A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
Aarhus, the second larger city of Denmark,
where was born Carl Louis Fredrik Grasshoff
Max Heindel, known as the greatest western mystic of the twentieth century, was born early Sunday morning July 23, 1865, in Aarhus, Denmark of the family of Von Grasshoffs. His father was Francois L. von Grasshoff who first saw the light of day in 1838 in Berlin, Germany. He migrated, when quite a young man, to Denmark, where he married a Danish woman, Anna Sorine Withen, the daughter of the clogmaker Chresten Petersen Bregnetfeld and his wife, Mette Kirstine Petersen. He probably came to Denmark with the Prussian army during the Dano-German war in 1864. Two sons blessed this union. The oldest of these sons was Carl Louis Fredrik Grasshoff, who later, when he emigrated to America, changed his name to Max Heindel.
Lutheran Cathedral's Gate in Aarhus
Lutheran Cathedral in Aarhus,
where Carl Louis was baptised on October 15, 1865
Francois Grasshoff who became a Master baker died by a boiler explosion on April 8, 1872 , in his own bakery, when Carl Louis was only six years of age, leaving her mother with her small children in very straitened circumstances.A period of difficult times commenced then for Mrs. Grasshoff and her sons. At the beginning of 1869 Mrs. Grasshoff sustained the family dry-cleaning gloves. Later she worked as a self-employed hair dresser. One and a half years later they left Aarhus and moved to Frederiksberg section of Copenhagen. Many years later Mrs. Grasshoff met her second husband, Fritz Nicolaj Povelsen, whom she married June 15, 1886. She also had a daughter called Anna Emilie who would become a well known actress.
Soon after moving to Copenhagen, eight year old Carl, while going to school with a number of boys, had an accident. At that time Copenhagen had a number of ditches with banks on each side, which carried irrigation water to different parts of the city. The boys began to jump across these ditches, which in some places were quite wide. Even though the others where older, young Carl had to do everything just a little better than the others. When they arrived at a ditch that was so extremely wide that he should not have, Carl attempted to jump across, with the result that he landed on the other side with a thud. The left food struck the ground with the heel turned outward, the foot twisted, causing immense pain.
Although late, he went to school and sat the rest of the day with his painful foot. That night he feared to tell his mother because the day before the accident the boys were truant, so he endured the pain.
The next day in school he fainted. The foot was so swollen that it was necessary to cut the shoe loose.
Because of this injury, he was confined to bed for sixteen months. Surgeons took out several splinters of bone, bored through the ankle, and inserted into the foot several tubes to drain the enormous amount of pus that was continually building up.
Finally he was allowed to get up and he walked with crutches for six months. For ten years there after the leg had to be supported by a specially made boot with a steel bandage. At last the leg grew sufficiently strong he could do without the support. But the wound on one side of the leg did not heal. There remained an open sore about eight inches long and one inch wide which had to be bandaged each morning and night. It was thirty years later, six months after following a strict vegetarian diet, that the wound finally healed.
Carl Louis's sister Anna Emilie ,his brother Louis Julius August and
his mother Anna Sorine Withen Grasshoff
Life at home did not satisfy Carl Grasshoff, so he decided to leave his family and try his fortune in England. He sailed to Glasgow, where he stepped ashore about 1884. He found a job as a master tobacconist and resided at 438 Argyle Street.
Some time later he met his future wife, Catherine Dorothy Luetjens Wallace, a lithograph hid printer's worker. She was born in Glasgow January 4, 1869 daughter of boilermaker James Barr and Mary Anne Wallace. Carl was scarcely 20 years old when he married this 16 year old girl on December 15, 1885. They left Glasgow and took up residence in Liverpool.
Liverpool Moonlight, 1887, by Atkinson Grimshaw
It should be about that period that Carl bought a copy of the periodical "London Light" and read the poem "A Prayer" by Florence Holbrook , which made such a deep impression on him that he would never forget it.
Probably influenced by the step-father of Cathy, Henry Robinson, who was a seaman in the merchant marine, Carl Grasshoff followed the same occupation. At least, at the moment their first child, Wilhelmina Catherina Anna was born on November 5, 1886, he was in the merchant marine service .
Carl Grasshoff, about 21 years old, his first wife Cathy, and his daughter Wilhelmina
Two years later, on November 6, 1888, a second daughter, Louise Charlotte, was born . After the birth of their second child, they decided to return to Copenhagen, where a third daughter, Nelly, first saw the light November 5, 1889.
Copenhagen , Denmark
A fourth child, a son, named Frank, was born to them January 15, 1891.. He changed his name to Frank Gordon during the first World War, when he was in military service in the U.S.A.
The marriage relationship was such that Carl and his wife decided to separate . Cathy went to live in lodgings elsewhere in Copenhagen and Carl wanted to emigrate to America to build himself a new future. The four children remained in Copenhagen in the care of their grandmother. It is not known exactly when he went to America, but it must have been about 1896. He changed his name then from Carl Louis Fredrik Grasshoff to Pax Heindel .
One of the first requisites, of course, was to find work. It is not clear where he first found work , but he lived in Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb northwest of Boston. Heindel worked there as an engineer in a brewery. He married a Danish woman named Peterson who had four children by a previous marriage, three girls and one boy,of whom the eldest was married . The youngest was nearer the ages of Max Heindel's own children. On September 7, 1898, the four children of Max Heindel left Copenhagenon the steam ship "Island" bound for New York City.
Somerville, MA, about 1896,
where Heindel worked as engineer in a brewery
This marriage did not come up to Max Heindel's expectations either, so divorce followed. Heindel, with his four children, moved and took up residence at 156 Hillside Street, Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, too, but south of it ). Work also was not going smoothly. It is said that he was working for a while on a Great Lake steamer as a fireman or engineer .His last ship sank, but he was able to swim ashore. After this he stopped working on ships and took up work as a heating and refrigeration consulting engineer. He may have been a member of the Quaker Society at this time.
Great Lake Steamer, his last ship trip
At the beginning of the 20th Century, California was seen as an E1 Dorado, and Max Heindel decided to try his fortune there too. In 1903, he went to Los Angeles, where he worked sometimes as an engineer. However, adversity overtook him. Hunger and privation were his daily companions but nevertheless he was no idle. With a dauntless spirit and a determination to succeed along more advanced mental lines, he became interested in the study of metaphysics and joined the Theosophical Society of Los Angeles, of which he was vice-president in 1904 and 1905.
His heart was ever longing for the knowledge of the deeper mysteries of life. His earlier years had been full of sorrow and had awakened his mind to search for the explanation of life and being and had created in him a desire to understand the sorrows, privations and sufferings of humanity. The thought which was ever uppermost in his mind was to find some means by which he could help to lift the burdens of his brothers and sisters in the world. This light began to dawn when he contacted the teachings which had been given out by Madame Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society. While connected with this society he met the woman who was years later to become his spiritual inspiration. She it was who helped him to find work, for Augusta Foss was also interested along similar lines of research and she was instrumental in interesting Max Heindel in the science of astrology. In this science he found a field with many possibilities in that it is truly a science of the soul. It gave him the key by which he could unlock the mysteries of man's inner nature. By learning to know and understand the weaknesses of character he could then help to guide and help them to find their proper place in the world.
Overwork and privation brought on a severe spell of heart trouble in 1905 and for months he lay at the point of death but upon recovery he was even more keenly awake to the needs of humanity. He realized that it was not so much from the need of physical food that mankind suffered as it was because of soul hunger which lead them to do the things that brought suffering upon them. He started out on a lecture tour which eventually led him to Germany.
While in Germany, in the fall of 1907, where he had gone with the hopes of contacting the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order, he was unsuccessful, as it appeared to him, and in great dejection he prepared to return to America; but one day a visitor appeared to him whom he later learned was an Elder Brother of the Rosicrucian Order, (and who became his Teacher). This Being was clothed in his vital body, and offered to impart to him the teachings for which he had spent time and money to find in Germany; but these teachings could only be given after he, Max Heindel, would make a solemn promise never to divulge them, (they must be kept secret). Having passed through an unhappy period of soul hunger he was most desirous of sharing his knowledge with others, who like himself were also seeking, he refused to accept anything which he could not pass on to the world. The Teacher left him.
Later the Teacher appeared in his room again and told him that he, Max Heindel, had stood his test. He stated that if he had accepted the offer, namely, to keep the teachings secret from the world, he, the Elder Brother, would have not returned. He was told that the candidate whom they had first chosen, who had been under their instruction for several years, had failed to pass his test in 1905; also that Max Heindel had been under the observation of the Elder Brothers for a number of years as the most fit candidate, should the first one fail. In addition he was told that the teachings must be given to the public before the close of the first decade of the century, which would be the end of December, 1909.
At this last interview with the Teacher he was given instruction how to reach the Temple of the Rose Cross. At this Temple Max Heindel spent a little over one month in direct communication with and under the personal instructions of the Elder Brothers, who imparted to him the greater part of the teachings contained in "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception". The first draft of this book, which was made while he was in the Temple, the Teacher told him was but an outline. The heavy psychic atmosphere of Germany was particularly adapted to the communication of mystical thought to the consciousness of the candidate, but he was told that the three hundred and fifty pages of manuscript which he had written would not satisfy him when he reached the electric atmosphere of America and that he would then wish to rewrite the entire book. In his great enthusiasm he at first doubted this. He felt that he had received a wonderfully complete message. But the Elder Brother's predictions were true. After Mr. Heindel had spent a few weeks in New York City, what the Elder Brother had told him proved to be a fact. The style in which the manuscript was written did not then please him, and he set about the work of rewriting.
He returned to America in the spring of 1909 where he at once started to formulate the Rosicrucian message which he had received from the Elder Brothers. This was given to the world in the form of a book entitled "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception", which is a masterpiece of mystical literature. It contains one of the most comprehensive, simply written, and complete histories of the evolution of the earth and man that has been written for centuries. A minister of one of the churches in the northwestern part of America made the statement that he had two books on his library table which gave him his thoughts for his sermons; one was the Bible and the other was Max Heindel's "Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" which unlocked the mysteries of the Bible to him. This book is now translated into eight different languages.
In November 1909, after a successful lecture tour, Max Heindel returned to Los Angeles where he met with much success in lecturing and teaching.
In August 1910, he was joined in marriage to Augusta Foss, the woman who had been instrumental in helping him to find the truth. With this added help and inspiration the field of his work so greatly increased that it soon became necessary that a Headquarters be established for the purpose of disseminating the Rosicrucian Philosophy. For the first eight months these two pioneers lived in a small three room bungalow in Ocean Park, California, with little money but a determined spirit to start correspondence courses in the Rosicrucian philosophy. Later they moved permanently to Oceanside, California.
In those ten years that Max Heindel lived, to start this great work for the Brothers of the Rose Cross, he gave as man volumes to the world as is ordinarily given in the life-time of an author. His brain children are many and the following books, which this wonderful man left as a legacy to the world are:
"The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception"
"The Rosicrucian Mysteries"
"The Web Of Destiny"
"Teachings Of An Initiate"
"Freemasonry And Catholicism"
"Letters To Students"
"The Rosicrucian Philosophy In Questions And Answers"
"Gleanings Of A Mystic"
"Mysteries Of The Great Operas"
"The Rosicrucian Principles Of Child Training"
"How Shall We Know Christ At His Coming"
"The Mystical Interpretation Of Christmas"
"Simplified Scientific Astrology"
"The Message Of The Stars"
Max Heindel suffered constantly on account of injuries received while a young boy. A number of unsuccessful operations, which had removed some of the veins and arteries of his left leg, greatly interfered with the circulation in the body. He later developed valvular heart trouble. However, he was blessed with an indomitable will and great energy, and would never permit physical disability to interfere with his work for humanity. He had a message to give to the soul sick world and nothing must interfere. many of his lessons, letters and books were written while propped up in bed, after spending nights of suffering. But the world did not know, for the faithful wife shielded him and was ever ready to assist and encourage him. These two souls faced many dark days together, but still happy in each others' love, knowing that they were the instruments by which a great message was to be given to the world.
In the spring of 1910 after a course of lectures and lessons delivered in the City of Los Angeles, Max Heindel was taken seriously ill with leakage of the heart. While in the hospital, and after the consultation of several doctors, who, under the impression that their patient was unconscious, discussed his case by the side of his bed, he heard them state that Heindel could not live through the night, that his case was hopeless. After the doctors were gone, Max Heindel, with the assistance of his Teacher, worked on his body with the result that within three hours after the doctors had pronounced his doom he requested a friend, who called to take him for an airing in a wheeled chair; and within one week after this experience Max Heindel was dictating his second book, "The Rosicrucian Philosophy In Questions And Answers" to a stenographer. After this book was finished Max Heindel again started a tour to lecture in the Sates of Washington and Oregon, but he was unable to stand the strain of meeting the public, so he returned to Southern California and again was seriously ill as a result of overwork. After this illness he was so filled with the desire to write that he dictated his third book, "The Rosicrucian Mysteries." Strange to say Max Heindel accomplished his best work immediately after each severe illness, then it seemed that he was closer to his Teacher and in rapport with the spiritual worlds.
With very little money and a suffering body Max Heindel and his brave and loyal helpmate started their pioneer work in Oceanside, California, from where the Rosicrucian Teachings were distributed and spread over the entire globe. The various books have been translated and printed in foreign languages; lessons were being sent out by correspondence and groups formed in many of the larger cities. Like an endless chain the Teachings have spread, but the work on the physical plane for this great messenger was drawing to a close. His companion had been well trained to carry on the work on the physical plane for a greater work awaited him on the higher planes. He was well aware that his days were few, and he prepared his work so that when his call came Mrs. Heindel could go on without him. The last few days of his life seemed very peaceful, even happy, wanting Mrs. Heindel with him in his office. After lunch on January 6th, 1919, she was called to her office to finish some work in directing the many secretaries. About 4 P.M. Max Heindel, who had drafted a letter to the local Postmistress, brought the letter into Mrs. Heindel's office for her approval, for he would never make any changes or start any new projects unless he consulted his trusted partner. While Mrs. Heindel was reading this letter, Max Heindel, who had been standing by her side, dropped slowly to the carpet; he did not fall heavily as is usually the case but as if loving hands were holding him and laying him down gently. His last words as he looked up smiling into Mrs. Heindel's face were, "I am all right dear," and he passed into unconsciousness. With these loving words on his lips he passed into the Great Beyond, where he had through his devfotion to God and humanity prepared a great work with the band of "Invisible Helpers", through which the work of healing is carried on. Is Max Heindel's work finished? No indeed, for the special work in which the Rosicrucian Order is interested is that of the Invisible Helpers--through which a great work of healing is being accomplished--Max Heindel was assured by his Teacher that he was the instrument through which a great movement was to be inaugurated, a movement which had a special mission: TO MAKE THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION A LIVING FACTOR IN THE LAND.
Mt. Ecclesia, Oceanside, California. The Rosicrucian Fellowship International Headquarters
The struggles of these two great messengers Madame Blavatsky and Max Heindel, were very similar. Both these spirits were encased in suffering bodies, and both were in need of financial help which was denied them, both were unappreciated and neglected by their friends until death had taken them, then the world began to realize their greatness.
Max Heindel was a great admirer of Madame Blavatsky, he saw in her his own future struggles, he too after he had contacted the Brothers of the Rose Cross, with spirit aflame with the desire to give to the world this greater knowledge which he had contacted, knowing that his years were numbered and that his physical body could not long stand the strain of the pioneer life. Like Madame Blavatsky he was in constant physical pain and in great need of help, both physical and financial. The struggle and hardships which both these souls suffered was greatly responsible in shortening their days in the physical body. But what a great work they have accomplished, what a BOON to humanity they have been.
"Great truths are portions of the soul of man;
Great souls are portions of eternity."
Mt. Ecclesia's Horoscope
Max Heindel's Horoscope
Max Heindel's Cronology by Ger Westenberg
[COVER] [CONTENTS] [INTRODUCTION] [BIOGRAPHY OF MAX HEINDEL] [CHAPTER I] [CHAPTER II] [CHAPTER III] [CHAPTER IV] [CHAPTER V] [APHORISMS BY MAX HEINDEL] [LINKS]
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