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4.2 The Rose-Croix Doctrine

The Fama Fraternitatis is a document that aims to reform the whole world as well as a document directed to all the learned and scholars and to the European heads of State. In the title of the book there is a snake around an anchor. It begins with a satire of the social and moral reforms. According to the author the redemption can not come from the traditional Church but from a religion of the heart. The book then attacks the alchemists. In the second part there is a description of the life of Brother C.R. whose name will be given later. In fact it is a mythical bibliography of the life of Christian Rosencreutz, a man who never existed. Christian Rosencreutz is supposed to be born in 1378 on the Rhine border from poor but noble parents. At the age of four he was placed into an abbey where he learned Greek, Latin, Hebrew and magic. At the age of 16 with a religious brother he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Brother died at Cyprus and Christian went on his own but, due to an illness, he had to stop at Damcar in Arabia where he studied the secret of the wise men and where he was cured of his illness. The wise men took him to the “Philosophical City” where he remained for three years. He then went to Lebanon, Syria and Fez in Marocco where he was told the supreme Knowledge and required to transmit it to the Christian world as well as to create a secret society. In Spain he did a five year retreat in a wild place. He then recruited three disciples known by their initials only: Brother G.V., Brother I.A. and Brother I.O. Under Christian dictation, they wrote some fundamental books. They also built the temple of the Holy Spirit, cured the sick and comforted the hopeless. Seven years later the father copted other students and in this way he created a “Fraternity”. To be admitted in it one had to be an unmarried and chaste. These brothers, noble travellers, visited the whole world but they met once a year in a mysterious place called the Temple of the Holy Spirit. And the Fama says: “These men, led by God and by all the celestial machinery, chosen among the wisest of many centuries, have lived in the most perfect union, the absolute silence and the perfect Goodness”. These brothers who were travelling in various countries were subject to the following obligations:

– They had to take care of the sick free of charge.

– Interdiction to wear special uniform but on the opposite to adapt to the local habits.

– Obligation to be present on the day C in the house of the Holy Spirit or else explains the reason of the absence.

– Obligation to find a successor whenever the time makes it necessary.

– To take the letters R.C. as their seal.

– The fraternity must keep hidden for one century.

Five brothers took to the road and only Brothers B. And D. remained with Brother C. When these two left after one year, I.O. And his cousin stayed with him so that during all his life his was always assisted by two people. Each year all the members met with joy and made a summary of their experiences for the benefit of all. Their life went on in this useful activity and although they were never sick and never suffered pain their life came to a natural ending. The first to die in England was Brother I.O. as foreseen long before by Brother C. He was an expert in the Cabal and well learned in all subject as witnessed by his book called H. He was well known in England because he cured the young Count of Norfolk from leprosy. Nobody knows where he was buried as they had decided to hide their burial place. After I.O.’s death, Brother C. carried on his duties as before and called a meeting of all the members. The younger members of the fraternity did not know the date of the death of their loved Father R.C. They only knew the names of the founders and of their followers up to their time. Brother A. the successor of Brother D., the last member of the second generation, who lived a long time with the third generation members talked about the one hundred year mystery. After A.’s death nobody got any information on R.C. and his first brothers with the exception of what was written in the sacred books. After A.’s death, his successor, N.N., before leaving for his travels wanted to restore the house and in doing so, a successor of Brother C.R., discovered the Mausoleum. This building contained many elements to understand the life, the foundation and the philosophy of the fraternity. It also contained the body of the Founder of the fraternity with in his hand a little booklet called T. That is the most important document after the bible for the fraternity. The Fama, and R.C., condemn the alchemists as proof of their atheism. This has nothing to do with philosophy and it does not please God. Adam Haselmayer gave an answer to the preceding message. Here again, even if the Fama presents him as a living person, it is, a myth that allows to clarify the content of the Fama. Haselmayer learned of the Fraternity four years before any document was published. He stressed that the members were chosen by God to teach the Truth. He also said that the Holy Spirit Empire will be a reality after the return on earth of the Prophet Elie, that the Catholic Church will disappear with the Pope and that Jesus Christ will come back on earth. Haselmayer asked that the brothers of the “Rose-Croix” made themselves known to the world. It is generally accepted that Christian Rosencreutz is a mythical character. However some people think that he was the survivor of a family killed by the Inquisition. He learned the secret of the “Rose-Croix” while hiding in Turkey and Arabia. According to the legend the Rose-Croix existed already in these countries. Back in Europe he took the name of Christian Rosencreutz. The Fama is not easy to understand and is better left to the experts. It now looks a little naive but when it was published it was a big success. Luther and Calvin were becoming popular but many people were still looking around for any sign of heresy in the others. The Jesuits and the Inquisition were still all powerful and feared. This explains why the Fama was not signed and its message written in obscure language. In fact nobody admitted to be a member of the fraternity. (q)

La Confessio was published in 1615 by the same publisher in Kassel. It is a twelve pages booklet that does not reveal anything new on the foreseen end of the world. It suggests to keep out of the Pope’s reach that the book qualifies as deceiver, viper and Antichrist. It also suggests to go back to the Gospel. At that time many people were preaching the end of the world. The “Rose-Croix” fraternity also said that to be saved one must be “elected” and that not every body will reach the eternal salvation. The fraternity also used a magic and secret writing and was interested in Astrology. La Confessio gives the impression, at the same time, to reveal something and to hide it. This document stresses the basic language that allows to read the Nature big book and to understand the mystery of the creation. However to do this one must possess the Gnose. La Confessio gives the name of Christian Rosencreutz who up to then was only known through his initials, C.R. (q)

The “Chymiques” marriage is supposed to have been written by Christian Rosencreutz in 1459 and has been published in Strasbourg in 1616 by the firm Zetzner. The name of the author was not mentioned. This book of 146 pages in the German edition describes a period of the life of Christian Rosencreutz when he was 81 year’s old. During seven days this old man is doing some very stressing physical exercises, answers difficult questions and justifies his intellectual thoughts to prove the rightness of his views. It is again an allegoric story that touches also alchemy. This book has been translated in different languages. The story begins the day before Easter when Christian Rosencreutz is meditating. He is invited to a royal wedding by a beautiful woman who has a blue dress with stars on it and who has wings. He is only one among many guests and they have to go out of a tower with the help of a rope that is thrown to them a maximum of seven times. All those who succeeded to get out receive a gold piece on which the rising sun appears on one side and the letters D.L.S. on the other. The second day Rosencreutz goes into a forest in which there are four roads to go to the King’s Palace. The first is short but dangerous; the second is long but easy if one does not go to the right or to the left. The third is the royal road with beautiful views but up to now only one man on a thousand has chosen it. The fourth one that leads to the death of the traveller is only acceptable for incorruptible people. Our wise man follows a crow that attacks a dove and arrives at the Royal gate. Here he gives his invitation to the guard and presents himself as a brother of the red “Rose-Croix”. He also gives him his water gourd. The first guard gives him a golden badge with the letters S.C. written on it as well as a letter for the second guard. In this way he arrives at the second gate where he sees two statues, one joyful and the other sad. A plate bears the words “Date et Dabitur Vobis” (Give and one will give you). A ferocious lion woke up on seeing him, roared and woke up the second guard. He took the letter and presented a second badge but wanted to be paid for it. He accepted salt in payment. On the badge were the initials S.M. Going through the gate he had to give again his name that was written at the bottom of a list to be given later on to his Highness, the fiancee. A third badge was given to Rosencreutz, a smaller one that the previous two but heavier and with the letters S.P.N. He also received new shoes as the castle was paved with clear marble. Barbers cut the top of his hair and then he was invited to eat. A very beautiful woman was present on the throne. She said that the next day the artists’ scale will decide who had the right to participate to the ceremony. Nine brothers, including Rosencreutz, decided to give up these trials and were chained down.

The next day the beautiful woman accompanied by 200 soldiers started to weight the guests including those you were kept prisoners. Rosencreutz was declared the winner of this test and free from his chains. Those who did not succeed these trials were punished and those who succeeded received the order of the Golden Fleece during a special meal. Rosencreutz visited the castle and especially the Phénix or library. Rosencreutz asked the Lady’s name but she only gave him clues to it and he solved the quiz.

On the fourth day the guests were presented to the King and to the Queen. After they washed themselves and drank in a golden cup. By a winding staircase with 365 steps they reached a room guarded by 60 virgins where they saw the King and the Queen. Other members of the royal family were decapitated and after them the executioner. The corpses were put on a boat that left the harbour.

On the fifth day Rosencreutz went into an arched room full of precious stone. An angel holding an unknown tree is in a basin. This basin rests on three animals: an eagle, an ox and a lion. This was the memorial to Venus who Rosencreutz was able to see in all her naked beauty after going down a staircase. The Chairwoman took her guests to the six coffins guarded by eight masked men and to a mausoleum resting on seven columns. The presents were supposed to help in the resurrections of the royal persons just buried and for this reason they went on some boats that took to the sea in a very specific order. The guests were taken to a square island surrounded by walls with seven towers and seven floors. In the central tower there was a laboratory where natural medicine made from herbs in the presence of jewels was prepared to insure the resurrection of the corpses. After a light meal Rosencreutz went for a lonely walk and saw seven flames that settled on top of the tower and a tempest upset the sea. Frightened and tired Rosencreutz went to sleep. (q)

On the sixth day, the guests were allowed to choose from ladder, ropes and wings to go to the upper floor through a trap. Once there they were asked to pray for the King and the Queen. A strange box containing six corpses was brought in the room and them the bearers started to play joyful music. The Chairwoman performed an alchemy experiment dissolving the corpses with hot water and producing a heavy liquid. The guests were asked to cut a globe in two equal parts and they found a white egg that the chairwoman took away. The guests were then asked to go to the fourth floor where a square caldron in red copper and filled with yellow sand was heated. The egg was put in the sand to mature. On the caldron somebody had written meaningless words and sentences in Latin. Finally the egg broke down and let a bird escape and the guests put it on the hot sand. A safe bed was prepared for the bird before it was fed with the blood of the decapitated people. The black bird grew in front of their eyes and was very agitated and could have hurt the presents. A second dish was brought to him, probably blood again, and his pens became white as snow. He became also calmer. After the third dish his pens were of very bright and beautiful colour. Suddenly he was tamed. The experiments went on like this in all the six rooms where one entered through a trap. Rosencreutz and three other companions were not allowed in the seventh room. But they were the Chosen because man never knows the Good that God wishes on him. The four companions built two puppets, a boy and a girl, with water and cinder. The blood of the Phénix was poured in their mouths and they grew tall and beautiful. A window in the roof opened and a flame burst through to become part of the corpse. The puppets moved but to come alive the operation had to be repeated three times. The puppets became alive as the Royal couple. They had in fact the souls of the six Kings decapitated. The young King and the young Queen received some very beautiful clothes of bright colour.

The seventh day the guests dressed in yellow robes and wearing their Golden Flees were consecrated as Knights of the Golden Stone. They then swore to the young King to always fight for Purity. Christian Rosencreutz signed the book: “The supreme science is to know nothing. Brother Christian-Rose-Croix, Knight of the golden Stone, 1459”. The Chosens left the island in 12 boats preceded by the King and the Queen in 500 vessels. Rosencreutz was feasted and received with all the honour but he remained very humble. One of the guard made a request: he was a famous astrologer but having seen Venus on her bed he was condemned to become a guard. He would only be freed when another man would do the same thing and according to the stars the day has come. Rosencreutz admitted what he did and the King sent him to be the next guard of the gate. Rosencreutz was very unhappy but there was nothing he can do about it and he had to leave the King. Rosencreutz was then taken to another apartment by two old wise men but we do not know what happened as two pages are missing at that point in the book. However Rosencreutz did not remain long as a guard. He went back to his country and that means that he was the Chosen One because he saw what the other human being cannot see. He could not be punished for ever because after tasting the Eternity he came back to the physical world to transmit the Message of the “Rose-Croix” Brothers as foreseen in the Fama. These hand-written texts were translated in many languages and were published in different countries. For instance, in August 1623, some posters were affixed on the walls of Paris to inform the people. The Catholic Church was worrying because these posters looked like Huguenot propaganda. They also explained what the authors intended to do. They were looking for a unique temporal power as well as a sole spiritual authority in this age full of violence, war, robberies and when the Catholic Church is still selling indulgences. (q)