The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception
by Max Heindel
“So far as the vast majority of people are concerned the three great questions, Whence have we come? Why are we here? Whither are we going? remain unanswered to this day. It has unfortunately come to be the popularly accepted opinion that nothing can be definitely known about these matters of deepest interest to humanity. Nothing could be more erroneous than such an idea.” (p19)
I first stumbled upon Max Heindel’s The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception during a visit to the Integraton, near Joshua Tree, California. The Integraton is an acoustic dome built and completed by George Van Tassel in the 1970s. Said to have been inspired by UFO channelings and the works of NIkola Tesla, the dome was built using the relationships of sacred geometry for the purpose of, among other things, creating sound baths – acoustic environments that serve to rejuvenate the body.
With the Universe and everything about it being but a physical holographic representation of waveforms in infinitely varied forms and frequencies, it seems appropriate that certain sound frequencies could have significant benefits for the human body, mind and spirit. With that in mind, I took my spot on the floor and participated in a group sound bath. It was, to say the least, relaxing.
Following the sound bath, I was perusing the lobby of the Integraton which is full of information about the building — along with a small library of esoteric literature. An old hardcover book with mid-20th century binding caught my eye — along with the word “Rosicrucian.”
As I flipped through The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, I knew I had to get my own copy.
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“Comenius did not call himself a Rosicrucian; no true Brother does so publicly. Only the Rosicrucian knows the brother Rosicrucian. Not even the most intimate friends or relatives know of a man’s connection with the order. Those only who are Initiates themselves know the writers of the past who were Rosicrucians, because ever through their works shine the unmistakable words, phrases and signs indicative of the deep meaning that remains hidden from the non-Initiate … This work is one of the first few fragments of the Rosicrucian knowledge being publicly given out.” (p250-251)
The Rosicrucians had always held a particular fascination for me ever since I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail back in the early 1980s. One of the tidbits of trivia that stayed with me from reading that book was the idea that a true Rosicrucian would never admit to being one. Therefore, I never expected to become privy to Rosicrucian wisdom. I never even searched for anything.
As discussed in the About page, I did not pursue an esoteric education after Holy Blood introduced me to secret societies back in the ’80s. Instead, I went on to pursue a typical materialist life. It wasn’t until only a few years ago that my interest resumed. Since then I’ve simply been following where the path leads. And I now have a much better understanding of what this secret society is about.
“The Order of Rosicrucians is not merely a secret society; it is one of the Mystery Schools, and the Brothers are Hierophants of the lesser Mysteries, Custodians of the Sacred Teachings and a spiritual Power more potent in the life of the Western World than any of the visible Governments, though they may not interfere with humanity so as to deprive them of their free will.” (p520)
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception is Heindel’s “understanding of the Rosicrucian teachings” (p8) and although Heindel maintains it is not meant to be the first and last word on occult teachings, it is an important tome, richly detailed about the way in which both the visible and invisible worlds are organized, how they weave into one another and how we, as aspects of Spirit, have evolved through this multi-dimensional system. The book closes with an introduction on how to take the first steps on the path towards acquiring this knowledge first-hand.
This is going to be an unusually long blog entry because the book is dense with relevant information.
Max Heindel was an occult student and lecturer who lived during the late 19th century to early 20th century. He was a student of Theosophy (a topic to be covered in a future blog entry after I work my way through Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine) until he was visited by one of the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order.
The Elder Brothers might also be termed Ascended Masters because they are human beings who have ascended beyond the cycle of birth and re-birth. They no longer need to be re-born into the physical plane and thus exist in the etheric planes.
Heindel was a mystic who claims to have first-hand experience with the “Higher Worlds” and was regularly visited by the Elder Brothers who instructed him on the Rosicrucian Order and its teachings. When these lessons were complete, Heindel wrote The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.
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“The man who realizes his ignorance has taken the first step toward knowledge.” (p21)
Heindel begins the book with a story about a young man who asked a sage, “Sire, what must I do to become wise?” After days of repeating the question and receiving no reply from the sage, the young man received his answer:
“Finally the sage turned and went down to a near-by river. He entered the water, bidding the youth follow him. Upon arriving at a sufficient depth the sage took the young man by the shoulders and held him under the water, despite his struggles to free himself. At last, however, he released him and when the youth had regained his breath the sage questioned him:
‘Son, when you were under the water what did you most desire?’
The youth answered without hesitation, ‘Air, air! I wanted air!’
‘Would you not rather have had riches, pleasure, power or love, my son?’ queried the sage.
‘No Sire! I wanted air and thought only of air,’ came the instant response.
‘Then,’ said the sage, ‘to become wise you must desire wisdom with as great intensity as you just now desired air.'” (p21-22)
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“The first step in Occultism is the study of the invisible Worlds.” (p24)
Heindel describes a multi-dimensional Universe in which there exist “higher Worlds” beyond the physical that cannot be experienced with our normal physical senses. He explains that just as the blind man has no conception of the visual experience, most of us lack the faculties to experience these higher worlds. And just as our visual world exists though some are blind to it, the higher worlds exist though most of us are blind to them.
These higher worlds, Heindel explains, are the worlds of invisible forces. Science explains some of these forces as electromagnetic. But from a mystic’s perspective, science only explains part of the story. According to Heindel:
“The higher Worlds are thus the worlds of causes, of forces; and we cannot really understand this lower World unless we know the others and realize the forces and causes of which all material things are but the effects.” (p28)
The quote above describes the astral planes as the worlds of causes and the physical plane as the world of effects. Since our thoughts exist in the astral planes, it is but a small step to equate consciousness with the creation of the physical universe.
The idea that our thoughts create our physical reality is no longer a revolutionary idea — in particular thanks to the enormous worldwide influence of a documentary entitled The Secret, which introduced this Hermetic philosophy into modern pop culture a few years ago.
On a side note, The Secret was an inspiring documentary. But the main drawback is its failure to include the fact that we co-create reality — we’re not simply creating our own reality — and therefore the positive things one might intend to create for oneself could very well have a significant negative influence on someone, somewhere else. Nor will a person be able to attract that which isn’t in tune with what’s necessary for his or her spiritual growth. Instead, we must intend to create a reality that benefits all, instead of simply focusing our energies on that million dollar payday one might be inspired to attract. Nevertheless, The Secret was a consciousness expanding event in the United States and it may very well be that the only way to reach the greater public with this consciousness expanding spiritual information was with a documentary that appeals to the consciousness of the times. And our collective consciousness is currently obsessed with money.
The Secret may be an example of what Heindel refers when he talks about the forces of the invisible worlds acting upon the physical world to cause effects. It may have been time for the spiritual wisdom contained within The Secret to reach a greater American audience as part of the greater awakening that humanity is currently evolving through.
If Heindel were alive, he might have referred to The Secret‘s consciousness expanding effect on humanity as the result of a ripple in the “Life Wave.”
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“Material science finds that it is necessary to account in some way for the transmission of electricity, with or without wires. It is forced to postulate some substance of a finer kind that it knows, and it calls that substance ‘ether’.” (p34)
We live in a waveform universe. Everything about reality vibrates at a frequency. And ripples, like waves, are three-dimensional representations of waveforms in action. However, the ripples only represent the surface plane of the full vorticular form. We only see the surface of the pond when a rock is thrown into it.
Nassim Haramein explains this concept beautifully (in his documentary Crossing the Event Horizon). And I summarize his statements when discussing the rock being thrown into a pond. Underneath the water, a toroidal shape is formed. Like a donut. And this same shape, the torus, is one representation of the fundamental form of the Universe — from the electrons around an atom, to the weather patterns and lines of magnetic force around the Earth, to the churning star factories of spiraling galaxies … and likely to the universe itself. (The documentary Thrive offers a great visual representation of the toroidal form through various scales.)
“…material science holds that in the densest solid, as in the rarest and most attenuated gas, no two atoms touch each other; that there is an envelope of ether around each atom; that the atoms in the universe float in an ocean of ether.” (p57-58)
According to Heindel, each one of us (in what Rosicrucians term our the Dense Body) is surrounded by a vortex of swirling interpenetrating forces that make up our Vital Body (an etheric body that gives life to matter) and Desire Body (an etheric body that animates the life-matter). We are multi-dimensional beings who create our physical forms and act through them via the different strata of the visible and invisible Worlds.
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Revolution and the Cosmic Night
Rosicrucian philosophy states that the Universe is divided into seven Worlds, and each World is divided into seven regions. In the interest of brevity, I am going to skip the regions and simply paraphrase how the different Worlds work together:
The first World is the World of God. Heindel gives no description of this World.
The second World is the World of Virgin Spirits. This is the plane of existence where we begin our individuation from God, a world where individuated consciousness begins. However, this is an unconscious consciousness.
“Prior to the beginning of the pilgrimage through matter the virgin spirit is in the World of Virgin Spirits, the next to the highest of the seven Worlds. It has Divine Consciousness, but not Self-consciousness…It is as oblivious to outside conditions as is man when in the deepest trance.” (p189)
I imagine that in a Universe which obeys the Hermetic axiom, “As above so below” (Heindel refers to this axiom as fundamental to Rosicrucian philosophy as well), waves of formless consciousness, the virgin spirits must emanate from the World of God in a toroidal form, swirling around the nucleus of God like electrons do around the nucleus of an atom. And perhaps this swirling angular momentum of the toroidal vortex is what Heindel refers to when he describes “Life Waves” that churn the spiral evolution of spirits during the “pilgrimage through matter.”
It could be that the Universe itself is an immense, gigantic torus – one extremely giant donut – churning around an ultra-supermassive black hole … which may very well be the physical manifestation of the nucleus of God. (At least the God of this octave. What we think of as the whole Universe may just be one toroidal form within another unimaginably larger torus.)
Our evolution through matter, according to Rosicrucian philosophy occurs in a spiral fashion in which each period of evolution is recapitulated during the subsequent period before any new work is begun. During these periods of evolution we conduct work on our Dense, Vital and Desire bodies, building them and taking them through mineral, vegetable and animal phases of existence before our consciousness has reached a point where we can enter into human form.
On a side note, the spiral evolution through matter that Heindel describes resonates with another very important point that Nassim Haramein makes (during his documentary Crossing the Event Horizon). Haramein notes that our current heliocentric cosmology isn’t entirely correct. The picture we’re normally given is that of a stationary Sun about which the planets revolve. However, The Earth moves around the Sun as the Sun is moving around the galaxy which, in turn, revolves within a supercluster of galaxies which itself is moving through the Universe. The visual representation of this (elegantly presented in Crossing the Event Horizon) is actually a vorticular form as the Earth spirals around the Sun during the Sun’s journey. Again, “As above, so below.”
Although we are individuated from God in the World of Virgin Spirits, it seems more appropriate to describe this individuation as humanity itself being individuated from God. As our virgin spirit passed through mineral, vegetable and animal form, we were still a group spirit. We did not yet individuate into our current selves until we evolved (or, perhaps, devolved) into human form.
Beyond the World of God and the World of Virgin Spirits is the World of Divine Spirit. In this world is born our Will — to create, to evolve, to do. This Will acts upon the fourth world, the World of Life Spirit, where Will becomes Imagination. Imagination acts upon the fifth world, the World of Thought, where Imagination becomes an Idea. And when that Idea is focused through the lens of the Mind (the Mind resides in the World of Thought), the Idea takes shape and becomes a Thought-Form.
In the sixth world, the Desire World, desire springs man to action. And in the seventh world, the Physical World, the effect of that desire is created — Thought-Form is manifested into physical form.
Heindel explains that humans will eventually evolve to the point where we will be able to manifest Thought-Forms in physical reality — at least in our own reality — simply by using our minds.
“…he will be able to use his own force to give his pictures life and to see them out from himself as objects in space.” (p419) And eventually, “…man’s consciousness will expand into that of an omniscient Creative Intelligence.” (p414)
This evolutionary process takes multiple lifetimes and it can only proceed if reincarnation is a fundamental aspect of existence. In Rosicrucian philosophy, reincarnation is a fundamental tenet. Our individual souls do maintain and expand upon the spiritual gains that were made in previous lives. And consequently, we must do additional work if any karmic setbacks were made.
But the initiation into the Rosicrucian Mystery School, according to Heindel, is meant to advance the student through future stages of human evolution within this lifetime.
“The whole result of initiation is to give to the spiritually aspiring an opportunity to develop the higher faculties and powers in a short time and by severe training, thereby gaining the expansion of consciousness that all mankind will sure possess eventually…” (p414)
The endgame is to attain the ability to die consciously.
“From that time – awake or asleep, through what men call life, and through what men call death – his consciousness will be unbroken. He will lead a consciously continuous existence, having the benefit of all the conditions which make for more rapid advancement to ever higher positions of trust, to be used in the uplifting of the race.” (p496-497)
At this point in the evolutionary process, one has become an Ascended Master.
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“During the past few centuries the Brothers have worked for humanity in secret; each night at midnight there is a Service at the temple where the Elder Brothers, assisted by the lay brothers who are able to leave their work in the World … gather up from everywhere in the West World the thoughts of sensuality, greed, selfishness and materialism. These they seek to transmute into pure love, benevolence, altruism and spiritual aspirations sending them back to the World to uplift and encourage all Good…” (p529)
The True Rosicrucians
Heindel does not call himself a Rosicrucian.
“In order to rout a common misconception we wish to make clear to students that we are not Rosicrucians because we study their teachings, nor does even admission to the temple entitle us to call ourselves by that name. The writer, for instance, is only a lay brother, a pupil, and would under no circumstances call himself a Rosicrucian.” (p528)
So who are the Rosicrucians? Heindel describes them as thirteen Ascended Masters who have evolved beyond the physical form and exist in the etheric region of the Universe. Twelve of the Rosicrucians work with student-mystics like Heindel to help raise the consciousness of humanity. The thirteenth Rosicrucian is unknown to all but the other twelve and exerts his influence in otherwise complete anonymity.
This type of hierarchical organization in which the Master of an order (or perhaps “temple” might be a more appropriate term) is unknown to the adepts under his care is reminiscent of the structure of temple life described in The Lemurian Scrolls: Angelic Prophecies Revealing Human Origins. This similarity makes perfect sense in light of Heindel referring to the Order of Rosicrucians as a Mystery School.
We can imagine the Mystery Schools throughout history and pre-history as being institutions of esoteric initiation, founded by different Ascended Masters who have used these schools around the world through various time periods in order to aid those in search of enlightenment and ascension beyond the physical form.
Lemurian Scrolls details the daily life of Initiates in the prehistoric temples at the dawn of humanity. So we can also imagine that the temple tradition of working towards ascension which began in the temples of Lemuria were carried on in secret following the mythical fall of mankind.
What exactly was that fall? Around 10-12 thousand years ago, the last ice age ended. The Earth warmed. The ice melted. The face of the planet changed. Our planet’s ancient lore talks of Atlantis sinking during this time. Our myths talk about an original sin.
Something happened. And we forgot where we came from, why we’re here and where we’re going.
When humanity’s consciousness began expanding and the Ascended Masters found humans who had evolved sufficiently, the Mystery Schools were born, each attuned to attract the individualized consciousness of a particular society at that particular time. Consequently, the Order of Rosicrucians, founded in Europe during the 13th century, is geared to appeal to the intellect of Western society.
“…in the last few hundred years, since the advent of modern science, a more intellectual humanity has peopled the earth; the head has completely overruled the heart, materialism has dominated all spiritual impulse and the majority of thinking people do not believe anything they cannot touch, taste or handle. Therefore, it is necessary that appeal should be made to their intellect in order that the heart may be allowed to believe what the intellect has sanctioned. As a response to this demand the Rosicrucian Mystery teachings aim to correlate scientific facts to spiritual verities.” (p520-521)
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The Order of Rosicrucians was founded in the 13th century by a man with the symbolic name of Christian Rosenkruez. Heindel describes Rosenkreuz as a “high spiritual teacher” who founded the Order “to explain the mystery of Life and Being from the scientific standpoint in harmony with Religion.” (p518)
At the end of this incarnation, Rosenkreuz evolved past the death cycle and became an Ascended Master.
“…his birth as Christian Rosenkreuz marked the beginning of a new epoch in the spiritual life of the Western World. That particular Ego has also been in continuous physical existence ever since, in one or another of the European Countries. He has taken a new body when his successive vehicles have outlived their usefulness…” (p518)
Heindel notes that Rosenkreuz later incarnated as the Comte de Saint Germaine, a known Ascended Master.
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“Thus, man was impelled first to fear God and was given religions of a nature to further his spiritual well-being under the lash of fear.” (p371)
Back to the Bible
According to Heindel, the “race religions” that existed prior to Christianity were given to humankind to help us expand our consciousness beyond the kinship of clan to the much larger kinship of race, extending our compassion beyond the immediate family to a connection with all the people within a particular race.
These “race religions” were eye-for-an-eye religions with jealous and angry gods that were tailor made for a more savage time.
“It is therefore reasonable and logical to conclude that at first, it was necessary to give man a religion commensurate with his ignorance. It would have been useless to talk to him, at that stage, of a God Who was all tenderness and love. From his viewpoint, those attributes were weaknesses, and he could not have been expected to reverence a God Who possessed what were to him despicable qualities. The God to Whom he rendered obedience must be a strong God, a God to be feared, a God Who could hurl the thunderbolt and wield the flail of lightning.” (p371)
Then along came Jesus whose aim was to expand human consciousness beyond race to an unconditional love for all — a Universal Brotherhood.
Heindel describes Jesus the man as an ordinary human who was a particularly pure spirit. Christ, on the other hand, is a different being altogether. Heindel describes Christ as the highest Initiate of humanity who has reached a level of spiritual frequency so far beyond us that the lowest vibrational state to which he can descend is within the realm of existence occupied by the Archangels.
“Christ could not be born in a dense body … ” (p380) Therefore, when Jesus the man reached the age of 30, “Christ entered these bodies and used them until the climax of His Mission on Golgotha.”
As I work my way through works of ancient wisdom, modern channellings, scientific explorers, spiritual lessons, secret histories and esoteric doctrines, there is one thing I always try to keep in mind: No one person has all the answers.
Nevertheless, The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception is rich with far more than simply clues. This book contains a number of pieces of the puzzle and Heindel goes into eloquent detail about them. While reading this book I couldn’t help but be in awe of the wisdom contained therein. It was an honor to be reading such privileged information.
One can only hope to acquire this sort of wisdom first-hand within this lifetime.