Who Are The Rosicrucians?
The Polish Rider ( Painting by Rembrandt, 1655) A tradition states that this is a portrait of the mysterious Rosicrucian Adept the Comte de Saint Germain, believed to have been an incarnation of Christian Rosenkreutz.
Who are the Rosicrucians? Were they an organization of profound thinkers rebelling against the inquisitional religious and philosophical limitations of their time or were they isolated transcendentalist united only by the similarity of their viewpoints and deductions? Where was the "House of the Holy Spirit, "in which , according to their manifestoes, they met once a year to plan the future activities of their Order? Who was the mysterious person referred to as "our Illustrious Father and Brother C.R.C."? Did those three letters actually stand for the words "Christian Rosie Cross"? Was Christian Rosenkreutz, the supposed author of the Chymical Nuptials, the same person who with three others founded "The Society of the Rose Cross"?
What the relationship existed between Rosicrucianism and mediaeval Freemasonry? Why were the destinies of those two organizations so closely interwoven? Is the "Brotherhood of the Rose Cross" the much-sought-after link connecting the Freemasonry of the Middle Ages with the symbolism and misticism of the antiguity, and are its secrets being perpetuated by modern Masonry? Did the original Rosicrucian Order desintegrate in the latter part of the eighteenth century, or does the Society still exist as an organization, maintaining the same secrecy for which the "Brotherhood of the Rose Cross " was formed? Were the Rosicrucians a religious and philosophic brotherhood, as they claimed to be, or were their avowed tenets a blind to conceal the true object of the Fraternity, which possibly was the political control of Europe?
With this too extensive fan of inquiries Manly P. Hall brings in , "The Fraternity of the Rose Cross", CXXXVII Chapter of his Encyclopedia Outline of Masonic , Hermetic and Rosicrucian Philosophy - "The Secret Teachings of All Ages ". Such inquiries carry on existing and have nourish many scholar researches in History , where the Rosacrucianism comes under review as a chapter of the Iluminism, in Philosophy - where is appreciated as a link among the neo-platonism and modern empirism and racionalism, and in the Arts , where whether labour the materiality of its output scripts , with particular relief its simbolical values.
Before the twentieth century, information pertaining to the Rosicrucian Order had been shrouded in secrecy, if not obscurity. The first and anonymous public document that purports to be Rosicrucian is the Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, a manifesto which appeared in 1914. in Cassel, Germany, as an apendix of the 77th. Advertisement ( section ) intitled Generale Riforma dell' Universo ( The Universal Reformation of Mankind ) of a German translation of Bocallini's satira Ragguagli di Parnasso ( Advertisements from Parnassus).
The Fama which created a profound effect was soon published in separate form. In 1615 appeared the Confessio Fraternitatis, issued with the Fama . Both manifestoes passed through several editions while Boccalini's essay disappeared. The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, Anno 1459, issued in 1616, is a later book in the chronology and introduces for the first time the name Christian Rosenkreutz that remained unnamed except for the three initials in the first manifestoes ( Fama & Confessio Fraternitatis ).
These works have been attributed , though not without question, to the German Lutheran philosopher and theologian Johan Valentin Andreae, who, it is reported, on the authority of M.C.Hirachen, to have confessed that he, with thirty others in Wurttemberg, had sent forth the Fama Fraternitatis; that under this veil they might discover who were the true lovers of the wisdom, induce them to come dorward.
In spite of the most scholar researches postulates Johan Valentin Andreae as the true autor of the first Rosicrucian manifestoes another researches incline us to belive that at least the Fama and Confession was actually written by Lord Verulam , Sir Francis Bacon, well known as the Chanceller of Parnassus, the allegorical Mount of the Poets.
Fama Fraternitatis gives an account of the life and adventures of Christian Rosenkreutz, a symbolical character, who is the founder of the Society of Rosicrucians.
According to the Legend ,C.R.C. has born in 1378 in a poor , but noble, family. Having lost his parents still boy, he was placed in a convent since five years old. In the cloister he learned Latin and Grecian . At the age of the fifteen year of age , finding the instructions insatisfactory, he associated himself with a a monk , Frater P. , on a pilgrimage for the Holy Land , to visit the Holy Sepulcro.His fellow traveler , Frater P. died on their arrival at the Island of Cyprus , but C.R.C. proceed alone on his journey for Damascus. At Damascus poor health detained him , and he remained studying with astrologers and physicians. Hearing of a groups of wise men abiding in Damcar, a mystical city in Arabia, C.R.C. continued his jorney to Damcar and arrived there with sixteenth years of age. In Damcar he was received by the wise men as anybody long awaited,and remained among them along three years, learning the arabian language and translating along a year the whole book "M" for the Latin. . After he sailed for Egypt, where he continued his studies, and having traveled the Mediterranean, he at lenghth arrived at Fez , holy city of Morocco that was during the Middle Ages one of the most famous Centers of the Alchemic Arts . There he was instructed concerning the creatures existing in the elements.
From Fez he crossed over into Spain carrying with him many rare medicines, curious animals, and wonderful books. He conferred with the learned at Madrid, but he met with unfavorable reception. So, he deeply discourage, return to Germany, where he built himself a house on the brow of a little hill and devoted his life to study and experimentation.
After a hush of five years, C.R.C. selected three of the faithful friends of the old convent in which he had been educated , and they began to arrange and classify the great knowlege he possessed. Thus, the Rosicrucian Fraternity was founded. Later four members were accepted. Under the direction of the Father C.R.C. , Head of the Order, they began building a Temple , called "The Temple of the Holy Spirit". When this temple was completed, the Brothers, being now thoroughly instructed in the mysteries and the sciences, agreed to separate. Five of the Brothers traved to distant lands to promulgate their doctrines among the wise of the earth. The travelers were to return to the Temple at the end of each year, or to send an excuse for their absence.
The society thus formed was governed by a code of laws. The first rule was that they should take to themselves no other dignity or credit than that they were willing to heal the sick whithout charge. The second was that from that time on forever they should wear no special robe or garment, but should dress according to the custom of the country wherein they dwelt. The third stated that every year upon a certain day they should meet in the "House of the Holy Spirity", or, if unable to do so, should be represented by an epistle. The fourth decreed that each member should search for a worthy person to succeed him at his own demise. The fifth stated that the letters "R.C." should be their seal, mark, and character from that time onward. The sixth specified that the Fraternity should remain unknown to the world for a period of one hundred years.
When the first Brother of the Order died, in England, it was decided that the burial places of the members should be secret. Soon afterward Father C.R.C. called the remaining six together, and it is supposed that then he prepared his own symbolic tomb, a perfect miniature reprodution of the universe. The Fama records that none of the Brothers alive at the time of its writing knew when Father C.R.C. died or where he was buried. His body was accidentally discovered 120 years after his death when one of the Brothers decided to make some alterations in the "House of the Holy Spirit". While making his alterations , the Brother discovered a memorial tablet upon which were inscribed the names of the early members of the Order.
The memorial plate was of brass, and was affixed to the wall by a nail driven through its center; but so firmly was it attached that , in tearing it away, at portion of the plaster came off, thereby exposing at Secret Door. Upon removing the incrustations from the door, there apperead written in large letters the following inscription:
POST CXX ANNOS PATERO - [ After One Hundred Twenty Years I will appear ].
Waiting for the sunrise of the next morning, they resumed their researches. When they opened the heavy door, they discovered a heptagonal vault. Each of its seven sides , five feet wide by eight feet in height, had well known symbols inscribed on it. The light was received from an artificial sun in the roof, and was almost blinding to the eye.
To their amazement , in the middle of the floor there stood, instead of at tomb, at circular altar , on which was an inscription , saying that the apartment had been erected by C.R.C. as a compendium of the universe.Many other inscriptions were seen about the apartment, including.
JESUS MIHU OMNIA, LEGIS JUGUM, SET FREE EVANGELLII (JESUS IS MY ALL, THE YOKE OF THE LAW, THE LIBERTY OF THE GOSPEL);
all of which indicated the christian character of the builter.
In Each of the seven sides was at door opening into at closet. In these closets they found many rare and valuable articles such the "The History And Life of the Founder"; the vocabulary of the Paracelsus; The Secrets of the Order; together with bells, mirrors, lamps, and various other things.On Removing The altar and the brass palte beneath it , to their surprise, they came upon the body of C.R.C. in at perfect state of preservation.
Several theories have been brought forward to sove the riddle of Rosicrucians.
The First Theory build up that the Fraternity Rose Cross exist historicamente under the description of his foundation and subsequentes activities insert in its manifesto The Fame Fraternitatis, that appeared in Cassel , German in 1614 with the long title of Allegeme Und General -Reformation der Fame Fraternitatis des Loblichen Orders des Rosencreuzes.
Certain discrepancies have been found in this story. It is said that writings by Paracelsus were discovered in the C.R.C. 's vault but if he died with 106 years old and the tomb was sealed at that time and not opened for 120 years, we come upon a historical difficulty because at such time Paracelsus was only one year of age.
Curious research relating to the identity of Father C.R.C. is presented by Maurice Magre in his Magicians, Seers And Mystics . He states that Christian Rosenkreutz was the last descendant of the Germelschausen, a german family florished in the 13th century. Their Castle stood in the Thuringian Forest on the Border of Hesse they had embraced Albigense's doctrines, combining pagan superstitions and christian beliefs.The whole family was put to death, by Landgrave Conrad of Thuringia, excepted the youngest son ,who was only five years old. He was carried away secretly by at monk, who was an Albigensian adept from Languedoc. The child was placed in a monastery, that had already come under the influence of the Albigenses, wgere he was educated and made the acquaintance of the four others brothers later to be associated with him in the founding of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. His account derives from oral tradition .
The Second Theory supposed that the Rosicrucian Society has been founded about the year 1610 by a German Lutheran theologian , Johan Valentin Andreae . Some adds that its roots flourished in Middle Ages as a development of Alchemical researshes. According to Robert Macoy,the German Lutheran theologian , Johan Valentin Andreae was its founder , that have been founded as one amplification of an ancient association set along by Henry Cornelius Agrippa. In his Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, Dr. Franz Hartmann describes the Fraternity as "A secret society of men possessing superhuman - if not supernatural - powers; they were said to be able to prophesy future events, to penetrate into the deepest mysteries of Nature, to transform Iron, Copper, Lead, or Mercury into Gold, to prepare an Elixir of Life, or universal Panacea, by the use of which they could preserve their youth and manhood; and moreover it was believed that they could command the Elemental Spirits of Nature, and knew the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, a substance which rendered him who possessed it all-powerful, immortal, and supremely wise". He also states that a Rosicrucian is a person who by the process of spiritual awakening has attained a pratical knowledge of the secret of the Rose and the Cross.
The Third Theory defends that the Rosacrucianism was the first invasion of Buddhism and Bhramanism in Europe.
The Fourth Theory argues that the association of the Rose Cross was founded in Egypt during the philosophical supremacy of the College of Heliopolis in that empire , and that it also perpetuated the Mysteries of the ancient Persia and Chaldea. When we speak of Rosicrucianism as a society of men functioning under the laws and regulations of a physical society , organized under the name Rose Cross, we must then limit ourselves to the opening years of the 17th century, but when we speak of it as a mystical tradition , we can trace it back to Egypt and Atlantis.
The Fourth Theory affirms that the ancient Rosicrucian Fraternity was entirely a product of fancy.It is regarded by some scholars that this story of Andrea's was purely romance. Others generally agree with the theory that Andrea, at the time of the appearance of this book, was a young man full of the excitement and ambition, and seeing the defects of the theology and the sciences, sought to purify them, and to accomplish this design imaged a union into one body of all those who, like himself, were the admirers of true virtue.Still others contend that he wrote this account of the rise and progress of Rosicrucianism for the purpose of advancing his own peculiar views of morals and religion. Be this as it may, this so-called "fiction" has persisted through the centuries , and has been readily accepted as truth by multitudes of people.
The Sixth Theory defend that the Rosicrucian Society was actually founded about 1604, probably by the English philosopher Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, well known as the Chanceller of Parnassus, The allegorical Mount of the Poets. It has been proposed that the face of the author of the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, as preserved on a rare print shown a striking resemblance to that of Sir Francis Bacon , in spite of the age difference. If, as another conjecture maintains, he borrowed the name and identity of William Shakespeare, he could also have assumed , after the latter's mock funeral, the personality of Johan Valentin Andreae. The crescent moon drawn below his bust appers upon the crest of Lord Bacon. In addition, the four letters (OMDC) in the frame at the lower right corner of the plate, by a simple Baconian cipher, can be changed into numbers whose sum gives 33 - the numerical equivalent of the name Bacon. Should this proposal seem far-fetched, its is helpful to know that such practices were common place in Baco's time.
The seventh Theory argues that the Order Rose Cross is not merely a secret society but one of the Mystery Schools, although it have been working with some Secret Rosicrucian Socities in diferent periods of History.
Writing about the transcendental theory , Manly P. Hall said that "the apparent incongruities of the Rosicrucian controversy has also been accounted for by a purely transcendental explanation. There is evidente that early writers were acquainted with such a supposition - which, however, was popularized only after it had been espoused by Theosophy.(...) This Theory asserts that the Rosicrucians actually possessed all the supernatural powers with they were credited; that they were in reality citizens of the two worlds; that , while they had physical bodies for expression on the material palne , they were also capable, through the sinstructions they received from Brotherhood, of functioning in the mysterious ethereal body not subject to the limitations of time and distance. By means of this "astral form" they were able to function in the invisible realm of Nature, and in this realm, beyond reach of the profane, their Temple was located.(...) According to this Theory , those who have sough to record the events of the importance in connection with the Rosicrucian controversy have invariable failed because they approched their subject from a purely physical or materialistic angle.(...) The mystic believes that the true Rosicrucian Fraternity , consisting of a School of Supermen, is an institution existing not in the visible world but in its spiritual counter part, which he sees fit to call the "inner planes of Nature", that the brothers can be reached only by those who are capable of trancending the limitations of the material world.(...)"
Exploring Rosicrucian the origins of Rosicrucianism Minnie Hotaling asserts that "a great sensation was produced in Germany by Andrea's book, and letters poured in on all sides from those who offered prood of their qualifications, and presented their claims as to their skill in alchemy and kabbalism. Some were bold and became imposters, proclaiming that they had been admitted into the Order. They exercised their frauds upon those who were credulous enough to believe them. There are records that some of these charlatans, extorting money, were punished for their offences by the magistrates of Naumburg, Augsburg, and other German cities.
There was, too, in Holland in the year 1722, a society of alchemists, who called themselves Rosicrucians, and who claimed that Christian Rosenkreutz was their founder, and that they had affiliated societies in many of the German cities. Despite the fraudulent societies, the Philosophy took deep root, and gave rise to the modern schools of Rosicrucianism. During the seventh century there were many centers in Germany, France, and England. Belonging to these were such men as Michael Maier, Robert Fludd, and Elias Ashmole."
As to the etymology of the word Rosicrucian, a great many derivations have been given. Both Peter Gassandi and later Mosheim deduced it from two words, ros , meaning dew and crux meaning cross, and thus they defined it "Drew Cross". According to the alchemists, dew was the most powerful of all substances to dissolve gold; and the cross, in the language of the same philosophers, was identical with light, or lux, because the figure of the cross exhibits the three letters of that word. but the word lux was referred to as the seed of the Read Dragon , which was that crude and material light that when properly concocted and digested produces gold. " Hence", says Mosheim, "a Rosicrucian is a philosopher who by means of dew seeks for Light, that is, for the substance of the Philosopher's Stone".
Another etymology it from the words rose and cross. Andrea, in his writings, calls the Order "Fraternitatis Roseas Crucis", or Fraternity of the Rose Cross. Another interpretation supposes that the word was derived from the Christian cross as symbolical with that assumed by the Rose Cruix Order of Masonry; but it does not necessarily mean that the same interpretation was adopted by the Rosicrucians. Others, again, contend that "Andreas" derived the symbol from his own Coat-of-Arms, which consisted of a St. Andrew's Cross between four roses, and that Andreae alluded to the well-known lines of Luther, "The Heart of the Christian goes upon the Rose when it stands beneath the Cross".
This article is dedicated to Our Beloved Master Christian Rosenkreutz, whose archetypal prototype represents the christlike consciousness. Every Rosicrucian Student is invited to study the Fama Fraternitatis, The Confessio Fraternitatis, The Chemical Marriage, The Maier's Themis Aurea and another original literature of the Society.
"May the Roses Bloom Upon Your Cross",
Works quoted from or consulted in the preparation of this Preface:
ANDREAS, Johan Valentin Andreae -Fama Fraternitatis;Confessio Fraternitatis;The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, Anno 1459
HALL, Manly P-. The Adepts in The Esoteric Tradition;Codex Rosae Crucis;The Secret Teachings of All Ages;Fundamentals of The Esoteric Sciences;The Riddle of The Rosicrucians
HEINDEL, Max-The Rosicrucian Cosmo Conception
HOTALING, Minnie-Exploring the Origins of Rosicrucianism in Rays From the Rose Cross, Vol 90, #04
SALOMONSSEN, Arne- The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz Anno 1459, A Modern Poetic Version
STEINER, Rudolf , Christian Rosenkreutz
WEBER, Charles- Early Rosicrucian and Occult Symbolism in Rays from the Rose Cross,Vol.92,#03
YATES, Frances A-.O Iluminismo Rosa-Cruz
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