Category Archives: The Crux of Rosicrucianism

Rituals of the First Four Grades

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Rituals of the First Four Grades: Societatis Rosicrucianæ Reipub Confoed. America by Charles Meyer and Harold V B Voorhis.

Charles Meyer Harold V B Voorhis Rituals of the First Four Grades

These rituals were originally issued to local Colleges of the Societatis Rosicrucianae Reipub. Confoed. America in 1881 by the Grand High Council under the authority of its Supreme Magus Charles E. Meyer, and Secretary General C.T. McClenachan. All except the Zelator grade ritual (being too “similar to that now used”) were published from 1939 to 1942 in The Rose Petal, an occasional organ of the New Jersey College of S.C.R.I.F., under the editorship of the Right Worthy Chief Adept Harold V.B. Voorhis. He also omitted the hand-drawn plates. An unnamed Kessinger editor has added the Zelator ritual from a manuscript source, again, without diagrams, as well as a five-sentence introduction and the titling in which the Reipub. of the order’s name has been unaccountably changed to Rebpub.

Although Voorhis describes the rituals as “supplementary,” the authorizing correspondence from Meyer seems to indicate that the Grand High Council expected them to be adopted uniformly throughout the order for the principal ceremonies of admission and advancement. Yet Voorhis insists that “there is no evidence that they were ever used ‘in full form.'”

Some of the ceremonial mechanisms are interesting, although the whole operation is conducted with conventional Masonic techniques. The rituals are devoid of hoodwinking, but in the first section of each grade the initiand is placed under a translucent veil of the characteristic symbolic color of the degree, providing what I cannot help but think of as an “Emerald City effect.” A fair amount of singing was involved, but the lyrics are included without scores or any other clues regarding the tunes. There is nothing in the way of strenuous ordeal or even startlement. Each grade includes a narrative set-piece that serves as a chapter in a cumulative Rosicrucian legend—evidently original with this rite—regarding the Magister Templi Gualdi in the mountain laboratories of the adepts.

The grade instructions attempt to embrace a comprehensive course of hermetic wisdom, including alchemy (chrysopoeia and iatrochemistry), astrology, and astronomy, with some very basic, Christian-oriented magical theology. Their efforts to communicate something like scientific facts, along with the technological pretense of the legend, keep the ritual from being anything that an educated initiate could take seriously today.

The lack of diagrams and the failure to provide any sort of roster of ritual offices are features that make it difficult to mentally construct the ceremonies from the rituals. Also, very brief opening and closing rituals are included only after all of the grade rituals—evidently in the sequence they were published by Voorhis, but unhelpfully to the reader who is also handicapped by not having a table of contents or even continuous pagination. [via]

Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos

Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos: Excerpts from the Companion Volume to Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom by Henricus Khunrath, selected and translated by Russell Yoder, from Salamander and Sons, scheduled to be published already, but coming soon, will be available via Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Henricus Khunrath Russell Yoder Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos from Salamander and Sons

Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos consists of excerpts from the companion volume to Henricus Khunrath’s alchemical classic, Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae (or, Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom).

Englished for the first time by Russell Yoder, Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos is initially concerned with Magnesia (the “Magnet of the Lord” and “universal raw Stone of the Wise that is to be found in Nature”), the Green Lion of Nature (the “fiery spark or ray of the World’s Soul, or Light of Nature” that is “the naturally, conceivably catholic All”) and Our Chaos or Hyle (“the World’s First Water … [the] Fountain [from which] all material things have their first origin” which is the “Fundament or Foundation, the Basis of the World that God Himself put in place … [which] the edifice of the entire earth is set upon …”).

Embodying a kind of Christianised natural magic influenced as much by kabbalah, natural philosophy and the works of Paracelsus as by Lutheran pietism and devotion, the Divinely inspired and particular revelations of Hyleal, Pri-material, Catholic, or Universal Natural Chaos extend to include heavenly influences and the timing of the work, Azoth or Living Mercury (“not quicksilver, nor something taken out of or from him, but Mercurius – that which the Philosophers speak of!”), Salt of Magnesia (“often called Sal Petra or Sal Peter, Sal Alkali, Sal Gemma or the Noble Rock-salt … from the radical Humidity of the whole World”), and the artful and natural elevation of plants, animals and minerals “to the highest Natural Perfection” towards “true Regeneration and more than perfect Multiplication of Metals [and] an exceedingly powerful Universal Medicine …”

Includes a brief but highly insightful tract in verse ‘from F.R.C.’ on the subject of Our Chaos – Hyle – published as part of The Golden Rose (1704), almost 100 years after the publication of Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum, and exactly 90 years after the appearance of the Rosicrucian manifesto Fama Fraternitatis R.C. (1614).”

The History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4 by Giacomo Casanova, translated by Willard R. Trask.

Giacomo Casanova Willard Trask History of My Life, Volumes 3 & 4

This huge memoir is as entertaining as any novel, and certainly a whole lot longer! Each volume in the eminently readable Willard Trask translation is 300 to 350 pages long, plus copious endnotes with literary, historical, geographical, and biographical explications.

Casanova’s exploits as a Freemason, faux-Rosicrucian, alchemist and magical confidence-man all rest within a larger context, where the freethinker and libertine seems to have enjoyed a genuine conviction of the reality of his personal daimonic genius. Writing of his first hardships as a prisoner, Casanova reflects, “My Genius diverted himself in this fashion in order to give me the pleasure of making comparisons.” The name of this Guardian Angel was
P A R A L I S. [via]

The Portal of Initiation

The Portal of Initiation: A Rosicrucian Mystery Drama & The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, by Rudolf Steiner and Johann W von Goethe, respectively, the 1981 second revised edition from Spiritual Literature Library (Garber Communications), is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Rudolf Steiner Johann W von Goethe The Portal of Initiation from Spiritual Literature Library / Garber Communications

“The Portal of Initiation: A Rosicrucian Mystery Drama, can best be described in Rudolf Steiner’s own words:

‘When one has worked one’s way through to an understanding perception of the world, the living need is felt to form ideas no longer, but to create artistically, that is, plastically, or in color, or musically, or poetically. In my Mystery Dramas I myself tried to give what cannot be expressed in ideas about the nature of the human being. … This leads us to enjoy, to seek out, to contemplate what one cannot possibly experience in thoughts, but in living figures, as they appear in the dramatic pictures; then we let the figures of the drama really work upon us. … Art must be added to what is abstractly known if true knowledge of the world is to be attained. Further, when such perception is attained and presses toward creative form, this experience penetrates so deeply into the human soul that this union of art with science produces a religious experience.’

‘Today, humanity may not yet be inclined to absorb into external culture what can spring from the spiritual life. however, at least in artistic pictures we can show how life may develop, and what in the form of thoughts and feelings flows into our souls and permeates them. The result can be the kindling of the presentiment that out of its present, humanity must go toward a future in which it will be able to experience the streaming down of spiritual life into man on earth. For humanity is approaching an age when man will perceive himself as the intermediary between the spiritual world and the physical world. These performances were given in order that this presentiment might be awakened.’

Steiner spoke repeatedly about the importance of Goethe’s Fairy Tale, not only in relation to the spiritual striving of our time in a general sense, but in his first Mystery Drama, The Portal of Initiation, he drew upon many of the basic themes of the Fairy Tale. Steiner also indicated that the way the pictures in Goethe’s Fairy Tale ‘unfold themselves’ shows that they possess the power ‘to transform the human soul’ which opens itself to them. He also once characterized the Goethe Fairy Tale as the ‘archetypal seed’ which offers the possibility of a new order of social life amongst humanity as a whole, and described it as the foundation upon which he based his teaching concerning the modern Science of Spirit, Anthroposophy.

Although they are surrounded by the remarkable conveniences modern technology has placed at our command and the degree of ‘freedom’ this has made possible, many people today would agree with Goethe’s observation, made long ago: “Whatever sets the human spirit free without giving us mastery over ourselves is harmful.’—ANd with this awareness goes the recognition that despite the marvels of technology, designed to set men free to an ever-increasing degree, there nevertheless prevails a widespread feeling, a longing to return ‘home’, to experience the unique guidance of the star of one’s individual destiny. … Goethe’s Fairy Tale offers, in form of artistic images, the first steps on the path which at length will enable a man to come to know himself as a being of body, soul and spirit, with all this implies. Thus the Fairy Tale of Goethe may become ‘everything’ or ‘nothing’ for the reader—and it is left entirely to his own individual freedom to let it ‘speak’ its significance to him.” — back cover

The Temple Legend

The Temple Legend and the Golden Legend, 20 lectures by Rudolf Steiner, given in Berlin between May, 1904–January, 1906, on Freemasonry and related occult movements from the contents of the Esoteric School, a 2002 reprint edition paperback from Rudolf Steiner Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Rudolf Steiner The Temple Legend and the Golden Legend from Rudolf Steiner Press

“In these unique lectures, give to members of his Esoteric School (1904–14), Rudolf Steiner’s main intention is to throw light on the hidden content of the picture-language of myths, sagas and legends. Pictures, he explains, are the real origin of all things—the primeval spiritual causes. In the ancient past people assimilated these pictures through myths and legends. In order to work in a healthy way with pictures or symbols today, however, it is necessary that one should first become acquainted with their esoteric content—to understand them.

At the time of these lectures Steiner was planning to inaugurate the second section of the Esoteric School, which was to deal in a direct way with a renewal—out of his own spiritual approach—of ritual and symbolism. he gave these lectures as a necessary preparation, to clarify the history and nature of the cultic tradition. he this discusses principally Freemasonry and its background, but also the Rosicrucians, Manichaeism, the Druids, the Prometheus Saga, the Lost Temple, Cain and Abel—and much else besides.” — back cover

Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph

Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph: (unter Berücksichtigung seiner Stellung im O.T.O und seines okkulten Umfeldes) [Henry Tränker as Theosophist, Rosicrucian and Pansophist (taking into account his position in the O.T.O. and Occultism)] by Volker Lechler and Wolfgang Kistemann [HT William Thirteen], is a 2013 work, in standard and limited numbered editions, about one of the figures in the original pre-Crowley Ordo Templi Orientis, and may be of interest.

Von Volker Lechler Heinrich Tränker als Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer und Pansoph

“Wer war der Theosoph, Rosenkreuzer, Okkultist und Pansoph Heinrich Tränker? Dieses Buch geht den Spuren nach, die er in der ersten Hälfte des 20zigsten Jahrhunderts in den okkulten Kreisen Deutschlands hinterlassen hat. Welche Rolle spielte Tränker als Landesoberhaupt des Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Deutschland? Warum kam es zur Auseinandersetzung mit Aleister Crowley auf der sogenannten Weida-Konferenz? Und wieso wendete sich ein Teil der Pansophen von Tränker ab und gründete daraufhin die Fraternitas Saturni?

Auf Grund der Auswertung zahlreicher, bisher unbekannter Quellen, entsteht ein neues Bild von Heinrich Tränker und seinen „okkulten“ Weggefährten (dazu gehörten u.a.: Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche (Gregor A. Gregorius), O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski (Waltharius) u.v.m.). Viele in der gedruckten Literatur und im Internet verbreitete angebliche Tatsachen entpuppen sich auf einmal als Mythen, Verdrehungen und Unwahrheiten.”

“Who was the theosophist, Rosicrucian, occultist and pansophist Heinrich Tränker? This book traces the marks he left in occult circles in Germany during the first half of the 20th century. Which role did Tränker play as head of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in Germany? What lead to the dispute with Aleister Crowley at the so-called ‘Weida Conference’? And why did some pansophists turn away from Tränker and founded the Fraternitas Saturni?

The analysis of numerous, hitherto unknown sources has changed the picture of Heinrich Tränker and his ‘occult’ companions (among others Franz Hartmann, Otto Gebhardi, Martha Küntzel, Hans Fändrich, Theodor Reuss, A. Krumm-Heller, Albin Grau, Eugen Grosche, O. W. Barth, Aleister Crowley, Hugo Vollrath, Harvey Spencer Lewis, Walter Studinski and many more). The analysis of historical sources shows the reader, that many alleged facts circulating in printed literature and the internet are merely myths, misrepresentations and untruths.” [via]

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment by Frances Yates, the 2002 paperback from Routledge Classics, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Frances Yates The Rosicrucian Enlightenment from Routledge Classics

“In the early seventeenth century two manifestos were published which proclaimed, in terms of magic, alchemy and the Cabala, the dawn of a new age of increased knowledge and power over nature. These anonymous documents (reproduced in the appendix to this work) were written on behalf of ‘the Fraternity of the Rose Cross’. Ever since, this mysterious movement has been the subject of endless fascination, speculation and intrigue. In a remarkable piece of detective work, the renowned historian Frances Yates here reveals the truth about the ‘Rosicrucian Enlightenment’ and details its impact on Europe’s political and cultural history. She transforms, for instance, our understanding of the origins of modern science by placing it in the context of an occult tradition key figures such as Descartes, Bacon, Kepler and Newton. Beautifully illustrated, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment remains one of those rare works of scholarship which no reader can afford to ignore.” — back cover


The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn

What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie, with a foreword by Christopher S Hyatt, the fifth and enlarged 1988 printing of the paperback from Falcon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Israel Regardie What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn from Falcon Press

Apparently, there’s also a 2011 ebook edition of this as well, which may be of interest, which includes at least some new material, from the 2010 New Falcon revised print edition, by Chic and Tabatha Cicero and Regardie’s 1934 Stella Matutina Enochian Examination from his personal archives.

“This fascinating book has been out of print and highly sought after for many years since its first publication as My Rosicrucian Adventure in 1936.

In this work Israel Regardie relates his own personal experience with those secret societies which have exerted such a great influence on the development of modern Occultism.

Regardie lifts the cloak of mystery which has shrouded The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, The Rosicrucian Fraternity, and The Masonic Lodge.

From his close personal association Regardie reveals the true nature and actions of such leading Occult authorities as Aleister Crowley, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Dr W.W. Westcott, Dion Fortune.

‘Israel Regardie is the last representative of the great occult tradition of the late 19th century, whose major names include Madame Blavatsky, W.B. Yeats, MacGregor Mathers, A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune. Even in such distinguished company, Regardie stands out as a figure of central importance.’ — Colin Wilson”


The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Neo-Symbolist Salon at Corrala Cultural Center in Madrid from Oct 31-Nov 30, 2013

Neo-Symbolist Salon: For the Beauty and Spirit in Art will be held at the Corrala Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain from October 31st through November 30th, 2013 as part of the fifth Madrid Gothic Week [HT Sasha Chaitow]. The call for artist and papers has passed, but it sounds quite interesting; especially since the description explicitly invokes the Salon de la Rose + Croix of Joséphin Péladan and has suggested themes which include Beautiful, Decadent and Damned; Hybrid beings; The Sacred Feminine; and more.

Neo-Symbolist Salon 2013


I Salón Neo-Simbolista

Por la Belleza y el Espíritu en el Arte


El final del siglo XIX vio florecer un arte plagado de ideal y de profundo significado: el Simbolismo. Un arte de la belleza y la pureza de las formas bajo cuyo velo había siempre un significado profundo: sus imágenes simbolizaban el ideal. Por ello fueron llamados en su momento “los pintores del alma”. Pero el advenimiento de las primeras Vanguardias dejó eclipsada a esta corriente artística tan rica y evocadora, tan solo revivida por el ámbito surrealista, y que sólo será estudiada a partir de los años 80.

Es significativo que un siglo más tarde, en el final del siglo XX y comienzos del XXI toda una serie de artistas haya recuperado la estética y los iconos del Simbolismo finisecular para mostrar unos ideales nuevos. La femme fatal, el dandy, el andrógino, pasan a representar nuevos conceptos y nuevos ideales, eso sí, dentro del ámbito de la contra-cultura. A este movimiento artístico contemporáneo es a lo que llamamos Neo-Simbolismo, los nuevos pintores del alma.

Y por esa ascendencia decimonónica nos fijamos en el París decadente donde los salones eran las formas de mostrar los nuevos avances artísticos al gran público. Pero no tratamos de emular a los grandilocuentes Salones del Louvre, ni tan siquiera al Salon des refuiusèes donde hicieran su fortaleza los impresionistas, sino que mas bien miramos a la aventura de un visionario, el que se autoproclamaba Sâr Péladan y que fundó el Salon de la Rose + Croix en el cual participaron fundamentalmente los artistas de la corriente simbolista. Aunque un poco lejos de la excentricidad de Péladan pero siguiendo algunos de los principios que inspiraron su gusto estético, presentamos este Salón Neo-Simbolista, mas de una centuria después.

Las propuestas artísticas para la exposición deberán basarse en la iconografía simbolista pero reinterpretada dentro de los parámetros de la contra-cultura, del contra-Arte, de la oposición al mercado y al establishment. Porque probablemente la verdadera esencia del arte de nuestra época está muy lejos de allí y hay que encontrarlo en el underground.

Se proponen las siguientes temáticas para las obras que conformarán el Salón Neo-Simbolista:

La Belleza Maldita y la Belleza del Exceso
Bellos, Decadentes y Malditos
La Belleza de lo Siniestro
La Bella Dama sin piedad
El Dandy tenebroso
Seres híbridos: Esfinges, Arpías y Lamias
Lo Sagrado Femenino
El Andrógino” [via]

The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone, by the Brotherhood of the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross

The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone, by the Brotherhood of the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross Wherein the Materia for this Mystery is named by its name, also the Preparation is shown from the Beginning to the End, with all Manipulations by Sigmund Richter (Sincerus Renatus) is a new release published by Teitan Press available from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher's Stone from Teitan Press

“The first English language publication of The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone, by the Brotherhood of the Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross, an Alchemical / Rosicrucian work by Sigmund Richter that was originally published in Breslau in 1710. In appearance the work is very much that of an alchemical textbook, describing (in the symbolic / chemical terminology of the spagyrical adept) a series of operations which culminate in the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone and “all that is necessary to the Work Ordinis Minoris and Majoris.” As described by the editor, Dr. R. A. Gilbert, “The book has two distinct but related concerns. First, it sets out the stages by which the Brothers of the [Roscicrucian] Order can succeed in preparing, making and applying the Philosopher’s Stone, but at the same time it presents a sub-text that guides the brethren into a realisation that there is a more subtle purpose to the text. It is also a guide to a parallel, spiritual change that takes place within the practitioner as he progresses with his task: material transmutation is accompanied by spiritual regeneration.” The translation was probably made between 1950 and 1960 for J.W. Hamilton-Jones (1887-1965), one of a small circle of Rosicrucian enthusiasts who had founded a very private “Order of Rose +”, and editor of two alchemical works – “The Epistles of Ali Puli” (1951) and Bacstrom’s “Alchemical Anthology” (1960) and publisher of a translation of Dr. Dee’s “Hieroglyphic Monad” (1947). Includes an appendix “Laws of the Brotherhood” as published by Sincerus Renatus, and a seven page historical Introduction by Dr. R.A. Gilbert. ” [via]