Freemasonry and Ritual Work: The Misraim Service
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To ground his project of founding the new mysteries of Anthroposophy in spiritual history, Rudolf Steiner always sought to unite with and transform where possible the older initiatory streams such as Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism.
In November 1905, both Steiner, who was General Secretary of the German Section of the Theosophical Society and Arch Warden of its Esoteric Section, and Marie von Sivers were invited to "join," in a purely formal way, the Order of Ancient Freemasons of the Memphis and Misraim Rite, allowing him to form his own Mystic Temple, Mystica Aeterna, in Berlin.
On this basis, Steiner created- freely and out of his own spiritual experience and inspiration- the Cognitive-Ritual Section, or Misraim Service, of the Esoteric Section. "Everything was done as it must be when spiritual reality is to be investigated directly and experienced in full consciousness."
Though outwardly similar to existing Masonic rituals, forms, and legends, the spiritual content Steiner gave was new and vital. Especially important was the ritual work, reverently undertaken with a deep sense of responsibility and of the sacramental nature of all human activity.
This astonishing volume of rich, primary materials contains letters, documents, ritual texts, meditations, and lectures pertaining to Steiner's teaching of the Misraim Service. Ritual symbols (such as the mallet, the triangle, the right angle, the compass, the rule, the Rose Cross, and the pillars of Jachin and Boaz), as well as the Temple Legend of Hiram Abiff and Solomon and the story of Cain and Abel, all find their place here. The ritual texts are given in full, with illustrations and descriptions of making the ritual objects.
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.
Introduction by Christopher Bamford
Preface to the German Edition by Hella Wiesberger
Introduction to the German Edition by Hella Wiesberger
1. The Introduction of the Misraim Service into the Esoteric School
2. The Contents of the Cognitive-Ritual Section
- Preparation for Admittance
- Ritual Texts
- Notes and Parts of Ritual Texts
- Explanation of the Ritual Texts
- Sketches and Explanations of Ritual Objects
- Explanation of the Temple Legend
3. Documents of a New Beginning after the First World War
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).
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1861-1925), was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe's scientific writings.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings.
The influence of Steiner's multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.