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Das Lehrsystem des Ordens der Gold- und Rosenkreuzer – Bernhard Beyer (1923/2008)

I was curious if I could find any material of the German ‘extra-Masonic’ order of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer (1757-1787). Just like when I was doing the same for Fraternitas Saturni I found my way to the Austrian publisher Geheimes Wissen (‘secret knowledge’). I thought that Pansophia was perhaps a publication of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer and that the publisher republished it. That is not the case though.

It appears that in the 1920’ies in Germany there was a “neo Rosicrucian” movement (according to the German Wikipedia) called “Pansophische Gesellschaft”. Between 1923 and 1925 they published six volumes of a periodical called Pansophia, Urquellen Inneren Lebens (‘Pansophia, primal sources of inner life’). The third volume of which contains material of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer.

The author / compiler of this work went to different Masonic archives to gather material of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer. This material is ordered by the nine degrees that the order had. Beyer did not manage to gather a complete archive. Of some degrees he found ritual texts, of other degrees only secondary material. He was not able to consult the famous Kloss archive in Den Haag which also contains Gold- und Rosenkreuzer material.

Beyer starts with giving some background to the material. Even though the order was not founded by Freemasons, it was initially intended to be a system for ‘higher degrees’, so only Master Masons could apply. Later the “Juniores” degree was added which is basically a summery of the three “craft” degrees of Freemasonry. Of the first degrees you get (snippets of) the rituals with educational texts and Beyer’s elucidations. It is not always clear what text is of Beyer and what of the material that he gathered.

The Gold- und Rosenkreuzer different substantially from ‘Freemasonry proper’. The first degree has three tracing boards for example. Several of the rituals need more rooms than what is common in Freemasonry. Almost needless to say, but the texts are much more esoteric than your ‘average’ Masonic ritual. There are interesting alchemical texts, also what appear to be instructions for practical Alchemy. There is a bit of Kabbalah. But mostly, many texts are mostly procedural and rather dull. Detailed descriptions of what and how a table should be set, requirements, etc.

The book contains several images, some in colour and all the way at the back, there is a fold-out page. Oddly enough none of the images are anything as elaborate as the famous Geheime Figuren which are also supposed to be from the same group and published around the same time. Perhaps the present title was internal material and for the Geheime Figuren they set out to make a better looking publication for a larger audience.

All in all the publication gives a fair insight into the working of the Gold- und Rosenkreuzer. In the German language by the way.

2008 Geheimes Wissen, isbn 3902705027

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