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withheld them, innocently, or sarcastically, observing that so wise a brotherhood could have no difficulty in discovering who were their correspondents. There are few of our readers, we suspect, who will feel much surprise at being told that no one received any answer to such enquiries, however earnestly or craftily he might frame them. Yet to say the truth, there was little want either of ardour or cunning amongst the curious. Some protested that they possessed secrets of great value, and were quite ready to enter into an exchange of philosophic commodities with the Rosicrucians; others ingeniously put forth suppositions as to the whereabouts and objects of the brotherhood, manifestly with the hope of drawing them into a correspondence, if it were only to contradict such surmises. It was the sun and the wind alternately shining and blowing upon the traveller to make him fling off his cloak, but in this case the fable proved no true precedent. At length some doubting spirits entered into the fray, and pointed out the improbabilities and contradictions of the story-that is, so far as regarded the existence of a so-called Rosicrucian brotherhood; they could not attempt to deny that the cabalistical and alchemical juggle was an old affair. In truth the whole question lies in a nutshell, and may be easily disposed of, though partly as a matter of curiosity, and partly to leave no room for doubt or cavil in what is to be hereafter said of the Freemasons, I have entered somewhat fully-perhaps too fully-into the details. If such a thing ever were in Germany as a society of Rosicrucians, it could not have been before the date assigned to it in the Fama, since that is the only authority we have for its existence; the first part of the enquiry then is settled at once; but the more important half, that which regards the entity of the brotherhood, must depend upon the character and intention of the FAMA. Upon this subject there can
hardly be a reasonable doubt; the whole work bears the strongest internal evidence of being nothing more than a playful effusion of the fancy, the subject being naturally enough borrowed from one of the most popular superstitions of the day. I can see no symptoms of satire in it more than in any fairy tale, and still less can I agree with Buhle that Andreä, or whoever was its author, wished to pave the way for the formation of a moral and philosophical society, and, to make his design more generally palatable, sweetened it by the introduction of alchemy. But whatever theory we adopt in this respect, it still comes to the same end; the FAMA was not intended to describe a society really existing.
It would signify little whether Andreä was, or was not, the author of the FAMA, except that in connection with him a derivation of the word Rosicrucian has been given, which does not seem wanting in probability. His family arms were a Saint Andrew's cross with four roses, and Buhle, as well as others, has supposed that it was to them and their symbolical interpretation that he owed the idea of the phrase, Rose-Crux. In this they alluded to Luther's well-known lines,
"Des Christen Herz auf Rosen geht
But allowing that Andreä coined the name of his new sect from his own arms, I doubt much Luther's lines having any thing to do with the matter. Both in ancient and modern times the rose was a religious symbol. It was carried by the Pope in his hand when walking in procession on Mid-lent Sunday, and it was worn at one time by the English clergy in their buttons. Fuller, too, in his Pisgah sight of Palestine, calls Christ "that prime
rose and lily." Its connection, therefore, with Christianity as an emblem is obvious; but for its meaning we must go back to the Greeks and Romans, from whom it was borrowed, like so many other things of the same kind. “Est rosa flos Veneris," says the poet. And why was it so because it originally meant that generative power which was typified in Venus, the whole class of heathen deities being only so many personifications of the attributes of the ONE. Thus Minerva symbolized his wisdom; Jove, his power; Hercules, his strength; and so on, till the temples became full of gods.
It adds not a little to the force of this theory that we find the holy Virgin of the Mexicans called Sochiquetzal,+ which signifies the "lifting up of roses." The same name too was given to their Eve, Ysnextii, who is said to have sinned by eating roses, which roses are elsewhere termed, Fruta del arbol, Fruit of the tree,—i. e., I suppose, the Tree of Life. Throughout it is easy to see that the idea of the creative power was intimately connected with the rose. If, moreover, the Lotus be a water-rose, as Higgins maintains in his Anacalypsis, the question is set at rest. At the same time I must own I know no authority for such a supposition except it be in Vallancy, who in giving examples of the proper names of men derived from the names of trees says, "Susan, lilium vel rosa, uxor Joacim." §
But feasible as the conjecture may seem, which derives Rose-Crux from the roses and cross in the arins of Andreä, we may well hesitate to adopt it, in spite of all
*P. 143,-under the head of, Zebulon.
+ Valcknaer in his notes upon the Adoniaz. of Theocritus, p. 2811, explains ro podov, the rose, to mean mulieb. pudend.-so too Hesychius sub voce.
Mexican Antiq. vol. vi. p. 120.
§ Vallancey. Collect, de Rebus Hibern. vol. iv. p. 264.
authority, when there lies close at hand an explanation so much more obvious. The rose was a term of deep alchemical import, and the cross in the same language signified light, because the figure of the cross was supposed to present to the eye at once the three letters, of which lux, or light is compounded. But lux among the alchemists is called the seed, or menstruum, of the dragon; or, in other words, that gross or corporeal light, which produces gold, when properly digested. The rosy cross would then be intended to express alchemically the red dragon, itself the symbol of the great secret of Rosicrucianism. Others, and amongst them Mosheim, hold the word to be a compound of ros, dew, and not of rosa, giving as a reason that dew was considered by the alchemists the most powerful solvent of gold. If ros were indeed the word intended, other causes, perhaps even more cogent, might be assigned for its adoption. According to Theodoretus, the Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, ros or dew was deemed by the Gnostics symbolical of Christ,* while the Sethians, Ophians, or Ophites, as the emblematical serpent-worshippers were variously called, held that the dew which fell from the excess of light, was wisdom, the hermaphroditic deity.† The cross too may be traced to the caduceus of Hermes, and might have been used as the alchemical sign for Mercury. Maier however denies that the letters R. C. were either ros, rosa, or crux, and contends that they were arbitrarily chosen as a mere mark of distinction. But what opportunity had he of know
“ Αἰνίττεται τοῦ δεσπότου Χριςοῦ διὰ τῆς δρόσου μὲν τὴν Oεóτητα." B. Theodoreti Quæst. in Genes. cap. xxvii. Interrog. 82, p. 91, tomus 1, Halæ. 8vo. 1772.
✦ Id. Hæretic. Fabul. Compend., lib. i. cap. xiv., p. 307, tom. iv.
"Symbolum vero et characterismus eorum mutuæ agnitionis ipsis a primo authore prescriptus est in duabus literarum notis, nempe R. C. eaque est quinta Fraternitatis lex et positio; idque ideo, ne
ing his founder's purpose better than ourselves? At the same time it must be allowed he cuts the Gordian knot, which it is hardly possible to untie. Where symbols are to be explained, there is no end of conjecture.
In whatever way the appellation may have been derived there does not seem from the first to have been any very great struggle for the antiquity of the order: Upon this point the proof is more than negative, for we have abundant instances where Rosicrucian advocates speak of it as being new. Thus in the title-page of a letter from Julian a Campis to the seekers after the brotherhood, he saysSendbrieff, oder Bericht an Alle welche von der neuen Bruderschafft des Ordens vom Rosen-Creutz genannt
omnino Anonymi essent, cum nomen auctoris latere sit necessarium, tum pro continuatione societatis tum tutela. Interim fruerentur his binis adminiculis, quæ pro cujusque captu interpretationem admitterent. Nec enim diù abfuit, cum primum hæc Fraternitas per aliquod scriptum emanavit, quin mox interpres illorum se obtulerit, qui ea Roseam Crucem significare conjecerit, cum R. rosas et C. crucem designent, in quâ opinione hucusque res permansit, licet ipsi testentur fratres in posterioribus scriptis se ita perperam vocitari, sed R.C. denotare nomen sui primi authoris symbolicè." Themis Aurea, Authore M. Maiero, Francofurti, 1618, p. 156. "Their symbol and character of mutual agnition was prescribed to them by their first author in two initials, namely R.C. and that is the fifth law and position of the Fraternity. This was done that they might not be altogether anonymous, since it was necessary the founder's name should be secret both for the continuance of the society and as a safeguard; in the meanwhile they could use these two stays, which every one might explain according to his own notions. Nor was it long-the society becoming known by their writings-before an interpreter offered himself, who conjectured that they meant the rosy cross, since R. might designate roses. and C. a cross, which opinion has hitherto prevailed, although the Brothers in their later writings have protested that to call them thus was wrong, and that R.C. denoted the name of their founder symbolically."
The reader has here a large variety of opinions, and must indeed be hard to please if he do not find one amongst them to his taste.