These are central to the western esoteric tradition as it developed over the past few centuries. The Rosicrucians were a legendary secret society of initiated sages allegedly founded by Christian Rosencreuz in 1407. Two hundred years later two manifestos were published announcing a general reform of civilisation and culture on a basis of esoteric wisdom. They created a stir.
Rosicrucianism had a seminal influence on Freemasonry, and of course the Golden Dawn.
Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni is subtitled A Rosicrucian Tale.

Ab 111 The Rosicrucian framework of Chrysal. How the spirit of the piece of gold remains the same, despite additions and subtractions to its matter, and the changes in its form. This is surely reminiscent of Leibniz’s monads? Ruth Saw points out that Leibniz’s metaphysics fits well into modern ideas about telepathy and other psychic phenomena. But even more perhaps does it chime in with certain Rosicrucian and Swedenborgian conceptions.

AS 280 Blossom and the Fruit (Mabel Collins). Throughout the ages Princes Feta has been a power seeking magician, ever since she slew her lover as a primaeval naked savage. The story is of her advance to initiation her efforts to join the Great White Brotherhood. Blend of Rosicrucianism and Mahayana Buddhism. The mystic quest. Itself a dramatic idea. Strong current of sexuality, desire that is not consummated. Difficulty of the mystic quest, the abandonment of all passion. The utter loss of ego. Under Eros. As religion.

A 28 The Rosicrucian ideal as it relates to the world we live in is something that must be constantly reiterated if it is really to guide us. The doctrine of correspondences works as an aid to memory and concentration. The more integrated our arts and sciences, the more power is accessible to the individual will to understand the whole. In the popular mind there is to be created the idea of a hierarchy of wisdom. Then it can be excited and stimulated by the introduction of a great number of alternative thought patterns which counteract the superstitions of the day. Artists are called upon to personify this philosophy in symbols.

From a book I was planning:-

The esoteric occult underground offers a medium for dissident ideas to develop and influence culture and society. Here I describe a more usual way of thinking about esoteric knowledge. I discuss the Rosicrucian enlightenment, examining the neoplatonic assumptions behind it, and myth of the Renaissance Magus, some of whom like Paraceslus and Fludd, claimed to be virgins. We may take this as the respectable view, offering philosophical approaches to the nature of the secret.

As we have seen one idea hotly resisted by exoteric thinkers is the idea that our society was, should be or even is ruled by elites of sages. This was the thought behind the Rosicrucian enlightenment. With its symbolism of the Rose and the Cross Rosicrucianism is taken to be the leading school of esoteric Christianity, deliberately deceptive as the story of its origins presumably is.

There are parallels with Buddhism. Buddhism is a form of mysticism, always it keeps in mind the possibility of achieving the pearl of great price, the hidden source of a rare and total satisfaction. Nearly all Buddhism is a form of esoterism. This is especially true of the Mahayana with its benevolent bodhisattvas. The Buddhist believes that ordinary life is on the surface unsatisfying. The secret of how best to live is something hidden, unattained, still to be sought, but there is supernatural guidance from groups of immortal sages.

Rosicrucianism is the Mahayana of Christianity. From Rosicrucian mysteries come ideas like government by secret society, which influenced Freemasons and Illuminati. True wisdom is only for the initiated. It is not held that enlightenment, in the nature of things, is for the many, if it were it would be rejected. But we are to resist cultural snobbery and the implication that true fulfilment lies with what is openly and officially offered within society. We must learn to write on more than one level, and to keep these levels separate. The Rosicrucian sages repudiate the attempt to control the people by officially sponsored mass religion but recognise the value of popular ideas as bases for forms of life. The people need ideas as much as the elite.

We misjudge renaissance magi like Paracelsus, Ficino, Pico and Dee if we take them purely intellectually as intellectual philosophers. The esoteric tradition aims at illuminations, states of mind in which spiritual conflicts are resolved. What is needed is not faith but the power bestowed by an adequate symbolism. Through the manipulation of symbols linguistic, kabbalistic, and mathematical we reach towards the form of pure certainty. Some of the precepts may sound trite were it not that they are detached from all particular creeds.

Esoteric philosophy is not like a scientific or philosophical theory, it is more like a map. “Theories are essentially argumentative systems of statements, their main point is that they explain deductively. Maps are not argumentative” (Karl Popper). Thus even the argumentative nature of some esoteric philosophy is not necessarily what it seems to be. Esoteric philosophy is beyond all theory, where there is argument that may be a part of its maplikeness, the only proper question to ask is whether it is a good map or a bad one, not whether it is true or false.

Hargrave Jennings’ book on the Rosicrucians was published in 1870. He was accused of both bad writing and pornography. One critic wrote of a ‘most unwholesome current’ running through his book, and he has been linked to the disreputable pornographer Sellon. Nonetheless his influence was enormous on many nineteenth century occultists who knew what they were talking about. Bulwer-Lytton for example, was a close friend who was a key figure in the occult revival. Jennings taught a sort of Proto Freudianism, with much of the plausibility of the later movement Particularly fascinating is his sexual interpretation of the whole grail legend.

15th century time of rationalism where original meaning may have been lost.

“the shower of phallicism that burst upon the reading public in the shape of General Forlong's Rivers of Life.”

“It is quite true that the origin of every religion is based on the dual powers, male and female, of abstract Nature, but these in their turn were the radiations or emanations of the sexless, infinite, absolute Principle, the only One to be worshipped in spirit and not with rites; whose immutable laws no words of prayer or propitiation can change, and whose sunny or shadowy, beneficent or maleficent influence, grace or curse, under the form of Karma, can be determined only by the actions- not by the empty supplications of the devotee. This was the religion, the One Faith of the whole of primitive humanity, and was that of the "Sons of God," the B'ne Elohim of old. This faith assured to its followers the full possession of transcendental psychic powers, of the truly divine magic.” (H P Blavatsky, Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism)
Lucifer, July, 1896)

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