Serving the ideals of the Rosicrucian Movement

The Mission of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross

by Gary L. Stewart

Also published in the book "Awakened Attitude"
a collection of essays by Gary L. Stewart

As members of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross (CR+C) we know that our organization is over three thousand years old. But what does that signify?

As Rosicrucians, we have a different perspective, as well as understanding, that only those of a traditional mind can fully appreciate. The number of years we have been in existence is not what is important. It is the fact that we are, which gives us value. In a linear sequence of events, it makes no difference whether we have existed for 50,000 years or 10 years. It is what we are that makes us important and, like the year that we celebrate, what we are is also unique.

As we study Rosicrucian teachings, we slowly begin to awaken to the values taught by the Order. We slowly begin to unravel the mysteries that surround such topics as cycles and tradition. Through such teachings something almost magical begins to happen. Within our hearts an awakening begins of something which is intangible--which cannot be expressed by words or intellect--yet, almost paradoxically, is expressed by way of a knowing which transcends all knowledge. This knowing is the first sign of an opening into the vastness of mysticism. I think that if we take time to meditate upon what we have read and learned in the monographs, we will find that our knowledge is much more vast than the words studied. Let us appreciate that, because often unrecognized by the student is the fact that something remarkable in our individual attainments has manifested--a newness, yet ancient beyond measure. What is the nature of this "ancient newness"? We will find that answer in our tradition.

Amongst CR+ C's membership there is a tremendous amount of interest in our history. The idea that Sir Francis Bacon was an Imperator, or the concept that 17th century Rosicrucianism exercised a profound impact upon European society and set forth an evolution of human thought and custom, excites the imagination and interest. But, of what other value is this knowledge? Is it truly important? The answer is both yes and no. No, it is not important if we only allow the interest to excite the imagination and debate endlessly about what really happened in Paris in 1622, or who really wrote the Rosicrucian Manifestoes. The answer is yes if we understand and participate in the movement. Herein lies the "secret" to understanding the importance of our history and tradition: "To participate in a movement."

Why is it important to preserve and perpetuate our tradition? Because our mission is not yet complete. How many of you have thought of Rosicrucianism as a movement set forth to complete a mission, or looked at our history and seen that message so blatantly written? How many of you have connected the private teachings we study so diligently--and which exercise a profoundly beneficial impact upon our lives--with the Temple initiations and rituals, and wed them with traditional Rosicrucian values? These three points, the Law of the Triangle, produce the fourth--the square or foundation and reveals to us our mission.

In the same way that the purpose of life, an age-old argument, cannot be defined, this mission cannot be stated. Simply put, there are no words. There is only a knowing. As mentioned earlier, this knowing is the vastness of mysticism.

To Rosicrucian mystics, it is a truism that for truth to be known, an awakening must manifest. This awakening is a transition from the intellect to the mystical consciousness and its application. This is, naturally, self-evident to Rosicrucians. Without such a transition, truth remains elusive. That, too, is self-evident. Before those who know and are entrusted with the truth can state it, there must be an audience to receive the truth and, more importantly, to know it. Once we know the truth, we become it, we live it, we are it.

As an example, I made reference earlier to the argument concerning who wrote the 17th century Rosicrucian Manifestoes, an argument not unlike the one concerning the authorship of the Shakespearean plays. Some scholars say the Rosicrucian Manifestoes were written by an individual named Andrea, while others name Sir Francis Bacon as the author, and some even say Dr John Dee. To identify any individual as the author and prove it unquestionably would be to identify the work as the product of one individual. Whether it was intended that way or not, such a mark of distinction would limit the effect of the work as a product of one individual's mind for the accomplishment of a specific purpose.

But in areas of Rosicrucianism, why is there so much controversy in questions of this type? Perhaps so as not to place limitations. And why not place limitations if not to preserve and ensure the success of a mission? If the truth be known, no one person wrote the Manifestoes. They were put into words by one person, and made public by a group. The Manifestoes are not the product of one individual, but, rather, the product of a movement to accomplish a mission derived from the hearts of those who attained a mystical consciousness and who necessarily recognized and took the responsibility to perpetuate the Work. When we remove ourselves from the limitations of individual personality in matters of Light and identify with a movement of an omnipotent nature, our mission becomes obvious. We simply know.

Mysticism is an essence. Rosicrucianism is our path, or technique. Our tradition is our vehicle, consisting of all that we are and will become. In addition to our doctrine and ritual, CR+C is also a cultural and educational organization. Let us not think of the latter two aspects as separate functions or extensions of CR+C, because they are not. We are not merely an organization that perpetuates culture and education. We are a traditional culture living in a contemporary society. We are a world society which knows no national boundaries and works in peace and harmony with all humanity.

This situation is historically unique and, in a way, identifies our mission as well as explains many of our actions. When past Imperator Ralph Lewis said that Rosicrucian studies assist the student to develop a living philosophy, he was not only speaking of the personal benefits to individual students, but also ensuring that the elements of the mission are ingrained within each student.

We are a society, we are a culture, regulated by our traditional laws to ensure that we respect, help, and serve humanity, and not fall victim to the limitations of power, control, and war problems which beset non-mystical societies and cultures.

More than three thousand years ago, wheels were set into motion and a plan was instituted. Our traditions and our activities were not always limited to physical realities, and could not always be measured by historical documentation, nor is measurement even remotely necessary. Mystical reality, Rosicrucian reality, cannot have such limitations. The important thing is that the tradition remained alive in the hearts of many, yet few, people for a very long time. The timelessness of our tradition and the limitlessness of our knowledge have worked for a directed purpose which I feel we will see fulfilled during most of our lifetimes.

However, fulfillment is only a beginning, for when a creation is complete, a direction must be intensified. Our beginning is to manifest that direction. It is now, more than at any previous time, that our Work will be the most difficult, and our need is you. Our Order, our mission, requires all of us to push ourselves endlessly and tirelessly.

Sir Francis Bacon wrote of the "New Atlantis," and many thought that he referred to America. But from our perspective, it is time to realize he did not consider a particular place, but rather a condition of a universal nature to be the "New Atlantis." Plato, in the Timaeus, Critias, and The Republic, wrote of the "old" Atlantis. In the traditional sense, the "Old Atlantis" failed--or did it? The "New Atlantis" is our decision to make.

This is indeed a crucial time. We are beset by ignorance as well as ambition and power. Even our Order has felt the effects of self-serving individuals and groups who do not want to, or cannot, recognize the mission. But such can only be expected. This is the world condition. What will it become? Indeed, our work now is the most difficult, and not everything is clear to everyone. Each of us needs to recognize this situation so that we can know what to do.

Do not be misled into thinking that there is a battle between Light and Darkness. There is only Light. We serve Light. Darkness is an illusion. Although it is true that Darkness has been created into a reality, it is still an illusion nonetheless.

We do not fight illusions; we transcend them. But all of this is well stated in our teachings, rituals, and traditions, and, as the mission has dictated for over 3000 years, in our hearts. We face a difficult task, but we have been well taught.

Indeed, this is why we traditionally celebrate each new year on the date of the Spring Equinox--to give thanks and to honor our purpose. This year I would like to expand this tradition for a period of fifty-two days, by daily rededicating ourselves to Rosicrucianism and its mission, as well as to conduct esoteric work in our Service to Light and the fulfillment of a plan. I know all of you will continue to work in your own way throughout your lives.

We, indeed, have something to celebrate!

To order "Awakened Attitude," a collection of essays by Gary L. Stewart click here.