exWitch Australia
Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


The Order of the Rosy Cross, or Rosicrucians, is a world-wide esoteric society whose official emblem combines a rose and a cross.

The society was apparently founded in Europe in Medieval times and was given impetus by the publication of three anonymous pamphlets in successive years: Fama Fraternitatis (Account of the Brotherhood, 1614), the Confessio Fraternitatis (Confession of the Brotherhood, 1615) and The Third Chemical Wedding of Chrirtian Rosencreutz (1616).   They describe the initiation into the spiritual and alchemical mysteries of the East (particularly of ancient Egypt) of Christian Rosenkreutz, who was allegedly born in 1378 but is presumed to be an allegorical figure.

The expressed purpose of the Fama and associated writings was the spiritualisation of individuals according to quasi-Christian and esoteric principles.   Scholars believe these pamphlets, which are anti-papal and promote Protestant ethics, were probably written by the German Lutheran pastor Johan Valentin Andreae (1586-1654).

Despite arousing enthusiasm in the expanding occult community, no later records exist for membership of the Order.

In the 18th Century various tracts and manifestoes were published asserting the existence of the Brothers of the Rosy Cross, and several groups claiming Rosicrucian origins were active in Russia, Poland and Germany.   The first Rosicrucian Society in the United States was founded in Pennsylvania in 1694.   In 1909 Harvey Spencer Lewis founded the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), which now has its headquarters in San Jose, California.   Lewis claimed to have been initiated into the Brotherhood in France.

The AMORC is an international fraternal order that operates through a system of lodges and fosters the Rosicrucian philosophy of developing hu-mankind's highest potentialities and psychic powers.   Through study and practice, members strive for perfection, with the ultimate goal being admittance into the Lodge and the attainment of true knowledge, or cosmic consciousness.

Students progress through twelve degrees of mastery, with the tenth through twelfth degrees conferred psychically, usually in the Order's temples in the East.   As in Theosophy, such perfection comes only after various reincarnations, each devoted to achieving a greater oneness with the Supreme Being.

Rosicrucians claim influence on Freemasonry, especially since the 18th Masonic degree is the Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix of Heredom.


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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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