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Introduction

INTRODUCTION

“In cruce sub sphera venit sapienta vera.”—Hermetic Axiom.

“La rose qui a été de tout tempe l’emblême de la beauté, de la
vie, de l’amour et du plaisir, exprimait mystiquement toute les protestations
manifestées à la renaissance. . . . Rénuir la rose, à la
croix, tel était le problème posé par la Haute Initiation.”—Éliphas
Lévi.

THREE derivations are offered of the name Rosicrucian.
The first, which is certainly the most obvious,
deduces it from the ostensible founder of the order, Christian
Rosenkreuze. I shall show, however that the history
of this personage is evidently mythical or allegorical, and
therefore this explanation merely wakes the inquiry a step
backward to this question, What is the etymology of
Rosenkreuze? The second derivation proposed is from the
Latin words, Ros, dew and Crux, cross. This has been
countenanced by Mosheim. who is followed by Ree’s Encyclopædia,
and other publications. The argument in its
favour may be fairly represented by the following quotation:—“
Of all natural bodies, dew was deemed the most
powerful dissolvent of gold; and the cross, in chemical
language, was equivalent to light; because the figure of a
cross exhibits at the same time the three letters of which the
word lux, or light, is compounded. Now, lux is called
. . . the seed or menstruum of the red dragon, or in other
words, that gross and corporeal light, which, when properly

page 6
digested and modified, produces gold. Hence it follows, if
this etymology be admitted, that a Rosycrucian philosopher
is one who by the intervention and assistance of the dew,
seeks for light, or, in other words, the substance called the
Philosopher’s Stone.”1
This opinion exaggerates the importance attributed to
the dew of the alchemists. The universal dissolvent has
figured under various names, of which ros is by no means
most general; the comprehensive “Lexicon Alchymiæ” does
not mention it. According to Gaston le Doux, in his
“Dictionnaire Hermétique,” Dew, simply so called, signifies
Mercury; Dew of the Philosophers is the matter of the
stone when under the manipulation of the artist, and chiefly
during its circulations in the philosophical egg. The White
and Celestial Dew of the Wise is the philosophical stone
perfected to the White. Mosheim derived his opinion from
Peter Gassendi,2 and from a writer in Eusebius Renandot’s
“Conferences Publiques,”3 who confesses that he knew nothing
whatsoever of the Rosicrucians till the task of speaking
on the subject was imposed on him by the Bureau d’Adresse.
He says:—“Dew, the most powerful dissolvent of
gold which is to be found among natural and non-corrosive
substances, is nothing else but light coagulated and rendered
corporeal ; when it is artistically concocted and digested in
its own vessel during a suitable period it is the true menstruum
of the Red Dragon, i.e. of gold, the true matter of
the Philosophers. The society desiring to bequeath to
posterity the ineffaceable sign of this secret, caused them to
adopt the name Frères de la Rozée Cuite.” The mystic triad

1Mosheim, Book iv., sect. 1.
2“Examen Philosophiæ Fluddanæ,” sect. 15, op. iii., 261.
3“Conferences du Bureau d’Addresse,” vol. v., p. 509.

page 7
of the Society, F. R. C., has been accordingly interpreted
Fratres Roris Coeti, thee Brotherhood of the Concocted or
Exalted Dew, but the explanation has little probability in
itself.
“Several chemists,” says Pernetz, in his “Dictionnaire
Mytho-Hermétique,” “have regarded the dew of May and
September as the matter of the Magnum Opus, influenced
doubtless by the opinion of various authors that dew was
the reservoir of the universal spirit of Nature. . . . But
when we seriously study the texts of the true philosophers,
wherein they make reference to dew, we are soon convinced
that they only speak of it by a similitude, and that theirs is
metallic, that is, it is the mercurial water sublimated into
vapour within the vase; and precipitated at the bottom in
the form of fine rain. Thus when they write of the dew
of the month of May, they are referring to that of their
philosophic Spring, which is governed by the gemini of the
alchemical Zodiack, which differs from the ordinary astronomical
Zodiack. Philalethes has positively said that their
dew is their mercurial water rising from putrefaction.”
The third derivation is that which was generally adopted,
even from the beginning, by writers directly or indirectly
connected with the Rosicrucians. It deduces the term in
question from the words rosa, rose, and crux. This is
sanctioned by various editions of the society’s authoritative
documents, which characterise it as the Broederschafft des
Roosen Creutzes, that is, the Rose-Crucians, or Fratres
Rosatæ Crucis, according to the “Confessio Recepta,” terms
quite excluding the conception of dew, which in German is
Thau, while in Latin the Brothers of the Dew Cross would
be Fratres Roratæ Crucis. This derivation is also supported
by the supposed symbol of the Order, whose “emblem,

page 8
monogram, or jewel,” says Godfrey Higgins, “is a Red
Rose on a Cross, thus:—

rosicrucian_cross

“When it can be done it is surmounted with a glory and
placed on a calvary. When it is worn appended and
made of cornelian, garnet, ruby, or red glass, the calvary
and glory are generally omitted.”1
Mr Hargrave Jennings, who borrows the whole of this
passage2 without acknowledgment of any kind, also tells
us that “the jewel of the Rosicrucians formed of a
transparent red stone with a red cross on one side and a
red rose on the other—thus it is a crucified rose.”
All derivations, however, are to some extent doubtful
and tentative. The official proclamations of the Society
are contained in the “Fama Fraternitatis,” and in the “Confessio
Fraternitatis,” which, in their original editions, appear
to describe it simply as the Fraternitas de R. C. while the
initials of its founder are given as C. R. “The Chemical
Nuptials of Christian Rosen Kreuze,” published anonymously
at Strasbourg in 1616, and undeniably connected with the
order seem to identity it as the Brotherhood of the Rose-
Cross, and its founder as Father Rosycross. These designations
at any rate were immediately adopted in Germany,
and they appear in the subsequent editions of both mani-

1 Anacalypsis, ii., p. 243.
2 “The Rosicrucians,” &c., p. 281. Ed. 1870.

page 9
festos, though as early as 1618 I find Michael Maier, the
alchemist, expressing a different opinion on this point in
his “Themis Aurea, hoc est, De Legibus Fraternitatis R. C.
Tractatus.” “No long time elapsed, when the Society first
became known by that which was written, before an
interpreter came forward, who conjectured those letters
to signify the Rose Cross, in which opinion the matter
remains till this present, notwithstanding that the Brothers
in subsequent writings do affirm it to be erroneously so
denominated, and testify that the letters R. C. denote the
name of their first inaugurator.1 If the mind of one man
could search that of another and behold formed therein
the idea or sensible and intelligible form, there would be
no necessity for speech or writing among men. But this
being denied to us while we subsist in this corporeal
nature, though doubtless granted to pure intelligences,
we explain our rational conceptions one to another by the
symbols of language and writing. Therefore letters are of
high efficacy when they embrace a whole society and
maintain order therein, nor is an opportunity afforded to
the curious to draw omens from integral names, nor from
families situations, nor from places persons, nor from
persons the secrets of affairs.”
Proposing his own definitions, he says:—“I am no augur
nor prophet, notwithstanding that once I partook of the
laurel, and reposed a few brief hours in the shadow of
Parnassus; nevertheless, if I err not. I have unfolded the
significance of the characters R. C. in the enigmas of the
sixth book of the Symbols of the Golden Table. R signifies
Pegasus, and C, if the sense not the sound be considered,

1 The “Fama Fraternitatis” makes use of the initials C. R., afterwards
of R. C., C. R. C., &c., to designate their founder.

page 10
lilium. Let the KNOWLEDGE OF THE ARCANA be the key
to thee. Lo, I give thee the Arcanum! d. wmml. zii. w.
sgqqhka. x. Open if thou canst. . . . Is not this the hoof
of the Red Lion or the drops of the Hippocrene fountain?”
Beneath this barbarous jargon we discern, however, an
analogy with the Rose symbolism. Classical tradition informs
us that the Red Rose sprang from the blood of
Adonis, but Pegasus was a winged horse which sprang
from the blood of Medusa, and the fountain of Hippocrene
was produced by a stroke of the hoof of Pegasus.
In England the pseudonymous author of the “Summum
Bonum,” who is supposed to be Robert Fludd, gives a purely
religious explanation of the Rose Cross symbol, asserting
it to mean “the Cross sprinkled with the rosy blood of
Christ.”1 The general concensus of opinion is preferable
to fanciful interpretations, and we may therefore safely
take the words Rosa and Crux as explanatory of the name
Rosicrucian, and by Fratres R. C. we may understand
Fratres Roseæ Crucis, despite the silence of the manifestos
and the protests of individual alchemists.
The next question which occurs is the significance of this
curious emblem—a Red Rose affixed to a red, or, according
to some authors, a golden cross. This question cannot
be definitely answered. The characteristic sign of a secret
society will be naturally as mysterious as itself in the special
meaning which the society may attach to it, but some intelligence
concerning it can perhaps be gleaned from its analysis
with universal symbolism. Now, the Rose and the
Cross, in their separate significance, are emblems of the
most palmary importance and the highest antiquity.

1 Elsehwere he interprets the letters F.R.C. to mean Faith,
Religion, and Charity. See Renandot, “Conferences Publiques,” v.,
p. 509.

page 11
There is a Silver Rose, called Tamara Pua, in the Paradise
of the Brahmans. “This Paradise is a garden in heaven,
to which celestial spirits are first admitted on their ascent
from the terrestrial sphere. The Rose contains the images
of two women, as bright and fair as a pearl; but these
two are only one, though appearing as if distant according
to the medium, celestial or terrestrial, through which they
are viewed. In the first aspect she is called the Lady of
the Mouth, in the other, the Lady of the Tongue, or the
Spirit of Tongues. In the centre of this Silver Rose, God
has his permanent residence.”
A correspondence will be readily recognised between this
divine woman or virgin—two and yet one, who seems to
typify the Logos, the Spirit of Wisdom, and the Spirit of
Truth—and the two-edged sword of the Spirit in the
Apocalypse, the Sapientia quæ ex ore Altissimii prodiit, as
it is called in the sublime Advent antiphon of the Latin
Church. The mystical Rose in the centre of the allegorical
garden is continually met with in legend. Buddha is
said to have been crucified for robbing a garden of a
flower,1 and after a common fashion of mythology, the
divine Avatar of the Indians is henceforth identified with
the object for which he suffered, and be becomes himself
“a flower, a Rose, a Padma, Lotus, or Lily.” Thus he is
the Rose crucified, and we must look to the far East for
the origin of the Rosicrucian emblem. According to
Godfrey Higgins, this is “the Rose of Isuren, of Tamul,
and of Sharon, crucified for the salvation of men—
crucified,” he continues, “in the heavens at the vernal
equinox.” In this connection we may remember the

1 The same story is told of Indra, who was crucified by the
keepers of the Hindoo Paradise for having robbed it.

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Gnostic legend that Christ was crucified in the Empyrean;
and as Nazareth, according to St. Jerome, signified the
flower, and was situated in Carmel, “the vineyard or garden
of God,” Jesus of Nazareth, by a common extension of the
symbolism, is sometimes identified as this crucified flower.1
In classical fable, the garden of Midas, the King of the
Phrygians, was situated at the foot of Mount Bermion, and
was glorified by the presence of roses with sixty petals, which
exhaled an extraordinary fragrance. Now, the rose was
sacred to Dionysius, or Bacchus, and Bacchus endowed
Midas with the power of transmuting everything into gold;
so here is a direct connection between the Rose and Alchemy.
In the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, Lucius is restored to
his human shape by devouring a chaplet of roses. Everywhere
the same typology meets us. The Peruvian Eve
sinned by plucking roses, which are also called Frute del
Arbor.2 A messenger from heaven announced to the
Mexican Eve that she will bear a Son who shall bruise the
serpent’s head; he presents her with a Rose, and this gift
was followed by an Age of Roses, as in India there was the
Age of the Lotus.
There are occasional allusions to the Rose in the Hebrew
Scriptures, but it is used as a poetic image rather than an
arcane symbol, and as such it has been always in high favour
with poets.3

1 Professor Max Müller considers the word ·Òdon to be Aryan,
and originally to have meant simply a sprig or flower.

2 “Mexican Antiquities,” vol. vi., p. 120.
3 In Persia it is connected with the nightingale. “Tradition
says that the bird utters a plaintive cry whenever the flower is
gathered, and that it will hover round the plant in the spring-time,
till, overpowered with its fragrance, it falls senseless to the ground.
The Rose is supposed to burst forth from its but at the opening
song of the nightingale. You may place a handful of fragrant herbs
and flowers before the nightingale,” say the Persian poets. “Yet he
wishes not, in his constant and faithful heart, for more than the sweet
breath of his beloved Rose.”—Friend, “Flowers and Flower Lore.”
There is a Persian Feast of Roses, which lasts the whole time the
flower is in bloom.

page 13
In the west it appears for the first time in allegorical literature
as the central figure in the “four-square garden” of the
ancient “Romance of the Rose.” The first part of this poem
was written by Guillaume de Lorris before the year 1260, and
it was completed by Jean de Meung, whose death occurred
in the year 1316, according to the general opinion. This
extraordinary work, once of universal popularity, is supposed
by some of its commentators to admit of an alchemical interpretation,
and open1y professes the principles of the Magnum
Opus.1 The garden, or vergier, which contains the Rose, is
richly sculptured on its outer walls with symbolical figures of
Hatred, Treason, Meanness, Covetousness, Avarice, Envy,
Sadness, Age, Hypocrisy, Poverty—all the vices and miseries
of mortality. Idleness opens the gate to him, Merriment
greets him and draws him into the dance, and then he
beholds the God of Love, accompanied by Dous-Regards, a
youth who carries his bows and arrows, by Beauty, Wealth,
Bounty, Frankness, Courtesy, &c. The lover, while he is
contemplating the loveliness of the Rose,
Qui est si vermeille et si fine . . .
Des foille i ot quatre paire.
Que Nature par grand mestire
I ot assises tire à tire.

1 See in particular the verses 16914 to 16997, and the speech of
Genius.
“Jean de Meung,” says Langlet du Fresnoy in his “Histoire de
la Philosophie Hermétique,” flourished at the Court and at Paris in
the pontificate of John XXII., and according to the fashion of the
times was addicted to the curious sciences, and in particular to
Hermetic Philosophy. He composed two treatises called “Nature’s
Remonstrance to the Alchemist,” and “The Alchemist’s Answer
to Nature.”

page 14
Le cos ot droite comme jons,
Et par dessus siet li boutons,
Si qu’il ne cline ne ne peut,
L’odor de lui entor s’espent;
La soatisme qui en ist,
Toute la place replenist.
1

is pierced by the shafts of the deity, but he does not in
spite of his sufferings abandon his project, which is to
possess the Rose, and after imprisonment and various
adventures,

La conclusion du Rommant
Est que vous voyez cy l’Amant
Qui prent la Rose à son plaisir,
En qui estoit tout son désir

It will require no acquaintance with the methods of the
symbolists to discern the significance of this allegory:—

La Rose c’est d’Amour le guerdon gracieux.2

But a little later the same emblem reappears in the sublime
poem of Dante. The Paradise of the Divina Commedia

1 Among the knoppes I chose one
So faire, that of the remnant none
Ne preise I halfe so well as it,
Whan I avise in my wit,
For it so well was enlumined
With colour red, as well fined
As nature could it make faire,
And it hath leaves well foure paire,
That kinde hath set through his knowing
About the red roses springing,
The stalke was as rishe right,
And thereon stood the knoppe upright,
That it ne bowed upon no side,
The swote smell spring so wide,
That it died all the place about.
CHAUCER, “The Romaunt of the Rose.”

2 Balf—“Sonnet to Charles IX.”

page 15
consists, says Eliphas Lévi, of “a series of Kabbalistic circles
divided by a Cross, like Ezekiel’s pantacle; a Rose blossoms
in the centre of this Cross, and it is for the first time that
we find the symbol of the Rosicrucians publicly and almost
categorically revealed.”
The passage referred to, so far as regards the Rose, is as
follows:—
“ There is in heaven a light, whose goodly shine
Makes the Creator visible to all
Created, that in seeing him alone
Have peace; and in a circle spreads so far,
That the circumference were too loose a zone
To girdle in the sun. All is one beam,
Reflected from the summit of the first,
That moves, which being hence and vigour takes.
And as some cliff, that from the bottom eyes
His image mirror’d in the crystal flood,
As if to admire his brave apparelling
Of verdure and of flowers; so, round about
Eying the light, on more than million thrones,
Stood eminent, whatever from our earth
Has to the skied return’d. How wide the leaves
Extended to their utmost, of this ROSE,
Whose lowest step embosoms such a space
Of ample radiance? Yet, nor amplitude
Nor height impeded, but my view with ease
Took in the full dimension of that joy.
Near or remote, what then avails, where God
Immediate rules,1 and Nature, awed, suspends
Her sway? Into the yellow of the Rose
Perennial, which, in bright expansiveness,
Lays forth its gradual blooming, redolent,
Of praises to the never-wintering sun. . . .
Beatrice led me. . . .

1 Compare the Oriental legend, previously cited, of that Silver
Rose in which God has His permanent residence. It is an extraordinary
instance of identity in the celestial symbolism of East and
West.

page 16
In fashion as a snow-white Rose lay then
Before my view the saintly multitude,
Which in his own blood Christ espoused. Meanwhile
That other host that soar aloft to gaze
And celebrate His glory whom they love,
Hovered around, and like a troop of bees,
Amid the vernal sweets alighting now,
Now clustering where their fragrant labour glows,
Flew downward to the mighty flower; a rose
From the redundant petals streaming back
Unto the steadfast dwelling of their joy.
Faces they had of flame, and wings of gold:
The rest was whiter than the driven snow.
And as they flitted down into the flower,
From range to range fanning their plumy loins,
Whispered the peace and ardour which they won
From that soft winnowing. Shadow none, the vast
Interposition of such numerous flights
Cast from above, upon the flower, or view
Obstructed aught. For through the Universe
Wherever merited, Celestial Light
Glides freely, and no obstacle prevents.
CARY’S DANTE, “The Paradise,” xxx., xxxi.

“Not without astonishment will it be discovered,” continues
Lévi, “that the Roman de la Rose and the Divine
Comedy are two opposite forms of the same work—
initiation into intellectual independence, satire on all contemporary
institutions and allegorical formulations of the
great secrets of the Rosicrucian Society. These important
manifestations of occultism coincide with the epoch of the
downfall of the Templars, since Jean de Meung or Clopinel,
contemporary of Dante’s old age, flourished during his
most brilliant years at the court of Philippe le Bel. The
‘Romance of the Rose’ is the epic of ancient France. It
is a profound work in a trivial guise, as learned an exposition
of the mysteries of occultism as that of Apuleius. The
Rose of Flamel, of Jean de Meung, and of Dante, blossomed
on the same rose-tree.”

page 17
This is ingenious and interesting, but it assumes the
point in question, namely, the antiquity of the Rosicrucian
Fraternity, which, it is needless to say, cannot be proved
by the mere existence of their symbols in the mystical
poetry of a remote period. In the Paradise of Dante we
find, however, the emblem whose history we are tracing,
placed, and assuredly not without reason, in the supreme,
central heaven amidst the intolerable manifestation of the
Uncreated light, the Shecinah of Rabbinical theosophy,1
the chosen habitation of God—“a sacred Rose and Flower
of Light, brighter than a million suns, immaculate, inaccessible,
vast, fiery with magnificence, and surrounding
God as if with a million veils. This symbolic Rose is as
common a hierogram throughout the vast temples and
palaces of the Ancient East as it is in the immense ruins
of Central America.”2
From the time of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines a common
device in heraldry is the Rose-Emblem. It figures on our
English coins; it is used as a royal badge in the Civil War
between the houses of York and Lancaster, it is associated
above all with the great mediæval cultus of the Mother of
God, being our Lady’s flower par excellence, as the lily is
characteristic of St. Joseph. “As an emblem of the Virgin,
the Rose, both white and red, appears at a very early
period; it was especially so recognised by St. Dominic, when
he instituted the devotion of the rosary, with direct reference
to St. Mary. The prayers appear to have been
symbolised as roses.”3 In Scandinavia the same flower
was sacred to the goddess Holda, who is called “Frau

1 See Additional Notes, No. 1.
2 “The Book of God,” part iii., p. 511.
3 Hilderic Friend, “Flowers and Flower-Lore.”

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Rosa,” and “it was partly transferred, as were other
emblems of Holda, Freyja, and Venus, to the Madonna,
who is frequently called by the Germans, Mariën-Röschen
. . . But there has been a tendency to associate the White
Rose with the Virgin Mary, that being chiefly chosen for
her feast-days, while the more earthly feelings associated
with the ‘Frau Rosa,’ are still represented in the superstitions
connected with the Red Rose.”
In Germany it appears as the symbol of silence. It was
sculptured on the ceiling of the banquet hall to warn the
guests against the repetition of what was heard beneath it.
“The White Rose was especially sacred to silence. It was
carved in the centre of the Refectory of the ancients for the
same reason,” and the expression Sub Rosa, which was equivalent
among the Romans to an inviolable pledge, originated
in the ancient dedication of the flower to Aphrodite, and
its reconsecration by Cupid to Harpocrates, the tutelary
deity of Silence, to induce him to conceal the amours of
the goddess of love.
In mediæval alchemy Rosa signifies Tartarum, and in
the twelfth Clavis of Basil Valentine there is a vase or
yoni with a pointed lingam rising from its centre, and
having on each side a sprig surmounted by a Rose. Above
is the well-known emblem

Magnum Opus

which symbolises the accomplishment of the Magnum Opus,
while through an open window the sun and moon shed
down their benign influence and concur in the consummation
of the ineffable act.1

1 See Additional Notes, No. 2.

page 19
The same Rose-symbol is to be found in the hieroglyphics
of Nicholas Flamel—

The mystic Rose
Of Hermic lore, which issues bright and fair,
Strange virtues circling with the sap therein,
Beneath the Universal Spirit’s breath,
From the Mercurial Stone.

Finally, in 1598, Henry Khunrath, a supreme alchemical
adept, published his “Amphitheatrum Sapientiæ Æternæ,”
containing nine singular pantacles, of which the fifth is a Rose
of Light, in whose centre there is a human form extending
its arms in the form of a cross, and thus reversing the order.
The Cross is a hierogram of, if possible, still higher
antiquity than the floral emblem. It is at any rate more
universal and contains a loftier and more arcane significance.
Its earliest form is the Crux Ansata,

Crux Ansata

which, according to some authorities, signified hidden
wisdom, and the life of the world to come; according to
others, it is the lingam; as the hieroglyphic sign of Venus
it is an ancient allegorical figure, and represents the metal
copper in alchemical typology. The Crux Ansata and the
Tau

Tau

are met with on most Egyptian monuments. In the latter
form it was an emblem of the creative and generative
energy, and, according to Payne Knight, was, even in pre-
Christian times, a sign of salvation.

page 20
The Cross, “the symbol of symbols,” was used also by
the Chaldæans; by the Phoenicians, who placed it on their
coins; by the Mexicans, who paid honour to it and represented
their God of the Air, nailed and immolated thereon;
by the Peruvians, who, in a sacred chamber of their palace,
kept and venerated a splendid specimen carved from a
single piece of fine jasper or marble; and by the British
Druids. It was emblazoned on the banners of Egypt, and
in that country, as in China, was used to indicate “a land
of corn and plenty.” When divided into four equal segments
it symbolised the primeval abode of man, the traditional
Paradise of Eden. It entered into the monograms of
Osiris, of Jupiter Ammon, and of Saturn; the Christians
subsequently adopted it, and the Labarum of Constantine
is identical with the device of Osiris. It is equally common
in India, and, according to Colonel Wilford, is exactly the
Cross of the Manichees, with leaves, flowers, and fruits
springing from it. It is called the divine tree, the tree of
the gods, the tree of life and knowledge, and is productive
of all things good and desirable.1
According to Godfrey Higgins we must go to the
Buddhists for the origin of the Cross, “and to the Lama
of Thibet, who takes his name from the Cross, called
in his language Lamh.” The Jamba, or cosmic tree, which
Wilford calls the tree of life and knowledge, figures in
their maps of the “world as a cross 84 joganas (answering
to the 84 years of the life of Him who was exalted upon
the Cross), or 423 miles high, including the three steps
of the Calvary, with which, after the orthodox Catholic

1 “Asiatic Researches,” x. 124. The pre-Christian cross is not infrequently
associated with a tree or trees. Balfour, “Cyclop. of
India,” i., p. 891.

page 21
fashion, it was invariable represented. The neophyte of
the Indian Initiations was sanctified by the sign of a Cross,
which was marked on every part of his body. After his
perfect regeneration it was again set upon his forehead Tau1 and
inverted Tau inverted upon his breast.”1
The paschal lamb of the Jewish passover was roasted on
a cross-shaped wooden spit, and with this sign Ezekiel
ordered the people to be marked who were to be spared by
the destroyer. Thus it figures as a symbol of salvation,
but classical mythology attributes its invention to Ixion,
who was its first victim. As an instrument of suffering
and death, it is not, however, to be found on ancient monuments.
It had no orthodox shape among the Romans when
applied to this purpose, and the victims were either tied or
nailed, “being usually left to perish by thirst and hunger.”2
In the Christendom of both the East and West this divine
symbol has a history too generally known to need recapitulation
here. On this point the student may consult the
“Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,” where a mass of
information is collected.
The following interesting passage will show the connection
which exists between the Cross and alchemy. “In
common chemistry,” says Pernetz, “crosses form characters
which indicate the crucible, vinegar, and distilled vinegar.
But as regards hermetic science, the Cross is . . . the symbol
of the four elements. And as the philosophical stone is
composed of the most pure substance of the grosser
elements . . . , they have said, In cruce salus, salvation is in
the Cross; by comparison with the salvation of our souls
purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ who hung on the

1 “History of Initiation.”
2 Higgins, “Anacalypsis,” i. pp. 500, 503.

page 22
tree of the Cross. Some of them have even pushed their
audacity further, and fear not to ,employ the terms of the
New Testament to form their allegories and enigmas.
Jean de Roquetaillade, known under the name of Jean de
Rupe Scissa, and Arnaud de Villeneuve, say in their works
on the composition of the Stone of the Philosophers:—It is
needful that the Son of Man be lifted up on the Cross
before being glorified; to signify the volatilisation of the
fixed and igneous part of the matter.”1
I have briefly traced the typological history of the Rose
and Cross. It is obvious, as I have already remarked, that
the antiquity of these emblems is no proof of the antiquity
of a society which we find to be using them at a period
subsequent to the Renaissance. It does not even suppose
that society’s initiation into the hieratic secrets which the
elder world may have summarised, in those particular
symbols. In the case which is in question, such a knowledge
would involve the antiquity of the Rosicrucians,
because it is only at a time long subsequent to their first
public appearance that the past has been sufficiently disentombed
to uncover the significance of its symbols to
uninitiated students. Can a correspondence be established
between the meaning of the Rose and the Cross as they are
used by the ancient hierogrammatists, and that of the
Rose-Cross as it is used by the Rosicrucian Fraternity?
This is the point to be ascertained. If a connection there
be, then in some way, we may not know what, the secret
has been handed down from generation to generation, and
the mysterious brotherhood which manifested its existence
spontaneously at the beginning of the seventeenth century,
is affiliated with the hierophants of Egypt and India, who

1 “Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique.”

page 23
almost in the night of time, devised their allegories and
emblems for the blind veneration of the vulgar and as
lights to those who knew.
In the fifth book of the “Histoire de la Magie,” Eliphas
Levi provides the following comments on the Rosicrucian
symbol :
“The Rose, which from time immemorial has been
the symbol of beauty and life or love and pleasure,
expressed in a mystical manner all the protestations of
the Renaissance. It was the flesh revolting against the
oppression of the spirit, it was Nature declaring herself to
be, like grace, the daughter of God, it was love refusing
to be stifled by the celibate, it was life desiring to he no
longer barren, it was humanity aspiring to a natural religion,
full of love and reason, founded on the revelation of the
harmonies of existence of which the Rose was for initiates
the living and blooming symbol. The Rose, in fact, is a
pantacle; its form is circular, the leaves of the corolla are
heart-shaped, and are supported harmoniously by one
another; its colour presents the most delicate shades of
primitive hues; its calyx is purple and gold. . . . The
conquest of the Rose was the problem offered by initiation
to science, while religion toiled to prepare and establish
the universal, exclusive, and definitive triumph of the
Cross.
“The reunion of the Rose and the Cross, such was the
problem proposed by supreme initiation, and, in effect,
occult philosophy, being the universal synthesis, should
take into account all the phenomena of Being.”
This extremely suggestive explanation has the characteristic
ingenuity of the hierophants of theosophical science,
but it has no application whatsoever to the ostensible or

page 24
ascertainable aims of the Rosicrucian adepts. It is the
product of intellectual subtlety and the poetic gift of discerning
curious analogies; it is quite beside the purpose of
serious historical inquiry, and my object in quoting it here
is to show by the mere fact of its existence that the whole
question of the significance of the Crucified Rose, in its
connection with the society, is one of pure conjecture, that
no Rosicrucian manifestos and no acknowledged Brother
have ever given any explanation concerning it, and that no
presumption is afforded by the fact of its adoption for the
antiquity of the society or for its connection with universal
symbolism.
The researches of various writers, all more or less competent,
have definitely established the Crux Ansata as
typical of the male and female generative organs in the
act of union, the Egyptian Tau, with its variants as typical
of the masculine potency, and the Rose as the feminine
emblem. Then by a natural typological evolution the
Cross came to signify the divine creative energy which
fecundated the obscure matrix of the primeval substance
and caused it to bring forth the universe. The simple
union of the Rose and the Cross suggests the same meaning
as the Crux Ansata, but the crucified Buddhistic Rose may
be a symbol of the asceticism which destroys natural
desire. There is little correspondence, in either case, with
known Rosicrucian tenets; and, therefore, the device of the
Rose-Cross is separated from ancient symbolism, and is
either a purely arbitrary and thus unexplainable sign, or
its significance is to be sought elsewhere.
Now, I purpose to show that the Rosicrucians were
united with a movement, which, originating in Germany,
was destined to revolutionise the world of thought and to

page 25
transform the face of Europe; that the symbols of the
Rose and the Cross were prominently and curiously connected
with this movement, and that the subsequent choice
of these emblems by the secret society in question, followed
naturally from the fact of this connection, and is easily
explainable thereby. To accomplish this task satisfactorily,
I must first lay before my readers the facts and documents
which I have collected concerning the Fraternity.