Serving the ideals of the Rosicrucian Movement

Commentaries on the Chymical Wedding of C.R.C.

The First Day

by Jack Courtis

On an evening before Easter-day, I sat at a table, and having (as my custom was) in humble prayer sufficiently conversed with my Creator, and considered many great mysteries (whereof the Father of Lights, his Majesty, had shown me not a few) and being now ready to prepare in my heart, together with my dear Paschal Lamb, a small, unleavened, undefiled cake; of a sudden there ariseth so horrible a tempest, that I imagined no other but that through its mighty force, the hill whereon my little house was rounded, would fly in pieces. But in as much as this, and the like form the Devil (who had done me many a spite) was no new thing to me, I took courage, and persisted in my meditation, till some body after an unusual manner, touched me on the back;

The text begins on an evening before Easter day. This immediately points to the Christian nature of the mysteries that we are about to encounter. More precisely, we have to consider the greatest of all mysteries, that of life/death and resurrection. This is precisely the whole point of the inner journey of CRC because the 3 elements of life, death and resurrection, are the outer manifestation of inner transformation. This is an initiation.

If we look very closely, we notice that CRC is in the process of conducting the 4 inner disciplines of prayer (humble prayer), study (considered many great mysteries), fasting (small, unleavened, undefiled cake) and meditation (sufficiently conversed with Creator). It is clear that the process of personal transformation must begin with the first 4 of the spiritual disciplines.

Moreover, if we look carefully at the text of the First Day, we notice that CRC is also conducting the disciplines of solitude (little house on hill), simplicity (the lifestyle that he describes), submission (ready to prepare in my heart) and service (he makes this vow in the very last lines of the First Day). Overall, the remaining text of the Chymical Marriage indicates the disciplines of worship, guidance, confession and celebration.

Clearly, neither CRC nor we, can begin the inner journey unless we have already begun to perform the spiritual disciplines. There are 12 such disciplines in 3 groups of 4 and these numbers are significant signposts along the way on the inner landscape.

We should also note at this early stage, that CRC describes his experience as Seven Days. Immediately, we are reminded of Genesis ch1 and note that for the first 6 Days, God acts with the principle of polarity. On the Seventh Day, the opposites are reconciled. Let us bear this in mind as we follow CRC. In fact, if we can go where he has gone, we shall have his experiences. A lot more is implied by this than simply a dry intellectual reading of the text. This is a guided meditation. CRC has created a visual map for us to follow. Let us proceed.

whereupon I was so hugely terrified, that I would hardly look about me; yet I showed myself as cheerful as (in the like occurrences) my human frailty would permit; now the same thing still twitching me several times by the coat, I looked back, and behold it was a fair and glorious lady, whose garments were all sky-blue, and curiously (like Heaven) bespangled with golden stars. In her right hand she held a trumpet of beaten gold, whereon a Name was engraved which I could well read but am as yet forbidden to reveal it.

First, we must remember that this is an experience that CRC has while he is in meditation. Secondly, he is touched in an "unusual" manner. This tells us that CRC is functioning on a higher level of reality. The lady that he describes sounds similar to the Woman in the Apocalypse ch 12 v 1. The trumpet in her right hand and the Name, are both Apocalyptic echoes.

In her left hand she had a great bundle of letters of all languages, which she (as I afterwards understood) was to carry into all countries. She had also large and beautiful wings, full of eyes throughout (like unto the Cherubim: "six winged, many eyed" - Eastern Orthodox Liturgy), wherewith she could mount aloft, and fly swifter than any eagle.

The Apocalyptic imagery continues with the letters (as in the 7 Letters to the 7 Churches) and the description of her wings (as in the 4 living creatures). All of this suggests that the Apocalypse of John is the source of a great deal of information relevant to personal transformation and the inner journey. Once again, polarity is noted by the trumpet in the right hand and the letters, in the left. Both are forms of communication. One is auditory and the other is visual. "Those with ears, let them hear; those with eyes, let them see."

I might have been able to take further notice of her, but because she stayed so small time with me, and terror and amazement still possessed me, I was inclined to be content. For a soon as I turned about, she turned her letters over and over, and at length drew out a small one and with great reverence she laid it upon the table, and without giving one word, departed. But in her mounting upward, she gave so mighty a blast on her gallant trumpet, that the whole hill echoed thereof, and for a full quarter of an hour after, I could hardly hear my own words.

The emotion that CRC feels, is a good indication of the genuine nature of the experience. This is not just an intellectual exercise. Mere intellect will never get us to the end of our journey. The emotions have to be fully engaged.

In so unlooked for an adventure I was at a loss. How was I to advise, or assist my poor self, and therefore fell upon my knees and besought my Creator to permit nothing contrary to my eternal happiness to befall me; whereupon with fear and trembling, I went to the letter, which was now so heavy, that if it were gold, it could hardly have been so weighty. Now as I was diligently viewing it, I found a little seal, whereupon a curious cross with this inscription, IN HOC SIGNO VINCES {In this Sign you will be victorious}, was engraved.

First, the seal reminds us of the 7 Seals of the Apocalypse. Secondly, the "curious cross" is in the form of John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica. That in turn reminds us of alchemy and we can then make sense of the point that the letter is as heavy as "gold". The great secret of transmutation, personal transformation, is being conveyed by this letter. The secret is explained by the Latin phrase in hoc signo vinces. This is a direct reference to the vision of Constantine on the eve of the Battle of the Malvern Bridge. Having been abandoned by the Roman gods, he turned to Christ and was rewarded with a vision of the Monogram of Christ and heard the words, "in this sign you will be victorious". Like CRC, his experience was both auditory and visual. The next day, Constantine won the battle and became the first Christian emperor of Rome.

The Monogram of Christ is different in appearance from the Monas Hieroglyphica, but they both carry the same meaning. They are each, a symbol of the Great Work. The whole of the secret, is conveyed by each symbol. The Monas is a form of the alchemical Mercury, which in turn is composed of the astrological Sun, Moon and Mercury. Why two Mercuries? The astrological Mercury is of the Above and the alchemical Mercury is of the Below. Astrology explains the Above while alchemy explains the Below. What reconciles them? The Chymical Marriage. How? Consider the alchemical koan that "the Great Work is the conjunction of the Sun and the Moon, with the aid of Mercury". CRC is the personification of the Monas.

Now a soon as I saw this sign I was the more comforted, as not being ignorant that such a seal was little acceptable, and much less useful, to the Devil. Whereupon I tenderly opened the letter, and within it, in an azure field, in gold letters, found the following verses written.

The colours azure and gold, with azure as the background and gold superimposed, have an alchemical meaning. Kabalistically, they refer to sefirot on the Tree of Life, on a particular level of reality. These are clues to the process of transformation


This day, this day, this, this The Royal Marriage is. Art thou thereto by birth inclined, And unto joy of God designed, Then mayest thou to the mountain trend, Whereon three stately temples stand, And there see all from end to end. Keep watch and ward, Thy self regard; Unless with diligence thou bathe, The Marriage can’t thee harmless save: He will damage that here delays; Let him beware, too light that weighs.

Underneath stood Bridegroom and Bride.

The marriage reminds us of the wedding at Cana and the fact that it is a lawful union of the opposites by the integration of polarities. This process is lawful if done according to Divine law, eg alchemy, but unlawful if done contrary to divinity. We are constantly acting in such an unlawful fashion by the way in which we live our lives - with none of the spiritual disciplines. To call the marriage "Royal", is to bring in an extra element. It is not just an integration of polarities by the 12 Disciplines - that is necessary but not sufficient - it requires the Grace that comes from on high.