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Fama Fraternitatis and Rosenkreuz

The Rosicrucian Masonic Metaphysics and Handbook - Order of The Rosy Cross Temple and The Loge de Parfait 1764

The Manifesto of The American Rosicrucian Order - ARO

The Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis (Fama fraternitatis Roseae Crucis oder Die Bruderschaft des Ordens der Rosenkreuzer), or simply theFama Fraternitatis, is an anonymousRosicrucian manifesto published in 1614[1] inKassel (Germany). It was translated intoEnglish in 1652 byThomas Vaughan. It was published as an appendix of the 77th. Advertisement (section) intitled Generale Riforma dell' Universo (The Universal Reformation of Mankind) of a German translation of Bocallini's satira Ragguagli di Parnasso (Advertisements from Parnassus). The Fama which created a profound effect was soon published in separate form.

The Legend

TheFama tells the story of the "Father C.R." (later on C.R.C., the mythical AlchemistChristian Rosenkreuz), his ill-fated pilgrimage toJerusalem; his subsequent tutelage by the secret sages of the east, the wise men ofDamcar inArabia, from whom he learned the ancientesoteric knowledge which included the study ofphysics,mathematics,magic andkabbalah; his return throughEgypt andFes and his presence among thealumbrados in Spain. It is thought inoccultism that Rosenkreuz's pilgrimage seems to refer to transmutation steps of theGreat Work.

After his arrival toGermany, Father C.R. and other Brothers established anesoteric Christian Fraternity: "The Fraternity of the Rose Cross". The Brothers of the Fraternity were sent in mission throughout the world, having as their first priority to use theirknowledge to "cure the sick" in a free of charge way "that gratis", not wearing any special clothing, and met once each year in the mysterious "House of the Holy Spirit".

The Legend shows an agreement with six articles that they drew up Prior to their separation, bounding themselves one to another to keep:

  1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.
  2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit, but to follow the custom of the country.
  3. Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence.
  4. Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his death.
  5. The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character.
  6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.

List of names in the Legend

The Legend presented in the Manifestos has been interpreted through centuries as texts full of symbolism. Rosicrucians clearly adopted through the Manifestos thePythagorean tradition of envisioning objects and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects, and, on the other hand, they directly state in theConfessio Fraternitatis, "We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of all secrets."

In the narrative

  • C.R.
  1. I. A.
  2. G.V.
  3. R.C. (C.R.C.'s deceased father's brother's son): (see also description in the vault below).
  4. B. (a skillful painter)
  5. I.O. (P.A. was his successor)
  6. P.D. (A. was his successor, and N.N. was in turn A's successor)
  7. R. (successor to C.R.C.)
  8. G.G.

The sentence "C.R.C.'s deceased father's brother's son" has always been a deeply enigmatic one. There is the possibility that it may refer to therebirth process, a central tenet teaching of groups having, or claiming to have, a Rosicrucian philosophy. This would imply that "Father C.R.", possibly of the 13th/14th century, would have been reborn to "R.C.", becoming the 14th/15th century C.R.C. in the Manifestos. This appears to confirm what several later sources wrote about the Rosicrucian movement:

  • According to the Anthroposophy founderRudolf Steiner, the Mystery of the foundation of the Rosicrucian Order in the early 14th century relates to the birth ofChristian Rosenkreuz in the 13th century, and his later rebirth in the 14th century.
  • According to Maurice Magre, inMagicians, Seers, and Mystics, derived from local oral tradition, Christian Rosenkreuz was the last descendant of the Germelschausen, a German family which flourished in the 13th century. Their Castle stood in the Thuringian Forest on the Border of Hesse and they had embraced Albigense's doctrines, combining pagan superstitions and Christian beliefs.
  • According to the Rosicrucian InitiateMax Heindel, the foundation of the Order of the Rose Cross occurred in 1313, early 14th century.
  • According to MasonAlbert Pike, and later metaphysicianRené Guénon and the scholarManly Palmer Hall, the "Adepts of the Rose-Croix" are for the first time expounded inDante'sThe Divine Comedy (1308-1321).

In C.R.C.'s vault

  1. Fra. I.A. Fra. Ch. electione Fraternitatis caput. [elected head of Fraternity]: possiblyIohann Andreae (1586-1654)?
  2. Fra. G.V. M.P.G.
  3. Fra. F.R.C. Junior haeres S. Spiritus [younger heir of the house of the holy spirit]:
  4. Fra. F.B. M.P.A. Pictor et Architectus [painter and architect]: possiblyFrancis Bacon (1561-1626)?

"Secundi Circuli"

  1. Fra. P.A. Successor to Fra. I.O., Mathematicus
  2. Fra. A. Successor to Fra. P.D.
  3. Fra. R. Successor to Patris C.R.C., cum Christo Triumphantis [with Christ Triumphant]

The enigmatic "Fra. F.R.C." in the vault (the "R.C." in the narrative,see above) is mentioned as "heir"; this statement "younger heir of the house of the holy spirit" seems to provide evidence of the intimate relation to "Father C.R.", possibly meaning "Father R.C." [forming the C.R.C. initials]:

  • The poetFernando Pessoa - known defender ofMasonic andRosicrucian ideals and possible Rosicrucian Initiate, as he states "Initiated from Master to Disciple in the three minor degrees of the (apparently extinct) Portuguese Templar Order" (Rosicrucians seem to have had a deep presence in Portugal, intermixed with Templar tradition, and with evidence in monuments and literature, from medieavel times into the 20th century) - wrote anhermetic poem titled "No Túmulo de Christian Rosenkreutz" [In the Tomb of C.R.C], which states in the final line/verse: "Our Father Rose-n-c[k]reuz [Rosaecruz] knows and keeps silent", which may attribute the whole key to the understanding of the "Fama" to the enigmatic character described as "R.C." or "F.R.C".
  • The sentence "cum Christo Triumphantis" [with Christ Triumphant] may imply that the central meaning of the "Fama" is to give account of the final achievement into the "Great Work" (thePhilosopher's Stone of the alchemists, or theHoly Grail of the Templars) by C.R.C.,Christian Rosenkreuz. This seems to describe that the symbolism of the unification of the "Rose" and the "Cross" (Christian Rose Cross), in the Legend, implies the existence of aChristic state (Christ,the Light of the World), which includes liberation from the cycle ofbirths and deaths, comparable and higher than theBuddhic state (Buddha,the Light of Asia) described in the eastern sacred literature. This "Christic" process and state is pointed by majoroccultists as being described in some major western literary works as the 14th centuryThe Divine Comedy[2] or the 16th centuryThe Lusiads,[3] and, it is also, to some extent, explained in the Rosicrucian literature known asWestern Wisdom Teachings.

According to Émile Dantinne (1884–1969), the origins of the Rosicrucians may have anIslamic connection. Rosenkreuz started his pilgrimage at the age of sixteen. This led him toArabia,Egypt, andMorocco, where he came into contact with sages of the East who revealed to him the "universal harmonic science." After learning Arabic philosophy inJerusalem, he was led to Damcar. This place remains a mystery—it did not becomeDamascus but is somewhere not too far from Jerusalem. Then he stopped briefly inEgypt. Soon afterwards, he embarked toFes, a center of philosophical and occult studies, such as the alchemy of Abu-Abdallah, Gabir ben Hayan, andImam Jafar al Sadiq, the astrology and magic of Ali-ash-Shabramallishi, and the esoteric science of Abdarrahman ben Abdallah al Iskari. However, Dantinne states that Rosenkreuz may have found his secrets amongst theBrethren of Purity, a society of philosophers that had formed inBasra (Iraq) sometime during the 900s. Their doctrine had its source in the study of the ancientGreek philosophers, but it became more neo-Pythagorean. They adopted thePythagorean tradition of envisioning objects and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects. Theirtheurgy andesoteric knowledge is expounded in an epistolary style in theEncyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity.

The Brethren of Purity and theSufis were united in many points of doctrine. They both were mystical orders deriving fromQur'anic theology but supplantingdogma with a faith in the Divine Reality. There were many similarities between the Rosicrucian way as expressed in the manifestos and the way of life of the Brethren of Purity. Neither group wore special clothing, both practiced abstinence, they healed the sick, and they offered their teachings free of charge. Similarities also were evident in the doctrinal elements of theirtheurgy and the story of creation in terms ofemanationism.

Notes and references

  1. ^ It is generally assumed, among researchers, that theFama may have been in circulation ca. 1610 since a reply to theFama had already been printed in 1612 by Adam Haselmayer who had seen a manuscript copy of theFama inTyrol in 1610. In 1612 "De Ragguagli di Parnasso [Advertisements from Parnassus]" was published in Venice andTrajano Boccalini, listed as author of the "Generale Riforma dell' Universo" (77th. Advertisement), had died in 1613.Manly Palmer Hall refers that the author of the 77th Advertisement may have beenFrancis Bacon.
  2. ^ Dante Alighieri in "The Divine Comedy: 3rd Cantica, Canto XXXI":«In fashion then as of a snow-white rose / Displayed itself to me the saintly host, / Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride,»
  3. ^ Camoens in "The Lusiads: Canto X": «Makes you reward, baron, the Sapience / Supreme of, with the corporal eyes, / see what can not the vain science / of the wrong and miserable mortals»

See also