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vol. 1, p. 42
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< A few Questions to “Hiraf * * * * *” (continued from page 1-41) >

the door of one “who knows when and how.” If Hiraf is right about the seventh rule of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross which says that “the Rose-crux becomes and is not made,” he may err as to the exceptions which have ever existed among other Brotherhoods devoted to the pursuit of the same secret knowledge. Then again, when he asserts, as he does, that Rosicrucianism is almost forgotten, we may answer him that we do not wonder at it, and add, by way of parenthesis, that, strictly speaking, the Rosicrucians do not now even exist, the last of that Fraternity having departed in the person of Cagliostro*.

Hiraf ought to add to the word Rosicrucianism “that particular sect,” at least, for it was but a sect after all, one of many branches of the same tree.

By forgetting to specify that particular denomination, and by including under the name of Rosicrucians all those who, devoting their lives to Occultism, congregated together in Brotherhoods, Hiraf commits an error by which he may unwittingly lead people to believe that the Rosicrucians having disappeared, there are no more Cabalists practicing Occultism on the face of the earth. He also becomes thereby guilty of an anachronism § by attributing to the Rosicrucians the building of the Pyramids and other majestic monuments, which indelibly exhibit in their architecture the symbols of the grand religions of the Past. For it is not so. If the main object in view was and still is alike with all the great family of the ancient and modern Cabalists, the dogmas and formulae of certain sects differ greatly. Springing one after the other from the great Oriental mother-root, they scattered broadcast all over the world, and each of them desiring to outrival the other by plunging deeper and deeper into the secrets jealously guarded by Nature, some of them became guilty of the greatest heresies against the primitive Oriental Cabala.

While the first followers of the secret sciences, taught to the Chaldaeans by nations whose very name was never breathed in history, remained stationary in their studies, having arrived at the maximum, the Omega of the knowledge permitted to man, many of the subsequent sects separated from them, and, in their uncontrollable thirst for more knowledge, trespassed the boundaries of truth, and fell into fictions. In consequence of Pythagoras so says Iamblichus—having by sheer force of energy and daring penetrated into the mysteries of the Temple of Thebes, and obtained therein his initiation, and afterwards studied the sacred sciences in Egypt for twenty-two years, many foreigners were subsequently admitted to share the knowledge of the wise men of the East, who, as a consequence, had many of their secrets divulged. Later still, unable to preserve them in their purity, these mysteries were so mixed up with fictions and fables of the Grecian mythology that truth was wholly distorted.

As the primitive Christian religion divided, in course of time, into numerous sects, so the science of Occultism gave birth to a variety of doctrines and various brotherhoods. So the Egyptian Ophites became the Christian Gnostics, shooting forth the Basilideans of the second century, and the original Rosicrucians created subsequently the Paracelsists, or Fire-Philosophers, the European Alchemists, and other physical branches of their sect. (See Hargrave Jennings’ The Rosicrucians.) To call indifferently every Cabalist a Rosicrucian, is to commit the same error as if we were to call every Christian a Baptist on the ground that the latter are also Christians.

The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross was not founded until the middle of the thirteenth century, and notwithstanding the assertions of the learned Mosheim, it derives its name, neither from the Latin word Ros (dew), nor from a cross, the symbol of Lux. The origin of the Brotherhood can be ascertained by any earnest, genuine student of Occultism, who happens to travel in Asia Minor, if he chooses to fall in with some of the Brotherhood, and if he is willing to devote himself to the head-tiring work of deciphering a Rosicrucian manuscript—the hardest thing in the world, for it is carefully preserved in the archives of the very Lodge which was founded by the first Cabalist of that name, but which now goes by another name. The founder of it, a German Reuter [Knight], by the name of Rosencranz, was a man who, after acquiring a very suspicious reputation through the practice of the Black Art, in his native place, reformed in consequence of a vision. Giving up his evil practices, he made a solemn vow, and went on foot to Palestine, in order to make his amende honorable at the Holy Sepulchre. Once there, the Christian God, the meek, but well-informed Nazarene—trained as he was in the high school of the Essenes, those virtuous descendants of the botanical as well as astrological and magical Chaldaeans—appeared to Rosencranz, a Christian would say, in a vision, but I would suggest, in the shape of a materialized spirit. The purport of this visitation, as well as the subject of their conversation, remained forever a mystery to many of the Brethren; but immediately after that, the ex-sorcerer and Reuter disappeared, and was heard of no more till the mysterious sect of Rosicrucians was added to the family of Cabalists, and their powers aroused popular attention, even among the Eastern populations, indolent, and accustomed as they are to live among wonders. The Rosicrucians strove to combine together the most various branches of Occultism, and they soon became renowned for the extreme purity of their lives and their extraordinary powers, as well as for their thorough knowledge of the secret of the secrets.

As alchemists and conjurers they became proverbial. Later (I need not inform Hiraf precisely when, as we drink at two different sources of knowledge), they gave birth to the more modern Theosophists, at whose head was Paracelsus, and to the Alchemists, one of the most celebrated of whom was Thomas Vaughan (seventeenth century) who wrote the most practical things on Occultism, under the name of Eugenius Philalethes. I know and can prove that Vaughan was, most positively, “made before he became.”

The Rosicrucian Cabala is but an epitome of the Jewish and the Oriental ones combined, the latter being the most secret of all. The Oriental Cabala, the practical, full, and only existing copy, is carefully preserved at the headquarters of this Brotherhood in the East, and, I may safely vouch, will never come out of its possession. Its very existence has been doubted by many of the European Rosicrucians. One who wants “to become” has to hunt for his knowledge through thousands of scattered volumes, and pick up facts and lessons, bit by bit. Unless he takes the nearest way and consents “to be made,” he will never become a practical Cabalist, and with all his learning will remain at the threshold the “mysterious gate.” The Cabala may be used and its truths imparted on a smaller scale now than it was in antiquity, and the existence of the mysterious Lodge, on account of its secrecy, doubted; but it does exist and has lost none of the primitive secret powers of the ancient Chaldaeans.** The lodges, few in number, are divided into sections and known but to the Adepts; no one would be likely to find them out, unless the sages themselves found the neophyte worthy of initiation. Unlike the European Rosicrucians, who, in order “to become and not be made,” have constantly put into practice the words of St. John, who says, “Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force,” and who have struggled alone, violently robbing Nature of her secrets, the Oriental Rosicrucians (for such we will call them, being denied the right to pronounce their true name), in the serene beatitude of their divine knowledge, are ever ready to help the earnest student struggling “to become” with practical knowledge, which dissipates, like a heavenly breeze, the blackest clouds of sceptical doubt.

Hiraf is right again when he says that “knowing that their <... continues on page 1-43 >


* Knowing but little about Occultism in Europe I may be mistaken; if so, any one who knows to the contrary will oblige me by correcting my error.

§ The same mistake pervades the whole of that able book, The Rosicrucians, by Hargrave Jennings.

** For those who are able to understand intuitionally what I am about to say, my words will be but the echo of their own thoughts. I draw the attention of such only, to a long series of inexplicable events which have taken place in our present century; to the mysterious influence directing political cataclysms; the doing and undoing of crowned heads; the tumbling down of thrones; the thorough metamorphosis of nearly the whole of the European map, beginning with the French Revolution of ’93, predicted in every detail by the Count de St.-Germain, in an autograph MS., now in possession of the descendants of the Russian nobleman to whom he gave it, and coming down to the Franco-Prussian War of the latter days. This mysterious influence called “chance” by the skeptic and Providence by Christians, may have a right to some other name. Of all these degenerated children of Chaldaean Occultism, including the numerous societies of Freemasons, only one of them in the present century is worth mentioning in relation to Occultism, namely, the “Carbonari.” Let some one study all he can of that secret society, let him think, combine, deduce. If Raymond Lully, a Rosicrucian, a Cabalist, could so easily supply King Edward I of England with six millions sterling to carry on war with the Turks in that distant epoch, why could not some secret lodge in our day furnish, as well, nearly the same amount of millions to France, to pay their national debt—this same France, which was so wonderfully, quickly defeated, and as wonderfully set on her legs again. Idle talk!—people will say. Very well, but even an hypothesis may be worth the trouble to consider sometimes.