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Rudolf Steiner and Freemasonry

 

Was Rudolf Steiner a Freemason?

Yes.

Irrespective of the manner in which some may want to pussy-foot around this aspect of his life, Steiner was initiated into Freemasonry and also held warrants from Theodore Reuss for the Memphis-Misraïm Rite. Steiner also actively set up, with those warrants, a number of Lodges under the names Misraim-Dienst [M.D.] and Mystica Aeterna [M.E.]. Given the situation in 1914 (opening of WWI), the German Lodges were 'closed' (whatever this may mean in practical terms). At a meeting in Oslo in 1921, Steiner also 'dissolved' the rite. Steiner's Masonic connections are therefore exclusively derived from Reuss and Yarker and the rite so-named above, operating, it should be noted, in a co-Masonic context.

There has also been (likely incorrect) claims made that Steiner was a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). This, it seems, is based on three factors. In the first place due to his connection with Reuss (who founded the O.T.O.), given that it is from Reuss that Steiner obtained the Memphis Misraïm warrants on which is mentioned the forerunner of the O.T.O); in the second place due to their physical proximity: Reuss lived for a time in Basle (Basel), and Steiner was given a plot of land on the outskirts of Basle (Dornach) for the establishment of the Goetheanum; thirdly, there is the anecdotal reference by Alice Sprengel, that Peter-R. Koenig notes in the following manner:

In approximately 1934, Alice Sprengel, once a member of M.E. (until 1915, when she became secretary of Reuss), notes from memory the alleged O.T.O.-pledge form written by Steiner which he allegedly ripped up in August 1914.

It seems to me more likely that any 'ripped up pledge' would have been of any affiliations between the M.E. and Reuss (either some pledge to regard Reuss as pre-eminent with regards to Memphis-Misraim or as affiliate or initiator of Steiner). It's very likely that Alice Sprengel mis-recalled the details of connections between Steiner and Reuss, and in the intervening years followed Reuss's own predilection for 'merging' his version of Freemasonry and the (still developing) O.T.O.. For more details on this, see Peter-R. Koenig's page 'Rudolf Steiner: Never a member of any Ordo Templi Orientis'.

So: though Rudolf Steiner was a Freemason and the rituals used were based and derived from the Memphis-Misraïm Rite passed through Yarker and Reuss, it is quite distinct to what Reuss develops as the O.T.O..

Writings on Freemasonry

Most of Steiner's lectures on Freemasonry are included in two volumes: Temple Legend, and Occult Brotherhoods.

Recently, the rituals (with commentary) used in the M∴Æ∴ have also been published (Freemasonry and Ritual Work). At the very least, I would think that Freemasons interested in esoteric matters, as well as Antroposophists interested in ritual work, would want to investigate these rituals and compare them to the more common and specifically APMM Rite and, for that matter, various Freemasonic rites in general.

Over the past few years, a number of Freemasons from various constitutions have expressed interest in working in a more Anthroposophical manner using as a basis Steiner's M.D. rituals. It should perhaps also be remembered that Steiner considered these of importance, and that he had planned to develop this aspect as part of the 'Second Class'.

Continuing existence of the Rite

In 1906, he considers it important to 'save the Misraim-Dienst for the future'. 'Saving' the rite 'for the future' in part includes, it seems to me, that there has been an ongoing active preservation by active participants, and not just as mere written words now (in part) published in the above mentioned books.

Is there a discrepancy between this and the 'closing' of the M∴Æ∴ in Germany at the opening of WWI? Having been involved in various esoteric orders for some thirty years, it seems to me that an 'outer' aspect of the order may indeed be dissolved, with a core continuing maintenance of the work in a more private manner. Also, the M∴Æ∴ was 'dissolved' at a meeting in Oslo. This does not mean that the M∴Æ∴'s various Lodges in other parts of Europe would necessarily have followed suit.

It appears to me that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence that various M∴Æ∴groups did indeed continue the work, saving 'the Misraim-Dienst for the future'.

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