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THE INVISIBLE HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS The World’s Most Mysterious Secret Society
Published in the USA by INNER TRADITIONS, Vermont, 2009
Published in the
UK by Lewis Masonic (hardback) as
The first complete historical and philosophical investigation into the “invisible fraternity” of the Rosicrucians
• Contains the latest research on the origins of the Rosicrucian movement
• Presents the ties between Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and the Templars
• Written by a “perfected” Knight of the Rose Croix and the Pelican (18th degree, Ancient and Accepted Rite)
For nearly 400 years, incredible myths and stories have been woven around the “invisible” Brothers of the Rose Cross, the Rosicrucians. It is said that they possessed the secret of man and God, that they could turn lead into gold, that they governed Europe in secret, that theirs was the true philosophy of Freemasonry, and that they could save--or destroy--the world. In The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians, Tobias Churton, a “perfected” Knight of the Rose Croix and the Pelican (18th degree, Ancient and Accepted Rite), presents the first definitive historical and philosophical view of this mysterious brotherhood.
Starting at its beginnings in Germany in 1603, Churton unveils the truth behind the complex story that underlies the Rosicrucian movement. He explains its purpose, the motives of its earliest creators, and the manifestos “accidentally” published in the 17th century that emerged at precisely the time when modern science was emerging. He details the people who influenced its development--including Johannes Kepler, Robert Fludd, and Sir Francis Bacon--and the ties between the Rosicrucians, Freemasons, and Templars. He also shows how Rosicrucianism shaped the mythology and spiritual consciousness of both North and South America and reveals that there are many Rosicrucian fraternities still active throughout the world today.
Author of The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians
Praise for The Invisible
History of the Rosicrucians
story of Rosicrucianism, told through its dominant characters, reveals
much that is significant with regard to all our pasts and much about
ourselves, our truly human nature."
History of the Rosicrucians provides a fine history of secret societies
and presents the first definitive, in-depth survey of these societies
. . . "
growing interest by the pubic in esotericism--and, indeed, Rosicrucianism--in
recent years is a reflection of a deep desire to connect with something
greater, with divine intelligence itself. Churton's book is both an
education and a revelation."
The True History of the Rosicrucians
If you have read any of Tobias Churton’s works before, like The Gnostics or Freemasonry – the Reality, you will know he has a habit of setting himself difficult topics to cover, and then making them accessible through good scholarship and a sharp lucid explanatory style. With Invisibles he remains true to form, providing a comprehensive overview of the history and development of Rosicrucianism, one of the most significant strands of the spiritual tapestry created through the development of Western society in recent centuries. As with his other books, Churton utilises his habit of digressing down fascinating avenues of information, only to bring them back in front of the reader to illustrate the points he was making from a completely different angle! He also provides the information ina manner which allows the reader to form their own conclusions, a rare and useful quality in a work such as this.
This book could
be described as the hidden or invisible history of the spiritual development
of science and philanthropy over the last four centuries. It is divided
into two parts, Origins and Development, both of which introduce the
reader to a whole cast of historical figures, some better known and
more familiar than others. Even with the better known figures, there
are still details and snippets which a few produce surprises waiting
to leap on the unexpecting mind and cause a re-evaluation of ideas.
Like a fine wine,
it has the benefit of maturity, and is best enjoyed through sips and
The True History Of The Rosicrucians.
In 1623 Paris was in uproar over the imminent appearance of the ‘Brothers of the Rosy Cross’; leaflets were stuck on Pont Neuf and placards appeared around the city. The mysterious and invisible Brothers promised to ‘draw men from error and death.’ The Rosicrucians had arrived. The fascination shown by Parisians remains with us today as many different groups now jostle for primacy in the claim to true Rosicrucian ancestry.
This book by Tobias Churton is a comprehensive and fascinating exploration through the rise of the Rosicrucian movement from the production of its initial texts, the Fama Fraternitatis first seen in 1610 and printed 1614, the Confessio Fraternitatis of 1614, printed 1615 and the great work, The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz printed in 1616. Churton has provided detail, context and analysis where so many other books have provided only scepticism or wishful thinking.
Churton is good
on the context out of which the Rosicrucian idea developed. He is good
on the movement itself and, in an inspired move, he is good at the whole
concept of an idea’s power to move the world. And he points out
the paradox which lies at the heart of the Rosicrucian idea, ‘What
the world sees as useless is gold to the eyes of the spiritually reborn;
what the world judges as gold is but a dead lead weight to [the Rosicrucian].’
9 June 2010
History of the Rosicrucians: The World’s Most Mysterious Secret
Society from amazon.com.
The Invisible History
of the Rosicrucians is author Tobias Churton’s ambitious attempt
to create the definitive book on a complex and oft-misunderstood subject.
Churton, perhaps best known for his works on Gnostic writings and philosophy,
is a lecturer at the Exeter University (UK) master’s program in
Western Esotericism and is considered one of the world’s foremost
experts on hidden wisdom and secret societies. He has touched on the
Rosicrucians in his writing before, most notably in 2002’s excellent
pre-history of Freemasonry, The Golden Builders. That book, however,
only hinted at the exhaustive scope and detail to be found in The Invisible
History of the Rosicrucians, which at nearly 600 pages outdoes even
Churton’s similarly weighty tome on the Craft, 2007’s Freemasonry:
The reason why the Rosicrucians are (according to the book’s subtitle) the world’s most mysterious secret society, and why their history continues to be so widely misunderstood, is because the fraternal Brothers of the Rosy Cross were never actually meant to exist. The earliest Rosicrucian documents — Fama Fraternitatis, Confession Fraternitatis, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (originating from 1607) — were written anonymously but can be traced to Germany and the pen of a young Lutheran seminary student named Johannes Valentinus Andreae. Churton asserts that the documents were written as a sort of a youthful university prank or “game,” using the allegory of a fictional mystic named Christian Rosenkreutz and his equally fictional fraternity of followers as a means of critiquing the prevailing stodginess of the 17th-century religious and educational establishments.
Andreae, who became a member of the Lutheran clergy, took pains to distance himself from both the Fama and the Confession; he admitted to writing only The Chymical Wedding. According to Churton, Andreae was horrified to discover that his anonymous, youthful manifestos had been published several years after they were written, and he later became angry when other writers, claiming to be leading members of the fictional fraternity, began to steer what was purported to be “Rosicrucian thought” in new directions, encompassing ever-heavier doses of magic, alchemy and astrology. Andreae’s later writing under his own name openly ridicules alchemists; his original manifestos had a much stronger connection to medical sciences, advocating that Brothers of the Rosy Cross should care for the sick and infirm free of charge.
Once published, the manifestos took on a life of their own as they spread throughout Europe. New Rosicrucian books began appearing almost immediately, all written by authors claiming to be members of the non-existent order. Several of the authors faced persecution (after all, the Inquisition was still active in many parts of Europe); a great many others sought to set themselves up as the heads of “real” Rosicrucian orders. Churton chronicles more than three centuries of attempts by writers, would-be prophets, and creators of fraternal ritual to manufacture authentic ties to the mythical brotherhood, a pursuit which has seen the creation of a great many forged documents and outlandish tale tales that stretch credulity to the breaking point. Some of these writers went so far as to claim that Christian Rosenkreutz was not even the founder of the order, but that the “true” beginnings of the brotherhood could be traced back to ancient Egypt (this was a popular claim in fringe Masonic degrees of the era as well). Most of these authors added their own spin and agendas, resulting in a body of “Rosicrucian” work that bears little relation to the original documents by Johannes Valentinus Andreae. It is Churton’s assertion that Andreae would likely disapprove of much, if not all of what has been done in the name of his fictional Christian Rosenkreutz. (In one section, Churton even states that the system of Christian mysticism based upon the writings of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin and known as Martinism is closer to Andreae’s original ideas than is most of what is now called Rosicrucianism.) Even so, many modern-day seekers proudly call themselves Rosicrucians — finding illumination in the works of the latter-day Rosicrucian writers and participating in the flesh-and-blood fraternal orders they have inspired.
If there is a fault to be found with the book, it is that its structure feels somewhat unbalanced. The earliest sections of the story, which take place during Andreae’s lifetime and the century immediately following the “accidental” publication of his manifestos, consume almost 400 of the book’s pages and are almost too detailed. Churton occasionally gets bogged down in minutiae of dates and events and lets his narrative sag. By contrast, the latter sections which deal with the pseudo-Rosicrucian groups that have formed over the last three centuries (quite a few of which are still in existence) speed by in fewer than 200 pages and sometimes feel as if they skimp on detail. When one considers that this section of the story features such colourful characters as Arthur Edward Waite, Rudolf Steiner, Max Heindel, and even Aleister Crowley, this reader could not help but feel disappointed that it was not more fully developed. As well, the extent to which Rosicrucian ideas have influenced fraternal ritual, whether Masonic (most notably in the Scottish Rite degrees) or quasi-Masonic (the various “Societas Rosicruciana” groups that are open only to Freemasons) gets relatively short shrift.
These are, however, minor quibbles. Churton’s book is a remarkable achievement — an encyclopedic overview spanning 400 years of Rosicrucian history and philosophy that is written in an accessible, engaging, even warm and humorous tone that takes the subject seriously but never fails to spot the many ironies inherent in the unusual story. As the author succinctly states, “What began as a game became a religion.” The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians is certain to be the go-to source for information on this fascinating subject for many years to come.
PLEASE NOTE: This book was published simultaneously in the UK and Ireland by Lewis Masonic under the similar title Invisibles: The True History of the Rosicrucians (ISBN 978-0-85318-309-9).
REVIEW ON AMAZON:
30 Aug 2009 *****
The Rosicrucians have occupied a prominent place in the history of Western esotericism;a history that often has murky details about the origins, trajectory, and belief and practices, as well as links to intellectual luminaries such as Rene Descartes. Tobias Churton cuts through the mystery and misconceptions of the movement (which is really more what it is) and traces its origins to a series of documents originally published as a playful challenge to dominant European religious and intellectual trends at the turn of the 17th Century. Churton takes us from the publication of the Fama Fraternitatis through the modern evolution of the movement and the ways in which it has influenced other strands of esoteric thought and practice. Churton teaches on the University of Exeter's MA in Western Esotericism, and this book represents a thirty year quest to study the movement and how it fits into the larger (if not hidden) history of ideas. His style is humorous and mixes references to 17th century documents with contemporary ideas (e.g. in one instance lyrics from The Doors). The book is a treasure trove of ideas, trends, and thoughts that have not been brought together in one place before (Manly Hall's work The Secret Teachings of All Ages gets close) and it is clear that Churton's research has been extensive. Overall, this is a great read and a great journey into a world hitherto unknown to a general readership. Highly recommended.
Those who view Rosicrucianism
solely as an occult topic will find their perceptions being challenged
al most from the first pages of this well-written account. The documented
history, although obscured
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