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Rose-Cross, the Masonic Lineage


Rose-Cross, the Masonic Lineage

It is around 1755 in Germany that different groups called the Golden Cross, and the  Rosy Cross appeared. At this time, none of these groups were real parts of Freemasonry.

It seems that these groups were not organized together and continued to be isolated from each other for some years after their creation. However, close contacts were initiated between these groups and Freemasons interested in esotericism. In 1757 some Golden and Rosy Cross groups took on a more masonic structure. At this juncture, the relationship between Freemasonry and Rose Cross was only the result of specific individuals who decided to explore and cross pollinate. However, in 1777, one of these circles became a unified group and took the name of The Golden and Rosy Cross of the old system. Its structure was masonic and it was composed of nine high degrees. They required their members to take a strict oath regarding rites and initiations, and they maintained a rigid hierarchical structure. This initiatic group recruited many Freemasons who were interested in the esoteric sciences, such as: Alchemy, Qabalah, and Christian esotericism. The group initiated members of different political affiliations; since they worked in harmony with each other, the group became quite socially influential. Despite this fact that it grew in size very quickly, the Order disappeared approximately nine years after its birth.

At about this same time in France, a Freemason named Tschoudy devised a new set of degrees which he named Knights of the Rose Cross. These degrees were progressively integrated into other masonic systems, as you can see in the Scottish Rite today.

The next important step in the evolution of this line was the constitution in Scotland of the first Societas Rosicruciana, known as the Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia (S.R.I.S.). This group was directly influenced by the Rose Cross’ publications in Germany. It is difficult to say whether there was a direct link between the two, but they claimed that there was. In 1867 the famous Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (Society of Rosicrucians in England or S.R.I.A.) was constituted from the S.R.I.S. and the discovery of certain manuscripts in the archives of the Grand Lodge. This order continues to exist today and is the center of all Societas Rosicruciana(s) that have been set up in every country around the world, including those in the United States. Its statements of philosophy are identical everywhere (in every group that is set up using this model) and this is valid evidence of the presence and influence of this line of the Tradition.

The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia is an independent Christian society. Admission is limited to Master Masons who are subscribing members of a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England or a jurisdiction in amity with this Grand Lodge and who accept and believe in the fundamental principles of the Trinitarian Christian faith. Even if the affiliation is restricted to the Freemasons, the very restrictive confessional clause is absolutely not in the spirit of what was built by the founders of Freemasonry at its inception. All Masons remember the power of the belief in a Supreme Being without defining Him. This is one of the critical and fundamental elements of Freemasonry; it is a warranty for world peace in our time. That is why this society of The Rose Cross is linked to Freemasonry, but must not be confused with the Rose Cross degrees present within Freemasonry. I am differentiating here between two disparate entities: one inside Freemasonry (R.C. Degrees) and the other outside of that body-(S.R.I.A.).

With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the S.R.I.A. has a very useful set of degrees that utilize the structure of the Qabalistic Tree.  Three Orders compose the progression (up the Tree): 1st order: Zelator, Theoricus, Practicus, and Philosophus. 2nd order: Adeptus Minor, Adeptus Major, and Adeptus Exemptus. 3rd order:  Magister, and Magus. The society is focused on the practice of the rituals, their Qabalistic studies and the writing of various research papers. These groups are very close to what is called now “research lodges.” Despite this faith’s obligation, the famous magical society called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn emerged from the S.R.I.A.. The three founders, William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers were Freemasons and members of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. The complete system was a magical development of the S.R.I.A. system, which attempted to integrate other esoteric elements such as the Enochian magic of John Dee, Agrippa’s writings, and, perhaps, some other documents that came from the old German Rose Cross movement. Their hierarchy was built along the same structural lines as Freemasonry. However, as soon as these organizations began initiating women and non-masons, they immediately lost recognition by the Masons, since women cannot be initiated into Freemasonry.

The original S.R.I.A. gave birth to two groups in the United States : 1- The Societas Rosicruciana in America 2- The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (Rosicrucian Society of the United States).

The first group is mostly inactive today. The second group (created in 1880) is still active according to the original tradition of this branch. Among the large number of Masonic allied structures found in the United States, one of them is a society called the Societas Rosicruciana. The 18° degree of the Scottish Rite is called the Knight Rose Cross. This degree is actually connected to symbolic elements of the famous fraternity (the Rose Cross). However, several initiations in Freemasonry also use this name or the symbol of the Rose Cross. Of course none of these degrees pretend to be the heir to the ancient Rose Cross that emerged in the 18th century. Several philosophers and scientists from this time (Paracelsus, Bacon, Fludd, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Newton, Leibniz, John Dee, Elias Ashmole, Robert Fludd, etc.) claimed to be members of the Rose Cross or were associated with this mysterious Order in some way.

– The Rose-Cross, the Pyramid, and the KORC

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