This is an excerpt from the Introductory Monograph of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross
(All material contained herein is copyrighted by Gary L. Stewart, Imperator and may not be reproduced by any means without the expressed written consent of the individual holding copyright.)
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.