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Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm." Rosicrucianism is symbolized by the Rosy Cross.
Between 1607 and 1616, two anonymous manifestos were published, first in Germany and later throughout Europe. These were Fama Fraternitatis RC (The Fame of the Brotherhood of RC) and Confessio Fraternitatis (The Confession of the Brotherhood of RC). The influence of these documents, presenting a "most laudable Order" of mystic-philosopher-doctors and promoting a "Universal Reformation of Mankind", gave rise to an enthusiasm called by its historian Dame Frances Yates the "Rosicrucian Enlightenment".
Rosicrucianism was associated with Protestantism, Lutheranism in particular, and the manifestos opposed Roman Catholicism and its preference for dogma over empiricism. They also rejected Muhammad, though they traced their philosophy and science to the Moors, asserting that it had been kept secret for 120 years until the intellectual climate might receive it.
According to legend, Christian Rosenkreuz was a doctor who discovered and learned esoteric wisdom on a pilgrimage to the Middle East among Turkish, Arab, and Persian sages, possibly Sufi or Zoroastrian masters, supposedly in the early 15th century (see section below on Symbolism) ; returned and founded the "Fraternity of the Rose Cross" with himself (Frater C.R.C.) as Head of the Order. Under his direction a Temple, called Sanctus Spiritus, or "The House of the Holy Spirit", was built.
Symbolism of the numbers in the Manifestos
The legend presented in the Manifestos has been interpreted symbolically (as were all hermetic and alchemical texts of those times). They do not directly state Christian Rosenkreuz's years of birth and death, but in two sentences in the second Manifesto the year 1378 is presented as being the birth year of "our Christian Father", and it is stated that he lived for 106 years, which would mean he died in 1484. The foundation of the Order can be supposed in similar terms to have occurred in the year 1407. However, these numbers (and deduced years) are not taken literally by many students of occultism, who consider them to be allegorical and symbolic statements for the understanding of the Initiated. The justification for this relies on the Manifestos themselves: on the one hand, the Rosicrucians clearly adopted through the Manifestos the Pythagorean tradition of envisioning objects and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects, and, on the other hand, they directly state, "We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of all secrets."
The metaphorical nature of these legends lends a nebulous quality to the origins of Rosicrucianism. The opening of Rosenkreuz's tomb is thought to be a way of referring to the cycles in nature and to cosmic events; and as well, to the opening of new possibilities for mankind consequent on the advances of the 16th and early 17th centuries. Similarly, Rosenkreuz's pilgrimage seems to refer to the transmutation steps of the Great Work.
Similar legends may be found in Wolfram von Eschenbach's description of the Holy Grail as the "Lapis Exillis", guarded by the Knights Templar, or in the Philosophers' stone of the alchemists, the "Lapis Elixir".
"Die glücklichen Sklaven sind die erbittertsten Feinde der Freiheit."
"Happy slaves are the most grim enemies of freedom."
(Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach)
Last edited by tinyint; 14-04-2012 at 12:23 AM.