Heindel, Max (1865-1919)

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Heindel, Max (1865-1919)

Public name of Carl Louis van Grasshoff. He was born in Germany to an aristocratic family. He became a maritime engineer and immigrated to the United States in 1895. Settling in Los Angeles in 1903, he joined the Theosophical Society and became vice president of the Los Angeles lodge in 1904. Through Theosophy he learned of astrology, a continuing interest throughout the rest of his life.

While visiting Europe in 1907, Heindel claimed that he encountered a mysterious Rosicrucian who took him to a Rose Cross temple on the border of Germany and Bohemia. There he was initiated into the order. He soon publicized the secret wisdom in his book The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (1909).

However, his basic concepts were drawn from Theosophy in general and from Rudolf Steiner in particular. Steiner might have been his real "Rosicrucian" mentor. After publication of his book, Heindel founded various centers and created a headquarters and temple of what became known as the Rosicrucian Fellowship at Mount Ecclesia, Oceanside, California. Integral to his Rosicrucian work was astrology, and through his books Heindel became one of the early popularizers of the wisdom of the stars in the United States. He died in 1919. His two main books, The Message of the Stars (1919) and Simplified Scientific Astrology (1928), were published posthumously and remain in print. His wife, Augusta Foss Heindel, was also an editor and writer on Rosicrucian subjects and succeeded her husband as head of the organization. She died in 1938.

The Mount Ecclesia temple was the subject of a 50-year lawsuit by various factions, resolved only by the deaths of the principals.


Heindel, Augusta Foss. The Birth of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. Oceanside, Calif.: Rosicrucian Fellowship, n.d.

Heindel, Max. The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Oceanside, Calif.: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1909.

. The Rosicrucian Mysteries. Oceanside, Calif.: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1911.

. The Rosicrucian Philosophy, Questions and Answers. Oceanside, Calif.: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1922.

. Simplified Scientific Astrology. Oceanside, Calif.: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1928.