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"We, the deputies of the principal College of the Brethren of the Rose-cross, have taken up our abode, visible and invisible, in this city, by the grace of the Most High, towards whom are turned the hearts of the just. We shew and teach without books or signs, and speak all sorts of languages in the countries where we dwell, to draw mankind, our fellows, from error and from death."--Avis aux curieux

"I affirm, as the main thesis of my concluding labours, that Freemasonry is neither more nor less than Rosicrucianism as modified by those who transplanted it into England. At the beginning of the seventeenth century many learned heads in England were occupied with Theosophy, Cabbalism, and Alchemy: amongst the proofs of this [...] above all [the work] of Robert Fludd. Fludd it was, or whosoever was the author of the Summum Bonum, 1629, that must be considered as the immediate father of Free-masonry, as Andrea was its remote father."--"Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons" (1824) by Thomas De Quincey

"ROSICRUCIANISM is a phase in European culture intermediate between the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. In the history of thought, it represents a stage in which the Hermetic-Cabalist tradition received the influx of another Hermetic tradition, that of alchemy. This book is the definitive work on the origins of Rosicrucian thought and its influence on politics and great thinkers in seventeenth-century Europe."--blurb to The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1971) by Frances Yates.

"This element of Rosicrucianism, fostered by a wave of popular magical interest exemplified in the vogue of the charlatan Cagliostro and the publication of Francis Barrett's The Magus (1801), a curious and compendious treatise on occult principles and ceremonies, of which a reprint was made as lately as 1896, figures in Bulwer-Lytton and in many late Gothic novels, especially that remote and enfeebled posterity which straggled far down into the nineteenth century and was represented by George W. M. Reynolds's Faust and the Demon and Wagner the Wehr-Wolf."--Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft

"The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you acquainted with. The best account I know of them is in a French book called Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and size is so like a novel, that many of the fair sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these gentlemen, the four elements are inhabited by spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders." -- The Rape of the Lock (1712) Alexander Pope, introduction

This page Rosicrucianism is part of the mysticism series. Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity
This page Rosicrucianism is part of the mysticism series.
Illustration: The Invisible College of the Rose Cross Fraternity

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Rosicrucianism is a spiritual and cultural movement that arose in Europe in the early 17th century after the publication of several texts purported to announce the existence of a hitherto unknown esoteric order to the world and made seeking its knowledge attractive to many. The manifestos (Fama Fraternitatis, 1614 and Confessio Fraternitatis, 1615) do not elaborate extensively on the matter, but clearly combine references to Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and Christian mysticism.

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 arose on whether they were a hoax, whether the "Order of the Rosy Cross" existed as described in the manifestos, and 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". Some scholars of esotericism suggest that this statement was later made by Andreae in order to shield himself from the wrath of the religious and political institutions of the day, which were intolerant of free speech and the idea of a "universal reformation", for which the manifestos called.

In his work "Silentium Post Clamores" (1617), the rosicrucian Michael Maier (1568–1622) described rosicrucianism as having arisen from a "Primordial Tradition" in the following statement: "Our origins are Egyptian, Brahminic, derived from the mysteries of Eleusis and Samothrace, the Magi of Persia, the Pythagoreans, and the Arabs."

By promising a spiritual transformation at a time of great turmoil, the manifestos influenced many figures to seek esoteric knowledge. Seventeenth-century occult philosophers such as Maier, Robert Fludd, and Thomas Vaughan interested themselves in the Rosicrucian world view.

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 most influential of these societies has been the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which derived from Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and counted many prominent figures among its members.

Its history is divulged in Frances Yates's The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1972).

See also

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