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“”What do you get when you mix alchemy, The Da Vinci Code, Nazis, Christianity, mysticism, the Knights Templar, Shakespeare, The Secret, and ancient Egypt? No, not a bad movie about Ben Stiller working late at a museum; you get the Rosicrucians.
|—Brian Dunning, Skeptoid|
Back in the day
Rosicrucianism has its origins in two anonymously authored manifestos from the early 17th century called Fama Fraternitas RC and Confessio Fraternitas. The subject of these books was a doctor and philosopher called "Frater CRC," renamed to Christian Rosenkreuz (or "Rose Cross") in a later, third book.
Although some claim Rosicrucianism is even older, that the originators of the practice were the Knights Templar of the Crusades fame. Of course there's no basis for this belief but Rosicrucians still weave Templar aesthetics and lore into their ceremonies for the cool factor.
Various pseudohistories have popped up around these books: their author(s) are the subject of speculation (Francis Bacon, according to some) and links for other organisations popular amongst the observant set.
New Age revival
The modern version of the movement came about largely due to the founding of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) in 1915. It was co-founded by Harvey Spencer Lewis and May Banks-Stacy.
Lewis was less well known for pseudonymosly claiming that Lemurians were living under Mount Shasta, California. AMORC and other various sects of the religion exist today and operate in a milk before meat fashion.
You send away for their "lessons" and receive booklets that include information on Rosicrucian theology as well as how-to guides on all sorts of woo like "mental alchemy," telekinesis, telepathy, regeneration, and "attuning" with the "Cosmic Consciousness."
The San Jose, California branch operates the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, perhaps the main source of funding.
The Order of the Solar Temple (OTS), a sub group founded by Rosicrucian members, participated in ritualistic suicide and murder. Essentially a cult, the leader ordered the death of an entire family of former members, accusing them of bringing the Antichrist to the world.
- Skeptoid on Rosicrucianism
- Melton, J. Gordon (March 1999). Religious leaders of America: a biographical guide to founders and leaders of religious bodies, churches, and spiritual groups in North America (2nd ed.). Cengage Gale. p. 332. ISBN 978-0810388789.
- Though the "meat" seems to be of the tofurkey variety according to some ex-members.