Tag Archives: Jan van Rijckenborgh

Elementary Philosophy of the Modern Rosycross * Jan van Rijckenborgh (isbn 9067320048)

The striking title of the book was the direct reason for me to buy this book quite a couple of years ago. It is always nice to have a book on the shell in which you can quicly find a few things of what a certain group / streaming has to say about certain things and back then I lacked some descent Rosicrucian (is that really Rosycrucian?) literature. This was also my first encounter (I believe) with the excellent writer Jan van Rijckborgh (also see “The Chinese Gnosis” review).
My Dutch copy is already of 1981 and just as “The Chinese Gnosis” printed by “Rozekruis Pers”, the Dutch official Rosicrucian publisher. This relatively small book deals with a lot of interesting subjects such as “the three capacities that have to be awoken”, “the Christushierarchy” (a beloved Rosicrucian concept), “Magic”, “initiation”, “involution – evolution”, “the wheel of birth and death”, reincarnation, spiritism, hypnotism, magnetism, attitude to life (nicotine, alcohol, drugs), politics, the Bible, etc., etc. Very helpfull for a quick overview of Rosicrucian teachings and ways of looking at certain things. Also very nice to read some rather unusual approaches.

The Egyptian Arch-Gnosis * Jan van Rijckenborgh

The Dutchman Jan van Rijckenborgh (1896-1968) is one of the founders of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. Before these subjects got popular, he wrote about gnosticism and hermetism. The present work is a series of four books with different Hermetic texts and extensive commentaries. They have the Tabula Smaragdina and 17 treatises of the Corpus Hermeticum. The last is a bit of a puzzle, because Van Rijckenborgh has much more chapter than there are treatises and the order the the treatises don’t fit with the ‘official’ order. You can read more about this in my article about Hermetic scriptures. In the four books you can read in interesting translation with interesting commentaries resulting in a fairly integral reproduction of Van Rijckenborghs (and the Lectoriums?) ideas about spiritual matters and things in everyday life. The series are fairly expensive (four times $30,-), but worth the money and available in Dutch and English. One thing though, Van Rijckenborghs ideas are more gnostic than Hermetic!

The Chinese Gnosis * Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharosa de Petri (isbn 9067321834)

Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharosa de Petri are two outstanding writers from the Dutch modern Rosicrucian movement (the Lectorium Rosicrucianum). I was happily surprised when I saw at Amazon how many of their works are also available in the English language and also my “De Chinese Gnosis” seems to have an English counterpart. The cover is of my Dutch version and my copy is released by “Rozekruis Pers”, which is the publisher of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. I don’t know if the English versions are printed by ‘independant’ publishers.
“The Chinese Gnosis” has as subtitle (almost unreadable in the picture) “commentaries on the Tao Teh King”, which immediately proves that this book is not the average Rosicrucian work. Western esoteric knowledge (“gnosis”) is essayed and compared with the ancient Chinese knowledge of Lao Tse, which results in an extremely interesting mix of western and eastern teachings.
The book is divided in 33 short chapters which are the chapters of the Tao Teh King (Tao Teh Ching, …) which are first given in translation and then explained and commented by the writers. The writers use biblical quotes to make things clearer, gnostic writings such as the Pistis Sophia, Rosicrucian books such as the “Chemical Wedding of Christian Rozenkreuz” (or however the exact title is in English) and they are also familiar with other eastern writings. Being a Rosicrucian work, it all has a rather ‘Christian’ sauce of course.
The writing style of Van Rijckenborgh and De Petri is very direct and clear, but rather old-fashioned. I don’t know if translaters took over this old-fashioned style, but it seems that it is rather typical for Dutch Rosicrucian writings. It is not irritating or difficult in any way though.
All in all I can recommand this book to anyone who is interested in reading a Rosicrucian work, but of course also to everyone who is open for a different interpretation of the Tao Teh King, because the commentaries are of course very different from the usual translations of ‘experts of the east’. And be sure to look out for other books of these writers, because they make a good representation of modern Rosicrucianity.