I jumped up onto the steps of the train before it came it to a complete stop because I was anxious to get to the sleeper compartment and rest after my two day whirlwind tour of Holland. Travel weary and ready for a good night’s sleep, I tossed my backpack on to the floor to access my reservation number for the compartment. The conductor was just a few compartments down the line, and as soon as my ticket was checked, I planned on settling in and getting a much needed sleep.
As many young Americans did while touring Europe in the seventies, I used the night train as place to sleep as it took me from one magical place to another while I was in my own dream world. A sleeping compartment was a bit more luxurious than a single seat, yet far less expensive than a hotel and certainly more efficient than wasting the evening hours sleeping in a youth hostel.
I was particularly tired after the visit in Holland as I was only able to take a few naps on park benches and hadn’t slept deeply for a few days. Even if I had wanted to stay overnight, the train stop was nothing more than a substation, many miles away from the small town that my hitchhiked ride had passed through to drop me off and then drive away. The substation had small ticket office, bathroom, and a worn, splintered wooden bench that sat uncovered on the train platform.
But all of that was behind me now. My visit in Holland was spectacular and the conductor would shortly be at my compartment. I would soon be asleep, awakening to my next destination—Brussels and then on to Dornach, Switzerland, the world headquarters of the General Anthroposophical Society that was conceived by the spiritual teacher Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
I was a Jesuit priest at the time I was touring Europe and had been assigned by the Order to learn everything I could about Steiner’s teachings and the Waldorf School movement he had started in 1919 just six years before his death. The Catholic Church was extremely interested in knowing what Steiner taught to see if anything had merit and, if so, what could be brought into the Church’s organization and teachings.
Waldorf schools, biodynamic farms, anthroposophically inspired medicine, architecture, dance, art, philosophy, and a host of other practical spiritual applications had arisen from Steiner’s teachings, and the Jesuits were interested in finding out what they didn’t know. It made Jesuits uneasy to think that Steiner, or any philosopher or scientist, knew something that they didn’t. The Society of Jesus has a long history of studying everything in the world, including world religions, banking and finance, or, as we have seen in contemporary times, the study of astronomy with the large binocular telescope called Lucifer located at the Mt. Graham observatory in Arizona.
The Jesuits study everything in the world to make sure that the best is brought back to the Church, and priests selected for research missions must blend in with the communities they infiltrate so that their Jesuit affiliation is not known.
I was to become a Jesuit “expert in anthroposophy and Waldorf.” My instructions were to visit every possible place where anthroposophy or Waldorf was emerging, meet as many contemporary leading anthroposophists and Waldorf scholars that I could, and to study all the material that Steiner produced that was translated into English. I was financially supported by the Vatican so there were no travel limitations, and I could purchase any materials needed to become the expert that they assigned me to be.
Before setting off to visit Dornach, I had already spent time in the American centers of anthroposophy and Waldorf education and had gleaned a great deal from this practical spiritual path of development. I was particularly suited for the job of studying anthroposophy, as the Jesuits knew, because I had been born clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient.
Basically, I was “psychic” from birth. My parents had dedicated me to the Catholic Church at my baptism and my training for the Benedictine order began when I was fourteen. I didn’t particularly care for the order and left the church, entering the military due to the draft. After extensive psychological testing, the military decided that I was better suited for the Army Security Agency than as a fighter so after training at various locations, I was stationed in Alaska as a cryptologist.
I returned to the Catholic Church after the military and entered a Trappist Monastery where I began having unusual indications in my meditations. When I explained this to the prior, who had formerly been a Jesuit, my visions, he told me that I had been given the secret spiritual training path of the Jesuits and sent me off to become one.
Being a clairvoyant is not easy. It caused me trouble wherever I went. People say they want truth from a clairvoyant, but when you give it to them, they ignore it or become upset. The Catholic Church isn’t too thrilled about having a clairvoyant around as it eventually upsets a clandestine organization that likes to keep many secrets. And you can imagine how the military testers dealt with me when I blew the scoring off of every test I was given, partly due to my intelligence, but boosted tremendously by my clairvoyance.
Bottom line is that I was not a happy Jesuit and was delighted to have a new assignment that gave me the freedom to travel and study.
I looked out the sleeping compartment door to see if the conductor was on his way, and he was. Just a compartment or two away.
As I was returning to my seat, I felt a strange and unusually firm tap on my shoulder that took me by surprise as there were no other people in the aisle, or most certainly, in my compartment. Immediately I turned, but no one was standing behind me.
A clear and firm voice without any emotion in it said loudly, “Get off the train.”
I was shaken. My mind raced in confusion. No other person was around except the conductor who had not made his way to me yet. The voice gave me a firm, but loving command that penetrated my soul deeply.
Truly, the last thing I wanted to do was get off the train and return to the deserted substation. There was no one there, it was very early in the morning, and I was exhausted. My mind was racing in a muddle of confusing thoughts, but one that resounded deeply in me was that I had to leave the train. Immediately.
I do not know why I obeyed the command other than it seemed to resonant deeply within my being, activating my will force before I could logically gather my thoughts. It was though an intuition of action took over me before thinking and feeling had time to sway me to stay on the train.
Terrified, upset, and bewildered, I gathered my backpack and stepped out of the compartment, jumping off the train, which had already started to depart, on to the platform where within a few moments I was standing completely alone.
I looked down the tracks as the train’s last boxcar became smaller and smaller until it fell off the horizon and vanished. “What did I do?” I asked myself. Where would I sleep? What would I need to do next?
The consequences of my actions left me perplexed and confused and I started to cry as my unexpected situation began to overwhelm me. Why did I obey that voice? Why did I need to get off the train? Was I hallucinating or dreaming or was this some clairaudient experience? I was too tired to make any sense of what happened so I walked over to the wooden bench, propped my backpack under my head, and laid down, eventually sobbing myself to sleep.
The voice I heard was not the usual voice of conscience that speaks when we need to determine right from wrong or other such situations. It was not the voice of any spiritual being that I had encountered up to that time. It was a real voice outside of myself that produced clearly audible words. It was a man’s voice that was filled with authority and love. I felt the voice was helping me, even though his command didn’t seem reasonable. I had never heard a “discarnate” voice before and it took me by surprise, but yet it was not scary or frightening in any way. It was the voice of an experienced lifeguard, or a trusted mentor, or a loving teacher telling you what to do for your own good. These thoughts raced through my mind during my fitful sleep on the bench.
Sometime later I was awakened by a man shaking me and saying, “Are you O.K.? Are you O.K.?” rather frantically.
I sat up and answer him that I was fine. He asked me if I was an American and if I was waiting for a train. All the while, he seemed shook up and anxious about something.
“Did you hear about the accident?” he asked me.
“No. What accident?” I replied.
“The sleeper train to Brussels. The one that went through this station earlier in the morning. You are so fortunate to have missed it because it wrecked and passengers were killed and injured. They are saying it is the second worst train wreck in Holland,” he explained.
I was stunned by his words. I could not fathom that the spiritual world had created an audible voice that was commanding enough to order me off the train. Why couldn’t I have had one of my clairvoyant perceptions that the train was going to wreck; at least, then, I could have warned others. Maybe. Or perhaps that would have made the whole thing much worse. Why was I saved? What about the other people on train?
I was deeply disturbed by hearing the news, thinking how narrowly I may have missed my own death. The man sat down next to me and put his arm over my shoulder, and we both cried for a while. Eventually, we calmed down and both felt the gravity of the disaster, yet my own miracle, weighing in on us.
My mind continued to race with the details that had to have happened to bring me to that fateful moment when I either obeyed the voice, or not, possibly dying in the accident. Ten thousand events had happened to bring me to that desolate train station in the middle of the night to catch a train bound for a meeting with my possible death. I went back and forth from feeling unworthy to tremendous gratitude. I couldn’t understand why the event happened or what I was supposed to learn from it. It was unsolvable equation that as hard as I tried to understand, became further lost in mystery.
Hans, a local resident who had heard the news of the accident, came to the substation to see if anyone needed help, and after consoling me for a bit, bundled me up into his vehicle and drove me back to his house where he extended his gracious hospitality. I couldn’t understand why he and his family were so nice to me, but later he told me that he loved America for saving Europe twice from two world wars. He said his life would not be possible if it were not for the Americans who gave their lives to free Europe. As he told me his story, I wondered how many times lives are given for the sake of others. I wondered if someone on the train gave their life for mine, in the big scheme of destiny and fate.
The next day, Hans delivered me to the main station where I boarded the train with a new and strange feeling for riding them. I was almost waiting to see if the voice would speak again. As the train lurched forward, I settled into a space of gratitude and contemplation, looking forward to my next stop—the Goetheanum in Switzerland.
Dornach is not a tourist site, per se. However, the special architecture buildings surrounding the Goetheanum which stands out powerfully on the Swiss hillside of Dornach, makes the visit truly worthwhile. The main building of the General Anthroposophical Society is called the Goetheanum, in honor of Goethe for whom Rudolf Steiner had great respect. The Goetheanum was built as a stage upon which to perform Faust. The first Goetheanum was built of wood, but was burned to the ground by an arsonist in 1922. The building now standing is the second Goetheanum and is built from poured concrete into an organic form that is a masterpiece of twentieth century expressionistic architecture.
I had traveled to Dornach, not just to see the famous Goetheanum, but to visit the hub of the worldwide anthroposophical movement. I had already traveled to the major anthroposophical centers in America and England and spent time in numerous communities. So the trip to Dornach was the penultimate journey in seeking what I was really looking for – other people like me who encounter the spiritual world in living imaginations, inspirations, and intuitions.
Up to this time, I had not met an anthroposophist who had experienced a single clairvoyant incident in their entire life. There were certainly many who were studying to become clairvoyant, but I had met none so far who had developed their supersensible organs of perception, organs necessary for perception of the higher worlds.
Steiner’s prolific lectures and books instruct the spiritual student how to achieve knowledge of the higher worlds. But, from what I could tell, almost none of his students had become clairvoyant, clairaudient, or clairsentient. Unlike Tibetan Buddhism where every master teacher must be clairvoyant and are tested by other clairvoyants, anthroposophists tend to get overly fascinated with clairvoyants or want to “burn them at the stake”, the latter being an experience that I had already seen on numerous occasions when living in anthroposophic communities.
For example, I was at Adelphi University on Long Island, working on my Masters in Waldorf Education, when I watched the teacher training institute and Waldorf school implode when the founder of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program decided to believe in a young clairvoyant, a controversial decision that caused him to be fired and the program shaken to its foundations. It happen again at Emerson College in England where I arrived to a program in shambles because Gideon of the White Fountain, an imaginative name given to a young clairvoyant who gained the trust of the founder of the program, caused a scandal with irreparable damage. Both young clairvoyants, who were at the center of the disputes at each location, disappeared and to my knowledge were never heard from again.
As a result, I came to Dornach with great doubts that anthroposophy would welcome me and my “birth effect” of being clairvoyant. Although I had extensive training by priests who were clairvoyant and worked with healing rituals in exorcisms, I had only met a few clairvoyant priests, monks, or nuns in my years as a priest. For many reasons, the Church, which is mostly concerned about maintaining its power and control, does not look favorably upon clairvoyants who see beyond the temporal world. Messages from the spiritual world are not listened to in the Catholic Church except when it comes to exorcisms and prognostications of the Church’s future. When the devil runs rampant or when the Church wants to know its future, clairvoyants who can contact the spiritual world become its fast friends.
I didn’t expect the anthroposophists at Dornach to be any different than the priests in the Church; however, there was one anthroposophist that I was looking forward to meeting as friends and colleagues in the communities that I had visited or lived said that there was one amazing anthroposophist in Dornach who was clairvoyant, plus he liked Americans.
It was difficult to get an appointment to see him as he was the head of the Executive Committee and very busy writing, lecturing, and managing the duties of his international position. After several failed attempts to make an appointment through his overprotective secretary, I decided to show up at his office with no appointment. I already knew that he liked Americans and that he kept his door open so he could easily communicate with his secretary who sat just outside his office.
I walked in. In my Missouri hillbilly accent, which I exaggerated by sound and slang, I asked the secretary if I could meet with Herr Director. She asked me to quiet my voice as he was not available, to which I responded in even a showier and more colloquial version of myself, that I had come all the way from America to see him.
It worked and the next thing I knew, Herr Rudolf Grosse came to the threshold and invited me in. Immediately, I saw that my trip was not in vain. He was filled with humility; love and light shone out through his eyes. His smile and spirit nourished me just by being in his presence. His manners were impeccable and his wisdom profound. I knew that I had met a clairvoyant of my own capacity.
I had many questions for Herr Grosse, who knew Rudolf Steiner personally, about the details of Steiner’s life and his own struggle with clairvoyance among so many who have no idea what a clairvoyance is. Herr Grosse got up from his chair at this point and closed his door for privacy. He gave me a knowing smile, and whispered, “They don’t like clairvoyants around here.”
We spent the rest of that day and most of the evening talking about everything anthroposophical. He told me his personal history of the way Steiner had chosen him to be the only person who could attend all of the section meetings for the different areas of study done in Dornach. Many were resentful that Herr Grosse was treated differently from anyone else. He was the exception to the rule, and Steiner often had Herr Grosse with him wherever he went. Steiner told him that he was grooming him to be the president of the society one day. This special treatment caused much suffering for Herr Grosse and he was able to sympathize with my own plight.
I told Herr Grosse why I was there and ask if there was anything I could do to help the Society and if he felt there was there a place for me in Dornach. He seemed very pleased and said he would set up some meetings with the heads of the different sections to see if they needed any help in their research. I was so encouraged by his warmth and open nature that I felt moved to tell him about the experience I had just had on the train.
After listening to me with complete sincerity, he walked over to his bookshelf and pulled down a book by Steiner. He opened to a page that was marked and read me its passage from a lecture entitled, Intimate Workings of Karma.
“Steiner tells us about the event you underwent in the following words,” said Herr Grosse, then reading me the marked passage of the lecture:
Christian Rosenkreutz has always made use of the short intervals of time between his incarnations to call into his particular stream of spiritual life those souls whom he knows to be ripe; between his deaths and births he has concerned himself, as it were, with choosing out those who are ready to enter his stream. But human beings themselves, by learning to be attentive, must be able to recognize by what means Christian Rosenkreutz gives them a sign that they may count themselves among his chosen. This sign has been given in the lives of very many human beings of the present time, but they pay no heed to it. Yet among the apparently “chance” happenings in a man's life there may be such a sign — it is to be regarded as an indication that between death and a new birth Christian Rosenkreutz has found him mature and ready; the sign is, however, given by Christian Rosenkreutz on the physical plane.
This event may be called the mark of Christian Rosenkreutz.
Let us suppose that a man is lying in bed ... in other places I have mentioned different forms of such a happening but all of them have occurred ... for some unaccountable reason he suddenly wakes up and as though guided by instinct looks at a wall otherwise quite dark; in the half-light of the room. He sees, written on the wall: “Get up now, this minute!” It all seems very strange, but he gets up and goes out of the house; hardly has he done so than the ceiling over his bed collapses; although nobody else would have been in danger of injury, he himself must inevitably have been killed. The most thorough investigation proves that no single being on the physical plane warned him to get up from the bed! If he had remained lying there, he would certainly be dead. Such an experience may be thought to be hallucination, or something of the kind; but deeper investigation will reveal that these particular experiences — and they come to hundreds of people — are not accidental.
A beckoning call has come from Christian Rosenkreutz. The karma of the one called in this way always indicates that Christian Rosenkreutz bestows the life he may claim. I say explicitly: such experiences occur in the lives of many people at the present time, and it is only a question of being alert. The occurrence does not always take such a graphic form as the example quoted, but numbers of human beings nowadays have had such experiences. 1
Herr Grosse continued his explanation, “You see, my friend, it was no accident that you had to go a long circuitous path to arrive at that particular train station, with that particular train, and in those particular circumstances. It was the perfect opportunity to be called or marked by Christian Rosenkreutz. It is the way he marks his own. One way or another you have been called to the Rosicrucian path – whether through Anthroposophy or some other form of Rosicrucianism. Steiner tells us about this particular calling so that we will understand it when it happens.”
“He speaks about it again in another lecture cycle,” Herr Grosse continued as he reached for one more book on his shelf.
“Let me see if I have that one marked also. The first one was marked because you are not the first person who has come and told me a similar story of life and death that lead to being called or marked. It is truly tragic that people died that night, but the point is that you didn’t because you have important work to do for Christian Rosenkreutz, who I am sure you know in a later incarnation was St. Germain.”
“Oh, yes, here it is. This is from the lecture entitled, The Christ Impulse as Living Reality. Here Steiner says it a little differently, but you will see it is the same calling or mark of Christian Rosenkreutz.” Herr Grosse read:
Many a person of whom we do not expect it, is a pupil chosen by Christian Rosenkreutz. Even today it is possible to speak of a sign by means of which Christian Rosenkreutz calls to one whom he has chosen. Many people can apprehend this sign in their life; it may express itself in a thousand ways, but these different manifestations all lead back to a typical form which may be described as follows.
The choice may, for example, happen in the following way. A man embarks upon some undertaking; he spares no effort to make it successful and forges straight ahead towards his goal. While he is ruthlessly making his way in the world (he may be a thorough materialist), suddenly he hears a voice saying: “Stop what you propose to do!” ...And he will be aware that this was no physical voice. But now suppose that he does abstain from his project. If he has actually done this he may realize that if he had continued ruthlessly towards his goal, he would certainly have been led to his death. These are the two fundamentals: that he knows with certainty, firstly, that the warning came from the spiritual world, and secondly, that death would have come to him had he persisted in his undertaking.
It is therefore revealed to one who is to become a pupil: You have actually been saved, moreover by a warning proceeding from a world of which, to begin with, you know nothing! So far as circumstances of the earthly world are concerned, death has already come to you and your further life is to be regarded as a gift ...And when the man in question realizes this he will be led to the resolve to work in a spiritual movement. If the resolve is taken, this means that he has actually been chosen. This is how Christian Rosenkreutz begins to gather his pupils around him, and many human beings, if they were sufficiently alert, would be conscious of such an event in their inner life. 2
“So you can see you have received a call from Christian Rosenkreutz, Douglas,” he kindly explained to me. “You have received his mark and the sign. Now, the question is: What are you going to do with this calling? I will personally do what I can to help introduce you to those I think might appreciate your talents and gifts here in Dornach. If you find a place among us that seems to meet this call, I welcome you to our community.”
I spent several months at the Goetheanum, working with section heads on their current issues. The community of anthroposophists welcomed me into their activities, and I was asked to join five of the sections, which is highly unusual. Herr Grosse had given me good advice about keeping a low profile regarding my clairvoyance as it became obvious that this would not be welcomed in the community. In time, however, people began to find out about my faculties and would come to me personally with their issues, asking for insight, knowing full well that this came from my clairvoyant capacities.
I never claimed to be anyone other than myself, yet rumors started flying about suppositions of who I was or who I supposedly claimed to be. Sides were drawn and those who supported me were shunned by the rest of the community. Several meetings were held with the Executive Committee and Section Heads regarding my “dabbling” in pseudo-clairvoyance. And eventually, the story played out as I had experienced before: the clairvoyant is burnt at the stake.
Regardless of what the outcome may or may not have been, it was time for me to leave and begin my next journey. I had gleaned much from my time in Dornach, from countless hours spent in the Steiner library, studying every book and lecture that had been translated to English, to applying 501 sprays to the biodynamic fields, to attending all of the section meetings that were offered. But in the end, Dornach was no more open to clairvoyants than any other Steiner community.
In my years of study during and after my stay in Dornach, I have come to see that Herr Grosse was correct. I had been marked by Christian Rosenkreutz, but perhaps not for the Anthroposophical Society. Indeed, the work that Tyla and I are doing today in neoanthroposophy is a culmination of our lives as spiritual researchers. The website OurSpirit.com is a multi-layered portal that will take the spiritual aspirant on a path of self-knowledge and enlightenment. We call it our Temple of Wisdom and seekers are welcome to come through any of the many web portals and explore the spiritual treasures that we have prepared for them.
When I returned to America, I resigned my position as a Jesuit from the Catholic Church and gave them a report about anthroposophy which was that Steiner’s Christology was the most developed available and that Waldorf methods should be adopted by all parochial schools. (To read about my experiences as a Jesuit, please read the article Are there Jesuit Spies in Antrhoposophy?)
As for my next adventure….I became a Waldorf teacher.
1. Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz, Intimate Workings of Karma, Lecture IV, Wien, February 9, 1912. GA 130
2. Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz, The Christ Impulse as Living Reality, Lecture V, Munchen, November 18-19, 1911. GA 130
After contemplating this lecture, please leave your reflections and insights for others. This is a place where we can transcend time and space and help any spiritual seeker, whenever he or she arrives, to ascend.