Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis

In recent months I have become more and more interested in researching alchemy and Rosicrucian societies and in Masonry the most prominent Rosicrucian order is the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis.

The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (United States), SRICF, is a Rosicrucian Society based in the United States of America. It was officially founded on September 21, 1880, by three Colleges chartered by the Societas Rosicruciana In Scotia (Scotland), SRIS.

Masons in the United States interested in bringing this organization to the United States traveled to England where they initiated into Grade I° - Zelator, but due to getting no response from the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (England), SRIA, they turned back to the SRIS to get a charter.

On April 21, 1880, Fratres met at a newly formed second college in New York and formed a High Council which at the time was known as Societas Rosicrucianae Reipublica Confoedera America, or SRRCA.  Later it was changed to Society of Rosicrucians in the USA by Most Worthy Frater Shryock during his time as Supreme Magus.  In 1934 the name was properly Latinized during the governance of Most Worthy Frater Hamilton at the suggestion of Dr. William Moseley Brown to what it is now.

The governing body of the Society is known since 1911 as The High Council which is composed of Fratres of the Third Order (IX° and VIII°), plus any College Celebrant not a member of the Third Order. The head of the Society is titled The Supreme Magus who was elected ad vitam (for life) up until circa 1991 when the constitution of the Society was changed to reflect that Supreme Magi are elected each triennium (a period of three years). The subordinate bodies are termed “Colleges” each being headed in the United States, by a Chief Adept, IX°, appointed for a three year term by the Supreme Magus. A Chief Adept can serve a maximum of three terms of office. Unlike the SRIA in England, a Chief Adept in the SRICF does not have regional powers, but rather is in charge of an individual College. Typically there is but one College per state, exceptions having been made for both New York and California due to their size and population.

Membership is by invitation only and predicated on regular mainstream Masonic affiliation as well as a profession of Christian faith. The Christian qualification is required because the character of the Grade rituals is completely Christian, and would not be understood or appreciated by those of other faiths. Membership is restricted to 72 members (called Fratres) per college. New members are required to select a distinctive “Latin Motto” and state that they are not a member of a non-Masonic Rosicrucian organization as a matter of ethics. The Society is not interested primarily in increasing its membership, but considers such brethren whose interest in the Society’s aims is sincere and whom it considers to be in sympathy with the movement.

The SRICF does not constitute just another interesting degree in Freemasonry, to be acquired in the course of ordinary Masonic progress. It is something beyond and outside Freemasonry. The Society is the ideal forum for Masons who wish to extend their contemplation of the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science, and to investigate the meaning and symbolism of all that now remains of the wisdom, art and literature of the Ancient World.

The See of the High Council is in Washington, D.C. The SRICF is in amity with the SRIS  and the SRIA as well as the SRIC (Canada) and has helped the cause of Rosicruciana by empowering High Councils in their own sovereignty around the World.  They are: the SRIL in Lusitania (Portugal), SRIG in Gallia (France), and the SRIR (Romania). The Society is not merely another degree of Freemasonry which may be acquired and outside of the normal “workings” of the Craft.

The degrees, with teachings of the degree, are structured as follows:

The First Order consists of four Grades referred to as the Learning Grades:
I° Grade: Zelator
II° Grade: Theoricus
III° Grade: Practicus
IV° Grade: Philosophus
The Second Order consists of three Grades referred to as the Teaching Grades:
V° Grade: Adeptus Minor
VI° Grade: Adeptus Major
VII° Grade: Adeptus Exemptus
The Third Order consists of two Grades referred to as the Ruling Grades which are only conferred by or with permission of the Supreme Magus:
VIII° Grade: Magister
IX° Grade: Magus
Knight Grand Crosses (KGC) are awarded to IX° Grade Magi for exemplary effort in the work of the Society & Rosicrucianism in general.

From the Ohio College website:
The purpose of the society, according to its earliest scholars, is "to afford mutual aid and encouragement in working out the great problems of Life, and in discovering the Secrets of Nature; to facilitate the study of the systems of philosophy inculcated by the original Fratres Rosae Crucis of Germany based upon the Kabbalah and the doctrines of Hermes Trismegistus."
The society issues an annual journal known as Ad Lucem (Latin for "to the light") composed of academic articles on things related to Rosicrucianism & esoteric streams of Christian Mysteries. There is also an annual report, The Rosicrucian Fama. Many of the Colleges have their own individual organs which are produced quarterly as well as annually.

References

1. About the Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ohio College, SRICF: http://www.ohiosricf.org/about.html

2. History & Origin of the Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from Texas College, SRICF: http://sricf.albertpikedemolay.org/

3. Lindez, D. (n.d.). Description. Retrieved from Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis: http://www.yorkrite.org/sricf/info.html

4. Societas Rosicruciana. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Societas_Rosicruciana#Societas_Rosicruciana_in_Civitatibus_Foederatis_.28SRICF.29

3 comments:

  1. Nice compilation of material. Just one correction. There is nothing in the High Council rules that prohibits a non-masonic Rosicrucian from joining.

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    1. I had pulled that from the High Council's website that membership was predicated on "regular mainstream Masonic affiliation".

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    2. The keyword is regular. You can not belong to an irregular masonic GL but other then that its not a problem.

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