The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross is one of the historic Rosicrucian Manifestos published for the first time in book form in 1616. It describes the alchemical path, the path of transformation, in a pictorial way. All the aspects of man’s soul and consciousness, as well as all the forces that come into play on the path, are personified in this narrative. The many symbolic events on the path to this wedding can only be retraced here in selective episodes. In doing so, the principles of the path, as well as the candidates’s tasks and capabilities, should be the focus of consideration. These tasks and opportunities are still relevant today. At a time when the transformative aspect has vanished from established Christianity, the Gnostic-Rosicrucian wisdom expressed in the Alchemical Wedding places the transformation process in the bright light of the day.
Christian Rosycross (CRC) is the human being who gives room for the eternal within to develop anew. He works with other candidates to prepare for the alchemical wedding. Everyone goes his own path, but at the same time they all work together in unity.
The invitation and the first steps
As a reader, we follow CRC’s path right from the time he receives the invitation to the Alchemical Wedding. CRC is thus called to attend the wedding of the divine spirit with the newly awakened soul within his own being. This constellation elucidates a lot about the spiritual path: CRC, the seeker, is invited to be a guest at the royal wedding. He himself is not the main character in this event, yet his cooperation is a pre-requisite for the wedding to take place. The invitation also includes a warning. CRC must be extremely aware of his state of being, of the do’s and don’ts, in order for him to participate in the event as purely as possible. This long-awaited invitation has a profound effect on him. The book tells us that the mountain on which CRC’s humble house is built, shakes. For the first time, CRC realizes the radical change which he will commit himself to when he begins his journey to the Royal Castle.
CRC does not get directions with the invitation, though. Apparently, having prepared himself for the wedding will be sufficient for him to find the way. This is a signature of the Rosicrucian path. There are principles of power in it, and there is an inner knowledge that reveals itself to an open soul, and which becomes deeper and deeper as one walks the path. CRC has traveled quite a distance when he comes to a crossroads from which four pathways branch out. Uncertain of what to do next, CRC pauses and reaches for his loaf of bread. A white dove, seeing that, flies faithfully towards him. He willingly shares his bread with her. But peace does not last long: there appears a black raven which wants to steal the dove’s bread. Both birds fly away; CRC follows them to protect the dove and chase away the raven, and that he finally succeeds in doing. Without realizing it, he is already on one of the four paths from which he cannot turn back – trying to do so, he is met by such a strong wind that he has to continue on the chosen path, whether he wants to or not. The decision to follow that path was intuitive; it was to protect the dove – the awakening soul. Whoever chooses his/her path this way, chooses the right path – the one he/she can bring to a good end. In the course of this spontaneous decision, however, CRC has left his provisions behind. That he still masters the further challenges of the path means that he can live and act out of new forces. This is the pre-requisite to reach the Royal Castle.
The castle and the royal couples
As night falls, CRC finally finds the Royal Castle. He is the last one to scurry through the gate as its doors creak shut. Nothing on the path can be achieved as if it were a stroll on the park – everything is effort, devotion, and gift given at the right moment. Christian Rosycross is about to get to know that the Royal Castle is his own microcosm. And what is a microcosm? It is the entire complex human being with its eternal, imperishable spheres and its temporal aspects. It includes the submersion in matter, the karmic experience accumulated up to that moment, but also the access to first-hand knowledge, through the divine spirit spark. Thus, CRC experiences time and eternity in himself, enabling him to recognize the essential steps on the path and allowing him to walk it. In the royal palace – that is, in the course of the realization of his true nature – he accomplishes the fundamental “letting go” of all earthly-perishable aspects of his natural being, beyond which he awaits the unfolding of the original divine principles.
As with any other candidate undergoing the process of awakening, CRC gains access to the source of his consciousness according to the state of maturity of his own soul. This is a revolutionary process. Normally, this source is buried in the unconscious, and we live off of its “product” and therefore remain trapped in the sequence of cause and effect. Now the true creative source, the Self, becomes visible. So, the candidate’s awakening rises above the everyday consciousness by piercing into its source. CRC thus recognizes the possibilities and obstacles that lie within his wealth of experience – and in the resulting powers of consciousness.
These forces are represented in the Alchemical Wedding as three royal couples residing in a round, high elevated royal abode (the candidate’s pineal gland, or the Crown Chakra). It is all the suffering and bitterness that the microcosm has accumulated in its many incarnations; it is the maturity and wisdom that accompany those experiences, and, last but not least, it is the enormous new possibilities that have arisen from all of it. Two of the three royal couples wear crowns on their heads; the third, a very young and still uncrowned couple (the unity of spirit and soul yet to be formed) sits in the middle between the others. The couples embody the guiding principles of consciousness in the microcosm: one that sought fulfillment in matter, one that wrestled for liberation in matter, and finally the new soul power that came forth from it – and the divine spirit principle that is present as potential. CRC learns that the coronation of the two young people is only possible if all the principles present undergo an alchemical process that annihilates them in their present state in order to transform into new life and consciousness. This is a basic principle of spiritual alchemy: in essence, the temporal and the eternal both sacrifice themselves. In this merging process it turns out that the divine absorbs the earthly and thus creates new life.
It is interesting that, in this context, it is the will of the candidate that carries out the annihilation of the actual consciousness in order to be beheaded itself. This means that the ego of the transient nature is recognized and abandoned, and man is ready to approach the transformation, leaving behind in clear consciousness the old life, its patterns and its egoisms. Then the will “dies”. The new will is born within as the first manifestation of the new man.
 Spirit here and in the further development of the story is not to be understood as a synonym of consciousness, but as a divine emanation, which radiates as the original creative and invigorating principle in the universe and in the human being. In hermetic wisdom, the Spirit that connects with the human being and awakens in him or her as a new consciousness is personified as Pymander.
 The new forces are no longer subjected to the polarity of the transient world. They are out of the one and only good, they are nourishment for the awakening self-liberating soul.
 Alchemical dying represents an end to the old state of separation and egocentricity. From the perspective of the Ego, it is a real end. From the perspective of the Spirit there is a transformation and merging of the previously separated. Alchemical dying is a “death” that brings forth life.