THE REAL HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS: FOUNDED ON THEIR OWN MANIFESTOES, AND ON FACTS AND DOCUMENTS COLLECTED FROM THE WRITINGS OF INITIATED BRETHREN
ACCORDING to the "Kabbala Denudata" of the Baron Knorr de Rosenroth, the Rose signifies the Shecinah. The reason is given in the Zohar, sect. Æmor., "Quod sicut Rosa crescit ad aquas, et emiitit odorem bonum, sic Malchuth hoc gaudet nomine, cum influxum assugit a Binah, quæ bonum elevat odorem."
The definition of John Heydon concerning the letters R. C. comes too late to be of much value on historical grounds. But some may ask what I mean by R. C. The ceremony is an Ebony Cross, flourisht and decked with Roses of Gold. The Cross typifies Christ's sufferings upon the Cross for our sins; the Roses of Gold shew the glory and beauty of his resurrection from death to life. This is carried to Mesque, Cascle, Apamia, Chaulatean, Virissa Caumich, Mount Calvery, Haran, and Mount Sinai, where they meet when they please and make resolution of all their actions, then disperse themselves abroad, taking their pleasure alwayes in one of these places, where they resolve also all questions of whatsoever hath been done, is done, or shall be done in the world, from the beginning to the end thereof. And these are the men called Rosicrucians."
It is the sign of Mercury, but its position in the twelfth clavis of Basil Valentine indicates a further and more arcane importance. "The vivific gold, the vivific sulphur, or the true fire of the philosophers, is to be sought in the house of Mercury," says Eliphas Lévi ("Mysteries of Magic," p. 202). The "sulphur, mercury, and salt of the philosophers," says the same adept, "condensed and volatilized by turns, compose the azoth of the philosophers." The alchemical "balm of sulphur," according to the Baron Tschoudy's "Catechism for the Grade of Adept, or Sublime and Unknown apprentice Philosopher" (see "LEtoile Flamboyante"), is identical with the "radical moisture," which is also the mercury of the philosophers, the base of every species in the three kingdoms of Nature, but more particularly the seed and base of metals when it is prepared philosophically by the extraction of what is superfluous and the addition of what is wanting for the performance of the Hermetic opus. On this point, see Pernetz, "Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermétique."
This is a common and significant superstition. Perhaps it originated in the Phnix legend; it is dear to mystical writers, at any rate, and has prompted some curious and abstruse reasoning. The bee is especially a subject of folklore, and is a symbol of the ungenerating and sexless spirit of man, which yet presents itself to the mind under a male aspect.
The symbolical representation of the tetrad under the figure of a four-square garden, enclosure, house, or city is very common among mystical writers. A familiar instance is found in the Apocalypse, where the New Jerusalem is represented as a perfect square descending out of heaven. Compare the "Roman de la Rose"--
This passage is rendered by Chaucer in the following manner:--
The appendix to a series of epistles, entitled "Selenia Augustalia," and written by Johann Valentin Andreas, contains an account, thus arranged, of the offspring of this marriage:--
Johann Valentin Andreæ, natus 1586, 17 Aug., et Agnes Elisabeth Grüningeren, n. 1592, 29 Mart.; nuptias habent 1614, 2 Augusti.
II. Concordia, nat. 1617, 29 Junii; obiit. 1617, 27 Julii.
III. Agnes Elisabeth, nat. 1618, 10 Sept.; obiit. 1618, 10 Sept.
IV. Agnes Elisabeth, nat. 1620, 4 Decemb.; nubit Johanni Rühlino, 1630,
V. Gottlieb, nat. 1622, 19 Sept.; ducit Barbaram Sanbertinam, 1643, 19 Junii. Uncle.
VII. Wahrermund, nat. 1627, 27 Nov.; obiit 1629, 6 Febr.
VIII. Johan Valentin, nat. 1631, 9 Aug.; obiit 1632, 5 Sept.
IX. Patientia, nat. 1632, 25 Octob.; obiit 1632; 6 Decemb.
In the first volume of his "Philosophical Dictionary" Voltaire, however, recounts what he considered to be the best exploit ever performed in alchemy, and which was that of a Rosicrucian, who, as early as the year 1620, paid a visit to Henri I., duc de Bouillon, of the house of Turenne, and the sovereign prince of Sédan, with the object of informing him that his power and dominion were in no way proportioned to his valour, and that he, the stranger in question, was fired with the disinterested design of making him as wealthy as an Emperor. "I can remain no longer than two days on your estate," said the impostor; I must then proceed to Venice and be present at the grand assembly of my brethren. In the first place, you must keep my secret inviolable; in the second, send to the first apothecary in the town and purchase a quantity of litharge; cast but one grain of this red powder therein, and in less than a quarter of an hour it will be transformed into gold."
The prince performed the operation, and repeated it three times in the presence of the virtuoso. This personage had previously purchased all the litharge which was to be found at the apothecaries in Sédan, and had resold it to them, tinctured with several ounces of gold. The adept on departing presented all his powder of projection to the duc de Bouillon, who did not doubt for a moment that, having manufactured three ounces of gold with three grains, he would make one hundred thousand ounces with a proportionate quantity of this priceless and mysterious powder. The philosopher was in haste to quit the town; he declared that he had given all his powder to the prince, and that he needed some coin of the realm to repair to Venice for the inauguration of the assembly of Hermetics. A man of moderate tastes, he asked simply for twenty thousand crowns, but was forced by his princely disciple to accept twice that sum; but when the unfortunate duke had exhausted all the litharge in Sédan he could no longer manufacture gold, nor could he anywhere discover his philosopher.