If we focus on the modern Rosycross and what it brings to the world of today, we can identify three main characteristics. Firstly it brings a universal spiritual philosophy and vision of the world; secondly, as a group or society it is a school that defines itself as Rosicrucian; and thirdly, it plays a very practical role in the life of its pupils.
As a philosophy focusing on cosmological and anthropological concepts, the Rosycross is without a doubt a fruit of the Renaissance. It arises from the merging of a series of spiritual currents that, when freed from all superstitions and fantasies, are synthesised and expressed in a practical way of understanding and approaching life.
Once we understand this short explanation, we see that throughout all eras and across all regions of our planet, there have always been people who have reached the same conclusions and who have made of them a ‘modus vivendi’, a mode of life. Throughout the short history of the Rosicrucians, from the Renaissance to today, these same people have associated themselves with societies that bore the name ‘Rosicrucian’ or one of its variations.
Hence we are able to affirm that there have always been ‘Rosicrucians’ both before and after the appearance of the classical Rosicrucians of the 17th century. There is ample literature available to the interested person to affirm the history of these societies.
In this article we would like to look at the philosophical foundations of the Rosycross, and how they can help shed light on today’s society.
Our society is solidly based on communication, and more specifically on communication focused on the word. It is commonly understood that words are constructed by individual letters that, when combined, can represent specific concepts. In their various combinations they give rise to a practical language that can define and convey rational concepts and ideas.
If for example, we write the word ‘rose’, there exists a common and shared understanding of what this word means, a commonality that forms a practical foundation for our societal structure and lifes’ interactions. However, a potential problem arises if we now use these same words to convey concepts and ideas that are neither known nor tangible. In such cases we are forced to expand our explanations which can, depending on the idea we wish to convey, make communication more difficult and open to misunderstandings.
Mystery or Initiation Schools such as the Rosicrucians, were always aware of the limitations of language, and for this reason they employed the use of symbolism and analogy. Symbolic language can have a powerfully evocative and suggestive effect, and when framed in complementary images, awakens the imagination to the possibility of inwardly visualising the more intangible and subtle realities.
The Rosycross, clearly rooted in the Western Mystery tradition, makes use of both a secular and symbolic language to bring its message to mankind. This message is characterised by the signature of duality, the weaving of the subtle with the concrete, the inner imagination with the outer visual representation.
As it’s name indicates, the Rosycross symbolises the connection between the purely spiritual (the Rose), and the fundamentally earthly (the Cross). The Rose represents the idea of the Spirit as it is active in life, while the Cross represents life in its four primary elements: fire, water, air and earth, or from a more scientific perspective, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. The central tenet of the Rosycross is therefore the union of the divine and the human, the spiritual and the material, while still acknowledging the profound contradiction that such a union implies.
No doubt we would all agree that if we only employed the language of symbolism, we could not create the detailed plans to build an areoplane for instance. Conversely, we can also agree that the technical and scientific language needed to build an aeroplane, would not serve us at all if we wished to generate in our minds the thoughts and concepts, the images and ideas that would allow us to approach an understanding of realities that transcend our everyday tangible lives.
The Rosycross does not approach the divine by mystically studying the esoteric ‘heavens’ and their ‘divinities’ so often shrouded in mental fantasies, but tries to decipher the mystery of the Spirit in its natural manifestation. If the universe is the creation of a sublime Architect, the Rosycross does not search to understand the Architect, but tries to discover the underlying intentions in His work. And through this approach, it also acknowledges that the path to knowing the secrets of the Universe starts by understanding that magnificent creation ‘man’, and why he is known as a ‘microcosm’.
The starting hypothesis is that by knowing oneself, one can begin to know both the universe and its purpose. By following the same advice as the goddess Persephone gives to Parmenides in his work ‘On Nature’, the Rosicrucian walks the paths of ‘being in the now’, both mentally and experientially, and does not concern himself with what is not, or cannot be, thereby avoiding entering into speculation.
For a Rosicrucian, the path leading to the discovery of the Truth follows the path towards the Logos, and employs both rational and analogical thought, and like the classical Rosicrucians, he understands the Logos from Its dual aspects. Firstly the Logos as manifestation, expressed in the immutable foundations of the natural laws of the universe, and secondly, active within the idea of ‘being’, of becoming what is. For some this is a path of fate, while for the Rosicrucian it is a path underlying the purpose of life itself.
It will be clear to the reader why the Rosicrucians have never stood on the side of a dogmatic authoritarianism on this path, as have so many other religions, but have always fought to liberate the mind from the yoke of irrationality and blind belief. It is not logical to inflict the seeking mind, which is the crowning of the human being, to the limits imposed by a dogmatic obedience to irrational ideas based on ignorance. From this perspective the Rosicrucians have always walked a path against the mainstream current, in the conviction that whoever walks against the current of a river, will eventually reach the source of its birth.