Theosophical Encyclopedia


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[James A. Santucci][1]

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.[2]   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”[3] 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.[4]  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] 

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’.” 



[Editor E. Gerry Brown’s Announcement in the July 1, 1875 issue of the Spiritual Scientist (vol. II, no. 17): 199.


We extend the right-hand of fellowship to the young author, who, under the nom de plume of “Hiraf,” makes his first appearance before our readers to day.

He is a young lawyer who has been studying his profession in the office of one of the most famous of American counsellors, and is one of the best educated yonng [sic] men in the conntry [sic].  He is at once an expert chemist, an excellent linguist, a student of natural philosophy, and an enlightened theoretical Occultist.  His intelligence has been quickened by a very extensive course of travel, which embraced a residence of several years in Oriental countries, where he had the opportunity for gratifying his natural tastes for the theoretical study of Hermetic philosophy, by visits to noted Brahmins, and their holy places.

The essay of our new contributor, while embodying some material errors, is valuable, and will probably afford to many of his readers their first conception of the importance of the claims of the Occultists.  We trust that it may induce such to study the history and achievements of the great men whose names have from time to time been identified with the secret brotherhoods.  It is undeniable that the best of evidence has been furnished by their bitterest enemies, to warrant the suspicion that the alchemists at one time possessed the secret of the philosophers’ stone, and if they did not actually have the Grand Magisterium, or Elixir of Life, they certainly did employ a medicine of such wonderful properties that it was a panacea for almost every disease.

We need not go back as far as the time of the School of Alexandria to satisfy ourselves upon these points, for the history of modern times supplies the proofs.  But, if the myriad parchments of the Egyptian and Chaldean philosophers had not been destroyed by Diocletian, and by Cæsar’s order, sacrilegiously used to heat the baths of Alexandria, in all probability we should now know a thousand times more than we do of the secrets of Nature, and man’s psychological powers.  In the department of the arts, alone, the ancients knew of processes in the handling of metals, glass, dyes, the mechanical powers, and the making of textile fabrics, now supposed to be lost, which were infinitely superior to what we are familiar with.

More important than these material branches of Science, was their familiarity with, and dominion over the denizens of the spiritual world.  To disbelieve this fact is to expose one’s stolid ignorance of not only secular but sacred records.  The practical exploits of Hermes, Appollonius, Raymond Lulli, Paracelsus, Cagliostro, St Germain and others, do not more perfectly establish it than the testimony of the Bible, and of the religious books of other creeds.  The Jewish “Kabbala” (signifying a Reception), was simply a compilation by Esdras of the Secret Laws of Nature, which, up to that time, had been communicated orally from each generation of priests to its successor, until they finally came into possession of the Sanhedrim, and were carved by Esdras upon tablets of box-wood, at the dispersion of the twelve tribes, to prevent their irrevocable loss.  The Kabbala comprised two portions, the external, and the secret.  The former related to the things of Matter, the latter to those of Spirit.  The secret and mysterious portions, those which should not be profaned by exposure to the common, vulgar herd, were written in seventy secret books, according to the number of the Elders.  The existence of these books is confirmed by Picus (of Mirandola), who says he bought them “at a great price,” and Eugenius, Bishop of Rome, ordered their translation, but died before the work was undertaken.

Since that time all trace of these precious writings is lost, and unless they are in the hands of some secret fraternity of the East, we may never hear of them again.  The Kabbala of more modern times is a mere sham of alphabetical quips and quirks, which is little better than a treatise upon punctuation, and should not be confounded with the real Kabbala.

As knowledge was originally confined to the priestly order, so after the lapse of time it passed into the hands of secret hermanidades, or fraternities, of philosophical students, and the various sects known as Rosicrucians, Gnostics, Paracelsists, etc., were more or less in possession of the knowledge which is synonymous with power.

It is a most interesting study to compare the latest discoveries in physical science with the writings of Philalethes, Lulli, Arnoldus de Villanova, Robertus de Fluctibus, and other Hermetic philosophers.  Tyndall’s flourish of trumpets over the discovery that “in matter is contained the promise and potency of every form of life,’ is but the echo of the announcements of the alchemists as to the nature of the “Heavenly Chaos,” or primordial matter.

Of the philosophy of spiritual phenomena, we neither have nor can have the remotest idea until we retrace the steps of the Occultists, and find the paths which led them through the Elementary Sphere to the Æthereum and Empyreum, where the angels and archangels dwell around the throne of God.

“Hiraf’s” essay being too long for insertion in one number will be continued and completed next week, and it will be immediately followed by a reply, from a most competent hand, which will point out the errors into which Hiraf has fallen, by reason of his unfamiliarity with the practice of the Occultists.]


From the Spiritual Scientist



[Vol. II, no. 17 (July 1, 1875): 202]  

In response to a request made by the editor of the Spiritual Scientist, the author, who is but a novice in the Rosicrucic mysteries, proposes a series of brief papers on a subject which has begun to excite the interest of the more advanced Spiritualists throughout the country. The “shot fired round the world” at Rochester thirty years ago has not yet lost its momentum, but still shows its force in the millions of believers today through all Christendom.

In spite of fraud and corruption among self-styled Spiritualists, in spite of the jeers and ridicule of pseudo-scientists, the movement has progressed to gigantic proportions. To this vast audience the author addresses himself, trusting that their oharity [sic: charity] will excuse any and all of his short-comings, and that their interest in so profound a subject may enable him to enter with them into a pleasant, intellectual communion.

Yet he feels much diffidence in approaching his theme. Conscious that his work will come under the gaze of adepts of higher orders, to whom it may seem as the mere alphabet of knowledge, or of critics and cynics to whom it may appear as an idle jargon of empty words, he almost hesitates at putting the plow to the furrow.

He is comforted, however, in the hope that through his humble instrumentality many a believer may be assisted in advancing forwards the higher realms of thought and wisdom and that a few more rays of light from the archaic altars may illumine the shadows of today.

Within the past few years some attempt has been made to solve the mystery of life by scientific investigation. The facts and theories in regard to the correlation and conservation of force, advanced by Count Rumford.[5] Grove,[6] Faraday,[7] and Liebig[8] have started new methods of investigating life. It is determined that light, heat, electricity, and motion are all convertible material affections; assuming either as the cause, one of the others will be the effect. So much electricity produces so much heat, so much magnetism so much light. This has lead to the generalization that no force is ever annihilated – forces may change, or rather interchange, amid all these energic transmutations, but no force is ever lost. All matter now existent has been from time everlasting. What in reality matter is has not as yet been shown by science or speculation. Of late the theory, first enunciated by the genius of Boscovitsh,[9] that all matter is a static combination of forces has justly engaged the attention of philosophers. It will be thus seen that the law of dynamic conservation embraces the universe. It directs the movements of the stars and holds in ordered activity the procession of the firmament; all force is, was and is to be—and is “portion and parcel of dead unknown.”

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. Thus do the latest researches and doctrines but echo the utterances of the teachers of old.

The oriental philosophers taught the same dogma but in grander forms; to them perdured the universe was of God, was God—there was no God but the combined forces and laws manifested in the great universe. Their pantheism has endured and through the ages. The Greek sages in the early purity of their faith like Pope’s Indian, saw God in clouds and heard him in the wind.

The philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato permeated Gnosticism in their interpretations of Scripture,—when they taught that all natures, intelligible, intellectual, and material are derived by successive emanations, or eons (aiones) from the ever-welling fountain of deity.

Through all ages and in every land there have been those who saw and wrote in eternal words the oracles of the infinite. Few indeed they were,—few indeed can be those, who deny to themselves the pleasures of this world to revel in the joys of the soul. To them the words of Zarathustra were no mere symbols,—nor meaningless were the sacred sentences of the Vedas. The Mischna and Gemara,[10] the old and new testaments,—all of the ethnic songs of the race spoke to them in a hidden tongue.  Therefore we claim that at this day, when the whole scientific world is awakening at new and start ling revelations, because of the magnitude of the field we are in danger of passing over the greatest of great mysteries. There are a few minds, which either in their greatness or happy in the secret possession of the richest wisdom, are awaiting their time, when scientific turbulence shall have subsided, to give unto the fruits of their ripest knowledge. Like the ancient gymnosophists,[11] who invented the ever-burning mystic flame, they are still unwilling that the world should share with them the secret of secrets. Like the alchemists, to them the splendor and tawdriness of human life have no charms. Having rent the curtains of the inner temple, they laugh at the vanities of book science, and are immeasurably above earth and its pettiness until, as Jennings has said, “the very possession of the heights of knowledge induces them rather to stay up there amidst the stars than descend.”[12] These men have for us words of are stuck out from the eternal rock of absolute truth. The Darwins and Spencers of today are but their servants: who have helped the halt and the blind up one step on the great stairway of knowledge. The theory of evolution presents but a fragment of the truth, and the same law, which in their blindness evolutionists refuse to follow beyond the material, should serve to carry them into the realms of the spiritual, where it works out its greatest justification and its noblest triumphs. For the leading fault of our times is a dogmatic littleness which persistently declines to open its eyes least it should be forced to see. But even the blindest are becoming conscious that, in the history of the human mind Cabalism, Alchemy and Rosicrucianism have not been accorded their proper place, and that the great nursing-mother of all later intelligence, Ancient Egypt, has been overlooked with a rate perversity. Many are conversant with Nilotic liturgical formulas, but a knowledge of the esoteric religious ideas within these as symbolic manifestations is confined to a remarkably small circle. For the intricate by-ways of religious hermeneutics need the profundity and continuous thought of the greatest minds;—no mean soul can ever scale the stairway of the Divine.

Who can trace the central solar conception through the length and breadth of those radiant ideas and ceremonies? Can we look the great RA in the face and not be blinded by his splendor? Can we raise the dim veil from Isis and Osiris?

If pre-christian Rome has perpetuated herself by the adoption of a new religion from the East, we can see shining through as a germinal principle the cultus of Elagobal,[13] and the measure of its inherent truth is the measure of its inheritance from the Cabala and the mystic learning of the Orient. The scientific presumption that the end has been reached is as sadly ludicrous and as unphilosophical as the cosmic myth of the World-tortoise. Sabaism[14] converted Christianity, and cabalism shall convert science.  As the christian “Dies Natalis”[15] is nothing more than the “Dies Natalis solis invicti,”[16] so the discovery of heat as a mode of motion and of life will be found to be the basic idea of the ancient system of the Sunrise. The modern thinker iterates in English prose the wondrous melody of Chaldea’s greatest son, but O! with far less discernment, dignity or truth, when he proclaims “Glorious Apollo is the parent of us all; Animal heat is solar heat; a blush is a stray sunbeam; Life is bottled sunshine, and Death is the silent-footed butler who draws the cork.”[17]

Before the Ain-soph (En-soph) whom Spencer has unwittingly discovered, the thought of India, the formulas of Egypt, and the science of modern christendom stand forever reconciled, in perfect harmony.

 If, then, the Cabalists who stood nearest to creation, saw and explained the causes of all life, all form, all law almost in the words of Spencer, so far as they go,—if the world, having forgotten them for ages, now awakens to the truth of a part of their teachings, where is the logic in denying the truth of the remainder thereof, if such remainder flows naturally from what precedes? Now that it has taken thousands of years to prove to our satisfaction the truth of their premises, and if we now at least find therein no error, no flaw, is it not more than irrational, worse than suicidal to reject the deductions that logically ensue? These teachings can alone explain the great central truths of the universe, developed already in Brahmanism, Zarathustrism, Islamism, Mosaism, Christianity, and the godless science of the latter-day enquirers.

[Vol. II, No. 18 (July 8, 1875): 212-213]

 Let us then call to the van these occult philosophers. The world will recognize its leaders. Paracelsus,[18] Robert Flood,[19] Kuhnrath,[20] Hoffman,[21] and a host of others must once more be assiduously studied. The magi who exhausted both spheres must be recalled from the tomb of oblivion. The inspiring first principle of fire, or light, must be sought until we comprehend at least the “divine, ineffable spirit—the Immortal emanates, until we see that man lives upon naught but the “gross purgation’s of celestial fire,” and admit that man, having fallen into the shadow and corruptions of existence, needs that mighty exterior Hand to rescue and restore him to his original Light and Rest. The giant plexus of religious creeds and faiths has one master-thread pervading all its ramifications.

Only thus can we attain unto a knowledge of the great First Cause, the Ain-soph, and the mystic emanations of the ten.

When we shall have at length traversed the mundane, and discovered the Demiurge, and thus discerned Achamoth,[22] the lowest of the eons, when we shall have conversed with the spirits of the pleroma, and shall have the Bathos or Abyss,[23] we shall meet the Gnostic God, one with the Ain-Soph and the Unknown.

 We see how running back the line of truth in Spencer,[24] Van Hartmann[25] and Hegel,[26] into the past, through Gnosticism and Manichaeism, Christianity and Islamism, Zarathustrism and Brahmanism, we find it drawn from the web of ancient love and wisdom.

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 masters.

Strange as it may seem, Rosicrucianism is almost forgotten,—remembered only as an entertaining theme for the poet and novelist.

There are said to be Rosicrucian colleges in England, but they can only be such in name, for by the seventh rule, “the Rosicrucian becomes and is not made.” In the admirable list prepared by Col. Olcott in his last work, only ten of several hundreds of authorities can be used for either reference or information,—while in the reviews and magazines of the present century, there are not more than a dozen papers which will bear perusal.

Feeling himself justified, therefore, in writing, by the scarcity of works upon the subject, the author trusts that his articles may both entertain and instruct upon a topic new to almost all his readers. If any desire further knowledge upon the subject than these articles will afford, they may obtain what they wish, (if it lies in our power), by addressing us in care of the Editor. Communications from the higher orders, 4th, and 6th, respect fully requested.


Those who devote their lives in purity and righteousness to the search of wisdom, become, after a time, whose length depends upon their subjective and objective inertia and the divine forces, untrammeled by the bonds of sense and passion, and behold the universe no longer “through a glass darkly,” but face to face.

 To him, the novice, the all-world is threefold, the sphere of man, the sphere of nature, and the sphere of God; or, as is laid down by the ancient sages, microcosm, the macrocosm, and the super-mundane emanations. The evolution of life is perpetually from the macrocosm into the microcosm, and is the third physical emanation. The microcosm in one in its end, viz.; the attainment of the spiritual, and the final co-association with the Eu-Soph [sic]; it is several in its growth, viz.; in the gradual elimination of the mundane, and the macrocosmic bonds.

The lowest life is the microcosmic bud, and is self-locked, seeing naught, knowing naught of its illusive environment; the higher life, the microcosmic flower, be it of the beast, or of the swarming millions of men, dimly sees and knows itself and the other self; but, purblind, reckons these the end-all and the be-all, here and now, as well as yonder and forever. The highest life, the microcosmic fruit, half-realized in a few grand types, Christ, Buddha, and perhaps Khoung-fou-tsee, pierces the clouds which surround and shut in the soul, and sees, in never-failing beauty, the august emanations of Him, styled Perun, Bom, God or Al-fadir. To him, the adept, the brother of the seventh order, the thunder march of circumstance sounds not, as Lucretius dreamed, like the thoughtless, aimless falling of untold atoms, nor, as the Scotch Cynic pictured, like the “rush of a mighty mob,” but as the everlasting harmony of the Divine, rolled from the great organ of time. In the clear light of his intelligence, all creeds and covenants, the dreams and graspings of the microcosmic flower, melt away, while truth, the principles of things, stand out bright and eternal.

Thus to him who rises through study and holiness into the higher powers, all mysteries become unraveled, and new faculties, or the new use of old, old faculties is given. Right, moral and mental right, becomes moral, mental, and physic might. 

The sage becomes the mage, the master of the Ku Klos.[27] He transmutes all elements, interchanges the forces, and thus defies time and space, learns, though he never uses it, the secret to immortality and life, and works “miracles,” such as was wrought on Galilee.

To the adept of the first, the novice of the second, 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. The One is centripetal, and matter; the other centrifugal and force. The one is male and vertical; the other female and horizontal. The All combining these is the Divine or the Unknown, and hence his symbol, the composite of emblematic lines, the cross. Hence the microcosmic flower, unwitting, but with truth, has always typified the Invisible by the cross. Be it among Christians, who employ the “Crucifix;” Skandinavians and Goths, “Thor’s hammer:” – Latins and Greeks, “Jove’s thunderbolt;” Mohamedans, the “intersected crescents” Egyptians, the “cruciform Ibis;” Aztecs and Toltecs, the “black X” of their teocalli,—the same symbol stands forth, forever significant.

Thus marriage, the union of male and female, is the microcosmic cross. But, alas! at the same time it is the confession of man’s inability to realize the ideal of the fourth physical emanation. At times, however, in the history of our race, have appeared those who have achieved their desire. And this is the end of the brethren of the rosy cross. The true Rosicrucian never marries, in thought or deed, but preserves himself aloof from the allurements of earthly passion. His principles go further. To him, happiness is a phantasm; the object of living is symmetrical development of the soul. The attainment of this aim requires the subjugation of the lower self, the macrocosmic mixings of the third emanation. Wants, desires, and ambition are sent, like unbidden quests, away. The magus rises free from the dross and dirt, so precious to the souls of men, of pleasure, wealth, power, dignities, fame and honor. Wisdom and righteousness, which are the twin sides of the same precious coin, are the goal of his days; to them he presses boldly onward, and, reaching them, is at last, after the chiliads of macrocosmic wanderings, again a co-associate of the Unknown.

 To the adept of the second, the All is one. One spirit actuates, in manifold manifestations, the Cosmos, which is but an emanation itself. In the sphere of man, the sprit is the soul; in the sphere of the Universe, it is the stellar energies; and in the third sphere it is the first principle, the Unknown. Thus, the Rosicrucian, in his symbolic hieroglyphs, depicts the soul as a little flame, a spark, or a flickering star; the macrocosm, a sea of observed light, or a full moon; and the panurgic power, by the ever-blazing sun. (Thus it may have been remarked by my readers that a short communication from the Brotherhood of Luxor[28] in a past number of the Scientist, was signed \ whereof both the stars, points and outline are symbolic of spiritual truths.)

The All is neither create, nor increate; for these are [213] conditional of limitation in time and space, and the All is illimitable, or, as the English metaphysician has phrased it unconditioned. Likewise, with the minor integers of the All;—of them neither create nor uncreate can be predicated. Their experiences are from chaos unto their re-association with the Divine. Until, therefore, the solemn moment of apotheosistic concomitance, the passage of the soul through the ever-changing vale of circumstance goes on. So that the Rosicrucian may exclaim, in the words of the stern Roman general,

            “Through what variety of untried being,

                 Through what new so cues and changes must we pass.”

To the mage, each leaf rustling in the breeze, each blossom perfuming the sunlight, each fish swimming beneath the wave, each reptile crawling in the marsh, each animal in the forest, each bird in the air, share with us the pulsations of the Unknown, which men call Life, and is with us the microcosm emanating from the macrocosm.

 This sacred truth led the Nilotic Rosicrucians to express the emanations and the sphere in the sacred tree, bird, bull and serpent, and to create a hieroglyphic geometry, whose grandeur and meaning have baffled all time, appearing and reappearing in Etruscan jewelry, Greek architecture, Roman astrology, Gothic and Saracen art, Mediæval witchcraft, and modern Free-Masonry.

 O! preachers and teachers of Christianity, who rail at Egypt, and call their colossal doctrines animal-worship: who pass imbecile jokes upon the Buddhist and Brahman sages; who laugh to scorn the Assyrian and Chaldean philosophers,—know ye not that your own little learning was proclaimed by us when you, sunk in obscene barbarism were torturing and slaying our own elect?—that your own semi-Semitic faith was one-half taken from the Nilotic universities by many men, whom ye ignorantly condense into one being. Moses, and the other half a poetic repetition of the principles of the Rosy Cross, the growth of fifty centuries?

To the novice and adapt, alike, one principle applies. “The Rosicrucian becomes and is not made.” The lesson of the Rosy Cross is not to be learned by the ignorant or lustful, the grasping or the ambitious. “To him who seeks the truth, the truth will come.”

The possession of truth is not knowledge, but wisdom, and wisdom is neither bought nor sold, nor gained by instruction, nor lost by time. The lesson of the Rosy Cross may contain facts, and these facts may be learned in the school-room of the midnight-study; but these facts are no more Rosicrucianism, than are so many bricks and stones the façade of a mighty cathedral. The scholar must glean from history and literature, and, above all, from the sciences, the truths, one by one, which, together, will make him an elect. Therefore it was that, unlike any sector institution the world has ever seen, the brethren of the Rosy Cross neither made nor attempted to make any converts. Contented that their lore must remain a sealed book until distant generations, when ignorance and pride, bigotry and lust should become evanescent and disappear; satisfied that the individual must become, and not be guided into, the real man; knowing that their mysteries, if divulged, would produce mere confusion and death; and seeing; above all, that,

            “God is still God,

                 And his love will not fail us.”

—they toiled on in their labors, and left the world alone, to ripen on in nature’s lengthy course toward the happy age.

 But, to re-assure the yearning and wistful seeker after truth, they chiseled in everlasting rock the symbolisms of their faith, and left, for coming years to winder at and study, the monoliths of Stonehenge, the giant-pillars of France and the Mediterranean, the fire-towers of Assyria, and highest of all, the pyramids of Egypt. These they bequeathed to all the future, not alone as pregnant with wisdom, but more as tokens of truth and love for the unborn children of man.


[1] [James Santucci, Sept., 2021]:  This introduction and subsequent entries from the Spiritual Scientist are extracted from Theosophical History XI, no. 2 (April 2005): 3–13. Except for some minor corrections made in my introduction, no additional changes have been made in the text.  Rudimentary notes, however, were added in order to clarify certain terms and concepts.

[2] Boris de Zirkoff, “[The “HIRAF” Club and its Historical Background],” H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings. Vol. I, third edition.  Compiled and edited by Boris de Zirkoff (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 100.

[3] Boris de Zirkoff, “[H.P.B.’s Lawsuit in America],” H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, I: 84.

[4] It is not clear whether all these exchanges were during testimony, but this is the indication of the Compiler in Blavatsky: Collected Writings, I, 84.

[5] Sir Benjamin Thompson Count Rumford (1753–1814) was noted for his work in thermodynamics. A collection of his complete works (five volumes) is available online on the Hathi Trust site.

[6] Sir William Robert Grove (1811–1896) was noted for his work on the conservation of energy and ionization, who also developed one of the first incandescent electric lights and the fuel cell.

[7] Michael Faraday (1791–1867) was perhaps best known for his work in electro-magnetism, producing for the first time an electric current from a magnetic field which in turn led to the invention of the electric motor and dynamo.

[8] Justus, Baron von Liebig (1803–1873) was noted for his work in organic chemistry and improving food production through the development of a nitrogen-based fertilizer.

[9] This reference is to Ruggiero G. Boscovich’s (Ruder Josip Boškovič: 1711–1787) a multi-talented polymath, astronomer, physicist, and much more.  His work on the nature of space and of matter conceived as nonextensive material points are among his contributions.

[10] The two parts of the Talmud, the Jewish oral law.  The Mishnah is original written version of the law and the Gemara the Rabbinic discussions of the observations in the Mishnah.

[11] “Gymnosophist” as understood by Kenneth MacKenzie in The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: The Aquarian Press, 1987 and first published in 1877), 296 is defined as a “section of ancient Indian philosophers, who lived in the forests, and dispensed with the use of clothes.  Their tenets comprehended the immortality of the soul, and its progressive migration into other bodies.  Great astronomical and scientific skill was attributed to them.  They practiced celibacy, drank no wine, and lived on the fruits of the earth….” MacKenzie offers a second description as Ethiopian anchorites.

[12] This quote appears with minor changes in the first (1870) edition of Hargrave Jennings’ The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries (London: John Camden Hotten, 1870), 15:  “The very possession of the heights of knowledge induces rather stay up there, amidst the stars, than descent.”   No change appeared in the third (1887) edition (London: John C. Nimmo, 1887), vol. I, p. 23. 

[13] “Elagabal” or “Elagabalus” is mentioned in a number of books prior to this article.  One prominent publication, Edward Burton’s two-volume Lectures from the Ecclesiastical History of the First Three Centuries, From the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, to the Year 313 (Oxford: Oxford University, 1839 (Second edition) describes “Elagabal” as an Arabic word signifying a mountain and a name given to the sun (Vol. II, Lecture XXIII, p. 273, note e.  

In an earlier work, Rev. John Bathurst Deane’s The Worship of the Serpent (London: J. Hatchard and Son, 1830), 93 the author explains the term might be read as “EL-OG-OB-EL” as “’the god OG, the serpent-god’,” and further notes that “OBEL” is probably the same as BEL, the “god of the Babylonians.”  Furthermore, the god was imported into Gaul and Ireland by Phœnetian mariners and subsequently identified as  “OGHAM” or  “OGMIUS.”   This god was a composite of Hercules and Mercury, the former bearing the club and the latter the caduceus (p. 93). 

        The worship of Elagabal was popularized in Rome from the time of Heliogabalus, the Roman emperor ruling from 218–222.  See Calmet’s Dictionary of the Holy Bible.  Seventh edition, revised by Edward Robinson (Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1835), 107.       

[14] The worship of stars or the heavenly bodies.  Also known as Sabianism.  A contemporary publication, The God of This World; The Footprints of Satan: or The Devil in History by Rev. Hollis Read (Toronto: Maclear & Co. Publishers, 1875), Sabianism is identified as the “earliest perversion of religion or form of idolatry” springing from “Magianism” or fire-worship, “the earliest perversion of religion or form of idolatry” (307).

[15] That is, “birthday.”

[16] This pertains to Christmas day (December 25), the birthday of Jesus.

[17] William Reade, The Martyrdom of Man.  Twentieth edition with an introduction by F Legge (New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1924)  399.  William Winwood Reade (1838-1875), was a traveler-explorer of Africa who wrote a number of work s as Savage Africa (1864), African Sketch-Books (1873), and The Story of the Ashantee Campaign (1874).  The Martyrdom of Man, described as a “universal history,” from a unique perspective.  Besides the above titles, Reade was also the author of The Outcast (1875) and the work that caused H. P. Blavatsky’s The Veil of Isis to be changed to Isis Unveiled. Reade’s The Veil of Isis or Mysteries of the Druids was published in 1861.

[18] Paracelsus (1493-1541) was born Philip Theophratus Bombastus von Hohenheim and was noted for his advances in the medical field, especially the use of drugs and various chemical compounds.  One of his treatises, however, representing a theological viewpoint was his “Book on Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders, and on the Other Spirits,”  beings—or ding as he called them—that inhabit the four element, therefore called elemental in Theosophical literature.  For selections of his writings, see Paracelsus: Four Treatises, edited with a preface by Henry E. Sigerist and translated by C. Lilian Temkin, George Rosen, Gregory Zilboorg, and Henry E. Sigerist (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press1941 [1996].

[19] Identifies also as Robertus de Fluctibus in the Editor’s Introduction.  “Flood” (or Fludd) was an English Paracelsian physician who lived from 1574 to 1637.  He was noted for his work on the connectedness and relatedness between the macro and microcosm in his work Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica and his defense of the initial Rosicrucian texts, such as the Fama Fraternitatis.

[20] Heinrich Khunrath (Henricus Khunrath: 1560-1605) was an occultist and alchemist and disciple of Paracelsus whose most famous work was the Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae or Amphitheater of Eternal Wisdom, an alchemical work which combines Christianity and magic.

[21] It is uncertain who is meant here.  Perhaps John George Hohman the compiler of magical charms and magical healings, printer, and author of such works as The Long Lost Friend, a collection of remedies as suggested in the sub-title: “Faithful & Christian Instructions containing Wonderous and Well-tried Arts and Remedies, for Man as well as Animals," this according to the English translation by Hohman himself of his originally German publication. Hohman (sometimes referred to as Hoffmann as in the passage above was active in the first half of the nineteenth century).

[22] In Gnosticism, the “æon” is an emanation of God that inhabits the “pleroma” or the “fullness” (Heaven) which exists beyond the material world. These emanations appear as male-female pairs known as syzygies.  The female half of one of the pairs is identified as Achamoth. Many orders or hierarchies of æons are recognized, with Achamoth on a lower level who is excluded from the Pleroma due to her passion.  In Valentinian cosmology, Achamoth is the lower Sophia or “Wisdom.”   Some observations on Achamoth appear in Irenæus’ Against Heresies I, Ch 4. For information on Gnostic terminology, see Andrew Phillip Smith, A Dictionary of Gnosticism (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2009).

[23] Bathos/Bythos or “Depth” refers to the "primal ground" and the Father from whom all emerges.  The Abyss refers to the underworld, the outer darkness or Hades.

[24] Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), noted for his views on evolution, psychology, and social Darwinism.

[25] Karl Robert Eduard Hartmann (1862-1942), the author of The Philosophy of the Unconscious, the Unconscious here referring to the basis or ground of the changing universe and of the conscious life of the sole.  See Ernst Kapp, “Philosophy of the Unconscious,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 4, no. 1 (1870): 84-85.

[26] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), an advocate of idealism, specifically “Absolute Idealism,” imparting the idea that the finite world reflects the only reality, mind.

[27] This form appears in Isis Unveiled (vol. I, 1877 edition), 553: “kúklos ànágkés, the “Unavoidable Cycle,” more generally known as the “circle of necessity.”  The term simply refers to “circle” and is related to Cyclops, cycle, eon-cyclo-pædia, cylinder.

[28] See last page but one of this number.  Editor Scientist.

[J. SantucciThis note refers to E. Gerry Brown’s announcement: “From the Spiritual Scientist (Editorial): April 29, 1875.  This reprint is located in the Spiritual Scientist II, no. 15 (July 8m 1875): 215 under the title “A Message from Luxor” and replicates the editorial in the April 29, 1875 issue of the Scientist (II, no. 8): 90.  The editorial appears in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, I: 85.  Very little is known about the Brotherhood of Luxor but for the research of David Board appearing in his article “The Brotherhood of Light and the Brotherhood of Luxor,” appearing in Theosophical History II, no 5 (January 1988): 149-57.  Therein, he examines the relationship between the Brotherhood of Light and Brotherhood of Luxor and the possible roles of Emma Hardinge Britten and Charles Sotheran.]

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