Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Mercury: An Official Organ of the Societas Rosicruciana in America [also], by editor-in-chief George Winslow Plummer & al.
“Rosicrucianism is a definite wave of human mentalism that, in its forward activity, has carried the human intellect higher with each progressive impulse, not for the purpose of intellectual development as such, but simply that by such development we can enter more fully into comprehension of what constitutes true spiritual insight and power,” writes Dr. George Winslow Plummer as chief editor of the Mercury, the organ of the Societas Rosicruciana in America. This statement, accompanied by the evident conviction that it is supposed to be meaningful to the curious and skeptical reader, abundantly displays the frequent weakness of this material.
The Mercury certainly showcases some earnest esoteric researches on the part of its order’s membership. Many of the articles, however, like Helena Folkening’s essays, tend to address interesting topics with little but sentimental platitudes. Others are curious quasi-scientific speculation involving vital forces, morphogenesis, and the like. Francis Mayer contributes a variety of articles on alchemical topics that seem erudite, but are ultimately too opaque to benefit most readers.
Most issues contain several pieces on astrology: personal, judicial, “incarnational,” “inductive,” etc. Plummer claims to support skepticism and accountability in astrology, and actually suggests in the March 1927 issue his support for a proposed New York state law to put all professional astrologers under a $5000 bond. In June 1927, the Mercury also became the official organ of the American Academy of Astrologians (sic).
Each issue includes several pages of book reviews. It is especially interesting to read the favorable reviews offered on original publication to books like The Egyptian Revival by C.S. Jones (Frater Achad), and E. Valentia Straiton’s Celestial Ship of the North.
I thot the spelling reform in their editorial policy left something to be wisht for, but it was certainly a symptom of their “progressive” attitude, which also came through in other ways. Plummer’s rants against “Churchianity” are all good fun, and sometimes take a puzzlingly hilarious turn, such as when he quotes Benito Mussolini (!) against facial hair (June 1927).