Relatively little is known about the life circumstances of Christian Rosenkreutz. According to the Wikipedia, from a book by Maurice Magre 1877-1941:
Christian Rosenkreutz was born around 1378 and said to have lived 106 years. being the last descendant of Germelshausen a German family of the 13th century. The ancestral castle stood in the Thuringian forest on the border of Hesse. They were Albigenses, Manichean Cathars, who renounced all that relating to the principle of power, and thus transcending matter sought to spiritualise and transform it. This was also related to the teachings of the Christian Gnostics in the early years AD.
It was considered a heretical sect. When Christian was 5, his whole family was put to death by Konrad von Marburg and the castle was burned. He was then placed in a monastery of the Cathars and given further education by a monk adept from Languedoc. France. Anthroposophical sources speak of 12 adepts who were present at his initiation.
Along with four other monks he founded the Rosicrucian Brotherhood in 1407.
Christian Rosenkreutz is said to have travelled to the Middle-East in the company of Turkish, Arab, and Persian sages. The Temple Sanctum Spiritus, The House of the Holy Spirit was inaugurated.
There are deep mysteries involved with questions concerning his passing. Before going on to some understandings given by Rudolf Steiner, I will include the following from the writings in the Wikipedia :
It is recorded that his death occurred in a chamber erected by himself as a storehouse of knowledge. On the Crypt is said to be written in Latin, ‘Jesus is everything to me, by no means a vacuum / a vacuum by no means exists, the freedom of goodness, the inviolate glory of God, the yoke of the law.’
(120 years after his death, the body of Christian Rosenkreutz was said to be in a perfect state of preservation. In the interior of the earth is written VITRIOL –Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem- Visit the interior of the earth by rectification thou shalt find the hidden stone.)
Rudolf Steiner has stated that Christian Rosenkreutz later appeared as the Count of St. Germain, a courtier, adventurer, and alchemist, who reportedly died on February 27, 1787. Much earlier his individuality was known as St. John the devine who wrote the New Testament book of ‘Revelation’.
Steiner once identified Rembrandt’s painting ‘A Man in Armour’ as a portrait of Christian Rosenkruetz in the 17th century.
I have no faculty for discernment as yet, relating to these connections, so, rather than reporting what I cannot know at this point, I will go on to understandings concerning the impulse of regeneration brought to humanity, which are inherent in the manyfold account known as The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz – Anno 1459, published in Strasburg first written in Old Dutch in 1604 by Valentin Andreae. A copy of the frontispiece is to be studied here, on which is pictured Christian Rosenkreutz carrying the unfulfilled Karma in a rectangular box.
Being a higher account of an alchemical initiation, The Chemical Wedding comes into correspondence with 7 Stages, which can be discovered in various different universal appearances. Their comparison helps us to comprehend the understandings. Concerning Alchemy, the following is written by Paul M. Allen in the book The Time is at Hand:
Alchemy can perhaps be best described as a process of metamorphosis, a changing of form by means of the activity of the three fundamental powers of the human soul, thinking, feeling, and willing. These three can be likened to the inner nature of the substance Salt, Mercury, and Sulphur, as they work upon the four elements inherent in all created things: Earth, Water, Air and Fire, transforming these from their fallen state of unredeemed matter, to a restoration of their archetypal, original, spiritual condition. In the middle of the 19th century, Mary Anne Atwood observed: ‘Alchemy is the art of fermenting the human vital spirit in order to purify it and finally to ‘dissolve it’, so that the essence can be reconstructed through a regeneration or transmutation.’
Rudolf Steiner has stated:
‘He who knows the essence of the experiences the human soul
upon opening the gate of entry into the spiritual world, needs to read only a few pages of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz Anno 1459 in order to know that the depictions of the book are based on real spiritual happenings.’
This and much of the wisdom I have gleaned about the ‘Wedding’ is to be found in Rudolf Steiner’s commentary on The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, as well as Walter Weber’s essays, found in the same volumn.
Valentin Andreae (1586 – 1654) wrote The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkruetz out of intuition. In his adolescence, he experienced imaginations, which he could not yet satisfactorily communicate. Much later he again was allowed to write out of a higher Intuition, in which a powerful spiritual experience is recorded about a being wherein the wisdom and harmony of the spiritual relationships are mirrored in their essential purity.
The following correspondences are my way of trying to grasp elements of this universal process of evolution and regeneration, relating to the 7 Days of the ‘Wedding’
CERTAIN CORRESPONDENCES (MANY MORE ARE POSSIBLE)
RELATING TO THE UNIVERSAL PROCESS
IN THE SEVEN DAYS OF THE CHYMICAL WEDDING OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ
1. The first Day : In Alchemy: Prima materia massa confusa. This characterises the state of things at the beginning of the process of Transmutation.
a) In the Planetary Evolution, SATURN. The Saturn Column of the Goetheanum. The ground tone of the musical intervals.
b) In the ‘Wedding’ the point of departure of a great, daring journey, full of danger ( and beginning in the Physical Body of the 7-fold human being).
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation, STUDY*, when it leads to the Threshold. The first Apocalyptic Seal.
d) State of Consciousness, dream-state in sleep.
e) The ‘trial’ of being fettered in a dungeon with many others. Trumpets and kettle drums sound, ‘the cover of the dungeon was lifted up and a little light was let down to us’. (Having felt trapped in the material world, the spiritual world now reaches down the cord, but we must wrestle with our hindrances to attain the goals.)
f) Midnight Scene of the Ferryman in ‘The Green Snake
and the Beautiful Lily’. (In Nature’s reflecting process, the seed egg of the Night Peacock Eye, for example.)
g) In the life between death and rebirth, it is the time before the Midnight hour, ‘passive’, the gaining wisdom, where the ‘threads’ are ‘drawn’ relating to all direct and indirect karmic connections.
h) In therapeutic striving, it is the beginning phase, ‘Support’ of the client.
i) In the Christian Initiation, ‘The Washing of the Feet’.
Thankfulness and reverence.
2. The second Day : Sevaratio, divisio. This separation or clarification of the Elements concerns the factors at working the process.
a) In the Planetary evolution, SUN. The Sun column of The Goetheanum, the second musical interval
b) In the ‘Wedding’ it has perhaps to do with choice. In the 7-fold human being, The Etheric Body. The choosing of an individual path. The wanderer comes to a higher world. He has arrived and confronts a moral decision about protecting a dove, whom he has fed, from a raven. He chooses a path by intuition. He enters a castle. In the spiritual world one can no longer judge according to the laws of the natural world. In the next days he must bind his soul forces to the spiritual world. Feeling his incapacity now, will become later the strength for spiritual experiencing. He recognises his animal, ‘the cruel lion’.
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation*, ACQUIRING IMAGINITIVE KNOWLEDGE. The second Apocalyptic Seal
d) The ‘dream-state’ is becoming shorter and more transparent.
e) Soul trials: Choosing a path, saving the dove, path of reverence for the first door, love offering, as the second door. Cultural purification at the guest table of the castle, Resignation.
f) Dawn Scene in ‘The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily’. The old woman’s dilemma. Offering fruits of the earth. Payment of debt to the Element- river wa. In the separating of the caterpillar from the seed. Feasting on the leaves builds the forming forces
g) Still the time before the Midnight hour in the life between death and rebirth. Karmic threads are being drawn.
h) In the striving between therapist and client, this is known as the ‘phase of confrontation’.
i) In the Christian Initiation ‘The Scourging’. Christ was in a sense bound and necessarily incapacitated.
3) The Third day : Conjunctio. A uniting of male and female, the active and passive natures of the Elements involved.
a) In the Planetary Evolution MOON. The Moon Column of the Goetheanum. The third interval of music.
b) In the ‘Wedding’ the Astral Body – Soul Development. The 7 arts in those times were
Christian perceives the imagination of the unicorn that bows before the lion. The lion’s roaring calls forth a dove that brings him an olive branch. He swallows it. This is a taming process, and is, in the spirit aspirant, a preparation for thinking spiritually. Then the beings and happenings of the sense world can be seen in a new manner. The seeker had to carry the instinctive understanding of the 15th century into spiritual reality and thus transform it into the strength of spirit vision, in the moment of time when human consciousness soul attributes were first appearing. (R. St.) The earth globe allows Christian to experience the dependency of the earthly happenings on cosmic world impulses.
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation, READING THE OCCULT SCRIPT* corresponds, with its connection to Inspiration.
The third Apocalyptic picture.
d) The dream-state becomes meaningful Dream.
e) Soul trial : Complete overcoming of ‘Belief’, so that the way of judging in the sense-world can, in its transformed strength also become a leading force in the super-sensible world.
f) Noon Scene in ‘The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily’ Crossing on the bridge of the Snake. In Nature’s mirroring, the molting stage, Transformation of the outer garment, which is changed three times.
g) Still in the passive stage in the experience between death and rebirth where karmic threads are forming.
h) In the striving between therapist and client, ‘maturation of the self’.
i) In the Christian Gnostic Initiation, ‘The Crown of Thorns’. Think that the blood from the thorns fell from the head of Christ into the earth. Our earthly being needs help to understand how it relates to the wisdom of the heavens. Sense-free thinking.
4) The fourth Day : Mortificatio calcinatio. This is the‘mystical death’ of the substance, the central point in the series. The ‘death’ of the issue resulting from Step 3 above.
a) In the planetary evolution Earth(the part consisting of the MARS column of the Goetheanum.) The fourth interval in music.
b) In the ‘Wedding’ the sheath of the ‘I’, the Ego. If the full strength of ‘I’ should step into the super-sensible world, then the ‘I’ must carry its own consciousness into this world; there must be felt a strong connection between the sheath of the soul in the supersensible, and that one which becomes active in bodily consciousness. Christian is brought before the kings and experiences their beheading. In the sense- world meaning pictures on the altar, the spirit seeker may read with his soul organ, how one’s own being lives in the being of the cosmos. Through the Book, for example the thought content of the aspirant is revealed, in relation to one’s development, there are more or fewer objective cosmic thoughts, which bring forth the light of cognition. The Kings show Christian how the soul forces live in his own organism. He sees the death of forces of cognition in the Soul-kings. In all nature happenings, death is built into the picture. The unliving aspect lives in all that lives in nature. That which is existing in the growing aspect of nature where death has not yet held dominion, must become awakened an recognised as the forces of thought. Nature-Alchemy can be enhanced and furthered by Art-Alchemy.An aspect of this kind of experience was later given as indications in Rudolf Steiner’s 9 Nature Sketches for Painters, which I studied in Dornach. In Colour Alchemy, for Example,one can study regeneration in theColour World. (See the 5th Day)
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation, The Philosopher’s Stone, Transmutation of substance into lifeless carbon –Intuition. The fifth Apocalyptic Seal*.
d) The Sleepless State which leads to an experience, which is not communicated.
e) Soul trial : courageousness at seeing the beheading of the Kings. And though not understanding the significance of it, to hold the questions in abeyance, and patiently wait for clarification.
f) Twilight Scene in ‘The Green Snake…..’ The death of the Youth. The Snake forms a protective circle around the dead Youth and the Canary. ( The time of spinning the cocoon. Threads are being formed, which will be transformed into the wings.
g) The beginning of the progression to the Midnight Hour experience between lives. Called the Inmost Mystery.
h) In the striving between therapist and client. The Phase of Self Orientation.
i) In the Christian Gnostic Initiation – The Crucifixion
5) Ablutio baptisma. This washing or whitening leads to the reuniting of the ‘soul’ of the element with its ‘dead’ body.
a) In the planetary evolution Earth ( the part concerning MERCURY. The Mercury column of the Goetheanum. The 5th interval in music.
b) In the ‘Wedding’, (the sheath of Manas (Imagination) in 7-Fold man.) Here there is a voyage from the castle to the Tower of Olympus in a ship made in the shape of a five-pointed star, prepared under the direction of the Virgin. before which the seeker, in order to evolve, must see into nature happenings and observe the bringing forth of growing forces. One must bring this natural working into the forces of cognition, without letting death take hold during the process of passing over from the growing into the soul experience. Then these dead forces of cognition must be brought to life. When one makes this step, there is a necessary temptation, which arises. One must go down, into the region where nature, BY THE FORCES OF LOVE, works and wrests LIFE from that which would drive it into death. One must understand that in matter, which is imprinted with death there lives a LOVE RELATED ELEMENT, which underlies every renewal of LIFE. The temptation is experienced by Christian Rosenkreutz in that he is led to the unveiled Venus, and thereby lets Cupid penetrate his being. Christian however cannot let this condition prevail, because he has the task, with his Spirit path, of leading out of an Epoch gone-by into a new Epoch, namely that of the Consciousness Soul. He must help with the RESURRECTION OF THE FORCES OF COGNITION. He can hear the Siren- song without being tempted, and later ascend to the Tower of Olympus. The transformation of the time- forces is observed as he later sees the starry heavens in the garden, instead of falling asleep. In Anthroposophical artistic striving, in Speech Formation and Eurythmy, for example, this life giving regeneration can be experienced as a healing transformation.
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation this brings the Correspondence between Microcosm and Macrocosm. The sixth Apocalyptic Seal*
d) The 5th day ends in full wakefulness and a night promenade in the starry garden.
e) The Soul Trial : Temptation is experienced but eventually transformation overcomes it, thereby one awakens into the evolution of higher consciousness.
f) Second Midnight in ‘The Green Snake…’ Washing or purifying. The procession crosses the bridge on the back of the Snake. ( the cocoon has been formed and silently begins the metamorphosis, and the caterpillar is being transformed inside the cocoon)
g) In the life between death and rebirth, now comes the work. There comes to the human soul, a more will-oriented strength.
h) In the striving between therapist and client, the Phase of Gaining Strength.
i) In the Christian Gnostic Initiation, the Mystical Death.
6. Albedo, tinctura alba, Resurrection. This ‘Bursting out’(‘Steigerung’ or enhancement) of the’reborn’ or ‘purified element’ into ‘many colours’ is imaged as a peacock’s tail.
a) In the Planetary Evolution JUPITER The Jupiter Column of the Goetheanum. The 6th interval in music
b) In the ‘Wedding’ one is shown how the dead faculties of cognition, such as are developed in the course of life, are changed into the supersensible ones. In the 7-fold human, it is the level of Buddhi (Inspiration) The imaginations show what the soul experiences in relation to its own forces. ONLY THAT WHICH EXISTS IN SEED FORM IN NATURE FORCES, AND IN THE WORKINGS OF NATURE BECOMES ‘HELD BACK’ AT THE POINT WHERE IN THE METAMORPHOSIS THE FORCES OF COGNITION FOR DEATH SHOULD BE EVOLVED CAN THEN EVOLVE INTO HIGHER FORCES OF COGNITION. This is true in the human organism as well as in the plant’s development. The green plant transforms into the coloured blossom which prepares the ability to form the fruit. The Tower of Olympus is so pictured in the original copies (the 5th Illustration). The aspirant initiates in the ‘Wedding’ , being called by the Virgin, must rise up in the Tower , through a hole by means of Ladders, Ropes or Wings, Then a strange sequence of metamorphoses occurs also concerning the blood of the beheaded ones, the untransformed forces. A constellation of reflected suns heated a globe, which bore a snow white egg, out of which a bird hatched and was fed. Black feathers and wild disposition was transformed to tame white feathers, then to many coloured feathers. The bird was boiled, lost all feathers. A collar with a chain was put around its neck. It was painted blue and later pecked at a white serpent from a skull whose blood was saved and later fed to the bird. The bird willingly allowed himself to be beheaded and then blood emerged only from the breast. All this was burnt to ashes, and transformed. At this point on the sixth level. Christian and 3 companions were declared by the Virgin to be sluggish and unfit to continue to the seventh level. However they were beckoned up a winding stair by the musicians. There they met ‘the old man’ They ere instructed tomoistn theashes with fore-prepared water. Then the clay was put into two molds. Theblood of the bird was instilled into the molded male and female of only 4 inches long’ they also went though a process. The hole at the top opened and a bright streams of fire were blown in. The soul was blown six more times by this manner. They were the transformed beheaded ones. They awakened at last, were visited by Cupid. With these Royal persons the voyage back to the castle was planned……
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation Living into the Macrocosm. The sixth Apocalyptic Seal.
d) State of Consciousness ends with sleep in one dream aided by the gentle rushing of the sea.
e) The trial seems to be using the organ of the soul to come into a supersensible manifestation, allowing metamorphosis to lead to a higher level through the forces of the Macrocosm. In eastern language it is the ascent of the Kundalini , which arrives at the pineal gland where opposite energies are united.
f) Second Dawn in ‘The Green Snake…’ The bursting out is the Temple rising to the surface of the earth. The Initiation. Investiture of the Youth into Kingship. ( and in the night Peacock Eye , the emerging from the Chrysalis is this bursting out.)
g) In the life between death and rebirth this willing element is becoming stronger. The strong Impulse is growing, which is brought to the wisdom
h) In the Work between therapist and client, it is the Phase of Individual Creativity.
i) In the Christian Gnostic Initiation, it is the Burial and Resurrection.
7) Rubedo This denotes the appearance of the King (Red) the Queen (White), who celebrate their Chemical Wedding, thus completing the process
a) In the planetary evolution, VENUS, the part consisting of the Venus column of the Goetheanum. The seventh interval in music.
b) In The ‘Wedding’Christian Rosenkreutz becomes‘The Knight of the Gold Stone’ In the 7-fold man Atma (Intuition) The Fulfillment. The dead nature of Stone is seen with its relationship to living becoming. It is similar to when nature weaves the dead into the living – as the spirit woven life in relation to the corpse. ‘Art is Nature’s servant’ and Nature is thedaughter of time. Nature reveals her secret to the one who is able to further her Creativity Through Art. Christian must remain Guardian before the gate He is the guardian of his own soul-life, the King in a sense. He can’t simply ascend to the spiritual world. The temptation he partially succumbed to does not yet let him leave, although he is very close to the spirit. The five sentences of what he must let become :
c) In the Rosicrucian Initiation Divine Bliss The seventh Apocalyptic Seal The new Jerusalem
d) The 7th day breaks up into fragments
e) Trial is different for each person for only the one experiencing it can truly understand. But this understanding is worthy of the growing human consciousness forces.
f) Bright Noonday of the second day in ‘The Green Snake.’ Royal Wedding. ‘All debts are paid’ A permanent Michaelic bridge to serve all of Humanity. (The flying moths in Nature carry the procreation on and on, the male dying after the act and the female after the egg laying The cycle rebegins) In Nature male and female reunite)
g) In the life between death and rebirth, the will forces carry the wisdom woven impulse into the next life.
h) In therapeutic striving the stage of Fulfillment is attained. The healing is always a prefiguration of the healing of the whole humankind.
i) In the Christian Initiation, it is the Ascension of the Soul . Christ lives now in the Elements. Thus the whole alchemy was possible for the Alchemists and is now possible as Alchemy in Spiritual Scientific Art as well as the Social Arts.
Translated by Katherine Rudolph