Flying Roll XVI
By G. H. Frater N.O.M.
The opening words of that part of the 5°=6° Ritual which deals with the History of the Order of R.C. are as follows:
‘Know them 0 Aspirant, that the Order of the Rose and Cross hath existed from time immemorial and that its mystic rites were practised and its hidden knowledge communicated in the initiations of the various races of Antiquity, Egypt, Eleusis, Samothrace, Persia, Chaldea and India alike cherished these mysteries, and thus handed down to posterity the Secret Wisdom of the Ancient Ages....'
This statement is one which comes home to every member of the 5°=6° Grade, for although, in a sense, one in that position, is but on the threshold of really serious Occult study and development it is still easy enough to trace the masterful manner in which our mystic knowledges has been consolidated; and the essential unity of the system speaks eloquently of the Wisdom which formulated it.
‘Albeit the manner of its introduction into mediaeval Europe' is chiefly interesting to us. C.R. is the great figure-head around which has clustered the most romantic traditions of mediaeval Occultism. History has not passed down the real name of this unique character: for C.R. is obviously a fictitious or assumed name chosen for mystic purposes.
Born in 1378 and dying in 1484 a life of 106 years was apparently the term of his physical manifestation: and to his exertions and efforts, it is that we may ascribe the great reformation of Occultism in the West. Fired by a noble purpose and ensouled by divine energies, his was the beau ideal of a life of Occult usefulness: it recks little if the world knew nought of that obscure personality, but it was a matter of supreme importance to the progress of Western Occultism and the full significance of this observation will probably be only appreciated by you in proportion as you may advance hereafter. The first years of his eventful life were spent in study, both intellectual and occult, to be eventually followed by a series of initiations at several places (out of Europe) ‘Where there existed Temples of our Order.' Thus were laid foundations ‘whereon to erect a more extended superstructure of practical application' and, having chosen three other Fratres to share with him the heat and burthen of the day, the establishment of the Order was effected in Europe. With the principal features of their subsequent activity you are already familiar and it suffices to say that when our Founder ‘entered into his chamber' his work was accomplished, and every member among us thereby placed under a lasting debt of gratitude.
It is to be observed that there are three important epochs in the history
of the Rosicrucian Order: the first being the life period of Christian
Rosycross, who died before the time of the Protestant Reformation—the
second, the 120 years of silence and secrecy, being the period from 1484
to 1604—and, the third, the period subsequent thereto, and subsequent
to the Reformation. It was during the latter period that the opening of
the Vault formed the historical basis for the subsequent publication of
the Frama Fraternitatis or a Discovery of the most laudable Order of the
Rosy Cross the publication of which took place at Cassel in 1614, though
this tract is dated i6io. This event called forth most intense curiosity
and excitement and the enormous effect which it had upon the learned world
of that time may be better understood when it is stated that no less than
6oo tractates exist at the Museum at Berlin, all criticising
The sudden publication by a secret Lodge of Students of a Manifesto, and semi-public initiation to Occultism—such as then occurred has been recently repeated, for similar reasons by the Eastern School—which in 1875 sent from India the learned woman H.P.B.— an initiate to make a semi-public Propaganda—and also to admit a few selected persons to Esoteric teaching issued from a lodge of concealed instructors—whose published names are probably substitutes, mottoes, or symbols. (Original Note.)
It will be obvious upon reflection that the ceremonial and allotment of Rituals and instruction in the Second Order as now existing, cannot be identical with that which obtained prior to the opening of the Vault because the principal symbolism of the 5° = 6° Grade chiefly centres around the discovery and opening of the Vault: this being so, it may be noted in passing that the two preceding epochs, already referred to, may be attributed by sequence of comparison to the Grades of 6°=5° and 7° =4° respectively: the former—a degree of death and solmnity—referring to the precedent stage of obscuration, during which silent study and meditation may be considered as the typical condition—the latter—the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus—being referred to the higher and more exalted rank and attaimnents of him who founded the Rosicrucian Order, as a new formulation of that Occult philosophy or Wisdom Religion which, we cannot doubt, has never been entirely absent since the manifestation of human intellect with a capacity for the apprehension of things Divine.
On comparing the Esoteric historical account given in the Fama with that contained in our 5° =6° Ritual, several important divergencies and discrepancies become apparent: for the Fama was written for the public and is therefore not absolutely correct. Instances of the ‘blinds' introduced into the Fama occur where in the description of the Vault it is stated ‘This is all clear and bright, as also the seventh (the Seven Sides—the 7th was not different) side and the two heptagons ...‘ And again later on—'Every Side or Wall is parted into ten squares every one with their several figures and sentences ...‘ ‘Every Side or Wall' is moreover represented as having a door for a chest wherein many things and books lay—including the vocabularium of Paracelsus who lived from 1493 to 1541—Or during the 120 years of closure before referred to. This was an obvious inconsistency—and was in fact an intentional blind inserted for the purpose of disappointing the critics of that day: (the critic is rarely or never an Occultist: the Society, to ensure the exclusion of such men, did cunningly when it authorised the publication of a tract, with a blot which would condemn it straight off in their eyes—and so kept such men from clamouring for admission). For, be it remembered, the Fama was an official manifesto, the publication of which was authorised by the Fratres then empowered. Subsequently, on account of the great stir roused by its publication, and especially on the assertion of some that the principles of the Order were subversive of the simple orthodox faith of Christianity, its publication by Valentine Andreas was authorised (in 1 6i 5) with a Supplement under the Title Con fessio Fraternitatis R.C. ad Erudotos Europa. This was prefaced by an advertisement to the effect that the ‘gentle reader' should find ‘incorporated in our Confession thirty-seven reasons of our purpose and intention, the which according to they pleasure thou mayest seek out and compare together, considering within thyself if they be sufficient to allure thee'. The point of this, however, is that examination of the contents does not reveal the thirty-seven reasons, nor do the Hebrew Letters representing that number form any Word which might seem to be the secret meaning, but by Temurah, two pregnant words are shown forth, thus LHB =30+5+2 = Flame, Lux. Light. Illumination and LGD =30+3+4 = ‘For the Society', or army.
There is another reference to Paracelsus in the Eatna which has a curious interest: it runs ‘although he was none of our fraternity, yet, nevertheless hath he diligently read over the Book M., whereby his sharp ingenium was exalted.' Now Paracelsus was taught by Johann Trithemius of Spanheim, Abbot of Wurtzburg, and Solomon Trismosin: he also travelled in the East, and being taken captive in Tartary (Compare with H.P.B's initiation in Thibet.—Paracelsus was not a Rosicrucian yet after initiation taught very similar tenets—he found another allied Temple in the East) was initiated there; he is moreover said to have received the Stone in Constantinople from one Sigismund Fugger.
Although the Fama is in some cases deficient in its historical account, it contains here and there redundant description, which affords food for reflection : — thus, it is said ‘In another chest were looking-glasses of divers virtues, as also in other places were little bells, burning lamps, and chiefly wonderful artificial songs. . . .‘—The latter are of course, the Mantrams of the Easterns, Carinina or incantations,—instructions on the vibratory mode of pronouncing divine ames.
The only other important Rosicrucian publication was a very curious work
entitled the Hermetic Romance, or the Chymical Wedding, which likewise
excited much controversy : — it is full of perplexities (for the
casual reader) though the meaning is entirely allegorical and only to
be seized by violence. Of this class of study, all that can be said is
‘Sometimes a light surprises the student on his way.' The date of
publication was i6i6, the year following the appearance of the ‘Confessio
It is especially desirable that when our brethren meet, the ancient form
of salutation should be preserved : — thus on meeting they should
salute each other in the following manner ‘Ave Frater'. The second
shall answer ‘Roseae Rubeae', whereupon the first shall conclude
with ‘et Aureae Crucis'.
‘Granuin Pectaris IH SH VH insitum'— A grain—or seed,
sown or planted—in the heart of Jehoshua
Well indeed shall your life have been spent in helping the world, and
teaching others, if you can earn such an Epigraph.