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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Temple Legend
GA 93


There are two ways of penetrating Goethe's Rosicrucian Mystery, an exoteric way, and an esoteric or occult way. The esoteric path reveals itself through a study of those poems of his which are an outward expression of his Rosicrucian views and other knowledge relevant to this question.

These include:

  1. The poem Geheimnisse (‘The Mysteries’): this describes the mystery of the Lodge of twelve with the thirteenth at their head. The contents are a reference to experiences in the outer court of the Rosicrucian Parsifal Initiation (Grail Initiation).
  2. The basic theme in Faust. Homunculus is the astral body; the journey to the ‘Mothers’ is a representation of the search for the Golden Triangle and the Lost Word.
  3. The passages in Wilhelm Meister portraying the ‘Journey and Transformation of the Soul’ as far as the extension of consciousness to cosmic vision. (Contemplation of cosmic events. Makarius's vision is such an act of contemplation)
  4. The Fairy Story of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily is a portrayal of an alchemistical initiation as established by Christian Rosenkreutz; this is written correctly—not as in the defective tradition of the Lodges—as 030 degree (vulgarly known in Freemasonry parlance as the 30th degree. This fable contains in symbolic language all the secrets of this degree; just as the myth of Hercules contains all the secrets of the Royal Arch degree, which is properly written 013 degree, and which is also called the fourth degree.
  5. Important aspects of Rosicrucian initiation are also to be found in the poem Pandora.

The means of penetrating Goethe's Rosicrucianism in an esoteric or occult way are given in the initiation of the true 020 degree, which—to conceal the secret—is also written as 6 3 degree, being read as 6 x 3 = 18th degree (Rose Croix). In this it is shown, in an occult way, that Goethe underwent an initiation between his visits to Leipzig and Strasbourg, which only came to fruition in his life gradually, and which enabled him to fulfil a very particular Rosicrucian mission. No more about this can be written down; one could still say a little more about it verbally, and still more only in a true Rosicrucian Lodge of the 6 3 = 6 x 3 = 18th degree.

The above text is only to be found in Marie Steiner-von Sivers' handwriting. It was presumably written down by Rudolf Steiner for Edouard Schure around 1906, as Marie Steiner's transcript is found immediately following a text written down by Rudolf Steiner for Schure in 1906, Zeichen und Entwickelung der drei Logoi in der Menschheit (‘Symbols and development of the three Logoi within humanity’), printed in Nachiichten der Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Michaelmas 1965, and published in English in The Apocalypse of St. John, Rudolf Steiner Press, London 1977.