During this Lenten Season, one’s mind might be open to things esoteric or spiritual. Below is an article I wrote on the Rosicrucians, which was published in Mr. & Ms. Magazine.
Aramis Aguilar is an hale and hearty 78 year-old CPA and lawyer. Rolly Sison is a 64 year- old engineer. Ignacio Ong is 58 and a retired insurance executive. They are called Adepts, having gone way beyond the Ninth Temple degree of their mystical Order. They are Rosicrucians.
Aguilar is the Regional Monitor for the Philippines. He joined the Rosicrucian Order when he was already in his 50’s.Rolly Sison is the Master Servant of the Pronaos. He joined the Order in 1972 when he was just 28 years old. Ignacio Ong, is the chair of the Quezon City atrium.
Da Vinci Code
In the phenomenally successful book Da Vinci Code, one of the main “characters” is not a person but a mysterious secret organization called the Priory of Sion, The Priory was supposed to have created the Knights Templar and is the protector of the Holy Grail. The Priory of Sion, according to the document in the French National Archives, belongs to the Rosicrucian Order.
The Brethren of the Rosy Cross, the medieval name of the Rosicrucian Order, is supposed to be composed of Adepts skilled and knowledgeable in alchemy and other esoteric / occult sciences. The Rosicrucians were also thought to have created Freemasonry. Famous Rosicrucians allegedly include the physicist Sir Isaac Newton, the composer Claude Debussy, the artist Leonardo da Vinci, the alchemist Robert Fludd, the writer Victor Hugo and many more great men in Western European history.
There are several Rosicrucian groups that exist today, with members called masters and grandmasters and with ranks like “the Illuminati”. They perform initiation rites and ceremonies dressed in monks’ robes that hark back to medieval times.
Ignacio Ong explained that they perform rituals “in order to affect or improve the environment so that students would be attuned to the activities during the convocation.” Sison added, “Rituals enhance the transfer of knowledge through the atmosphere.” Aguilar explained that all these rituals and paraphernalia are merely symbolic.
Founding of the Rosicrucian Order
Legend has it that German nobleman Christian Rosenkreuz, after his travels to the Middle East, founded the Order in the 15th century. His objective was the “universal reformation of mankind”. However, the Order died with him.
In the 17th century, the Order was revived and three manifestos were published anonymously, namely, Fama Fraternitatis in 1614, Confessio Fraternitatis in 1615 and the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz in 1616. The manifestos declared the rebirth of the Order and welcomed all seekers. The second manifesto states: “We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of all secrets”.
Earlier Origins – Egyptian, Early Christian and Islamic
Many Rosicrucians like Messrs Aguilar, Sison and Ong believe that the Order started much earlier than Rosenkreuz. Many claim that the origins came from the ancient Egyptian mystery schools established in the reign of Thutmose III ca. 1500 B.C.. Some even believe that Akhenaton (ca. 1355 B.C.), considered to be history’s first proponent of monotheism, was the Rosicrucian’s first Grand Master.
According to the 18th century group, the Golden and Rosy Cross, the Order started in 46 AD when Alexandrian Gnostic monk Ormus was converted by the Apostle Mark. From this conversion arose Rosicrucianism which blended Early Christianity and ancient Egyptian doctrines.
Writer Émile Dantinne (1884–1969) concluded that from the manifestos, it can be seen that in Rosenkreuz’s travels to Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, he met Muslim sages who taught him the “universal harmonic science”. Rosenkreuz was supposed to have studied the alchemical and esoteric teachings of Muslim wise men like Abu-Abdallah, Gabir bin Hayan, and Imam Jafar al Sadiq.
The Original Rosicrucians
The Rosicrucian Order was a secret society. Even those who wrote about the Brethren of the Rosy Cross like Michael Maier (1568–1622) of Germany and Robert Fludd (1574–1637) of England did not admit that they were part of the Brethren. Thus they are referred to by historians and researchers as Rosicrucianists instead of Rosicrucians.
In the aftermath of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) which reduced Germany’s population by half and redrew the map of Europe, most of the original Rosicrucians were said to have fled to the East. In this vacuum arose various Rosicrucianist groups.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, various Rosicrucian societies were established. There are two main streams – the esoteric Christian groups and the para-Masonic groups. The groups have nothing to do with each other.
Before World War II, Aguilar’s father was the head in the Philippines of the esoteric Christian group, the Rosicrucian Fellowship. Now, Aguilar is the head in the Philippines of the para-Masonic group, the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC).
Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosæ Rubæa et Auræa Crucis is the “traditional and authentic name” of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC). Founded by Harvey Spencer Lewis in 1915, it is probably the biggest and most accessible Rosicrucian society today.
From its name, one can infer that AMORC is a “mystical” group. Mysticism, according to the Order, “is a doctrine that the knowledge of reality, truth or God is attainable through direct knowledge.” This knowledge must be experienced from within and not from secondary sources. Sison defined mysticism as “the personal experience of the Divine.”
AMORC, like other para-Masonic groups, is heir to alchemical and hermetic knowledge, claims lineage from the original European Rosicrucians and organizes its internal structure like the Masons with its grades, initiations and titles.
There are not enough Filipino Rosicucians to put up an AMORC Lodge or Chapter. But there is a pronaos (ante-room) and an atrium in Quezon City and another in Davao City.
Masters Aguilar, Sison and Ong meet regularly with fellow Rosicrucians in the pronaos and atrium for convocation. The Philippines is under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge in Australia.
How Rosicrucianism help them
Ong says that after joining the Order, he realized his value to the company and the value of the company to the community. “What I was doing became relevant to the objectives of the company. Thus I got noticed,” Ong said.
He joined AMORC in 1980. Less than a year later, he got promoted to AVP and in less than two years, he became Vice President. “Normally, in the Ayala Group, it takes 4 to 5 years to be promoted,” Ong added.
Sison explained that Ong’s corporate promotions were due to his (Ong’s) “expansion of consciousness”. “When your consciousness expands, people will notice it,” he said.
For Sison, “evolving consciousness” is his personal concern. “The (Rosicrucian) teachings and exercises help me evolve,” he said.
“My relationship with other people is my testimony as a Rosicrucian,” said Aguilar. “(In the Order), we become more deliberate, more introspective,” he continued
Some (Psychic) Experiences
The Rosicrucian teachings can help members in all aspects of life – from the mundane to the miraculous.
Ong had a quintuple heart bypass more than a decade ago. “I was operated during the third week of May. By June, I was back in office and by the last week of June, I was already traveling,” he said. “But on July, I had another surgery (gallbladder). By October, I was already traveling overseas,” he continued. He said that people were saying, ‘masyadong mabilis ang healing’. The reason? “The whole time I was in the hospital, I was applying the principles of healing,” Ong explained.
Aguilar said that a member can also call on the other members to help in the healing process.
Regarding the psychic development of a person, the Regional Monitor recounted two amusing instances when he gamely exercised his ESP. “There is a restaurant where if you could cut a beef (roast or steak) weighing exactly 200 grams, you would get it for free. I did it twice,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar then recalled the time when he correctly divined how many beans were inside a particular jar.
Sison said there is a story about the first Imperator of AMORC and his alchemical skills. H. Spencer Lewis allegedly demonstrated in a closed door Rosicrucian convention the transformation of lead into gold.
For Aguilar, the Rosicrucians’ goal is the development of the Inner Self. Ong maintained that all of them are trying to listen to their Inner Voice. “All of us are seeking,” Ong said. For Sison, the goal is “to have an evolved consciousness, to improve oneself and to realize one’s true Identity.”
According to AMORC literature, “There is no greater joy than discovering your life’s purpose…They (Rosicrucian teachings) appeal to both heart and mind, giving a continuous path to enlightenment. You will learn how to create your own destiny; find creative solutions to life’s everyday challenges and realize your connection to universal consciousness.” (END)
Published in Mr. & Ms. Magazine , Sept. 2006 issue