The Rosicrucians

Speculation that there exists – or once existed – a clandestine organisation named the Order of the Rosy Cross has been ongoing since the early 1600s.

As mentioned in my novel, The Rosicrucian Prophecy, the origin of this bizarre tale can be traced to 1610–16. The first tangible evidence is three strange pieces of literature published in the cities of Kassel and Strasbourg concerning a group of enlightened men in possession of rediscovered ancient knowledge and intent on using it to deliver universal reforms. Over the coming decade, the impact of these publications, coupled with the release of several others, succeeded in cementing the society’s place in European history.

Not to mention, conspiracy theory.

Definitive evidence concerning any possible brotherhood is scant to say the least. The three manifestos do exist, the first of which, The Fama Fraternitatis, described the discovery of a bizarre tomb illuminated by an inner sun, and inhabited by one Frater CRC and a mysterious manuscript entitled Book M. It also discussed the importance of Kepler’s supernova of 1604, and how its sudden appearance, coupled with the discovery of the tomb, would have a profound impact on European civilisation.

Within a year of the Fama’s release, a sequel followed. Building on the Fama, the Confessio further highlighted their aims of establishing a society in Europe while expanding on their philosophies, including the significance of Adam. The third manifesto, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, was different in style and content and, coupled with being published in a different city, has led some to believe it was the work of a different author. As opposed to considering reforms or ancient knowledge, the story follows the activities of the key character, Christian Rosenkreutz, who undergoes a journey of initiation on being invited to a mysterious castle.

Accompanying the manifestos were often a series of ‘replies’ or ‘tracts’, some of which have also influenced public perception. One manuscript of particular importance was another mentioned in the novel: the 1623, Paris-released A History of The Frightful Compacts Entered Into Between The Devil and The Pretended Invisibles, which entered circulation within a year of a series of posters appearing in the French capital insinuating the society’s clandestine presence there. Intriguingly, The Frightful Compacts also made the shocking claim that no less than thirty-six Rosicrucian brothers were operating throughout Europe and were pulling the strings behind most of its major cities. Crucially, this was also the first mention of the society as ‘invisibles’: something that would be of great importance following the emergence of the Invisible College.