Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis
San Jose, CA 95191
[It should be noted that the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis does not consider itself a religion and points out that its membership includes persons of every religion and creed. It is in this encyclopedia for two reasons. First, it is a major disseminator of the ancient wisdom teachings, the subject of this chapter, which are a significant element of what has, over the last century, become a new religious tradition in the West. Second, the order accepts as its own the same history (detailed in the introductory section of this volume) as the other Rosicrucian groups. Its inclusion has seemed necessary in order to present a full picture of the Rosicrucian presence in North America. The order is the largest of the several Rosicrucian bodies, and throughout its history it has been forced to interact with other organizations that have taken the Rosicrucian name.]
The Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) was founded in 1915 by H. Spencer Lewis (1883-1939) in New York City, as an esoteric fraternal order. Lewis was a young occultist who had been associated with the various British occult orders and who met Aleister Crowley. Active attempts to establish the Rosicrucian Order began in 1909. In that year, Lewis states he met French members of the International Rosicrucian Council in Toulouse. He was initiated, returned to America, and began holding meetings. In 1915, the order was firmly established, and the massive publicity campaign, which has made this branch of the Rosicrucian the best known to the general public, was begun.
Lewis early affiliations with various occult groups, especially the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O), headed by Crowley for many years, is clearly reflected in his frequent inclusions of material from them in the teachings and symbolism of the AMORC. For example, the Rose Cross emblem was taken from the Equinox III (Crowley's periodical), and other emblems were borrowed from other issues. (Lewis was not above pure plagiarism; whole chapters of his Mystic Life of Jesus were taken from the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus by Levi Dowling.) In 1916, after the German O.T.O. split with Crowley over The Book of the Law, it gave its recognition to the AMORC in a document Lewis proudly displayed (in spite of O.T.O.'s association with the practice of sex magic, which AMORC has never advocated).
Rapid growth led to conflict with the other Rosicrucian bodies. In 1928, shortly after the move of the AMORC to San Jose, the older Fraternitas Rosae Crucis launched an attack on Lewis, challenging the Order's right to the designation "Rosicrucian." Lewis accused R. Swinburne Clymer, a lifelong advocate of alternative healing practices, of receiving an M.D. from a diploma mill and fraudulent behavior. An intense polemic, which at times has involved the Rosicrucian Fraternity in Oceanside, California, has continued to the present.
The teachings of the Rosicrucians center on God's purpose for life. Rosicrucians believe God created the universe according to his immutable laws. Man's success is through mastership, the ability to bring into material expression one's mental imaging. The techniques taught to students lead to mastery. For example, students are taught to "image" or imagine such things as health, wealth, and happiness, and thereby draw those things to themselves. Progress in the teaching and knowledge of the accompanying practices comes through a series of correspondence lessons mailed regularly to members. Completion of a set of lessons admits students to a higher degree in the work and makes available the next, more advanced, set of lessons. Members may also attend local centers (designated lodges, chapters, or pronaoi, depending upon their strength) for group activities.
The AMORC sees itself as a continuation of the ancient mystery schools of Amenhotep IV and Solomon; listed among famous Rosicrucians are Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, and Francis Bacon. The Fraternity works on 180-year cycles, first acting in silence and secrecy and then in public. A new public cycle began in 1909. Head of the order is the Grand Imperator, a post held by Ralph M. Lewis (1904-1987), Spencer Lewis' son, from 1939 to 1987. Following the death of Ralph M. Lewis, Gary L. Stewart was chosen as the new Grand Imperator. However, three years later he was removed from office by vote of the Order's board and stands accused of embezzling $3.5 million which he had transferred from a bank account in California to one in the small European country of Andorra. Stewart was succeeded by Christian Bernard who currently serves as the Grand Imperator.
Internationally the AMORC is headed by the Supreme Grand Lodge headquartered in San Jose, California. Its directors include the Grand masters of each of the twelve grand lodges which have been established to serve various geographical regions and language groups. Grand Lodges serve Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese Dutch, and the Nordic Languages. Two England-language Grand Lodges serve the Americas and Europe/Africa respectively and two Spanish-language Grand Lodges serve the Americas and Europe/Africa/Australasia respectively.
Lewis was interested in Egypt, and, through the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, which he founded, made many significant contributions to Egyptology. The museum is located in Rosicrucian Park, a square block in San Jose that houses the other departments of the order and which has become a major tourist stop in California. The museum celebrated its 65th anniversary in 1992.
Membership: Not reported, but in 1990 the order claimed over 250,000 members worldwide. In 1995 the Order listed 98 chartered lodges, chapters, and pronaoi in the United States, including Puerto Rico. There were 36 groups in Canada, and more than 1,200 worldwide. Members were reported in 86 countries around the world. In 1991 the Rosicrucian Digest circulated over 40,000 copies per issue. The members only Rosicrucian Forum circulates approximately 10,700 copies.
Educational Facilities: Rose-Croix University, San Jose, California.
Periodicals: Rosicrucian Digest. Send orders to Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, CA 95191. • Rosicrucian Forum (available to members only).
Bernard, Raymond. Messages from the Celestial Sanctum. San Jose, CA: Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1980.
Lewis, H. Spencer. Cosmic Mission Fulfilled. San Jose, CA: Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1973.
——. The Mystical Life of Jesus. San Jose, CA: Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1929.
——. Rosicrucian Manual. San Jose, CA: Rosicrucian Press, 1941.
——. Rosicrucian Questions and Answers. San Jose, CA: Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1969.
——. Yesterday Has Much to Tell. San Jose, CA: Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORCS, 1973.
Ancient Rosae Crucis (ARC)
PO Box 4764
Dallas, TX 75208
In 1990, the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) underwent a reorganization, when the board withdrew the authority of then Grand Imperator Gary L. Stewart and reorganized under a new Grand Imperator, Christian Bernard, previously head of its French division. The Ancient Rosae Crucis (ARC) was formed that year as a vehicle to continued the Rosicrucian teachings and support Stewart. However, during the ensuing years, ARC's formal leadership, including Paul Walden and Ashley McFadden, also separated from Stewart and have continued separately.
ARC continues the concern expressed by Stewart that numerous revisions to the texts of AMORC's founder H. Spencer Lewis (1883-1939) and his son Ralph M. Lewis (1904-1987) and the original teachings of the order had been changed. ARC began to issue a set of original AMORC monographs retyped from series owned by McFadden and edited by him.
Members receive ARC's teachings through the monographs that guide them in a systematic sequence of study that present the Rosicrucian perspective on natural and cosmic laws and that facilitate among other things the awakening of the individual's intuitive and psychic abilities. The studies are divided into degrees, each degree building upon the previous one. The teachings are available only to members.
Membership: Not reported.
Ancient Rosae Crucis. http://www.arcgl.org/. 7 May 2002.
Ausar Auset Society
℅ Kamit Publications
140 Buckingham Rd.
Brooklyn, NY 11226
The Ausar Auset Society is a Rosicrucian body serving the black community of the United States. It was founded in the mid-1970s by R. A. Straughn, also known by the name Ra Un Nefer Amen, formerly head of the Rosicrucian Anthroposophical League in New York City. He is the author of several occult texts in spiritual science, each offering methods drawn from the Kabbalah and eastern religions to facilitate the orderly transition to the enlightened state.
The Society has directed its program to blacks and Metu Neter (formerly The Oracle of Thoth) regularly features, alongside of its occult articles, items of general interest and concern to black people. The Society advocates the appropriation of the positive accomplishments of African ancestors by the contemporary black community. The Society offers free public classes in a variety of occult topics. Currently such classes are being held in New York City, Brooklyn, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Haven, Washington, DC, and Norfolk, VA.
Membership: Not reported.
Periodicals: Metu Neter.
Ra Un Nefer Amer [R.A. Staughn] Metu Neter. Vol. 1. Bronx, NY: Khamit Publishing Co., 1990.
Straughn, R. A. Black Woman's, Black Man's Guide to a Spiritual Union. Bronx, NY: Oracle of Thoth, 1981.
——. Meditation Techniques of the Kabalists, Vedantins and Taoists. Bronx, NY: Maat Publishing Company, 1976.
——. The Oracle of Thoth: The Kabalistical Tarot. Bronx, NY: Oracle of Thoth Publishing Company, 1977.
——. The Realization of Neter Nu. Brooklyn, NY: Maat Publishing Company, 1975.
Confraternity of the Rose Cross
PO Box 471
Carnegie, PA 15106-4071
In 1987, Gary L. Stewart was installed as the third Grand Imperator of the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis. However, three years later, he was removed from office by the board who accused him of embezzling some three million dollars that had been transferred to a bank account in Andorra. In the period of adjudication that followed, AMORC reorganized and appointed Christian Bernard, a French citizen, its new Grand Imperator. In 1993, Stewart was found innocent of any wrongdoing in the charges that had been leveled against him, but remained alienated from the AMORC. He subsequently founded the Confraternity of the Rose Cross.
Stewart claims that the confraternity continues the teachings of AMORC as they existed in the days of its founder H. Spencer Lewis (1883-1939) and Ralph M. Lewis (1904-1987). However, he claims that during the last years of Ralph Lewis's leadership, due primarily to his failing health, the editing of Order material was removed from the Imperator's supervision. During this time, the teachings were substantially changed, in part due to an attempt to "modernize" them. Further, Stewart charged, the French Grand Master, Christian Bernard, and the German Grand Master, Wilhelm Raab, made additional changes in the 1980s, which resulted in different teachings being disseminated in different languages. According to Stewart, he was attempting to deal with these issues when the board revolted against him.
The confraternity continued the pre-revisionist AMORC teachings. In this regard, Stewart has suggested that much of these teachings were based on a document called The Nordin Manuscript. The first part of the document has been published in the lesson material available to AMORC members. The other part exists as a single copy, which was passed from one Grand Imperator to another. At present, Stewart has the only copy. Those Rosicrucians studying with AMORC's revised teachings are without the original teachings derived from The Nodin Manuscript.
Stewart assures the members of the confraternity that all monographs (monthly lessons) are prepared by himself alone and reflect the original writings of H. Spencer Lewis and "written at a time when no outside revisions or influence found their way into the teachings." Stewart adds insights to the monograph material, but such additions are clearly noted as such.
Membership: Not reported.
Confraternity of the Rose Cross. www.crcsite.org/rosicrucianismcrc.htm. 7 May 2002.
Stewart, Gary L. Awakened Attitude. Pittsburgh, PA: Order of the Militia Crucifera Evangelica, n.d.
Fraternitas Rosae Crucis
Quakertown, PA 18951
This, the oldest of the several existing Rosicrucian bodies, dates to 1858 when it was founded by Paascal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875). The first lodge was established in San Francisco three years later. On three occasions, the grand lodge was closed and reestablished: first in Boston (1871), then in San Francisco (1874), and finally in Philadelphia (1895). Randolph was succeeded by Freeman B. Dowd who in turn was succeeded by Edward H. Brown(1907) and R. Swinburne Clymer (1922). Clymer was recently succeeded by his son, Emerson M. Clymer. Randolph, a physician, had for many years lectured upon issues of sexuality. The inner teachings of the order he established included a system of occult sexuality, which he termed Eulistic, a word derived from the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, which Randolph believed to be mysteries of sex. In 1874 he established a Provisional Grand Lodge of Eulis in Tennessee, but he had to dissolve it because of internal problems among the membership. Translations of Randolph's writings, disseminated through his European followers, became a source for the sex magick system developed by the Ordo Templi Orientis. As presented in the English-speaking world by Aleister Crowley, the O.T.O.'s sex magic stood in contradiction to Randolph's teachings at several points, particularly on the moral level. Randolph had advocated the practice of his teachings only by married couples. Twentieth-century followers of Randolph have denounced the O.T.O. teachings as black magick.
In the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, the member begins his work and is taught the basic ideas of the "secret schools," which include reincarnation and karma, and the Law of Justice and the non-interference with the rights of others. He begins to learn the process of transmutation (of the base self into the finest gold) and the acquisition of health and strength by casting out thoughts of weakness and age. He is also taught to contact the hierarchies of the heavenly realm. Members believe in the fatherhood of God and the ultimate brotherhood of man. The inner circle of the fraternity is the Aeth Priesthood, in which is taught "the highest occultism known to man."
Associated with the fraternity is the Church of Illumination, an outer court group, which means it interacts with the public and from which a select few may be chosen to join the inner group. The church emphasizes the establishment of the "Manistic" Age, which began in the late nineteenth century and follows the previous Egyptian and Christian ages. Manisism is the recognition of the equality of man and woman. It is also the name of the new world leader who teaches the divine law with its five fundamentals: As ye sow so shall ye reap; talents as gift and responsibility; the golden rule; honesty; and the new birth as the awakening of the Christos or divine spark within.
"Many are called but few are chosen" is a watchword with the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, which does not advertise in the manner associated with the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC). Numerous books by R. Swinburne Clymer, who revived the all but moribund fraternity in the early twentieth century, have attracted members. Authority of the fraternity rests with the Council of Three. The highest office is held by the Hierarch of Eulis. The Beverly Hall Corporation in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, handles the distribution of literature. Continuing the lifelong health concerns of R. Swinburne Clymer, like Randolph, a physician, are the Humanitarian Society and the Clymer Health Clinic, both located at the fraternity's headquarters complex in Quakertown.
Membership: Not reported.
Clymer, R. Swinburne. The Age of Treason. Quakertown, PA: Humanitarian Society, 1959.
——. The Rose Cross Order. Allentown, PA: Philosophical Publishing Co., 1916.
——. The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America. 2 vols. Quakertown, PA: Rosicrucian Foundation, 1935.
——. The Rosy Cross, Its Teachings. Quakertown, PA: Beverly Hall Corporation, 1965.
Randolph, Paschal Beverly. Eulis, Affectional Alchemy. Quakertown, PA: Confederation of Initiates, 1930.
Holy Rosicrucian Church
The Holy Rosicrucian Church was a small shortlived Rosicrucian body known primarily through a single literary remain, a booklet, Rosikrucianism, published in 1915. The Church, and its associated orders were founded by a person known only as Sergius Rosenkruz and headquartered in Los Angeles. The Church and Brotherhood taught a method of liberation, the awakening to the knowledge of unity with the One. The Church advocated a series of preparatory methods which included study, twice daily baths, the practice of charitable works, the avoidance of frivolous activities, and the adoption of a variety of occult meditative techniques. The associated Order of the Knights of the Golden Circle which through rites and ceremonies prepared members for either a favorable reincarnation, or safety in the beyond.
Rosenkruz, Sergius. Rosikrucianism. Los Angeles: The Author, 1915.
Western North American Headquarters
Bakersfield, CA 93389
Alternate Address: International headquarters: Bakenessergracht 11-15, 2011JS Haarlem, The Netherlands; Eastern North American Headquarters: Box 334, Chatham, NY 12037.
The Lectorium Rosicrucianum was founded in Holland in 1924 by a small group of people most of whom formerly had been members of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. The spiritual leaders of the group wrote under the pen names Jan Van Rijckenborgh and Catherose de Petri. The organization remained small until 1940, when it was forced to shut down until after the war. Since its reopening it has become a worldwide organization. It came to the United States in the early-1970s, and headquarters were established in Bakersfield, California.
The Lectorium Rosicrucianum describes itself as a gnostic, transfiguristic spiritual school. By gnostic is meant, "coming from the Logos," i.e., from God the source of all things. Transfiguration is the name of the path of return to the gnosis (knowledge or divine wisdom) for humans who are seen as fallen from a divine state and now in need of reawakening and unfolding of the spirit-spark atom, the rose of the heart, located in the center of ones microcosmic self. People are aided in this process by the Universal Brotherhood, the divine spiritual hierarchy. The Universal Brotherhood consists of those of the human life wave who either never fell from the original immortal nature order or who have returned through a process of building a New Soul Body, through the process of Transfiguration. The Light of the Universal Brotherhood is transmitted through a transfiguristic spiritual schools power field into a usable source of energy thus making it possible for individuals to break the wheel of birth and death (reincarnation after reincarnation). Thereby one can return to humanity's original sphere, the Sixth Cosmic Region.
The Lectorianum Rosicrucianum is differentiated from other groups using the name Rosicrucian by its concept of the two Nature Orders. Their philosophy explains that humans are born into this Nature Order, the Seventh Cosmic Region, the world of nature that individuals perceive and experience as mortal beings. But humans also carry a remnant of the original nature order, the Sixth Cosmic Region, as a human immortal seed, the Christ principle in the center of the microcosm. Thus, the purpose of an individuals life in this nature order is to cooperate with the blossoming of the rose of the heart, the Christ within, through the process of Transfiguration, in order to return to the immortal nature order to which s/he originally belonged.
The Lectorium Rosicrucianum has initiated a broad publication program that includes not only the publication of over forty of the schools books, but their translation into various languages. The spiritual school's journal, Pentagram, appears in Dutch, English, German French, Portuguese, and Swedish editions.
Membership: In 2002 the group reported four centers in the United States and two in Canada. There were 17,000 members worldwide.
Van Rijckenborgh, Jan. The Coming New Man. Haarlem, Neths.: Rozekruis-Pers, 1957.
——. Elementary Philosophy of the Modern Rosecross. Harlem, Neths: Rozekruis-Pers, 1961.
The Way of the Rosecross in Our Times. Haarlem, Neths.: Rozekruis-Pers, 1978.
New Age Bible and Philosophy Center
1139 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
The New Age Bible and Philosophy Center was founded by Mary Elizabeth Shaw in May 1931. It consisted of a school dedicated to basic Christian spiritual teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. It included classes in Theosophy and the Rosicrucian teachings. The center, now in its 71st year, was always closely associated with the works of Max Heindel and Corinne Heline. Its two main courses are aligned to Corinne Heline's seven volumes of the New Age Bible Interpretation and Max Heindel's Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.
Heline was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1875 as Corinne S. Dunklee. Following the death of her mother in 1891, Heline moved to California where she met and became the close student of Max Heindel (1865-1919), founder of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. After Heindel's death, she remained for many years a leading member. In 1922, she received an "inner Commission" to begin work on interpreting the Bible in the Light of the Esoteric tradition. The project would consume the remainder of her life. Her early efforts were published in the fellowship periodical, The Rosicrucian Magazine. During this period she met and married Theodore Heline (d. 1971). Both the Helines were prodigious authors who published books and booklets which have a broad circulation around the world.
Mary Elizabeth Shaw was succeeded by Rev. Gene Sande, who had served at the center since its beginning. She was the head of the center for more than 50 years. The present head of the center is Rev. Patricia Talis, assisted by Rev. Patricia Tinker.
Besides Sunday services, there are monthly Full Moon Services and various classes offered weekly. A bookstore and library are open daily Wednesday through Friday. The correspondence courses in the Bible and Philosophy are mailed to students who request them. The New Age Bible and Philosophy Center publishes the Corinne and Theodore Heline books.
Membership: There is one center with 100 people affiliated and an unknown number of class attendants and correspondence students.
Periodicals: Quarterly Bulletin.
Heline, Corinne. Mysteries of the Holy Grail. Los Angeles: New Age Press, 1977.
——. The Mystery of the Christos. Los Angeles: New Age Press, 1961.
——. New Age Bible Interpretation. 7 vols. Los Angeles: New Age Press, 1938-54.
Heline, Theodore. As in the Days of Noah. Los Angeles: New Age Press, 1946.
——. The Redemptive Feminine. Los Angeles: New Age Press, n.d.
Rosicrucian Anthroposophical League
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Rosicrucian Anthroposophical Society was formed in 1932 by Samuel Richard Parchment (b.1881), a former leader in the San Francisco Center of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. Parchment, continuing the astrological emphasis of the Fellowship, wrote a classic textbook, Astrology, Mundane and Spiritual, and even before leaving the Fraternity began writing the books which were to guide the League: The Just Law of Compensation, The Middle Path, the Safest, Ancient Operative Masonry, and Steps to Self-Mastery. Early centers were in California and New York. (In the late 1970s the surviving New York City center broke away to become the Ausar Auset Society.)
The principles of the League commit it to an investigation of occult laws, the brotherhood of man, the dissemination of spiritual truth, and the attainment of self-conscious immortality. Recent contact with the League has not been made and its present status is uncertain.
Membership: Not reported.
Parchment, S. R. Ancient Operative Masonry. San Francisco: San Francisco Center-Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1930.
——. Astrology, Mundane and Spiritual. San Francisco: Anthroposophical Rosicrucian League, 1933.
——. The Just Law of Compensation. San Francisco: San Francisco Center-Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1932.
——. Steps to Self-Mastery. Oceanside, CA: Fellowship Press, 1927.
2222 Mission Ave.
Oceanside, CA 92054
The Rosicrucian Fellowship was founded as a Christian organization in 1909 by Carl Louis von Grasshoff, better known under his pen-name as Max Heindel (1865-1919). Born in Denmark, Heindel eventually moved to the United States and, in 1903, settled in Los Angeles, California. He became active in that city's branch of the Theosophical Society serving as its vice-president for three years.
According to Heindel, while in Germany (1907-1908), he encountered a being later identified as an Elder Brother of the Rosicrucian Order, who appeared in his room. After submitting Heindel to a test to determine his integrity and fitness for being a messenger of the Western Wisdom Teachings, the being promised to reveal to him the esoteric knowledge he sought. Heindel was given directions to the Temple of the Rose Cross, near the German-Bohemian border, where he was given the material to be used in his first book, The Rosicrucian CosmoConception, the basic textbook of the fellowship.
Returning to the United States, he proceeded to rewrite the book, as the Elder Brother had told him he would, and publish it. Soon he became a popular speaker, lecturing in Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, and North Yakima, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Los Angeles, California, which led to the formation of centers and study groups in these and many other locations. Subsequently, the teachings of this book spread internationally.
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception puts forth a view of the cosmos from an esoteric Christian standpoint and advocates the adoption of Jesus Christ as the aspirant's ideal. Heindel also advocates the intelligent use of spiritual astrology as a tool for self-knowledge and moral development. He also introduced new formats for temple, healing, marriage, and memorial services, now published in the fellowship's Manual of Forms.
In 1911, the fellowship's international headquarters were established at Mount Ecclesia in Oceanside, California, for the purpose of best implementing its two principal goals of healing the sick and disseminating esoteric Christian teachings. A chapel, administrative offices, residents quarters, vegetarian cafeteria, and a healing temple were erected on the grounds. An abundance of literature in the form of correspondence courses, books, pamphlets, and monthly mailings issue from Mount Ecclesia. The fellowship became a major force in the spread of astrology in the twentieth century, and many astrologers not connected with the organization use the single-year, decade and 100-year ephemerides and the Table of Houses, most of which are published on site.
Membership is open to all, provided they are not professional astrologers, mediums, hypnotists, or palmists. After a two-year term of being a regular student of the fellowship, a person who abstains from all flesh food, tobacco, mind-altering drugs, and alcohol may apply for Probationership in the fellowship. Upon his death in 1919, Heindel was succeeded in leadership by his wife, Augusta Foss Heindel (d. 1949), an accomplished occultist in her own right. Mount Ecclesia remains the headquarters of the fellowship; the work is carried on there in the same tradition established by the founders. The Rosicrucian doctrine is preserved in its pristine purity and the service rendered to humanity throughout all departments retains its original quality of faithful, anonymous dedication.
Membership: In 2002 the fellowship reported 8,000 members worldwide, 700 of which are in the United States. Members are found on every continent.
Periodicals: Rays from the Rose Cross.
Heindel, Max. Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Oceanside, CA: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1937.
——. Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers. Oceanside, CA: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1922
——. Simplified Scientific Astrology. Oceanside, CA: Rosicrucian fellowship, 1928.
Heindel, Mrs. Max [Augusta Foss]. The Birth of the Rosicrucian fellowship. Oceanside, CA: Rosicrucian Fellowship, n.d.
Societas Rosicruciana in America
PO Box 1316
Bayonne, NJ 07002-6316
Sylvester Gould was an early member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, the masonic Rosicrucian society. He was admitted into the Boston College in 1885. However, it was his desire to create a Rosicrucian organization that would admit non-Masons. In 1907, with the assistance of George Winslow Plummer (1876-1944) he created the Societas Rosicruciana in America (S.R.I.A.) adapting the masonic materials for general use. He also began The Rosicrucian Brotherhood, a periodical. Gould died in 1909. Plummer succeeded to the leadership role, a position he held until his death.
Plummer incorported the S.R.I.A. in 1912 and four years later founded the Mercury Publishing Company and Mercury, a quarterly magazine for the society. During the decade six colleges were chartered in the United States and one in Sierre Leone. In 1921 two more were added. Plummer authored the lessons and other material distributed by the society. His interests in Christian mysticism and ritual also led him to create a Seminary of Biblical Research (through which he wrote and published a series of lessons on Christian mysticism) and to found two churches: the Anglican Universal Church and the Holy Orthodox Church in America, treated elsewhere in this encyclopedia. These organizations were intimately intertwined with the S.R.I.A. Colleges, and church congregations were frequently located in the same cities with the church's members being drawn primarily from society adherents.
The booklet, Principles and Practices of the Rosicrucians, by Plummer details the affirmations and duties of members. The group affirms the existence of one infinite intelligence, the incarnation of Spirit in matter, the continuousness of all life in evolution, the possibility of the mental attaining knowledge of the spiritual while yet incarnate, and reincarnation. Each student is expected to experiment and to demonstrate knowledge of concentration, meditation, contemplation, prayer, dietetics, exercise, rest, rituality, sexual faculties, healing, cheerfulness, fasting, and individual development; vegetarianism is not demanded, but alcohol is forbidden. New members in the Societas Rosicruciana in America are called postulants. After a year, they become fraters (brothers) or sorores (sisters). Progress is through ten degrees.
Following Plummer's death, the society and the Holy Orthodox Church in America were headed by Stanislaus Witowski (de Witow), who married Plummer's widow, Gladys Plummer. Gladys Plummer de Witow, also known as Mother Serena, became head of the society and the church after her second husband's death. Mother Serena died in 1989 and was succeeded by Sister Lucia Grosch.
In 2001, Maria Babuahsingh suceeded Grosch and the society went to Bayonne, New Jersey.
Membership: Not reported.
Plummer, George Winslow. The Art of Rosicrucian Healing. New York: Society of Rosicrucians, 1947.
——. Esoteric Masonry. Kingston, NY: Society of Rosicrucians, 1988.
——. Principles and Practice for Rosicrucians. New York: Society of Rosicrucians, Inc., 1947.
——. Rosicrucian Healing. Kingston, NY: Society of Rosicrucians, 1988.
Serena. Lettergrams. New York: Society of Rosicrucians, Inc., 1976.
Serena, Mother. Victorinus Teaches. Kingston, NY: Society of Rosicrucians, 1988.
Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia was formed in England in 1865 by Robert Wentworth Little. It seems to have been based on eighteenth-century Rosicrucian texts. Among its members were Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, William Wynn Westcott and W. R. Woodmen, who were among the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the group most credited with initiating the revival of magic in the twentieth century. Members of the Societas were required to be masons prior to beginning their work. During the late nineteenth century, colleges were opened in London(1867), Bristol (1869), Manchester (1871), Cambridge (1876), Sheffield (1877), Middlesex (1877), and Newcastle (1890). In 1873 the East of Scotland College was inagurated in Edinburgh.
News of the formation of the Rosicrucian organization spread through masonry to the American lodges. In 1878 a group led by Charles E. Meyer (1839-1908) of Pennsylvania traveled to England and were initiated at Sheffield. They applied for a charter, but getting no response, turned to Scotland and received a charter from the college in Edinburgh in 1879. A second charter was granted for a college in New York and in 1880 the two colleges formed the Society Rosicruciana Republicae Americae. A Boston and a Baltimore college were chartered later that year. The organization's name was changed to the Societas Rosicruciana in the United States of America, also known as the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. Later charters were granted for Duluth, Minnesota (1911), Texas (1918), New Jersey (1931), North Carolina (1932), Virginia (1933), Illinois (1934), Colorado (1935), Long Island, New York (1935), Nova Scotia, Canada (1936), and Ontario, Canada (1937). Membership from the 1930s to the 1950s remained steady at between 200 and 300 members. Membership has remained small and, like the British and Scottish counterparts, it is limited to masons. From 1951 to 1973, the society issued a biannual report, The Rosicrucian Fama. Recent information on the society has not been available.
Membership: Not reported. In 1973 the society reported 31 members.
Voorhis, Harold V. B. Masonic Rosicrucian Societies. New York: Press of Henry Emmerson, 1958.