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Rose Croix of Gold, Brethren of The

In French the title is Freres de la rose Croiz d'Or. An Alchemical and Hermetic Society, which was founded in Germany in 1777. It promised to its disciples the secret of the transmutation of metals, and the panacea or art of prolonging life. The Baron Gleichen, who was Secretary for the German language of the Philalethan Congress at Paris in 1785, gives the following history of the organization of this society:

The members of the Rose Croix affirm that they are the legitimate authors and superiors of Freemasonry, to all of whose symbols they give a hermetical interpretation. The Masons, they say, came into England under King Arthur. Raymond Lully initiated Henry IV. The Grand Masters were formerly designated, as now, by the titles of John I, II III, IV, etc.

Their jewel is the goiden compasses attached to a blue ribbon, the symbol of purity and wisdom. The principal emblems on the ancient Tracing-Board were the sun, the moon, and the double triangle having in its centre the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Brethren wore a silver ring on which were the letters I. A. A. T., the initials of Ignis, Aer, Aqua, Terra, or Fire, Air, Waler, Earth.

The Ancient Rose Croux recognized only three Degrees; the Third Degree, as we now know it, has been substituted for another more significant one.

The Baron de Westerode, in a letter dated 1784, and quoted by Thory (Acta Latomorum i, page 336) gives another mythical account. He says:

The disciples of the Rose Croux came, in 1188, from the East into Europe, for the propagation of Christianity after the troubles in Palestine. Three of them founded in Scotland the Order of the Masons of the East-- Knights of the East, to serve as a seminary for instruetion in the most sublime sciences. This Order wan in existence in 1196. Edsvard, the son of Henry III, was received into the Society of the Rose Croix by Raymond Lully. At that time only learned men and persons of high rank there admitted.

Their founder was a seraphic priest of Alexandria, a Magus of Egypt named Ormesius, or Ormus, who with six of his companions was converted in the year 96 by Saint Mark. He purified the doctrine of the Egyptians according to the precepts of Christianity and founded the Society of Ormus, that is to say, tile Sages of Light, to the members of which he gave a red cross as a decoration. About the same time the Essenes and other Jews founded a school of Solomonic wisdom to which the disciples of Ormus united themselves. Then the society was divided into various Orders known as the Conservators of Mosaic Secrets, of Hermetic Secrets, etc. Several members of the association haling yielded to the temptations of pride, seven Masters united, effected a reform, adopted a modern Constitution and collected together on their Tracing-Board all the allegories of the Hermetic Work.

In this almost altogether fabulous narrative we find an inextricable confusion of the Rose Croix Freemasons and the Rosicrucian philosophers. Dr. Bernhardt Meyer, Librarian of the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne at Beyreuth, Germany, has collected most industriously much information in his book Das Lehrsystem des Ordens der Gold--und Rosenkreuzer (Pansophic-Verlag, Leipzig-Berlin, 1925) with curious details of the several grades, the private alphabets and ciphers, etc. (see Rosicrucianism).

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