The Rosicrucians Order and the Ancient Cult
“I swear by Apollo, and Aesculapius the healer, likewise Hygeia and Panacea”
Hello friends and new visitors.
Welcome to my blog, a place for good coffee and making friends.
As some of you know one of my conclusions is that there are in fact six Rosicrucian manifestos, and not just three as is thought. My research is not perfect, but we have found out a few interesting things. In fact I’d say a lot of it has to do with the people involved in this community, who share ideas and make this blog possible. Together we have uncovered the Rosicrucian story.
For newcomers and to recap; over several of my post I’ve developed a new perspective of the Rosicrucian tradition, one largely highlighting its Hermetic mysteries. While thought to be a Christian brotherhood, we have examined the appearance of our Lady Venus in the manifestos and her significance to how Sophia appears in German mysticism. As well Apollo has been a major feature, starting with the first true manifesto ‘The Reformation of the Whole Wide World by Order of Apollo.’
It was this document that gave birth to the Fama, and the Rosicrucians wrote their manifesto in answer to that call. Many of the symbols of the Fama also are extensions of the Apollo Call.
We also learned of the Hermetic elements started in Bruno, who taught the idea that the astral reformation of the gods (Apollo/Venus) would have to be carried out in the real world, enacting the law of ‘as above, so below’ through the vehicle of real people, in a real place, who naturally at the time of the manifestos would be Europeans. Christians would carry out the will of the gods.
In fact, we even found out that the Apollo Call ws also written as an extension of Bruno, and that the final manifesto, the ‘Pegasus of the Firmament’ used this title in relation to Bruno’s earlier works. Thus the manifestos are an extension of his Hermeticism, and while the three main manifestos are Christian, they are also positioned within a series of Hermetic writings and traditions.
These reformation ideas are also caught up in the movement of Pansophy as well; the vision and quest to raise human culture to a point of utopian existence, one of higher thinking and peace.
Todays’ post is different however.
Where the other posts looked to the past,
This post is going to develop the idea forwards.
The earlier examinations of our Hermetic roots were done in order to lay a foundation of ‘things to come.’ And what is coming is a publication of my own Rosicrucian rituals and traditions. I felt the need to first evidence WHY the upcoming published rituals were given this way. Remember that one of the main reasons for this blog is to help people/Orders return to our real older Rosicrucian roots.
In bringing the ideas of the previous post forwards this post begins to press into areas where I see the old documents point us towards, that if we follow those clues we are left to several conclusions, and one of these I believe is the relationship between Asclepius and the Rosicrucians.
Who is Asclepius?
He is the god of healing, and he is the son of Apollo.
Introducing the Story of Asclepius
Here is his whole story, briefly summed up:
During her pregnancy with the son of Apollo the nymph Coronis took a second lover in secret. When Apollo found out, and sent Artemis to kill her. While burning on the funeral pyre, Apollo felt pity and rescued the unborn child from the corpse. Asclepius was taught about medicine and healing by the wise centaur, Cheiron, and became so skilled in it that he succeeded in bringing one of his patients back from the dead. Zeus felt that the immortality of the Gods was threatened, and Hades feared no more dead would be brought to the underworld. Thus Zeus killed the healer with a thunderbolt. At Apollo’s request, in redemption Asclepius was placed among the stars as Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer
At first the story doesn’t seem to have much in common with the Rosicrucians mystery.
The Rosicrucian Connection to Asclepius
One only need compare the legend with the manifestos to realize a lot of commonality.
Enough I believe to warrant that the Rosicrucian is a ‘cult of Asclepius’ all but in name.
Where the Rosicrucian manifestoes are an extension of Apollo
Our hero Christian Rosenkreuz himself is an extension of Asclepius.
The half god Asclepius is the son of Apollo, but given the below information I speculate that CRC is also the spiritual son of Apollo by answering the ‘Reformation by Order of Apollo’ document.
But, there are more connections.
Connection 1 – Studied Under Hermes
The Hermetic treatise known as the ‘Universal Sermon to Asclepius’ is a dialogue treatise teaching the mysteries of space and reality. In it Asclepius is the student of the wise sage Hermes. A major feature of the Rosicrucian manifestos was the restoration of the wisdom of Hermes through the journey of Christian Rosenkreuz to foreign lands. But there is more to this.
In fact my earlier post revealed that the seven sided tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz was not just a tomb; it is also a Hermetic talisman spoken of in the prophecy of Hermes, that one day the gods shall be restored through this talisman structure. Bruno envisioned this device in answer to the prophecy and the seven sides are a mystical device for the manifestation of a utopian city.
Thus where Asclepius studied under Hermes our Rosenkreuz also received his wisdom.
Connection 2 – Healing and Prophecy
The temples of Asclepius were sanctuaries for healing. Visitors came far and wide to receive remedy for their ill health. The priesthood claimed they received their arts from Asclepius at some ancient time and although Asclepius was dead people believed his presence would attend at night and heal the sick.
Tablets were hung in declaration after the healing was done, stating the persons’ name, their ailments and what sort of remedy they received.
Need I say, the Rosicrucian Fama states ‘and they shall profess nothing but to heal the sick.’
It would appear the Fama claims this would be the only practical art of the Rosicrucians. However this is simply not true. The door to the tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz had a prophecy upon it, inscribed, ‘after 120 years I shall open.’
In the abaton of Asclepius any dreams or visions experienced by those seeking healing had to be relayed to the temple priest, who would then interpret the dream and prescribe an appropriate therapy or medicine. The temples of Asclepius were places of prophecy like the Rosicrucian sanctuary.
We need not assume that Asclepius and Christian mystical healing never had any connection.
The Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors says ‘I swear by Apollo and Asclepius the healer.’
This picture is of a ‘twelfth-century Byzantine manuscript where the oath was written out in the form of a cross, relating it visually to Christian ideas.’
Connection 3 – Studied Nature
Not only did they both receive the wisdom of Hermes, but both figures also studied nature.
Chiron the centaur was the tutor of Asclepius, teaching him all manner of medicines of the art at which he excelled. Renaissance art expert von Blackenhagen describes the centaur, saying ‘There emerges a convincing image of a powerful being, transcending the powers of man and beast, and thus it represents being part of Nature herself, especially a familiarity with all her powers, her secrets, her gifts.’
Throughout the Rosicrucian manifestos there are references to alchemy, and in fact influences from Paracelsus, who wrote extensively of nature, medicine, alchemy and natural laws. He was the centaur of Christian Rosenkreuz, bestowing upon him all his wisdom, through the manifestos.
Connection 4 – Reflection of Apollo
My earlier post covered the Seven Sages of Greece who surround Apollo. They are mentioned in the Apollo Call document and are sent to earth by Apollo to restore humanity. The Fama, as an answer to that Italian document (which was published with the Fama in German) also surrounds CRC by seven figures, being his initiated brothers in the College of the Holy Spirit.
Thus in the manifesto documents, CRC is a reflection of Apollo.
In addition Apollo is often surrounded by his 9 muses, each representing the liberal arts.
Likewise Asclepius is surrounded by 9 of his children. Yet the names of his own children represent the healing arts, as their names are translated ‘all healing’ and ‘panacea’ etc., showing that the children of Asclepius are representations of his own power.
It is quite interesting to note that where those surrounding Apollo are deities of the liberal arts and culture, those surrounding Asclepius are qualities of healing. This tells us something about the Rosicrucians; that the powers behind the R.C are cultural reformation powers of Pansophy, but the active powers of the R.C brothers themselves manifest as healing powers.
Connection 5 – Serpents on the Floor
Asclepius is always depicted holding a staff with a snake. He is a serpent bearer like his teacher Hermes, but his staff only holds one serpent. In his healing rituals serpents were also used to honor Asclepius. The snakes were let lose to slither freely around on the floor as the picture shows. They were allowed on the floor below those injured or where they slept, being symbols of his healing power.
The Fama Fraternitatis in describing the tomb of CRC also states there are serpents on the floor.
Though these symbols in the tomb implied one was stamping down the serpent, tramping down the forces of evil. It sounds very different at first, until you realize that Zeus allowed Asclepius ascend to the heavens where became the constellation of Ophiuchus, whose name means ‘Serpent Holder.’
As in the tomb of CRC this Ophiuchus constellation positions a figure in the sky in such a way that ‘his foot tramples upon the sign of Scorpio, the dragon.’
Serpents are not the only animal connection however.
In my earlier post on the tomb of King Arthur it was revealed that several similar tombs of CRC actually already existed. The CRC one was based upon those earlier legends as well, using the design and older legend which said there was an ever burning fire or sun, a magical entrance and someone inside fast asleep. In most of those legends two magical hounds stood watch over the sleepers or the king. In fact the CRC tomb is odd in not including them compared to the majority of legends. Interestingly in the temples of Asclepius dogs were also present, used to lick any wounds or were present as a sacred guardian symbol.
Connection 6 – Initiated by Venus
Lastly, and most importantly, the Asclepius mystery contains something major.
Asclepius revered the goddess after being initiated into the Mysteries of Eleusis. When he arrived in Athens he was received by Demeter and became a ‘mystes’ or initiate. In the Christian era the disciples of his cult also worshiped the goddess, imitating his friendship with her.
We read: ‘Asclepius, by allying himself with Demeter, by joining this world and the other, gave his worship a significance far beyond of merely a materialistic healing cult.’ Edelstein.
What is that significance? It is the mystery of Sophia and the goddess.
It is also the same mystery into which Rosenkreuz was initiated.
In the Chemical Wedding we read that our hero CRC is received into the chamber of Venus, who greets him, after passing through a triangle door. Not an isolated moment, this event is aligned to the greater Theosophy/Pansophy traditions of Germany which revere a female redeemer.
In fact it is the climax of the Rosicrucian mystery. This is why the festival of Asclepius’ initiation into the mysteries of Demeter is so valuable. It provides us with an actual date on which to also celebrate the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz and open the portal to the higher temple.
The Way Forwards for Rosicrucians
Apollo raised the reformation cause to which the Rosicrucians answered in the Fama.
I believe that while the Rosicrucian Order is outwardly Pansophic and uses many Christian approaches it also has a strong Hermetic presence in the undercurrents behind it. These become what is known as godforms, or a powerbase, behind the rituals and traditions of the Rosicrucians.
Thus I am saying that the Rosicrucian are not outright a cult of Asclepius, but certainly as ‘son of Apollo’ both CRC and Asclepius share so much in common, as healers, serpent bears and prophets. They have so much in common we are given new ways to develop the most suitable under currents in the temple that truly represent both the Rosicrucian influences as well as the powers at hand.
This provides a more coherent set of godforms behind the Rosicrucian rituals.
Asclepius and Christian Rosenkreuz Side by Side
Studied Under Hermes
Temple of Healing
Secrets of Nature From Centaur
Seven Sages Around Apollo
Serpents on Floor of Temple
Ophiuchus Tramples on Scorpio
Initiated by Demeter
Received Hermes Wisdom
Profess to Only Heal
After 120 Years I Shall Open
Secrets of Nature from Paracelsus
Seven Brothers Around CRC
Serpents on Floor of Tomb
RC Brothers Trample on Serpent
Initiated by Venus
Thanks for reading, please share and discuss 🙂 Sam
Filed under: Defining Rosicrucianism