The origins of this secret society are murky, with many believing it never really existed. Let’s learn more about the Rosicrucians and their esoteric wisdom.

Esoteric knowledge
The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz

Who Are the Rosicrucians?

The Rosicrucians are said to be an international brotherhood claiming to possess esoteric wisdom handed down from ancient times. It is unclear if the group ever really existed, but people today follow the Rosicrucian principles.

Esoteric knowledge is considered to be knowledge that can only be understood by a small number of people who usually need specialized training and initiation. It is believed to be the pursuit of occult knowledge, understanding the mysteries of life, and the manifestation of mystical powers.

The name derives from the symbol, a rose on a cross, and their teachings combine occultism and other religious beliefs. They believe in supernatural forces and draw inspiration from Hermeticism, Jewish mysticism, and Christian Gnosticism.

No one knows whether the Rosicrucians really existed, as the order is based on a series of anonymous pamphlets published in Germany in 1614.

The combination of alchemy and mysticism made Rosicrucian beliefs popular with European thinkers, and they drew on ideas from ancient wisdom. Membership in the secret order was never confirmed, and today it is thought of as a system of beliefs rather than a membership society.

A Brief History of the Rosy Cross

In 1614, an anonymous pamphlet entitled the Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis was published in Germany. It told the journey of Christian Rosenkreuz, a German nobleman and former monk. After traveling through the Orient, Rosenkreuz brought his mystical knowledge back to Germany and founded the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross in the 1400s. His teachings were drawn from a mix of Hermeticism, Kabbalism, and alchemy.

The second anonymous manifesto was printed in 1615 and was called the Confessio Fraternitatis. The Confessio detailed how the Rosicrucians were preparing to transform Europe’s political and intellectual landscape through alchemy and mysticism.

The final installment in the Rosicrucian manifesto was The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz, published in 1616. It described the story of Rosenkreuz attending a wedding thought to symbolize a marriage of science and the arts. The guests had to complete a series of trials over seven days to prove their purity which is thought to represent spiritual awakening.

The popularity of Rosicrucian beliefs declined during the 18th century with the Enlightenment and the age of skepticism and rationalism.

Alchemy and Mysticism

According to the pamphlets, Rosicrucian beliefs have their roots in the mystery traditions, philosophy, and myths of ancient Egypt and provide insight into nature, the physical universe, and the spiritual realm.

The study of alchemy was a form of speculative thought, but for the Rosicrucians, it was more than the ability to transform base metals into silver and gold. It was a transmutation of human character and a way to discover a cure for disease and extend life. This transmutation involved passing from an earthly to an supernatural existence.

An interest in mysticism can be linked back to the Knights Templar, who were in contact with the Arab civilization during the Crusades and brought mystical teachings back to the West as food for thought for Western alchemists.

Mysticism is an experience of knowing, and Rosicrucians supposedly believed it was possible to discover the source of all being through direct knowledge. For Rosicrucians, the idea that everything is linked and it’s possible to transcend to a higher plane made alchemy and mysticism extremely interesting.

The 7 Cosmic Principles of Rosicrucianism

The Rosicrucians followed seven cosmic principles.

The Principle of Correspondence – everything is constantly changing and that change takes active energy and motion between the different planes of being.

The Principle of Law and Order – there is no such thing as chance and that everything has a cause.

The Principle of Vibration – everything vibrates, even on the mental and spiritual planes. The difference between the planes of beings is due to the difference in the rate and character of the vibrations.

The Principle of Rhythm – there is a universal swing that is apparent in all things, like the revolution of the Earth on its axis and regular measured time.

The Principle of Cycles – everything manifested is cyclical.

The Principle of Polarity – everything has an opposite, like past and future.

The Principle of Sex – sex is the cause of all creation in the mental, physical and spiritual planes.

Influence of the Rosicrucian Ideas

Rosicrucianism considerably influenced Western esotericism and inspired literature and even aspects of Freemasonry.

Elias Ashmole, a student of alchemy, kept a copy of the Rosicrucian manifesto. He wrote the oldest known account of Freemason initiation and was a founding member of the Royal Society in 1660.

Sir Isaac Newton was a Royal Society member and its president. The mathematician was interested in alchemy and the occult and referenced both Ashmole and the Rosicrucian manifesto. Although he wasn’t a confirmed Freemason, his assistant John Theophilus Desaguliers was central to the work of the new Grand Lodge after 1717 and was even its Grandmaster, 1719 to 1720.

Architecture and engineering, the domain of Freemasonry, contain aspects of geometry and mathematics, which were seen by the Church as occult hermetic practices based on alchemy, astrology, and theosophy. 18th-century Freemasonry cast aside occult traditions, but you can still find esoteric references in their rituals.

Modern Rosicrucians


Many modern Rosicrucians don’t necessarily believe the order actually existed, but they believe in the ideas of Rosicrucianism. They use the manifestos as important symbolic works that convey vital principles.

The Societas Rosicrucian in Civitatibus Foederatis was established in the United States in 1880 as an invitation-only membership based on regular and mainstream Masonic affiliation. It has a governing body called The High Council, and the head of the Society is The Supreme Magus.

The Fraternitus Rosae Crucis in America claims to have had a Council of Three made up of Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, and Thomas Paine.

Rosicrucian Fellowship International is an organization based on the theosophy-based teachings of Max Heidel, started in 1909.

The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) was formed in New York City in 1915 by H. Spencer Lewis. Today AMORC is a community of philosophers who study and practice the natural laws governing the universe. They teach metaphysics, mysticism, philosophy, psychology, parapsychology, and science in a way not taught by conventional education systems.

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