Small Groups

Some of the best groups are small and quiet. Big groups seem to be on the decline. Lodges are shutting their doors en masse. But there are small groups that are thriving and doing great work. Let us take a quick look at a few of the obscure currents that are helping to carry the torch.

Catherine Kunzog: My grandmother was born in 1924, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Her grandfather, Adam Kunzog, was a Christian mystic who immigrated from Germany. His esoteric teachings have been the spiritual foundation of our family for four generations. She advocated a personal, mystical relationship with God, as well as a pious Christian lifestyle. She got me started on the esoteric path at an early age and was one of my greatest initiators. I listed this family tradition, because I will be passing it down to my two daughters.

EAST (Ephrata Aurora Society of Theosophers): This group is a modern descendant of the Ephrata Cloister located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania during the eighteenth century. This group practices alchemical mysticism, as well as baptismal mysteries based upon the teachings of Jacob Boehme and his lineage of theosophers.

Gallets Circle: This small group met in an old farmhouse in Chautauqua County, New York, to conduct Cabalistic pathworkings. Members would share and record their experiences at the end of each meeting. There was no designated leader, so this group imploded when one of its members attempted to become an authoritarian leader. Fortunately, their ritual format was carried over to a new group, the EOL (Eyes of Light), that continues to this day.

Ordo Rosae Solis (Order of the Rose and the Sun): This small group practices a form of spiritual alchemy based upon the alchemical marriage of the solar force and alchemical mercury. There is a lovely ritual that is performed during the summer solstice. It is an exclusive group with a small membership. Prospective members are invited based upon genuineness and friendship. There is a spiritual alchemy that takes place between brothers and sisters who are friends.

Catherine Kunzog

Brothers of Light

In Hermeticism, God was all that existed within the primordial chaos. For reasons hitherto unknown, God emanated the divine light into the darkness that surrounded it. As the Hermetic Corpus states: “there was darkness in the deep and water without form and there was a subtle breath – intelligent – which permeated the things in chaos with divine power. Then, when all was yet undistinguished and unwrought, there was shed forth holy light and the elements came into being.”[1](7)

The Watchtower ritual describes the light as the “image of a voice.” In other words, it is an emanation of divine will. The Gospel of John states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” It is described as “crying aloud” as it tore through the darkness like “lightning” from Kether to Malkuth. Christ states: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18).” Light as this notion of lightning is a force of both creation and destruction.

This holy light is eternal. It cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be emanated from the One Thing. It coagulates and becomes corporeal – spirit transformed into matter. Otto Rahn described it as a green stone that fell from the crown of Lucifer during the War in Heaven.[2] This is apropos as Kether is described as a crown. This green stone that fell from the heavens is the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. It is also Nature with its green vegetation. And it is also the Green Lion of the alchemists.(7)

One of its ciphers is the astrological sign of Gemini, the Divine Twins: Christ and Lucifer. It is also Yaldabaoth, an amalgamation of serpent (Lucifer) and lion (Christ), a Gnostic version of the Rebis (Divine Hermaphrodite). Lucifer is also associated with the planet Venus when it appears as the “morning star.” Dim in comparison with the sun, this source of light is considered a “false light.” It is trapped between Yesod and Netzach on the path of Tzaddi associated with the tarot card: The Star.(7)

According to myth, Lucifer was a rebellious angel, who fell from heaven. In some accounts, he was once a member of the seraphim, the “burning ones,” the highest order of angels. Like Tiamat, a dragon who embodied primordial chaos, the seraphim were described as dragon-like creatures. In occult philosophy, the dragon is oftentimes the guardian of treasure, who must be bypassed or slain. The treasure is often depicted as a virgin princess (Sophia) who must be liberated.(7)

In Cabala, Tiphereth is the sixth Sphere of the Tree of Life that corresponds to the sun, and as such, it occupies the center of the Tree of Life, much in the same way that the sun is at the center of the solar system. But Tiphereth not only relates to the sun, but also to the heart center, the rose at the center of the cross. The light of Tiphereth shines down upon the “loud resounding sea” of Yesod, the astral plane. Like a sunrise on the ocean, one source of light is real (the sun) and one is illusory (the reflection of the sun on the water). This symbol is quite important within the tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.(9)

Hermetic_Order_of_the_Golden_Dawn

Christ is considered to be the real and tangible source of light. He is known as the “Light of the World,” humble and benevolent. Lucifer the “Light Bearer” is the illusion of light mirrored in the astral world, arrogant and tyrannous. Like Janus, the two-headed god, Christ and Lucifer embody the two polarities of the divine light. Two sides of a coin, these two opposing forces are intrinsically linked. In alchemical terms, Christ is associated with gold while Lucifer is associated with pyrite (iron sulfide). As the Green Lion (sulfuric acid) that can be used to refine gold, Lucifer serves to coax the light into its full potential.(9)

Green_lion_consuming_the_sun

While we have Christ as the “Light of the World,” we also have Lucifer as the “Light Bearer,” two brothers of light, one “true” and one “false.” But truth is relative to the observer. So, then, who is who? Could both of them be valid? Could both of them be invalid? Could the two, Christ and Lucifer, be seen as two sides of a cosmic coin? Joséphin Péladan, the founder of the Salon de la Rose + Croix, believed that Lucifer could be redeemed through our compassion,[3] for his fall was due to his misguided love for humans.[4] In this capacity, Lucifer was more akin to Prometheus than the demonic monster depicted in the works of Dante Alighieri.(9)

Light is a base material that can be transmuted. Both Christ and Lucifer can be perceived as unfinished expressions of the cosmos. Lucifer, as the great villain (or antihero) of the world, his tale follows the cyclical nature of the sun. As the sun sets in the evening, Lucifer falls from heaven and bathes the world in darkness. But as the sun rises the next morning, Christ rises and illuminates the world. The villain is redeemed and becomes a hero – at least until he falls again. The cycle continues ad infinitum.(7)

Footnotes:

[1] Hermes, Scott, W., & Ferguson, A. S. (2001). Hermetica. Montana (USA): Kessinger Publishing Company.

[2] Rahn, O. (2008). Lucifer’s Court: A Heretic’s Journey In Search Of The Light Bringers. Inner Traditions.

[3] Peladan, J. (1893). Istar. Paris: Dentu.

[4] Péladan, J. (1894). Comment on Devient Artiste: Esthetique. Paris: Chamuel.

The Alchemy of the Rosae Solis

105957313_10217909874520660_4852442871671675801_nHere at the Rosae Solis, we use alchemical procedures every summer solstice to charge our bodies with the solar force.

We humans do not fully understand this force that animates us.

This mysterious force not only gives us life, but also ignites within us the fire of consciousness.

It is the eternal flame that burns within the temple of our physical bodies. For those who are chaste, this fire is the untapped sex force that is presided over by the temple virgins.

We absorb this solar force from the light of the physical sun, as well as the etheric sun. This solar force then coalesces in the area of the solar plexus where it appears as a red light visible to astral sight.

The solar force then stimulates the four bodily humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. These humors then influence our thoughts and emotions.

humors

But our physical bodies, animated with the solar force, are little more than crude machines. In this lowly state, we wander through the Dark Night of the Soul, beset with the vicissitudes of life. We know that as long as we are imperfect, all of our deeds will be imperfect.

Thus, we pledge ourselves to the Magnum Opus (Great Work). We seek the Golden Dawn that awaits us at the end of the Dark Night.

Some of our predecessors sought longevity and life eternal via the synthesis of red colloidal gold in alchemical laboratories. But on their quest to create the Philosopher’s Stone, some of our predecessors peered at their reflections in the Cosmic Mirror. They then realized that the Stone was not a mere magical rock — rather it was something located in the subterranean depths of the human condition.

Thus, we begin to use Vitriol, milestones upon our spiritual path, to dissolve impurities from our being. This purification process demands that we strive for greatness. We examine ourselves — body and soul — for any flaw that can be rectified.

The Vitriol catalyzes the solar force stored in the solar plexus, crystalizing it into a metaphorical rock or crystal. Our soul hardens as our physical body is spiritualized. Once all of our impurities have been dissolved, we are left with a purified “stone,” the Philosopher’s Stone. This “stone” transforms us from humans into gods.

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_21

The Philosopher’s Stone is the rose that blossoms at the center of the rose cross. It is the rough ashlar of the Freemasons that is worked and shaped until it is perfected. It is the superdense singularity that bursts forward to create universes.

According to Genesis 1:26: “God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” But it is our responsible to use spiritual alchemy to make ourselves into the images and likenesses of deities.

 

The Tomb

Johannes Valentinus Andreae (1586 – 1654) was a German theologian, who wrote the Fama Fraternitatis (Fame of the Fraternity; 1614), a tale about a fictional sect of Christians known as the Rosicrucians, who were alchemists and magicians. According to the legend, a Catholic monk named Christian Rosenkreuz traveled to the Middle East, where he learned occult lore from the Muslims. He then returned to Europe where, unable to disseminate this information among the populace, he created a secret brotherhood. When Rosenkreuz died, at the age of 106, the location of his tomb was concealed from the records of the brotherhood.

According to the tale, the Rosicrucians constructed a building known as the Domus Sancti Spiritus (House of the Holy Spirit) that served as both church and college. A century downstream, a new generation of Rosicrucians was forced to renovate the aged structure, and therein discovered a secret door concealed behind a wall that bore the words: post 120 annos patebo (in 120 years shall I come forth). Behind the door was an elaborate seven-sided tomb that contained the remains of Christian Rosenkreuz. Also contained therein was the corpus of Rosicrucian lore.

As the Rosicrucians opened the door, divine light shone from the hexagonal chamber within. It resembled the türbék (6-8 sided mausoleums) that are prevalent in Asia Minor; this makes sense since Rosenkreuz is said to have spent much time there with the Muslims. The walls of the tomb represented the seven classical planets, as well as the seven alchemical stages. Each of the walls was also subdivided into a grid of 10 squares that represented the spheres of the cabalistic Tree of Life. The number 10 was also associated with the Pythagorean notion of perfection.

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Each wall was 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide – an area of 40 feet – a number associated with the spiritual renewal of the world. This is important as the main goal of the Rosicrucians was a social and religious reformation. Each wall also contained a cache of occult supplies, such as books, that could be used to reconstitute the brotherhood in case of its dissolution. Unlike the tomb in the tale with its 70 squares (10 squares per wall), the vault of the Golden Dawn tradition utilizes a matrix of 280 squares (40 squares per wall) to represent the elements, planets, et cetera.

The light that illuminated the tomb represented the Ain Soph Aur (Infinite Light) of the Kabbalah. At its center was a circular altar engraved with the words: hoc universi compendium unius mihi sepulchrum feci (I have made my tomb the one compendium of the universe). The circular altar was also engraved with four figures that represented the four Hermetic elements. It also represented the four archangels that surround the Throne of God. It is the four chambers of the human heart that contain the inner spirit of Christ that must be reawakened within each student.

The floor beneath the circular altar was inscribed with the names of infernal spirits that represented the darkness of the underworld. Located within a sarcophagus underneath the altar was the imperishable, preserved corpse of Rosenkreuz. It was between these polarities of light and darkness – life and dearth – that Christian Rosenkreuz slumbered. Like the divine king of the Arthurian romances, he was destined to arise when certain conditions in the world were appropriate for his return. Later students of the Rosicrucian tradition associated him with John the Evangelist, who is destined to return alongside Christ during the events of Revelation.

The tomb of Rosenkreuz was analogous with the tomb of Christ. While an earthquake had opened the tomb of Christ, construction had opened the tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz. It was a womb impregnated with an embryo that had to gestate for a certain amount of time – 120 years in this case. It was the sealed flask of the alchemist that is opened once the alchemical processes are complete. The homunculus that has grown therein is a new transfigured body that replaces the old profane body. Like the transfigured body of Christ, the transfigured body of Rosenkreuz was impervious to the entropic forces of decomposition.

Like the bulls sacrificed within the subterranean temples of Mithras, the corpse of Christian Rosenkreuz represented the sacrifice of the physical nature. He represented the Philosopher’s Stone that is said to be located in the interior of the earth. It was the corpse of Christian Rosenkreuz inside the sarcophagus that represented the eternal soul that awaits either judgment or reincarnation (depending upon your beliefs). The sarcophagus of Rosenkreuz represented the lower nature of man. It was the physical body formed from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). It was the coffin that carried the corpse of Osiris down the Nile. It was also the Ark that carried Noah across the waters of the deluge.

While the tomb in the fictional Fama Fraternitatis was a vivid location that existed in the imagination of its author and readers, the Golden Dawn constructed their own version of the tomb that was used for initiation into the Portal grade. Some occultists believe that the tomb is a real place located at an undisclosed location in Europe. Harvey Spencer Lewis claimed that Rosenkreuz had been removed from the tomb and relocated to the western coast of the United States.[1] As Christ stated: “in my Father’s house are many mansions (John 14:2).” Those who have encountered the tomb of Rosenkreuz can attest to its existence as a spiritual location in one of the mansions of the inner planes.

Foot Notes:

[1] (…)