Christian Rosycross is one of the most mysterious characters in European intellectual history. What mystery lies behind the name?
“Who is Christian Rosycross?” If you ask these questions today, then the questions “Has this man actually lived?” and “Who are the Rosicrucians?” inevitably follow. The answer to these questions requires an inner search for truth – not the ordinary truth of historical facts – but the timeless truth about the nature and purpose of human existence.
Rosicrucians in the Lectorium Rosicrucianum see in Christian Rosyross a spiritual prototype, their “Father-brother” and founder of the spiritual Order while at the same time the name of the force field from which they benefit. In the classical Rosicrucian writings of the 17th century this force field is called the “House Sancti Spiritus“. These sources of western spiritual history contain references that can touch a truth-seeker deeply and perhaps help him open a door to intuitive knowledge. This is the subject of the following article.
The classical Rosicrucian writings
Anyone who discovers the three original writings of the classical Rosicrucians finds himself faced with an abundance of mysterious symbols and images. These manuscripts were published in the years 1614-1616 by the German theologian Johann Valentin Andreae from Calw, who was a member of the so-called „Tubingen Circle“, a fellowship of spiritually inspired men. The manuscripts tell us about Christian Rosycross and the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. The three titles are:
1. Fama Fraterniatits R.C.
(The Call of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, 1614)
2. Confessio Fraternitatis R.C.
(The Confession of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, 1615)
3. Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross
(Also “Alchymic” or “Alchemical” Wedding, 1616)
These writings were newly edited and annotated by Jan van Rijckenborgh in the mid-20th Century. Some of the original texts and commentaries can be found on this website in the literature section.
The three descriptions of Christian Rosycross
There are three main descriptions of Christian Rosycross, who is also called „Brother CRC“. One description is from Rudolf Steiner, the second can be found in the Confessio and the Fama, and the third is in the Alchemical Wedding. All use the language of the mysteries in which every detail has a hidden, spiritual significance. Nothing in these texts is accidental or incidental.
In these writings, Christian Rosycross is described in very different ways. Always conspicious, however, is his great modesty and humility. He is absolutely sincere in his dedication and willingness to serve. He appears to the reader as a person who, in spite of all difficulties, follows his spiritual path. At the same time he appears as the luminous personification of the great goal: The resurrection of the immortal man. Christian Rosycross is the incarnation of a spiritual reality, the prototype of the man who follows the path of Christian initiation, about which we read in the New Testament: “It is sown in corruption, it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. “(1 Cor. 15, 43-44)
Rudolf Steiner’s lecture about the first Christian Rosycross
Rudolf Steiner, in his lecture of 27 September 1911, tells that Christian Rosycross secretly incarnated for the first time in the 13th Century. He grew up in secret, protected by twelve teachers – twelve adepts – who initiated him to the entire knowledge of the mysteries of the Old World. They projected all their knowledge into his mind and made him a living incarnation of the mysteries of the West.
After that, in CRC, there is an entirely new synthesis of all ancient religions with Christianity, which manifests itself in his etheric body. As the „Thirteenth“ he can now reflect this wisdom back into the circle of the twelve and teach it as the highest wisdom. Christian Rosycross then dies at a young age.
The “Thirteenth” from another world
In the mystery language, twelve forces together form a complete universe, the totality of a coherent life field. Among others, this view can be found in the twelve signs of the zodiac which surround our physical universe. Mortal man lives from their forces.
Thus, if one reads about a “thirteenth”, it is always meant as a manifestation of power from the next higher cosmic region; the region beyond the Twelve. Christian Rosycross as the thirteenth, in the middle of the circle of the twelve, is the incarnation of a being from the life field of immortal mankind from where he enters our mortal life field with a specific mission.
The second incarnation of Christian Rosycross
To fulfill his mission, as reported in the Confessio, CRC incarnated again in 1378. Now he no longer has to act in secret, but appears in public under the name Christian Rosycross. His physical body had died – but his immortal soul body survived and was alive as ever. That is why the fullness of the mystery knowledge, from the previous incarnation, has survived unharmed and is available without any limitations.
These relationships are also found in the Fama. It tells how the brothers discovered the grave of ACRC (the first Christian Rosycross) again after 125 years, discovering his completely intact body “in full regalia.”
The mission of Christian Rosycross
What is the mission of brother CRC? We find it in the Fama. Here the life story of Christian Rosycross is told from the year of his birth 1378. It is written that brother CRC grew up in a monastery and traveled to the Arab countries at a young age. The old Hermetic knowledge of the mysteries of the West at that time was mainly concentrated in the Arab countries and culture, particularly in Egypt – and in Asia Minor, where the spiritual Alchemy has its roots. Therefore, Christian Rosycross visited these countries to personally absorb their entire current wisdom. Upon returning to Europe he offered his spiritual treasures to Europe’s intellectual elite. His goal was a complete reformation of life.
Once he understood that the elite of Europe were not interested, he gathered people around him, for whom the most important things in life were not the accumulation of money, outer knowledge and personal honour. He founded the Brotherhood of the Rosycross with people who had a very different purpose in life. This purpose or goal is indicated by the “building of the House Sancti Spiritus“.
What is this house? For whom is it intended and who can enter it?
The House Sancti Spiritus
The House Sancti Spiritus is not a material temple and not located in a geographic location. It is rather a force field, a concentrated power on the spirit-soul level, where man and spirit can meet and can merge into one, new life, as it happened with Christian Rosycross himself.
The doors of this house are opened wide to all people whose inner being longs for the spirit, for an existence that goes beyond time and space to another, divine reality. Origin, religion or race do not matter because the House Sancti Spiritus is intended as a spiritual home for all mankind. For the curious, however, the House Sancti Spiritus remains hidden and closed.
The third Document: The secret of the Alchemical Wedding
The third document about Christian Rosycross tells of his experiences during an “Alchemical Wedding.” The term “Chymical” or “alchemical” refers to the art of the alchemists who were very popular in Andreae’s time. They tried to turn base metals into gold with the help of the „Philosopher’s Stone“, which was also called the elixir of life. But this was only the external aspect of alchemy.
The truly hermetic alchemists were focussed on the Philosopher’s Stone which leads to transfiguration. This is the great metamorphosis of the human soul; the resurrection of a new body that Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 describes as “incorruptible”.
This is way the Alchemical Wedding has to be understood. In this book the transfiguristic initiation is narrated in the form of an allegoric novel. Christian Rosycross, in the evening before Easter, receives an invitation to an alchemical wedding by an angel. The wedding takes place in a royal palace and lasts 7 days.
In the beginning, the story describes to the reader a dream. CRC finds himself in captivity in a dark shaft from which he is saved by grabbing a Light rope. After many adventures, the fantastic tale ends in the eighth tower chamber of the “Tower of Olympus“, where Christian Rosycross finishes the great work of resurrection; the alchemical “Opus Magnum”. Afterwards, he does not vanish in the luminous sphere of the divine life field, but returns to his fellow brothers in the royal castle.
The doorkeeper stands with his back to the Light
Here CRC learns for which task he is now chosen: It is to do the work of the doorkeeper who shows the path to the coming candidates. Whether brother CRC really accepted this task remains open at the end as illustrated in the conclusion of the text:
“This is about missing two quarto pages, and he, the author, in the opinion of having to be the doorkeeper on the following morning, came home.”
It is said of the Brotherhood of the Rosycross that they stand at the gateway to the world of Light for love of humanity with their backs to the Light. This means that it is the duty of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood to serve humanity who still lives in the mortal world, so that once every man can take a Light rope and be pulled up. This is an essential aspect of the answer to the question “Who are the Rosicrucians?
Has Christian Rosycross ever really lived?
Finally, back to the questions: “Has Christian Rosycross ever really lived? What is life, and what is real? Characters such as CRC come into the mortal nature from “beyond the twelve”. They come from the brotherhood of immortal souls who have their home in a different nature order. Their mission is to serve and to bring a Light rope down into this world, to build a “House Sancti Spiritus“ for those who want to jouney to that world of immortal souls. Often, reports about their lives and work are contradictory – because in the tradition of historical allegory, the exterior and interior view, the material and the spiritual, are accidentally or intentionally mixed in a seemingly inextricable tangle.
At the appropriate time such a servant of humanity will leave this world and go back again – usually without leaving any material traces – to work elsewhere and continue his mission. They come and suffer for love of humanity. And regardless of where they are now, they live on forever because their essential nature is immortal and not at home in our world.
If a seeker of truth wants to approach the mystery of their names and existence and dissolve the inextricable tangle, he must begin to go his own spiritual path towards the world of immortal souls.