In the early 1600’s a mysterious document turned up in Europe which caused quite a stir. It was called the Fama Fraternitas. It purported to tell of a mystical sage named Christian Rosenkreutz. This man had traveled throughout much of the known world to discover true knowledge. He founded a mystical, secret society called the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross. This book was quite popular among a variety of intellectuals, from theologians and preachers, to scientists and philosophers.
An entire movement sprang up based on this book, and several other Rosicrucian works which followed it. Rosicrucianism was mixture of Christian mysticism, Jewish Kabbalah, occultic systems such as Alchemy and Hermeticism, and a little Eastern philosophy. The movement was very popular among some Protestants, likely because Rosenkreutz was unabashedly anti-Catholic. It was a strong influence in the development of western occult tradition. It also was very influential in the formation of speculative Freemasonry. The impact of Rosicrucianism is still felt today in modern occult groups, Freemasonry, and a number of cults.
During the 19th and 20th centuries a number of groups arose which claimed to be true lineal descendents of Rosicrucian tradition. Probably the most popular is the AMORC (Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis), founded by H. Spencer Lewis. This secret society can be joined via the mail or online. The second is the Rosicrucian Fellowship founded by Max Heindel. There are a number of smaller similar organizations. There are also a number of Rosicrucian degrees in the higher rites of Freemasonry.
Summary of Beliefs
God: Basically a pantheistic concept of and impersonal God.
Jesus: Jesus was a manifestation of the Christ-spirit, the Christ-consciousness. What Jesus
achieved, we can all achieve. Jesus is no different than other great spiritual leaders, such as the Buddha.
Salvation: Salvation consists of humans evolving into divine beings. This is achieved
through occult initiation and practice, virtuous living, and reincarnation and the laws of
karma. This evolutionary process is symbolized by the rosy cross.
Human nature: Man is in ignorance and needs to be enlightened as to his true nature and destiny.
Sin: No biblical concept of sin. Man’s problem is lack of knowledge and enlightenment.
Afterlife: Reincarnation is a common teaching. Ultimate salvation is achieved through
becoming a divine being, entering a nirvana-like state.
Authority: All sacred texts, Rosicrucian writings, the Bible, Eastern scriptures, Hermetic literature, occult texts.