Serving the ideals of the Rosicrucian Movement

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

I reached it with enough daylight so as to take a very competent view of it. Now it was an exceeding royal and beautiful portal. Upon it, there were carved a multitude of most noble figures and devices, every one of which (as I afterwards learned) had its peculiar signification. Above was fixed a pretty large tablet, with these words, Procul hinc, procul itc profani {Begone, begone! ye who are not called}, and other things beside, that I was earnestly forbidden to relate.

CRC has arrived at the portal of initiation. Again, there is a tablet, this time with the warning to all who come to the mysteries without due preparation. Since we are not candidates duly and properly prepared, he cannot tell us any more.

Now as soon as I was come under the portal, there came forth one in a sky-coloured habit. I saluted the figure in a friendly manner, but though he thankfully returned my greeting, yet he instantly demanded of me my letter of invitation. Oh how glad I was that I had brought it with me! For how easily might I have forgotten it (as it also chanced to others) as he himself told me. I quickly presented it, wherewith he was not only satisfied, but (at which I much wondered) showed me abundance of respect, saying, Come in my brother, an acceptable guest you are to me; and withal entreated me not to withhold my name from him. Now having replied, that I was a Brother of the Red-Rosie Cross, he both wondered, and seemed to rejoice at it, and then proceeded thus, My brother, have you nothing about you wherewith to purchase a token? I answered my ability was small, but if he saw anything about me he had a mind to, it was at his service.

As he crosses the portal, CRC meets the gatekeeper of the mysteries and is required to prove his right of entry. Note that his right is by invitation only. None of us has the right to demand entry, we can only be invited and that only after we have done the preparatory work and are found to be worthy. Others have "forgotten" their invitations, that is, they have forgotten their spiritual lessons and have failed the preliminary work. They have no right of entry. Soon we shall discover this is the first of 3 gates. CRC identifies his status as a Brother Rose Cross because he has self-conscious awareness of who he is. He would never have received an invitation if that were not so. There is the need for an exchange in order to receive a token. We must give in order to receive.

Now he having requested of me my bottle of water, and I granted it. By reason of this, he did give me a golden token whereon stood no more but these two letters, S.C. {Sanitate Constantia - Steadfastness in Piety}. He entreated me that when it stood me in good stead, I would remember him. After which I asked him, how many had gone in before me, which he also told me, and lastly out of mere friendship gave me a sealed letter to the second Porter.

CRC has passed his first test, he is steadfast in piety. However, this is not an initiation. It is only a test of worthiness, for permission to go further on the path. Thus, he receives a sealed letter for the second gatekeeper. To do so, he gives up his water. The second means of ascent hinted at in the Emerald Tablet.

Now having lingered some time with him, the night grew on. Whereupon a great beacon upon the gates was immediately fired, that so if any were still upon the way, they might make haste thither. But the way where it finished at the castle, was on both sides enclosed with walls, and planted with all sorts of excellent fruit trees, and still on every third tree laterns were hung. All the candles were already lighted with a glorious torch by a beautiful Virgin, clothed in sky-colour, which was so noble and majestic a spectacle, that I yet delayed somewhat longer than was requisite.

The path of initiation is lit by 3 fires: a great beacon, candles and a torch. The candidate will always be provided with the illumination necessary for his initiation. Furthermore, there is always a way-shower, in this case yet another manifestation of the great feminine. By this stage we can infer that the mysteries that CRC will be shown, are feminine mysteries. This will be confirmed when we meet Lady Venus.

But at length after sufficient information, and an advantageous instruction, I departed in friendship from the first Porter. On the way, though I would gladly have known what was written in my letter, yet since I had no reason to mistrust the Porter, I forbear my purpose, and so went on the way, until I came likewise to the second gate, which though it was very like the other, yet was it adorned with images and mystic significations. In the affixed tablet stood Date et dabitur vobis {Give and it will be given unto you}.

At the end of the first test information and instruction is given to enable the candidate to meet the second test. At the second gate there is a second tablet. Again, CRC passes because he has already given to the first Porter and now receives. This is karma stated another way. This gives each of us confidence to follow the path of initiation.

Under this gate lay a terrible grim lion in chains. As soon as he saw me, the lion arose and made at me with great roaring; whereupon the second Porter who lay upon a stone of marble awakened, and wished me not to be troubled or frightened, and then drove back the lion, and having received the letter which I with trembling gave him, he read it, and with very great respect spake thus to me, "Welcome in God’s Name to the man whom of long time I have hoped to see." Meanwhile he also drew out a token, and asked me whether I could purchase it? But having nothing else left but my salt, I presented it to him, which he thankfully accepted. Upon this token again stood only two letters, namely, S.M. {Studio Merentis - To the worthy in study}.

The lion is symbolic of an alchemical process connected with Sulfur as one of 3 principles. The key to the successful completion of the process, is CRC’s good intent. How do our motives stand up to scrutiny? Note that the second gatekeeper is associated with a stone. Yet again, a reference to a particular psychic centre in conjunction with an alchemical process. The reference to God’s Name is to a Word of Power, appropriate to this stage of the initiation. The gatekeeper’s expectation of CRC is significant. We shall understand that later. Again, there is an exchange, salt for a token. The final token of the 3 steps of ascent in the Emerald Tablet is given up. Another test is passed, because CRC is worthy in study. Remember the 12 Disciplines?

Being now just about to enter discourse with him, a bell began to ring in the castle, whereupon the Porter counselled me to run apace, or else all the pains and labour I had hitherto taken would serve to no purpose, for the lights above began already to be extinguished. I ran with such haste that I heeded not the Porter, in such anguish was I, and truly it was but necessary, for I could not run so fast but that the Virgin, after whom all the lights were put out, was at my heels, and I should never have found the way, had not she with her torch afforded me some light. I was moreover constrained to enter the gate close by to her, and the gate was so suddenly shut to that a part of my coat was locked out. I was verily forced to leave it behind me; for neither I, nor anyone who stood ready without and called at the gate could prevail with the Porter to open it again, but he delivered the keys to the Virgin, who took them with her into the court.

The bell is the warning from our higher self, always watching and waiting. Although the path is dark, our inner feminine will always guide us and light the way. CRC loses his coat. Remember at the end of Day One, as part of his preparation for the inner journey, the coat is part of his single path of redescent, as per the Emerald Tablet? Again, upon passing through the 3rd portal, he has given something up to the gatekeeper. It is now clear that the Virgin fulfils the function of "Psychopompos", in the Greek mysteries, the "Conductor of Souls". She takes the keys to the mystery temple. She is responsible for CRC.

In the interim, I again surveyed the gate, which now appeared so rich, so rich that the whole world could not equal it. By the door were two columns. On one stood a pleasant figure with the inscription, Congratulor. The other having its countenance veiled was sad, and beneath was written, Condoleo. In brief, the inscriptions and figures thereon, were so dark and mysterious, that the most dexterous man upon earth could not have expounded them. But all these (if God permit) I shall at some time publish and explain. Under this gate I was again to give my name, which was this last time written down in a little vellum book, and immediately with the rest dispatched to the Lord Bride-Groom. Here it was where I first received the true guest token, which was somewhat less than the former, but yet much heavier. Upon this stood these letters, S.P.N. {Salus per Naturam - Salvation through Nature}.

We know that we have entered the temple proper, when we see the 2 columns on either side of the door. They are the pillars of Mercy (Congratulor) and Severity (Condoleo) on the Tree of Life, on either side of the middle pillar (in this case the door) of Grace. The inscriptions and figures can only be explained by a duly tried and tested candidate like CRC. His name (as a successful aspirant) is recorded in a way that reminds us of the Book of Life, in the Apocalypse of John. Having given up his coat, CRC receives the true token because he has passed his fourth test. He can now expect to be saved through Nature - although not yet clear, the Virgin of the Chymical Marriage.

Let us pause and consider. To get to this point CRC (1) has entered 3 gates and passed 4 tests. Yet again, we are reminded of the formula of the alchemical process in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. There are 4 steps of descent, 3 steps of ascent and 1 step of redescent, all centred on the Sun of Tiferet. We "ascend" by an exchange, by giving up something that belongs to us. That is in conjunction with a test that "descends" upon us. It is worth considering these tests again, because each successfully passed, is also the formula of what is required:

  • Steadfastness in Piety
  • Give and it will be given unto you.
  • To be worthy in study.
  • Salvation through Nature

Knowing what to do enables us to redescend in full awareness of our spiritual identity and the work to be done, the "work of the Sun". This is preliminary to initiation.

Let us compare this process with what we are told in the Fama Fraternitatis about how CRC establishes his Order. First, he is alone (1). Then, he finds 3 members. Finally, he finds another 4. Thus in the Fama the formula is: 1 + 3 + 4 = 8. In the Emerald Tablet the formula is reversed as: 4 + 3 + 1 = 8. This polarity suggests that the Tablet and the Fama are mirror images of each other. What does a mirror do? It reflects reality. Is that the point? Which is reality and which is the image - the Tablet of Hermes or the Fama Fraternitatis? What in fact is "reality" and how can we know it? Are we the Dreamer, the Dreaming or the Dream?

Besides this, a new pair of shoes were given me, for the floor of the castle was laid with pure shining marble; my old shoes I was to give away to one of the poor who sat in throngs and in very good order under the gate. I bestowed them on an old man, after which two pages with as many torches conducted me into a little room. In the room, they willed me to sit down on a form, which I did, but they sticking their torches in two holes made in the pavement, departed and thus left me sitting alone. Soon after I heard a noise, but saw nothing, It proved to be certain men who stumbled in upon me; but since I could see nothing, I was fain to suffer, and attend what they would do with me; but presently perceiving them to be barbers, I entreated them not to jostle me so, for I was content to do whatever they desired, whereupon they quickly let me go, and so one of them (whom I could not yet see) fine and gently cut away the hair round about from the crown of my head, but on my forehead, ears and eyes he permitted my ice-grey locks to hang.

Kabala tells us that one of the images of Yesod on the Tree of Life, is a pair of sandals. Hence the new shoes that we receive, symbolise our ability to walk the inner journey. Clearly CRC is now in a higher level of reality, kabalistically, the level of Formation. Here we begin to come to grips with the problem of reality. To give away the old shoes to the poor, is to convey as much spiritual knowledge to those "poor in spirit" as it is possible for them to understand. The 2 pages with torches and CRC, symbolise the Tree of Life that lives within each of us. CRC is the middle pillar and each torch is one of the side pillars. The dark room is our present state of spiritual knowledge and here, we have to be alone for sometime in order to meditate deeply. Note that CRC is sitting between 2 flaming torches - the entrance to an inner gate. The shaving of the crown of the head is an obvious reference to the psychic centre called the Thousand Petalled Lotus and to the sefira called "Crown" on the Tree of Life. Remember, we are the living Tree. Ultimately, reality is grasped by this part of our spiritual nature.

In his first encounter (I must confess) I was ready to despair, for inasmuch as some of them shoved me so forcibly, and I could yet see nothing, I could think no other but that God for my curiosity had suffered me to miscarry. Now these invisible barbers carefully gathered up the hair which was cut off, and carried it away with them. After which the two pages entered again, and heartily laughed at me for being so terrified. But they had scarce spoken a few words with me, when again a little bell began to ring, which (as the pages informed me) was to give notice for assembling. They will me to rise, and through many walks, doors and winding stairs lighted me into a spacious hall. In this room was a great multitude of guests, emperors, kings, princes, and lords, noble and ignoble, rich and poor, and all sorts of people, at which I hugely marvelled, and thought to myself, Ah! how gross a fool hast thou been to engage upon this journey with so much bitterness and toil, when (behold) here are even those fellows whom thou well know, and yet you never had any reason to esteem. They are now all here, and thou with all thy prayers and supplications hath barely got in at the last. This and more the Devil at that time injected, whom I notwithstanding (as well as I could) directed to the issue.

After what is clearly another step in the initiatory process, a little bell calls for the journey to continue. CRC is now able to hear inwardly. After a labyrinthine trek, he emerges into the Hall (of Judgement). Every type of humanity is here, apparently without effort on their part. It is easy for us to be bitter in these circumstances if we lack discernment.

Meantime one or other of my acquaintance here and there spoke to me: Oh Brother Rosencreutz, art thou here too; yea, (my brethren) replied I, the grace of God hath helped me in also; at which they raised a mighty laughter, looking upon it as ridiculous that there should be need of God in so slight an occasion. Now having demanded each of them concerning his way, and found that most were forced to clamber over the rocks, certain trumpets (none of which we yet saw) began to sound to the table, whereupon they all seated themselves, every one as he judged himself above the rest; so that for me and some other sorry fellows there was hardly a little nook left at the lower-most table. Presently the two pages entered, and one of them said grace in so handsome and excellent manner, as rejoiced the very heart in my body.

The others in the Hall have taken the inner journey, but clearly, they do not understand its significance even though they have done it the hard way. The pillar of Grace on the Tree is has the sefira Tiferet at its centre and is assigned to the "heart". The page who says grace, is a young boy. One of the images of Tiferet is a young child. The Master said: "Lest ye be as little children, ye shall in no wise see the Kingdom of God". We have to attain the consciousness of Tiferet to achieve the necessary state of grace. Tiferet is the place of the Sun and hence the focus of the "work of the Sun", the 4 + 3 + 1 steps of the Tablet of Hermes.

Howbeit, certain great Sr John’s made but little reckoning of them, but winked one at another, biting their lips within their hats, and using more the like unseemly gestures. After this, meat was brought in, and albeit none could be seen, yet everything one rascal here, another there, would insinuate himself in between the nobles. They pretended to adventures such as neither Samson or Hercules with all their strength could ever have achieved. This one would discharge Atlas of his burden; another would again draw forth the three-headed Cerberus out of Hell; and so on. In brief, every man had his own prate, and yet the great lords were so simple that they believed their pretences, and the rogues so audacious, that although one or another of them was here and there rapped over the fingers with a knife, yet they flinched nor at it, but when any one perchance had filched a gold-chain, then would all hazard for the like. I saw one who heard the rustling of the heavens. The second could see Plato’s ideas. A third could number Democritus’s atoms. There were also not a few pretenders to the perpetual motion. Many (in my opinion) had good understanding, but assumed too much and to his own destruction.

It is often amazing that people of little discernment and small virtue can get away with the appearance of wisdom. However as we are about to see, there is always judgement.