Rosicrucianism, developed in Bohemia in the early seventeenth century, appears to be the direct result of John Dee's travels through Germany in 1589.48
There are three key works of Rosicrucian philosophy. The first of these works is the Fama Fraternitas written in German, and originally published (though circulating in manuscript for perhaps four years earlier) in 1614. The Fama Fraternitas or A Discovery of the Fraternity of the Most Noble Order of the Rose Cross, tells the story of a mysterious Christian Rosencreutz and his fraternity, dedicated to healing the sick. The text particularly describes the discovery of Christian Rosencreutz's tomb, the vault which was the inspiration for the sanctum sanctorum used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Paul Foster Case had such a vault painted for his BOTA, and many others may still exist today). The legend states that his body was found perfectly preserved, holding the Book 'T,' which has been symbolically connected with the Tarot.49
A second work, expanding on the Fama Fraternitas, appeared two years later in 1616. This was the Confessio Fraternitas or The Confession of the Laudable Fraternity of the Most Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross, Written to all the Learned of Europe. Unlike the Fama, which appeared in the vernacular German, the Confessio is in latin, and clearly aimed at a more intellectual reader. Also, unlike the Fama, it is quite boring.
The author of these two works is unknown. However a third major work, closely connected with the Fama and the Confessio was written by Johann Valentine Andrae. A cloud has long covered the Chemical Wedding of 1616 due to Andrae's later claim that this work of his youth was only a joke. Confusion may arise in that the text is unquestionably a serious and enlightened religious tract. As Rudolph Steiner wrote on his essay on the Chemical Wedding: "Anyone who knows what the human soul experiences when it has opened the gates into the spiritual world, need only read a few pages of the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz of the Year 1459 to recognize that the descriptions given in this book are based upon genuine spiritual experience."50
Frances Yates tries to clear up the mystery with a few words. She notes that in discussing his work, Andrae used the latin word ludibrium, which means a mockery or a sport. He spoke of "the ludibrium of the vain Fama," or the "ludibrium of the fictitious Rosicrucian Fraternity." But Yates proposes that in the seventeenth century the word could also mean a play, or a comic fiction, and that Andrae was suggesting that Rosicricianism was theatrical in a positive and educational sense.51
Our intention here is not to inundate the reader with the weighty theorums of literary research, only to make clear the controversy which surrounds so many of the occult documents which have contributed to the system of Hermetic Qabalah.
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