Those who had the privilege of knowing Max Heindel personally describe a man of great humility, endowed with considerable knowledge and profound wisdom, someone who was always ready to help his fellow beings in their quest for spirituality.
Max Heindel, an astrologer, an occultist and a Christian mystic, was a leading pioneer of what is today known as the Rosicrucian Fellowship. Among Max Heindel’s most notable writings is The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, a comprehensive guide to the causes and solutions for the sufferings of mankind, as well as a detailed study of the universe and of human evolution.
The Rose Cross Order and the Rosicrucian Association
The Rose Cross Order and The Rosicrucian Association
Letter to members
Letter to members
The Rosicrucian Association
The Rosicrucian Association
The Rosicrucian Association’s headquarters
The First Meeting
Max Heindel’s classes
Max Heindel’s Classes
Max Heindel, founder of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, was born on July 23rd, 1865, near Copenhagen, into the von Grasshof family, who were connected to the German court in Bismarck’s lifetime. His father, François-Louis von Grasshof, emigrated to Denmark when he was young. There he married Anna Withen, a young Danish noblewoman. Together they had 3 children: two sons and a daughter. The eldest was Carl-Louis von Grasshof, who later went by the name of Max Heindel.
At the age of eight, Max Heindel fell and seriously injured his left leg while striding over a stream, which left him bedridden for 16 months. The surgeons had removed many bone fragments from the wound and had had to insert several draining tubes in order to drain off the pus that was constantly forming. For ten years, Max Heindel had to walk with a special shoe until his leg was strong enough to manage without. But one of the wounds wouldn’t heal and a fresh bandage had to be applied day and night. It is only about 30 years later, after six months of vegetarian diet, that the wound healed up completely.
When he was sixteen, Max Heindel left for England, as he somehow felt suffocated by his life at home. He started working in the Glasgow shipyards to become an engineer. Later, he settled in Liverpool, where he became the chief engineer of one of Cunard Line’s large ships.
In 1885, he married Catherine Luetjens Dorothy Wallace, with whom he had three girls and a boy. But marital life becoming a source of distress and sorrow for them both, they eventually divorced. Max Heindel then left for the United States where he hoped to start a new life.
From 1896 to 1902, Max Heindel lived in New York, where he worked as a consulting engineer. This period was full of hardships, marked by daily deprivation and hunger. The marriage he had contracted at that time, and which had given him another two girls and a boy, ended in 1905 with the death of his wife.
Raised as a Lutheran, Max Heindel later joined a Quaker Church. In 1903, he was to be found in Los Angeles, where he studied metaphysics and joined the Theosophical Society, of which he would be vice president between 1904 and 1905. There he met Augusta Foss, who introduced him to astrology and who would later on, in 1909, become his wife and main associate.
At that time, an intense desire was growing in him to discover the cause and the remedy for all moral and physical sufferings of humanity. Much to his delight, he found that astrology could be the key to the inner nature of man.
In 1905, Heindel suffered a severe heart attack caused by deprivation and overwork (he worked and studied from 16 to 18 hours a day) and his illness would make him more and more aware of the necessity for humans to understand the causes of their sufferings. He started a conference tour on Christian mysticism and astrology which brought him to Seattle, Washington. He had kept in touch with Alma von Brandis, a friend of his who had been trying to persuade him to go to Germany and meet Rudolph Steiner. It is only in 1907, after meeting her in Dallas, that Heindel finally got convinced to take the journey. Alma even offered to pay for his trip.
It is the preface to the second edition of his book “Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception” that holds the most detailed information about Heindel’s stay there:
“From the beginning of November 1907 to the end of March 1908, the writer devoted his time to reviewing the teachings of Dr. Steiner, who was absent from Berlin for almost all that time. In the last of about six personal interviews with Dr. Steiner, the writer mentioned that he had started writing a book along occult lines; a sort of compendium of the teachings from East and West.
« Dr. Steiner then urged that if any of the teachings promulgated by him were used, he ought to be mentioned as authority and source of information. As a consequence, the author agreed to dedicate his work to Dr. Steiner. »
During January, February and March 1908, the Elder Brother, whom the writer now knows and reveres as Teacher, came several times, clothed in his vital body, and enlightened him on various points. In April and May, after unwittingly passing a test, the writer was invited to a journey to the estate on which stands the Temple of the Rosy Cross.
There he met the Elder Brother in his dense body; and there he was given the far-reaching, synthetic philosophy held in the present work—which in the opinion of many former occult students in England, on the European Continent, and in America, embodies everything that has been taught publicly or esoterically in the past, and besides contains much more information that has never been published before.
This is the reason why the unfinished manuscript mentioned to Dr. Steiner was destroyed; however, as the later and more complete teaching given by the Elder Brother corroborated the teachings of Dr. Steiner along the main lines, it was thought better to dedicate the book to him than to seem a plagiarist. Of that there would have been no real danger, for the plagiarist invariably gives less than the author from whom he steals, and it will be found that in any case where previous works are compared with the present, this book will always give more information.
The dedication therefore was a mistake (it read: Dedicated to my esteemed friend Dr. Rudolf Steiner, in grateful recognition of his precious teachings; and to my friend Dr. Alma Von Brandis, for the inestimable influence she has exercised on my life and my spiritual development”). It has led many people who merely glanced at the book to infer that it embraces the teachings of Dr. Steiner, and a careful perusal of pages 8 and 9 (from bottom of page 13 to top of page 15 in the new purple cosmogony) will show that this dedication was never intended to convey such an idea. The writer does not know how to express the true idea in a dedicatory sentence, hence has he decided to withdraw it, with an apology to Dr. Steiner for any trouble that may be caused by the hasty conclusions concerning his responsibility in the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.”