The Rose Cross ritual (a question turned into a blog post)

Though it seems like a bit of a Dorothy Dixer, our  last post brought this question from Gayle:

Well, I suppose this is as good a place as any to ask a question about something you state in your book “by names and images” – it’s not exactly pertinent to your point here, but close enough I suppose  (I would have emailed you but couldn’t find an addy)

You state: “As a general rule the [rose-cross ritual] should not replace the LBRP and I have seen serious problems occur when this is done on a long-term basis.”

Would you mind elaborating? Thanks!

As I wrote my reply, I thought it got too long, and hence have plonked it here in case it’s of interest for others. By the way, I checked the IP and Gayle does exist 🙂

Hi Gayle – thanks for the query. I think the relevant information is in the preceding part of the quote. Fully read it goes:

The [Rose Cross] ritual, unlike the LBRP should not be used to banish any unwanted forces or vibrations, but merely to quiet and astrally seal the atmosphere of a place.  If unwanted vibrations or feelings are felt, use the LBRP not the Rose-Cross, or an LBRP then a RC. As a general rule the RC should not replace the LBRP and I have seen serious problems occur when this is done on a long term basis.

RR et AC Rose Cross

Elaboration: The Lesser Pentagram ritual is an outer order process, given to the initiate on the night (or soon after) her Neophyte initiation. There are many different views and ideas on the LRP but all agree it is an outer order based process (which does not mean we stop it in the inner order). Essentially the LRP helps to balance and purify the magician’s everyday self and sphere.

The RC ritual was originally an inner order process. It was given to the magician after the powerful Adept initiation which does an awful lot of things and also links the magician to the Rosicrucian currents. It also works powerfully with the manifold mysteries behind the simple phrase, “the Body of Christ”.

For personal daily practice to help balance and purify we should still use the LRP (or equivalent) and not jump ahead to the RC in its place. An undedicated temple area or one where unwanted (‘negative’) vibrations are felt should be treated in the same manner as our limited, normal human selves; we need to cleanse and balance before invoking.

The RC ritual does not banish. It invokes, in a very particular method the mysteries of Christ. The key again is the phrase, “the Body of Christ”, as intimated by the final YHVShH. Repeated performances of the RC creates and fosters the divinity of the magician (by increasing the presence of (or awareness of, or removing the barriers to) the indwelling Christ, within our bodies. Likewise it does the same to the temple room, on all levels – “Raise the stone and there you shall find me, cleave the wood and there am I.” (Thomas: 30)

Now, some Christian folk may say the name of Christ, being the ‘name above every name’ is enough for all things, including banishing and purification. And certainly if we perform the RC alone, the presence of Christ’s name will remove those negative or unbalanced forces that cannot abide his presence. However, that is not the same as transforming these hindrances, which is what processes like the LRP do though its innate balancing formulae. In practice though, most methods of Christian exorcism and cleansing I am aware of also use other formulae besides the name of Christ, including work with St Michael and other saints to remove and cleanse negative powers and forces.

Certainly in the GD, the Rosicrucian mysteries and in traditional Christian thought (and many other traditions) purification of some sort comes early or first in the process of unfoldment. In traditional Christian theology, eastern and western we have the stages of purgation, illumination and unity (theosis) described first by the Pseudo Dionysius. These three concepts underlie the motifs for the traditional Three Orders: GD (purification and balance) RR et AC (adeptship and illumination) and Third Order (mastership).

With this framework in mind, we see that using the RC instead of the LRP, we are applying a process for expanding and developing our illumination in place of a process for purification. This is by no means as effective and can result in imprecise or incomplete balancing and purification. Interestingly, the same basic concerns underlie some Christian theologians distaste for Matthew Fox’s reworking of the three ways into the four paths of Creation Spirituality – illuminative experiences before proper purification.

I am thinking of one group in particular. Set up by someone with only public (UK) workshop experience in the Inner Light tradition, they taught and advocated the RC alone as both a daily purification ritual but also as a preparation for depth inner and magical work. Over a number of years cracks began to show as the unregenerate aspects of self, which could have been balanced by the LRP, became stronger. Two members had a complete nervous breakdown and others less intense but damaging experiences. The member I spoke to most (after recovery years later) had lingering horror of the RC ritual, which is very sad.

That said, I once had the privilege to be invited to a Christian mystical group who used the RC alone (sans vibratory formula) to dedicate their temple space. However, they did various potent methods of purification and prayer before entering the room, which was then dedicated via the RC each evening. Walking into the room was like walking into the Body of Christ; his presence was real and solid on all levels. The group members had no idea the RC stemmed from an ‘occult’ school and were quite shocked when I pointed this out. It was the only magical ritual they had (somehow) picked up.

Finally, I do not want to give the impression that the Lesser Pentagram Ritual is in any way… lesser 🙂 I recently caught up with an old magician friend, who I really should have kept in touch with over the years. Naturally the conversation drifted to magic and I asked what he was doing these days. Wise and sensible, without a trace of discomfiture he replied, ‘the LRP and not much else’. I thought this was wonderful. Just as there continue to be examples of Tibetans showing physical signs of enlightenment, such as the Rainbow Body, via the Mani Mantra alone, the LRP can, rightly approached, as my friend obviously does, be all we need. To quote Uncle Alick:

‘Properly understood (the LRP) is the medicine of Metals and the stone of the Wise’



  1. Nick Farrell · June 2, 2012

    Great post. The Rose Cross is one of those rituals which is either overstated (by people like Ernest Butler) or understated by many modern Golden Dawn people. Both rituals are vital but they operate at different levels of awareness. The rituals of the pentagram deals with the lower Astral (malkuth, Yesod, Netazach in Yesod) where most of the nasties who cause problems are found. The Rose Cross is upper astral Tiphareth and deals with all the upper six spheres. It brings into alignment those spheres and has little impact on anything we might feel. It is thus spiritual. If the pentagram hints that spirit controls the elemental nature, then the Rose cross says that sacrifice and balance crown the actions of spirit. One is Microcosmic and the other is Macrocosmic. You would need to do a rose cross if you were performing the more mystical second Order work where you transcend your own reality. The Rose Cross would preserve your spiritual state for when you come back and prevent you from being too damaged by approaching the throne of God.
    So, generally, in the order you have the following:
    1. Lesser ritual of the pentagram (invoking and banishing) a cut down version of the 0=0 to prepare and protect the first order student.
    2. The supreme pentagram to open, balance and control the elements in the microcosm and macrocosmic spaces.
    3. The Lesser Ritual of the Hexagram (saturn banishing) to remove planetary limitation. (saturn invoking) to neutralise planetary force.
    4. Supreme ritual of the hexagram (invoking and banishing) to remove of strengthen planetary force.
    5. Rose cross ritual to protect balance and harmonise spiritual bodies for further mystical work.
    One of the things I am not sure about is why the GD used pentagrams to control zodiacal forces or the fixed starts. There is, of course, a lack of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus. It might be that these particular forces are what the modern Golden Dawn should be researching.

  2. Gayle · June 2, 2012

    Great answer – thanks! 🙂

  3. Todd · June 2, 2012

    In regard to the last part of your response Nick, Im given to understand that zodiacal forces are manifested as personality traits and thus the pentagram would be ideal to represent an aspect of the magician’s microcosm- just a thought

  4. Nick Farrell · June 3, 2012

    The planetary forces can manifest as personality traits but they are much more macro cosmic too. They are also not as specific.

  5. Peregrin · June 3, 2012

    Great comments, thanks. Nick. You describe the situation very, very well. 🙂

    The pentagram for Zodiacal forces I am not willing to tackle here, but maybe another post!

    Personally,I do not make use of the transpersonal planets. The traditional seven make more sense to me, with all energies and forces attributed to one or more of the seven. The transpersonals are too variable and nebulous… I’ve never seen one 🙂 Also, look at poor Pluto… do we include it now or not?

    Thanks 🙂

  6. Nick Farrell · June 3, 2012

    I have not used the outer planets either. Recently however I have had to deal with the fall out of a Pluto transit with someone close. The truth is I am not sure about it any more. Pluto is strong in my chart too. However those three do not fit into the Tree of Life and break the system. I prefer to see them as “fixed stars” like Regulus

  7. Peregrin · June 3, 2012

    Hi Nick – interesting. Very interesting. It would be very informative to compare progressed charts with strong outer planet activity with the comparable version in hindu astrology – where there are no outer/transpersonal planets. Be interesting to see where the activity/disturbance shown up in the modern western chart is located. Do you know if anyone has done this? I am not a big astrological dude meself. Thanks 🙂

  8. SPIRITofBEAR · July 14, 2012

    think planet venus.. also uranus is my kether and pluto daath

  9. Kristi · July 25, 2012

    There’s a show on the history channel called Decoded, and I learned a lot about the rose cross. But this also freaked me out because I have a charm bracelet I got from Santa one Christmas and I wanted seven charms on it: my first initial, a heart, a rose, a four lead clover, a cross, so on. When I got the gift, I didn’t expect to see the Ross I wanted placed in the center of the cross. But since the whole charm bracelet is gold, I don’t know of the rose has to be white or red.
    I still have the charm bracelet to this day, and i wondered if Santa ever heard of this rose cross. 😲

  10. Andrew · August 17, 2013


    An interesting take on an unusual ritual. I like your explanation. My own experiences with the Rose Cross were that it was unbalanced, yes, but also that it didn’t belong in the same sequence with the LRP in banishing or summoning modes, or with the hexagram rituals, or the middle pillar. It seemed to be very much its own thing with its own lingo, like an app badly ported from Unix to DOS…

    Eventually I moved on to other things, and never thought to look into its origin story. How did it come about? What’s its history?

  11. Peregrin · August 26, 2013

    Hi Andrew,

    thanks for the comments. This is very interesting. I am wondering if the ritual you worked was the form from my book, as there I do explain the SM version in the Regardie compilations was slightly unbalanced in terms of number of names etc. I think though you may be referring to something else, which is interesting.

    I do not know the history and have always wanted to. I will post to a GD forum and see what emerges. THANKS 🙂

  12. Peregrin · August 30, 2013

    Hi Andrew,

    paraphrasing from information in response to this question on the GD forum.

    It seems likey (though not certain) Dr Felkin of the Stella Matutina introduced this ritual in the early part of the 20th century. It was not part of the original GD/RR et AC corpus.

    The Whare Ra (New Zealand) version of the ritual is a bit more detailed than the one published by Israel Regardie.

    One version seems to suggest using incense without reference to an incense stick.

    Hope that helps.


  13. Andrew B. Watt · August 30, 2013

    Hi Peregrin,

    I don’t know if it helps, exactly, but it does sort of explain why it feels like its own thing, not originally part of the plan. I find myself thinking, when I read Regardie’s GD material, that we’re looking at a range of material all stuffed together, without stitching it into a complete whole or a thorough-going system. But Gödel’s incompleteness theorem suggests that a complete system also proves false things, or leaves out true things, or both. So maybe a cobbled-together system is best.

    I know that I’ve been enjoying the combination of alchemical work, meditation, GD-themed Celtic material (or is that Celtic-flavored GD material?) in John Michael Greer’s new book, “CELTIC GOLDEN DAWN”, and at least part of my joy in it is knowing how cobbled-together it is. 🙂

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