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Rudolf Steiner and Theodor Reuss

What was Rudolf Steiner's relationship to Theodore Reuss? This question has been investigated in depth by Peter-R. Koenig. You can read the entire report on his web site, along with transcripts of all the supporting documentation. The conclusion:

"After decades of incomplete media reports and propaganda efforts by partial parties regarding Rudolf Steiner's alleged membership in Theodor Reuss' German lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis, for the first time, the archive of Rudolf Steiner's probate opened its vault (for the book "Der Grosse Theodor Reuss Reader"), thereby giving historians the ammunition needed to finally put the matter to rest (extant are 4 letters of Reuss to Steiner and 21 of Reuss to Marie von Sivers. Steiner's letters to Reuss are missing or never existed; 4 drafts of Sivers to Reuss survive. Reproduced in "Der Grosse Theodor Reuss Reader" is the Contract, the Edict of Reuss to Steiner, and two letters concerning Franz Hartmann.)
There is no evidence that Rudolf Steiner ever accepted anything from Theodor Reuss with the sole exception of Reuss's permission to use the term "Misraim". There exists no evidence nor any documentation which made Steiner a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis."

Koenig, Peter-R. "Rudolf Steiner and Theodor Reuss" The Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon. 8 Jan 2004 <>.
[Now at]

Steiner's commentary on the issue as written in his Autobiography is also interesting:

Even in this sphere we broke with the ancient traditions. Our work was carried on as work must be carried on if one investigates in spiritual-content in an original manner according to the requirements of full clarity in the mind's experience. The fact that the starting-point for all sorts of slanders was found in certain attestations which Marie von Sievers and I signed in linking up with the historic Yarker institution means that, in order to concoct such slanders, people treated the absurd with the grimace of the serious. Our signatures were given as a “form.” The customary thing was thus preserved. And while we were giving our signatures, I said as clearly as possible: “This is all a formality, and the practice which I shall institute will take over nothing from the Yarker practice.”

It is obviously easy to make the observation afterwards that it would have been far more “discreet” not to link up with practices which could later be used by slanderers. But I would remark with all positiveness that, at the period of my life here under consideration, I was still one of those who assume uprightness, and not crooked ways, in the people with whom they have to do. Even spiritual perception did not alter at all this faith in men. This must not be misused for the purpose of investigating the intentions of one's fellow-men when this investigation is not desired by the man in question himself. In other cases the investigation of the inner nature of other souls remains a thing forbidden to the knower of the spirit; just as the unauthorized opening of a letter is something forbidden. And so one is related to men with whom one has to do in the same way as is any other person who has no knowledge of the spirit. But there is just this alternative – either to assume that others are straight-forward in their intentions until one has experienced the opposite, or else to be filled with sorrow as one views the entire world. A social co-operation with men is impossible for the latter mood, for such co-operation can be based only upon trust and not upon distrust.

Rudolf Steiner, The Course of My Life. Online

A more detailed description of the various OTO relationships is given in Koenig's Q&A section (scroll down to the Rudolf Steiner section). Koenig shows that at the time that Steiner was in contact with him, Reuss had not yet begun the activities for which he became particularly notorious.



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