Confraternity of the Rose Cross
This is the first monograph in a series of Rosicrucian studies offered to members of the CR+C. These and other studies are a benefit of the CR+C membership. The following text answers the questions regarding history, teachings, and the objectives of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross.
The majority of you, at the time of this writing, are more than adequately familiar with the term Rosicrucianism and what it means to both yourself individually and humanity in general. In time we, as a majority, shall diminish in number and be replaced by newer generations of Rosicrucians. We shall become a memory in history as shall our trials and successes. This is as it has always been and should always be. We must ever be cognizant that what we accomplish as Rosicrucians today shall influence the successes (or failures) of our brothers and sisters in the future.
To those of you who are just now entering the stream of Rosicrucianism, our Work, our history, and our existence welcomes you upon your quest. If nothing else, it is our sincere wish that you learn to recognize the Truth inherent within your being and know that you need never look outside of yourself to discover the innate Truth within the wonders of God and the universe. You need never affiliate with any organization, religion, or to follow the leadership of any individual to know whatever it is you seek to know. Your own confidence in your quest coupled with the dictates of your own conscience are the only fundamental tools required for success. Everything else is a matter of preferential choice.
Subsequently, Rosicrucians freely choose to become Rosicrucians, not just because they believe that the Order will merely dictate or teach mystical or esoteric principles. Rather, they affiliate because they feel the drive within themselves to share and to become a part of an ancient movement dedicated to the free expression of Light. The Rosicrucian lives his or her choices.
This, simply, is the message of the Rosicrucians. Our Path is as easy to follow as it is for you to follow the convictions of your own integrity. Our Path is compromised only if you compromise that integrity and your success or failure will only be determined by those obstacles you place before yourself or the ease by which you remove them.
A Rosicrucian is one who freely accepts responsibility and who just as freely takes the responsibility to serve and work toward the enlightenment of all. A Rosicrucian is one who will freely share with wisdom what it is they know and seek. A Rosicrucian is one who will not judge others because of religious belief, race, gender, personal preferences, nationality, or intelligence. Rather, a Rosicrucian is one who will assess another based upon their motivation, action, and deed.
Traditionally and historically, a Rosicrucian as well as the Rosicrucian Movement fights tirelessly for the establishment and perpetuation of freedom -- the freedom of mind, spirit, and soul. We seek to know truth and we seek to share that which we know and learn with those of open minds and hearts who are sincere and responsible with the knowledge we impart.
We admonish those of ignorance and arrogance who seek to control the freedoms of others through methods of deceit -- be they overt or subtle. We admonish those who will lie, cheat, or steal for any purpose and especially those who behave in such a manner to achieve their own ends without thought of others and the Path of Light. Such people we believe to be misguided slaves of darkness who act only because they have foolishly given the spirit of their freedom away to another, or to an ideal, of less than noble intent and purpose. Perhaps they acted influenced by deception, or perhaps they acted with malicious intent ... It is not our purpose to argue the causes. Rather, it is our purpose to correct the effects, not necessarily by revolution but, instead, through our personal and collective attunement with Light and through the action of Service such Light inspires.
What then is a Rosicrucian? One who seeks to become an adept of Light -- not merely because they like the idea. But, rather, because they realize and know the need.
What is it that we teach? Primarily experiential knowledge of various manifestations of existence that transcend the physical, material realm of which we are mostly familiar. We teach methods that will assist the individual to enhance their perspectives and attitudes for the purpose of awakening to and understanding the alleged "unknowable" aspects of our existence. We have all felt those aspects which have come to us in special dreams, intuitions, or insights. Our instructional purpose is to assist others to enhance those experiences so as to make them viable and applicable in their everyday lives.
Our teachings transcend the techniques that are often popularized by many aspects of what is often referred to as the New Age. We teach techniques that transcend what is known as "psychic" subjects or abilities. Our reality is the depth of esoteric knowing ... of the realities of mystical awakening .
The name Rosicrucian actually derived from levels of a not so obvious source -- all of which have their origins in Latin. In its outermost public use as well as in the use taught to Rosicrucians earlier in this century for very good and necessary reason, the name derived from the Latin: 'rosae' and 'crux' popularly translated to mean the 'rose cross'. The rose cross then became the symbol of the Rosicrucians of which that particular symbolic significance will be explained later in our teachings.
Traditionally, the color of the rose is red. The significance of the color red as it applies to our symbol, too, will be explained later in our teachings. Suffice it to say for now, however, there has been perpetuated for approximately 400 years a rather common error in the stipulation of our name. Erroneously, we have often been referred to as the Order of the Rosy Cross. A rosy cross is a cross that is rosy in color. On the other hand, a Rose cross is a cross upon which is placed a rose. If you will note, the significance of meaning is quite different and we must be careful not to confuse the two.
To understand Rosicrucianism, one must also understand Rosicrucian humor and the sense of self preservation. In the 17th century when the Rosicrucian Movement first began to become popular and influential as an advocating force perpetuating basic freedoms, much was done to suppress that force by enemies of Light. Overt methods of suppression were not as major a concern to the Rosicrucians as were the subversive methods and tactics utilized. Between the years 1618 and 1625 there were approximately 20,000 publications either directly or indirectly related to the subject of Rosicrucianism published either by outside admirers desiring to support the movement -- but mostly by enemies wishing to subvert and discredit it through the publication of absurd claims. As a means of identifying and exposing those enemies, authentic Rosicrucian writers began making reference to the 'Rosy Cross' as a means to protect the true symbol and its meaning. Knowingly, those of initiation would understand the code while those who did not would spout off unknowingly. As a matter of interest, between the years 1598 to 1775, only 14 authentic Rosicrucian works were published either in book, treatise, or manuscript form. Compare that with the initial 20,000 references made in a mere seven years! Is it any wonder that our history and heritage is so confusing?
By the end of the 19th century, the term Rosy Cross had become quite popular amongst writers and historians of Rosicrucianism and most of those who used the term succeeded in only identifying themselves as someone outside of the Movement. Most notable in this category is the author Arthur Edward Waite. Nevertheless, his books on the subject, though difficult to read because of his style, are often accurate regarding the subject and are worth reading by those interested in our history.
Our first Imperator, H. Spencer Lewis, often used the term Rosy Cross even within our own teachings. You should be aware that he did this intentionally for the same reasons that the first Rosicrucians of the 17th century did. That is, to help protect the sacredness of our symbol. During the first part of this century (as well as in the latter part) there remained many enemies of Rosicrucianism, many of which affiliated with the organization AMORC established by our first Imperator for reasons either of subversion or greed. Greed to take the written word to establish their own organizations for their own ends. Notably, this has happened many times but because of H. Spencer Lewis' insight, only words were stolen and never the Tradition.
Today, resulting from the work of both H. Spencer and Ralph Lewis, the Rosicrucian Movement is firmly established as a tradition maintained in the Office of Imperator making it no longer necessary to conceal the true significance and origin of our name and symbol.
The equal armed gold cross upon which is fixed a red rose is our outer symbol. It is properly referred to as the Rose Cross. It has no religious connotation or identification, but rather identifies the outer manifestation of the Rosicrucian Movement as well as a symbolic interpretation of each and every individual's personal initiatic process. Again, this will be explained further in our teachings.
However, there is a deeper interpretation. This deeper interpretation is the exact source of our name and describes the process that the Rosicrucian Movement (not just the individual Rosicrucian) must endure to establish itself as a viable force of Light in the material and esoteric realms.
All manifestation exists by virtue of a process ... a continuity of eternal existence that knows no beginning nor end. This process must be one of transcendence and transformation that never permits gross stagnation or decay. It must ever be refining and improving upon itself and periodically shedding its outer skin of appearance and the density of its material expression. H. Spencer Lewis referred to this process early in his writings as the 108 year cycle and later alluded to it in the numerically higher degrees by allegorically referencing the well known analogy of the necessary relationship between Judas and Jesus. His referencing was to explain the necessity of a catalyst to induce necessary change and transformation.
The name 'Rosicrucian' seen from an initiatic perspective derives from the Latin words: 'ros' and 'crucis' and they are the true source of our name. In that they originate from the Latin also dates our history.
The process of our origins is alchemical in nature -- alchemical in a spiritual sense and not material. It identifies a process of refinement and transcendence to a more evolved state not unlike the individual process of the obscure night and the golden dawn. Ros is Latin for 'dew' and in alchemical terms, 'dew' is the purity of essence refined through transcendent processes of working the power of vitriol in its highest state. Ros is the perfected result of grosser existence.
Crucis describes the attributes necessary for the process of transformation to manifest. 'Crucis' is a Roman instrument of torture made into a sacred symbol by the early founders of Christianity. Christians say that Jesus was tortured and died upon the cross and he sacrificed his life so that the human soul would be saved.
Our concern here is not with the religious connotations and symbolism for truly every great prophet or Saviour from each religion underwent a similar experience for the same reason. It is that reason in which we are concerned and that reason is a PROCESS of transformation from a lesser to a higher state.
Sacrifice, represented by the color red, is the nature of crucis. It is the state of sacrifice, of giving of one's self for the purpose of greater evolvement which is the process. It is not for ourselves that is the primary reason why we seek truth. We seek Truth so that ALL may be free to follow the Path of Light. That, brothers and sisters, is the greatest sacrifice and the most difficult attribute that we must learn. That process is the source of our name.
For those who have never sacrificed or learned the process may fear it. But for those who understand, they will never fear.
Remember our name and its significance.
Very early in our monograph system, specific information regarding how our teachings are presented, recommendations as to what we believe to be the best manner to study, etc, will be offered to you. My intent here is not to present our system at this time. Rather, I wish to say a few words about the source of our teachings and what you can expect to receive as a member of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross (CR+C).
I mentioned earlier in this monograph that there were very few authentic Rosicrucian writings in comparison to the number of available references. Interestingly, the authentic writings say very little regarding doctrinal matters or their source. At best, such references are veiled and to properly understand those references, one must have a means to see through the veil of obscurity intentionally placed.
In other words, if you don't have the key which is only presented through initiation, all you will have (assuming you manage to find the authentic documents) are some 'pretty' symbolical drawings, a lot of allegorical references, and more than a few alchemical explanations. All of which are insightful and may lead to rare initiation if they are meditated upon ... but by themselves, serve more to launch an endless array of academic speculations and meaningless interpretations that accomplish little more than debates for the sake of debating.
Additionally, in most instances, intentional obscurity was made even more obscure by those who thought they knew what they were doing but didn't; As an example, one of the authentic Rosicrucian documents is The Amphitheater of Eternal Wisdom by Heinrich Khunrath. It was first produced as a manuscript in 1598 and published in Germany in 1609, a year after the author's death. The manuscript initially contained seven allegorical plates which were used by the author as meditative tools to unlock initiation. After his death, a few of his students decided to publish the manuscript. Unfortunately, they did not understand the significance of the plates and ignorantly added an additional five meaningless plates for publication. Subsequently, unless you know which plates are original and which were added, the document will be of little value.
However, there is another Rosicrucian document (in two parts) that is not counted amongst those authentic documents published in the 17th century. The reason being, the document predates that century. Additionally, it was never published and always remained in the possession of the principal Rosicrucian adept, and later, the Imperator.
Between the years 1909 to 1915, our first Imperator for this cycle, H. Spencer Lewis, produced a series of written discourses that were to be presented verbally as doctrine to those attending the various Rosicrucian Lodges and Temples under his authority. In 1924, his son Ralph M. Lewis (who later became Imperator in 1939) convinced his father to opt for presenting the teachings to all members as written monographs. Thus, our monograph system was born.
However, what is important to note as you study the monographs presented, H. Spencer Lewis frequently made references, albeit obscure at times, to certain Rosicrucian manuscripts that he was permitted to see and copy at the time (as well as later times) of his initiation. These documents, he has said upon many occasions, are the source of the Rosicrucian system.
Importantly, the one document in two parts referred to above, is the actual key to the Rosicrucian system and the fundamental basis of our teachings. H. Spencer Lewis revealed the first part of the document in the Fourth Temple Degree of our studies and actually reproduced most of it word for word. The document is referred to as The Nodin Manuscript.
Part two of that manuscript has been passed from one Imperator to the next (amongst other items) and is to remain under safekeeping until it is time to reveal it. For those of you who are wondering, there is only one copy and it was given to me by Ralph Lewis several months before he died. I still have it.
Within Rosicrucianism there has been considerable debate regarding our teachings. Many have felt that the monographs should be "updated" both in language used as well as with content. Whereas "modernized" language usage is appropriate, updating the content is not. Why? Because the people who want to change it don't know how to change it and at best can only offer personal interpretation.
Because of the complexity of the material organization that was the Rosicrucian vehicle from 1915 to 1990 (AMORC), editing the teachings became removed from the Imperator's direct supervision. Much of the reasoning had to do with Ralph Lewis' failing health. At any rate, by 1972, the teachings had become substantially changed.
Additionally, in the early 1980's the French Grand Master, Christian Bernard and the German Grand Master, Wilhelm Raab commenced with competitive production of contextual changes within their own jurisdictions. The end result, naturally, produced different teachings for different languages of which little had to do with Rosicrucianism.
As an example, shortly after I was installed as the English Jurisdiction Grand Master in 1984, I visited the French Jurisdiction where C. Bernard informed me that he was launching a monograph revision program. I asked him why and he cited, as one example, the Rosicrucian concept of the distinction between actuality and reality. He stated that the French translation of those words were meaningless because they meant the same thing. Therefore, it had to be changed. I responded by saying that he should consider clarification based upon concepts rather than literal translations of words and that the concept behind the distinction between 'actuality' and 'reality' was first publicly presented in the French Language in the 17th century by Rene Des-Cartes in his Meditations on the First Philosophy. There, Des-Cartes explained the distinction as 'formal' and 'objective' reality.
Unfortunately for those Rosicrucians who are studying under "modernized" teachings, they do not have available the initial teachings as derived from the Nodin Manuscript. Assuredly, the distinction between actuality and reality is critical to understanding the Rosicrucian system. Without it, we are lost.
As another example, and this took place in the English Jurisdiction of AMORC, the Nodin Manuscript teaches about the human mind and the variances of understanding multiple realities. Two "minds" are referenced: the objective and the spiritual ('subconscious' was introduced by H. Spencer Lewis to replace 'spiritual'). However, in the 1970's, someone decided that a more acceptable "psychological" approach should be taught and a third aspect, the "subjective mind" should be introduced. Perhaps this is fine for psychology, but not for mysticism because it drastically changes a whole array of concepts and does more to confuse than to enlighten.
At the moment, AMORC proclaimed H. Spencer Lewis' monographs as being antiquated and have now adopted teachings that were written by a team of doctors, scientists, etc. that were appointed by Christian Bernard.
ARC, a vehicle originally formed by a number of individuals after the break-up of AMORC in 1990 and which was initially intended to serve my Office, is presently using monographs which were retyped from series written by H. Spencer and Ralph Lewis by a considerable number of volunteers but edited by Ashley McFadden. In those monographs, one will find concepts modified to conform to what Paul Walden and Ashley McFadden think or want the teachings to say.
I make these comments regarding ARC and AMORC not out of derision or for any personal reason. They are made to inform the reader of the present situation and so that the individual has more information to make whatever personal decisions they wish.
What you, as a member of the CR+C can expect by way of Rosicrucian teachings is that: 1. All monographs, typed, edited, etc, are prepared by myself exclusively; 2. that all monographs presented are from the original writings of H. Spencer Lewis written at a time when no outside revisions or influence found their way into the teachings; 3. that the only changes made within the monographs will have no effect upon the original concepts and such changes will be limited to changing the name of the vehicle from "AMORC" to CR+C, deletions of requests for donations, the making of wills naming any organization as a beneficiary, and advertisements; 4. modernization of examples given (i.e., I may use an example of quantum physics or string theory to replace an example using radio waves.); and 5. you will also receive additional comments or insights originating from Ralph Lewis when I know them, and also additional comments, in-depth explanations, etc. by myself. If such are made within a monograph, it will be clearly stated or I may write additional monographs to be included with the originals.
The Imperator is the traditional and initiatic head of the Rosicrucian Movement. He or she is always, without exception, chosen by his or her predecessor by virtue of personal selection. He or she must take both personal vows to the preceding Imperator as well as to the Rosicrucian Movement. Upon the death of the preceding Imperator, the new Imperator is to be ritualistically installed by an individual also chosen by the preceding Imperator. Such an individual may either personally install or direct the installation of the new Imperator.
Each Imperator will have passed to them personal signs, symbols, and documents from the previous Imperator and which remain in the personal possession of the Imperator until it is time to pass those items to a chosen successor.
Gary L. Stewart