Extracts from 

The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross 



By Arthur Edward Waite 

 (Printed by William Rider & Son Limited, London, 1924)  

Brotherhodd of the Rosy Cross

Chapter XVII - Saint-Germain and Cagliostro

Chapter XVIII - Fratres Lucis

Related Texts:

Alchemists, the Rosicrucians and Asiatic Brethrens -  C.W. Heckethorn

On the Islamic Origin of the Rose-Croix - E. Dantinne


Rosicrucian and Martinist 

Oonline Library:

Rosicrucian and Martinist


Secret Societies


We have seen that according to the evidence of Sigmund Richter there existed in Germany prior to the year 1710 — as doubtless then and thereafter — a dual Rosicrucian Order, denominated respectively the Brotherhood of the Rosy and Brotherhood of the Golden Cross, that they flourished under one headship whether or not they worked for one end. It is to be wished that it were possible to suggest on the basis of this division that there was a dual understanding and pursuit of the Magnum Opus, respectively on the spiritual and physical side; but in the absence of all evidence such a hypothesis is likely to prove intolerable. In the simple nature of things it is more colourable to suppose that the dedication; or one branch were represented by Elıxır VıtÆ, the Medicine of Men, and of the other by the Medicine of Metals; but the Laws published by Richter offer no warrant for inference in this or any other direction. We have seen also that according to the same Laws there was a certain manner of acception — presumably into the joint Order — and it was so simple in character that it can be scarcely called ceremonial. It was comparable — as I have said — to the method of conferring the Liveries still prevalent in certain City Companies of London; it was probably not unlike the mode of making an Entered Apprentice and communicating the Mason's Word in Scotland; finally — coeteris paribus — it recalls exactly the procedure indicated by some of the Old Charges of English origin.  But Sigmund Richter wrote and his Rosicrucian Orders worked prior to the foundation of the first Grand Lodge of Freemasons in 1717, and it was subsequent to this date that the Speculative Art or Science developed in the mode of Ritual and raised up that great beacon of the Craft Degrees which has since filled the world with its speaking light of ceremonial. 

After what manner it was propagated and to what additional Rites it gave rise I have shewn elsewhere and recently. The continent of Europe, but above all France and Germany, was like a garden planted everywhere with exotic flowers of Ritual. Between 1737 and 1777 the growth of Masonic Rites and Grades, and of Grades and Rites which passed under the name of Masonry, however little they belonged thereto in the facts of their purport and symbolism, is a thing without precedent in history. The Ancient Mysteries were numerous and widely spread, but in comparison herewith they were few and far between. During the sixty years which elapsed between Sigmund Richter's publication of the Laws of the Brotherhood in 1710 and the next epoch in the German Rosy Cross, which belong; to 1777, there is no evidence before us as to the nature of the secret workings in the Holy Houses,(1) but as regards that year there is the fullest material in print and rare manuscript to shew that the Rosicrucian Brotherhood had developed ceremonial forms and had passed, moreover, under the Masonic ægis. I shall give in the first place an account of the palmary Rite and its content, proceeding thence to a brief consideration of its historical aspects, so far as materials are available.

The Association still flourished as the Brotherhood of the Rosy and Golden Cross, but the denomination was generic and there is no evidence of division into two branches.  It is termed otherwise the Most Laudable Order and the Sublime, Most Ancient, Genuine and Honourable Society of the Golden Rosy Cross, abiding in the Providence of God. In the documents on which I depend there is a traditional history, otherwise a Legend of Foundation, presented in various forms to authenticate the Rite, and it may be summarised thus : (l) That Adam received immediately from his Creator the Gift of Wisdom, in virtue of which he understood universal Nature. (2) That this is intimated by Genesis when it is said that he gave names to all creatures. (3) That such knowledge was transmitted by him to his children. (4) That it has descended through all generations to the Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross and will remain in their custody, seeing that they are the chosen Sons of Wisdom. (5) That many are called but few elected, for few only are inspired by a valid fear of God and enlightened by the science of Nature. (6) That the succession of Wise Masters included Noah, Isaac, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, Solomon. as well as Hiram Abiff and Hermes Trismegistus. (7) That the Keepers of the Secret Tradition separated themselves from the profane multitude and that a law of deepest silence established in Egypt and Arabia in the days of Moses . (8) That the secret association flourished in those of Solomon and Hermes. (9) That it continued to exist in Syria during the Babylonian captivity. (10) That in course of time the hidden science which it connoted was spread over the whole globe, (11) That this diffusion led, however, to its deterioration through the wickedness of mankind. (12) That on such account it was reformed in the sixth century, a.d., by Seven Wise Masters and was brought in fine to its present position and development. (13) That the better to conceal their real purpose the Superiors of the Order established those lower Degrees which pass under the name of Freemasonry. (14) That they served, moreover, as a seminary or preparation for the higher curriculum of the Rosicrucian Order and as a kind of symbolical prolegomenon. (15) That at the same time Masonry has deteriorated on its own part and has passed almost beyond recognition, being profaned and adulterated by so many idle and useless additamenta. (16) That all this notwithstanding it remains the preparatory school of the Rosy Cross and from this source only can the Order itself be recruited.(2) 

Those who are acquainted with the broad elements of the Secret Tradition, in Israel and what may be called its charter of transmission will see that this Legend of Foundation is varied but slightly therefrom. the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross being substituted for other equally mythical keepers, such as the Sons of Doctrine in the Zohar. The Legend is notable otherwise as formulating for the first time, and on the authority of the Order itself, what may be called the once familiar and even popular thesis which represented Speculative Masonry as emerging from a Rosicrucian centre. Assuredly those writers of the early nineteenth century, such as Biihie and Nicolai, who put forward this view were unacquainted with these unprinted sources from which my account is drawn, and it is interesting that they were forestalled by the Brotherhood some twenty-five years at least. It should be added that the qualification required for Junıores of the Rosy Cross was that of Master Masons, who were termed Masters of the Appearance of Light, otherwise Masters of the Dawn of Light and of the Lost Word. At the beginning of his experience as a Novice the Candidate received a summary explanation of the Craft Grades in the light of Hermetic science. The Pillars J.·. and B.·. are significant of far more than simple Beauty and Strength: they connote eternity and time, the male and female principles, the two everlasting seeds, the active and passive which rule in all created Nature.  The Sun, Moon and Stars represent the Three Philosophical Principles, being Salt, Sulphur and Mercury. These are clear issues at their value, but it is said also — and in a more strained, artificial manner — that the seven steps set forth the wisdom of Solomon in his recognition of the Trinity and the four active qualities. They are typical also of the seven planets and seven metals. As regards Masonic tools — the gavel, compasses, trowel, square and so forth—they do not refer to the building of any earthly temple but to the work of erecting furnaces and the making of vessels which are necessary to the science of physics. In the Third Degree the dead body of Hiram alludes to philosophical putrefaction; the three lights mean God, Christ and Man. the beginning, middle and end of all things, and finally, soul, spirit and body.  As regards the Substituted Word in the Third Deg, the Novice is taught thereby that the inferior Brethren — who walks in parabolic darkness — have lost the Word, which is the Name applied to the true matter of the Stone, connoting also the valid understanding thereof and how it is to be sought and found, namely, through God and His wisdom, according to the blessing of Jacob(3) — that is, in the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth. The philosophical matter is said further to bear record of those who are three and one, yet not God, but the principle of the world and the end of all things. I conceive that this is an allusion to the three alchemical principles already mentioned, embroidered on Rosicrucian vestments.

The validity of these interpretations is not a question at issue, but the fact that they were communicated to neophytes as of faith in the Order, combined with the Masonic qualification and the claim that Speculative Masonry originated within the secret circle, are obvious warrants for affirming that whatever Grades were administered by the Golden and Rosy Cross can be regarded only as superposed on the Craft Degrees.(4) It was therefore within its own measures and subject to its distinctive characters a High Grade movement, comparable as such to the Rite of Perfection, the Scottish Philosophical Rite and others by scores. Like genuine Rose-Croix Masonry. it was also Christian and maintained the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, as we have indeed seen otherwise. The Grades were nine in number, being (l) Fratres Zelatores vel Juniores, (2) Fratres Theoretici, (3) Fratres Practici, (4) Fratres Philosophici, (5) Adepti Minores, (6) Adepti Majores, (7) Adepti Exempti, (8) Magistri, (9) Magi. The authority for this sequence rests in part on the documents, to some of which I have alluded, and in part on that work under the name of Magister Pianco, entitled The Rosıcrucıan Unveıled, published at Hamburg in 1782, the content of which has been discussed in my previous note.


The Masonic qualification was not in itself a sole and sufficient warrant for reception into the Rosy and Golden Cross. The petitioner having made his formal application for admission, and this having been entertained by the Directorate of the Order, he was supplied with a list of questions designed to test his fitness, and put by some texts in the following terms: (l) What in your opinion are the ends of this Sacred Order and in virtue of what motives do you seek admission? (2) Are you acquainted with the aims and dedications of our laudable Brotherhood and what are those qualities by which. In your own expectation, you hope to be found worthy to share therein? (3) Have you diligently examined your own capacity? (4) Are you conscious of such courage and firmness as will enable you to withstand those trials by which the Superiors of the Order may search your heart and prove your strength of mind? (5) Do you commit yourself with confidence to the Venerable Superiors of the Order, putting trust in their wisdom and love, notwithstanding that they have the power of life and death over those who are under their obedience? (6) Do you confess that the Holy and Worshipful Order is endowed with knowledge and wisdom, that it possesses the highest secrets of Nature, including true cognition of the image of our Principle, and that it can communicate them to zealous disciples, according to their abilities and desert? (7) Do you believe that the elevation of base metals into gold and silver can be performed by the processes of the Order? (8) Have you made any study of the works which treat of true physics, the high science of chemistry founded thereupon, and Natural and Divine Magic? What books do you know—meaning obviously on Hermetic subjects — and what are your views concerning them? (9) Have you made any practical experiments in chemistry, in which case what was the object in view and what was the result attained ? (10) Do you enjoy any secret knowledge whatever, and if so in what does it consist? (11) Are you ready and willing to attain the truth and to learn the refinement of metals by operative practice? (12) Are you pure in your intentions? Are you solely in search of wisdom, knowledge and virtue, according to good pleasure of God and for the service of your neighbour? (13) Have you, in fine, resolved, of your own free will and apart from all compulsion, to petition for admission to the Genuine, Most Ancient and Laudable Order of the Rosy and Golden Cross, submitting to its Laws and Bye-Laws, pledging yourself to inviolable secrecy and unconditional obedience, that you may become a true Son of Wisdom?

As regards the Form of Application which precede the communication of these test questions, it appears to have been brief and informal, the postulant being left to express it in his own terms. A typical example is as follows: "I, N.·.N.·., being a Master of the Shadow of Light and of the Lost Word, do petition hereby and herein, and by the Holy Number of the Order, to be received into the most Ancient and Genuine Order of True Rosicrucians, according to the old System." In respect of the question themselves, supposing that the particular Order of the Rosy Cross, whether of the old or another system, were veridic Adepti, familiar with the secrets of transmutation, it is — as we have seen in the case of the Sigmund Richter foundation — an incredible hypothesis that they should have been anxious to receive members and should have devised an elaborate system for the initiation and advancement of Candidates. They had nothing to gain thereby and they ran a considerable risk in respect of the Great Secret, which all alchemists were supposed to guard so jealously, while it was obviously possible that their science could be transmitted in a simpler and safer manner, according to the old traditional method of communication from master to pupil, and could in this way be kept alive equally in the world. I am led therefore to conclude that as this particular branch of the Rosy Cross was at least concerned mainly with the physical work on metals, it was an association on the quest and not at the term of attainment. Its position, in other words, was similar to that of Sigmund Richter, whether or not it had made a certain progress during the intervening sixty years.(5)

I pass now to the Rituals of the several Grades, of which there are five codices within my own knowledge, premising that they present the earlier stages at full length, while they disclose nothing whatever as regards the status of the Magistri and Magi or the method of induction into these exalted positions. Concerning postulants for the Novitiate, otherwise the Grade of Zelator, it is laid down (1) that the special qualifications are intelligence, sincerity, a disposition towards peace, desire of knowledge and the virtue of willing obedience; (2) that each applicant must be warned against fostering false and illusory notions; (3) that there must be no thought of riches or greatness; (4) that the heart must be set on the path of quickening virtue, realising (5) that it is the duty of one and all to carry the doctrines of the Order by their own diligence into practical experience. On the day for reception, the Candidate was provided with Bread and Wine in a vestibule and was required to wash his hands. There also he was asked whether it was his sincere wish to become a humble Apprentice of the True Wisdom and a zealous Brother of the Rosy Cross. Having satisfied his conductor, he was led into a second room and was called upon to affirm (1) that he had no vain or evil purpose in view; (2) that he was not covetous of material wealth; (3) that he thirsted after wisdom, virtue and the secret art for the better fulfillment of Christian duty. He was then bound with cords about the hands and neck, a white veil being also placed over his head. In this condition he was led to the third and innermost apartment, where he was presented as one those spiritual being was imprisoned by an earthly body, which however could be rendered perfect and thus justified by the spirit. He was subject to further questioning and placed within a fourfold circle to take the pledge of the Grade. The circles were respectively coloured black, white, yellow and red, by allusion to the successive states and stages which appear in the Philosophical Work, being (1) Putrefaction; (2) Albation; (3) Gradation; (4) Rubification, or the achievement of the Highest Arcanum of Nature. But the fourfold circle as a whole is said also to be a symbol of eternity — compare the Masonic Grade of Rose Croıx — and of the everlasting covenant into which the Candidate enters with God and the Brethren.

The Pledge was taken on the New Testament and — according to one of the codices—was couched in the following terms: "I, Brother X, Y, Z, in the Name of the Triune God, Omnipotent and Omnipresent, in the presence of this Illustrious Order, and before its Worshipful Masters, do hereby and hereon vow, promise and swear: (1) That I will work steadfastly in the fear of God and to His honour; (2) That I will never cause distress to my neighbour of my own will and intent; (3) That I will maintain inviolable secrecy in all that concerns the Brotherhood; (4) That I will always pay due obedience to my Superiors; (5) That I will act with perfect faith in respect of the Order; (6) That I will reserve no secret from the Honourable Fraternity which belongs to the business thereof; (7) And finally, that I will live for the Creator, His Divine Wisdom and for the Order. So help me God Almighty and His Holy Word."(6)  

It is obvious that this undertaking lies within the general measures of simple piety and good faith, there being nothing — on the surface — of an occult and much less of a Hermetic character, except in so far as the latter is connoted by the reference to " business " of the Order. In respect of Ritual procedure the Golden and Rosy Cross has not made any signal advance upon the Laws published in 1710, for the matter of its First Grade is practically before the reader. That which remains is concerned with the communication of Official Secrets, the Symbolic Name, the Arms bestowed on the Novice, and the payment of fees. 

Reception to the Grade of Theoreticus is even more like a shadow of procedure. The Candidate is led into the place of convocation, where he undertakes to maintain the Pledge of the Order and submit to all its Laws, after which he receives the Word and Token, together with a special Cipher, the necessity or reason of which does not appear in the text. The Grade of Practicus was important, at least, by its name; therein it was the duty of a Superior to instruct the lower Brethren and to prove all their mental powers, because the praxis of true philosophy must rest on a sound theory. On the day and in the place of his reception the Candidate certifies (1) that in his experience of the Order he has found nothing in opposition to the commands of God, the love of others or the welfare of the State; (2) that he will abide by the customs of the Fellowship; (3) that he desires to be numbered among the Practici; (4) that this is of his own free will and (5) that he covenants once more to maintain inviolably the Seven Points Major of his original Pledge. These undertakings are sealed by the threefold Grip of the Grade and the corresponding Secret Words. When the Grade of Philosophus is worked in ample form there is an elaborate arrangement of apartments and furniture therein, but the essential procedure in most versions lies within a moderate compass. The Candidate is caused to partake of Bread and Wine, and is reminded that the medial or vegetable kingdom of Nature produces nothing more exalted than are these gifts of Heaven, by which also God made and confirmed an Eternal Covenant with the race of man. He is then directed to wash in pure water and to remember in so doing that the Portals leading to the Higher Wisdom are closed to the impure and open only to virtuous and spiritual men. He is asked in formal terms whether he will become a Philosophus, is instructed in that case to pay the fee of the Grade and is welcomed by the Philosophical Brethren, who pray that wisdom, peace and joy in God may be with him. He testifies that he has looked for promotion, as on the previous occasions, that he may attain Wisdom, Art and Virtue, for the service of God and his neighbour. He repeats the Pledge of the Grade, which is one of obedience to the particular Laws thereof, and is anointed with oil in confirmation of his covenant, made with God and with the Order. It is prayed that the Spirit of Wisdom may strengthen his senses, enlighten his mind and rule in all his heart. He is given a new Word and another manner of token, after which he offers incense to the glory of God and His wisdom and for the welfare of all Brethren. In fine he is declared a Philosophical Brother in the name of the whole Order and is embraced by all present.

The Candidate for Rosicrucian advancement passes from the Grade of Philosophus to that of Adeptus Minor. It is the taking of an important step and preparations in all cases are made with solemn care. The President or Superior of his district makes known to him the fact of his election, or a messenger, who is himself an Adept, may be sent to him from the general centre. On the eve of the day of advancement he devotes himself to pious meditations on the Divine Goodness, on the immortality of the soul and its royal race. When the day itself arrives he repairs to the place of assembly in his richest vestures. The Ceremony in most codices, but not throughout the series, recalls that of the Eighteenth Degree in the Scottish Rite, otherwise Rose-Croıx of Heredom, and in the summary account which follows I shall omit all descriptions of interiors by reason of this resemblance. In the part which belongs to the Portal: (1) The Candidate certifies in the presence of chosen Philosophi that he has been called to the rank of Adeptus; (2) The Brethren give him God speed and bid him remember them, even in the Higher Wisdom. (3) The Spokesman of Adepti enters in full regalia and with his face veiled. (4) He wishes all present the blessed fruits alike of eternity and time.  (5) He informs the Philosophi that they have been cited as witnesses of a great and holv event, being the transit of one of their number from the fourth to the fifth of the Grade. (6) He invites them to testify concerning him. (7) They give expression to their approval and bear good witness. (8) The spokesman of the Adeptı places a gold circlet on the table, puts his right finger therein and directs them to do likewise. (9) They swear to keep secret all that has been performed so far and all that remains to be done. (10) He bids them close the Hall of Assembly in the Philosophical Grade. (11) Thereafter he says that they are about to be deprived of a beloved Brother, but he leaves them in the certain hope that each of them shall be called to advancement in his due turn. (12) The Philosophi are dismissed, and here ends the First Point. In the Second Point the Spokesman of Adepti is alone with the Candidate and what takes place is discourse between them.  (1) The Spokesman dwells upon the symbolical contrasts of Darkness and Light, Death and Life, Corruption and Resurrection or Rebirth, Time and Eternity. (2) He speaks or the righteous man and of the state in which all creation becomes an open book, revealing past, present and future. (3) He affirms that the Grade of Adeptus Minor gives increased knowledge of Nature. (4) There is also philosophical and theosophical contemplation, leading to the attainment of the Blessed Stone. (5) The Stone is triune. (6) It proves the existence of God and the Divine Transmutation of Souls in Christ by the regenerating illumination of the Holy Spirit. (7) The Candidate is asked whether he has sinned against the Order, its Holy Covenant and the Seven Points of Obligation. (8) In the event of him making acknowledgment, the free confession is taken as a sign of goodwill and he is asked whether he repents. (9) Supposing that he has nothing to confess he is invited to be sorry in respect of all human errors. (10) The required acknowledgment being made in either case, the Spokesman of the Adepti pronounces absolution in the name of the Order and seals the Candidate in a particular manner on forehead, mouth and breast, after which he is declared made pure and entitled to the Fifth Degree. Here ends the Second Point. The Third takes place in the presence of all the Adepti, amidst incense, lights and the offering of praises to the Glory of God in the Highest, all present being veiled, the Candidate only excepted. (1) The Spokesman of Adepti testifies concerning his charge. (2) The Master of the Temple welcomes him as one who has been created, called and chosen for the work of their Holy Assembly. (3) He is exhorted to manifest the Christian man within him and to unite with them in the praise of the Most High. (4) A curtain is drawn aside from a Representation of the Most Holy Trinity, before which they kneel and and worship. (5) The Candidate pledged in respect of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Degrees, which would seem to be a trinity in unity of Ritual. (6) He promises to esteem Divine Wisdom above all earthly treasures, applying the the riches of this world to the Glory of God and the salvation of his soul. (7) All present unveil and the Candidate is clothed in the vestments of an Adept, which include an apron after the Masonic manner, to which a special explanation attaches. (8) He receives the Official Jewels. (9) He is told that during the present Decennium the High Superiors have suspended the Astral Works because of their great difficulty and that they abide in the Mineral Realm. (10) So far as the wording of this observation goes, it appears to apply only to the Grades of Adeptship. (11) Above these there is the eighth, which we know — on other authority than the MSS. from which I derive—to be that of Magistri. (12) It is said concerning this that the Eighth Degree can never be changed, for therein is the great and unique work which is called Treasure of Treasures, otherwise Lapis Philosophorum. (13) It is the magnalian Jewel of Nature, and as such it can be understood why the High Superiors have placed this Mysterium Magnum at the summit of so manv steps?  — a reference to the staircase of Degrees. (14) The last words addressed to the Candidate, now an adept of the Golden Rosy Cross, pray that he may be blessed, directed, ruled and crowned with the fear of God, love of humanity, long life, health and wisdom, to the Glory of the Eternal Name, for the salvation of his own soul and to the honour of the Order, through Christ his Lord and Saviour.

An Adeptus Minor had a right to petition for advancement to the Sixth Degree, in which there is no Ritual procedure that can be said to deserve the name. It is wanting in some codices. As a fact, he is pledged simply, receive; the Grip or Token and hears the Secret Word. There is a Cipher attached to the Grade of Adeptus Major and another to that of Adeptus Exemptus. So far as records are concerned this and a New Word are the sole communications received on attaining these exalted positions. The mode of Opening and Closing the House or Hall of Assembly is identical in the Three Grades of Adeptship.(7) Ex hypothesi at least. the Eighth Degree is a Grade of the Mastery, and there is no other reference thereto than that which I have cited, either in manuscript or printed sources. The Ninth is the Grade of Magus, which by a colourable supposition may represent solely the status of the Headship and is therefore a Degree in numeration, but without procedure. It would be comparable in this case to the last and highest Grade the Swedish Masonic Rite, being that of Vicarius Salomonis held by one person only, who is the King of Sweden. It would appear, however, that there were several Superiors ruling the Rosicrucian Order in in that particular banch or obedience with which I am at present dealing. It will be remembered that that we hear of an Imperator as sole and supreme head in another and earlier school. 

Were any reader at this point 10 intervene and advance that the " Sublime, Most Ancient, Genuine and Honourable Society of the Golden and Rosy Cross," as it is called in the extracts cited by the freımaurer zeıtung, was alchemical on the evidence of its Rituals but that its alchemy was of a spiritual and moral kind, it must be admitted that so far as my analysis has proceeded the presumption may seem in this direction, notwithstanding some physical allusions, nor is it reduced by the reference to Lapis Philosophorum as the Summum Bonum reserved to the Eighth Degree, for we may compare at need all that has been cited on this subject from the testimony of Robert Fludd. But as it is important above all to reach a clear issue hereon the analysis has been arranged with this purpose in view, and we must now proceed further. The Ritual content of the Order is before us, with its references — few and far between — to the Three Alchemical Principles, the matter of the Stone and the stages through which it passes in the process of the Great Work. There are, however, certain documents connected with the earlier Grades, and there are certain things which were communicated to Adepti outside Rituals: the intimations concerning these and their analysis mav perhaps afford us light.  (1) The Zelatores received an instruction concerning the four elements and the familiar symbols by which they are represented in old physics.  The origin of these characters is referred traditionally to Solomon in lectures attached to the the First Degree. According to the wise king and the Kabalists, the primal manifestation of God originated in a first movement of the Eternal Being.  This movement is represented by \, and the Divine Name belonging thereto is ADONAI, held to signify Creator and Omnipotent. The next event was the fall of the rebellious angels, represented by >. The Divine Name ELOHIM is connected therewith, and is said to mean Judge and Just. The third epoch was the creation of Adam and the promise of a Deliverer to come, represented by .   Hereunto is referred the Divine Name JEHOVAH. The Triangle signifies also Beginning, Middle and End. It was adopted afterwards as the Signum Magnum of creation and was taken by ethnic philosophy to denote celestial and earthly fire. The discourse goes on to affirm that fire produces smoke, steam and air; that air , if caught up, changes to water ; and that water separates itself in earth . Air and fire lie occult in water and earth. If this is Rosicrucian physics in the year 1777, it must be characterised as raving mania. The reverie is developed on the cosmic side by affirming that the Lord God kindled a mighty fire, that a dreadful steam went forth therefrom, and the same was changed into water. These opposing elements — meaning fire and water—were united by Omnipotence in a chaos , from which air and earth were separated.  As regards the Hermetic side of the thesis, it is said that he who understands the four elements, who can bring forth therefrom Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, who can also recombine the three, he it is who stands on the seventh step — a reference to the Grade of Exempt Adept — but it is to be known that the Mastery is reserved to a higher Degree. (2) In a General Regulation which is attached to the First Degree, it is affirmed that the fundamental law of the Order is to seek the Kingdom of God and not Mammon, to strive after wisdom and virtue rather than to abide as mere Midas Brethren. This is to be impressed upon every Candidate. who shall be promised no more at reception than he may attain (a) by the mercy of God, (b) by the instruction of his Superiors, and (c) by his own industry. He shall above all and for ever be refused the sight of any other transmutation than that which is prepared by himself. (3) It is laid down otherwise that the cost of experiments undertaken in any House of Initiation shall be on a restricted and economical scale so that the material resources of members may not be be imperilled, above all by extravagance on the part of individuals, working with others in the circle.   The infringement of this rule is to be visited by heavy penalties, including suspension and expulsion. 


So far in respect of Zelatores. The Fratres Theoretici, as the title of their Grade implies, were concerned with instruction, that they might formulate a theory of the work, but they were entrusted with no apparatus. Basil Valentine and his trıumphal charıot, the rosarıum magnum and other notable texts of Arnold de Villanova, the aurea catena homerı, and the works of the great master Raymund Lully were commended to their studious care.  The convocation of assemblies apart from advancements took place in this Grade, when such authors as these were read and discussed, or there were conversations on the physical sciences, all being intended as preparations for the work awaiting members when they attained the status of Practici. The sole point of theosophical doctrine which emerges in connection with the Ars Theorica is that the fire of Divine Love prepared the Heavenly Quintessence and Eternal Tincture of Souls from the cosmic cross or the four elements, and that by this Medicina Catholica, the whole human race is liberated from the yoke of hell, delivered from death and transmuted by spiritual regeneration, so that the soul is clothed with the splendour of everlasting being. It will be seen that this is the doctrine of the radiant or resurrection body of adeptship, about which we have heard briefly in connection with Thomas Vaughan, but it is expressed here in language which is curiously reminiscent or Jacob Böhme in those moments when he reflects from Hermetic writers.

A Rosicrucian instruction concerning the seven planets and metals corresponding thereto in old physics is more particularly developed. (1) Quicksilver is in familiar analogy with the planet Mercury, but as it is not to be identified with the star shining in heaven, so it is to be distinguished most carefully from Philosophical Mercury, the true Mercurius vivus.  Common quicksilver is called the Flying Slave, and this ignis fatuus has led sophists and unlettered amateurs into every kind or marsh and pitfall. Its true nature is well indicated by the character which represents it in chemical formulas.


The crescent denotes its lunar part, which is feminine and volatile in nature : this is the Spiritus Mercurii. The medial circle has no point in the centre, signifying the immature state of mercurial Sulphur Solis : this is the Anima. Mundi of quicksilver.   The cross at the base represents the volatile body of this metallic substance. It is the Water of Quicksilver, otherwise Aqua Permanens; it is also the Sal Centrale and Menstruum Naturale.(8) In a word, quicksilver is an immature metal, an extremely volatile ens. separated from a fixed state as pole from pole. As regards Mercurius Philosophicus, it is not described in the text, but the fact emerging from a cloud of Hermetic verbiage is that the so-called work of the wise is really a work in quicksilver, which must be separated from its Humidum Superfluum and must be animated by its Homogenium. It is said further that whosoever can prepare its medium, so that it becomes Mercurius Duplicatus and Mercurius Animatus shall be able to combine therewith that which is Res Perfectissima and will so produce Lapis Mineralis, the end of all research, otherwise Aurum plusquam perfectum. Chemical sign of Mercurius Currens stands also for Mercurius Astralis meaning on the surface the planet Mercury, but there is an intimation behind this, the key to which must be sought in the astral workings followed by the Brothers of the Golden and Rosy Cross in the decennium or period which preceded 1777.  Finally, there are Mercurius Animalis and Mercurius Vegetabilis, because there is its own Mercury in every genus and species. There is, moreover, an attainable adeptship in the three Kingdoms of Nature, and those who wear its triple crown can produce in all Mercurius Duplicatus, Mercurius Triplicatus and Mercurius Philosophicus.  This is physical alchemy in excelsis, and it must be acknowledged that the Fratres Theoretici received a rare instruction, whether or not they proved able, at a later stage, to proceed thereby to the practice. It is missing in several versions.

(2) Mars is in correspondence with iron and the chemical sign of this metal shewing an arrow emerging sideways from a circle, signifies that the Sal Martis is celestial rather than terrestrial, while its cross — or sign of corrosion — has been broken up into an open angle, and this is a symbol of fire. On such basis it is affirmed that the inward nature of iron is fiery, active and magnetically attractive, all which appears to indicate that Hermetic operations can be performed thereon with at least comparative facility. Now in the work of wisdom the task before the Adept is to purify the externally adherent Celestial Salt from the Terrestrial Sulphur and locate it within the circle. There will appear a great star which is said in the confused imagery to devour all its brethren, transforming their shapes into its own, then raising them — as it were — from death and crowning them with highest honour. For the Mars of the philosophers has earned such rank on its own part by the spiritual power resident in its sword of fire. This process is like a chaos magnum informatum, but an undertaking is given that it will be demonstrated manipulando modo in the Grade of Practicus.

(3) The character of Venus, to which copper corresponds, is explained in la grande maniere and is shewn to exhibit the supreme operation which must be performed thereon in alchemy. The sign indicates that copper is an imperfect metal, for the point of perfection within the circle from which gold cannot err has been removed from the circle of Venus and has changed into the cross which appears in the lower part of the symbol. This cross signifies the corrosive salts which render copper of a perishable nature. Whosoever can purify these salts will reduce the cross to a point and if he can place that point again within the circle, he will sec the sun at its meridian, instead of the Morning Star, and possess a treasure of gold instead of Venusian copper. One text speaks of Divine attainments.

(4) The chemical sign of Jupiter bears witness to the great immaturity of the metal tin, which is in correspondence with this planet. The crescent or half circle indicates that it is essentially of lunar nature, while the cross attached thereto, which is the invariable sign of the sal centrale et fundamentum subjecti, points out that the earth of this metal is mercurial and lunar, the salt arsenical and the sulphur volatile. It follows that the corpus totum can be brought with considerable facility to a state of liquefaction. 

(5) Lead is in correspondence with the planet Saturn and is described in the text as an odd and morose fellow, whose disposition is exhibited by his symbol. We learn in this manner that the salt of lead is mercurial and lunar, as also pure and celestial, while the sulphur is terrestrial and solar. It is said further (a) that the pars salis liquifies all bodies, but can neither fix nor render them volatile; (b) that the pars sulphuris devours all metal — gold and silver excepted — penetrating them by the help of vulcan-like lightning, purifying and imparting the highest splendour, but again leaving them; (c) that Mercury is coagulated by the fumus Saturni, while vitrum Saturni renders it fixed and fire-proof. The corpus Saturni is actually a conglomerated and exsiccated Mercury and can be easily changed back thereto. The Hermetic Secret of Saturn is formulated in the following terms: (a) Salt, Sulphur and Mercury; (b) Separate these Three Principles in Subjectum Saturni; (c) Make out of the Salt a menstruum; (d) Dissolve the Mercury therein; (e) Fix it by the principium of Sulphur. Whosoever can perform this operation conjoins the two crescents or half-circles in the character of Saturn, inserts the cross therein, concentrates the cross into a point within the circle and transmutes into — i.e., lead into gold.

(6) The point within a circle denotes the state of perfection. In the character of the Moon and silver the circle is broken, and as the text says confusedly the missing half is put inward but the point is still in the vicinity. The explanation is that silver is like unto gold, as woman is like unto man ; but gold as the male part is hot and dry, while silver, the female part, is moist and cold. The imperfection of silver is indicated by the ease with which it blackens, but gold is free from this failing. It is, moreover, the Child of the Sun. while silver is the Daughter of the Moon, the light of which is borrowed from the solar orb. The Hermetic Arcanum is this: Communicate the male Sperma Solis to the female matrix of the Moon, or in other words, turn the light inward and draw out the inward half-circle. The artist who so does kindles an independent fire or light and transmutes into i.e., silver into gold. The true meaning of this emerges in one case.

(7) Gold is Principium Solis and the end of all metals is gold, the great intent of Nature in the work of mines. The character of the Sun and gold is also that of eternity. As the visible Sun in the heavens is the most splendid of all the luminaries, so is gold — otherwise the terrestrial sun — most noble among all metals. The point within the circle of eternity denotes Divinity ; but when this circle is used to signify the precious metal the connotation is imperishable and pure being. The Son of the Sun is the product also of profoundly concentrated fire. 

The Rosicrucians were neither the first nor last among philosophers by fire to dismember the planetary signs or analyse them as they stand and discover mysteries of alchemy therein, but the work has never been performed so well and attractively as in this text. After such manner the Fratres Theoretici were prepared for the Grade of Practicus, but they were expected moreover to be well acquainted with the three kingdoms of Nature and the harmony which subsists between them. This is a clear issue, but when it is added that they must also have knowledge of manipulations, stones, vessels and so forth, we are reminded of the fact that, as recorded already, they were entrusted with no apparatus. Presumably they fared as they could, and when they became Fratres Practici they had the use of a Laboratorium in the particular House of the Order to which they were attached, making up a common purse for the costs of experiments, under the guidance of their Superior. They were instructed also in the following official processes: (1) Preparation of the Mineral Radical Menstruum; (2) Preparation of the Vegetable Radical Menstruum; (3) Preparation of the Animal Radical Menstruum; and (4) The preparation of an Universal Menstruum. By the hypothesis, each of these Menstrua contains its three principles, from which the Stone could be prepared, according to the nature of the kingdom. It was Lapis Mineralis, Lapis Vegetabilis, or Lapis Animalis, as the case might be. There was in fine Lapis Universalis; but as to their properties, uses and effects there is no indication whatever, except in respect of the first, which belongs to the transmutation of metals. 

There were general and special instructions on the Hermetic Operations which took place in the Grade of Practicus, but I have met with mere vestiges, whether in printed or private sources. In the Fifth Degree, which is that of Adeptus Minor, the Candidate, at the end of his reception, is handed a process drawn up by the Most Worshipful Superiors at the last reformation of the Order. It is certified as true and concordant according to the agreed scheme of procedure adopted at that time. It enables those who possess it to discriminate respecting previous operations and to prepare under favourable circumstances for those which are designed to follow. There is no indication whatever concerning its character. In the Grade of Adeptus Major there is another process presented, and it is affirmed concerning it (1) that it is a secret which has never been obtained and much less examined or worked, except by a few exalted Brethren of the Order; (2) that it is an approved masterpiece discovered to Adepti Majores on account of utility and exactitude. It must be applied and dedicated to the glory of God, for the welfare of others and one's own benefit. It does not appear that Adepti Exempti received anything but the peculiar cipher attached to that Grade, and the general instructions on procedure in the in the alchemical experiments pursued therein. It may be presumed that from the lowest to the highest stage of his advancement a Rosicrucian Brother was taught throughout in symbols and that it depended on his own perseverance, skill and ability whether he decoded the formulas. If he did a title was earned to the Eighth Grade, or that of Mastery: alternatively he remained where he was.(9) 

When the message of these instructions is compared with that of the Rituals it emerges with considerable clearness that the concern of the Golden and Rosy Cross in the year 1777, notwithstanding the spiritual and religious atmosphere by which it was encompassed, had no other purpose than the physical medicine of men and metals. The archives of the Order fall after this manner into their proper place as a part integral of alchemical literature. To the alchemist in his laboratory, among alembics and Mary Baths, the work of chemistry was in consanguinity with the work of prayer. Laborare est orare. The quest was a divine quest; it called for a pure heart and a devout mind; success therein was peculiarly a gift of God, and good intention on the part of the operator was the first and an essential qualification. When therefore the Superior in the Grade of Adeptus Minor informed the Candidate that the astral workings of the preceding decennium had been suspended in favour of operations in the mineral realm for the advancement of metallurgical knowledge, it follows that this statement is to be taken in its literal construction, whatever we may elect to understand by astral processes, and however we may interpret that " highest secret of Nature," in virtue of which it is affirmed that the Master Grade can suffer no change. It was always alchemical and (or) always divine. In later days it became wholly spiritual. 

This is probably my last word on the purely alchemical subject in the course of the present volume; and as it belongs hereto only in an incidental sense, it must be left unavoidably at a loose end. It may be possible barely at some later date and in yet another work that I can throw some light on the comparative problems of spiritual and physical alchemy, albeit in the natural order it might be said that the day is far spent for the planning of great undertakings. But He Who overwatches undertakings and is the Warden of those which are conceived and done in His service is the Judge in this respect and in spiritu humilitatis I commend it therefore to Him.  There is but a word to add here. To the fact that there are two alchemies in Hermetic literature I have borne witness in many writings; but although they are sufficiently distinct from one another, alike as to path and term, their use or the same symbolism, in a varied sense, of necessity creates a difficulty in respect of their memorials. It is possible to discriminate broadly and to reach a grade of certitude about the comparative positions and intent of certain texts, but the difficulty in other cases is either insuperable or I have failed in my own endeavours, at least for the time being, to take it out of the way. Those who are entitled to speak on these branches of Hermetic literature know that the Latin Geber belongs to physical alchemy and that the Amphıtheatrum of Heinrich Khunrath is concerned with the spiritual side; but at this present time I am acquainted with no canon of criticism which will enable us to speak with certainty as to Zosimus the Panopolire and the inward sense of his prolific contributions to the texts of Byzantine alchemy. So also in the Rituals of the Golden and Rosy Cross I confess to a sense of dissatisfaction over one point, and it remains in my mind as if the quest were yet unfinished. It abides in that solitary reference to the Eighth Degree which I have cited twice already and now recur thereto. From decennium to decewnium the lower Grades might suffer a variation of concern, and there is nothing to assure us that the measure of change lay only between things astral and things metallurgical. But the Mastery of the Eighth Degree was without change or shadow of vicissitude, and the decades had no power thereon.To what did it belong therefore and in what medium did it work? Was it possible that the inferior ranks might be busy over that or this, and that they were like a series of sifting nets which brought a few only, chosen out of many, over a certain bridge built beyond the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus? Was it possible that this bridge gave upon the threshold of a Sanctuary where transmutation was wrought in souls, no longer in re metallic a, where res tingens was Art of the Spirit or God and the Medicine administered was drawn from no other Pierian Spring than that of Eternal Life ? There is nothing before us, not even a forlorn hope of light from the sifting or a false witness, and we may be never likely to know. Could it be said that there were chances they would be all against the view, so I leave this part of the debate concerning the Golden and Rosy Cross in that winter of discontent which comes from something remaining over and that something unknown.

The Grade of Adeptus Minor, according to the GermanOrder of the Golden and Rosy Cross may be compared with an almost unknown French Ritual under the title of Brothers of the Rose-Cross, otherwise the Adepts. It is evidently part of a series, representing the same procession of Degrees, and is in fact termed the fifth. It is possible that it reflects the Rite prior to its reformation in 1777, or alternatively it may be a later variant. The following points are from sources outside the Ritual but attached thereto by way of annotation, and it will be seen that they are of considerable importance. (1) It is said that the renowned Order of Princes Chevaliers de Rose-Croix is classified in two distinct categories, corresponding to the two classes of Rosicrucian Science itself. (2) The Great Mystery is one, being the Stone of the Wise, which notwithstanding it is of two kinds, or Theological and Philosophical. (3) Theology — which calls to be understood here in the sense of Theosophia — has in view the transmutation of man from the state of sin and its corruption, according to the Law of Nature, into the state of perfect sanctity which qualifies for Eternal Life, according to the Law of Grace. (4) The Stone of the Philosophers gives health to diseased bodies — human, animal, vegetable and even mineral, thus procuring temporal felicity of being. (5) But the Stone of the Theosophists communicates eternal beatitude, to be preferred before all things else.  (6) The Elementary Stone unfolds the greatest Mysteries of Nature. (7) The Theological or Theosophical Stone leads into the Most Sublime Mystery of Incarnate Divinity. (8) The majority of Frères Chevaliers de Rose-Croix are said to hold the temporal aspect of the work in disdain, while admitting its necessity, for which reason  they belong to both branches of the Order. It is said finally (9) that the ancient salutation was Ave, Frater, the answer to which was Roses Crucis, on the part of those who were Rose-Croix Brethren only, but subjoining Aureæ Crucis in the case of those belonging to both classes. It will be seen that from this unexpected source we derive an intelligible explanation of the separation into two classes for which we looked in vain either in the account of Sigmund Richter or the Reformed Rite of 1777. My inference is that we might add substantially to our knowledge were the whole French series available. 

It cannot be said that the Ritual procedure corresponds in any wise to the German Grade of Adeptship. The Candidate is counselled to lay aside all preconceived opinions, so that he may be free to receive the truth. Having- been veiled and hoodwinked, he is placed between two Pillars on the threshold of the Sanctuary and is admitted after a battery of five knocks. The Temple is in charge of a Grand Master, to whom he is brought in ceremonial form and by whom he is asked (1) whether he is resolved to sacrifice life itself rather than reveal the least of those Mysteries, whatsoever they may be, which are now about to be communicated ; (2) whether he will renounce cheerfully all his worldly possessions; or alternatively (3) whether he will accept with gratitude that which the Lord of Lords may permit him to retain thereof. Having assented, he is called upon to pray (l) for liberation from all sophistry; (2) for the kindling fire of Divine Love; (3) for the Gift of the Holy Spirit; (4) for knowledge of the true Mercury of Philosophers ; (5) for separation from all aims except the glory of God, desire of the soul's salvation, the splendour of holy religion and the relief of the poor. 

The Obligation is taken in the Name of the Holy Trinity and includes the following clauses : (i) To preserve inviolate whatever may be made known in this Sublime Degree ; (2) To keep faith with the Sovereign and observe the laws of the realm; (3) To love all Brethren; And (4) to let them " share in the Great Work if God permits me to accomplish it." It follows that the adeptship of the Fifth Degree was nominal or symbolical in character and that its members were on the Great Quest but not in the Great Attainment. The Pledge is followed by that curious observance which has been met with in the Laws of the Golden and Rosy Cross, according to Sincerus Renatus. One of the officers cuts off seven locks from the hair of the Candidate, places them in separate sealed packets and the whole in a single packet, which is also sealed and handed to the Grand Master, the officer affirming that they are "seven branches from the head of that Tree which God planted in the Earthly Paradise." The Grand Master answers in taking them : " Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire." 

It is now only that the hoodwink is removed, after which the Candidate is clothed with a linen ephod and girdle and is told that " these are symbols of that purity which gives entrance into the Sanctuary of God, for we are not only the elect but also priests of the Most High, even the priestly kingdom of Levi, into which we were adopted from the tribe of Judah." (10) It should be explained here that the Grand Master is himself clothed somewhat after the manner of a priest of the Old Law,(11) his Assistants representing Abiathar, son of Abimelech, " for the things which are of God," and Joab for those of the King.(12) The salutation offered to the new Adept Brother is: " God be with thee, on the faith of perpetual silence, according to the promise of God, in the bonds of our Holy Society." A discourse on the nature of man follows and insists on the necessity of his transformation into a New Adam. the old body being destroyed.(13)  So only, it is said cryptically, shall God give him the power to contain all things. The text presents what is done in a shortened form, and it is difficult to codify the next event of the Ritual, being a solemn Prayer on the part of the Grand Master. The heads of its thesis are seemingly (1) that Man is the Temple of God;(14) (2) that three worlds are within him, as they are also in God;(15) (3) that man moreover contains the true Matter from which the Stone is formed. It will be observed that this is important for the spiritual side of the Great Work. There is a final exhortation to the Brethren on the duties attached to the Grade, being the tenderness and charity of the Pelican towards all men but especially those who are within the sacred circle, and the uttermost secrecy not only in respect of the "profane" but also towards Masons who are not of Rosicrucian Grades. It is affirmed specifically that "we look upon Master Masons of the first three Degrees as but little above the profane." If they are "found worthy to search for the Truth at its source, which is God Himself," they are to be led into the light, but this failing the very name of Adepts must be concealed, the reason being that otherwise " we should be in danger of our lives." As regards the furniture of the Temple, I need say only that the Tracing-Board — as we should call it in Craft Masonry — represents the Sanctuary and Sanctum Sanctorum of the first Temple, with the things contained therein.

The Ritual concludes with a Catechism, according to the prevailing custom of Masonic and Super-Masonic
Grades in France. Like the Lectures attached to the Craft Degrees, most of them covered the Ritual procedure for a second time, with occasional explanatory developments. In the case of the Freres Chevaliers there is another manner of instruction which is not only exceedingly curious, but so unlike anything amidst all the cloud of Rituals that I propose to append it in full. (1) Are you of the number of the Reformed?(16) — That is my belief, because I know the Truth. (2) What is Truth? — It is the Great Architect of the Universe. (3) What has declared it unto you ? — His works, and the work of my hands. (4) How in His works? — All His creatures testify concerning Him. (5) How by the work of your hands? — Because I have seen the likeness of His creation.(17) (6) Who taught you this work? — Our Excellent Master. (7) What did he teach you? — That in Salt and Sol we have all things. (8) What is this Sun? — It is the Work or the Philosophers. (9) How many Principles do you recognise? — Three, that is to say, Salt, Sulphur and Mercury. (10) In what are they contained? — In one only thing.   (11) What is this one thing? — It is that Matter out of which all things, Man included, are formed.   (12) What is its name? — Aphar-Mın Adama.(18) (13) How can this be the First Matter? — If it be not, it at least contains it. (14) It is not then the First Matter? — It is the Second, which contains it. (15) How do you describe it? — As a Circle encompassed by a Square.(19) (16) What does the Circle symbolise ? — Unity, from which the Quaternary Number results.  (17) What does this enigma signify? — That from One there were made Four. (18) What are these Four? — They are the Four Elements. (19) What do these become? — A Triangle, and this must be enclosed in a Circle. (20) What does this become in its turn? — It suffers no further change, for this is all. (21) Have you any other Mystic Figures? — We have the Blazing Star and the Interlaced Equilateral Triangles. (22) What is symbolised by the Blazing Star? — That subtle Quintessence which penetrates all things in a moment by its moist and temperate fire, and so communicates its virtues. (23) What is signified by the Interlaced Triangles? — Our Alkahest. (24) What is your Alkahest ? — It is our Fire. (25) And what is this Fire? — It is our Water and very powerful Dissolvent. (26) What is this Water? — It is our Salt. (27) What is this Salt? — It is our Sulphur. (28) What is this Sulphur? — It is our Mercury. (29) You are speaking to me of incredible things. — I could tell you more if you were older. (30) What is your age? — It is like that of Methuselah. (31) Yet you appear to be very young.  — It is the effect of the King crowned with glory, even of Him Who died and rose again perfect. (32) Do you know the Root? — I know its Bath, being that of its Spouse, and I have seen him naked therein, bathing with his Wife. (33) Why do you speak so obscurely? — So that only the Sons of God may understand me. (34) Who are these ? — They are those who do His will. (35) How long have you been born? — From the moment that I died. (36) What is the hour? — It is a great day which knows no darkness. (37) Why do you answer my question indirectly? — How can I determine the hour of a perpetual day? (38) Where did you find the Light? — In Darkness. (39) When do you work? — When I take my rest. (40) What is your Wage? — The perfection of my work. (41) What ambition do you cherish in view of all this wealth? — The joy of supplying the needs of men of good report.  (42) Have you no further wishes? — Only to be ignored by the world, only
to live for God, Who is the sole aim of our true Brethren.

It will be seen that this Catechism combines the symbolical language of Alchemy with the geometrical emblems of Craft and Arch Masonry, but that it abandons both in the end and passes to the terms which veil a purely mystical research, pursued in the experience of mystical death and the illumination which follows therion. The work that is performed in rest is' an intimation of the activity at the centre, and it is known that the realisation therein is the plenary reward thereof.

It remains only to say that whether the Grade of Frères Chevaliers derived approximately or remotely from Rosicrucian sources prior to 1777 or whether it represented a variant in Ritual from that epoch of reform, it was subsequent to the Rite of Perfection and to that Eighteenth Degree which developed out of Rosicrucian elements a Grade of princely knighthood. 

In the year 1785 there began to appear at Altona a work of extraordinary interest under the title of Secret Symbols  of the Rosıcrucıans of the Sıxteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.(19) The text included Aureum Seculum Redıvıvum — otherwise the Golden Age Restored of Henricus Madathanus — and the Tractatus Aureus of an anonymous German Adept. Both had been translated into Latin and published previously in Museum Hermetıcum Reformatum et Amplıfıcatum at Frankfurt so far back as 1678, and prior to this in the original edition of the same work, which belongs to 1625, and contains nine tracts against twenty-two of the enlarged collection. Both also had appeared originally in German. They were reissued under the Rosicrucian auspices as if made public for the first time, but adding a reference to the Brethren of the Golden Cross in the sub-title of The Golden Treatise, and describing Madathanus as Theosophus, Medicus et tandem Dei Gratia Aureæ Crucis Frater. Whereas also he subscribed his preface " to the worthy and Christian reader " as " written at Taunenberg, March 23, 1622, it is represented in the Secret Symbols as datum in Monte Abiegno, die 25 Martii, anno 1621, as if put forward by authority from the Holy House of the Brotherhood. The original text of Madathanus had certain Order references,(21) and it is the subject of allusion in the preface of the anonymous German. It points out rather cryptically that he "could more easily have composed this treatise " and made himself " known to the Brethren of the Golden Cross," if he had not verified his references for the convenience of his readers. His address concludes with an appeal to "the Beloved Brethren of the Golden Cross, who are about to learn how to enjoy and use this most precious gift of God in secret "—presumably owing to his instruction. The appeal is : "Do not remain unknown to me," adding: " If ye know me not, be sure that the faithful will be approved and their faith become known through the Cross, while security and pleasure over-shadow it." These allusions are valuable as a further testimony to the fact that Rosicrucians had begun so early to be known no longer under their original title but under that of the Golden Cross. I need add only that the golden treatıse is an interesting collated catena of alchemical authorities, with a parable placed at the end, while the golden age is an allegorical story to which is attached an Epilogue, wherein Madathanus beseeches "the Creator of this Art" that he may not " speak of this Mystery or make it known to the wicked" lest he be found "unmindful" of his vow, "a breaker of the Heavenly Seal, a perjured Brother of the Golden Cross, and guilty of the sin against the Holy Ghost.

It follows that this tract is important to our purpose from the standpoint of its own hypothesis, as speaking from the seat of authority on the subject of Hermetic Doctrine and Practice.(22) It is unfortunately by the hypothecs only, for the golden age restored is the story of a dream and a waking in which the matter of dream continues. It tells of a virgin in the court and harem of Solomon who is described in the terms of the song or cantıcle of cantıcles and is therefore all beautiful; but her garments — which lie at her feet — are "rancid, ill-savoured and full of venom." The virgin is "Nature bared and the most secret of all secrets that is found beneath the sky and earth. "The duty imposed on the dreamer was to cleanse the garments with a certain lye, the recompense of which would be the hand of the virgin, together with " a flowing salt, an incombustible oil and an inestimable treasure. "At this point the dreamer awakes and finds the foul garments in his chamber. As he does not know how to proceed he changes his room and leaves them untouched for five years, when he is on the point of burning them but is hindered by another dream, in which he is reproached bitterly as having caused the virgin's death. Having protested his innocence, he is told of a box beneath the garments and of great treasures therein. He discovers it in the waking state and after further failure as the fruit of ignorance he is able to open the casket and gaze upon " brilliant lunar diamonds and solar rubies." Thereafter the dawn breaks, which is that of the restored Golden Age ; all who see it rejoice in the Lord. while the dreamer kneels down and glorifies His Holy Name. 

An Epilogue explains that this is the Great Mystery of the Sages, "the power and glory thereof and the Revelation of the Spirit." It is otherwise an exposition of "the Most Precious Philosophical Stone and the Arcanum of the Sages."  On the surface at least it is concerned with the work on metals, and the Preface derides those who seek the Blessed Matter among animal or vegetable substances and anywhere indeed apparently except in the House of the Seven Metals. But it is difficult to say, for all the processes and apparatus of Alchemy are condemned as plausible impostures — the purgations, sublimations, putrefactions, solutions, coagulations and so also the athanors, alembics and retorts. Nature, it is affirmed, "delights in her own proper substance" and "knows nothing of these futilities." The work is not therefore performed by processes comparable to those of chemistry and would not seem to be a material work. Yet an Epigram at the end of the Preface affirms as follows : "I have sought; I have found ; I have purified often ... I have matured it.  Then has followed that Golden Tincture which is called the Centre of Nature. ... It is the Remedy . . . for all metals and for all sick persons." On this understanding it can be only a physical Elixir, and Madathanus testifies: that he has "seen with these eyes and handled with these hands." We are therefore in the usual medley of words and symbols which are all at issue with each other. I note only as regards " the Centre of Nature " that it was shewn to the dreamer " in the Triangle of the Centre " by Solomon, when accompanied by all his queens, concubines and virgins, while in the course of a later episode "his whole harem was stripped naked," expecting that in this manner some light on the Great Mystery would come to the dreamer. If therefore aureum seculum was issued as pretended from a House of the Rosy Cross, it would look as if that House were at work on a mystery of sex and that owing to its nature Madathanus may have been justified in saying that "the laws which obtain in the Republic of the Chemists forbade me to write more openly or plainly," the reason being that "many evils would arise from a profanation of the Arcanum" and that it "would be manifestly contrary to God's will." He intimates further that  in the enjoyment of such "hidden fruits of philosophy" the "Brethren of the True Golden Cross and the lect Members of the Philosophical Communion are and remain joined together in a great Confederation." 

So far as regards the main texts of the secret symbols, but the work opens with an untitled section concerning the Magistery of the Philosophical Stone, the Universal Tincture of all metals, the cryptic language and parables of the Art, the First Matter, the Three Principles, the putative Elements and the several processes which succeed one another in the course of the Great Work. Stress is laid upon the innate Sulphur of Mercury, by which the latter is stilled and fixed. It is said to be a secret and hidden fire which — according to Crebrerus — digests the cold and moisture of Mercury in the long procession of time. This preface, if it may be so called, is followed by eleven elaborate plates in colour, the majority of which are closely set about with German text. The next item is an octosyllabic poem on the Emerald Table of Hermes, after which comes the golden age restored, succeeded by thirteen further plates, coloured in like manner and also inscribed heavily within and without. They complete the first part, published at Altona in 1785. The second part followed at the same place in 1788 and it opens with the golden treatıse, to which are appended twelve final plates. The entire work is said to have been found and translated by J. D. A. Eckhardt, about whom I can report nothing. 

>As regards the scheme of colour there are certain broad lines less or more followed, but in several cases it is difficult to see that there is any real order at all or that the arrangement — if any — is not a matter of fantasy. The four elements, Fire, Air, Water and Earth are respectively red, yellow, green and blue, which obtains generally, but not without exceptions, for on one occasion Water is represented white. The Holy Trinity in Its relation to temporal things is referred to elemental colourings, the Father to the Red of Fire, the Son to terrestial blue, the Holy Spirit to yellow and Air, while the circle which represents Jesus Christ as God and Man, Alpha and Omega, is coloured green and is thus attributed to Water. The allocations in respect of the Son and the Son of Man are explicable only on very fantastic lines. Among other attributions there are some which are not explicable at all, as for example the Cross in one of its representations to a drab cinnamon-brown, minerals to blue and the Light of Nature to blue also. In fine there are some and many which call for no interpretation, being plain upon the face of their symbolism because it draws from the nature of things. All things which connect with the Sun and with gold, its metallic correspondence, are coloured golden yellow : so also are the Sun of Righteousness and other types of Christ. Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, the three Philosophical Principles, arc Blue, Reddish and pale Yellow. So also there are traditional grounds for connecting Saturn with Indigo, Jupiter with Blue, Mars with Red, the Sun with Orange, Venus with Green, Mercury with Brown and the Moon with White. The subject and its variants could be pursued further but it would serve no purpose here. I am acquainted with other Rosicrucian schemes of colour which have been developed in a logical order, and there is one of them which I regard as important because of certain analogies with the modes and gifts of grace ; but they are not those of the Secret Symbols. However they are allocated and whether reflecting tradition or not, it must be said that they are all arbitrary in the last resource, and their eloquence — such as it is — is that of agreed signs.

I have dwelt at some lengthen the subject of the secret symbols, because of that which is intimated by their letterpress, apart from the text of the work. Whether it was issued by the same House or Temple which adopted the Reformation of 1777, it is impossible to say, but it may be observed that there is no trace of Emblematic Freemasonry. We are in the presence of a school or system which drew in part from Paracelsus, in part from Jacob Bohme, which did not despise the secret of Tinctura Philosophies-, but regarded this evidently as the least of its accredited treasures. It may or may not have been acquainted with the eloquent memorials of Robert Fludd, but it was carrying on the tradition established or adopted by him. It has the aspect of a text produced by an occult and theosophical Church in Christendom, and it reflects so closely the mystical House of Election pictured by Eckhartshausen a few years later on that when we remember his dedications in Alchemy, the higher Magia and the mystery of numbers it seems by no means impossible either that he was the concealed author or alternatively that it emanated from a foundation to which he belonged and about which he wrote otherwise subsequently. However possible, it must be understood at the same time that there is nothing overt in his acknowledged writings to connect him with the Rosy Cross.(23) 

It remains to be said that in 1888 and at Boston, U.S.A., Dr. Franz Hartmann produced an English edition of the secret symbols, stating that it was "copied and translated from an old German MS." Dr. Hartmann added material of his own, outside the original text, which represents the views and speculations of modern Theosophical schools, and which can hardly be held to accord with the Rosicrucianism of the eighteenth century. It is just, however, to add that the colour-printing is much better than was the case in the original work. About a third of the plates are omitted, and part of the German text is wanting in the translation.

  1. Particulars of any nature are few and far between. According to the German Spectator, Vol. VI, No. 17, p. 198, the Society of True and Ancient Rosicrucians became extinct in the Fatherland after the death of a leader named Abraham von Bruna or Brun in 1748. It is not to be supposed, however, that the Order was represented by a single group; the existence of several independent bodies is antecedently probable and there may be said to be vague traces. For example, the record which I have just quoted refers — at least on the surface—to another foundation than that of Sigmund Richter, while the Reformation of 1777, with which I am about to deal represents by its hypothesis a change in an organisation then in being, as it might be, that of Richter, the denomination of which was preserved.

  1. See archıves mythohermetıques. It will be observed that the twelfth clause of this traditional history passes over twelve hundred years in a sentence. It happens, however, that the work entitled der rosenkreutzer ın seıner blosse, under the name of Magister Pianco, fills part of this great gap with supplementary legend which belongs to the same source, and these are the heads of its instruction :  (1) That a time came when the Confederacy of Initiates — being those otherwise described in the text above — began to feel the need of a general unification, in which Christian teaching should be joined to the old wisdom of the Magi; (2) that a new alliance arose in this manner and framed its laws in accordance with the doctrine of Christ; (3) that under this form it suffered many changes and adopted many names; (4) that in 1115 it was known as the Magical Alliance of Magical Brothers and Associates; (5) that this was the period of the Crusades and that the Knights Templar were formed with the help of the Alliance; (6) that the Templars were associated with the Magical Brothers and shared their secrets; (7) that they stood, however, in the same rank as the last and youngest Grade of the Secret Knowledge, under the rule of the Alliance; (8) that when the Templars were practically exterminated in 1311 these Apprentices or Neophytes were "overlooked in the cruelties of the time" and escaped the evil days; (9) that they incorporated subsequently with the remnant of surviving Templars and founded a permanent Brotherhood, with definite rules for its maintenance; (10) that like the Magical Alliance at large — which recedes into the background and is said to have suffered a decline — this institution assumed different names at different epochs; (11) that it was called the Order of the Cross, the Brothers of the Cross, Noachites, and finally Freemasons; (12) that under the Masonic guise the headquarters were situated at Berlin ; (13) that in the capacity of a Head Lodge it promulgated the true and fundamental system of Masonry, but the statement is worded so vaguely that the significance of the affirmation escapes; (14.) that in addition to the three Craft Grades which were of universal recognition there were also High Grades subsisting from time immemorial and involving apparently many local differences of practice, claim and privilege ; (15) that the High Grade Masons included many earnest students of the Secret Knowledge, who knew that Freemasonry was rooted in the Ancient Mysteries; (16) that an incorporation was formed by these for the extension and application of knowledge derived from those sources and from the Magical Alliance of antiquity ; (17) that it was known as the Alliance of the Wise and then as the Golden Alliance, in succession to the Templars and the fallen Magical Brotherhood; (18) that it received only the highest class of Master Masons or Masters of the Appearance of Light; (19) that the foundation of this Alliance belongs to the twelve century; (20) that by reflection on the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in conjunction with 72 MSS. and other writings of the Magi transmitted from the past of ancient wisdom; they produced a new book, "adorned with the halo of religion"; (21) that they assumed another title thereupon, to mark, as it were, a new epoch or dispensation, and became in this manner Brothers of the Golden and Rosy Cross, otherwise true Freemasons; (22) and that they have been known under this denomination since 1510. It must not be thought that this involved fable is the invention  —  so to speak  —  of a moment or of a single person: it grew up out of several reveries and, so far as  Rosicrucianism is concerned, the roots of it go back to Michael Maier and his Symbola AUREÆ MensÆ. The work from which I have quoted appeared at Amsterdam in 1781, just prior to which Count Hans Heinrich Ecker und Eckhoffen is said to have been expelled from the Rosicrucian Order, but under circumstances which do not seem to affect his honour in any real sense. We shall see that in the same year he founded a new association called the Asiatic Brethren — as it is affirmed, by way of reprisals. He is credited also with the authorship of  The Rosıcrucıan Unveıled, as part of his alleged policy of revenge, because it is a revelatory work. It is a difficult and very dubious question on several accounts and among them because he has been regarded alternatively as having written a reply to Magister Pianco. I suppose — in the absence of direct knowledge concerning it, as there is no copy available — that this is the work which appeared at Leipsic in 1782 under the title of A Rosıcrucıan Shınıng Idas ganze alles geheımen ordensver-bındungen, Leipzig, 1805 — otherwise a full account of all secret orders, which is said to contain particulars of Magister Pianco. It is alleged also alternatively that the rosıcrucıam unveıled — or literally, " in all his   nakedness" — was the work of Friedrich Gottlieb Ephraim Weisse. According to Findel, this on the authority of Hans Heinrich, who also wrote a pamphlet denying his own connection with the work. By whomsoever written it is notable as a record of revelation, and I have drawn from it there and here. Among the qualifications of a Candidate for the Rosy and Golden Cross it is said that he must be a man of honour, of true spiritual power and considerable knowledge, because so only could he be of service to the Sacred Alliance — a clear indication, as it seems to me, that the Order was hoping to attain its objects by the help of its members. By the hypothesis it was the donor, but actually it hoped to receive.


  2. Sec genesıs XXVII. 28,.

  1. At the Masonic Convention of Paris, held in 1785, Baron de Gleichen affirmed (l) that the Rosicrucians claim to be the Superiors and Founders of Freemasonry; (2) that they explain all its emblems Hermetically; (3) that it was brought in their hypothesis to England during the reign of King Arthur; (4) that Raymund Lully initiated Henry IV, King of England; (5) that the Grand Masters of the Order — then as now — were designated by the titles of John I, II, III and so onward; (6) that the jewel was a golden compass suspended on a white ribbon, as a symbol of purity and wisdom; (7) that the emblems of the "floor-cloth," or Tracing Board in modern parlance, included Sun, Moon and Double Triangle, with an Aleph placed in the centre; (8) that the Grades at this period were three in number: and (9) that the Master-Grade, as practised now among us, is the shadow of something which was then of great significance.


  2. Compare Thory's Acta  Latomorum, which affirms that the Brotherhood of 1777 promised the Secret of the Great Work and the Universal Medicine. It would be the current report of the period.

  1. One alternative version was as follows and was taken on the Gospel according to St. John : I, N. N., of my own free will and accord, after due and mature consideration, do vow hereby and hereon to worship the Eternal Jehovah from this day forward, even to my life's end, in spirit and in truth; so far as in me lies, to seek out the Wisdom of God Almighty in Nature; to forego the vanities of this world; to strive for the welfare of my Brethren ; to love them ; to aid them in their necessity with my counsel and consolation ; and finally, to maintain inviolable secrecy. As God is everlasting. See H. G. Albrecht : secret hıstory of the rosıcrucıanS, 1792, p. 103. We may compare also a Pledge which seems to have beer; written and signed by the Novice with his own hand after Reception : " I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in sincerity and truth of heart. do obligate and dedicate myself, soul and body, to God and to the Most Ancient and Venerable Fraternity of the Golden and Rosy Cross, dwelling under Divine Protection. I acknowledge my integration therein by virtue of reception into the First Degree of Junieres and. that the same has been ratified, in the Supreme Degrees by the Secret Name and Coat of Arms conferred upon me. I submit myself cheerfully and with my whole heart to the ordinances and commands of my Superiors. I undertake to maintain the Seven Points of Obligation, as imposed already upon me, to the best of my ability; and to act as a true Son of Wisdom, deferring to my Director with all patience and obedience. I will keep inviolable the Laws and Regulations of the High Illustrious Brotherhood. I will love and be true thereupon. I will preserve everything corcering it in profound and eternal secrecy, in accordance with the third sworn Point of Obligation. So help me God and His Holy Word — See OSTERR. FREIMAURER ZEITUNG. It is probable that this lost-initiation Pledge was dedicated to the Novice, thus accounting for its correspondences and variations in several cases. It is on record that one new member was required to keep silence about certain aberrations and differences, referring presumably to those events which I have cited already as having caused a revolution in the Order circa 1777.

  2. According to Clavel, the Reformation of 1777 was comprised in three Grades, the inexactitude of which statement is now evident and 10 charateristic of the Hıstoıre PıttoresqUe in all its sections. Probably the author had heard a report concerning the Grades of Adeptship. He makes four statements otherwise, which must be left to stand at their value: (1) that the Golden and Rosy Cross spread into Sweden; (2) that it claimed to be under the direction of Unknown Superiors, thus recalling the Rite of the Strict Observance; (3) that these Superiors were said to be located at Cyprus, Naples, Florence and Russia; and (4) that in 1784 one of the known chiefs was at Ratisbon and was in fact that Baron de Westerode of whom we have heard otherwise. He acted certainly as if in the capacity of an Envoy at the Convention of Wilhelmsbad. As regards the alleged abodes of Superiors, they may be compared with those published by Magister Pianco in the rosıcrucıan unveıled and reproduced in a folding plate facing p. 218, Vol. II, of my secret tradıtıon ın freemasonry.  It should be added that according to Pianco the Brethren of the Nimh Degree — i.e., Magi or Wise Masters — gave instruction in Divine Things.

  3. Compare Dee's monas hıeroglyphıca passim.

  4. The question of good faith is assumed in this statement, and it is of course the point at issue. I am not affirming it, having no evidence before me on either side. The case is supposed for a moment. In the contrary event it is obvious that there would be no advancements. Hostile criticism is likely to suggest that the whole Ritual scheme was astutely arranged to lead its dupes onward, always left to their own devices, always failing of the desired term, and permanently ignorant that the ruling headship occupied no better position. I have indicated already my own view that it may have been a headship of ardent alchemists with generations of processes behind them, on the threshold — in their own opinion — of the great, unrealised secret and hoping that the activities in the lower Grades might bring the quest to its issue in the accident or providence of things. There is no need to add that I hold this view fluidically and that it is speculative, like its alternatives. But I am very certain that among the errors and enthusiasms of criticism there must be included that disposition which sees knavery or advanced mental delusion only in the highways and byways of all occult history. We have found that the early memorials of the Rosy Cross offer eloquent and valuable testimony to the frauds of alchemical literature, but their authors knew that there was another side of the subject, and I have certified to its existence on my own part there and here in these pages.

  5. As if from the Kingdom of those who are chosen in this world to the spiritual Kingdom of everlasting Priesthood.

  6. That is to say, with an ephod of white linen, but the Grand Master wore also an imperial crown, as one who is king and priest..

  7. See, however, I KINGS ii, 26, 28.

  8. It is difficult to see why the wisdom of solomon is quoted in this connection as follows ; Occultum faceat manifestum, et manifestum occultum.

  9. Citing the testimony of St. Paul.

  10. Presumably an allusion to the Holy Trinity.

  11. This appears to connote the Reformation of circa. 1777, but there is no certitude on the subject. There may have been an earlier development of Ritual under Masonic influence, and it would have constituted an earlier reform.

  12. The progress of the Great Work in the crucible was often likened to the work of creation, and the generation of the spiritual man is in analogy with that of the natural man.

  13. A parenthesis explains that this signifies Adamic Powder.

  14. This part of the Questioning should be followed in comparison with some important symbolism of the Holy Royal Arch. 

  15. The fore-title of Part I reads geheıme fıguren der rosenkreutz aus dem  16ten und 17ten jahrhundert.  The title itself is as follows dıe lehren der rosenkreutz aus dem  16ten und 17ten jahrhundert,  Oder Einfaltig A B C Buchlein für Junge Schülerso sich taglisch flesisig üben  in der Schule des H. Geistes, etc. Part II which was not issued until 1788, has no fore-title and appears in the full title as gehEıme fıGUren, etc.

  16. It described the author, moreover, as Aureæ Crucis Frater

  17. According to Sedir, Madanthanus gives accounts of Rosicrucian statutes and jewels, but he has been misled by materials which he did not collect himself.

  18. In the theosophıst,  Vols 1. 8 and 9, there appeared long ago certain rosıcrucıan letters, signed F.H. and H. in the case of the last. It is affirmed that No. 6 was addressed to Eckartshausen. They have been republished since in an American periodical, the initials suppressed and the whole series described as  written to Eckartshausen between 1792 and 1801. It is claimed that they are translated from the Spanish. The initials suggest obviously the hand of Dr. Franz Hartmann.