Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Rosa Crux -  spes unica!

However, if truth were told, there is more of the ineffable about the Rosicrucian tradition than can be told in terms of rules and regulations, of committee meetings and banquets, or allegorical tales of travellers to foreign lands. Jollivet Castelot perhaps came closest to revealing the essence of the Rose Cross towards the end of his Le Destin or Fils d’Hermes.  Needless to say it can only be expressed in highly poetic language – much of it beyond the common day intellect – in images that are on the threshold of form. Make what you can of this sample, with your higher imagination.

O Rosa + Crux, spes unica!

O Rose + Cross, unique hope, our only true hope, supreme joy, triumph of the Spirit come to the fact of the joyful Knowledge!

O Rose + Cross, mysterious Church of the limitless depths, Cathedral of Nature, Tower of Gold, immaculate Tabernacle, stainless Mirror, Diamond Cup, Crown of the Magi, Diadem of the Adepti.

Our admirable Mother, most beautiful among the beautiful, pure Virgin, emerald Arch, Vase of Election, Refuge of Wisdom, limpid Source of eternal Life and immortal Love, Sun of glory and Moon of serenity!

O Rose + Cross, Star of Stars, Flower of flowers, fresher than the dew, sweeter than honey, more fragrant that the aroma of a thousand perfumes, more subtle than the breath of a young girl!

Pivot of the worlds, Axis of the Heavens, Tail of Comets, Breast of the Universe, visible and invisible, Mother, Daughter and Sister of the gods, Bride of the Lord, Queen of Olympus.

Transparent Pearl on the Amethyst Ring, divine Milk from the breast of Juno, Genitrice of Aphrodite! 

O marvellous Rose and enchantress, adorable Figure of Unity, ineffable blazing of the Sephiroth, impeccable form dressed in the essence of all Things.

Reality of Appearances, Origin of Movement, Point of union of Macrocosm and Microcosm, Alpha and Omega that dream in silence of the XXI sages.

O Rose + Cross, august crossroad of the seven mystic Cities of the flamboyant Palace of God, azured Vault of the Luminaries, Sanctuary of births and deaths, Thou who welcomes the Adept, Thou who makes participate in the harmony of the spheres, pours the inebriating beverage of immortality, of the Elysian nectars.

He has placed his confidence within your august hands and put on his forehead your own petals, to recover the purple of your satin cloak.

O Rose + Cross, what delicate kisses to savour between the coral points of your round breasts, by the audacious lover who has conquered you..................................!

But do not confuse this with sex magic – a tawdry substitute. The figure whom he has in mind is represented by Trump XXI of the Tarot – the Universe, with whom (rather than which)  he has entered into a new relationship.  

The system of initiation he uses is mapped out in the sequence of Tarot Trumps according to the system of Eliphas Levi, beginning with the Magician as candidate for initiation and working through three sevenfold stages to Trump XXI – the Universe.

In this system 0, the Fool, falls between XX and XXI the Last Judgment. And it is indeed a Last Judgment which may well be failed, identifying the initiate with the Fool, a witless victim rather than the Innocent of the Golden Dawn system. Castelot identifies Tarot Trump 0 in his own life with the experience of returning home at the end of the 1st World War to find the town burnt, smashed and desecrated.  

“Douai, the town largely burnt by the Germans, had been systematically pillaged and devastated. All objects of value had been confiscated by the officers, the rest, booty for the troops, broken or stolen...”

Castelot’s book has largely been dated by time so it is unlikely to be translated or even reprinted in its native language but we mention it as a key to what is taken for granted in a great deal of French occult thought; at least as regards the order and naming (sometimes renaming) of the Tarot Trumps as an initiation process. Something to meditate on, anyway.  


I – The Recipient or Candidate [Magician]

II – Sanctuary [High Priestess]

III – Incubation [Empress]

IV – Cubic Stone [Emperor]

V – Quintessence [High Priest]

VI – The Test [Lovers]

VII – Victory [Chariot]


VIII – Balance [Justice]

IX – The Hermit [Hermit]

X – Wheel of Fortune [Wheel of Fortune]

XI – Strength – [Strength]

XII – The Hanged Man – [Hanged Man]

XIII – Transmutation of Forces – [Death]

XIV – Harmony of Mixtures – [Temperance]


XV – The Devil – [Devil]

XVI – Collapse – [Lightning-struck Tower]

XVII – The Stars – [Star]

XVIII – The Moon – [Moon]

XIX – The Sun – [Sun]

XX – The Judgement – [Judgement]

0 – The Ring – [The Fool]

XXI – The Work of the Sun – [The World or Universe]

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Rosicrucian traditions

 In 1898, Papus, Paul Sédir and Marc Haven, confronted with the remarkable powers of Maïtre Philippe who worked without benefit of membership of any initiatory society, took the surprising step of starting another one, called the Fraternitas Thesauri Lucis (or F.T.L). It was based largely on the work of Sédir, whose research produced a book on the subject – Histoire des Rose-Croix – published in 1910, with a posthumously published expanded version (Histoire et Doctrines des Rose-Croix) in 1932, neither of which are currently easy to come by. And not terribly easy to read if one has. But are at least packed with facts.

 Rosicrucian origins extend back over centuries and many who have written about them have done so from a standpoint of ignorance and hostility or ignorance and wonder. Sédir decided to begin with remote origins and predecessors and saw the Rosicrucians as deriving from three traditional currents – the Gnostics, the Catholic church and Hermetic tradition.

Gnosticism was developed by the Cathars, Vaudois, Albigenses and Templars, and ultimately   by Dante in the Divine Comedy. The Catholic element was represented by certain monks in contemplative orders. And the Hermetic stream, from Egypt and the classical world, included alchemy and the Jewish kabbalah.

Gnostic theories contained the remnants of polytheism and Dante’s great poem was almost a declaration of war on the Papacy by a revelation of the Mysteries; an application of the figures and numbers of the kabbalah to Christian dogma by means of a journey conducted by Virgil (wisdom) and Beatrice (love) through the supernatural worlds, like an initiation into the mysteries of Eleusis or Thebes. Dante escaped the abyss over the portal of which was the despairing injunction “Abandon hope all ye who enter here!” by climbing back to the light in a topsy turvy kind of way, using the grotesque figure of the devil and his works as part of the ladder. Hell was only a barrier for those who did not know the way of return.

 Religious cloisters in the Middle Ages could be favourable to mystical and occult thought, with such great names as Thomas Aquinas, Arnold of Villeneuve, Albertus Magnus, the Lullys, St Bonaventura and others. The secular clergy and even some Popes provided help and protection as a number of royal letters in England confirm. Ripley reveals that the church (abbey?) at Westminster was a meeting place for alchemists. And in1503, Trithemius asserted that many books on magic and conjurations that he had read had affirmed his Christian faith. Whilst The Imitation of Christ by Thomas â Kempis (1604) was regarded as a Rosicrucian document and guide for neophytes, although it may not read quite like that nowadays.  

On the Hermetic side we also have recent efforts by Papus, Stanislas de Guaita and Josephin Peladan forming groups of their own under a kabbalistic and Rosicrucian banner, with varying degrees of success and failure, at which we have taken a passing glance. It will be seen that a lot depends on the spiritual and psychological maturity of its members. Those directly involved probably being the least reliable judges of that. “Man, know thyself!”  (No sexism where none intended).

Alas, we know little of the content or history of the F.T.L. Which is maybe how things should be!