Freemasonry and Ritual Work. The Misraim Service: Texts and Documents from the Cognitive-Ritual Section of the Esoteric School 1904-1919
Texts, documents, and talks (CW 265)
Introduction by Christopher Bamford, translated by John Wood. 632 pages.
Alongside the Esoteric Section, Rudolf Steiner created the "Cognitive Ritual Section," an order connected to Masonic tradition, but independent and Inspired by Anthroposophy. This astonishing volume contains the rituals, lectures, meditations, and other instructions Steiner gave to students and members of the esoteric school.
As he began to establish his esoteric mission, Rudolf Steiner chose to connect his spiritual goals and efforts with the wisdom streams that had prepared the ground for his task. For the sake of conscience, gratitude, and continuity, he determined to acknowledge those who preceded him and to relate himself to them in his characteristically free, creative, conscious, and independent way.
Steiner also understood that ritual was central, even necessary, as the essence of embodied spiritual work. For this reason, he saw Freemasonry as the preeminent spiritual, non-sectarian, communitarian paradigm. He knew, too, that Freemasonry, though it appeared hollow, was perhaps the main repository of esoteric, ritual tradition and initiation remaining in the West. Most of the guiding spirits in the recent Western development had been Masons, including Goethe, Herder, Lessing, the founders of the United States, as well as Madame Blavatsky and the other great esotericists of the nineteenth century.
Although he never "became" a Mason, in 1904 the "Great Orient of the Scottish A & A Thirty-Three Degree Rite of the Order of the Ancient Freemasons of the Memphis-Misraim Rite" granted Rudolf Steiner -- based on his self-evident, extraordinary initiatory status -- a patent to direct his own "order" under the name "Mystica Aeterna." He received his charter from Theodore Reuss of the Ordo Templum Orientalis or O.T.O. Nevertheless, Steiner was never a member of, nor did he have any involvement with, the O.T.O. Reuss had received permission to operate the Memphis-Misraim rite from John Yarker, who, some twenty years previously, had initiated Madame Blavatsky into the same Order.
In time, Mystica Aeterna became the "Cognitive Cultic Section" (also called the "Misraim Service") of the Esoteric School of the German Section of the Theosophical Society; this is the subject of this book. The "Masonic" phase in Rudolf Steiner’s life and work passed, but in many ways it remains -- transformed and alive -- in Anthroposophy as he handed it down to us today.
There are numerous fictional and superficial books available on Freemasonry, but this unusual volume reveals the deep, esoteric nature of true Masonic rituals and practices and how they form some of the roots of Anthroposophy.
Freemasonry and Ritual Work contains an introduction, a brief chronology of Rudolf Steiner's life, and an index. It is the first complete English translation of Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der erkenntniskultischen Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904–1914 (GA 265).