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4.1 Introduction

The “Rose-Croix” appeared first in 1614 in the Habsbourg Empire. An anonymous book, Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, was published in Kassel. Later it became known that the author was Johann Valentin Andrea (1586-1654). According to this book it is Christian Rosenkreutz born in 1378 and dead 108 year old (or 106 according to other sources) that founded the “Rose-Croix” with three other “Frères Zélés”. Of course this is a legend. The Fama did not present the “Rose-Croix” as a secret society but as a Fraternity of men united by common philosophy, religion politic and a freely accepted discipline of the anonymousness. They believed that the study of sciences, including alchemy, allowed man, created as the image of God, to recover the intelligence and the mastership of Nature that was his before the Original Sin. They also proclaim that the authentic Christianism is the perfect religion as it allows man to be united to God without any intermediary. It is why the various Christian religions claim that this interpretation of the Gospels is wrong and that their own is right. The Rose-Croix also stressed that the head of the Saint Empire Roman Germanic possessed the temporal and spiritual power. It was him and not the Pope (whose election he could vetoed) the real head of Christendom. This way of thinking dates from the founder of the Saint Empire, Charlemagne, as well as from the Habsbourg. But it came in disuse as the Empire weakened. The “Rose-Croix” wanted to bring it back to its past glory not only over the Empire but through the world according to the Habsbourg motto: Austria Est Imperari Orbis Universo”. The Emperor would then be like Solomon, legendary head of the Masons under the name of Yakeh, and also King of the world. At the beginning of the 18th century many German members of the “Rose-Croix” joined the Masons to spread their doctrine. This had two immediate results: the Masons created, in addition to the existing grades of Apprentice, Companion and Master, some higher grades reserved to an elite or super-masonry; the history of the Masons was modified in order to make it appears that its origins were farther away in the past. The masonry with higher grades was called Scottish Masonry. The Masons were not thought anymore as the continuation of the builder corporations but as the followers of the Templars and even of the Priest of old Egypt. This explains the origins of the Masonic rites of the “Strict Templar Observance” and of Misraim. (n)

Between 1614 and 1620 a strange persona became to be known in Europe. It is a kind of a mythical person who founded the enigmatical fraternity of the “Rose-Croix”. This organisation astonishes, frightens and is the object of the most contradictory commentaries. During these six years about four hundred pamphlets have been published on the subject. The unsigned manifestos of this organisation were copied, translated and circulated in Europe. People spoke, some well some in bad terms, of Christian Rose-Croix or Christian Rosencreutz or Rosenkreuz, born in 1378 and dead in 1484 at the age of 106 years. His tomb has been discovered in 1604 only 120 years after his death. In fact he had announced this during his life. Three anonymous documents are at the base of this interest:

-La Fama Fraternitatis, published in Kassel in 1614.

-La Confessio, again published in Kassel in 1615.

-The Chymique marriage of Christian Rose-Croix published in Germany and in Strasbourg in 1616.

Some posting-bills were stuck all other Paris in 1622 that explained the spirit of this strange fraternity: “We, members of the main College of the Brethren of the Rose-Croix, are visibly and invisibly living in this town, by the Grace of the Omnipotent towards who the heart of the just turn to prevent the men, our brothers, to commit mistake of death”.
One is wandering who these people who can become invisible, who speak every language, who can understand everybody’ soul and who make themselves known only to those who are looking for the internal illumination. These people are very strange. They move in our world as ordinary people do but they stay in the background with their own personality that are inconceivable and that they do not reveal. Why the word “Rose-Croix”? What is the link between this instrument of torture that is closely linked with Christ’s passion drama and the freshness of a rose? Can the temporary beauty of this flower impose itself to the eternal cross? Because the cross leads us toward a mysterious future in evolution. It is also a sacred object whose four arms are a sign of movement. On the opposite the rose is a symbol of temporary beauty. The cross is linked to death while the rose is a sign of life. These people do not care to link what is fragile and temporary to the eternal cross. The four arms of the cross meet in a focal point, the number of man, a secret centre, a feminine symbol. We are then coming in the field of hermetic art, witness of a political, spiritual and religious media. These strange writings are not anymore the result of somebody’s work but are the aspirations of a group of people in front of life’s difficulties and who want their voice to be heard while remaining in the background. They are afraid of the possible punishment but they keep their secret because they know too that these roads are not visible for those that are not one of them. These hermetic writings are not independent of the word events of that time. It is in the Germany of the beginning of the 17th century that “Rose-Croix” is born at the time when Rodolphe II was reigning until his death in 1612. Those who wrote these three manifestos were in direct contact with the people who made the Renaissance adding also a touch of mystery. The presumed author of these writings, Andreae, is the reflection of his time. He is only the spokesman of a hidden secret society that decided to make itself known to the public. This society does not refer itself to old mysteries but, on the opposite, is an image of its time, the beginning of the 17th century. The members of this secret society described their activities as follow:

“The brothers of the Rose-Croix commit themselves to dispense free medicine, to meet once a year and to keep their assemblies secrete. They are convinced that their belief is the best. They are pious and wise, they know by revelation those people who are to be accepted as members, they do not suffer from hunger or thirst or illnesses, they command to the spirit and the Evils, they can attract to them the precious stones, they invented a universal language, the Pope is the antichrist, their chief is the Roman Emperor and they will give him more gold that is imaginable as their mine is without end.” (q)