During the English Civil War, the Holy Spirit moved upon the face of that island nation. She illuminated individuals such as John Pordage and Jane Lead with her divine wisdom. But there is one such seventeenth-century Christian mystic who is often overlooked.
George Fox was an itinerant preacher born in Leicestershire, England, who started the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He was active during the same period as Jane Lead, and while Lead is lauded in our tradition, Fox never comes up much in conversations.
I want to change that.
During the war, Fox preached to the soldiers. But he endured a crisis of faith due to the bloodshed he witnessed. Then, in 1647, during the height of his despair, he heard an inner voice state:
“There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.”
In 1648, Fox had a vision of ascending into heaven. There he encountered the state of Adam before the Fall. Fox stated in his own words: “through the flaming sword into the paradise of God … creation was opened to me.” Fox came to believe that revelation, as an inward experience of Christ, was more important than scripture. However, he also believed that scripture could be used as an authoritative guideline to validate or invalidate the authenticity of such experiences.
He believed that the Second Coming of Christ was an inward unfoldment. Christ dwells within each person as an Inner Light that grants us guidance and illumination when we can tune into it. This Inner Light is the same as the Inner Word of the Rosicrucians. We can go deep down within ourselves to reach this Inner Light. We can then use it to regenerate and transform our lives. It is a valid alchemical process.
In 1652, Fox began to preach his new message. But unfortunately, his spiritual insights infuriated the people of his time. People often pummeled him with fists and stones. And the authorities had him arrested eight times. Yet his fervor never wavered.
Several of his earliest disciples were Behemists. In 1664, Francis Ellington proclaimed that Fox was the fulfillment of Boehme’s prophecies of a lilly blossoming in the northern countries. About Fox, he stated: “what the Lord spake through that Faithful Servant of his Jacob Behme, in the Year 1623, is now near to be fulfilled.”
In 1677, the Flemish Rosicrucian Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont traveled to England and joined the Quakers. He might have imparted alchemical and cabalistic ideas among some of them.
Numerous Quakers crossed the ocean to Pennsylvania, where there were interactions with groups, such as the Ephrata Cloister.
“None of them should profess any other thing then to cure the sick, and that gratis.”
The Quakers believe that as a community, its members can be healed via the collective effort of their egregore.
“None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the country.”
The Quakers believe that members should wear plain dress (simple clothing) to remain humble and modest.
The earliest Quakers in the United States were opposed to slavery. As progressives and advocates for social justice, modern Quakers can be said to possess a certain utopian and pansophic aspect.
The writer’s personal opinion is that the Religious Society of Friends is compatible with our tradition. Most Rosicrucians would feel quite at home attending Quaker meetings.
A special thanks goes to those Friends who have been kind to me throughout the years.
Light Bless You,
 Fox, George. 1952. The Journal of George Fox, ed. John L. Nickalls, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
 Ellington, F. Christian Information concerning these Last times. London, 1664.
 F.S. Darrow, Letters, Mss. Collection, Friends House Library, London, 28 March, 1928.