Christian Rosencreuz: His real and alleged connection with the Rosicrucian Order and his status therein
Authorized Instruction in Rosicrucian Philosophy
By Fr. KHEI X°
Details of the Rosencreuz Legend and Tradition
“C. R. C.”
Much has been written about the life, character and works of the personality known as Christian Rosencreuz, commonly referred to among Rosicrucian students as “CRC.”
The accounts of his life, written by exponents of nearly every school of occult thought, Masonic researchers, and apologists of an historical turn of mind as well as those who sincerely desire to be recognized as accredited authorities and biographers, agree in essentials, but differ widely in their attempted explanations of the esotericism involved.
An Encyclopedic Testimony
One encyclopedist states that some of the writers who assumed to be Rosicrucians “were moral and religious reformers, and utilized the technicalities of chemistry (alchemy), and the sciences generally, as media through which to make known their opinions, there being a flavor of mysticism or occultism promotive of inquiry and suggestive of hidden meanings discernable or discoverable only by adepts.
Johann Valentin Andrea
The same encyclopedist continues, – “The publication of the Allgemeine und General-Reformation der ganzen weiten Welt (Cassel, 1614, and the Fama Fraternitatis (Cassel, 1615) by the Lutheran theologian Johann Valentin Andrea (1586-1654), caused intense excitement throughout Europe, and they not only led to many re-issues, but were followed by many pamphlets, favorable and otherwise, whose authors generally knew little, if anyrhing, of the real aims of the original author, and doubtless not in a few cases amused themselves at the expense of the public.
Date of First MS
“It is probable that the first work was circulated in MS about 1610, for it is said that a reply was written in 1612 (according to Herder), but if so, there was no public mention of the cult before that decade.
“The curious legend, in which the fabulous origin of the so-called society was enshrined (that a certain Christian Rosencreuz had discovered the secret wisdom of the East on a pilgrimage in the 15th century), was so improbable, though ingenious, THAT THE GENESIS OF THE ROSICRUCIANS WAS GENERALLY OVERLOOKED OR IGNORED, but the worthy objects of the fraters were soon discovered and supported by several able men; the result being a mass of literature on the subject.”
Point of Emphasis
The capitals in the quotation noted above are ours, for they indicate the exact point that requires emphasis. First, in the discussion of the legenda, the REAL origin and antiquity of the Rosicrucians was “overlooked,” and this has been the main reason for the mass of conjecture, hypothesis, imagination and guess work of later writers through all the succeeding years. Second, in the contemplation of the legenda and the romance connected therewith in the “Chymical Marriage,” Christian Rosencreuz has become popularly accepted as the Founder of the Order, which however, is not the exact truth. Third, the discussion regarding the peculiar teachings of the Rosicrucian writers, real and alleged, and the relation of these writings to the moot religious controversies of the day, was the beginning of the mass of literature, most of it speculative, which has formed the basis of nearly all subsequent writings concerning the Order and its Teachings.
Rosicrucians Agree with Jacob Boehme
What may be said to be the nearest to the actual teachings of the Rosicrucians, are the writings of Jacob Boehme, for with him the Rosicrucians agreed that the transmutation of metals was to be considered as analogous to the restoration of Man from his fallen state, as set forth in the Signatura Rerum, Chs. Vii, x-xii. The true Rosicrucians, therefore, may be considered as having been from the very first, spiritual alchemists.
Original Works Recommended
For those students who desire to study original works on the subject, the following are recommended:-
Echo of the Society of the Rosy Cross, 1597
Confessio Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, 1615
Thesaurinella Chymica-aurea. Sec. 244
Raymundii Lullii Theoria
Themis Aurea, hoc est, de legibus Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis by Michael Maier, Cologne, 1615.
Epistola ad patres de Rosea Cruce, Frankfurt, 1617
De Naturae secretis quibusdam at Vulcaniam artem chymicae ante omnia necessaris, addressed to the Masters of the Philosophic Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, 1618
Andrea leaves the Order
While it is certain that Andrea was at first closely identified with the Rosicrucians, he, as a Lutheran clergyman and theologian, later found himself at variance with them, and endeavored in his subsequent writings to discredit his former association with them. Later, he attempted to found in Austria the “Fraternitas Christi” with which many of the Protestant Austrian nobility became identified. It was suppressed by an opposition Order, founded by the Catholic Church, and known as the “Blue Cross.” Heckethorn publishes an amusing ritual ascribed to the Rosicrucians, which, as any initiate would easily recognize, was purely for the purpose of diverting attention from the real practice of the Art.
It is with English Rosicrucianism that we are particularly interested and the complete chronology of the Rosicrucians can be had in detail from the interesting and authoritative volume by Mr. H.V.A. Parsell, entitled “The Rosicrucians and Freemasonry.” Among English Rosicrucians, Robert Fludd (Robertus de Fluctibus), was the great exponent and is commonly referred to as “the Great English Rosicrucian.” His most important works are, – “Apologia et Compediaria Fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et infamiae maculis aspersam, veritatis quasi Fluctibus abluens et abstergens.” Leyden, 1616, and “Tractatus Apologeticus integritatem Societatis de Rosea Cruce defendeus.” Lugdavi Batavorum, 1617.
Fludd and Heydon
After Fludd, came Heydon, who was born in 1629. Notable among his writings on the Rosicrucians, occur the following lines, taken from his “An Epologue for an Apilogue,” – “I shall tell you what Rosicrucians are, and that Moses was their father. Some say they were of the order of Elias, some of Ezechiel, others define them to be the officers of the generalissimo of the world; they are as the eyes and ears of the Great King, seeing and hearing all things, for they are seraphically illuminated as Moses was, according to this order of the elements, earth refined to water, water to air, air to fire.” Such a statement as this must have called forth derision among those unfamiliar with occult or especially Hermetic verbiage at that time, as it surely does now. However, the significance of this statement lies in the fact that the Rosicrucians of that time claimed an origin far antedating that of the Rosencreuz legend, and agreeing with the historical record as given in the Neophyte’s Degree of our modern Colleges.
Elias Ashmole and Others
The year 1646 was notable for the institution by Elias Ashmole, William Lilly, Dr. Thomas Wharton, Dr. J. Hewitt, Dr. J. Pearson and others, of a Rosicrucian society in London. The main purpose of their organization it is said, was to carry out the idea of the erection of the House of Solomon, as contained in Bacon’s “New Atlantis.”
Work of the Society
This Society was to remain as secret as the Island of Bensalem, in other words, it was to study nature esoterically. The carpet of the Lodge was to represent the pillars of Hercules; seven steps were used in the rite, the first four of which symbolized the Four Elements, Fire, Air, Water and Earth, and the remaining three steps symbolized Salt, Sulphur and Mercury. These steps led to an “exchequer” or higher court, on which were displayed the symbols of creation, or the work of the six creative days. The meetings were held in Mason’s Hall, Mason’s Alley, Basinghall Street, London.
Exoteric Meaning of the Name
It is often assumed that the name of the Society is derived from that of Christian Rosencreuz. Other writers assert it to have been originated from the armorial bearings of the Andrea family, the fallacy of which is shown by the fact that the Society antedated that family. Other speculations have concluded that the name is taken from ros, – dew, and crux, – the cross. The latter is assumed to symbolize LVX, or Light, because the figure X represents the three letters; and Light, according to Rosicrucian teaching also produces gold, while dew, – ros, was considered a most potent solvent. Still other apologists believe that the rose and cross of the Rosicrucians were taken from the seal of Martin Luther, which was a cross-crowned heart rising from the center of a rose.
Antiquity of the Rose and Cross
But we have only to turn to the Hindu mysteries where we discover that Lakschemi, the wife of Vishnu, was found in a rose with 108 leaves, identical with the number of beads on an Indian rosary, and to the Hindus the cross was the symbol of creation. In the Eleusinian Mysteries we find the same importance of the rose! Apuleius makes Lucius to be restored to his original form by eating roses; the “Romance of the Rose” is notable in Provincial literature.
The five fundamental laws of the Rosicrucians were:-
1. To dress in the costume of the country in which they lived.
2. To heal the sick, gratuitously.
3. To attend every year, the meeting of the Order.
4. When dying, to choose a successor.
5. To preserve the secret one hundred years.
Poetical Fictions of the Rosicrucians
The poetical fictions regarding the Rosicrucians are best known from the writings of Joseph Francis Borri, of Milan. To his writings is largely due the “poetic splendor which surrounds the Order” and much of the enhancement of mysticism and mystery. But in his later works, Borri inclined to heresy and was seized and condemned to perpetual imprisonment by the Inquisition. He died in the Castle of St. Angelo in 1695. The principal work of Borri to which reference is made is his “Key to the Cabinet of Signor Borri” and is substantially the kabalistic romance entitled, “The Count de Gabalis,” published in 1670 by the Abbe de Villars.
The Elementals in Fiction
According to the above named work, Man is surrounded by hosts of beautiful beings, who may be enlisted in his service. These beings are described as Elementals. It peopled the Air with Sylphs, the Fire with Salamanders, the Water with Undines, and the Earth with Gnomes. These beings, according to the fanciful concept of the times, could be secured to man’s service by incorporation in mirrors, rings and precious stones, and were obliged to appear when summoned.
Man was held to be superior to these beings in one great respect, – he had an immortal soul. Any one of these beings, it was believed, could become partaker in Man’s immortality by inspiring in one of the humans the passion of love. Thus we have Shakespeare’s Ariel, a Sylph; “Undine,” “Rape of the Lock,” “Masque of Comus,” the poem “Salamandrine” and many others. The Elementals were said to be composed of the purest atomic particles of the substance of which they were habitant, either Earth, Air, Fire or Water, and that in consequence of having no other antagonistic element in their substance they could live indefinitely, but not immortally.
Further Agreement with the
The Rosicrucian writers of acknowledged authority in those times further agreed with the Signatura Rerum, that everything in this external world “has outwardly impressed upon it its inward spiritual character. And they taught that by the practice of virtue the Mortal could attain to knowledge of the Spiritual while yet incarnate, and discover the Philosopher’s Stone, which could not be found except by the regenerate, “for it is in close communion with the heavenly essence.” Thus the letters INRI signified to them, Igne Natura Regenerando Integra.
Rosicrucians at the Hague
A strong body of Rosicrucians is known to have existed at the Hague in 1622, from the fact of the public expulsion of Montanus, or to give his true name, Ludwig Conrad, of Bingen. These Rosicrucians, while maintaining the usual “Great House,” met on call of the Imperator in such cities as Amsterdam, Danzig, Nuremberg, Hamburg, Mantua and Venice. They wore in public a black silk cord, but at Convocations they wore a gold band to which were attached the Cross and Rose. Their certificate of membership consisted of a large parchment, duly inscribed with great ceremony, and bearing many seals.
Rosicrucians in Germany
That the Order flourished in Germany between 1641 and 1765 is known from the MS of Dr. von Harliss. This group followed the custom of all other known groups, in the ancient salutations. The method of addressing each other was, according to this custom, as follows:-
First frater, – “Ave Frater”; the answer was, “Roseae et Aureae”;
First frater, – “Crucis”; – both together, – “Benedictus Deus qui dedit nobis signum.”
They then mutually produced their seals and communicated “the name.”
New Constitution of 1714
A new Constitution appeared in 1714 (note its close approximation to the commonly ascribed origin of Freemasonry), which was entitled, “The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone of the Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross.” “Published for the benefit of Filiorum Doctrinae, by Sincero Renato, Breslau.” This document divides the practice of the Art into two separate groups; Practica Ordinis Minoris and Practica Ordinis Majoris; really two distinct Fraternities in one, the more important being the “Brethren of the Golden Cross” whose symbol was a red cross, and the “Brethren of the Rosy Cross” whose symbol was a green cross.
Notable German Foundations
Rosicrucianism was openly professed by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar in 1742 (Duke Ernest Augustus), Frederick William of Prussia, afterward King Frederick William II. He established a Rosicrucian Lodge or College at Berlin in 1786, but the notorious Religious Edict of 1788, intended to suppress the Illuminati and restore the censorship of the Press, compelled the College to resort to such secrecy that later traces of it are lost. A pseudo expose entitled, “The Rosicrucian in his Nakedness” by Master Pianco, supposedly an ex member of the Society, was published in 1782 as a violent attack upon the Order at large and was given credence by many who had not the slightest idea of what Rosicrucianism really meant.
Nuremberg, Dresden, Munich, and Ancona were notable centers at about this time (1780-1790).
Every Order has its offshoots and this is true of Rosicrucianism. About 1780 was originated the Order of Asiatic Brethren. Its basis was Rosicrucian and meetings were called Lodges of Melchizedek, and admitted Jews, Turks, Armenians and Persians. The complete title of the organization was, “Order of the Knights and Brethren of Saint John the Evangelist from Asia in Europe.” The Masters were styled “Worshipful Chiefs of the Seven Churches of Asia.” While this Order manifested much hostility to the original Rosicrucians, nevertheless the Third Degree members were officially styled “True Rosicrucians.” The full names of the degrees follow:
1st Degree……Knights and Brother-Initiates from Asia in Europe
2nd Degree……Wise Masters
3rd Degree……Royal Priests or True Rosicrucians of the Degree of Melchizedek.
Ritual of the “Theoretical Brethren”
A book entitled, “The Theoretical Brethren or Second Degree of Rosicrucians” appeared in 1785. According to this ritual, which if it ever really existed is now obsolete, the Candidate must first be initiated on the Scotch Rite. He is then conducted into a large room illuminated by candles. At the east end is a square Altar with a black cloth cover bearing an open Bible, the Laws and Landmarks of the Order and a black embroidered apron.
On the central cloth there was a globe with two rings, from the outer one of which rays proceed into clouds, in which are seen the Seven Planets. Above Mars is the Cubical Stone, and above the Globe the Blazing Star. Opposite Saturn was an Unhewn Stone. The symbolism is thus explained; the Planets promote the growth of the Seven Metals; the Blazing Star typifies Nature; the Two Circles the “agens” and “patiens” or male and female principles. The Unhewn Stone represents the Materia Prima Philosophorum; the Cubical Stone the Patiens Philosophorum. The Globe represents the Universality of the Lodge. The Brothers wore an apron of white, lined with black and embroidered.
The Jewel was of gilt brass and consisted of two triangles with rays, and the Hebrew Name of Jehovah. On the reverse were the signs of Venus and Mercury. It was attached to a black ribbon. The Sign was made by raising the right hand with the thumb and two forefingers extended and answered by placing the thumb and two forefingers over the heart. The grip consisted of taking the opposite person with the right hand around the waist. The word was “Chaos.”
The Third Degree was called Bracheus and the Word was Majim, answered by Brocha. The Fourth Degree was Philosophus; the Word Ruachhiber and the Ninth Degree was Magus.
Rosicrucians in Mauritius
In 1794 a College of Rosicrucians was known to have been flourishing in the island of Mauritius, but of its subsequent history practically nothing is known, and while the Society forbade at that time the admission of women, it is known that the Abbess of Claremont, Leona Constantia, was actually received as a practicing member and Master in 1736.
Object of Alchemy
As the student has already noted, the object of Alchemy was threefold; the search of the Alkahest or Universal Solvent; the Lapis or Stone or Powder of Transmutation; and the Elixir or Universal Medicine. The secret Mystery of Alchemy undoubtedly originated amongst a people given to metallurgy. This is the physical side of the Art. Alchemy is also psychological in its interpretation, and as such is related to Gnosticism. It is moral in its relation to humanity. It aimed in this sense, at converting the lead of the body, and the silver of the soul, into the gold of the spirit, and it is this meaning that Aristotle employs when he says that “all men have the Stone within them,” and that its conversion is the labor of wise men. The Mystic Marriage of the Sun and Moon, in its spiritual and inoperative sense, is the Union of Soul and Spirit to form the Gnostic Cristos (Christos).
What the Hermetic System Unites
“The Hermetic system united all nature, inasmuch as ‘that which is above is the same as that which is below.’ When it descends to the mineral kingdom, and the vegetable, it finds in these the same, three principles as in man, namely a visible body, a virtue or soul, and a spark of the spirit, termed salt, sulphur and mercury, a Divine Triad; whilst the four lower principles are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, but which in another phase represent the physical, psychic, mental and spiritual planes of existence. These are, again, volatile, and unstable. In operations, Alchemy held that ‘all things proceed from the WILL of One,’ and so all were again resolvable to first principles, and that metals might be separated, refined, and reunited. They claimed that Moses was an Adept because he possessed the difficult process of reducing the golden calf to powder.”
This Philosophy included in Modern Rosicrucianism
Rosicrucian students will observe that all this philosophy is incorporated in the teachings of advanced Rosicrucianism today, and so far as we have any record, always has been. We find evidences of it in the Rosicrucian MSS at Cologne, under the nom-de-plume of Omnis Moriar, recording a Rosicrucian Society in that city in 1115 and also in the Rosary of Arnold de Villanova, circa, 1230. In the Theatrum Chemicum Argentoratum, 1628, in connection with Count von Falkenstein, Prince Bishop of Treves in the 14th century, styled “Most Illustrious and Serene Prince and Father of Philosophers,” the same teachings are brought out.
Rosicrucians in Denmark
In 1484 traces of a Rosicrucian Society in Denmark appeared under the name “Fraternitatis Rosarii Slewicii condito, anno 1484.” There are also evidences that in the early 17th century the King was at the head of the Order.
Militia Crucifera Evengelica
A Society allied to the Rosicrucians and incorporating much of their philosophy was founded at Lunenberg in 1571, under the name Militia Crucifera Evangelica. The MSS of this Society refers to the Rose and Cross. This organization cooperated with another in Holland, known as the “Friends of the Cross.”
The Illuminati, founded May 1776, by Professor Weishaupt, of Ingoldstadt, has been often confounded with the Rosicrucians, but was a distinct and separate organization.
Reason of the Resume
This brief resume of known Rosicrucian activities and centers dating from even before the year 1300 and continuing almost to 1800 AD has been for the purpose of acquainting the student with somewhat of the various works both for and against the Order during a period when its very existence was most stoutly maintained and also most stoutly denied.
Name of Christian Rosencreuz a Focal Point
All through this period, the name of Christian Rosencreuz stands out as the central focal point around which the assumed existence of the Order is built. Many writers on Rosicrucian lore have attempted to identify him with various historical characters, – Comte de St. Germain, Francis Bacon, Lord St. Albans, and several others. Some writers have even assumed to give his earlier incarnations, as Melchizedek, from the obscurity of his origin and commission; the Masonic Hiram A:., later becoming the Lazarus of the Gospel of Jesus; Giordano Bruno, and still later concepts of him as reincarnated among the “Masters” of the modern Theosophical organizations.
Advice to the Credulous
It is not our province to comment upon such assumptions, for reasons, which the true occult student not blessed with too credulous emotionalism and imagination will divine. First of those reasons is, that the ability of various well meaning writers to give authoritative statements regarding personalities in various incarnations is not yet so well attested as to cause such assertions to merit serious consideration. It may be and undoubtedly is possible to read much in Akashic Records concerning cosmological processes, but we are well aware that in each individual person there is a Holy of Holies, – namely, the exact habitat of the Ego, and thus far, no human eye has ever seen an EGO. We may clairvoyantly observe and study auras, and read the Memory of Nature, but the Ego is of the Substance of God, the Divine Resident Spark of the Great Central Flame, and – NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME.
Human Lives are Secrets, Past and Present
Some things, in the ineffable wisdom of the higher spheres, are reserved from mortal exploitation, and chief among them is the privilege of preserving secret one’s past lives. The individual may by development recover his or her own previous incarnations, but unless he or she gives to the clairvoyant examiner PERMISSION or AUTHORITY TO DO SO, no one however well developed, can enter into the Holy of Holies of individual personal life careers. Otherwise a power would be placed within human possibility that would be inestimable in its danger. Observe, IT CAN BE DONE, BUT ONLY BY PERMISSION.
Canon of Occult Law
Second among the reasons mentioned, is that the Canon of Occult Law, up to the present time, is not sufficiently understood by modern psychics to entitle their observations and speculations in the domain of previous incarnations to serious acceptance, with one single exception, – the cases of personages who by their meritorious evolutionary progress have emerged from the privacy of individualism and become historical characters, thus belonging, not to themselves but to the world and to all time. The life voyages of such personages as the Messiahs of all ages have become so plainly and indelibly written on the Akashic pages, that the developed psychic may read with a considerable degree of accuracy, and such readings by many psychics will be found to agree in essentials.
Rosencreuz not an historical character
But this rule does not apply in the case of Christian Rosencreuz. He may not be considered as an historical character. His existence is a matter of pure mythos to many scholars who have devoted a lifetime to the research of Rosicruciana. The Brotherhood itself teaches that the existence, study, work and accomplishment of Christian Rosenceuz IS A FACT, BUT IT MUST ALSO BE STATED THAT THERE IS NO HISTORICAL OR EXTERNAL EVIDENCE TO PROVE IT. Therefore the Brotherhood leaves the matter to the developing ability of the individual student, after giving a definite amount of instruction regarding the matter in the Degrees of the Grades, and realizes that to each student will be given such interior illumination and revelation as his capacity therefor may permit.
Christian Rosencreuz not the real name of the person using it
We will try to amplify the preceding paragraph. We have stated that the Brotherhood teaches the actual existence of Christian Rosencreuz, but that there is no historical evidence to prove it. We are fully mindful of our Obligations of Secrecy, but we may state that the name “Christian Rosencreuz” was NOT THE REAL NAME OF THE PERSON WHO ASSUMED IT, which, perhaps, will make the matter clearer to initiate students.
Where it was derived
In the Fama Fraternitatis (1610) the derivation of the Society from an unknown founder is given, and invariably the initials C.RC., Father R.C., and A.C.R.C. are used. No name has ever been given although his life history is apparently a matter of more or less exact knowledge. Christian Rosencreuz is the name of the hero of the Chymical Marriage and is supposed to be identical with the initials given in the Fama. The allegory of Christian Rosencreuz is said by many writers to have been written by Francis Bacon, but of this initiate students must judge for themselves.
The Three Great Treatises
The three great Treatises from which much of the Rosicruciana have sprung, are; –
1. Fama Fraternitatis of the Meritorious Order of the Rosy Cross.
Written 1610, and addressed to the learned in general, and the Governors of Europe. Published at Cassel, 1614.
2. The Confession of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, 1615.
3. The Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosencreuz, anno 1459, circulated in MS up to 1601. Published in 1616.
CRC begins his travels
According to the Fama, he whom we shall call Christian Rosencreuz was born in 1378. The narrator, one of the Brothers to whom the account of Father R.C. had been handed down, and who was supposedly present at the opening of the Symbolic Tomb, continues, – “the most godly and highly illuminated Father, our Brother CRC” ….”While yet in his growing years journeyed to the East, and there visited the Wise Men of Arabia.” By them he was received, called by name, and treated as one long expected.
Damascus, Egypt and Fez
Prior to the beginning of his journey, he had been educated in the cloister in 1383 and the journey itself was begun in 1393. This is sometimes spoken of as his journey to Damascus, (DAMASCO). He arrived in the latter city in 1394 and was received by the Magi. The narrative continues, “Bro. CRC shipped himself over Sinus Arabicus (the Red Sea) into Egypt (1397) and later came to Fez, whither he had been directed by the Arabians. 1398 was the year of his arrival in Morocco.
The visit of Rosencreuz to Arabia and Egypt is spoken of as his visit to Damcar (Damascus and Cairo, the House of Wisdom being in the last named city) and it was during his Arabian studies that he translated the Book M, (Marginal, Liber Mundi) from Arabic into “good Latin.”
After completing his studies in Fez, Rosencreuz “sailed with many costly things into Spain, hoping well, as he himself had so well and profitably spent his time in his travel, that the learned in Europe would highly rejoice with him….but it was to them a laughing matter.” Spain was at that time a center of learning. His arrival in that country is known to have been in 1400.
Returns to Germany
Builds House S:.S:.
Disappointed in his efforts to enlist Spanish learning, he returned to Germany in 1402and in 1407 associated with himself three Brothers, monks from the same cloister in which he had his early training, Brothers G.V., I.A. and I.O. With them he built the House of the Holy Spirit (Spiritus Sancti) in 1409 and also wrote the book “M.”
Four becomes Eight
When the building of the House of the S:.S:. was completed, the original four Brethren concluded to augment their number to eight. Accordingly, Bros. R.C. (a cousin of C.R.C.), G.G., F.B., and P.D. were accepted in 1410.
The eight disperse
In 1412, the eight dispersed according to agreement into different countries. Bros. F.B. and P.D. remaining with C.R.C. while the other five departed on travels of benevolence and instruction.
In 1413 we find C.R.C. alone once more with R.C., his cousin, and I.O. This year witnessed the first loss by transition of a member of the original group. Frater I.O. passed to the Higher Life, and his passing is recorded in these words, – “The first of this Fraternity which died, and that in England, was I.O., as Bro. C. long before had foretold him.” His transition was followed by that of Bro. P.D.
Construction of the Vault
In 1415 the construction of the Tomb of the Master was begun, as stated in the F.F., – “After the death of I.O., Bro. R.C. rested not but as soon as he could, called the rest together, and then, as we suppose, his grave was made.”
Passing of Christian Rosencreuz
In 1459, the “Hermetic Romance, or the Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosencreuz” was written in High Dutch by Rosencreuz himself, and in 1484 C.R.C. himself passed to the Higher Life. The Corpus was buried and the Vault was Closed and Sealed. Yet in the F.F. we find these quaint words,- “We did not know when our loving Father R.C. died.”
Second Circle formed
After the construction of the Vault, begun in 1415, the Second Circle was formed. In 1600 Frater I.A. passed to the Higher Life, and Frater K.N. became Magus.
The Secret comes to the Third Row
1604 was a notable year for the Order. The writer of the F.F. says, – “We (the Fraternity) ….had no more but the bare names of the beginners (first Circle?), and all their successors to us. Yet there came into our memory a secret which, through dark and hidden words and speeches of the Hundred Years, Bro. A., the successor of Bro. D., did impart unto us of the Third Row (circle?) and succession.” “After that A. was deceased there succeeded to his place our loving Brother N.N.
Opening of the Vault
Christian Rosencreuz was born in 1378 and lived to be one hundred and six years old. One hundred and twenty years from this time brings us to the present year, 1604. In this year, the secret of the Tomb having been lost, Frater N.N. (K.N.?) was minded to travel (or build, the terms being used alternately) and in the course of the alterations to his “building” the Door of the Tomb of Rosencreuz was revealed, bearing the following line, – “POST CXX ANNOS PATEBO.” (After One Hundred and Twenty Years I shall Rise Again).
The F.F. continues, – “In the morning we opened the door and there appeared to our sight a vault of seven sides……Although the sun never shined in the vault, nevertheless it was enlightened with another sun, which hath learned this from the sun, and was situated in the upper part in the center of the ceiling. In the midst, instead of a tombstone, was a round altar, covered with a plate of brass, and thereupon this engraved ‘HOC UNIVERSI COMPENDIUM UNIUS MIHI SEPULCHRUM FECIT’ – “I have made this tomb a compendium of the Universe.” Round the brim were the words, “Jesus Mihi Omnia,” – “Jesus is all things to me.” In the middle were four figures, enclosed in circles, whose circumscription was –
1 Nequaquam Vacuum (There is never a vacuum)
2 Legis Jugum (The Yoke of the Law)
3 Libertas Evangelii (The Liberty of the Gospel)
4 Dei Gloria Intacta (The untouched or unspoiled Glory of God)
Discovery of the Corpus
“Now, as we had not yet seen the dead body of our careful and wise Father, we therefore removed the altar aside; then we lifted up a strong plate of brass, and found a fair and worthy body, whole, and unconsumed…..In his hand he held a parchment called T., the which, next to our Bible is our greatest treasure.”
Complete Exegesis cannot be given
The complete exegesis of the Tomb of the Master cannot be given in print, as it is definitely formulated in the Instruction of the Degrees of the Grades as practiced in the Fraternity today. We give however, for the information of the reader, the following suggestion offered in an excellent little treatise. Construct a figure showing a circle surrounded by a seven-sided one or septangle, in turn surrounded by a dodecahedron or twelve-sided figure. The altar in itself will represent unity. Its four points will represent N.E.S.W. The Septan will represent the seven-sided tomb and the dodecahedron the digits on the number written outside the Door of the Tomb.
The figures are thus explained, “The Elements are ONE, the Altar; FOUR, the Quarters; SEVEN, the Vault; and TWELVE, the number outside the doorway.
If the seven-sided vault were represented by seven concentric circles, the diagram would serve for that of the Solar System, and A (the Altar) would be the Sun, N.E.S.W. the quarters, B (the septangle) the seven planets and the dodecahedron the Zodiac. The tomb would in this case be a veritable compendium of the Universe.
An Alternate Explanation
The same authors also liken the figure to the Vision of St. John. The Altar becomes the Throne; N.E.S.W. become the Four Living Creatures; the septangle represents the Seven Spirits that are before the Throne and the dodecahedron the Twenty-four Elders (twice twelve).
Hargrave Jennings gives a diagrammatic figure, which is not without interest in this connection. The small circle represents the ceiling of the Tomb and the large circle represents the floor of the Tomb. The Seven Sides of the Tomb represent the Seven Planets. The twelve outside the door are shown by the twelve Signs of the Zodiac and the Hierarchies. The connection between the terrestrial and the celestial suns is shown by the lines from the ceiling to the central circle on the floor of the Tomb.
The F.F. closes with the words, “Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum, Jehova.” (Under the Shadow of Thy Wings, Jehovah).
Identity of the author of the Fama
That Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, was the real author of the Fama, is believed by some critics to be proven by a comparison with his work the “New Atlantis” written just prior to his death in 1626. In this treatise is an account of a wondrous isle in the southern seas, the Island of Bensalem, ruled over by King Solamona (Solomon, Sol-Om-On). Of the inhabitants of the island it was said, they knew well most habitable parts of the world but were themselves unknown. Of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, it was also said, that although in the world, the world knew them not.
Parallels in the New Atlantis
The New Atlantis certainly identifies the inhabitants of the mystic isle with the Brothers of the Rosy Cross; it takes up two important features of the Fama, namely, the Society that was in the world yet unknown to the world except by suspicion; and the nature and general characteristics of the Rosy Cross Fraternity. The signature of the F.F. appears three times in the New Atlantis, and the Cavern or Vault, the Tomb of the Master is likewise a central feature in the book.
The Fama closes with the following Elogium;
“Granum Pectori Jesu Insitum.”
C.R.C. ex nobili atque splendida Germaniae R.C. Famila oriundus, vir sui seculi divinis revelationibus, subtilissimis imaginationibus, indefessis laboribus ad coelestia atque humana mysteris; arcanave admissus postquam suam (quam Arabico at Africano itineribus collejerat) plus quam regiam, atque imperatoriam Gazam suo seculo nondum convenientem, posteritati eruendam custodivisset et jam suarum Artium, ut et nominis, fides ac conjunctissimos heredes instituisset, mundum minutum omnibus motibus magno illi respondentem fabricasset hocque tandem preteritarum, praesentium, et futurarem, rerum compendio extracto, centenario major, non morbo (queen ipse nunquam corpore expertus erat, nunquam alios infestare sinebat) ullo pellente set Spiritis Dei evocante, Illuminatum animam (inter Fratrum amplexus et ultima oscula fidelissimo Creatori praeceptor fidelissimus, amicus integerimus, a suis as 120 annos hic absconditus est.
Signatures to the Fama
Beneath this Elogium the Brethren subscribed their names;
1. Fra. I.A. Fra. C.H. electione Fraternitatis caput.
2. Fra. G.V.M.P.C.
3. Fra. F.R.C. Junior, hoeres S. Spiritus.
4. Fra. F.B.M.P.A. Pictor et Architectus.
5. Fra. G.G.M.P.I. Cabalista.
1. Fra. P.A.
Successor, Fra. I.O. Mathematicus.
2. Fra. A.
Successor, Fra. P.D.
3. Fra. R.
Successor, Patris C.R.C., cum Christi triumphantis.
At the end was written,
Ex Deo nascimur, in Jesu morimur, per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.
Closing Words of the Fama
We may appropriately close this account and digest, with the following lines from the Fama itself addressed to the learned of Europe, and as appropriately addressed to thinkers of today.
“So, according to the will and meaning of Fra. C.R.C., we, his Brethren request again all the learned in Europe who shall read (sent forth in five languages) this our Fama and Confessio, that it would please them with good deliberation to ponder this our offer, and to examine most nearly and sharply their arts, and behold the present time with all diligence, and to declare their minds, either communicat consilio, or singulatim by print. And although at this time we make no mention either of our name or meetings, yet nevertheless every one’s opinion shall assuredly come to our hands, in what language so ever it be, nor any body shall fail, whoso gives but his name, to speak with some of us, either by word of mouth, or else, if there be some lett, in writing. And this we say for a truth, that whosoever shall earnestly, and from his heart, bear affection unto us, it shall be beneficial to him in goods, body, and soul; but he that is false hearted, or only greedy of riches, the same first of all shall not be able in any manner of wise to hurt us, but bring himself to utter ruin and destruction. Also, our building, although one hundred thousand people had very near seen and beheld the same, shall forever remain untouched, undestroyed, and hidden to the wicked world.
Sub umbra alarum tuarum, Jehova.”
The student who is expert in the solution or construction of anagrams will find a mine of research in the Latin texts written in the Tomb which, if properly divined will reveal a wealth of information concerning the actual intent of the Rosicrucians at the time the legenda of the Tomb was given out.
The works of Dante are replete with Rosicrucian analogies and symbols. Reghellini of Scio treats of Dante as both Cabalist and Rosicrucian. The 18th Canto of the Purgatory contains the profoundest symbolism, the eagle, mystic ladder, Rose and Cross, pelican, Supper of the Lamb, Pillars of Faith, Hope and Charity, symbolic colors, geometrical figures, etc.
Greatest Treasure of the Rosicrucians
The greatest treasure of the Rosicrucians is, as it always has been, the Holy Bible. A work entitled, – “The Echo of the Divinely Illuminated Fraternity of the R. C.,” 1615, asks the question whether the Gospel terminated the Secret Tradition of antiquity. It then proceeds to answer the question as follows; “By no means: CHRIST ESTABLISHED A NEW COLLEGE OF MAGIC AMONGST HIS DISCIPLES, AND THE GREATER MYSTERIES WERE REVEALED TO ST. JOHN AND ST. PAUL.”
Result of Failure to Understand the
It is this inability to appreciate, much less to understand, that the Holy Bible is itself a text book of both the Lesser and Greater Mysteries, that has caused so much dissention and denominationalism in the Christian Church of the New Dispensation. Rightly understood it proves that Christ came not to change the Law but to fulfill it, and shows the continuity of organic religious revelation from the earliest times of the Hebraic dispensation, up to the Apocalypse.
Oath of the Alchemists
This faithful adherence to the teachings of the Bible and Gospel sacraments is shown by the following, from the “Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum” by Elias Ashmole, in the Breviary of Philosophy. It is the Oath of the Alchemists, whom he divided into Sons and Fathers.
“Will you with me tomorrow be content,
Faithfully to receive the Blessed Sacrament,
Upon the Oath that I shall hear you give,
For ne gold, ne silver, so long as you live;
Neither for love you beare towards your kinne,
Nor yet to no great man, preferment to wynne,
That you disclose the seacret I shall you teach,
Neither by writing, nor by swift speech,
But only to him, which you be sure,
Hath ever searched after the seacrets of Nature,
To him you may reveal the seacrets of this Art.
Under the cover of Philosophie, before the world you depart.”
Secrecy of the Rosicrucians
Because of the secrecy with which the Rosicrucians always have clothed themselves, doubt as to their existence has always existed. This doubt has usually emanated or originated from amongst those who sought information, not for the unselfish use of enhanced personal powers to be used for the benefit and uplift of humanity and the spread of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity throughout the world, but solely for personal preferment and advancement. SUCH HAVE ALWAYS FAILED TO FIND THE FRATERNITY, and if by chance their initial sincerity of intent did lead them to the doors of the Temple, its weakening or failure of maintenance resulted in their finding themselves lost to it.
This very secrecy has had an unfortunate result, namely, the creation of opportunity for imposture and charlatanism, which has been practiced in every guise, under the name of Rosicrucianism. But modern intelligence is showing thoughtful people the true way, and earnest seekers are finding that it is possible to discover the true Society, now, as always for centuries, not only existent but very much alive and at work. To him who is ready, a Teacher will be given, and to him who knocks at the Door of the Temple, entrance will be given.
What our Father Rosencreuz really was
Our Father Rosy Cross was to the Order what the Messiahs have been to Humanity in all ages, the reviver of the ancient teachings and practices, a living illustration of the potency of the underlying principles of the philosophy, and the parallels between him and the master Jesus are numerous and interesting. Religion existed among men many ages before Jesus came with his last and greatest revelation. In early boyhood we find him among the Wise Men of the Temple. So too, with Christian Rosencreuz, the Order had its foundation and inception ages before his time, but he ushered in its renaissance at a time when further revelations were necessary, and to furnish the stimulus to the wave of philosophic, occult, and scientific inquiry that is now manifesting in all its fullness of fruition. Somewhat like Jesus, we find him at the age of five, entering the cloister, and at fifteen, starting on his journey to the Wise Men of Arabia.
Rosencreuz an Esoteric Name
Rosencreuz was an esoteric name, but the mastermind that it identified was intended to be and is, an example to all who seek the Hidden Mysteries and who have the perseverance to go forward with good intent to learn the wonders of God in the Natural World.
Rosicrucianism not a matter of gloom
NOTE: That Rosicrucianism is far from being a philosophy of asceticism, morbidity or gloom, is shown by the statement given by Bulwe Lytton, a Rosicrucian, in his “Zanoni,” – “The Rosicrucians lived among men, yet were apart from them. They could not be found because they had no visible organization or society. They are humble and quiet in exterior, and yet judge the world somewhat beneath them in exterior show. They are quite indifferent as to putting their knowledge to commercial use. They do not seek for fame, and care not for distinction or honors. THEY ARE GENERALLYQUITE SOCIABLE.” Initiates will understand what is meant by the term “visible.”