I don’t “like” the Bavarian Illuminati and their machinations for power, their subversion of society from the inside out, the professed anarchy and proto-communism in the higher degrees. I don’t “like” the Golden and Rosy Cross and their mystical obscurantist con-game. I don’t “like” Sabbatai Zevi nor Jacob Frank and the results of their messianic, revolutionary, antinomian creed.However delighted over the keenness on making a connection between the Gold und Rosenkreutz, the Asiatic Brethren, the Frankists and the Golden Dawn, and the flattering attempt in using me as a source for his theories, and regardless of the sheer entertainment value in the writing, unfortunately I believe Mr. Melanson oftentimes takes his conclusions a little bit to far and becomes lost in pure speculations. Let me cite the pertinent portions which needs to be addressed directly. First off, the die hard “Jesuit” connection:
In my book over the Bavarian Illuminati it was established that the Gold- und Rosenkreutz [Golden and Rosy Cross] were […] also aligned with the obscurantists of religious orthodoxy, the Jesuits, and recruited members from among its ranks.There is absolutely no substantial evidence of this Jesuit connection with the Gold und Rosenkreutz. The only circumstantial evidence being that both the Jesuits and the Rosicrucians where the target of Bavarian Illuminaty vitriol, that both the Jesuits and the Rosicrucians were the sworn enemy of the Illuminati. After the schismatic breakup between the Gold und Rosenkreutz and the Asiatic Brethren, both organizations used that same allegation against each other, which for me is proof enough that the Jesuits wasn’t held in high regard amongst the Rosicrucians. Mr. Melanson easlily forgets that the Catholic Church was on no friendly terms with the Rosicrucians, a fact that becomes clear in reading Christopher McIntosh’s seminal and important work The Rosy Cross and the Age of Reason. Mr. Melanson goes on:
As mentioned in Illuminati Conspiracy Part Two: Sniffing out Jesuits and documented in my book Perfectibilists, “ex”-Jesuit Ignatius Franciscus Franck [Ignaz Franck] (1725-1795) was not only the persecuting hand against the Illuminati in Bavaria, but he was also the Zirkeldirektor of the Munich Golden and Rosy Cross.This is perhaps correct information, and the reference made by Mr. Melanson is also corroborated by McIntosh, but one cannot help to wonder why this Ignaz Franck was an ex-Jesuit? Is it, as Mr. Melanson has pointed out for me, a reference to the official dismanteling of the Jesuit Order in 1773? Or is it perhaps a reference to the fact that one couldn’t be a member of both organizations? Even if the Jesuit Order officially were dismantled in Bavaria, it still existed in Prussia and Russia. Perhaps in his hatred against the Illuminati Franck found the Rosicrucians a much more efficient organization to battle the Bavarian Illuminati, especially when Jesuit Order activities were forbidden i Bavaria? The situation in Bavaria was thus unique and I suspect that one cannot find any equivalent Jesuit-Rosicrucian connection (if there even were any) in Prussia, the home of the Gold und Rosenkreutz.
The 18th Century Rosicrucians had established circles in Vienna, Prague, Frankfurt-am-Main, Marburg, Kassel, Hamburg, Sulzbach, Munich, Regensburg and Augsburg, among others. The latter city was also a stronghold of the Jesuits. When their order was nominally abolished in 1773, many of them took refuge in Augsburg and published pamphlets against the Freemasons, the Enlightenment and especially the Illuminati (see R.R. Palmer, The Age of Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800 – II: The Struggle, Princeton University Press, 1970, pp. 452-53). Although documented membership in the Golden and Rosy Cross is fleeting and haphazard at best, the fact that the Jesuits and the Rosicrucians made Augsburg their home – both having pitted themselves against the rationalists and the Illuminati - is significant and warrants a thorough investigation.Here again Mr. Melanson is making simplistic speculations and conjectures. So what that both Jesuits and Rosicrucians shared the same city? Mr. Melanson easily forgets that the Gold und Rosenkreutz regarded itself as part of the Freemasonic community. Its Grades was regarded to be a species of Freemasonic High Degree system. To become a member of the Golden Rosy Cross, one had to be a Master Mason. So the papal ban against Freemasonry was definitely not in favor of the Gold und Rosenkreutz. So in this respect, the Golden Rosicrucians and Jesuits only shared one common enemy, the Illuminati, not the Freemasons (who hadn’t anything to do with the Bavarian Illuminati).
I don’t think it’s likely that the Golden and Rosy Cross had a membership comparable to that of the Bavarian Illuminati (2,000 to 3,000), however, [Klaus] Epstein [in his book The Geneis of German Conservatism, Princeton University Press, 1966, in a note on … [page 107] …, mentions a membership estimate claimed for the Rosicrucian order (in 1777) of 909 juniores, 844 theoretici, 833 practici, 822 philosophi, 799 minores, 788 majores, 777 adepti, 77 magistri, and 7 magi.This figure of 5856 members is taken directly from the “Tableau” called For the Harmony of the Brothers of the Rosie and Cross after the Universal Reformation under the heading Number of Quorum. Anno Domini 1763, as reproduced in Der Resenkreutzer in seiner Blösse by Magister Pianco. This may or may not be an “ideal” number of members of each Grade of the Fraternity. Here it is also interesting to use Christopher McIntosh and the aforementioned book as a source reference to be able to estimate a figure. MacIntosh uses simple math, estimates the number of probably operative “circles” (the name for working alchemical groups in the Gold und Rosenkreutz) and estimates a figure well over 1000 members, probably several thousands. An estimation of 8000 members is also mentioned in this connection, although “this has the ring of exaggeration” according to the author.
The highest adepts [of the Gold und Rosenkreutz] remained hidden from the rank and file; and the magestri and magi, in particular, were elevated to the level of demigods. “Our magi do not carry on ordinary magic,” Epstein quotes from the Golden and Rosy Cross’ statutes:In this instance Mr. Melanson is correct. Let us now see what he finally has to says against the Frankist Kabbalah:
“Our magic is the truly divine magic, which allows us to talk personally with God, as Moses and Isaiah did of old, or to send our messages through spirits which have been purified by the fire of God. We possess the two main secrets of Jehovah, i.e., how to create and destroy all natural matter. We can transform water into blood, as did Moses; we can turn a flourishing city into debris by the sound of trumpets, as did Joshua. We can give commands to the sun, the moon, the stars and the wind, and we can raise men from the dead as did the prophets of old” (Epstein, pp. 108-9).
Needless to say, this is obviously the origin of the so-called Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn. The Strict Observance of the 18th Century had similar beliefs: they called their invisible masters, Unknown Superiors.
The work of Gershom Scholem and Jacob Katz has established beyond doubt that Jacob Frank’s nephew and intended successor, Moses Dobruska, was a conduit for authentic Sabbatian/Lurianic Kabbalah via the Asiatic Brethren. Yet in Du Frankisme au Jacobinisme, Scholem writes that before 1780 Dobruska had also become a regular Freemason, as had other members of various Frankist families (p. 28). And on p. 29, he mentions the Golden and Rosy Cross by name – that the Frankists, extravagant Catholic monks (who had much sympathy for the Sabbatians through extensive travel in the Orient), and the adventurers from the Golden and Rosy Cross, got along well because of their shared syncretistic tendencies.How much I wish this to be true, there is absolutely no substance at all in this assertion. As being part of the regular German Freemasonic community, directly recruiting its membership from Master Masons (especially from German Templarism), the doors to Rosicrucianism was barred from Jews, until the advent of the Asiatic Brethren. The Frankist “Freemasons” must have been a reference to members of the Asiatic Brethren, who abolished the requirement of being a Freemason prior to initiation. Much later in 1807 the Jewish Freemasonic Lodge L'Aurore Naissante or Sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe was created by the Asiatic Brethren to remedy this lack of Jews in Freemasony. Mr. Melanson continues:
Since we know that Frankists joined Freemasonry proper and belonged to dedicated occult groups such as the Asiatic Brethren, they probably had been initiated into the Golden and Rosy Cross as well. And if you were seriously interested in alchemy during the 18th Century, affiliation with the Rosicrucians was almost required. It is for this reason that I think it’s possible that Jacob Frank himself might have been a member of the Golden and Rosy Cross.
First, some tantalizing clues are found in Kraushar’s Jacob Frank: The End to the Sabbataian Heresy (University Press of America, 2001). Krausar’s book uses standard chronological methodology, and when he discusses Frank’s activities in Brunn (or Brno), Moravia, for the first time in the text we read such things as: “Franks activities involved … alchemy: successfully persuading his followers that there were certain herbs that, when spread over iron, transmuted that metal into gold; also that there was a ‘certain substance’ giving eternal life…” “Before the element of magic was used by Frank in an attempt to practice alchemy for the purpose of creating gold, the master passed for a doctor, restoring health to the sick by the use of means known only to him” (296); “…when he was feeling better, he began to think about ways to locate new sources of income, to create gold through alchemy. He reminded himself how he had toiled over alchemy with Rabbis Issachar and Mordechai…” (303); “he gathered his brothers, and encouraged them to pursue the knowledge of how to make gold … At Frank’s court, there began the preparation of ‘gold drops’ as a medication ‘for all diseases’” (304).This is a very fascinating account of Frankist involvement in Alchemy that I didn’t know of. But Alchemy was also, as McIntosh has pointed out, influential on the German Pietist movement, which in turn influenced the Rosicrucians. Alchemy in 18th Century was probably as big as Homeopathy is today in Germany, i.e. not being restricted to Rosicrucians. So dealing or dabbling with Alchemy is no proof of being a Rosicrucian.
All this takes place while in Brno from the mid-1770s to about 1786. There’s no mention of alchemy or gold-making, before or after. And there was a Golden and Rosy Cross circle in Brno at the time, founded by Count Karl Josef von Salm-Reifferscheidt (1750-1838) at his chateau. Count von Salm was Master of the Lodge Zur aufgehenden Sonne im Orient [The Rising Sun in the Orient] of the Templar Strict Observance, and had been a representative for Austria at the Wilhelmsbad Masonic Congress in 1782.All this is just circumstances. Again, German Freemasonry (and especially the Templar version of it as the Strict Observance) was definitely barred from Jews, even if they had converted to Christianity. Anti-Semitism wasn’t invented in 20th Century Germany.
I have not been able to uncover whether Jacob Frank had been acquainted with either Count von Salm or his circle of Rosicrucians, but the fact that Frank started speaking of alchemy and gold-making during his stay at Brno is significant and worthy of further investigation.
That Frank had mentioned toiling over alchemy with Rabbis, does not discount (on the basis that he received this knowledge from them) a connection with the Golden and Rosy. After all, Scholem had specifically mentioned the Frankists and Rosicrucians as getting along well; and though Jews at the time weren’t exactly welcomed into regular Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians can be expected to have actively sought Jewish initiates, Kabbalistic Rabbis, Baal Shem and the like.Unfortunatly only Rosicrucians belonging to the Asiatic Brethren, who had Jews as founding members, hence the strong emphasis not only on Kabbalah but on Frankist Kabbalah. Here Mr. Melanson also supports my view on the attitudes of Freemasons against Jews.
In any case, the Sabbatian elements detected in the Golden Dawn teachings probably descend from both the Golden and Rosy Cross and its Dobruska-influenced offshoot, the Asiatic Brethren.Here Mr. Melanson again makes a correct assumption. As I wrote in my essay on Frankist Qabalah and the Golden Dawn, Jean-Pascal Ruggiu once made a remark regarding a Gold und Rosenkreutz Ms. containing information of a Frankist nature. So there probably was some Frankist influences already in the Order of the Golden Rosy Cross. But this is not at all strange considering the close approximity to Poland; the fact is that Poland was the center of Kabbalah in 18th Century Europe and also a stronghold for the Frankist movement.