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"We, the deputies of the principal College of the Brethren of the Rose-cross, have taken up our abode, visible and invisible, in this city, by the grace of the Most High, towards whom are turned the hearts of the just. We shew and teach without books or signs, and speak all sorts of languages in the countries where we dwell, to draw mankind, our fellows, from error and from death."--Avis aux curieux

"I affirm, as the main thesis of my concluding labours, that Freemasonry is neither more nor less than Rosicrucianism as modified by those who transplanted it into England. At the beginning of the seventeenth century many learned heads in England were occupied with Theosophy, Cabbalism, and Alchemy: amongst the proofs of this [...] above all [the work] of Robert Fludd. Fludd it was, or whosoever was the author of the Summum Bonum, 1629, that must be considered as the immediate father of Free-masonry, as Andrea was its remote father."--"Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons" (1824) by Thomas De Quincey

"ROSICRUCIANISM is a phase in European culture intermediate between the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. In the history of thought, it represents a stage in which the Hermetic-Cabalist tradition received the influx of another Hermetic tradition, that of alchemy. This book is the definitive work on the origins of Rosicrucian thought and its influence on politics and great thinkers in seventeenth-century Europe."--blurb to The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1971) by Frances Yates.

"This element of Rosicrucianism, fostered by a wave of popular magical interest exemplified in the vogue of the charlatan Cagliostro and the publication of Francis Barrett's The Magus (1801), a curious and compendious treatise on occult principles and ceremonies, of which a reprint was made as lately as 1896, figures in Bulwer-Lytton and in many late Gothic novels, especially that remote and enfeebled posterity which straggled far down into the nineteenth century and was represented by George W. M. Reynolds's Faust and the Demon and Wagner the Wehr-Wolf."--Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft

"The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you acquainted with. The best account I know of them is in a French book called Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and size is so like a novel, that many of the fair sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these gentlemen, the four elements are inhabited by spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders." -- The Rape of the Lock (1712) Alexander Pope, introduction

This page Rosicrucianism is part of the mysticism series. Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity
This page Rosicrucianism is part of the mysticism series.
Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity

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Rosicrucianism is a spiritual and cultural movement that arose in Europe in the early 17th century after the publication of several texts purported to announce the existence of a hitherto unknown esoteric order to the world and made seeking its knowledge attractive to many. The manifestos (Fama Fraternitatis, 1614 and Confessio Fraternitatis, 1615) do not elaborate extensively on the matter, but clearly combine references to Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and Christian mysticism.

The Rosicrucian manifestos heralded a "universal reformation of mankind", through a science allegedly kept secret for decades until the intellectual climate might receive it. Controversies arose on whether they were a hoax, whether the "Order of the Rosy Cross" existed as described in the manifestos, and whether the whole thing was a metaphor disguising a movement that really existed, but in a different form. In 1616, Johann Valentin Andreae famously designated it as a "ludibrium". Some scholars of esotericism suggest that this statement was later made by Andreae in order to shield himself from the wrath of the religious and political institutions of the day, which were intolerant of free speech and the idea of a "universal reformation", for which the manifestos called.

By promising a spiritual transformation at a time of great turmoil, the manifestos influenced many figures to seek esoteric knowledge. Seventeenth-century occult philosophers such as Michael Maier, Robert Fludd, and Thomas Vaughan interested themselves in the Rosicrucian world view.

Its history is divulged in Frances Yates's The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1972).

Chamber's Encyclopedia lemma

ROSICRUCIANS: alleged secret society of philosophers and alchemists in the 17th c., as famous as it was mysterious. The name Rosicrucians is explained not with entire satisfactoriness -- by Mosheim and others, as from ros, dew, and crux, the cross. CRUX is supposed mystically to represent Lux, or light, because the figure + exhibits the three letters LVX ; and light, in the opinion of the R. , is that which produces gold . Now dew (ros) is the greatest solvent of gold, in the ancient alchemy.

Near the beginning of the 17th c .-- a period of mysticism in science and religion, when alchemy, astrology, and divination divided the public interest with Pietism in the Prot. world, and with the Convulsionist mania in the Rom. Cath. community -- two anonymous books appeared, printed Cassel 1614, in German, entitled Universal and General Reformation of the Whole Wide World; together with Fama Fraternitatis, or Brotherhood of the Illustrious Order of the R. C. ( Rosy Cross); to the Rulers, States, and Learned of Europe ; printed at Cassel, by William Wessel. The first of these books is a kind of mystic allegory, presenting in the assumed deliberations of the seven wise men of Greece, and three Roman philosophers whom Apollo had called into conference, a satire on the philosophy and the political systems and governments of the age. The other book, Fama Fraternitatis, is the story of a certain holy and reverend Brother Christian Rosenkreuz (i.e., Rosy Cross), represented as living in the 14th c .; a German of noble birth, educated in a monastery, who conceives a design for reforming the world ; and after learning at Jerusalem and Damascus all the science of the Arabians, spends three years at Fez, in Morocco, studying the magical science of the Moors, and returns to Germany, where he establishes, under the title Sancti Spiritus, with the aid of seven monks from the convent where he had been educated, a fraternity, the original brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. The story proceeds-- that these adepts framed a system with secret symbols, and sent forth Father Rosenkreuz to propagate the brotherhood, which was to be kept secret for 100 years, the members, however, meeting once each year in the mother-house of Sancti Spiritus. Rosenkreuz, the book declared, died at the age of 106, and the place of his burial was held secret by the adepts; but he ordered that an inscription should be placed on one of the doors of Sancti Spiritus: · Post.cxx. annos patebo. ' In the following year , 1615, a third tract appeared, also in German , entitled Confessio, or Confession of the Society and Brother hood R. C., which purports to be a defense of the brotherhood from the false rumors in circulation regarding it. The mixture of absurdity with seeming fanaticism in these books, and in some similar tracts subsequent, was long a literary puzzle; but it is now considered solved by the theory that they were merely a serio-comic satire on the philosophical follies of the time, written by Johann Valentin Andreæ, of Herrenberg, as a mere exercise of humor, and without intention or expectation of their serious acceptance. The Rosicrucians were not heard of for the rest of the 17th c .; and neither their supposed connection with the Illuminati of Weishaupt at the close of the 18th c. , nor their connection with the Templars, is accepted by scholars. A book entitled Curious Things of the Outside World: Last Fire ( Lond. 1861) , aims to give the impression that the Brethren of the Rosy Cross are not yet extinct. See Jennings's Rosicrucians (2d ed. 1879)

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