Melchizedek Mystery of the Rosicrucian Order
Greetings gentle readers,
Today we need to revisit the name Melchizedek and particularly see how this reflects upon the Rosicrucian tradition. Evangelists, Mormons, Rabbis each have something interesting to say regarding this famous name but what do the Rosicrucians have to say? This blog post will deliver the views of the Rosicrucian Order of the Mystica Aeterna headed by myself and humble friends.
As you can see with my last blog post questioning ‘Is Gnosticism Rosicrucian,’ one of the exercises here is not only to consider mystical matters (nor the repetitive fashion of all others,) but rather, we are to explore how occult teachings are reflected through the lens of the Rosicrucian realm. Once any subject is brought within the Rosicrucian worldview it encounters new partners to play with including alchemy, kabbalah, Hermeticism, and the German Rosicrucian system of Pansophy.
This does not change the ideal of any teaching but instead we find reflections become enriched by being positioned within supporting pillars of wisdom that shed deeper light, and uncovering agreeable layers of associations. Paul Foster Case himself taught that the more coherence one finds through various layers of associations the more true the teaching. This is because all the other layers where we find coherent agreements confirm truth, order, flow and syncretism. Bear in mind here that ‘syncretism is synonymous with Hermeticism.’ In the Pansophic system Rosicrucians call these ‘Syncretic Points.’
So, why all the fuss over Melchizedek? It’s all because Jesus ‘is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’ Historically Christians weren’t meant to read the Bible itself. That was the job of the priesthood. The folk were illiterate, until along came Luther and his Protestant Reformation. Can you imagine the reaction of a European zealot upon reading those words? Something is not right here. Why would Jesus, the son of God, need to be ordained a priest at all? It does imply in some ways that this Melchizedek is superior or needs to transmit something, resulting in many Christians affirming that Melchizedek and Jesus must be one and the same person to help quell this ugly inconsistency.
Most consider that the term ‘Melchizedek’ means “King of Righteousness.” Well that is the Hebrew meaning but what if there is more to this than meets the eye? What if it’s not even Hebrew?
The problem with the ‘king of righteousness’ meaning is that it is supposed to be a translation, yet those Hebrew words are derived from older root words in other languages. For example the Hebrew word for the sun is ‘Shemesh’ while Shamash was actually the winged sun god of the Sumerians and Babylonians, and these civilizations are far older. By the time the Hebrews arrived in Egypt and saw the Egyptians they would soon enter the winged sun word ‘Ra’ into their language. This time though it meant ‘evil.’
What I am specifically saying here is that the Hebrews borrowed words, including the terminology of Melchizedek. Consider how English has the word taboo, and though used today the English language does not capture the entire meaning of the Polynesian notion from which it is derived. The Polynesian word for tapu, as used from Hawaii to New Zealand alike by my own Maori people carries so much cultural implication it is impossible to translate it into English that entire volumes have been written dedicated to just this word. What this means for our Melchizedek exploration is that the originators of any terms hold the deeper and true meaning of the real word as they conceived it. Once it is borrowed it loses some of its essence through the mentality of the new people adopting a shadow of it.
The first thing to clear up is the translation of Hebrews 7.11 “…you are a priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek.” Most western occult seekers assume that the ‘Order of Melchizedek’ is an actual Order, much like a Masonic or Rosicrucian Order, however there are several other translations that shed light on its real meaning:
“Thou art a priest forever after the manner of Melchizedek.” (JPS 1917)
“You are a priest forever, a rightful king by decree of Melchizedek.” (JPS 1985)
Another alternative keeps Melchizedek as the person being addressed:
“You are a priest forever by my order, Oh Melchizedek.”
What is interesting here is that one translation notes him as a King as well as a Priest, which brings us closer to the real Rosicrucian understanding between Melchizedek and Hermes Thrice Great as you will see. Either way there is no mention of any mystical society or ‘Order’ such as many assume. This is exactly why I concur, the Hebrew translation is not enough, we have to look at the older root words.
Melchizedek is a combination of root words.
MEL – CHI – ZEDEK
‘Zedek’ is derived from the Phoenician root Συδνκ = “Zedek” and while it also means righteousness in Hebrew, more importantly it also means ‘Jupiter’ and is a separate Canaanite god. The Canaanites worshiped Zedek and the lord of the city was called Adoni-Zedek in their language.
If we follow the trail Jupiter has always been Father of the Gods, either as Roman Jupiter, or as Zeus of the Greeks. Amun is also the father of the divine god-man Pharaoh, fathering the human god-made-flesh. The Rosicrucian sees Christ as the son of God, and following Hermetics we may take a leaf from Philo who identified Melchizedek with the Logos. Here is where it all gets interesting. 😉
In order to really understand what on earth is going on here we have to broaden our references. There are several other references to Melchizedek we need to account for.
In the Pistis Sophia, a compendium of Gnostic traditions, Melchizedek is not a physical person. He is a heavenly being whose job is to gather the purified light streams from the universe and deposit them in the Treasury of Light. In Book 4, ‘Zorokothora Melchizedek’ conflicts with the archons, who destroy as many souls as they can, and as well duels against the goddess Hekate, who holds souls prisoner in her realm. Working against her this Melchizedek destroys her prisons, setting free those souls inside.
It should be noted that there is nothing of the ‘human’ priestly Melchizedek to be found here. He is clearly outlined as a Principle Angel, perhaps with traces of a Celestial High Priest, or Invisible Sage of Sages, gathering enlightened souls to the realms of the highest being. He is also a Divine Warrior working against Lilith. Several times Christ and Mary name Melchizedek as ‘the Envoy’ of Light.
In another Gnostic text called the Second Book of JEU something really cool happens. Jesus is seen praying to God for ‘Zorokothora Melchizedek’ to ‘bring the water of the baptism of fire of the Virgin of Light.’ He does this for his disciples and Melchizedek grants the blessing. Here an interesting hierarchy seems to be at work, as after all Jesus is able to command demons, but must PETITION his Father to grant the presence of Melchizedek. Here again Melchizedek acts as an invisible Angel of Ordination.
Little is known of the title ‘Zorokothora’ but in our official Rosicrucian Order documents Zorokothora is connected with ‘Zarathustra,’ who is none other than Zoroaster; the founder of the ancient Fire Mysteries, but this isn’t a dead end of ideas. Where the trail gets hot is in the ancient meaning of Zoroaster. Hebrew tradition says that when Adam opened his eyes and saw Eve he said ‘Gomel’ which became the name of the Hebrew letter Gimel. Gomel means ‘thanks giving’ or praise, but in Pansophy the Tarot card associated to Gimel is the High Priestess. The translation of Zoroaster doesn’t mean ‘he who envoys Camels,’ as its Rosicrucian translation is ‘He who envoys goddesses.’
The real bang for your buck comes from the Book of Enoch, titled Enoch 2. Here Melchizedek is actually born of a virgin! His mother’s name is Sophanim, wife of the priest Nir (a brother of Noah), and he is conceived without any intercourse. (Clearly the name Sophanim is related to the goddess of Wisdom Sophia.) Her new born infant looks like a three year old child and begins to speak immediately. He is wise and made a priest by his family, and forty days later is taken to the Garden of Eden by the archangel Gabriel. His main function seems to be to act as an Ideal Future Figure, later consummated in the birth of Christ. The interesting thing is that most theologians don’t even want to touch this one, despite Epiphanius leaving accounts of an actual cult who followed him and were called ‘Melchizedekians.’
Now for my clarification of how it is conceived within the Rosicrucian Order.
Though largely swept under the carpet the above story seems to be a reasonable account because the ascension of the child Melchizedek happened just before the flood. This makes sense to me, and my conclusion is that God incarnated the Logos before the flood in Melchizedek, raised him through Gabriel for safe keeping, and then incarnated that Logos in Jesus. It was after all Gabriel who raised the child Melchizedek and also Gabriel who visited Mary to herald to her the divine birth of the son of god.
This actually implies that Christ does not belong to an ‘After Flood Race,’ but is a ‘Before the Flood Being,’ containing all the original light that was given to Adam, so that it could be reborn in our time. The Adam-Light was incarnated, and raised, allowing the earth to be wiped free, giving humanity a clean slate, and then it descends to earth again as a bridge to our original Light. Christ as the re-dispensation of Melchizedek also means the renewal of the original pre-flood life power in Man.
Firstly we see that not only is Melchizedek born of a virgin like Christ, but as his name implies he also a son of god. His name Melchizedek is a derivative from Zdik (Mel-che-zdik). This name appears as a holy god-name in the Kabbalah as Elohim Zadach. Zadach as we know is an ancient Canaanite name for God, so that Melchizedek means ‘Son of God.’ Now if you look into the meaning it is suggestive of the Egypto-Papyrus tradition of practical mystical sages who were able to become adopted by a god. Like the name Melchizedek and Zadach, the name Yehashua (YHShVH) is also derived from YHVH. This means that the Hebrew spelling for Jesus is actually derived from the name of his Father.
Looking at the two figures, the first is the ‘Son of Zadach,’ the second is the ‘Son of YHVH,’ which implies a cultus or transmission of a priesthood who were at some time, through some experience, adopted as the son of a god and deified, and made representative of their higher god in the flesh. However, if we follow the meta-history between these god names, Zadach as Jupiter appears to be the name of the God of the pre-flood civilization, while YHVH appears to be the name of God after the flood. This implies that not only did God renew the earth through the destruction of the flood, but also renewed Himself.
Name of God is Zadach
Name of God is YHVH
Virgin Birth by Sophanim
Virgin Birth by Maria
Gabriel Takes to Heaven
Gabriel Brings to Earth
There is more than meets the eye here for not only is there mention of a Christian son of god within Rosicrucian theology, but there is also that glaring son of god mentioned in the works of Hermes.
The Rosicrucians were also quite explicit on the connection between the Sage Hermes and Jesus Christ. The two doctrines, being that of Hermes in the Corpus Hermetica and that of Christ, were reconciled through various European theologians who sought to bring them together in some sort of historical coherence. This was important for them, after all the books of Hermes though Egyptian appeared to be truly inspired by God, so much that they inspired the Rosicrucian movement. Many flocked to read them, but also wanted to examine them as being within the realm of Christianity. The essential reconciliation between the two did take place, and this happened just beautifully.
In the Corpus Hermetica the sage Hermes is instructed by the son of god. Said to be the father of all magicians and alchemists, Hermes is instructed by a figure known only as Poimandres, who God sends to Hermes. This Poimandres as son of god is quite fitting because his name has two translations. The first Poimandres understanding is the Egyptian ‘Peime-nte-re’ meaning ‘Knowledgeof Ra.’ The second Poimandres is its Greek translation, meaning ‘SHEPPARD OF MAN.’ Like Melchizedek, this Poimandres is also a non-human entity, an angelic Light figure as son of god, and because his name means Sheppard the Europeans neatly assumed that Hermes had received his divine instruction from Christ in heaven, long before Christ had incarnated into the body of Jesus. Though it stood as ‘Egyptian wisdom’ the Christian Hermeticists of the 1500’ started to view Poimandres as a visionary pre-incarnated form of Christ. This can only mean that Poimandres is none other than Melchizedek after he was raised up to heaven.
Without Hermes we cannot get to the Rosicrucian understanding of ‘Melchizedek,’ hence the Egyptian detour. The big elephant deposited in the room is embodied within the name of ‘Hermes Trismegistus,’ being the ancient title awarded to Hermes on account of divine honors, which the Pansophic system regards as a direct dispensation from Melchizedek onto Hermes.
This word ‘Trismegistus’ title means “Thrice Great” referring to Hermes as: Philosopher, Prophet and King, which is otherwise called Termaximus, meaning ‘Three Times Great Hermes.’ Melchizedek himself, appearing to Hermes as Poimandres, is clearly the one ordaining this Termaximus transmission, seeing that Melchizedek is orchestrating a higher communication of Light into the mysteries, and was also named a priest and king forever. It is through the Corpus Hermetica where we read the oral teachings that transpired between an angelic manifestation of Melchizedek and the person Hermes.
This also implies that Melchizedek is the secret invisible superior of the mysteries, who seeks to regenerate the mystery teachings, not only in Egypt but as we saw through the gnostic invocation of Jesus, may also be called to bless mystics assembled under the Light of the Holy Spirit.
Most students of the western occult tradition ignore how the Thrice Great mantle is not only a mantle for Hermes alone, but also refers to the Threefold Office of Christ.
Continuing this Melchizedek transmission, the Threefold Office, in Latin Munus Triplex, is the Christian doctrine that Jesus Christ holds three offices as well. It was taught by Eusebius at the same period when the works of Hermes were being put to paper… Briefly his Threefold Office implies:
- A KING is a person of supreme authority over their kingdom.
- A PRIEST is a mediator, a bridge between God and Man.
- A PROPHET is a messenger sent by God and calls people to his fold.
It was also called the Triple Cure because Christ here is seen as a triple remedy to our fallen condition. As everything here suggest the ‘Termaximus’ term applies not only to Hermes who was ordained with these attributes by Greeks and Egyptians, but also to Christ who was ordained by Melchizedek. Here now we can finally conclude that a Thrice Great anointment runs from the pre-flood Melchizedek, who manifest to Hermes as Poimandres and re-instates the mysteries in Egypt, which is finally transmitted to Christ as the post-flood conclusion of the power raised up to heaven awaiting its re-manifestation.
Based on all the gathered information and some intuition here is what we know of Melchizedek:
The Mystery of the name Melchizedek is known:
- Zedek is the name of Jupiter and the name of God before the flood.
- After the flood God revealed himself as YHVH until the time of Moses.
- Melchizedek is the Son of Zadach, the pre-flood Son of God.
- YHShVH is the Son of YHVH, the post-flood Son of God.
- Melchizedek was born of a Virgin, named Sophanim.
- After 40 days he was raised to heaven by Gabriel.
But before descending into the second birth Melchizedek existed as Light Being in the heavens.
His qualities were many:
- Warrior of Heaven, combating archons.
- Celestial Priest, delivering blessings to holy water.
- Gatherer of Light, drawing in rivers of light to heaven.
- Liberator of Souls, fighting Hecate and freeing souls she has imprisoned.
- Angel of Ordination, initiating priest and overseeing the rites of Jesus.
- His name Zorokothora Melchizedek means ‘He Who Envoys Goddesses.’
During this time, as the heavenly ascended Melchizedek he becomes Poimandres.
- His second title here is Sheppard of Man.
- He initiates the Termaximus or Thrice Great transmission/priesthood.
- He raises and enlightens the Egyptian sage Hermes.
- He regenerates the post-flood civilization by teaching Hermes.
- Hermes creates the priesthood and teaches the arts and sciences creating civilization.
After being raised by Gabriel, the same angel Gabriel visits Mary who gives birth to Christ.
- It appears that Melchizedek is not the same being as Christ, but that only his Light is transmitted to the seed inside Mary, regenerating humanity with pre-flood power.
- Christ is born re-manifesting the pre-flood covenant between Man and God.
- As Jesus he invokes Melchizedek, his former glory, to empower Light to his rituals.
- Christ then becomes a vehicle for the light of Melchizedek.
- And thus Christ is awarded the Termaximus or Thrice Great position.
Please note that this examination is not a literal visitation of Biblical ideas simply taking accounts as fact, nor are we taking anything literally in the sense of actual events, but rather instead are viewing these legends as just that; LEGENDS. Often called ‘Traditional History’ within Orders, and being within the same vein as the Rosicrucian legend of C.R.C or the Masonic legend of Hiram Abif such an examination is employed to view the spiritual meta-historical origins which breathe life into the current.
Rudolf Steiner himself for example viewed Hiram Abif, the masonic hero, as the first incarnation of one person, who would later return as the Rosicrucian founder Christian Rosenkreuz, and in whose third incarnation he would appear as Saint Germaine, the famous immortal alchemist. This effectively connected the Masonic legend to the Rosicrucian legend allowing for smoother transition from Masonic to Rosicrucian degrees of initiation. Steiner called this the ‘Temple Legend.’ Similarly Neo-Platonist of the 1500’s already took measures to connect the Hermetic figure of Poimandres to Christ so what this new Rosicrucian rendition does is enrich that process to the next level, allowing for a transition in the legend process that flows through Rosicrucian initiations.
One of the real reasons this exercise arose was because within our own Rosicrucian Order ‘Termaximus’ is the title of our highest degree of initiation. So this short introduction was to help explain some aspects of the title and its Rosicrucian meaning. Phew, thanks for reading all this, and hope you enjoyed the read.
Your friend on the path,
Samuel Timoti Robinson. Grand Hierophant of the Mystica Aeterna.
This section offers commentaries on my blog post from Rosicrucian brothers and sisters from other Rosicrucian Orders. Hailing from several organizations this section brings us together in a new incentive, started right here at the Mystica Aeterna, in order to help develop sharing and community throughout our beautiful tradition, no matter our differences, forming us into one Rosicrucian brotherhood, of connection, compassion and sharing.
Filed under: Ancient Mysteries