Rosicrucianism is a difficult topic to define, because its ephemeral nature tends to resist efforts to delineate and (…) it. It started as an isolated phenomenon that lasted from (…) to (…). Beyond this time period, the tradition mutated (…). When we take a look at the original movement, we can discern certain (…) that can lead us to a better understanding of (…).
1) The Reformation of the Macrocosm:
The Renaissance (1300-1700) was a cultural rebirth in Europe that marked the transition from the medieval to the modern world. It was characterized with the renovation of the arts and sciences, as well as the advent of humanism, with the Latin and Greek classics held in high regard. It was unfortunate then that this period was also marred with disease, such as the Black Death, and wars, such as the German Peasants’ War (1524-25) and the Thirty Years War (1618–48) that devastated Europe.
Scientists were safe for the most part. But one needed to be careful since the burning of witches would not culminate until the end of the eighteenth-century. In 1614, the Rosicrucians emerged into this world of renovation and turbulence. Scientific innovations, such astronomy and mathematics, had jarred these Christian thinkers from the normal doldrum. In their hands, astrology and astronomy could coexist. Alchemy and chemistry could coexist. Magic and science could coexist. The Renaissance blurred the line between past and future.
Rosicrucianism started as a revitalization movement that sought to breathe new life into the stagnant culture through a fresh infusion of classical ideas from the past. The goal of the Rosicrucians was religious and social revitalization via Cabalistic and Hermetic ideas from the past.
Revitalization movements fall into the following categories:
Messianism is the idea that a leader will emerge who will serve as a savior or deliverer from a corrupt world. This relates with millenarianism, the notion that this leader will herald an age of peace.
The Rosicrucian movement fell into all four of these categories. Numerous Christians believed that the End Times were at hand during this era. Simon Studion had predicted the apocalypse in his Naometria (1592). And the Great Conjunction of 1623 was an auspicious omen. The Rosicrucians believed that the End Times were at hand. But unlike mainstream population, who believed the doom and gloom of the Book of Revelation, the Rosicrucians believed in the coming Golden Age of Paracelsus. Religious and social turmoil would lead to the Kingdom of Heaven.
God would calcine the world in the alchemical crucible to reveal its inner spirit. All would be revealed in a bright flash of scientific revelation. Tommaso Campanella predicted the return of Elijah the Prophet in Monarchia Messiae (1604). The Rosicrucians believed that a messianic king known as the Lion of Septentrion (Lion of the North) would arrive and establish a utopia. Many associated Frederick V with the Lion of Septentrion. His defeat at the Battle of White Mountain (1620) dashed the utopian dream.
2) The Regeneration of the Microcosm:
The second goal is the regeneration of man. Regeneration is the process of bringing the soul to the true gnosis (knowledge) of God. It is the true goal of religion, whether or not it is acknowledged. Regeneration has three effects: 1) man rises above the world and the influences of the stars; in other words, he learns to become responsible for his destiny rather than being a victim of planetary and zodiacal forces. 2) man rises to such divine heights that he gains the ability to receive prophecy and work miracles. 3) the man becomes a member of the invisible fraternity.
What is the invisible fraternity?
Instead of looking at it as a group of disincarnate Ascended Masters who guide humanity, we can perceive it as those incarnate individuals connected through time and space with an invisible thread. So what is this invisible Rosicrucian thread? Well, for the original Rosicrucians, it was the body of Jesus Christ, the invisible spiritual church of Sebastian Franck. But for modern practitioners, it could be the body of Osiris.
So how does one go about spiritual regeneration?
3) The Science of Alchemy:
Alchemy is the purification of the soul. Andreae spoke against outer alchemy that sought to create gold in a lab. He instead emphasized the inner alchemy that facilitates spiritual regeneration. The gold of internal alchemy is love, the domain of the goddess Venus. To arrive at the gold, we must imitate Christ. First, we must suffer from the vicissitudes of life. Our spirit is then released so that it can consume and digest the impurities of our lesser nature like a snake munching on a rodent.
When our spirit returns to its purified vessel, a resurrection occurs. This cycle repeats several times throughout life. The ouroboros is symbolic of this process — the serpent (higher nature) swallows its tail (lower nature) ad nauseam. When we are arrogant enough to think that the process is complete, the universe will give us another kick in the pants. Groups such as the Orden des Gold-und Rosenkreutz (Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross) used laboratory alchemy to prepare its initiates for the more significant work of inner spiritual alchemy and magic.
4) THe Practice of Magic:
There are four varieties of Rosicrucian magic:
Like Paracelsus before them, Rosicrucians are healers. Their methods are not only occult, but also scientific. Metaphysical healing is fine. It does work. But a true Rosicrucian will have at least a basic understanding of anatomy and first aid. They are going to have some basic knowledge of herbalism and pharmacology. You should know how to make some essential remedies. Herbs that correspond with the sun can be great for Rosicrucian healing magic. Natural magic is the magic of Ficino and Agrippa. The use of natural items, such as herbs and stones, that are infused with the virtue or quintessence of the planetary spheres. For example, one might wear a golden ring to attract the solar forces.
Theurgy is the magical process of climbing up Jacob’s ladder toward the godhead. The Holy Guardian Angel is an entity that is sometimes benign — often frightening. As an avatar or embodiment of the god within, it guides (or pushes) us up that ladder. The dilemma: Rosicrucians disagree about what that means. Does climbing the ladder lead to personal transcendence or universal transcendence? I would argue that personal development helps lead to the elevation of humanity as a whole. Divine magic is associated with communicating with entities, such as angels, that are higher up the ladder than we are. These entities can give us advice on how to avoid the pitfalls or make further progress on the path.
Thus, we have:
The reformation of social institutions through the use of a combination of messianism, millenarianism, revivalism, and utopianism.
And the regeneration of ourselves through the use of certain alchemical and magical practices.
Fraternally & Sincerely,