From the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to the Meditation of the Rose+Cross
Who put the Roses on the Cross?
Who united Love and Knowledge?
When we meditate on the passage from the black Cross of suffering and death to the living Rose+Cross of the Resurrection;
When the seven red roses that were previously shy buds sprouting on the black mineralized wood blossom in ourselves;
When the seven metals are sublimated into each other, from sacrifice to sacrifice, and all together in the Philosophers’ Gold;
Then and only then will Love be joined in marriage to Knowledge and so inwardly as outwardly.
… A new feeling penetrated him when the image rises before his eyes: he sees the cross wrapped in roses. Who placed those roses on the cross?
– from “The Mysteries” by Goethe
Central to anthroposophical meditative work is the Rosicrucian Meditation given by Steiner himself in his The Occult Science in its general lines (1910). The Rosicrucians, whose esoteric activity dates back to the 13th century, used symbols that did not exist in Nature in themselves, but were composed, so that materialistic thinking could not approach them. In fact, roses are not necessarily associated with a cross made of burnt wood, and therefore although the individual elements can be acquired through the ordinary senses, it is not possible with regard to their composition, from which the spiritual meaning arises. Thus the effort of imagining a completely over-sensitive symbol made it possible to disconnect the forces of thought from the physical support of the brain in order to arrive at thinking free of the senses.
Rudolf Steiner chose to include in The Hidden Science the symbol of the Rosicrucian Rosary of seven roses because he himself was initiated into a Rosicrucian Circle. Blavatsky wrote the Unveiled Isis for the inspiration of Christian Rosenkreutz who helped her found the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875, 90 years after his return from the East from which he had retired in his incarnation as Count of St. Germaine in 1785. Subsequently, Blavatsky came under the control of fallen Eastern esotericists who incorporated a powerful anti-Christian impulse into his monumental The Secret Doctrine. Around 1900 the Rosicrucian Circle entrusted Rudolf Steiner with the task of Christianizing the Theosophy founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky through the Rosicrucian impulse, thus bringing the Theosophical Society back into the Western esotericism to which it originally belonged. This was her mission which culminated with the foundation of the Misraim Service or Mystica Aeterna, the Second and Third Class of what would become the Anthroposophical Society in 1913.
We can here cite in its entirety the meditation originally given by Steiner:
I will now cite just one example of inner concentration in a symbolic representation. First of all, it is necessary that this representation is constructed in the soul, and this can be done in the following way. Let us represent a plant rooted in the ground, which hunts out one leaf after another and finally develops into the flower. Let us now imagine a man at the side of that plant, and let us arouse in our soul the thought that man has more perfect capacities and faculties than those of the plant; we must reflect on how he can go here or there according to his feelings and his will, while the plant is bound to the ground. But let us now say to ourselves also this: “Yes, certainly, man is more perfect than the plant; but I discover in him qualities that are lacking in the plant, and for this reason it appears to me, from a certain point of view, more perfect than man. Man is full of desires and passions with which he unifies his conduct. I can truly say that his desires and passions lead him to many aberrations. The plant, on the other hand, follows the pure laws of leaf to leaf growth, it opens its flowers without passion to the pure rays of the Sun.
I can say to myself: man enjoys a certain perfection with respect to the plant, but in order to acquire this perfection he had to allow, in addition to the pure forces I see in the plant, instincts, desires and passions to penetrate his being. I represent myself now that the green juice flows through the plant and is the expression of the pure and passionless laws of growth; I represent myself then, as the red blood flows through the arteries of man, and in it I see the expression of instincts, desires and passions.
These ideas must become alive in my soul. I also represent to myself how man is capable of evolution; how he can purify his instincts and passions through the higher faculties of his soul. I think how in this way the inferior elements of these instincts and passions are annihilated and those purified qualities are reborn above a higher step. The blood can then represent the expression of purified instincts and passions. Then with my spiritual gaze I consider the rose and say to myself: “In the red juice of the rose I see the colour of the green juice of the plant transformed into red; and the red rose follows, like the green leaf, the pure laws, devoid of passions, of growth. The red of the rose can now become for me the symbol of a blood, in which are expressed the purified instincts and passions, which have eliminated their inferior elements, and in their purity they now equal the forces which are active in the red rose”. I must now process these thoughts, not only in my mind, but make them live in my feelings. A feeling of bliss may invade me, when I represent the purity and lack of passion of the growing plant; I can create in me the feeling that certain higher perfections must be purchased at the price of cravings and passions. This idea can transform the bliss I previously felt into a more serious feeling, while a sense of liberating happiness can then awaken in me if I surrender to the idea of red blood which, like the red juice of the rose, can become the vehicle of pure inner experiences. It is important not to remain impassive in the face of thoughts, which serve the construction of a symbolic representation. After having given oneself to these thoughts and feelings, it is necessary to transform them into the following symbolic representation.
You represent yourself a black cross. This must be the symbol of the destroyed, inferior elements, of instincts and passions, and where the arms of the cross cross each other, seven radiant roses must be represented, arranged in the shape of a circle. These roses will be the symbol of the blood that expresses the purified passions and instincts. Now, it is a symbolic representation of this kind that must be evoked in the soul, in the way already described for the representation of a memory. Such representations have an awakening force, if one is inwardly immersed in them. While concentrating, one must try to exclude any other representation. Only the characterized symbol must dwell spiritually in the soul, with the greatest possible vivacity.
Because the influence of such a symbol depends on the fact that it has been constructed in the way described, before serving the inner concentration. If we evoke that symbol in our soul, without having done such construction work, it will remain cold and much less effective, as if it lacks the animic life-giving force that comes from preparation. During concentration, however, it is not necessary to recall in the soul the thoughts that served to prepare the symbol, it must spiritually hover in the soul only the living image of the symbol, and in unison with it the feeling, which resulted from the preparatory thoughts, must vibrate in the soul. In this way the symbol becomes a sign accompanied by an experience of feeling; the effect is precisely exerted by the dwelling of the soul in this experience.
The longer you can stay there without being disturbed by other representations, the more effective the whole process will be. Nevertheless, it is good, so that the feeling does not fade, that, in addition to the time actually devoted to concentration, the thoughts and feelings that have served in the way described to build such an image are often evoked. And the more patience is applied in such a recapitulation, the more effective the image is for the soul. A symbol such as the one described does not represent any external thing or being, no product of nature; for this reason it has the power to awaken certain inner faculties.
The state of Concentration is preparatory to the Anthroposophical Imaginative Meditation, which is reached through the 6 Fundamental Exercises.
The Meditation of the Rose+Cross was published in The Occult Science, therefore it was immediately available for its own occult development within the Opera Omnia and therefore made available to all those who want to be interested in it, the Men of Good Will. Therefore, do not fear: those who are not ready to welcome it will not even be able to see it.
Steiner gave some verses about the Rosicrucians within the Italian Esoteric Section to his Giovanni Colazza:
In the sign of the Cross
Surrounded by Roses
Let’s see, feeling it,
The awakening of the Spirit of the World
From the depths of the Soul.
They detach themselves from the depths of the Soul
The hidden forces of Mystery.
Forces that acted in the Principle,
Forces that must act at the end,
Forces in which
We think we are,
We loving live,
Devotion we breathe.
– Rudolf Steiner
The Rosicrucian Meditation allows the purification of the astral body, represented by the buds of the seven roses, which bloom into seven red roses. The fragrance of the rose represents the continuous sacrifice that the rose makes as a gift of the higher spiritual powers. The red colour is reminiscent of man’s blood, even though they are chaste living beings, deprived of the luciferic yearning that pervades the astral body since the entrance of the luciferic forces into earthly evolution with the Expulsion from Paradise in the Lemur Epoch. Man himself, if he had not fallen into the luciferic temptation, would not have become visible in his physical body, but his corporeity would have reached the consistency of the scent of the rose.
The phantom is the archetypal physical body created by the sacrifice of the Thrones on the Ancient Saturn. To understand what it is, one must distinguish between what is physical and what is elemental substance: the elemental substance is darkness. This after the Expulsion from Paradise is as if it “filled” the physical structure composed only of heat. The phantom is a non-elementary physical body. The scent of the rose is precisely, the sulfuric element, of heat that emanates from the plant. It is in this element of heat that weaves thinking free of the senses. Thus, during the peaks of Meditation we will be like flowers that offer their essential perfume to the spiritual world in sacrifice.
Here you can read an article about the Master of Wisdom Christian Rosenkreutz
In this article you can deepen the Rosicrucian Path of Initiation
In order to make this powerful symbol of the Tradition of the Western Mysteries more and more vivid, here’s to you the help, the Imagination of the Rose+Cross:
Imagination of the Rose+Cross
Let us imagine a wooden cross rising from below and rising towards the heavens, suddenly stopping when it rises above the dark rock, the Mount of the Skull, where it remains as a warning of the powerlessness of matter, which dies and ends like all that is born: it now burns with pain, devoured by the flames. The wood is now carbon black, a mineral.
It is in the darkness of the coal that points of light, a hidden flame, rises in seven centers: the sparkle increases and opens and radiates according to five intertwined triangles. Reds of heat. At first pentagonal, they gradually open up and intertwine: from the inverse pentagon comes the erect pentalpha of the quintessence.
They are red roses on the black cross, that when they come to overflow with their own fierce light exude a tear of red dew: this is blood that shed, it is a tear of sacrifice for the world.
But when these seven drops reach the earth, the same mineral from which the cross has hoisted itself in the beginning, a cry of joy fills the matter, and the echo passes from rock to rock and through it, making it ever finer. The rock becomes light woven with consciousness. The cry is the joy of the elemental spirits who recognize the face of the Risen One.
It is the Word made flesh that transmutes the atoms of the earth into etheric forces. Sophia-Maria with her feet on the crescent moon, crushes the head of the Serpent, her blood is light that hovers in the shaping world of the etheric.
When the matter thinns, we see through a new gleam: it is the intelligence of Michael whose light illuminates all that before was light condensed in the serpent, darkness. Then finally there, where matter has left room for the spirit, we see the loving gaze of the Son of Man and ourselves in his eyes.