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The Real Rose-Cross

The Rose-Cross in History

Maybe you already heard that the Rose-Cross tradition came from ancient Egypt. It takes only a few seconds of research to discover that this statement is historically false. Among countless archaeological publications, none reveal elements that can justify this kind of fantasy. One must be cautious about groups that have based their core on such a claim.
It is therefore essential to present undeniable historical elements on which you can rely to better understand this fascinating tradition.
We will associate more in-depth studies that you can find within our blog.

The first chronological references are easy to understand and summarize:
- French Middle Age: Foundation of the Rose-Cross Tradition in the South of France integrating Gnostic elements.
- 1614, 1615, 1616: Publication of the fundamental writings on the Rose-Cross by John Valentin Andreae and his circle of friends. It seems that no Rose-Cross organization per se ever existed before.
- 1777: Organization of a German Order linked to Freemasonry called “Golden and Rosy Cross.” This initiative group was active for about nine years.
- 1867: Organization in England, of the “Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia” (S.R.I.A.) derived from the “Societas Rosicruciana in Scotland” (S.R.I.S.) following the admission of William James Hughan.
- 1850: Order of the Rose-Cross, heir of the original French Rose-Cross organized in medieval times.
- 1888: Stanislas de Guaita organizes our Order, called “Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross” in France. All the other Rose-Cross organizations that you can find in your research are post-early 19th century creations, such as AMORC.

To understand the origin of these mysterious Rose-Cross organizations, it is necessary to look briefly at the history of this movement. We will leave aside the medieval period and begin with the publication of the famous books.
Between 1614 and 1616, three strange books were published anonymously in Germany. The authors were most likely Pastor Johann Valentin Andreae and his circle of friends. The titles of these books are: 1- Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis; 2- Confessio Fraternitatis; 3- The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. 

According to modern historians, there is no indication of an occult group called the Rose-Cross or Rosae Crucis in Germany before these publications. Like most esoteric traditions or religions, the founding myths of the group, created by Johann Valentin Andrae, claimed that their work came from Antiquity. Although it is perfectly true that the symbols of the cross and the rose are old - having been used in poetry, religion and esotericism since ancient times - the modern development of the Rose on the Cross symbol is new and we have no indication of its existence in antiquity.

It seems likely that Christian Kabbalists were directly involved in the transmission of an esoteric Christian heritage intimately associating a secret gnosis using inner ritual practices. These Christian initiates based their work on a knowledge different from the public dogmas imposed by the ecclesiastical power of Rome. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486 - 1535) and Dr. Heinrich Khunrath (1560 - 1605) are two good proponents of this esoteric tradition. As evidenced in Agrippa’s magic books, the ancient pre-Christian traditions were known and used. He didn’t seem to differentiate between ancient deities and divine Hebrew names. 

The symbolic representations presented in Heinrich Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, written in 1595, are at the heart of the tradition that is transmitted in the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross. They are taught in Chapters of our Order.

One of the most famous illustrations (used to support a practice in chapter 7 of the ABC of Christian Kabbalah by Jean-Louis de Biasi) represents a rose of light placed at the center of a cross. This magnificent engraving has an important place in the tradition of our Order. The analysis of this true mandala reveals a circular representation of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life that can be recognized as the first and most complete fusion between Hebrew Kabbalah and Christian Kabbalah.

Nothing of this profound symbolism is present in the publications of Johann Valentin Andreae. His texts seem to have a different origin and purpose. As a German pastor, he published these manifestos a century after the Reformation of Luther (1517). Another of his works presents an ideal vision of Christianity symbolized by a city named Christianopolis. Thus, it seems his goal was to use the “Rose-Cross” to present to the world his ideas on religion, philosophy, politics and society. It is traditional to use allegories in such discrete publications. The alchemical symbols associated with some powerful founding myths gave birth to a creation that surpassed its creators. Christian Rosenkreuz became the mythical father of the fraternity, both enlightened and immortal Master of the Rose-Cross Tradition.

After this period, the Rose-Cross tradition was maintained in two ways:
1- The Masonic Rose-Cross
2- The groups of the French Medieval Rose-Cross


The Rose-Cross of the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross


As we highlighted before, the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross Order was the first Rose-Cross Order to have been organized in the modern era – to be precise, in 1888.

It comes from the groups of the French Medieval Rose-Croix.

Several pages of this website explain what this tradition was. Here we summarize the most important characteristics.

1- Original Gnosis: The original Gnostic movements continued despite the opposition of the official Christian religious power. They resulted in the development of a strong mystical culture in the South of France known as Catharism. During the 19th century, the adepts Rose Cross of our Order incorporated other Gnostic notions derived from archaeological discoveries and spiritual revelations. Today the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross continues this work based on the gospels, treatises and Gnostic rituals belonging to the same tradition.

2- Celestial Knighthood: During the Middle Ages a form of moral chivalry was developed, placing spiritual ideals above physical combat. The search for the Grail is the best-known symbolic story, representing one of the essential aspects of our tradition.

3- The Troubadours: The troubadours from the South of France developed a specific form of esotericism, aiming an ascent toward the divine through the inner contemplation of the sacred mysteries. It is worth recalling the fundamental importance of the earliest novel of this period, called Novel of the Rose. On several levels, this aspect of the Rose-Cross tradition is linked to celestial chivalry.

4- Christian Kabbalah: The Christian Kabbalists of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance united the theological, mystical and magical teachings within their heritage. This aspect is clearly visible in some of the degrees of the initiatory ritual of our Order.

5- Occultism: The 19th century occultists, such as Stanislas De Guaita and Papus, associated our tradition with a set of remarkable psychic practices. They allow each initiate to pursue psychic training in perfect association with the degrees practiced.

All of these aspects, organized in a coherent way by years of work, are the essential characteristics of the oldest Rose-Cross tradition.

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