Fama Fraternitatis - 1614

Wiewohl wir nun wohl wissen, daß es umb ein ziemliches noch nicht an dem, da wieder unserm Verlangen oder auch anderer Hoffnung mit allgemeiner Reformation divini et humani, solle genug geschehen, ist es doch nicht unbillich, daß, ehe die Sonne auffgehet, sie zuvor ein HELL oder dunkel liecht in den Himmel bringt und unter dessen etliche wenige, die sich werden angeben, zusammen tretten, unsere Fraternitet mit der Zahl und Ansehen des gewünschten und von Fr.R.C. fürgeschriebenen Philosophischen Canons, einen glücklichen Anfang machen oder ja in unserer Schätz (die uns nimmermehr aufgehen können) mit uns in Demut und Liebe genießen die Mühsamkeit dieser Welt überzuckern und in den Wunderwerken Gottes nicht also blind umbgehen.

Vi vet dock att det enligt vår åstundan och andras förväntningar efter någon tid kommer en allmän reformation av både gudomliga och mänskliga ting. Ty innan solen går upp, upplyses himlen av
MORGONRODNADENS ljus. I väntan på denna reformation församlas några få som med sitt antal skall utöka vårt brödraskap, höja dess anseende och stärka dess förhoppningar och ge de av Fr.R.C. föreskrivna Filosofiska Canons en lycklig begynnelse. I all ödmjukhet och kärlek skall dessa nytillkomna tillsammans med oss dela våra skatter, som aldrig skall förgås, och så lindra denna världens möda och inte längre vandra ovetande om kunskapen om Guds underbara verk.

Howbeit we know after a time there will now be a general reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our desire, and the expectation of others: for it is fitting, that before the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth AURORA, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky; and so in the mean time some few, which shall give their names, may joyn together, thereby to increase the number and respect of our Fraternity, and make a happy and wished for beginning of our Philosophical Canons, prescribed to us by our brother R.C. and be partakers with us of our treasures (which never can fail or be wasted) in all humility, and love to be eased of this worlds labor, and not walk so blindly in the knowledge of the wonderful works of God.


Det brittiska ordenssällskapet Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn och den tyska Frimurarlogen L'Aurore Naissante, vilket grundades i London 1888 respektive Frankfurt-am-Main 1807, delade på samma hebreiska namn Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur, förevisat i gyllene gult vid bloggens huvud, vilket ordagrannt kan översättas till “Stigande Gryningsljusets Sällskap”. Denna tyska Rosenkorsiska Frimurarloge i Frankfurt, vilket måste anses vara det ursprungliga modertemplet till GOLDEN DAWN, kallade sig på tyska även Loge sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, vilket kan översättas till “Gryende Morgonrodnadens Loge”. Detta skiljer sig åt från den engelska seden att översätta orden Bequr Aur till “Golden Dawn” eller “Gyllene Gryningen”. Med anledning av Rosenkorstraditionens tyska ursprung är en mer korrekt översättning av Bequr Aur, genom franskans L'Aurore Naissante och tyskans Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, inget annat än GRYENDE MORGONRODNADEN. Denna hänvisning till ett stigande gryningsljus, morgonrodnad eller aurora är en klar hänvisning till den allmäna reformationen omnämnt i det ovan citerade stycket från Fama Fraternitatis. Denna blogg har dock valt att behålla den försvenskade anglo-saxiska termen GYLLENE GRYNINGEN för att denna, invand som den är, lättare associeras med den Rosenkorsiska tradition som här ämnas att framställas.

Licht, Leben, Liebe

fredag 31 december 2010

Early Swedish Rosicrucians


I found a highly interesting reference to Sweden and the early Rosicrucians just recently, made by the French esotericist Jacques-Etienne Marconis de Negre, one of the founders of the Memphis Rite in 1839, which I would like to share with you on this New Year Day’s Eve.

In 1849 Marconis de Negre published Le Sanctuaire de Memphis (“The Sanctuary of Memphis”), which basically presents an sligthly alternative Templar legend regarding the origin of the Rosicrucian and Masonic Orders. It starts off with the usual account of Ormus, his conversion to Christianity by S:t Mark, the union of his school with that of the Essenians and other Jewish sects. But where it gets really interesting is where we reach the age of the crusades. Let me quote the pertinent part:
Untill 1118, Ormus’ disciples were the only depositories of the ancient Wisdom of Egypt (purified by Christianity), as well as of the Templar Science. These were known as Knights of Palestine or Rosicrucian Brethren of the Orient, that the (Masonic) Rite of Memphis regards as its immediate founders.

In 1150, eighty-one of them arrived at Sweden, having Garimont as their leader, and presented themselves to the archbishop of Upsala, to whom they bequeathed the heritage of Masonic knowledge. These eighty-one Masons established Free-Masonry in Europe.

After the death of Jacques de Molay, the Scottish Templars, apostates at the king’s (Robert Bruce’s) instigation, gathered under the standards of a new Order that this prince had instituted. The receptions in this Order were based in those of the Order of the Temple. Here is the origin of the Scottish Masonic Rite – and of the other Masonic Rites as well.

The Scottish Templars were excommunicated by Larmenius in 1324. This date agrees with the one given by Br. Chereau, regarding the separation of the Masons of Edinbourg with the Masons of Memphis: 1322, which is two years earlier.

The Masons of Memphis rested faithful to the ancient traditions; the others founded a new Rite, called Rite of Heredom de Kilwinning or of Scotland.

Thus, from the late 14th century, two Rites exist: the Rite of Memphis or of the Orient and the Scottish one. Both continue to attract followers all over Europe.
This reference to Upsala in a Masonic context I have never seen before. Upsala is the former Capital of Sweden, and was a centre of commerce during the Viking age. Today it is a city of learning, housing one of the greatest Universities in Sweden. There are also supposed to be remnants of some Swedish churches originally built by Templars. Historical research shows that there was a quite significant presence of Templars in Sweden during the reign of House of Bjelbo (also known as the House of Folkung), which went so far to even embrace members of this Royal House as members of the Templar Order, through which the latter received both land and mansions from the former.

But this connection of the Masonic and Rosicrucian legend made to Sweden is original. According to this legend Masonry was introduced to Sweden one and a half century prior to it finding its ground in Scotland. Furthermore, masonry of Sweden is here portrayed as being the esoteric and Rosicrucian one while the Scottish one is practically labelled as exoteric, being that of Blue Lodge Freemasonry. Even if this is just another of several fanciful Rosicrucian legends, I find this one particularly fancy and likable being a Swede.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!


onsdag 8 december 2010

Prejudice against Magic and the legacy of the Golden Rosy+Cross


A while ago I stumbled across someone asking why major organizations calling themselves “Rosicrucian” talks degradory about magic and what members of any of the Golden Dawn Orders had to say regarding this. The fact is, as it seems, that most organizations which uses the words “Rosicrucian” or “Rosy Cross” in their name (some of them even trade marking the word “Rosicrucian”) seems to have a very low opinion of magical practice and the magical world view which is common in the Golden Dawn Tradition.

Firstly, the big reason for these “Rosicrucian” organizations to take such a stance against magic is simply out of appeal to the greater mass. In comparison with the organized Golden Dawn community (and also the Thelemic) the big-name “Rosicrucian” organizations have a very large following which may be comparable to world-wide Freemasonry in magintude. Simply put, these “Rosicrucian” organizations are for the many, G∴D∴ is for the few. The level of training and study in any Golden Dawn organization will put most people off who have found comfort in any of the big name “Rosicrucian” organizations. On the other hand, as with Freemasonry, the big name “Rosicrucian” organizations are also quite wealthy and in most cases are able to present very impressive infrastructure and material means to present not only voluminous correspondence courses but also impressive grand scale lodge spacings, etc.

A.M.O.R.C. Temple

I happen to have a past in one of these big name “Rosicrucian” Orders, the A.M.O.R.C. (“Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross”), but left that organization because of it frequently branding anything magical or occult as being “superstitious”, and contrasting it to mysticism. I soon went over to the B.O.T.A. (“Builders of the Adytum”), while still being a member of A.M.O.R.C., through some contacts there, and from B.O.T.A. into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (again through some contacts in the B.O.T.A.), as I lacked instruction on Ceremonial Magic in the former organization; thus out of necessity the one led into the other. The level of study and practice in the B.O.T.A. is on an entire different level compared to A.M.O.R.C. (already in its early levels), and the practical work in the G∴D∴ on yet a higher level of complexity compared to Paul Foster Case’s and Ann Davies’ correspondence courses in the B.O.T.A. Thus, my real WORK began with entering the Hermetic Order Order of the Golden Dawn.

But already in the B.O.T.A. you have traditional occult teaching in its courses which is based upon the Qabalistic and Hermetic system of the Golden Dawn (remember P.F. Case was a former Adept of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega). One such example is the use of the Tarot (which seems to be lacking in A.M.O.R.C.), and later the Tattwas, which is clearly occult in its orientation. Ann Davies developed this further and made it even more “magical” in its application. In Case’s early papers for the School of Ageless Wisdom and his Chapter (the equivalent of G∴D∴ Temple) papers there are quite a lot of teachings regarding Ceremonial Magic. What Case opposed was the use of “Enochian Magic”, not magic per se. He taught the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram for his Zelatores, as an example.

Paul Foster Case

Secondly, I don’t agree with the dichotomy of labeling something as “mysticism” and branding something other as “magic”. Theurgy truly transcends these two divisions, as it uses the aim of the former through the methodology of the latter. The only difference that I can perceive is that mysticism (at least in the West) tries to separate spirit from matter (soul from body) while magic involves matter as well as spirit. Thus Hermetic and Qabalistic Magic is more akin to Tantric Mysticism which uses “magic” and “alchemy” together with “yoga”, compared to the chaste ascetics of most yogic and Buddhist traditions. But on the other hand, the majority of the yogic practices use the system of the Chakras and Kundalini (the concept of Siva and Shakti), which again makes this more of an alchemico-magical practice than anything else. Thus the division between magic / alchemy on one hand and mysticism on the other is a typical western perspective and relatively late addition, sadly perpetuated through modern “Rosicrucian” organizations such as the A.M.O.R.C.

But I doubt that neither Harvey Spencer Lewis nor his son Ralph M. Lewis, the first Imperatores of A.M.O.R.C., did this out of ignorance but, as I have suggested, because they had the strong ambition of gaining a huge membership. This foremost goal it certainly has succeeded with and also used the financial means gained from this much impressively indeed. Orders of this magnitude have employees and a administrative staff who works full time to run their organization; they resemble corporations. Just take a look at Rosicrucian Park in San Jose, California. But I ask if a large membership roll should count as a true measure stick of a “successful” Rosicrucian Order or tradition? Is there really a need of a “Golden Dawn Park,” how appealing this though may be?

Rosicrucian Park in San Jose

I have no actual ambition to hang out A.M.O.R.C. in particular but rather want to address the phenomenon itself, that of shunning magical practices. As I have a personal experience of A.M.O.R.C. I must use this organization as an example for any big name “Rosicrucian” organization. To their credit, they are the biggest “Rosicrucian” Order to date, and probably will be for quite some time. And in their defense it must be stated that I never advanced past their Atrium (ante chamber) level, which is the equivalent of the Neophyte Grade of the Golden Dawn (the name of “neophyte” being used for members in the Atrium). Thus I have no experience of their Temple work and higher degrees. But I did work as a voluntary in the Nordic Grand Lodge of A.M.O.R.C. and on a daily basis met its leadership for several months. Thus I believe I’m well acquainted with the mentality as may be encountered there, and also of its inner echelons.

Therefore I must ask if the practices taught in the A.M.O.R.C. actually may be branded as typical “mystic”? The so-called “Liber 777” practice is nothing less than the creation of an “astral temple”, which smells lots as occultism if you ask me. Thus the use of imagination has an important place in the A.M.O.R.C. practice, such as in healing work. I also encountered the instruction of keeping a journal of my daily work and was taught the basic principles of meditation, including using the god-form posture. Much of this may also be found in most Golden Dawn based occult shools.

H.S. Lewis

There are also some vague references to Alchemy in the history of A.M.O.R.C., for example a purported Alchemical transmutation of Zinc into Gold made by H.S. Lewis in New York on June 22, 1916. This feat was performed before an audience composed of members of his Order, one scientist and one journalist, who were told that all of the laws necessary for such an accomplishment were clearly stated and explained in the first four degrees of the Order. A chosen group of 15 brought with them selected and secret, but non-toxic, ingredients which was then mixed together. The “transmutation” purportedly took sixteen minutes to perform and inflicted second and third degree burns to Lewis’ hands. Only half of the zinc brought to the meeting was “transmuted” and the other half was used to compare it to the “transmuted gold”. However, the only reference we have of this event was written by H.S. Lewis himself for the organization’s magazine The American Rosae Crucis, so we must take the veracity of this account with more than one pinch of salt. But it is interesting nevertheless, as it shows that the practice of Alchemy is seen as being an integrated part of the Rosicrucian tradition.

Furthermore, A.M.O.R.C. taught alchemy through the 1930’s and 40’s and again in the late 80’s, but in this it used a scientific approach to Alchemy rather than occult. Frater Albertus (Dr. Albert Richard Riedel) was involved in these Alchemical classes, which wasn’t part of the standard curriculum of the A.M.O.R.C. but rather constituted an extracurricular activity that was soly reserved for a selected few. However, reading Frater Albertus’ own works I cannot find much of the A.M.O.R.C. spirit in his books. Albertus clearly appropriated the Qabalistic model according to the Golden Dawn as well.

Frater Albertus

I admire Frater Albertus much, as well as one other former A.M.O.R.C. luminar, Jean Dubuis. The latter fully embraced the Golden Dawn system and even pioneered the revival of the Golden Dawn in France in the late 1970’s. His Qabalah correspondence course is nothing less than a Golden Dawn course, and blends the occult and magical teachings of the latter with that of the invaluable Alchemical courses. The only trace of influence from A.M.O.R.C. in Dubuis’ lessons that I can find is the use of mirrors in some of the meditations. Other than that I also find some Martinist teachings – the way of the heart – as Dubuis seems to have been mostly involved with the Martinist part of A.M.O.R.C. But the greater majority in his courses on Esotericism and the Qabalah is clearly Golden Dawnish.

Regarding Alchemy being scientific, of course it is; it is a science and art. But not “scientific” according to today’s paradigm of positivist empiricism. It is a ‘scientific spirituality’ of a holistic type, which clearly integrates Theurgy into its practice, at least if you study the classics. This doesn’t show in Frater Albertus’ books, but nevertheless in his classic The Alchemist’s Handbook he cites an entire document from a conference held by members of the Gold- und Rosenkreutz Order. This Order, also known by its Latinized name Fraternitas Rosae et Aureae Crucis, or R. et A.C., is the only historically tangible organization we can speak of being “originally Rosicrucian”. As a matter of fact it was at the A.M.O.R.C. facilities in Sweden that I first encountered its much renowned work Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer, aus dem 16ten und 17ten Jahrhundert (“Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians”) from 1785. This important work, which is quite influential to the Golden Dawn Tradition, was regarded by the A.M.O.R.C. to be a Rosicrucian manifesto, on par with the first two from 1614 and 1615 – Fama et Confessio Fraternitatis. It is interesting to note that this particular German Order not only was greatly admired by H.S. Lewis but also taught and practiced both Alchemy and Magic. The fact is that Theurgy or Magic was the capstone of their entire system – alchemy thus being but a preparation for Theurgy.

The frontespice of Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians

Thus there is abundant evidence that the practice of ritual magic isn’t contrary to the spirit of Rosicrucianism. On the contrary, Magic, Alchemy and Astrology, called the “Trivium Hermeticum”, must be seen as a whole. Divorce Alchemy away from the other two you will reduce it to a simple “spagery” or “pseudo-chemistry”. The Alchemical credo is “Ora et Labora”, meaning “pray and work”. In this context the prayer is an invocation of the Higher, ergo Theurgy.

This is why I won’t consider the majority of the “Rosicrucian” organizations as representing Hermeticism at all, at least not in the A.M.O.R.C. monographs that I have studied. What is left of Rosicrucianism if you divorce it from its Hermetic roots? There are of course individuals in these organizations that have a good understanding of hermeticism, but I ask if this knowledge of theirs comes from their Order itself? Why isn’t Alchemy taught regularly and in A.M.O.R.C.’s official monographs? Also, why is the Holy Qabalah only taught as an un-official side course as well? What is left of Rosicrucianism if you divorce it from the Qabalah?

Before I end this exposé on Magic in the Rosicrucian tradition, I would like to explain myself why I consider the R. et A.C., or Golden Rosy+Cross, to be “the only historically tangible organization”. With this I mean the “earliest” and “foremost” organization which can be historically proven without a doubt, which has had the most tangible impact upon the Neo-Rosicrucian movement since the middle and late 19th Century (including the A.M.O.R.C. and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn).

Rosicrucian Philosopher

Regarding the circle in Tübingen and the Die Unzertrennlichen, which is supposed to predate the Golden Rosy+Cross and purportedly to have produced the original Rosicrucian manifestos from the early 17th Century, all we have of “proof” of an actual organization (in contrast to a one man show, perhaps with some aid of friends) is speculations. There surely are prominent individuals from the 16th and 17th Century being seized by a common spirit, but do we have historical proof of them actually being part of a common fraternity? Not by academic criteria. But in the Golden Rosy+Cross we actually have traces and facts which may be proven historically, or at least being worthy of historical research. That’s why I am referring to them as the “only historically tangible organization”.

Regarding the earliest date of their origin, let me again direct the attention of the reader to the Latinized name for the Golden Rosy+Cross, the Fraternitas Rosae et Aureae Crucis (which was in use by the German 18th Century Golden Rosicrucians). The Samuel Richter (who used the pseudonym ‘Sincerus Renatus’) pamphlet Bereitung des Philosophischen Steins der Brüderschaft aus dem Orden des Gülden-und Rosen-Creutzes (“The True Preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone of the Fraternity of the Golden Rosy Cross”), dated from 1710, isn’t the earliest source of this name. I suggest looking at this little paper written by the renowned Swedish scholar Susanna Åkerman. Thus we see here a possible Italian circle of alchemists referring to themselves as the Golden Rosy+Cross. This evidence taken together with the legendary book Thesaurus Thesaurorum A Fraternitate Rosæ et Aureæ Crucis Testamento Anno 1580 creates a quite solid picture of a Golden Rosy+Cross Order which predates Samuel Richter’s pamphlet by at least a half century.

The frontespice of a secret document of the Philosopus Grade

The book Thesaurus Thesaurorum, which is brimmed with alchemical and theurgical operations (of which one is very similar to the so-called “Abra-Melin operation”), and which may have an Italian origin, dates itself back to 1580. However historians often consider that being a typo for 1680. A.E. Waite, who was something of a sceptic to most extravagand claims, suggests this even being a typo for 1780. However, in this particular case, Waite was clearly prejudical. Christopher MacIntosh, the author of The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason, has the following to say regarding the Thesaurus Thesaurorum:
An important manuscript in this connection is the “Testamentum der Fraternitet Roseae et Aureae Crucis” in the Austrian National Library, Vienna. This is clearly based on Sincerus Renatus, or on the same sources from which he drew, since many of the rules and procedures in it, such as the forms of greeting, are identical to those described by Renatus. At the same time there are significant changes. For example Renatus gives the total number of brethren as 63, while the Testamentum raises it to 77. As to the date, a note on one of the endpapers records that the manuscript was acquired by Johann Adalbert, Prinz de Buchau [sic], in 1735.
First of all, MacIntosh says that Samuel Richter’s “A True Preparation” and the “Thesaurus Thesaurorum” can be based upon a common source as well, predating both manuscripts. In this regard I fully agree with him. Secondly, the date 1735 clearly dismisses 1780 as the actual date. Most scholars that I have read believes it to be from 1680. I personally believe it to predate 1710, and perhaps even 1680. I have a friend who is a Swedish scholar and he clearly believes that Samuel Richter was initiated into the Italian branch of the Golden Rosy+Cross. I have no reason to disbelieve him, nor any of MacIntosh’s or Åkerman’s findings.

Personally I believe there indeed was a network of early initiates which may be called “Rosicrucian”, writing pamphlets and manifestos, etc., such as the Tübingen circle from late 16th and early 17th Century. The Golden Rosy+Cross of late 17th Century Italy (and possible France), and of 18th Century Germany, represents the next phase of the Rosicrucian movement, which ties in to the first wave as represented by the Fama Fraternitatis. We see initiates who has become disillusioned and have their foundations shaken by the Thirty Years War. We see initiates who are disappointed by the Lutheran reformation, which has taken religion back to the letter of the Holy Book, threatens with damnation in hell and shuns mysticism. We also see initiates who watches an “enlightenment”, initially showing promise (remember that alchemists like Isaac Newton pioneered modern science and Descartes openly applied for membership to the Rosicrucian Order) but now instead disrespecting and deriding spirituality, religion, and especially the occult arts, such as astrology, magic and alchemy; simply put becoming “god-less”.

Movements and philosophies change, and adapts to the currents of time, also the Rosicrucian one. We see in the Golden Rosy+Cross a movement who wants to trace their tradition back to the roots of Hermeticism and the Qabalah. We see a movement who emphasizes the practice of operational Alchemy and Theurgy (Magic), in contrast to both organized religion and empirical positivist science, who believes in a tangible transformation of natural humanity into divinity. Not metaphorically but actually, comparable to the Eastern traditions (remember Samuel Richter’s allusion to the original Brethren moving to India). According to Christopher MacIntosh, the Golden Rosy+Cross represents a movement which must be considered being a third force in relation to the Catholic Church and enlightenment. I happen to agree with him.

The Alpha et Omega

I don’t believe the Golden Rosy+Cross to be Catholic at all, as sometimes has been asserted, but rather all inclusive when it comes to the Christian religion (admitting both Catholics and Lutherans, and what ever). If anything, I would label the German Golden Rosy+Cross as Pietist (which is a Lutheran reformation within the reformation). If anything, the Golden Rosy+Cross wanted a further reformation of Christianity, or at least attracted Christians of this bent (such as the pietists). The Fratres Lucis (which grew out of the Golden Rosy+Cross) even went futher to include also the Jewish.

Thus I prefer to look upon the Thirty Years Wars (the actual First World War) as a calcination of European culture, ideology, philosophy, etc. I believe it is hard for us today to understand what impact that war had upon the mentality of the European mind, especially amongst the intellectuals (and thus initiates); one may compare this with how the Second Word War has changed the European mentality. The Rosicrucian pamphlets between 1614-16 represent a stance typical prior to the outbreak of the War (polemicising to the extreme), while the Golden Rosy+Cross of Italy and Germany represents the post War mentality (weary of conflict, trying to see a common unity within the Christian world).

Strangely enough, one doesn’t find any traces at all relating to the Christian religion nor to Christian symbolism in the teachings of the above mentioned big-name “Rosicrucian” organizations, contrary to the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.), Golden Dawn’s Second or Inner Order, which continues the Rosicrucian tradition of the Fraternitas Rosae et Aureae Crucis (R. et A.C.).


söndag 5 december 2010

Medicine and healing in the New Age


This is a follow-up on my previous critical commentary on the New Age phenomenon. Today I would like to address the issue on healing and medicine in the context of the New Age and what in contrast constitutes traditional Rosicrucian healing. It is probably in this field of alternative medicine that the New Age movement has gained the biggest momentum in recent decades, having the most profound effect upon society, and which I personally find the greatest benefit; it has been helpful in giving way to an alternative paradigm in health care and medicine in place of Western school medicine. The New Age cannot of course take full credit for this new wave of alternative medicine flooding the health care market, but surely it has had a big part in shaping the current open-mindedness of the post-modern society individual. In particular oriental medicine – of the Chinese and Hindu traditions – has become a serious alternative to modern allopathic Western medicine. However, also because of this import of oriental traditions the more occidental forms of alternative medicine has found a never seen renaissance, in particular homeopathy.

Because of its magnitude and importance in the New Age tradition, it is very hard to keep track of all the different forms of alternative medicine and healing techniques that currently are applied by its adherents. I will only address some parts of this subject, which has gained my attention and which probably constitutes the most popular and most heard of. Looking into this mix we will find traditional applications, such as Taoist Chinese medicine, which has been presented in a more or less original format, perhaps because of the relatively large contingent of Chinese immigrants living in the West and who has always practiced these remedies but limitedly confined to their own people. Thanks to the New Age it has shown its benefits also to the indigenous population of the West. But there is also several different types of typical New Age applications of “healing” which is not founded upon older tradition and merits, such as the use of crystals in chakra balancing and aromatherapy, and the likes.

Even if both the use of crystals and aromatics of essential plants have seen its application in remedies since antiquity, the particular application as seen in the New Age is quite a new phenomenon. What is typical of the New Age is also to combine different traditions and applications together to create new and unique forms, such as the above mentioned combination of crystals and the Tantric concept of the chakras. This has absolutely nothing to do with Hermetic or Rosicrucian medicine and healing. However, the concept of the “chakras” alone also has a traditional western standing and application with a slightly different spin, focusing on the concept of the microcosmic Planetary spheres instead of the Elementary as in Tantrism. So the use of energetic spheres in the subtle body has strong ties with both the Rosicrucian and the Alchemical traditions of the occident. This is however a quite well guarded secret amongst initiates and only some traces of this can be found in published literature, such as the works of Johann Georg Gichtel, the pupil of Jacob Boehme. However, the use of crystals in this context has never been heard of prior to the advent of the New Age, and thus may be dismissed by the hermetic initiate.

The interior Planets

While we are on the subject of energetic healing I also must address the issue of the peculiar form of healing called “Reiki”, which has become quite popular amongst New Age followers and occultists alike. It was developed by the Japanese Buddhist monk Mikao Usui in the early 1920’s. It is based on traditional Chinese applications, such as Qi-Gong, even if its particular form was developed by Usui himself after certain revelations while being in a meditative state. But it has a strong oriental foundation that has been somewhat adapted when it became westernised after the Second World War. There are several schools of Reiki but all are based upon an initiatic scheme, the most common based on three degrees. The initiations are mainly energetic and cannot really be compared to traditional Rosicrucian initiation, which has been based upon Freemasonry since its reformation in 1777. Although there is a strong energetic component of healing in all true Rosicrucian initiation, it also places much emphasis on the ritual drama and occult instruction.

In my opinion Reiki is a highly effective formula of energetic healing that I recommend for study to all occultists and initiates of the Western Esoteric Tradition. I know of several initiates that has benefited greatly from being initiated into Reiki. Thus I don’t doubt its efficiency. However, in its second degree the initiate is introduced into the concept of distant healing. This in my opinion has been the source of much misuse when put into the hands of New Age adherents. Today you may get Reiki healing through the telephone or after writing an e-mail order. This latter application has nothing in common with traditional occult healing in the Western Esoteric Tradition, which either has the patient in close proximity to the healer or uses some kind of material medium (called “talisman”). Only in extreme cases is distant and astral techniques applied. But in the hands of New Age practitioners, which often hold an extreme pragmatic view on occult application, this has turned into a preferred mode of working as it gets a fast buck. Unfortunately this “laissez-faire” mentality has also infested the occult movement and most probably laid the foundation to more recent concepts such as “astral initiation” and the likes. And as I have said repeatedly on this blog, the concept of distant astral initiation has absolutely nothing to do with traditional Rosicrucian initiation.

There is also the concept of “Pranic Healing”, quite recently developed by Choa Kok Sui but, as it seems, loosely based upon traditional Hindu Yogic tradition. It seems to aim at energetic healing of the aura and also of the chakras. This goal it has in common with Reiki, and both systems share the concept of distant healing. Thus Reiki has incorporated also the Tantric view on the energy centres or wheels, referred to as “chakras”. This eclectic nature of Reiki has probably been one of the reasons of it being adopted so readily by the New Age movement. It is also interesting to note that Pranic Healing is a quite recent invention from the 1980’s and is referred to by its adherents as “non-traditional”. It seems to be a quite commercialised form of Yoga, which even uses crystals in its healing techniques. Thus it shouldn’t surprise me if New Age finally has started to have something of a feedback effect on the oriental traditions. In my opinion, this is a sad development as it may endanger the purity of the traditional teachings.

Be there as it may, but I have yet to encounter anything that resembles Reiki or Pranic Healing in the Western Esoteric Tradition or the Rosicrucian teachings. Thus neither Reiki nor Pranic Healing can be regarded as a traditional Rosicrucian healing formula; it must be regarded to be a complementary application of energetic healing which may have great benefits in the hands of an occidental initiate, but nevertheless should be learned through existent schools outside of the traditional lodge format. Rebranding the oriental word Qi or Ki (“vital life energy”) with western equivalent designations, such as “pneuma” or “ruach”, doesn’t make energetic healing of this kind more Rosicrucian or Qabalistic than it was before, especially when being sold to the public in the same manner as is commonly found in the New Age market. Hermetic or Rosicrucian principles simply cannot be learned in weekend workshops and certification being handed over only through attendance of a course.

Through my own research I have come to the conclusion that Rosicrucian healing, that is Hermetic medicine, most of all resembles Hindu and in particular Tantric tradition. The goal of any Rosicrucian is to become an Adept, meaning someone who has succeeded in the Great Work of making the Philosopher’s Stone. This is the Universal Medicine which is said to cure all ailments of the body and the soul, and furthermore grant immortality. In Tantric Alchemy transmutation of base metals into silver or gold is only a preliminary stage before the Elixir of Life being used to transmute the body of the Alchemist into the so-called “diamond body”. This last process is referred to as sarirayoga or “transubstantiation”. In this Tantric Alchemy, in Sanskrit referred to as Rasa Shastra or Rasayana, shares a common goal with Adepts of the Western Alchemical Tradition. Thus energetic healing using hand-laying techniques, such as in Reiki or Pranic Healing, isn’t the main focus of Hermetic medicine. Instead, source texts inform us that Alchemical and spagyrical preparations forms the main focus of Rosicrucian healing. Elixirs and tinctures may also be used to remedy local ailments, using spagyrical preparations of plants or minerals.

Indian alchemical apparatus

Thus Paracelsian medicine is much more true to the original Rosicrucian notion of healing, which is also Hermetic in its aims, that was even addressed in the 1614 manifesto Fama Fraternitatis. Homeopathy partly stems from Paracelsian medicine and thus has more in common with traditional Rosicrucian healing than does Reiki or Pranic Healing, or any other concepts of healing in the New Age. The Hindu equivalent of Paracelsian spagyrics is the Ayurveda, another ancient tradition popularised in the New Age and in the process transformed into but a form of dietism. In its original form it constitutes an entire field of medicine, originating from the Rasa Shastra in the same manner as spagery comes from Alchemy, sharing a common goal – that of bodily regeneration and prolongation of life. So, if anything appropriated by the New Age, the closest equivalent to Rosicrucian healing is the Ayurveda.

However, neither spagery nor its parent Alchemy is all about physical remedies. On the contrary, Alchemy is another form of energetic healing as it directly affects the energetic and subtle bodies, not only the physical. Thus the Stone of the Wise is a Universal Panacea that heals all levels of man, or it wouldn’t be universal. Likewise, as I said previously, initiation is also energetic healing and involves the transmission of energy from the initiator and the initiate. In the traditional Hermetic view on initiation, the concept of the “yeast” is important, meaning the initiator serving as a catalyst in the energetic and spiritual progression of the initiate. Ceremonial Magic also involves energetic healing, for obvious reasons. And in my opinion Ceremonial Magic has lots in common with Taoist formats of internal alchemy, such as Qi-Gong, as it involves the setting in motion of the vital life energy (in the Rosicrucian tradition referred to as the L.V.X.; “light”) through the subtle bodies. But as with the internal alchemical traditions of the Dao and Tantra, as well as Tibetan Buddhism, it is primarily a formula of self-healing.

These energetic formulae of internal alchemy may be used also to heal others, but only after the Adept sufficiently has developed an adequate vehicle for it to be able to transmit truly healing energies. In the common New Age movement, anyone may become initiated into Reiki or Pranic Healing, just like that. In Sweden I have heard some stories of patients experiencing unwanted and sometimes disastrous “side-effects” of wrongly applied energetic healing. This, I am convinced of, is mainly due to the fact that an unprepared healer (having an unbalanced energetic body) with transmit unbalanced forces into the aura of the patient. I strongly believe that even if the true healing agent is transpersonal the person doing the healing and acting as a conduit is still filtering the L.V.X., altering its “frequency”. Healing is not for the dilettant; it should be solely reserved for the Adept. It takes several years of hard study to become a physician, but only a weekend to become a Reiki healer. Thus the thought of such advanced formulae of healing, which requires a high level of responsibility from the therapist, not to mention the possibility of bearing the karmic burden of the patient, simply being taught at weekend workshops is quite barouche. It has absolutely nothing in common with any traditional esoteric teachings of both the occident and orient, and definitely not with anything remotely Rosicrucian or Hermetic.


onsdag 1 december 2010

Angels in the New Age


This is the first of a series of commentaries on the spiritual phenomenon commonly referred to as the “New Age” or neo-spirituality. I want to point out in the outset that I’m not particularly fond of some notions and tendencies expressed through this movement. Even though it bases some of its tenets upon the Ageless Wisdom of the occident and orient, it predominately presents it in a sadly diluted state. I often wonder if honest spirituality actually is the main issue in certain venues of the New Age or if it’s just another business market in the hands of charlatans who tries to exploit the gullibleness of desperate spiritual consumers. Hopefully it’s not, for the sake of spiritual seekers drawn into it, but nevertheless it’s important not to conflate the New Age with that of the Western Esoteric Tradition. So my ambition with these short comments is to point out the difference between the New Age and the true Ageless Wisdom of the Qabalah and Hermetics.

The first subject I want to bring your attention to is the use of Angels and Angelical communication in a New Age context and how this differs from the use of Angels in traditional esoteric lodges. What sparked this comment is an article I read today in a Swedish newspaper who described a “spiritual-angelical therapist” who held a lecture before an audience composed of social workers. These were told by the “therapist”, with outmost certainty common only to natural science, that angels belong to a vibrational level which greatly transcends that of humans, that spiritual guides resides in a vibrational frequency just below that of angels and that deceased human spirits belongs to the lowest frequency, bordering to ours. But these latter are good nevertheless.

First of all the naïve notion that spiritual forces are always good. No they are not, at least not according to occult philosophy. The Golden Dawn tradition teaches us that the astral realm is “the abode of the elementals, the Qlippoth, and the Shells of the Dead.” The “Qlippoth” is a Qabalistic term for “demons.” The “shells of the Dead” are also often negative energies that feed upon the living; not being the actual souls of the dead but rather energetic residues common in nature with though forms. Most occultists are also aware of the so-called “larvae”, primitive Qlippotic entities who feed upon the negative energies emanated from corresponding emotions and fantasies of humans. This fact is hardly ever addressed by New Age gurus, who always keep on only talking about some naïve notion regarding the “Light”, ignoring that there is also such a thing as a Universal Darkness and that “the Divine Darkness is the same as the Divine Glory.”

Secondly, I want to address the view of the nature and form of the angelical beings held in the minds of the New Age believers, who are often depicted and thought of in the same naïve manner as medieval theologians, i.e. as human forms with wings, although surrounded by a bright aura of intense light. Basically they are regarded to be humanoid light beings. Thus they never critically consider the fact that these are images which humans has projected coming from a collective mind feeded by iconography. In ancient times people likewise saw them as gods or demi-gods, in all kinds of human forms (and sometimes as beasts or man-beasts), sometimes with and sometimes without wings. There is no great difference with the common and naïve notion today regarding angels.

Contrary to this, initiates of all ages has known that these forms were and still are created by the human mind to be used as adequate symbolical representations of real principles behind what we call angels. Initiates often regard their true form to be abstract geometrical forms or pillars of light, not as winged humans, at least when dealing with the arch-angelic realm, although they imagine them as humanoid when performing magical acts. But this doesn’t differ from traditional god-form magic, as represented by the Golden Dawn tradition. In my opinion, magic may be defined as “applied mythology”. This means that the magician uses images as presented by mythology and religion to gain communication with their corresponding forces, never mistaking the concrete forms for the true essence of these forces or exalted principles.

Thirdly, in the New Age community one often use classical mediumistic formulae to gain communication with “angelical beings”, a vestige of 19th Century spiritualism. This means using passive forms of trance states where the conscious awareness of the individual gives way for the consciousness of the entity, which is allowed to possess the individual for a limited duration of time. This technique to bring about such as state of passivity is highly dangerous and is shunned by the esoteric lodges and their initiates for obvious reasons.

Remember what the Golden Dawn says regarding the Astral Plane as quoted above. Anything may enter the aura of the medium and take the guise of an angel or spirit guide. There is no safety filter or “fire wall” imbedded in this technique, which assures to only allow “angelical” forces to enter the aura. No true initiate ever surrenders to any entity in this way. Invocation is something entirely different to mediumistic communication. In invocation, the aura of the magician becomes filled with the force invoked, but consciousness always remains and the magical focus never sways. This is imperative to the success of a magical operation while keeping a sane and healthy mind.

Finally, the New Age seems to have lost track of the fundamental principle of the Microcosm in relation to the Macrocosm, used in Hermetic Magic and Alchemy. To me it seems that the New Age is limited to a Macrocosmic perspective in its outlook on Angels. Contrary to this limited perspective, the initiates see them both as being part of the Macrocosm (World) and the Microcosm (Man). That which is in the world is also reflected in Man, the “lesser universe”. Thus angelical beings, as well as all spiritual beings (including the Qlippoth), form the make up of a human being. Therefore Angels also represents spiritual archetypes of the superconscious, emissaries of the Higher and True Self.

This also concerns the notion of “guardian angels”. As the New Age sees them as mere evolved spiritual guides, sometimes as deceased relatives, external to the individual whom they guide, the initiate sees his Holy Guardian Angel as a symbolic representation of his own Higher Self or divine spark. I have written quite extensively about this in a previous essay, where I develope it more fully. Thus when a magician invokes a force he actually draws down higher and spiritual aspects of himself to his aura or energetic body. But this naturally doesn’t exclude the notion of external spiritual forces and entities being involved in the process as well – remember that in the final analysis the Microcosm is a reflection of the Macrocosm.