and who became the first initiate of Christ Himself. After his life as St. John, he was very often incarnated.
Dr. Rittelmeyer, of the Christian Community, has said that he knew, through Steiner, of about ten incarnations of St. John the Evangelist. They were all Christian martyrs. [This individuality was thus the 'imitatio Christi,' the following of Christ was accomplished to the utmost.]
He spoke in a small circle about this, saying: “St. John the Evangelist is the greatest sufferer for Christianity. He is the one who was able to suffer for it.”
In 1250 this great human individuality on earth went through a special initiation as described in the lectures about Christian Rosenkreuz. After this last initiation, in 1250, he was known to history as Christian Rosenkreuz. It was he who unravelled the red thread of esoteric Christianity on earth in the time of Kali-Yuga, and between the mystery of Golgotha and the year 1899. But there was no real renewal of the mysteries. The spiritual worlds didn't speak through the mysteries. The only thing which was possible was that people tried to preserve what was there out of older times. But through this world which grew more and more materialistic, there was this secret red thread of small groups of people who were bearers of the real stream of esoteric Christianity. They were brought together by Christian Rosenkreuz. There was one whom you all know: Rembrandt.
It was Christian Rosenkreuz who, appearing in a particular human form for Rembrandt, taught Rembrandt the secrets about light and darkness. Rembrandt (1606 –1669) twice gave a portrait of the man who brought him the knowledge of light and darkness. One is the warrior, which is hanging in Glasgow, and the other is the so-called Polish Rider, which is New York.
grew up in The Hague with parents in the Esoteric School of the Theosophical Society. The Freemason Lodge was located where now is the Vredespaleis. She recalls that when the whole family became connected to Rudolf Steiner, the latter said during a visit, looking out of the window across the road to Park Sorgvliet in front of the house:
The Count of St Germain so often visited the Lodge over there. I love The Hague very much because you can still see the golden traces that go through the cobblestones in the streets where the Count of St Germain used to walk.
in 'The friend of God From the highlands' (SWCC)
.. this is where you have the change to Rosicrucianism. It is what is pointed to in Goethe’s poem ‘The Mysteries.’ Since that time Christian Rosenkreutz has become the leading personality in the spiritual life of the West. Both he and the Master Jesus, ‘the friend of God from the highlands,’ have been incarnated in every century since then. They incarnate in turns every century, and from that time the Master Jesus has worked in the same way as Christian Rosenkreutz.
From various sources
Below is a combination of sources (incl. hearsay) with no further qualification.
[Incarnations of Christian Rosenkreutz]
- Tubal-Cain: a descendant of Cain, the son of Lamech and Zillah, and the brother of Naamah
- “...instructor of every artificer in brass and iron” (Genesis 4:22)
- Name Unknown: In the court of the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut along with Senenmut (Manu) (1508–1458 BC)
- There are no further specifics, but Ehrenfried Pfeiffer commented on the incarnation of the “Mother Lodge of Humanity” into her court. As an aside, note that some Rosicrucian circles mention the founding of the Rosicrucian Order by Thutmosis III in 1489 BC
- Joshua (Hoshea the son of Nun): (ca. 1500–1390 BC)
- Bernard Lievegoed: “Ehrenfried Pfeiffer has told me that Rudolf Steiner said that Joshua was an incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz.”
- Hiram Abiff, “the Son of the Widow”: Master Builder of the Temple of Solomon (ca. 940 BC)
- Hosea (ca. 8th century BC)
- Eleazar: martyrer during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ca. 175 to 164 BC
- Emil Bock: 'Caesars and Apostles: Hellenism, Rome and Judaism'
- (Two Maccabees).
- Lazarus-St. John
FMC00.166 gives an overview connecting the period of the Mystery of Golgotha down to the 19th century and the end of the period of darkness (kali yuga) in 1879. This picture can be overlaid with other pictures or view on that timeline:
- the story of the Holy Grail and Parsifal, and the Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams
- the descent of the 'cosmic intelligence' between the 4th and the 15th century
Together, they show the transformational period of the last two millenia, with the Mystery of Golgotha, the birth of the consciousness soul, and the end of the kali yuga period of darkness. This totally impacted the human consciousness (the arising of autonomeous rational intellectual thinking from, say, the 15th century, and the future new clairvoyance) the process of Initiation (see Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father)
Alois Mailander (1843-1905) was a weaver and factory worker, but also a high Individuality and influencial figure with around him a circle of students including Gustav Meyrink (Meyer), Frederick Eckstein (interesting link with Bruckner), Franz Hartmann, and Karl Weinfurter. Teachings made reference to earlier work by Johann Baptist Krebs (1774-1851) who wrote under the name Kerning.
Rudolf Steiner makes reference to him (eg in a descriptive way in the GA046 note of 1921 on Hartmann) without naming him. Mailander's profile may map to Steiner's description of his master M., but it may as well not.
See excerpt 1911-09-27-GA130 above for rosecrucian 'Hundred years rule'.
Certain sources have investigated whether Mailander potentially was an incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz, see the articles by Richard Cloud on the pansophers website:
- The true identity of the elder brother of Rudolf Steiner revealed (2017)
- The secret rosecrucian adept Alois Mailander (2018)
For some however all this remains speculative so not everyone believes into this hypothesis.
- Mystery of John
- Gospel of John as an initiation document
- Symbol or rose cross
- The Michaelic stream
- The being of Elijah
References and further reading
- Paul Marshall Allen: 'A Christian Rosenkreutz Anthology (1968)
- Johannes Hemleben: 'Johannes der Evangelist. In Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten' (1972)
- Paul Regenstreif: 'Christian Rosenkreutz und seine Mission : als Studien-Material auf der Grundlage von Hinweisen Rudolf Steiners zusammengestellt und bearbeitet' (1953, 1977, 2014)
- Paul Regenstreif (1899-1981) produced the manuscript in 1953, which was published in two editions in 1977 und 1980. A new edition was planned by Dr. Rudolf M. Biedermann since 2004 and was published in 2014.
- Gerhard Wehr: 'Christian Rosenkreuz : Urbild und Inspiration neuzeitlicher Esoterik' (1980)
- Helmut Graml: Eine Wirksamkeit des Christian Rosenkreutz in unserer Gegenwart (1980)
- Manfred Schmidt-Brabant: The three initiations of Christian Rosenkreutz, in 'Paths of the Christian Mysteries' (2003, 1999 in DE)
- Peter Schraud:
- Graf Saint-Germain - Sein und Schein!: Von den Meisterstücken eines außergewöhnlichen Bruders (2008)
- Graf Saint-Germain unser Bruder: Eine Wahrnehmungsübung (2011)
- Christian Rosenkreutz und das Menschheitsziel (2013)
- Hella Krause-Zimmer: 'Christian Rosenkreutz' (2009)
- Peter Selg: 'Rudolf Steiner and Christian Rosenkreutz' (2010 in DE, 2012 in EN)
- Christian Lazarides: Sept portraits (2012, in FR)
- Isabelle Val De Flor: 'Sur les traces de Christain Rose-Croix au 13e siècle' (2014 in FR, in DE: 'Auf den Spuren von Christian Rosenkreutz im dreizehnten Jahrhundert')
- Andreas Delor: Ueber Christian Rosenkreutz (in DE)
- Hermann Keimeyer: Chr. Rosenkreuz und seinen Mission (2002, 2005, 2007)
- Jostein Saether: Christian Rosenkreutz und die islamische Welt - 400 Jahre Fama Fraternitatis (2015)