Who’s Your Rosicrucian, Baby?

Currently there is a minor contretemps in cyber-land about ‘the Rosicrucians’. It all started with the webhost of the Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn (ROGD) being issued one of those lovely ‘cease and desist’ notices from a legal firm acting on behalf of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC). You can read it here.

Naturally that did not go down too well. On a podcast AMORC was given three ‘gongs of shame’ and other folk, like the Watchers of the Dawn, were not happy. I sent this email to the Grandmaster of AMORC seeking a change of heart:

“Care Soror,

I refer to the website http://www.rogd.org/ and the statement therein regarding legal threats from AMORC in regard to the use of the phrase ‘Rosicrucian Order’.

As you will know there are many groups who use this term that have antecedents before the establishment of AMORC.

These groups, and many newer groups, have done and do nothing but promote the same mystical and fraternal ends of AMORC.

They are not competitors in a materialist business economy. They are sister organisations to your own.

I would respectfully ask that AMORC reconsider this approach and remove all threats of legal action against the ROGD and other Orders.

Already AMORC’s reputation has suffered badly from these actions and will suffer far worse it they continue. The modern Rosicrucian magician is individual in nature and will not respond well to what is seen by some as meddling or empire building.

Please reconsider your actions so we can all continue in harmony towards Perfect Peace Profound.”

RR et AC Rose Cross

RR et AC Rose Cross

Now, the nub of the matter appears to be the use of the phrase ‘Rosicrucian Order’. AMORC has used this for a number of decades and claims exclusive right to it. Hoh um. It only makes sense if we see the two words as referring to something specific and limited – i.e. AMORC. However, methinks, and most I think do also think, that ‘Rosicrucian’ here is an adjective referring to a spiritual path, and ‘Order’ refers to the type of organisation.

So, presumably AMORC would have no probs with ‘The Rosicrucian League’, ‘Debbie’s Rosicrucian Hair Salon’ or even ‘Joe’s Rosicrucian Bordello’? Equally we could have ‘the Wiccan Order’ or ‘the Crystal Kids Order’. Or wot not. For me it is clear, ‘Rosicrucian’ is beyond any particular group and refers to a form of western mystic, and I believe Christian spirituality (Bob Gilbert agrees).

I find this mess rather distressing for three main reasons:

Firstly, no one should really be calling themselves a Rosicrucian at all, at all. In modern English, the first two principles of the Rosicrucian Fraternity from the Fama itself are:

First, that none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.

Second, none of the posterity should be constrained to wear one certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the country (emphasis added).

Seems clear to me, and the Golden Dawn RR et AC is very clear in their oath: “Finally, you must understand that you are never permitted to say to anyone not a member of this Order that you are a Rosicrucian”.

However, folk are free to call themselves whatever they want. I won’t stop them, or even glower at them from the corner. Well, maybe a little – which I confess I did upon my first meeting of a ‘Rosicrucian’, shortly after I’d started on this lark as a youth. The chap wandered up to me at University Philosophy Society’s wine and cheese night and after chatting for a bit on mutual spiritual interests, simply declared ‘I’m a Rosicrucian’. I choked on my cheddar. Being in awe of the Fama I was completely discombobulated. I knew AMORC existed but naively assumed its initiates would keep it all mum.

Secondly, this concerns spiritual groups, you know within the world but not of the world and all that jazz. Copyrights and lawsuits and wot all in this arena are pure farce and contrary to everything true religion and spirituality stands for.

Thirdly, despite it all, I have a soft spot for AMORC – stemming of course from the events in this post. And actually, all the AMORC folk I’ve met are rather nice. True, the AMORC teachings do not inspire me and I do not grok their approach, but they are generally lovely people. Certainly much better than most of the ‘magical Rosicrucians’ I’ve met and whom I’d never invite home to mother. I really do not want to see these folk getting more of a hard time from ‘serious magicians’ than they already do.

AMORC generally comes in for an elitist rap from magical folk, and I’m on record somewhere for stating I found little useful when wading through the monographs of the entire AMORC course, even beyond the ninth degree, held in a Perth library. However, some folk DO find it useful and AMORC does organise lovely tours to sacred sites across the globe. Generally I have found the average AMORC member to be blissfully unaware of their own history and appropriation of other Order’s materials etc. They are simply working through their chosen tradition and not looking too much left or right. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So, I really hope two things (1)  AMORC changes their mind and drops their pursuit of other groups using a similar name, and (2) any pissed-off magicians, some of whom are always looking for a fight, relax and chill and not take it too far. As the ROGD says on their website: “We continue to Work privately, silently, and namelessly.  “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

So I hope what could be a nasty ‘battle’ over names is avoided. If we stopped calling ourselves Rosicrucian, this would all go away anyway. And really, in terms of wanky, magical kudos, wandering around saying ‘I’m a Rosicrucian and it’s OK’ pales into insignificance to, “of course, if I were a Rosicrucian, I couldn’t tell you anyway.”

🙂 THANKS.

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11 comments

  1. asariah · November 6, 2015

    Care Brother Peregrin, For clarification… I do not think an Order calling itself Rosicrucian violates anything, only an individual declaring his or herself such. For example the Fama even refers to the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross or Brotherhood of the Rosicrucian Order. The Confessio notes “The Confession of the Laudable Fraternity of the Most Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross. “The GD and AO also were at times called the Rosicrucian Order of the GD (or AO), not to mention the GuRC, etc. Just distinguishing between the terminology used by an Order may be acceptable but how and what an individual professes is a different issue. – A

  2. Peregrin · November 6, 2015

    Care Frater,

    Thank you for this excellent clarification. Much appreciated. I would note, or wonder however, at the practice of anonymity associated with Orders declared Rosicrucian. That is, the use of Mottos and titles obscured the real, human identities involved. Which makes sense to me 🙂 THANKS.

  3. asariah · November 6, 2015

    Well in the old GD and AO initials were used just like with mottoes. Excellent point. The Fama and Confessio and GuRC did use their full name… but I’m more of an initial kind of guy myself!

  4. Edward · November 6, 2015

    Your overuse of firstly secondly thirdly is mind numbing. Totally unnecessary. You must have used it over a hundred times in your book, very distracting. Your book however was excellent. Unfortunately your publisher did not edit it for
    you. I enjoy your posts and find you quite enlightening. Keep up the good work. Leave the firstly secondly thirdly alone, please.
    In L.V.X.
    Edward

  5. paulgarzajr · November 7, 2015

    Thank you for a very thoughtful discussion and expression of concern.

  6. Frater Yechidah · November 7, 2015

    I personally find trademark disputes between esoteric societies very distasteful, and they reflect badly on the organisations involved, and sully the names in dispute and the tradition as a whole. In the end, however, it is all a distraction from the work itself, and energy is better spent elsewhere.

    I started to comment on a few specific points you raised, but it ended up so long that I blogged about it here instead:

    http://mishkan-ha-echad.blogspot.com/2015/11/a-rosicrucian-by-any-other-name.html

  7. alexsumner · November 7, 2015

    May I suggest that the operative word in the “profess nothing” is not “nothing” but “profess?”

    “Profess” is a word used in monastic orders to denote taking vows of especial solemnity. So for example in Catholicism, the difference between a Sister and a Nun is that the latter has Professed, but the former has not. Frater CRC, I venture to suggest, was telling the founder members of his Fraternity that they were to be Priests, not Monks, as it were.

  8. Sam Robinson · November 16, 2015

    Brilliant work Peregrin, this kind of writing shows a very mature approach which even I hope to come close to, it is both humbling and appealing in that it caste the problem into the realm of hope and imho seeks to raise the issue, even transmute it through such positive thoughts. I can only hope many R.C bros can follow your example 🙂 Sam

  9. Peregrin · November 16, 2015

    THANK YOU, Sam 🙂

  10. Pingback: Mishkan ha-Echad – Golden Dawn Blog by Frater Yechidah: A Rosicrucian by Any Other Name, Parts 1 and 2 | Sanctuary of Horus Behdety
  11. Pingback: AMORC lawyers continue bullying other orders – Watcher of the Dawn

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