Serving the ideals of the Rosicrucian Movement

The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz

[The Chymical Wedding was first published in German at Strasbourg in the year 1616. However, it supposed to have existed in manuscript as early as 1601-2. It was translated into English for the first time in 1690 by E. Foxcroft. This translation became the source for many of the modern attempts to improve the original. The translation presented here is that of E. Foxcroft. Footnotes: Andre Rotkiewicz, Latin translations: Carl Williams.]

The First Day

On an Evening before Easter-Day, I sate at a Table, and having (as my Custom was) in my humble Prayer sufficiently conversed with my Creator, and considered many great Mysteries (whereof the Father of Lights his Majesty had shewn me not a few) and being now ready to prepare in my Heart, together with my dear Paschal Lamb, a small unleavened, undefiled Cake; all on a sudden ariseth so horrible a Tempest, that I imagined no other but that through its mighty force, the Hill whereon my little House was founded, would flye in pieces. But in as much as this, and the like from the Devil (who had done me many a spight) 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; whereupon I was so hugely terrified, that I durst hardly look about me; yet I shewed my self as cheerful as (in the like Occurrences) humane frailty would permit; Now the same thing still twiching me several times by the Coat, I looked back, and behold it was a fair and glorious Lady, whose Garments were all Skye-colour, and curiously (like Heaven) bespangled with golden Stars, in her right Hand she bare a Trumpet of beaten Gold, whereon a Name was ingraven (which I could well read in) but am as yet forbidden to reveal it. 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, wherewith she could mount aloft, and flye swifter than any Eagle. I might perhaps been able to take further notice of her, but because she staid so small time with me, and terror and amazement still possessed me, I was fain to be content. For as soon as I turned about, she turned her Letters over and over, and at length drew out a small one, which with great Reverence she laid down upon the Table, and without giving one word, departed from me. 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.

In so unlooked for an adventure I was at a loss, how either 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, as had it been meet 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 day 1 Vinces [1], was ingraven.

As soon as I espied 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 Golden Letters, found the following Verses written:--


"This day, this day, this, this
The Royal Wedding is.
Art thou thereto by birth inclined,
And unto joy of God designed?
Then mayest thou to the mountain tend,
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 Wedding can't thee harmless save;
He will damage that here delays;
Let him beware too light that weighs."


Underneath stood Sponsus and Sponsa. [2]

As soon as I had read this Letter, I was presently like to have fainted away, all my Hair stood on end, and a cold Sweat trickled down my whole Body. For although I well perceived that this was the appointed Wedding, whereof seven Years before I was acquainted in a bodily Vision, and which now so long time I had with great earnestness attended, and which lastly, by the account and calculation ot the Plannets, I had most diligently observed, I found so to be, yet could I never fore-see that it must happen under so grievous and perilous conditions. For whereas I before imagined that to be a well-come, and acceptable Guest, I needed only be ready to appear at the Wedding; I was now directed to Divine Providence, of which until this time I was never certain. I also found by my self, the more I examined my self, that in my Head there was nothing but gross mis-understanding, and blindness in mysterious things, so that I was not able to comprehend even those things which lay under my Feet, and which I daily conversed with, much less that I should be born to the searching out, and understanding of the Secrets of Nature; since in my opinion Nature might every where find a more vertuous Disciple, to whom to intrust her precious, though temporary, and changeable Treasures. I found also that my bodily behaviour, and outward good Conversation, and Brotherly Love toward my Neighbour, was not duly purged and cleansed; moreover the tickling of the Flesh manifested it self, whose affection was bent only to Pomp and Bravery, and Worldly Pride, and not to the good of mankind: And I was always contriving how by this art I might in a short time abundantly increase my profit and advantage, rear up stately Palaces, make my self an everlasting Name in the World, and other like Carnal designs. But the obscure Words concerning the Three Temples did particularly afflict me, which I was not able to make out by any after-Speculation, and perhaps should not yet, had they not been wonderfully revealed to me. Thus sticking betwixt Hope and Fear, examining my self again and again, and finding only my own Frailty and Impotency, not being in any wise able to succour my self, and exceedingly amazed at the fore-mentioned threatning; at length I betook my self to my usual and most secure course; after I had finished my earnest and most fervent Prayer, I laid me down in my Bed, that so perchance my good Angel by the Divine permission might appear, and (as it had sometimes formerly happened) instruct me in this doubtful affair, which to the praise of God, my own good, and my Neighbours faithful and hearty warning and amendment did now likewise fall out. For I was yet scarce fallen asleep, when me-thought, I, together with a numberless multitude of men lay fettered with great Chains in a dark Dungeon, wherein without the least glimps of Light, we swarmed like Bees one over another, and thus rendred each others affliction more grievous. But although neither I, nor any of the rest could see one jot; yet I continually heard one heaving himself above the other, when his Chains or Fetters were become ever so little lighter, though none of us had much reason to shove up the other, since we were all Captive Wretches. Now as I with the rest had continued a good while in this affliction, and each was still reproaching the other with his blindness and captivity, at length we heard many Trumpets sounding together, and Kettle Drums beating so artifically thereto, that it even revived and rejoyced us in our Calamity. During this Noise the cover of the Dungeon was from above lifted up, and a little light let down unto us. Then first might truly have been discerned the bustle we kept, for all went pesle-mesle, and he who perchance had too much heaved up himself, was forced down again under the others Feet. In brief, each one strove to be uppermost, neither did I my self linger, but with my weighty Fetters slipt up from under the rest, and then heaved my self upon a Stone, which I laid hold of; howbeit, I was several times caught at by others, from whom yet as well as I might, with Hands and Feet I still guarded my self. For we imagined no other but that we should all be set at Liberty, which yet fell out quite otherwise. For after the Nobles who looked upon us from above through the Hole, had a while recreated themselves with this our strugling and lamenting, a certain hoary-headed Ancient Man called to us to be quiet, and having scarce obtained it, began (as I still remember) thus to say on.

"If wretched Mankind would forbear
Themselves so to uphold,
Then sure on them much good confer,
My righteous Mother Could:
But since the same will not insue,
They must in Care and Sorrow rue,
And still in Prison lie.
Howbeit, my dear Mother will
Their Follies ouer-see,
Her choicest Goods permitting still
Too much in Light to be.
Though very rarely it may seem
That they may still keep some esteem,
Which else would pass for Forgery.
Wherefore in honour of the Feast
We this day solemnizes
That so her Grace may be increast,
A good deed she'd devise.
For now a Cord shall be let down,
And whosoever can hang thereon,
Shall freely be releast."

He had scarce done speaking, when an Ancient Matron commanded her Servants to let down the Cord seven times into the Dungeon, and draw up whosoever could hang upon it. Good God! that I could sufficiently describe the hurry and disquiet that then arose amongst us; For every one strove to get to the Cord, and yet only hindred each other. But after seven Minutes a sign was given by a little Bell, whereupon at the first Pull the Servants drew up four. At that time I could not come near the Cord by much, having (as is before-mentioned) to my huge misfourtune, betaken my self to a Stone at the Wall of the Dungeon, and thereby was disabled to get to the Cord which descended in the middle. The Cord was let down the second time, but divers, because their Chains were too heavy, and their Hands too tender, could not keep their hold on the Cord, but with themselves beat down many another, who else perhaps might have held fast enough; Nay, many an one was forcably pulled off by another, who yet could not himself get at it; so mutually envious were we even in this our great misery. But they of all others most moved my Compassion, whose weight was so heavy, that they tore their very hands from their Bodies, and yet could not get up. Thus it came to pass that at these five times very few were drawn up. For as soon as the sign was given, the Servants were so nimble at the draughts that the most part tumbled one upon another, and the Cord, this time especially, was drawn up very empty. Whereupon the greatest part, and even I my self, despaired of Redemption, and called upon God that he would have pitty on us, and (if possible) deliver us out of this obscurity, who also then heard some of us: For when the Cord came down the sixth time, some of them hung themselves fast upon it; and Whilst in the drawing up, the Cord swung from one side to the other, it (perhaps by the will of God) came to me, which I suddainly catching, uppermost above all the rest, and so at length beyond hope came out; whereat I exceedingly rejoyced, so that I perceived not the Wound, which in the drawing up I received on my Head by a sharp Stone, till I with the rest who were released (as was always before done) was fain to help at the seventh and last pull, at which time through straining, the Blood ran down all over my Cloathes, which I nevertheless for joy regarded not Now when the last draught whereon the most of all hung, was finished; The Matron caused the Cord to be laid away, and willed her aged Son (at which I much wondred) to declare her Resolution to the rest of the Prisoners; who after he had a little bethought himself spoke, thus unto them.

"Ye Children dear
All present here,
What is but now compleat and done,
Was long before resolved on:
What er'r my Mother of great Grace
To each on both sides here hath shown,
May never Discontent misplace;
The joyful time is drawing on,
When every one shall equal be,
None wealthy, none in penury.
Who er'e receiveth great Commands
Hath work enough to fill his Hands.
Who er'e with much hath trusted been,
'Tis well if he may save his skin.
Wherefore your lamentations cease,
What is't to waite for some few days?"

As soon as he had finished these Words, the Cover was again put to and locked down, and the Trumpets and Kettle-Drums began afresh, yet could not the noise thereof be so loud, but that the bitter Lamentation of the Prisoners which arose in the Dungeon was heard above all, which soon also caused my Eyes to run-over. Presently after the Ancient Matron, together with her Son sate down upon seats before prepared, and commanded the Redeemed should be told. Now as soon as she understood the number, and had written it down in a Gold-yellow Tablet, she demanded every ones Name, which were also written down by a little page; having viewed us all, one after another, she sighed, and spoke to her Son, so as I could well hear her, "Ah how hartily am I grieved for the poor Men in the Dungeon! I would to God I durst release them all," whereunto her Son replyed; "It is Mother thus ordained of God, against whom we may not contend. In case we all of us were Lords, and possessed all the Goods upon Earth, and were seated at Table, who would there then be to be bring up the Service?" whereupon his Mother held her peace, but soon after she said; "Well, however, let these be freed from their Fetters; which was likewise presently done, and I, except a few was the last; yet could I not refrain, but (though I still looked upon the rest, bowed my self before the Ancient Matron, and thanked God that through her, had graciously and fatherly vouch-safed to bring me out of such Darkness into the Light: After me the rest did likewise, to the satisfaction of the Matron. Lastly, to every one was given a piece of Gold for a Remembrance, and to spend by the way, on the one side whereof was stamped the rising Sun, on the other (as I remember) these three letters, D.L.S. [3] And therewith every one had License to depart, and was sent to his own Business with this annexed Intimation, That We to the Glory of God should benefit our Neighbours, and reserve in silence what we had been intrusted with, which we also promised to do, and so departed one from another; But in regard of the Wounds which the Fetters had caused me, I could not well go forward, but halted on both Feet, which the Matron presently espying, laughing at it, and calling me again to her said thus to me, My Son, let not this defect afflict thee, but call to mind thy Infirmities, and therewith thank God who hath permitted thee even in this World, and in the state of thy imperfection to come into so high a light, and keep these wounds for my sake. Whereupon the Trumpets began again to sound, which so affrighted me that I awoke, and then first perceived that it was onely a Dream, which was so strongly impressed upon my imagination, that I was still perpetually troubled about it,and me thought I was yet sensible of the wounds on my feet. Howbeit, by all these things I well understood that God had vouchsafed that I should be present at this mysterous and bidden Wedding; wherefore with Childlike confidence I returned thanks to his Divine Majesty, & besought him, that he would further preserve me in his fear, that he would daily fill my Heart with Wisdom and Understanding, and at length graciously conduct me to the desired end. Hereupon I prepared my self for the way, put on my white linnen Coat, girded my Loyns, with a Blood-red Ribbon bound-cross-ways over my Shoulder: In my Hat I stuck four red Roses, that I might the sooner by this Token be taken notice of amongst the throng. For food I took Bread, Salt, and Water, which by the counsel of an understanding person I had at certain times used, not without profit, in the like occurrences. But before I parted from my Cottage, I first in this my dress, and wedding Garment, fell down upon my Knees, and besought God, that in case such a thing were, he would vouchsafe me a good issue. And thereupon in the presence of God I made a vow, that if any thing through his grace should be revealed unto me, I would employ it neither to my own honour nor authority in the World, but to the spreading of his Name, and the service of my Neighbour. And with this vow, and good hope I departed out of my Cell with joy.


[1] "In this sign you will conquer."

[2] "Bridegroom and Bride"

[3] The three letters D.L.S. may stand for: "Deus Lux Solis, vel Deo Laus Semper" which can be translated as: "God is the light of the sun" or "Praise to God forever" (also, "Praise always to God").