Max Heindel - born Carl Louis von Grasshoff in Aarhus, Denmark on July 23, 1865 - was a Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. He died on January 6, 1919 at Oceanside, California, United States. Among the students of his teachings, he is said to be the greatest western mystic of the twentieth century.
At the age of sixteen years he left home to learn the engineering profession. For a number of years he was Chief Engineer on one of the large passenger steamers of the Cunard Line plying between America and Europe. From 1895 to 1901, he was a consulting engineer in New York City.
Max Heindel moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1903. 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.
In 1907 he travelled to Germany with his friend Dr. Alma Von Brandis to hear a cycle of lectures by Rudolf Steiner. During his stay at Germany, it is reported that Heindel was visited by a highly evolved Spiritual being (in its vital body) later identified as an Elder Brother of the Rosicrucian Order (which, according to Max Heindel, is an Order in the inner worlds, having no direct connection to physical organizations which call themselves by this name). This Elder Brother put Heindel to a test to determine his worthiness to be messenger of the Western Wisdom Teachings. Afterwards he was given instruction how to reach the etheric Temple of the Rose Cross, near the German/Bohemian border, and at this Temple Max Heindel was in direct communication with and under the personal instructions of the Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross.
Heindel returned to America in the summer of 1908 where he at once started to formulate the Rosicrucian teachings which he had received from the Elder Brothers, published as a book entitled The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception in 1909: it is a work of mystical and occult science (Esoteric Christianity). It contains a comprehensive outline of the evolutionary processes of man and the universe, correlating science with religion.
From 1909 to 1919, suffering a severe heart condition and with an adverse financial situation, Max Heindel was able to perform a valuable work for the Brothers of the Rose Cross: he left a legacy of books, lectures and lessons which are translated into many languages all over the world; founded The Rosicrucian Fellowship in 1909/11 at Mount Ecclesia, Oceanside (California); published the Christian Esoteric magazine Rays from the Rose Cross in 1913 (still edited nowadays) and launched the Fellowship's Spiritual Healing service. Following the Fellowship's foundation, he started, with the aid of his wife Augusta Foss Heindel, the task of distributing and disseminating the Rosicrucian Teachings: the various books were translated and printed in foreign languages, lessons were sent out by correspondence and groups formed in many of the larger cities.
He died on January 6th, 1919 at Oceanside, California. It is said his body dropped slowly as if loving hands were holding him and laying him down gently; as he looked up, smiling into Mrs. Heindel face, he spoke his last words: "I am all right dear."
Max Heindel's work for the Rosicrucian Order is continued, since that time, through students of the Rosicrucian Philosophy around the world who assist, as Invisible Helpers, the Elder Brothers to carry out the Spiritual Healing work.