Published: Wednesday, 08 December 2021 11:13
[James A. Santucci]
Research requirements demand access to primary sources, especially if the scholar wishes a more accurate understanding of the history of the Theosophical Society. “Rosicrucianism” helped launch H. P. Blavatsky’s public career in occultism with the publication of her response to this article, “A Few Questions to ‘HIRAF’,” described by Blavatsky as her “first Occult Shot.” Included with HIRAF’s article is the “Announcement” of the publication, presumably written by the editor of the Spiritual Scientist, E. Gerry Brown, but which may have been partially or wholly written by Henry S. Olcott if we accept the statement of the Compiler of the first volume of the Blavatsky: Collected Writings. It is curious that the Announcement cites HIRAF as a lone individual when in fact the article was written principally by three authors, William E. S. Fales, Frederick W. Hinrichs, and William M. Ivins. In addition to these two individuals, James C. Robinson, and Charles Frederick Adams comprise the remaining two, forming the acrostic HIRAF by employing the first letters of their last names: [H(inrichs), I(vins), R(obinson), A(dams), and F(ales)]. All were engaged in the legal profession; none were expert chemists, none lived in the Orient for an extended period in order to study Hermetic philosophy or to visit “noted Brahmins and their holy places” as was claimed in the Announcement. Nor was the article the work of serious scholars on the subject; it appeared to have been more “as a joke than in earnest” that arose out of a conversation during one of their soirees, perhaps emerging out of Ivins’ and Fales’ association with Blavatsky when they represented her in a lawsuit involving her participation in the ownership of a farm on Long Island. It was during the trial (April 26 to June 1, 1875) that Ivins, Hinrichs, and Fales, knowing of Blavatsky’s interests in occultism, apparently took it upon themselves to discuss various esoteric subjects with her. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made during the soiree to write an article on esotericism. The result, in large part due to the editorial skill of Fales, was an article he named “Rosicrucianism.” The following is a summary of the some of the main points of the article:
1) Modern science has shed some light on the mystery of life by suggesting that no force—be it in the form of light, heat, electricity, and magnetism—is ever annihilated. Furthermore, force and matter are interrelated: “assuming either as the cause, one of the others will be the effect.”
2) “Dynamic conservation” is the law that permeates the universe, directing “the movements of the stars.”
3) All force—whether in the past, present, future—is part and parcel of “the dead unknown.” 
4) From “the ultimate essence have sprung or evolved the countless varieties and concatenations of force and matter, all interdependent, and all cognate with the unknown centre. Such is the discovery of the “godless science of the latter-day enquirers.”
5) Such is the teaching of the “oriental” philosophers, who add however, that the universe originates from God, is God; in other words, God is but the “combined forces and laws manifested in the great universe.” In other words, science is only discovering what has already been known to the ancients.
6) Such pantheism is discussed in the emanations of Pythagoras and Plato, as well as in the teachings of Zarathushtra and Zarathushtrism, of the Vedas and Brahmanism, of the Mishna and Gemara and “Mosaism,”, in the Old and New Testaments, of Gnosticism, of Manichaeanism, of Christianity, of Islam, of the Alchemists, Cabalists, and Rosicrucianists up to Spencer through Hegel, and Van Hartmann.
7) The “nursing-mother of all later intelligence” was ancient Egypt.
8) The prime purpose of the article, however, is to emphasize the role of Rosicrucianism and Rosicrucianists, who are regarded, respectively, as the lost wisdom and the apostles: “To regain this treasure, long lost by humanity, we must study the seers who gathered it, gem by gem, and coin by coin. Of that web, from the looms of the Nile, the power is Ain-Soph,—the Cabala is the gospel, and the Hermetics or Rosicrucians the apostles and the masters.”
9) The last part of the article discusses the gnosis or wisdom of the Rosicrucians. For the novice, the “all-world” is threefold: comprising God, humanity, and nature, or super-mundane emanations, microcosm, and macrocosm.
10) The evolution of life moves from macrocosm to microcosm.
11) The levels of the microcosmic life are the illusive or ignorant (the “microcosmic bud”), those who are partially aware, that is, who are somewhat aware of the self and other (the “microcosmic flower”), and those who reach the highest life (the “microcosmic fruit”), “half-realized in a few grand types, Christ; Buddha, and perhaps Khoung-fou-tsee (Confucius).”
12) The adept or the one who reaches the highest wisdom perceives the truth as One and as a set of complementary unions. The authors proclaim: “the all-world is two-fold,—flux and reflux. The one is justice, truth, courage, power; the Other, mercy, love, ‘altruism’, in the latter-day tongue.
13) To the novice and adept alike, “The Rosicrucian becomes and is not made.”
It is hoped that these observations will shed more light on Blavatsky’s response in her “A Few Questions to ‘Hiraf’.”
Read more: HIRAF’s “ROSICRUCIANISM”