Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Keystone Chapter Official Visit

Well, I've spent the last two nights in northern Idaho. It was a beautiful drive up with a mix of winter and spring scenes. Last night, I held another Aspirant's Circle for northern Idaho where I did two presentations on the SRICF and the Rosicrucian Manifestos.

Tonight I did my last official visit as Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Idaho to Keystone Chapter No.29. I had originally planned to visit them last year, but with the death of my father, I had to reschedule. We learn in the Most Excellent Master degree that the Keystone finished and completed King Solomon's Temple so maybe it was fate that my final visitation was with Keystone Chapter No.29. Regardless, it was a pleasure to come to visit the Companions. I now have just over 2-weeks before I leave office and hand the reigns to my successor. I also picked up some regalia for Star Garnet Council No.560 of the Allied Masonic Degrees so this was a very fruitful trip.

Now I need to get some sleep before the long drive home tomorrow.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Timeline of the Templar: Introduction

Introduction

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon also known as the Knights Templar were, in their day, one of the most prominent, wealthy, and powerful of military orders in Europe and were a model for other orders to follow. This series will cover the Knights Templar's legendary origins, their early years, their growth, their famous and infamous battles over the centuries, their tragic end at the hands of the French monarchy, and the continuation theories that have surrounded them. This year marks the 900th anniversary since the founding of this knighthood of warrior-monks.

In this article I will discuss the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam, Muslim control of the Holy Land, the spread of Islam, Muslim incursion into Byzantine land, the rise of the Holy Roman Empire, the split of Christianity: Roman Catholic versus Greek Orthodox, Byzantium's cry for help and Rome's response, the Crusader's journey to the Holy Land, the First Crusade, the founding of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Hugh de Payen and the founding of the Knights Templar, St. Bernard of Clairvaux and the Cistercian Order, and the Templar origin stories. This article is the first part of a five-part series.


The Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire

By the time of the 5th century, the Roman Empire was plagued with poor and divided leadership, dwindling population, and, having expanded too much, couldn't protect its own borders. The Roman Empire declined to such a point that it would be besieged and then sacked by the Visigoth's in 410 AD.

Looking back at history, Diocletian had declared in 285 AD, that Maximian, a friend, would serve as "co-emperor" (or Augustus) with him to better control the vast empire which was still considered a single entity, not two. Each Emperor would have his own court, military, and administration. Below them were created two Caesars, which would be lesser Emperor's to the Augusti, and was a system referred to as the Tetrarchy (or Leadership of Four). This system would last only a few years until it was reunified under Constantine the Great, but then would be split again after the death of Constantine.

While it was claimed that this split would not divide the Empire, it did. The Latin, or Western, Empire (referred to as the Roman Empire) relied heavily on the Greek, or Eastern Empire (referred to as the Byzantine Empire), for trade and supplies so when it was divided the West did lose out on a great deal of the luxuries enjoyed in the Eastern province. In the Western Roman Empire, civil wars ensued, incursions on the borders of the Empire, and disease started weakening the Empire. Due to the shrinking population, the Roman armies started hiring barbarians as mercenaries who held no loyalty to the Empire, and by their treatment, they really didn't need to give any. The Empire became so dependent on them that their defenses were basically gone and Rome was ripe for the taking. Soon the fallen empire was constantly being invaded by Saxons, Britains, Franks, Vandals, Goths, and so forth. Rome was shattered into a thousand pieces. 
In the midst of this chaotic period of doom and gloom, there was a glue that kept much of Europe united, and that was Christianity.


While the Western Roman Empire crumbled and gave way to the Dark Ages, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to thrive. Zeno, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, declared that the Empire would be united again under one Emperor and he attempted to negotiate with the invading Ostrogoths, but invasions and internal disputes prevented him and his successors from successfully reconquering the Western regions of the Empire. When Emperor Justinian I took the throne in 527 AD, he secured peace with the Persians in the East turned his attention to restoring Imperial control over the lost Western Roman Empire. By the time of Justinian's death in 565 AD, he had partially regained much of the lost territory and it is said that the Mediterranean Sea was again a "Roman Lake." Yet, while the Byzantine Emperor was attempting to expand the boundaries and ensure the future stability of the Empire, in Mecca a man was born that would change the geopolitics of the Middle East which would play a significant factor for the Crusades.



Justinian I, Emperor of the Byzantines from 525 AD to 565 AD, was one who made great attempts to restore the greatness of the Roman Empire. Through his ambition, the Byzantine pushed back the Ostrogoths and took back much of the territory of the former Roman Empire and made the Mediterranean a "Roman Lake" again for a short time. Under his reign, the Byzantine culture blossomed and flourished to include the building of the Hagia Sophia (meaning "Holy Wisdom") which is an architectural marvel and is said to have changed the face of architecture. This building would serve as a Patriarchal cathedral for the Greek Orthodox, an imperial mosque under the Ottoman Empire, and now currently as a museum.


The Rise of Islam

While the chaotic Western world was uniting under Christianity, Islam was taking root in the Middle East. The Muslim Prophet Muhammed was born in Mecca around 570 AD. Tradition says that he was a humble man who would often go to the surrounding mountains and recluse himself in caves for reflection. Though he was spent some time by himself, he wasn't a hermit, but by profession was a merchant and while on a trading trip it is said that he met a Christian monk named Bahira who said that Muhammed was going to chosen by God as one of His Prophets. At the age of 40, Muhammed, during one of his cave reflections, was said to have been visited by the Archangel Gabriel and received a revelation from God. Muhammed preached privately and converted only a few at first, but soon began to preach openly which was accepted in some places, but he met with fierce resistance. After many years of fighting, most of the Arabian peninsula had converted to Islam. In 632 AD, the Muslim Prophet Muhammed died in Medina. The Middle East had long been a region stuck between two empires and which were filled with many pagan religions and beliefs, but now the people of this region were united into a single religious polity that would reshape the future, even to the modern day.

Islam was established along major trade routes which allowed it to spread quickly to other regions of the world. Following the death of the Muslim Prophet, the Muslim world would be led by a series of Caliphs (an Islamic leader) who greatly expanded the boundaries of Islam and these burgeoning Caliphates. These Caliphates were able to start conquering lands disputed between the Byzantines and the Persians as both of those powers were weakened by the continuous warring with each other. By the time the Rashidun Caliphate ended in 661 AD, nearly the entire Middle East and much of Persia was under Islamic rule. Under the Umayyad Caliphate, Islam began to spread to North Africa. The Byzantines owned many cities along North Africa, but by the end of the 7th century the Umayyad Caliphate had conquered and taken over this region to include several islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. It's astounding to see the rapid spread of Islam. Not all of it was through conquest; for example, Syrians and Egyptians were much more willing to convert and submit to Islam as they felt alienated by the Byzantines who were constantly attempting to impose their religious beliefs onto them. Some converted simply because it was financially convenient and they didn't want to go through the imposition of being taxed as a non-Muslim (as Jews and Christian were). 


Muslims had captured Jerusalem in 638 AD. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, agreed to surrender the city to only the Caliph himself. 
In a city dominated by Christians and Jews, the Muslim rulers constructed the Dome of the Rock as a counterbalance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Dome of the Rock is the oldest existing Islamic monument in the world and for most still the greatest. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was spared destruction until 1099 when the Fatimid Caliph had over 2,000 churches destroyed throughout the empire to include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but it was later rebuilt. To this point, no serious conflict had arisen between Christianity and Islam as both religions had flourished in different parts of the world, but soon that would all change.


The Rise of the Holy Roman Empire

Not satisfied with their recent conquests in the Middle East and North Africa, the Caliphate crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. The Muslim invaders moved into the Iberian peninsula (now Spain) and destroyed the Visigothic kingdom and established the independent Emirate of Cordova. Seeing the Franks as an easy target and soon an army of 50,000 led by General Abdul Rahman al-Rafiki crossed the Pyrenees into France. Initially, the Muslims were successful in their conquest and at the River Garonne, it is said that only God knows how many Franks were slain. The Muslim invaders would have continued had it not been for the leadership of Charles Martel who was able to amass an army and stop the Islamic expansion.

The Battle of Tours occurred on October 10th, 732, between the Frankish army (between 15,000 and 75,000)  led by Charles Martel and the Islamic army (between 60,000 and 400,000) led by General Abdul Rahman al-Rafiki. This battle resulted in a major defeat and retreat of the Islamic army, the death of Abdul Rahman, and the preserving Christianity as the controlling faith in Europe. From this battle, Charles Martel earned the nickname "Charles the Hammer" who continued to push Islamic forces from France over the years. Charles Martel was a brilliant tactician and leader which allowed him to repel armies of superior numbers and weaponry. The armored cavalry was born out of these battles which would form the backbone of Western warfare for the next several centuries. His son and grandson, Charlemagne, helped fortify the border between Spain and France that would assist in the Reconquista of Spain later on. While the expansion of Islam didn't take hold in Europe outside of the Iberian peninsula, Islam was the controlling religion in Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch (three former Christian Patriarchates). The Mediterranean Sea would be the dividing line for most of the territories controlled by the two religions.



Charlemagne
After the death of his father, Pepin, Charlemagne ascended the Frankish throne as King in 768 AD. Charlemagne further expanded what his father and grandfather had done; by 774 AD, Charlemagne had removed the Lombards from power and took the title of King of Italy. On Christmas Day in 800 AD in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as Emperor, the first one recognized since the fall of the Roman Empire. Charlemagne's reign is noted for his expansion of the Carolingian Empire, the support of the Christian religion, and intellectual growth. Due to his efforts to unite Europe under a single power, Charlemagne is known as the "Father of Europe." Charlemagne held the position of Emperor until his death in 814 AD. His successors would keep the title until 924 AD when the last of the Carolingian dynasty died. Otto I would revive the title in 962 AD when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XII, which some claim is the founding date of the Holy Roman Empire and not 800 AD with Charlemagne. While the rise of Imperial power in Western Europe. Otto is remembered for his strengthening and solidifying of the Germans states. The establishment of an Emperor by the Pope would play a role in the Great Schism of 1054.


The Great Schism

Also called the "East-West Schism", this event is dated to when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I of Constantinople excommunicated each other. The primary cause of this schism was the dispute over the authority of the Bishop of Rome, today is known as the Pope

Since the earliest days of organized Christianity, there were three special positions recognized: the Bishop of Rome, the Bishop of Alexandria, and the Bishop of Antioch. Two more were added later on and confirmed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, they were the Bishop of Constantinople and the Bishop of Jerusalem. These five Bishops were also called Patriarchs. These five Bishops were said to hold authority and precedence over their fellow bishops in the Catholic Church with the Bishop of Rome being first among equals as he is said to be the successor of St. Peter. 


With the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the continuation of the Eastern Byzantine Empire, the Bishops of Rome focused more on Western Europe and communication with their four Eastern counterparts dwindled. Eastern Christianity and the Byzantine Empire spoke Greek rather than Latin so the growing divide was not just geopolitical, but also linguistic and cultural. 


The bickering between these five Patriarchs led to an exchange of excommunications in 1054 by Leo IX in Rome and Michael I in Constantinople, and the official separation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. 
While this schism officially occurred in 1054, this schism had been growing for decades. These excommunications would last until 1965 when Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I presided over simultaneous ceremonies that revoked the excommunication decrees.



Byzantium's Cry for Help

The Seljuk Turks, a group of nomadic Turkish warriors from Central Asia, during the conquests of Persia and the Middle East, had embraced Islam. It is said they came out of what would be now northern Iran and conquered Persia before moving west. They captured Baghdad in 1055, Jerusalem in 1070, and then started invading into Anatolia (Turkey) into the territory of the Byzantine empire. 

In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert which led 
to the capture of Byzantine Emperor, Romanus IV Diogenes, and laid the way for further invasions into Byzantine territory
Control of the entire peninsula didn't happen overnight. It took over 20-years for the Turks to fully control the entire Anatolian peninsula, but they didn't hold it for long. The Seljuks didn't just attack the Byzantine's either. They also fought against the Fatimid Caliphate out of Egypt and eventually captured Jerusalem in 1077; the Seljuk Turks were Sunni Muslim and the Fatimids were Shia Muslim. This event is considered the catalyst for the crusades as during Fatimid control, Christians could still go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, but under Seljuk rule, Christians were prevented from entering Jerusalem and completing their pilgrimage.




Romanus's successor and stepson, Emperor Michael VII Ducas, sought the aid of Pope Gregory VII, who considered leading a military expedition to drive back the Turks, recover the Holy Sepulchre, and restore Christian unity following the de facto breach that had occurred with Eastern Christendom in 1054. Pope Gregory VII greatly desired to restore the relationship between the Latin and Greek Christians, but due to his conflicts with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, he was deposed and died in exile. The papacy of Victor III was short and soon Pope Urban II would be elected as the Vicar of Christ in 1088. It is important to note that around 1090, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was born in southeastern France.

During this time, the Byzantine Empire had passed to the hands of Alexios I Komnenos, who still sought help from the West, sent a plea to Pope Urban II in 1095. Since Michael VII's plea, the Seljuk Turks had also captured the city of Antioch (1084) and Nicaea (1092); two famous ecumenical councils had been held in these cities centuries before.


In November of 1095, Pope Urban II convened the Council of Clermont in southern France. This council was attended by more than just clergy, but also by the nobility, knights, and common folk alike. In western Europe, there had been so much infighting that Pope Urban II saw a way to establish peace and order as well as recapture the Holy Land under Christian rule. He, therefore, urged the masses to unite in defense of their fellow Eastern Christians and to move on the Holy Land. The Pope also promised plenary indulgence to those who would undertake this journey.



The Crusades Begin

The first of the crusader armies left France around mid-August of 1096 and headed for Constantinople. It is thought that the Emperor Alexios was expecting a small contingent of knights to assist in defeating the Seljuk Turks,  but instead, a massive Western European host arrives at the steps of Constantinople. This host was really four armies composed of French, Normans, and Germans, each with their own commanders but the most notable was the Duke Godfrey de Boullion. Alexios met with the leaders, but not wanting a restless army around his city sent the armies into Anatolia with the order that the land they conquered would be returned to the Byzantine Empire. In June of 1097, Nicaea was captured and return to Byzantine control followed by a victory at Dorylaeum.

When the Crusaders asked help from the Emperor Alexios, he balked at their request. The crusaders considered this a breaking of the promise between each other and they would no longer return the land to the Byzantines. In June of 1099, the city of Antioch was retaken and controlled by the Normans. In July of 1099, the crusading armies arrived at and surrounded Jerusalem; the Fatimid Caliphate had retaken Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks in the summer of 1098. On July 15th, 1099, some were able to get over the walls and open up the main gate allowing in the main force. In the Tower of David, the Fatimid governor surrendered and was escorted from the city.


What followed was a massacre of Muslim, Jew, and Christian inhabitant alike. Then the m
osques to include the Dome of the Rock were all converted to Christian churches. Even though much of the Holy Land was still under Muslim control, once Jerusalem was taken many of the crusaders started for home as they saw their goal had been achieved. Two weeks after Jerusalem fell to the crusaders, Pope Urban II died and Paschal II took over the papacy.


In the wake of the crusade, four Christian states were established in the captured territories: the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Edessa, and the County of Tripoli. The geopolitics was very complex as now the region was filled with Fatimid Muslims, Seljuk Turks, Byzantines, and the new crusader kingdom. The need for a strong defense of these new Christian states gave rise to the variety of religious orders of knighthood. These Christian states would begin to flourish and eventually, they expanded their control of the coastal cities and into what is now Syria, Jordan, Sinai, Lebanon, and Egypt.


The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem came about after a council was held on July 22, 1099, to select a king. There were two primary contenders for the position: Raymond IV of Toulouse and Godfrey de Bouillon. Raymond was the wealthier and more powerful of the two, but, upon being asked, refused the title of king. The council turned to Godfrey who did not refuse and thus became the first King. Godfrey would expand his kingdom by capturing more and more cities such as Jaffa (Tel Aviv today), Galilee, and Haifa. Much of the day to day running of Jerusalem had been turned over to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Daimbert of Pisa, who sought to establish a theocratic government that would fall under the Papacy. Godfrey's reign was successful but short. He died in 1100 AD from an illness and the crown passed to his brother, Baldwin. Baldwin took the title of "King of the Latins of Jerusalem" and set the foundation of a secular state rather than a theocratic one.

Baldwin continued the expansion of the Latin Kingdom, capturing Acre, Beirut, and Sidon. He also fought back against the Fatimids who were attempting to recapture their lost land. While Godfrey was the first king, many say it was Baldwin I who established the true kingdom into a solid feudal state.

Baldwin I died without an heir in 1118 while on a campaign against the Fatimids. The crown was offered to his brother Eustace, but he turned it down. The crown passed to Baldwin de le Bourg, most likely a cousin, who was afterward known as Baldwin II and would play a very important role in the establishment of the Knights Templar.



The Formation of the Knights Templar


As was mentioned in the article on Hugh de Payensit is impossible to say whether or not Hugh de Payens took part in the First Crusade. It is known that Hugh de Payens traveled back and forth between France and Jerusalem several times. in 1114, he, along with a contingent of knights, entered the service of the Holy Sepulchre Canon to defend and protect pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. Eventually, he and a number of other knights would form a new order and approach King Baldwin II.

This order was recognized by King Baldwin II and the Patriarch of Jerusalem at the Council of Nablus in 1120. Both of them donated lands to the knights; of the most importance, King Baldwin II gave the knights the residence within stables at King Solomon's Temple from which they took the name "
Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" or Knights Templar.



Conclusion


This article I briefly discussed the fall of the Roman Empire, the continuation of the Byzantine Empire, the rise and expansion of the Islamic faith, the Holy Roman Empire, the Great Schism, the conflicts of Islam and Christianity, the First Crusade, and the formation of the Knights Templar. Part 2 will cover the rest of the 12th century, Part 3 the 13th century, Part 4 the 14th century and suppression of the Knights Templar, and Part 5 will go over the many myths and theories of the Knights Templar after their dissolution.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Feast Day of the Holy Archangel Gabriel

In the Apostolic Johannite Church, today is the Feast Day for Archangel Gabriel whose name translates as "God is my strength" or "Power of God" or "Might of God." This archangel is associated with the element of Water, the cardinal direction of West, the color blue, and the number nine.

Gabriel is considered the Messenger of God and is the angel who delivers prophecies or explains visions. Gabriel is also considered the Master or Ruler of the Waters. He is said to be the "first adorer of the Divine Word." It is interesting to note that Gabriel is not referred to as an archangel in the Old or New Testaments. It is in the Book of Enoch where this title is bestowed upon him.

Gabriel appears in the Book of Daniel to explain the vision of the horned ram as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire as well as prophesying the coming of Christ. He foretold the coming of the Precursor, St. John the Baptist, Zechariah (an important figure to Johannite communities). It was Gabriel who appeared to Mary Theotokos and informed her that she would be giving birth to the Son of God; an event known as the Annunciation which is practiced on March 25th. He is also assumed to be the Angel who appeared to Joseph (Christ's stepfather), the three magi, and who supported Christ in the garden. Of the Four Archangels, Gabriel is considered the most responsive to human prayer

Gabriel is often depicted in blue robes and holding a chalice. Being the Messenger of God, Gabriel is also seen with a horn or trumpet. He can also be depicted carrying a lily, a scroll, or a shining lantern. He is most often depicted in artwork of the Annunciation. Being the angel of the waters, Gabriel can also be depicted with the moon.

 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tarot Card of the Month: The Emperor

The Tarot card for March and the last of this series is the Emperor. The Emperor is also referred to as The Father or Patriarch in other Tarot decks. The Emperor is the Fifth of the Major Arcana in Tarot. It is associated with the planet Mars, the element of fire, and Aries in the zodiac.

The Emperor represents masculine power, structure, rules, and stability. The Emperor is a true pioneer and trailblazer who uses logic rather than intuition. This Tarot card is about self-control and discipline. As Mars energizes other planets in astrology, the Emperor establishes a firm foundation for the other Tarot cards.

This card is depicts the Emperor as an elderly man with a long white beard dressed in armor, red robes, and a crown. The Emperor is seated on a stone throne with four rams heads carved into it. In his left hand is an orb and in his right is an Ankh. Behind him is a barren landscape.

The Emperor's garb symbolizes that he is a leader and high social status. His white hair is representative of his wisdom and experience. The throne symbolizes authority and power. This theme is continued by the four rams heads; the Ram is also a symbol for Aries which is the astrological sign for this card. The number four is used as it is a number for stability. The orb is a common symbol for monarchs and rulers while the Ankh symbolizes life. The barren landscape symbolizes the discipline of the Emperor.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Rosicrucian Manifestos - Part 1

In the Introduction to Rosicrucianism I give a brief synopsis of the three Rosicrucian Manifestos (see Figure 1): the Fama Fraternitatis, the Confessio Fraternitatis, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. In a follow up to this article I will take a closer look at the symbolism found in the Chymical Wedding.

Figure 1

The Fama Fraternitatis, or, A Discovery of the Fraternity of the most laudable Order of the Rosy Cross (hereafter referred to as "The Fama") was first published in 1614 in the Hesse-Kassel region of what is now Germany. The Fama starts off with a statement concerning the loss of wisdom which paves the way for the release of this treatise, as they call it, and the legend of Christian Rosenkreutz and the return of wisdom to Europe.

To understand the opening statement, you must understand the geopolitics of the time. When the Fama was published, it had been nearly a century since the Reformation had begun – marked by the publication of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther. Western Europe was split between Catholicism and Protestantism. Germany was not a single state as it is today, but was composed of several principalities and smaller states ruled by Princes who were fighting amongst each other as some were Catholic and some Protestant. The publication of the Manifestos happened in the years preceding the Thirty Years’ War; one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in human history. Germany wouldn’t unify until after the Franco-Prussian War in the late 19th century.

The Fama begins the story of Christian Rosenkreutz, but only mentions a Brother C.R. or C.R.C. It is not until the Chymical Wedding that the legendary founder is known as Christian Rosenkreutz. It is believed that Rosenkreutz was born in 1378 somewhere in Germany. At a young age, he was orphaned and raised in a cloister also known as a monastery. The monks taught him to learn several languages and at age 16 he decided he wanted to travel to the Holy Land.

Figure 2
He and another companion traveled to Cyprus when the companion is said to have died. Rosenkreutz traveled to Damascus and received instruction from the learned sages of the time. Some argue that his travels took him to Damcar at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula (modern-day Yemen) rather than Damascus (see Figure 2). He learned physics and mathematics and translated the Book M. After 3-years, he traveled to Egypt and then to Fez (Morocco). He expanded his knowledge and desired to return to Europe to teach all he had learned.

He crossed the Mediterranean to Spain and was met with scorn when he attempted to spread the knowledge he had gained in his travels. He returned to Germany and spent 5-years studying at which time he decided to establish a brotherhood dedicated to the preservation of knowledge.

The first 3 of its members were from the cloister he was raised in, but then grew to eight members. Like the Ancient Landmarks cherished by Freemasonry, this brotherhood had six articles:
1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis. 

2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit, but to follow the custom of the country. 

3. Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence. 

4. Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his death. 
5. The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character. 
6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.
The brothers then parted ways with only 2 of the brethren staying with Brother C.R.C. (Rosenkreutz). Christian Rosenkreutz is believed to have died in 1484, at the age of 106. None but the two other brothers knew where he was buried.

Figure 3
The tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz (see Figure 3) is believed to have been found in 1604. The tomb had 7 sides: Each of the 7 walls were divided into 10 squares carved with figures and sentences. Each wall had a door to a compartment with treasures of knowledge (books and devices) The ceiling was composed of 7 triangles angled upward to some kind of artificial light emanating from the center. The floor was also divided into 7 triangles with a circular altar in the center. The altar had four circles within it each containing a figure. On the circle surrounding each figure stated four Latin inscriptions. The body of Brother C.R. was found in a sarcophagus beneath the altar. When his body was discovered, it was said to be whole and unconsumed. Found with his body was a parchment known as “Book I” which they considered the greatest treasure next to the Holy Bible. They replaced the altar, sealed the tomb, and put their seals on the door into the vault. The Fama ends with a recognition of the Christian nature of the order as well as the Holy Roman Empire as the sovereign power of the realm. The author proclaims that the Brotherhood's philosophy is the same as the philosophy of Adam, Moses, and Solomon. And lastly, the author requests that the learned of Europe to contact the Brotherhood.

The Confessio Fraternitatis, or The Confession of the Laudable Fraternity of the Most Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross, Written to All the Learned of Europe (hereafter referred to as "The Confessio").

This publication was a follow up to the Fama Fraternitatis and was published in 1615 in Wilhelm Wessel in the Hesse-Kassel region of Germany, like the Fama. It keeps in line with the Fama, in that the Germanic states and Europe, in general, are in a state of decay and the call to the European intellectual world to contact the authors is repeated. This document has an anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim voice to it. I say this as the document states: “We do condemn the East and West (the Pope and Mohamet) blasphemers against our Lord Jesus Christ.” For its audience, it seems to be speaking to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Protestant Princes.

It is composed of 14 chapters and 37 rationales for the Brotherhood, defending it from the accusations levied against the Brotherhood since the Fama was published. It also justifies its actions and reassuring the learned of Europe that the unworthy will never be able to get to the knowledge, the treasure, of the fraternity; such unworthy are exampled when the author(s) condemn "false alchemists."

In one section it does speak that the fraternity is divided into degrees, but does not go into any detail as to the nature of these degrees. It is also within the Confessio that the dates of birth and death of Brother C.R.C. are spoken of.

The Confessio reiterates the Christian nature of the brotherhood, but it seems more to esoteric Christianity rather than exoteric Christianity. The author is still unknown, but many like Francis Bacon or Johann Valentin Andreae have been believed to be the author.

The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, or Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosenkreutz anno 1459 (hereafter referred to as "The Chymical Wedding"), was published in 1616 in Strasbourg, Germany. Like the previous two, the author is unknown but is attributed to Johann Valentin Andreae. The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is an allegorical story of self-improvement through initiatic rituals that our legendary founder goes through in order to assist the Chymical Wedding of a king and the queen and is broken up into seven chapters or days.

Day One

On a day near Easter in 1459, Christian Rosenkreutz, now 81-years of age, is visited by an angel who is described as a “wonderfully beautiful female figure, dressed all in blue, spangled liked the heavens with golden stars” (see Figure 4). The angel presented Rosenkreutz with a scroll and departed. The scroll had a seal on it fixed with a cross and the words “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” The scroll was an invitation to a royal wedding. Christian Rosenkreutz recalls that he had a vision about this wedding 7-years prior, but he is worried that he was not worthy of such an invitation because he felt he was still bound by materialistic desires. He prays then went to bed. 

Figures 4 & 5

Figure 6
He dreams that he, along with a multitude of men, was stuck in a dark dungeon crawling over each other (see Figure 5). He is saved when a group of nine Lords dropped a rope down into the dungeon. Very few were drawn up because their fellow captives would fight over the rope and if they could not get a grasp they would pull down those who had grabbed hold. Upon the sixth drop, Rosenkreutz was able to be pulled out of the dungeon. This represents the redemption that helps him shed his material desires and helped him with his inner conflict of going to the wedding. 

An old crone that was with the nine Lords presents each of the saved with a gold coin stamped the rising sun on one side and on the other was three letters: D.L.S; some refer to this as a travel penny (see FIgure 6). With an admonishment from the elderly woman, the trumpets began to play which awoke Rosenkreutz from his slumber. He took the dream to mean that God found him worthy to set forth on the adventure to the wedding. After dressing, packing supplies, and prayer, Rosenkreutz set off on his adventure.


Day Two

He came upon three tall cedars where a tablet was fastened to one of them (see Figure 7). It spoke of four paths Rosenkreutz had to choose to get to the wedding:
The first short, dangerous, scarcely possible to pass, and leads to rocky places (believed to be an attack on the Catholic Church).

The second is a circuitous route, long but easy. 

The third is the royal way and a joyful journey but is allowed only for a few select travelers.

The fourth way cannot be taken by man, but only the truly incorruptible.
Figures 7 & 8

While deciding on which path to take, he decided to eat. He tried to feed a dove, but a raven fought with it over the bread. He chased after both and inadvertently took one of the four paths, but had left his supplies behind. It is believed that he traveled upon the second path. 

Eventually, he came to three temples and three gates (see Figure 8). At each gate, he was questioned by the porter (or guard). Each porter gave him a token in return for the few possessions he still had on him. These tokens would show him to be a guest at the royal wedding.

Figure 9
With these gates, he is shown to be prepared for initiation. He is taken to a Hall for Judgment along with every type of humanity there. He is mocked for his plain dress and modesty (see Figure 9). When requested to be seated, the rest took the better seats leaving Rosenkreutz to a small bench in the corner. They were fed a meal by invisible attendants. Several of the guests become intoxicated and begin to brag of their supposed extraordinary abilities. The Virgin then enters the hall telling the guests they will be judged to determine who is worthy enough to stay and assist the wedding. Anyone who felt worthy was to go find a bedchamber while those who felt they were unworthy were to stay the night in the hall. Only 9 stayed in the hall, to include Rosenkreutz. They were bound by ropes and left in darkness and discomfort.

Rosenkreutz fell asleep and had a dream where he stood upon a high mountain watching men being hung by the neck over a valley. An ancient man flies around cutting their ropes with his scythe and they fall to the earth. Those lower fell gently while those who were higher did not. Rosenkreutz recounts this dream with the companion he was bound to and they finish the night in harmonious discourse.


Day Three

Figure 10
The next morning the Virgin entered the hall and had the guests unbound (see Figure 10). A large set of golden scales were set in the middle of the hall. Next to it was set a table with seven weights. All, but one of the emperors were found wanting and unworthy. Only the last one was steadfast. This was true for the other lords, knights, learned, and other nobility. Those who passed the weighing were given a red velvet gown and seated upon the steps of the Virgin’s throne.

Those who had stayed the night in the hall were then weighed. Only Rosenkreutz and his companion withstood the test. With Rosenkreutz, he withstood all of the seven weights and even additional full armored knights added by order of the Virgin. Because he was the “weightiest” he was allowed to release one of the captives, those who did not pass the weighing. He chose the first emperor who allowed to sit with the worthy.

A lunch was held where the worthy sat a high table while the unworthy were sat at a lower table. At the higher table, the attendants were now visible while those at the lower table were still unable to see the attendants. The worthy were now known as Knights of the Golden Fleece.

They then were taken to a garden where the judgment of the unworthy was announced. Those who weighed only a little were allowed to redeem themselves and depart with dignity. At the door they took a 'Draught of Forgetfulness.' Some were stripped naked and sent out. Some were scourged. Those who were impostors and frauds lost their lives.

After performing ablutions in a fountain, they were taken back to a castle and shown some of its treasures before dinner. During dinner, the Virgin propounded riddles to the guests to which none could answer. The seven weights were then taken back to storage in seven chapels. The worthy guests were then guided to their own bedchambers.


Day Four

Rosenkreutz oversleeps but finds the guests by the fountain in the garden. After more ablutions and drinking from the fountain, they were given new clothing: garments of cloth-of-gold set out with flowers, and a new insignia of the Golden Fleece.

Figure 11
The Virgin led them to the Royal Hall by a staircase of 365-steps where the King and Queen sat in all of their glory. The Virgin presented them and they were welcomed by Atlas, the Court Astrologer. The King and Queen were seated under a great arch on the Western end of the hall. With the King and Queen also sat an ancient king with a young queen and a middle-aged black king with an old matron. Before the King and Queen sat an altar on which sat: a book of black velvet, a lit candle, a celestial globe, a clock, a skull with a snake winding in and out of its eyes, and a crystal fountain of red liquid (see Figure 11).

The guests were taken to their own hall where they would watch a play. The play speaks of an infant queen who keeps falling prey to the Moors. The queen was rescued by a king she had been betrothed to in her youth and he restored her to her kingdom and throne (see FIgure 12). After they play, a feast was held in the Royal Hall where the guests were arrayed in snow-white glittering garments. At the request of the King, the guests wrote their names in the black velvet book. Then they all drank from a cup with the red liquid which is said to be the Draught of Silence. They were then dressed in black garments and the room was then covered in black drapery and six black coffins were placed in the center.

Figure 12

The three kings and three queens were then blindfolded, and were one-by-one beheaded, solemnly and reverently. The executioner was then beheaded and placed in a shrine. After a reassurance from the Virgin, they were taken back to their bedchambers. That night, Rosenkreutz, looking out the window at the lake, saw seven ships, each with a flame hovering over them representing each of those died that night. The Virgin and her attendants then took a coffin and the shrine to each of the ships (see Figure 13).

Figure 13

Day Five

He awoke early the next morning and his page took him to the Royal Treasury where he found many wondrous treasures including a tomb, triangular in shape, supported by an ox, an eagle, and a lion. Descending further down into a chamber where he found a naked Lady Venus. Next to her lay an inscription stating “When the fruit of my tree shall be completely melted, then will I awake and be the mother of a King.”

He returned to the Royal Hall but was ushered to the garden by the Virgin. In the garden, there were now six sepulchers under a roof supported by seven columns, above which floated a flag with a phoenix on it. They then took part in what Rosenkreutz knew was a fake royal funeral.

The guests then went with the Virgin to the island Tower of Olympus where they would prepare to bring the royal persons back to life. At the shore, there were anchored the seven ships, five of which were flying planetary signs, one a globe, and one a pyramid for their banners. Rosenkreutz went on the third ship with the Virgin. On their voyage to the island, mythical creatures and deities met with them; mermaids gave a gift of pearls for the wedding (see Figure 14).

Figures 14 & 15

The island tower was massive and was guarded by an ancient warden. The coffins were moved inside and the guests went to bed. Rosenkreutz went to the top of the tower to look out at the sea, but a storm came upon the tower that chased him back inside (see Figure 15).


Day Six

In the morning, the Warden entered the room with attendants carrying ladders, ropes, and large wings. He told them that they each must carry one of those three items the entire day. Rosenkreutz had to carry around a large, heavy ladder. The warden then locked them into the room, but after a short time, a circular portal opened in the ceiling. The Virgin invited them up. The ones with wings flew up easily. The ones with ladders went up next with much ease, but the ones with ropes had much difficulty climbing up.

In this chamber, Rosenkreutz watched an alchemical ritual led by the Virgin causing the bodies of the slain kings and queens to dissolve. They then ascended to another chamber in a like manner as before. In this third chamber, the walls were windows and mirrors so that everywhere was reflected the sun. The reflections heated a golden globe hanging from the ceiling. The globe was then cooled and cut open where a white egg was found before taken by the Virgin. They then ascended again to a fourth chamber.

In the fourth chamber, they found the egg in a square vessel with silver sand and watched as the bird freed itself from it. They then fed the bird with the blood of the kings and queens which caused him to grow. In his growth, he went from black feathers to white feathers to multicolored feathers. The bird departed and the guests advanced to a fifth chamber as they did previously.

Here they bathed the bird where it lost its feathers and was painted blue before taking off with the Virgin. They ascended into a sixth chamber where they found an altar with the six devices they had seen in the Royal Hall. The bird drank the red liquid and pecked at the snake. All the while the globe rotated and each time it reached a conjunction the clock chimed. The bird then laid his neck on the black book where he was beheaded and his remains burnt to ash.

The Virgin then accused four Rosenkreutz and three others, as being “lazy and sluggish laborers.” Once out of the sixth chamber, they were elevated to the eighth chamber where they came to an old man who said they four were actually the worthy ones chosen by the Virgin. The Virgin entered in with the ashes and with the help of the four turned the ashes into a dough then molded two figures out of it.

Rosenkreutz and his companions saw a crevice in the floor where they espied the other guests working a furnace below them. They worked happily thinking they were the preferred ones over the four. Rosenkreutz and his companions then broke open the molds and found two angelic babes in them: one male and one female. The blood collected from the bird was fed to the babes which caused them to grow. The Virgin and Warden performed a ritual that caused a flame to come down from the Heavens and entered the two. Cupid then entered the chamber and woke them. The King and Queen awoke with amazement as they thought they had slept from the time of their beheading. The four then rejoined their companions for dinner and had to pretend they were in a lamentable condition. After dinner, they retired to their own bedchambers where Rosenkreutz went to sleep immediately from his labors.


Day Seven

On the seventh and final morning, they met in the lowest vault of the tower and were dressed in yellow habits. Each guest was presented with a gold medal, bearing on one side the words, "Art is the priestess of Nature," and on the other, "Nature is the daughter of Time".

They sailed back to the castle in 12-ships representing each of the signs of the zodiac where they found 500 ships anchored in the lake. Old Atlas sailed out to them and welcomed them on behalf of the King and Queen.

Once ashore, Rosenkreutz, dressed in white with a red cross, rode with the King to the three gates he had come to on Day 2. Between the first and second gate, the King informed Rosenkreutz that the guardian had been a famous astrologer who had transgressed against Venus and as a punishment had to guard the first gate, but would be freed when another had transgressed. Rosenkreutz feared it was him as he had seen Venus naked in her chamber. During dinner, the King and Queen played a game similar to chess but using vices and virtues as pieces.

The King then had the guests sit in a circle and announced that, in recognition of their services, were made Knights of the Golden Stone and they took five vows:
I. To ascribe our Order only to God and His handmaid, Nature. 
II. To abominate all whoredom, and not defile our Order with such vices. 

III. To use our talents to assist all that they have need of them. 

IV. Not to strive for worldly pride and high authority. 
V. Not to wish to live longer than God would have of us.
The king then invited each guest to visit with him in private to request a boon. At Rosenkreutz's turn, he confessed what he had done on Day 5 and requested that the Guardian be released from his punishment. The king grieved at this mischance, and though he wished to could not transgress this ancient usage. Rosenkreutz must become the new Guardian. The ring of the guardian was placed on Rosenkreutz’s finger. The king embraced him and bid him farewell. Rosenkreutz was led to some lodging by Atlas and the Warden of the Tower. The Chemical Marriage then abruptly ends, leaving the impression that Rosenkreutz was to assume his duties as the new guardian on the following morning.

This was but a very brief introduction to this philosophical and often misunderstood belief system. We may never really know if Christian Rosenkreutz was real or allegorical, nor is really relevant as he did not invent the doctrines he followed, but cultivated and perpetuated those things which he discovered in his legendary travels. These documents which immortalized this figure came about during the Age of Enlightenment and had a profound effect on many historical figures such as Francis Bacon and John Dee.