The Real History of the Rosicrucians – Arthur Edward Waite
The author has essayed to collect the mass of material which exists for the elucidation of this curious problem of European history, and to depict the mysterious brotherhood as they are revealed in their own manifestoes. The work is clear in statement and replete with learning, and affords the first complete and trustworthy account of the origin, development, and decay of Rosicrucianism ever published in English.
The Real History of the Rosicrucians.
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What is Rosicrucianism? (from wikipedia.com)
Rosicrucianism was a cultural movement which arose in Europe in the early 17th century after the publication of several texts which purported to announce the existence of a hitherto unknown esoteric order to the world and made seeking its knowledge attractive to many. The mysterious doctrine of the order is allegedly “built on esoteric truths of the ancient past”, which “concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm.” The manifestos do not elaborate extensively on the matter, but clearly combine references to Kabbalah, Hermeticism, and mystical Christianity.
The Rosicrucian Manifestos heralded a “universal reformation of mankind”, through a science allegedly kept secret for decades until the intellectual climate might receive it. Controversies have arisen on whether they were a hoax, whether the “order of the Rosy Cross” existed as described in the manifestos, or whether the whole thing was a metaphor disguising a movement that really existed, but in a different form. In 1616, Johann Valentin Andreae famously designated it as a “ludibrium”.
By promising a spiritual transformation at a time of great turmoil, the manifestos tempted many figures to seek esoteric knowledge. Seventeenth-century occult philosophers such as Michael Maier, Robert Fludd, and Thomas Vaughan interested themselves in the Rosicrucian world view. According to historian David Stevenson, it was influential to Freemasonry as it was emerging in Scotland. In later centuries, many esoteric societies have claimed to derive from the original Rosicrucians. Rosicrucianism is symbolized by the Rosy Cross or Rose Cross.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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