contemplating this subject, I considered it too sacred for a Craft lodge.
Then I thought, we are a Research Lodge let’s run with it.
Some will be lost, or not able to make sense of what is being said, but
at least we all should LEARN something. Therefore,
with this paper, my aim is to strip away the veneer from CRC, just as scholars
are now doing with Jesus. Is this
wrong? I say No as my God gave me a
brain to think with, and freemasonry informs me that I should study the Arts and
is reputed to mean CHRISTIAN ROSENCREUTZ
may still say; “What is a Christian Rosencreutz?” This leads us to - Is a
Christian Rosencreutz, a human or what? This
you could say is the nub of this paper.
me quote from a passage of ritual of the masonic order known as Societas
Rosicrucian in Anglia (SRIA), so as to indicate the course of this paper;
“To the Pious Memory of our
Illustrious Founder, CRC”, hence I say - Who?
us begin by outlining what SRIA is.
Rosicrucian in Anglia -
is a Masonic Order (English Constitution) for those Craft Master Mason holden
with a Trinitarian Christian belief, yet also considered to have an esoteric
enquiring nature. It was founded on
1st June 1867. My mother
College (=lodge) was consecrated on 21st Jan 1886 (the 3rd
college of SRIA in the world). I
was a Foundation Committee member of Francis Bacon College which was consecrated
on 5th April 1983, so it is 20 years old.
SRIA has a 9 grade (=degree) structure arranged in Three Orders.
First Order - I, II, III, IV; Second
Order - V, VI, VII; Third Order -
VIII, IX. Briefly, the structure
has a High Council (=Grand Lodge); led by a Supreme Magus (=Grand Master); with
a Chief Adept (= Prov. GM); and a College (= Lodge) structure led by a Celebrant
(= Worshipful Master). Generally
there are 4 Meetings per Year.
DO OUR DICTIONARIES SAY OF CRC?
The Oxford English Reference Dictionary 1996
C - nothing; RC -
a member of a 17th- and 18th century occult
society, devoting itself to metaphysical and mystical lore, especially that
concerning the transmutation of metals, prolongation of life, and power over the
elements. An anonymous pamphlet of
1614, telling the story of a mythical knight of the 15th century
called Christian Rosenkreuz, is said to have launched the Movement.
The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 1993.
a member of a 17th- and 18th century society,
reputedly founded by Christian Rosenkreutz in 1484, devoted to metaphysical and
mystical lore, as that concerning transmutation of metals, prolongation of life,
and power over the elements and elemental spirits.
A Universal Critical and Pronouncing Dictionary of The English Language 1851
by Joseph E. Worcester.
One of a sect of visionary philosophers or speculators, that appeared in
Germany, about the end of the 16th century.
Macquarie - Australia’s National Dictionary, revised third edition, 2001.
CRC - Camera-ready copy; RC
- Red Cross or Roman Catholic
a) one of a number or body of persons ( an alleged secret society)
prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries, laying claims to
various forms of occult knowledge and power, and professing esoteric principles
A member of a modern similarly named body, professing links to the older body.
The Rev. Castells definition is even more confusing when he uses
terms/statements as:- ‘centenario major’; what CRC meant is not solved; the
story of CRC embodied an allegory; and Michael Maier (1616) uses Rosenkreutz
hence C.R.K, not C.R.C.!! One word
springs to mind CHAOS.
sadly do not explain that, which is our aim, that is, ‘What is a CRC?’
is it (CRC)
1) a concept;
it an organisation, secret society, etc?
dictionary definitions give us two historical reference points for
Rosicrucian(s) - 1484 CE & 17th, 18th centuries CE -
yet still no definition of CRC.
OF THESE DATES - ARE THERE ANY ASSOCIATED WORLD EVENTS?
first date is 1484, and this harks of Martin Luther (1483-1546).
The man famous for nailing 95 (or 98) theses (religious points) on the
door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517. Prior
to 1517, which led to it, Martin Luther was influenced by the monastic beliefs
of St. Augustine (354-430 CE, the Neo-Platonist mystic) and the writings of the
German mystic philosopher, Johann Tauler (c.1300-1361), who in turn had been
influenced by the sect, “Friends of God”, in Basel, Switzerland.
Reformation was the 16th century movement to reform the doctrine and
practices of the Roman Catholic Church, although The (Church) Institution did
not recognise it. Aspects, of this
Reformation, involved Lollards and Hussites (these were 14th
century), also humanists such as Erasmus (c.1469-1536) all involving the wealth
and hierarchical structure of the Roman Church.
Yet Erasmus of Rotterdam, for all humanism, was declared by his Church to
be one of the auctores damnati (a
damned person) in 1612.
He was a priest who by 1507 had gained his Degree of Biblical Bachelor
then studied for his Master of the Sentences (Sententiarius) (Rhetoric) based on
“Sentences of Lombardus” (Logic). His
was of a critical logic of the Bible evaluation, as against Vatican engineered
Blind Faith, which was based on Romans I: 16-17.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto
to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
starting out as a devout pilgrim, on reaching Rome, he was painfully impressed
by its secularized ecclesiasticism and its low moral standard.
His struggle to find a gracious God lay in his personal temperament, his
lofty religious and moral ideal alongwith the religious, the practical, and the
theological teaching of the Medieval Church.
us remember that in 1447 the capacity of indulgence for increasing the papal
revenues, was extended by Pope Calixtus III to incorporate souls in purgatory.
This practice was based on the doctrine of the “Treasure of the
Church”, consisting of the infinite merits of Christ and the superfluous
merits of the saints, which was elaborated by Thomas Aquinas (a person of high
moral standard, certainly not) and officially sanctioned by Pope Clement VI in
1343. The common term for this
totally immoral practice by the Roman Catholic Church was the “Sale of
Indulgences” to rid oneself, one’s family, and one’s deceased relatives of
back to Martin Luther, in October 1512 he gained his Doctor of Theology and
subsequently superseded the Vicar-General Staupitz as professor of biblical
literature at the Black Monastery at Wittenberg.
THREE REFORM TREATISES
(c.Dec. 1520) set forth his three great reform treatises;-
An address to the German nobility.
abuses rampant in the Church appeals to the German nobility to reform the Church
re: its divine authority, its Christian character and its ethical functions.
The Babylonish Captivity of the
Attacked the medieval sacramental system, reduced the number of
sacraments from 7 to 3, and asserted the right of the individual Christian to
emancipate themselves from priestly bondage.
The freedom of a Christian Man.
In non-controversial terms, it expounded his fundamental doctrine of
justification, which involves alike; the freedom of the individual from the
work-righteousness of medieval religion; obligation of self-discipline; and
service for others; as the indispensable fruit of justifying faith.
I suggest these three may be seen as the guiding ecclesiastical philosophy
behind the “Rosicrucian” FAMA, CONFESSIO, and the WEDDING.
More concerning this later.
May 4th, 1521, after the sitting of the Diet of Worms (Jan-May 1521),
where he successfully argued his case against the Papal Bull of Excommunication,
he was intercepted by horsemen, in the Thuringian forest, of the elector of
Saxony. They led him furtively to
the electors castle of the Wartburg. The
heroic monk, while under Papal Excommunication, had won the sympathy and support
of a large proportion of his (German) countrymen on material, economic and
religious grounds. While at
Wartburg he used the pseudonym of “Knight George” till 1522.
If we are to look for an “Invisible Group” I suggest we look to
Melanchthon, Occolampadius, Bucer, Hutton, etc., as the men behind Luther.
Although not being a formal Cabal, later history may have seen it as
such. More about this later.
the diet of Augsburg in 1530, Melanchthon presented a confession of the Lutheran
faith, now known as the “Confession of Augsburg”.
The rest is history. Luther
died in 1546. Thus we leave Luther
for now, and turn to Rosicrucianism.
fraternity which endeavours to regain Christian Traditions NOT the dogmatic,
institutionalised theology preached by that institution. The Church, hence
allows for an involvement of Hermeticism, Cabalism, etc., which is/was part of
the Renaissance/Reformation……….Surely this is almost Lutheranism!
Ferguson defines Rosicrucianism as
offering an esoteric mystical gnosis. Truth is the Great Architect of the
Universe. Wow, if this is the case, then freemasons have no reason to set the
requirement as Trinitarian Christian
for their Rosicrucian membership.
MYSTICAL GNOSIS = Secret Unexplained Knowledge including that of a spiritual
Jacob in ‘Freemasonry and Politics in 18th Century Europe’, quotes
Yates as finding 17th century actors and actresses advocating
Rosicrucianism and using the stage as a podium to spread that mystical gospel.
(pge 133). Eighteenth
century mystical rituals of La Loge de Juste were quite possibly a 18th
century carry over from what Jacobs has referred to.
our other “date” (1600-1629), let us now ask the same question - Were there
any major world events?
AND CROSS (potential) ORIGINS
and Religious problems in Germany during early 17th Century.
The ‘Old Holy Roman (Catholic) Empire’ was deeply divided by religious
Queen Elisabeth I (England) had strong allies with Protestant princes of
1603, Queen Elizabeth I dies, James VI (of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots)
becomes James I of England.
1613 Feb, German Protestants herald marriage of Princess Elizabeth Stuart
(daughter James I of England) and Frederick V (Elector of the Palatinate) as a
major Protestant alliance.
TUDOR Royal House - Red Rose
St. GEORGE - Red Cross
Here was the Marriage of the "ROSE and CROSS".
the Royal couple returned to Heidelberg, after the wedding, there was jubilation
of a new Protestant Europe. This
was the inspiration for the authors of the Rosicrucian manifestos!!
Rosicrucian philosophy in the 17th century was kept alive in Germany and England
through the writings of:
Khunrath; a Hamburg hermetic philosopher with cabalistic leanings.
(The author/creative philosopher, along with Dee, are the founders of
1609 - “The Amphitheatre of
Eternal Wisdom” including the Cave of the Illuminati.
Maier, personal physician to Rudolf II. Primary
German defender of Rosicrucian thought.
Fludd, an Oxford Graduate.
Fellow, Royal College of Physicians.
Writings such as;
1616 - "A Compendius Apology
for the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross".
1617 - "Apologetic Treatise
for the Integrity of the Society of the Rosy Cross".
Vaughan ("Eugenius Philalethes") was Fludd's primary successor.
Writings such as;
1650 - "Anthroposophia
1652 - first English translation of "Fama" and
Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England in 1618.
His "Advancement of
Learning" and "New
Atlantis" contain the philosophy, symbolism and ideals of the
of the 15th and 16th centuries were;
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
writings included a mix of, Renaissance Neoplatonism; Hermeticism; and Christian
Cabalism. This saw writings such as
those of, Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim (1493-1541) (Paracelsus).
Not to be left out, Elizabethan England was influenced by these writings,
and its most well known writer, of the time, being Dr.John Dee (1527-1608), son
of a royal official (reign of Henry VIII).
He was known as the "Elizabethan Magus".
atmosphere of the era was horrendous:
VIII (applied Bible authority), then excommunicated by the Pope Paul III using
1540 Society of Jesus (“Jesuits”)
Jesuit Mayrhofer states; “.. We will not be judged if we demand the
Protestant’s, any more than…. for (committing) murder (etc)…”.
1542 Inquisition powers widened to every Catholic territory
Council of Trent delivers:
Index of Prohibited Books (was to last until 1966)
the Church had the sole and exclusive right to interpret scripture.
We must remember that during the period of the Thirty Years War
(1618-1648) the population of Europe, according to some authorities, fell from
16 million to 6 million; starvation and disease being the combined causes.
Yet, Wedgwood in “The Thirty Years War”, on page 452, suggests a more
accurate figure would be closer to, from 21.5
million down to 13.5 million.
was also a period of Scientific Revolution, eg.,
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519),
first true scientist (no connection to CRC).
Francis Bacon (1561-1626),
views instrumental in founding the Royal Society.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650),
“father of modern philosophy”.
Robert Boyle (1627-1691),
founding member of the Royal Society.
Some other people
of the period were:
Copernicus (1473-1543), Polish
Isaac de Luria (1533-1572) ,
“Founder of the modern Cabala”.
A subject known
as the ‘Purification of the Soul’.
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) ,Italian philosopher. He
‘grafted’ Cabala onto Hermeticism
= Rosicrucianism. The Inquisition burned him at the stake.
Shakespeare (1564-1616), His ‘Works’ added 1,000s of new words to the English
Italian astronomer and physicist
Campanella (1548-1639), Italian
writings of the period:
1550 Cremona text of Zohar (Book of Enlightenment - it dares to examine
about tradition, God and self).
1558 Mantua text of Zohar.
1562 Mantua text of Yetzirah (Book of Creation).
1566 Zakut’s text of Yuhasin (genealogies).
we turn to Dee himself, let us remind ourselves that in 1550 there was large
scale book burning held at Oxford and Cambridge ‘in the name of the
Reformation’. Even Dee’s
library of 3,000 manuscript volumes and 1,000 books were hit by arson during
1586, while Dee was in Europe. Remember
this was the period of The Inquisition (1542 onwards).
The World of Europe was in foment.
1564, at Antwerp, he had published his "Monas
Hieroglyphica". The book
was a combination of geometric, cabalistic, astrological and alchemical
was the First Generation Marriage where the Rose, the Cross, the separate
philosophies of Renaissance Neoplatonism and Christian Cabalism were merged. From
1583 he spent six years, mostly in Prague, promoting his idea of a new
following three publications became collectively known as the "Rosicrucian
manifestos", heralded the beginning of "Rosicrucianism" eliciting
excitement, confusion, acclaim and denunciation by the Intelligentsia
of Europe. This
was the Second Generation Marriage.
we move on, what of these “manifestos”?
Are they what they seem? Let
us try to find out.
Germany, printed by Wilhem Wessel at Kassel - ‘The
Universal and General Reformation of the Whole Wide World: together with the
Fama Fraternitatis of the Laudable Fraternity of the Rosy Cross Written to All
the Learned and the Rulers of Europe’.
Within this publication and much more famous - "Fama
Fraternitatis dess Loblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes".
The Proclamation of the Fraternity of the laudable Order of the
Rosicrucians, ie., to proclaim to the world the existence of a benevolent secret
brotherhood of Christian alchemists whose purpose was to initiate a new
reformation. There was, within it,
a description of the life of Christian Rosenkrautz, the alleged founder of the
fraternity, his death in 1484 and rediscovery of his tomb in 1604.
The new reformation was to be a
scientific reformation as well as a religious and philosophical reformation.
But remember, the ‘General Reformation’ first section appears to be
nothing more than a translation into German of chapter 77 of Boccalini’s
“Ragguagli di Parnaso”, ie., News from Parnassus (1612-1613), while the FAMA
is the Rosicrucian manifesto.
FAMA recounts the journey of CRC, the reputed founder of Rosicrucianism, who was
allegedly born in 1378 and lived for 106 years.
He is now generally regarded to have been symbolic rather than a real
character; whose story provided a legendary expalanation of the Order’s
origin. According to the Fama, CRC
acquired secret wisdom on trips to Egypt, Damascus, Damcar in Arabia and Fes in
Dec. 1611, Prince Augustus von Anhalt receives a copy of the ‘Fama’ from
Adam Haslmayr. Yet Haslmayr falls
foul of the Inquisition, not realising that von Anhalt’s castle at Plotzkau,
(East) Germany, contained a Rosicrucian library, so states Churton.
1615 "Confessio Fraternitatis
R.C., Ad Eruditos Europae"
(The Confession of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, to the Learned of
Europe) This work contained within
it a near word-for-word quotation (plagarism?), under the title "A
Brief Consideration of the More Secret Philosophy" from Dee's "Monas
Hieroglyphica". Can we ask
if this, inclusion of “a brief consideration of the more secret philosophy”
was an attempt to appease the Intelligentsia of Europe?
That is an attempt to re-combine science and church.
1616 "Chymische Hochzeit" (Chemical
Wedding) - a strange alchemical romance.
text contained within it the symbol of Dee's "Monas".
Johann Valentin Andreae is a Lutheran pastor and mystic, at Tubingen University.
personal coat-of-arms, like Martin Luther's includes the ROSE and CROSS motif.
to Schuchard, “…current scholarship suggests composite authorship by Andrae
and his colleagues at Tubingen”. Here
we have an author who is very shrewd, he presents an appeasement (wedding), ie.,
a Marriage of Alchemy (Intelligentsia of Europe) with the new Protestantism of
Europe for political acceptance of
the Religious Brotherhood, just as was a similar case for brethren who formed
the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in 1717.
most authors only refer to three manifestos I do not know.
The fourth (of 1617) being;
1617 Invitatio Fraternitatis Christi ad sacri amoris candidatos (1617/18).
of the following were printed at Strassburg, Zetzner, written in 1617, published
in 1629 (primary part), written in 1618, published in 1628 (secondary part);
also “Babel, the judicíous chaos of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross,
published 1619. Refer: F. E. Held,
“Christianopolis, An Ideal State of the Seventeenth Century”, Oxford 1916.
The Offspring of the Manifestos was the Rosicrucian philosophy that influenced
Protestant Europe for the next several centuries.
"THIRTY YEARS WAR"
(and its effect on the fledgling Rosicrucian movement)
The period of “The Thirty Years War” (the third and worst of the religious
wars arising out of the Reformation), which was principally a religious war
within Germany, but at the same time political quarrels raged within the
religious question. It was the
Protestant “Union” v. the Catholic “League”.
NB: The ‘other
two’ were civil wars;
1) c.1522 - caused
by the substitution of Roman laws for the old feudal law which removed the power
of the Ritterschaft (the knighthood of the empire);
2) Peasant’s War
(Baurnkreig) which was assisted by the knights.
Death of Emperor Rudolph II caused a struggle for the Crown of the Holy Roman
Empire. An Empire deeply divided by
Bohemia in full revolt against the new Hapsburg emperor, Ferdinand II.
Next came Frederick V, but his army was defeated by the Catholic league
forces near Prague in Nov. 1620.
in the “Thirty Years War” (pge.7 Folio Edition) seems to sum-up the period
quite well when he says; “Theological
controversy became habitual reading of all classes, sermons directed their
politics and moral tracts beguiled their leisure.
Among the Catholics the cult of
the Saints reached proportions unheard of for centuries, (Ed. Until the
present Pope’s era), and assumed a dominant part in the experience of the
educated as well of the masses; miracles once again made the life of everyday
bright with hope. The
changes of the material world, the breakdown of old traditions and the
insufficiency of dying conventions drove men and women to the spiritual and
inexplicable. Those whom the wide
arms of the Church could not reach took refuge in the occult:
Rosicrucianism had crept from Germany to France… Fear of witchcraft
grew among the educated and devil worship spread among the populace.
Black magic was practiced from the desolate north of Scotland to the
Mediterranean Islands…”. Refer
p.35 Andrae in “Thirty Years War” Folio Edition.
let us not forget this was a period when Germany was both intellectually and
culturally at its lowest. Hence the
theologian Johann Valentin Andrae was seen to be a person of exception in his
PERCEIVED PUBLIC MASONIC CONNECTION
1598 gives us the extant existence of Aitcheson’s Haven lodge, Mid-Lothian,
Scotland, and in 1638 with the publication, in Edinburgh, of Henry Adamson’s
poem The Muses Threnodie, which
included the following lines;
For what we do presage is not in gross,
For we brethren of the Rosie Cross:
We have the Mason word and second sight,
Things for to come we can fortell aright…….
in 1676 connection was made again when it was announced in the Poor
Robin’s Intelligence, which satirized the Fraternity, by mentioning “the
Modern Green-ribbon’d Caball, together with the Ancient Brotherhood of the
Rosy-Cross, the Hermetic Adepti, and the Company of Accepted Masons”.
This does not prove a connection between Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism
but it does recognise a public perceived
gives an interesting comment; “Although Shaw (of Statutes 1598 fame) was
imbued with mystical Hermeticism of the late Renaissance, within a few decades
freemasons also developed an affinity toward Rosicrucianism, an originally
German form of mystical idealism that called for universal education and reform
in terms that evoked the late Renaissance devotion to the Hermetic quest for
human perfection. Sadly, all this
was lost once London (England) by the early 1700s had transformed mystical
masonry into a society of - Constitutions, Laws and Governance.
A people more interested in party politics and parliamentary debate, than
mystical mental expansionism!”.
may we say that “Rosicrucians” were people who enjoyed the mystical and
esoteric way of life which eventually led to the Church’s reform.
To overcome the Church’s label of Heresy they enveiled their thoughts
within the science of Alchemy. This
concept (destruction of the total control of the Papacy) which began with
Luther, included the 30-year War (1618-1648) and reached the public with the
publication of the so-called ‘rosicrucian manifesto’, The FAMA.
was NEVER a person, rather it was an Intellectual Movement (of 100 years) which
roughly spanned 1517 (when Luther nailed his Theses to the Church door) to 1614
(production of the Fama).
freedom of thought negates the requirement for the old Rosencreutz but requires
a NEW version for today’s world. SRIA
fails in this respect that old thinking equates to the 16th century
hence the Canadian Experiment and disillusionment in Rosicrucian (masonic)
circles worldwide. Throw out 18th/19th century Rosicrucian
thought and create a 21st century manifesto.
Why not, the old manifestos were a creation of the human mind, at a
period in history. With the sad
state of the Christian Church we surely need a new manifesto.
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