The Rosicrucians

Speculation has been rife as to the origin of the Rosicrucians, and the many fables and legends connected with the subject have but little historical value.

Owing to the great discrepancy between the information contained in the following article and that given in the more modern editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it has been deemed advisable to reprint the former. (See Enc. Brit., 3rd Edition, Vol. 16, year MDCCXCVII (1797) Edinburgh. Bell and Macfarquhar.)

" Rosicrucians, a name assumed by a sect or cabal of hermetical philosophers ; who arose, as it has been said, or at least became first taken notice of in Germany, in the beginning of the fourteenth century. They bound themselves together by a solemn secret, which they all swore inviolably to preserve : and obliged themselves, at their admission into the order, to a strict observance of certain established rules. They pretended to know all sciences, and chiefly medicine : whereof they published themselves the restorers. They pretended to be masters of abundance of important secrets, and, among others, that of the philosopher's stone : all which they affirmed to have received by tradition from the ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans, the Magi, and Gymnosophists.

They have been distinguished by several names, accommodated to the several branches of their doctrine. Because they pretend to protect the period of human life, by means of certain nostrums, and even to restore youth, they were called Immortals ; as they pretended to know all things, they have been called Illuminati; and because they have made no appearance for several years, unless the sect of Illuminated which lately started up on the continent derives its origin from them, they have been called the Invisible Brothers. Their society is frequently signed by the letters F. R. C. which some among them interpret fratres roris cocti; it being pretended that the matter of the philosopher's stone is dew concocted, exalted, etc. Some, who are no friends to free-masonry, make the present flourishing society of free-masons a branch of Rosicrucians ; or rather the Rosicrucians themselves, under a new name or relation, viz. as retainers to building. And it is certain, there are some free-masons who have all the characters of Rosicrucians ; but how the aera and original of masonry, and that of Rosicrucianism here fixed from Nadaeus, who has written expressly on the subject, conflict, we leave others to judge

Notwithstanding the pretended antiquity of the Rosi-crucians, it is probable that the alchemists, Paracel-sists, l or fire-philosophers, who spread themselves through almost all Europe about the close of the 16th century, assumed about this period the obscure and ambiguous title of Rosicrucian brethren, which commanded at first some degree of respect, as it seemed to be borrowed from the arms of Luther, which were a cross placed upon a rose. But the denomination

1. Followers of Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541).

evidently appears to be derived from the science of chemistry. It is not compounded, says Motheim, as many imagine of the two words rosa and crux:, which signify rose and cross, but of the latter of these words, and the Latin ros, which signifies dew. ... At the head of these fanatics were Robert Fludd, an English physician, Jacob Behmen, and Michael Mayer ; but if rumour may be credited, the present Illuminated have a head of higher rank. The common principles, which serve as a kind of centre of union to the Rosicrucian society, are the following : They all maintain that the dissolution of bodies, by the power of fire, is the only way by which men can arrive at true wisdom, and come to discern the first principles of things. They all acknowledge a certain analogy and harmony between the powers of nature and the doctrines of religion ; and believe that the Deity governs the kingdom of grace by the same laws with which he rules the kingdom of nature ; and hence they are led to use chemical denominations to express the truth of religion. They all hold that there is a sort of divine energy, or soul, diffused through the frame of the universe, which some call the argheus, others the universal spirit, and which others mention under different appellations. They all talk in the most superstitious manner of what they call the signatures of things, of the power of the stars, over all corporeal beings, and their particular influence upon the human race, of the efficacy of magic, and the various ranks and orders of demons — These demons they divide into two orders, sylphs and gnomes. " 2

2. Whereas the article mentions only two kinds of demons tne Rose Croix are credited with recognizing four different species accredited to each of the four elements : Earth spirits 77 Gnomes, Fire spirits — Salamanders, Water spirits — Undines, Air spirits — Sylphs.

This article having been written in 1747 only hinted at what the Rose Croix might have been. Subsequent research upon the organization of the Fraternity, its tenets and its achievements, shows it to have been a medium for the propagation of Gnosticism and a centre for political activities. Before it conquered Freemasonry, which was officially instituted in 1717, many names were already associated intimately with this esoteric organization. Among others were Faustus Socinius, Cesare Cremonini, Michael Maier, Valentin Andrea, Thomas Vaughan (Philaletes), Charles Blount, Frederich Helvetius, Richard Simon, and Theophilus Desa-guliers.

It is claimed that Faustus Socinius, named after Faustus, the Manichee, nephew of Lelius Socinius, whose teacher was Camillo Renato, was an intimate of Rosicrucianism and the founder of the Socinians.

Catholics and Protestants alike opposed Faustus Socinius in his efforts to graft a secret cult on the existing orthodox religions, and in 1598, the people of Cracovia, revolted by his doctrines, pillaged his house, burned his books and manuscripts and almost massacred their author. He had sworn hatred to the church and busied himself in founding an association the aims of which were to be subversive to all its teachings, and two years before his death, he was obliged to take refuge from his enemies with one Abraham Blonski.

The membership of the Rose Croix was composed of Alchemists, Astrologers and Spiritists whose quest was the search for a process for transmuting base metals into gold and the secret of life. To most of these " generation was the root principle of Achemy. " 3

The order of the Rose Croix revealed itself in 1614

3. Charlotte Fell Smith, John Dee.

with the appearance of two books, Fama Fraternitatis and the Confessio attributed to Valentin Andrea giving the legend of the travels of Christian Rosenkreutz.

According to Charles T. MacClenachan 33°, Historian, Grand Lodge State of New York, this same legend had appeared as the work of Raymond Lulli, who died in 1315.

In this legend, translated into English in 1616 by Robert Fludd, a symbolic personage called Christian Rosenkreuz, destined to live 106 years on earth, travelled in the East where he studied the Cabala and, on his return to his native Germany, he revealed to three disciples the secret of secrets, the great secret of theosophy. 4 Finally, he retired to a cave to finish his days in solitude, dying in 1484 at the age of 106. His disciples came, enshrouded him and disappeared. His grave was to be unknown for six times twenty years at the end of which period it was to become the hearth of the light destined to illuminate the world at the time appointed by God. In 1604, chance brought men to this cave. On entering, great was their surprise to find it resplendent with a bright light. It contained an altar bearing upon a copper plate the inscription " Living, I reserved this light for my grave. " One mysterious figure was accompanied by this epigram " Never vacant ". A second figure " The Yoke of the Law ". A third figure " The Liberty of the Gospels ". A fourth " The Glory of the Whole God ". The hall still contained lamps burning without fuel, mirrors of various shapes and boks. Upon the wall was written " In six times twenty years I will be discovered ". The prophecy was fulfilled, adds the fable, by way of conclusion.

• Fire, alias Kundalini, alias sex-force.

The movement was greatly furthered by the impulse given it when, after the appearance of the Fama Frater-nitatis and Confessio, a German Alchemist, Michael Maier, an English Physician, Robert Fludd and a Pietist, Julius Sperber, wrote treatises in defence or explanation of the order of the Rose Croix.

It has repeatedly been stated that Michael Maier, who frequently visited England, was a friend of Robert Fludd. He was the author of Themis Aurea and Silentium post Clamores, both Rosicrucian works. His political influence may be judged from his career. Physician to Rudolf II, he was created by him Count of the Palatinate, and acted as adviser to his sovereign. In 1609, Rudolf II issued an Imperial Charter granting religious liberty to the Moravians.5

Masonic authorities state that Maier, as a Rosicru-cian, changed his official title to Summus Magister, Sovereign Master, which is that used by all his successors and borne by the principal Socinian Rose-Croix documents, dating from the time of Faustus Socinius to that of Johann Wolff, which are preserved in the Sovereign Patriarchal Council of Hamburg. (That is the Supreme Jewish Lodge secretly affiliated to International Masonry.)

In his book Themis Aurea, written in 1616 and 1617 and printed in 1618, Maier, the Grand Master, refers to a resolution passed at a meeting in 1617 in which it was formally agreed that the Brotherhood of the Rose Croix must maintain the strictest secrecy for a hundred years. On October 31 1617, the Convention of the Seven at Magdebourg had indeed agreed to qualify its members during the ensuing one hundred years

5. Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religions and Ethics. Art. Hussites.

of secrecy as " The Invisibles ". It had renewed its oath to destroy the church of Jesus Christ and had decreed that, in the year 1717, it would transform the fraternity into an association which could carry on a more or less open propaganda, while adopting such meas-sures of prudence as might then be deemed expedient by the leaders of the sect. Finally, the Seven adopted definitely, as being sufficiently original to appeal to the popular imagination, Valentin Andrea's curious story of the Rose Croix which had been secretly printted in Venice towards 1613.

Robert Fludd was the author of Tractatus Apologe-ticus (1617) and Clavis Philosophiae et Alchymiae (1633). He was greatly helped in the foundation of the Rose Croix order in England by Francis Bacon, author of Nova Atlantis 6 (1624).

Valentin Andrea to whom, as we have seen, are ascribed the works Fama and Confessio, as well as Chemical Nuptials, had, in 1640, been appointed preacher to the Duke of Brunswick Wolfenbuttel, who was soon to make him his chaplain.

To those who know the important part played by a Duke of Brunswick during the French Revolution, this entrance of the Brunswick family into the sect is very interesting. As a Rosicrucian, Andrea was the teacher of Comenius (Amos Kominsky), who frequently visited England during his mysterious political career. Bishop of a Moravian community, Comenius was the leader of the Moravian Brethren, a sect pledged to achieve the extermination of the Catholic church and which, being considered heretical, was also suspected of practising secret satanism. The Moravians were imbued with Socinianism, that is the doctrine of Lelius

6' Wittemans, Histoire des Rose Croix, p. 71.

Socinius which had been spread among them by his. nephew Faustus Socinius who had found refuge in Moravia when persecuted by the Church. Their link with Rosicrucianism had already been established in the person of the pietist, Julius Sperber, who was also one of their leaders. When Kominsky was persecuted, he first went to London in 1641 and, early the next year, went to Sweden where he was granted refuge and help by the powerful Swedish Minister, Count Axel Oxenstiern, himself a Rosicrucian adept and protector of another initiate, Ludwig van Geer from Holland.

The combination of the pursuit of alchemy and her-meticism with political aims was frequently evidenced even before the official appearance of Rosicrucianism. The influence of adepts on the destinies of nations was immense.

To Queen Elizabeth, the advice of John Dee, her alchemist, was always considered in matters affecting national policy, and to Dee, his crystal gazer, Edward Kelly, was indispensable as a medium.

Ludwig van Geer, (one of the Seven present at Magdebourg) had settled in Sweden and had won over the chancellor, Count Axel Oxenstiern, then the real regent, in view of the minority of Queen Christina. A great industrialist of Dutch birth, with a colossal fortune made in the manufacture of cannon, he had become a Baron, and as owner of 20 ships of the Swedish fleet, he was an indispensable man.

Another striking Rosicrucian figure was Thomas Vaughan, (Eugenius Philaletes) not to be confused with his pupil, George Starkey, known as Irenius Phi-laletes.

It is said that it was Thomas Vaughan who, inspired

by the writings of Nick Stone, conceived the idea of subverting to the ambition of the sect to which he belonged, the guild of the Freemasons which, owing to its universal character, lent itself better than any other to the realization of his project.

Nick Stone was one of the Seven of the Convention of Magdebourg. As an architect, belonging to the guild of the Freemasons, he had helped Inigo Jones, the grand-master of the English Lodges which, at this period, were nonsectarian. On the other hand, as a Rosicrucian he had grasped, in the Luciferian sense, the idea given by Faustus Socinius, and he had composed, for the nine grades of the fraternity, rituals which the chiefs declared remarkable. His ritual of the eighth degree (Magister Templi) was really Satanic.

Thomas Vaughan, struck by these manuscripts wondered whether it would be possible to extend the teaching of the Rose Croix to all " accepted masons ", who were then admitted to the lodges in an honorary capacity ; the Freemasons received in their guild, under the name of " accepted masons ", peers and men of letters or professional men, as well as rich bourgeois, who enhanced the brilliancy of their meetings and patronized their entertainments. These honorary members were their protectors and benefactors. 8 Vaughan believed that this element, gifted with certain intellectual qualities, would lend itself better to the propagation of the principles of occult Socinian-ism than the workers of the Fellow Craft, and, having made up his mind that this was the solution of the problem, he hastened to put it into practice.

8. This is still customary. Many of the English Guilds of today such as the Goldsmiths have honorary members who, for attending their dinners receive a box of chocolates and £3 in cash.

Some brothers of the Rose Croix were already mingling with the Freemasons. Among the members of the Warrington Lodge were Richard Penkett, James Collier, Richard Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam and Hugh Brewer and in London, the Whartons and their friends had slipped into a lodge as " accepted masons ".

Thomas Vaughan encouraged them to spread the principles of Socinius. Finally, at a meeting on the 14th May 1643, he announced that their desultory efforts at restrained proselytizing should be supplanted by a definite programme of entering the guild lodges with the object of using them as instruments to an end.

The account of this meeting of the 14th May 1643, is given in full in the Memoirs of Philaletes and the whole plan of the Freemasonry of today is therein revealed.

So blended are truth and fiction in the active career of this adventurous adept that Vaughan must always remain one of the most mysterious characters of Rosicrucianism.

" When the plague of 1665 drove the Court from London to Oxford, Thomas Vaughan went thither with his patron (the king) and, a little later, took up his residence with the Rector of Albury, the Rev. Sam. Kem, at whose house, on February 27th of that year, he was killed by an explosion in the course of chemical experiments. " 9

His work in Masonry however has remained as his monument. Together with Elias Ashmole, pupil of Rabbi Solomon Frank and protege of James Pagitt, Thomas Vaughan worked up the masonic system of the first three degrees. These degrees, those of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason were

9. A. E. "Waite, The Works of Thomas Vaughan, Biographical Preface, p. xii.

devised for the temptation of the masses, while outside and above them continued the former secret system of the Rose Croix, four degrees of which belonging to the Gold Cross were known as : 1st, Zelator ; 2nd, Theoricus; 3rd, Practicus ; and 4th, Philosophus; teaching merely the principles of alchemy, while the degrees of the Rose Croix were : 5th, Adeptus Minor; 6th, Adeptus Major ; 7th, Ademptus Exemptus, 8th, Magister Templi and 9th, Magus.

Contemporaneous with the evolution of free thought against revealed religion broke the revolution against civil authority plunging England into the throes of civil war, Oliver Cromwell was successful at the head of the Parliament troops while Charles I was everywhere betrayed by men on whom he relied. Henry Blount10 was among the traitors accruing to Cromwell after the battle of Edgehill; at least the defeat of the king was his pretext, for treason was everywhere premeditated. The word of order was given by the Rose Croix, which had spread rapidly among the Puritans.

The year 1644 ended with the destruction of the Royal power, and Feb. 9, 1649, the day on which the head of Charles I fell at Whitehall, consummated its ruin. The Royal power had in fact been wrecked when the troops of Parliament were victorious, when the queen was obliged to take refuge in France, when the Prince Palatine, Robert, had been defeated, when York had been taken, and when the Commons had obtained against Laud, the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of London, Archbishop of Canterbury, the bill of attainder which declared him guilty of the crime of treason. Laud had stood for resistance to the Puritans.

10. Henry Blount, 1602-1680, Father of Charles Blount, the Rosicrucian.

The connection of the Cromwell family with that of the celebrated Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, whose political ideas, formed in Italy, under the guidance of Machiavelli, had so greatly affected the trend of English history, is here not devoid of interest.

In 1767, a document was discovered which revealed the existence of a society of Freemasons in Italy with about 64,000 members. " 11

The document said : — " At last the great mine of the Freemasons of Naples is discovered, of whom the name, but not the secret, was known. Two circumstances are alleged by which the discovery was brought about : — a dying man revealed all to his confessor, that he should inform the king thereof ; a knight, who had been kept in great state by the society, having had his pension withheld, betrayed the Grand Master of the order to the king. This Grand Master was the Duke of San Severo. The king secretly sent a confidential officer with three dragoons to the duke's mansion, with orders to seize him before he had time to speak to any one, and bring him to the palace. The order was carried out; but a few minutes after, a fire broke out in the duke's mansion, destroying his library, the real object being, as is supposed, to burn all writings having reference to Freemasonry. The fire was extinguished, and the house guarded by troops. The duke having been brought before the king, openly declared the objects, system, seals, government, and possessions of the order. He was sent back to his palace, and there guarded by troops, lest he should be killed by his former colleagues. Freemasons have also been discovered at Florence, and the Pope and the Emperor

11. Heckethorn, Secret Societies of All Ages & Countries, vol. I, p. 342.

"have sent thither twenty-four theologians to put a stop to the disorder. The king acts with the greatest mercy towards all implicated, to avoid the great dangers that might ensue from a contrary course. He has also appointed four persons of great standing to use the best means to destroy so abominable a sect; and has given notice to all the other sovereigns of Europe of his discovery, and the abominable maxims of the sect, calling upon them to assist in its suppression, which it will be folly in them to refuse to do. For the order does not count its members by thousands, but by millions, especially among Jews and Protestants. Their frightful maxims are only known to the members of the fifth, sixth, and seventh lodges, whilst those of the first three know nothing, and those of the fourth act without knowing what they do. They derive their origin from England, and the founder of the sect was that infamous Cromwell, first Bishop, and then lover of Anne Boleyn, and then beheaded for his crimes, called in his day ' the scourge of rulers. ' He left the order an annual income of £10,000 sterling. It is divided into seven lodges : the members of the seventh are called Assessors ; of the sixth, Grand Masters ; of the fifth, Architects ; of the fourth, Executors (here the secret ends); of the third, Ruricori (!) ; of the second and first, Novices and Proselytes. Their infamous idea is based on the allegory of the temple of Solomon, considered in its first splendour, and then overthrown by the tyranny of the Assyrians, and finally restored — thereby to signify the liberty of man after the creation of the world, the tyranny of the priesthood, kings and laws, and the re-establishment of that liberty. "

As for Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, there is no record of his having been an " accepted mason ". He was however on the best of terms with

Richard Penkett and is supposed by many to have been secretly affiliated to the Rose Croix but whether an adept or not he served the purpose of the sect, destruction of the Royal and Ecclesiastical Christian Power !

After the death of Charles I, Cromwell appointed an assembly of lawyers and divines to consider the petition of Manasseh ben Israel (1604-1657) demanding the abolition of the legal exclusion of the Jews from England. In December 1655 the legal prohibition was removed. Eleven years after (1666) occurred the great fire of London.

Does the following letter help to solve the mystery of this historical disaster ? It was one of many written by the Secretary-Interpreter of the Marquis de Louvois, an English spy, to his chief in England, published in London in 1697 by D. Jones, Gent.

Of the firing of the City of London, in 1666.

MY LORD,

I am fully satisfied by what I have both seen and heard at Paris and elsewhere, that the Duke of York 1 was in the Year 1666 brought quite over to the French Interest; and I have heard strange Stories related concerning his conduct at the time of that dreadful conflagration of the City, looking upon it Janus-like, with one face seeming concerned for the lamentable disaster, and with the other rejoycing to see that noble pile reduced to ashes, and its citizens ruined ; who had at all times been the greatest propugnators for liberty and property, and opposers of that religion which he now not only secretly protest, but was even ready publickly to own, and rewarding those incendiaries at St. James, who then were suspected generally to be Frenchmen, as your Lorship well may remember ; but by our Minutes it does appear

12. Afterwards James II.

they were not such ; but they were persons, at least many of them set on work by French councils, and such as at that time were of all men least suspected ; I mean Jews, of which they had then several in pay, not only in England, but all over Christendom ; not only to give them Intelligence in which they are wondrous active, but likewise to promote and act the worse of mischiefs, as which they make no baulk. By these, fires have been kindled, not only in England, but in Germany, Poland and elsewhere, which the Germans imputed to Turkish Emissaries, though they were Jews hired with French money, the Turkish Policy not being so refined in mischief, these sorts of Jews put on the shape of what Christians they pleased, and of this sort imploy'd by France, there were and are still several in England, the names of one or two of which I think I shall be able to give your Lorship in sometime, though they go by several, as time and occasion doth require, and so at present I remain.

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most Humble Servant,

More shadows of the past! More strange suggestions to shake the foundations of our belief in things as they seem !

The last of the Grand Masters of the Rose Croix was Johann Christian Wolff. 13 Masonry, which as a secret association had maintained its existence for years had uncovered itself and become an avowed organization with the proclamation of the Anderson Constitution. 14 Once in the open it was to be the universal screen behind which all secret societies, whether theurgic or political, would operate clandestinely. Masonry with its proclamation of three philanthropic

13. According to Sedir (see Histoire des Rose-Croix, p. 112) the last master of Rose Croix died in 1750. His name was Brun.

14. Grand Lodge of England.

and altruistic degrees, with no apparent real secret, declaring itself Christian and non-political, would become the centre in which ignorant men, recruited and duped, could act like puppets animated by unseen hands pulling unseen strings.

Thus it came about that all blows dealt to Christianity and States were prepared by the secret Societies-acting behind the veil of Masonry.

0 0

Post a comment