Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 2, Vernal Equinox 2002
What of Rosicrucianism Today?
It seems like there have always been groups out in the world claiming to be the original Rosicrucian society, or have lineage from the original Rosicrucians, or have documents from the original Rosicrucians, etc. I'm sure that Johann Valentin Andreae, the purported author of the original RC manifestos during the Reformation, would have found this to be vastly amusing if he were still around. He may not have found what has been done to his ideal to be quite so amusing.
The original R.C. Manifesto, the Fama Fraternitatis, contained only six rules that the Rosicrucian brethren should follow: they should only claim to heal the sick, and that for free, no particular uniform was to be worn so each Brother should blend into the place they are in, that every year on a particular day all Brothers would meet at the Mother House of the order, every Brother should find a successor, that the word C.R. should be their password and symbol, and finally that the order should remain secret for 100 years. Where have these ideals gone today?
First, I am not implying that none of the Rosicrucian orders that exist today, be they magical, philosophical, alchemical, religious, or what-have-you, still follow, or at least try to follow, the percepts set down by the Fama, but there seem to be just as many more that do not. Former and current members have dragged a number of the better-known groups through the mud during their existence; and the in-wars haven't seemed to stopped. Besides these vocal (hopefully) few groups, where does the rest of Rosicrucanism stand today?
Some of the original precepts have certainly become passé, others perhaps unnecessary or impossible in modern culture, and some, of course, are followed to the letter. But what of the first, and presumably most important, of the six precepts?
Healing the sick is mentioned by a handful of Rosicrucian orders as to their own purpose, but not by all or even many. It could be argued, however, that those teachings are reserved for the higher levels of the order (and there always seems to be levels within the various orders). Instead of healing the general focus of Rosicrucianism seems to have shifted towards the spiritual development of the individual seeker; something quite different from the apparent purpose of the original order. Is it really though?
From my own conversations with modern day Rosicrucians I would have to say, quite firmly, no. Self-discovery and spiritual awakening, while extremely important to many of these groups, is not necessarily the goal itself, but a means to an end. I have heard it explained like this: through spiritual development the individual is better able to become a conduit for the divine Light. By bringing more Light into the individual seeker, that seeker is then able to channel that light out into the rest of the world, be it through healing the sick (be they physically, mentally, or spiritually ill), invoking the Gods or just by being a better person. All of these things could quite easily be categorized as a type of healing; not only of our fellow humans but of the Earth itself.
I would like to thank all of our readers who have kept with us through our first two (now three!) issues. This issue celebrates our first year of life, and I would like to dedicate it to all of you Seekers out there, in whatever Tradition that you may follow.
-J. S. Kupperman