Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC)
From Kook Science
Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), also known in the Latin as Antiquus Mysticusque Ordo Rosæ Crucis (English: "Ancient and Mystic Order of the Rosy Cross") or Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, is a Rosicrucian organisation that was founded by H. Spencer Lewis at New York City in 1915 (in association with the Metropolitan College, Inc.), relocating to Tampa, Florida in 1925, and finally to San Jose, California in 1927.
AMORC advertised extraordinarily extensively for decades, often featuring on the back covers and first pages of pulp magazines from the 1940s onward, covering every periodical from Amazing Stories and Popular Mechanics to FATE and OMNI.
Weird Rites Exposed (1920)
- "Woman Initiate Exposes Weird Rites of the Rosicrucians: Fearsome Oaths and Exhibitions of Magic Described as Chief Features in Ceremony of Induction: Member Who Resigned Tells of Attempts to Make Her Pay Penalty for Withdrawing From the Order", Ogden Standard-Examiner (Odgen, UT): 11, 6 May 1920, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058393/1920-05-06/ed-1/seq-11/
IN the general sad indifference to the most recent computation of vril, the coming force, and to the latest astronomical and astrological data from Mount Ecclesia there are persons in New York who are not aware that many branches of the Rosicrucian Society exist in America. H. Spencer Lewis. F. R. C., grand master general and imperator of the Rosaecrucian (note the spelling), shares this ignorance with them, or aims to, for he says in his history of the order in America:
“While in the United States there is an array of organizations all purporting to be true Rosaecrucians, there is in truth but one true order, the original and perfect Rosaecrucian order, which is known by one only name, ‘The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis,’ whose universal and world-wide symbol is the triangle with the point downward.”
Another statement by Founder Lewis will surprise a good many persons who thought they knew all about Rosicrucianism in this country. It is that the American society dates back from 1915. He made a misreading of his original instructions from the Initiates, and when in 1913 he called upon the Society for Psychical Research to help him form a lodge here of the Rosy Cross he met with indifference. It could not be otherwise, for the adepts had retarded the date to 1915. In the early part of that year, with the assistance of Superior Secretary-General Thor Klimalehto and when “the moon was in Sagittarius,” armed with charter and “black book,” Founder Lewis called together a little band of nine men and women to form a committee to originate a Supreme Council for America.
Growth of the Organization.
The preliminary work went forward steadily. In March fifty persons had taken the “preliminary oath in the official Black Book.” On April 1 thirty of the most active workers met at a proposed lodge room in Seventh avenue and there and then they constituted themselves the first true Rosicrucian convention of the order ever held in the temple to America.
“Since then,” glowingly reports Founder Lewis, “the order has grown amazingly. There are now associated with us hundreds of merchants, land owners, newspaper editors, Government officials, physicians, surgeons, lawyers, scientists, professional men and women, artists, artisans, laborers at little trades, all working for a common good and meeting on a common level.”
At once the sheep were separated from the goats, and societies which had gained notoriety as being lodges, &c., of the Rosicrucians were asked to give an account of themselves. Many of them did so and disclaimed the intention of representing officially the order. One of these was Max Heindel, a writer on mystic subjects. He explained that he had indeed founded the “Rosicrucian Fellowship” but it made no pretension of temporal power. Mrs. Marie Russak also explained the meaning and powers of her “Temple of the Rosy Cross.”
With the Rosicrucian Society of Dr. Clymer at Allentown, Pa., the American authorized society had more trouble. From this printing centre books went forth broadcast, among them one called a "Secret Book Giving the First Forty-nine Degrees of the Illuminati of the Rosicrucian Order.” This book sold for $10. But any connection between Dr. Clymer and the true Rosaecrucians was finally disproved.
What is a Rosaecrucian? Here is Dr. Lewis's answer:
“A Rosaecrucian is one who lives a life of attainment, determined that before he completes this cycle or period of earthly existence he shall have accomplished through personal endeavor some deed of goodness for the betterment of the human race.
“The Rosaecrucians have nothing to do with any other religion, including the Christian religion. They created the symbol of the cross, they say, and the Christians adopted it. They do not teach spiritualism nor mediumship. Rosaecrucianism has nothing to do with Yogi or other philosophy. It sells no books or degrees purporting to contain secrets of initiation. It has regular lodges or temples in various cities, each with its master officer and under officials; it has also its grand lodges, and its supreme lodge is in this city. The work of the American branch is outlined by the supreme council of the world and is secret. The funds are collected by regular contributions.”
The Rosaecrucians lodge of New York city has apparently judged it wise to use another name than its famous one; it functions a society for educational purposes as the Metropolitan College, Incorporated. The president of this college was formerly a Jesuit priest and it has a large society of adepts and initiates and probationers, with branches and connections in other cities.
Tells of Weird Initiation.
Meetings and classes of the “college” are held in the Masonic Temple in Harlem. Classes for the instruction of probationers are held weekly and the “initiates,” some of whom are called “Initiates of Tibet,” meet on the 15th and last of each month. All meetings are held at night and the religious meetings, so-called, start at midnight.
A candidate for probation is obliged to show letters from three well known businessmen who have known him for at least five years. When these have been passed on favorably by the officers he will be summoned to the initiation ceremonies. As the ancient and mystical order is truly mystical and secret, to know what these ceremonies are one must depend on what is told by persons who have gone so far as to have the experience then backed out. A woman of a high degree of intelligence and genuinely “seeking” had the experience and did retreat. She tells the story of her initiation in good faith and would he willing to sign her statement if by doing so any good would be gained.
“Another woman and a man were the other candidates for initiation besides myself,” said she. “We were locked in a small antechamber while the society carried on its ritual in the main auditorium. Occasionally we heard a loud voice raised in speech or a sort of song or chant but these came to us muffled. I talked with the woman candidate who was very nervous and learned that she mourned a dear relative and in the hope of getting into communication with her spirit she had sought the aid of the Rosicrucians. The male candidate impressed me as being influenced by curiosity simply.
“At the stroke of midnight the doors were thrown open and we three were admitted into a big chamber. It was dimly lighted. An assemblage of 200 or 300 persons each wearing a black robe with a black headdress and mask moved in process past us and around the hall. Each one whether man or woman carried a cross with a red rose upon it, lighted by electricity. At the head of the procession walked two men, one bearing a bowl of sacrificial blood and the other a skull. These were also illuminated by electricity.
“When the procession had paused near the top of the room we, the candidates, were blindfolded and led before them. Then oaths were administered for us. I wish I could remember how these were phrased but I do not. They were long and we were asked to repeat them in sections and all I recollect is that the oaths were very weird and wild. The principal oath was couched in quaint language, which were told came down from the fourteenth century. The last oath of the series was that we would never reveal the secrets of the order or exhibit to any outsider any of the literature of the Rosicrucians.
“The folds were then removed from our eyes and we were given seats in a circle while initiates gave exhibitions of magic to prove what powers can be gained by a diligent student.
“Through the exhibition the auditorium remained dimly lighted, but the altar with the cross and rose shone brilliantly.
“In the circle in which I sat to witness whatever marvels might be vouchsafed there were, I think, about twenty-four persons, new members and we three candidates. In our midst stood an initiate of Tibet with his feet resting on the bare floor. We could see him dimly and he gradually faded from view as if he sank into the floor. As soon as he had completely disappeared from our circle his voice was heard from the altar, and turning our eyes there we saw him standing in front of the cross.
“This seemed wonderful but it did not content the male seeker, who asked for further miracles, and his request was echoed by several voices, The initiate agreed to produce a dozen fresh roses with the dew on them and cause them to fall from the air in our midst. Apparently he did this. The roses fell one by one in the midst of the circle, each one wet with dew, as if freshly plucked. The season was winter and the initiate stood far removed from us, near the altar. Following this demonstration nothing further in the way of magic was done, and to repeated requests for more the adepts frankly said they were exhausted.
Resignation Carries Penalty.
“I went to one or two classes. after this general meeting, but I decided that I did not care to carry out my plan to be come an adept member and asked to be permitted to resign. The secretary of Metropolitan College, who is the wife of a dealer in secret society equipment in Malden lane, replied to my request that I could be allowed to resign only by paying into the society a sum equal to one-tenth of my income and by returning all literature that I had borrowed or purchased. I have done neither and have received many letters from officers and adepts which are fairly threatening in their nature. It has come to my knowledge since trying to free myself from any connection with the Rosicrucians that another aspirant in endeavoring to break with the society had an even more unhappy experience than mine.”
“Our House of the Holy Ghost” is the veiled admission of the Society of Rosicrucians, “though a hundred thousand men should have looked upon it, is yet doomed to remain untouched, imperturbable, out of sight, and unrevealed to the whole godless world forever.”
As if in agreement with this desired mystery the beginnings of the Society of the Rosy Cross are difficult to find in history. That it was founded by one Christian Rosencreutz, a German mystic who dwelt for a time in India and Egypt and claimed to have absorbed their secret wisdom, is vehemently denied, and so is the statement that the name of the secret order is derived from his cognomen: Lewis denies that it was established in Germany by him or by Andrea Valentine or by Martin Luther. Claims of its foundation by all of these are made by different authors seeking the fountain head.
Lewis tells of a seeker named Arnaud who had heard of a wonderful society in Egypt, which held the key to all science and all art. At the instance of Charlemagne Arnaud went to Thebes in 778 A. D., returned to France six years later and established the first Rosicrucian lodge. The place was Toulouse and the year 804.
From that start we hear of it all over Europe as it pursued its course with the various tinctures of differing material, national habit and custom, but never definitely.
From the beginning the society pretended to transmute metals, to prolong life, to possess knowledge of what was occurring in distant places and to foretell the future. Vaughan, who planted it in Amertea, “lost” the Rosaecrucian stone in order, he said, “that it might sink into the soil and fertilize the land with the thought and spirit of Rosicrucianism.”
Although known to the world as Brothers of the Rosy Cross, a more exact etymology is derived from ros (dew) and rosa (rose). Dew was considered by the ancients as the most powerful solvent of gold and the cross in alchemy is the synonym of light. In 1638 a bit of doggerel fixed its mission thus:
“For what we do presage is not in grosse,
For we are brothers of the Rosie Crosse:
We have the Mason word and second sight
Things for to come we can fortell aright."
Some of the ancient books of the society may be seen, according to a statement made by the head of the order here, in our public library, “but only in a private place, where by special privilege I may show them for the edification of true adepts. These books are rudely bound, printed on papyrus and leather; some of the leaves are crumbling from very age.”
More modern writings are titled like the following: “Astrological Letters,” “Death and the Life in Purgatory,” “Life and Activity in Heaven,” “Birth, a Fourfold Event,” “Astronomical Allegories of the Bible,” &c.
These books and others like "Continuity of Life, a Cosmic Truth.” by Prof. W. M. Lockwood, “Beyond the Borderline of Life,” by Gustavus Myers, may he had by addressing the publishers and booksellers to the S.R.I.A., who are at 45 John street, New York, but other books intended for students and postulates are given out mysteriously at the “college,” and all are warned not to permit an outsider to see them. To do so to commit a crime by making the Rosicrucian secrets common.
The Mercury is the official organ of “Metropolitan College” and is issued semi-monthly. It gives the calendar for the month, a biography of some illustrious initiate and other innocuous matter. A book of “Principles and Practice for Rosicrucians” is issued for neophytes. It was written for the fraternity by “Khel.” Another book cherished by seekers “The Landmarks of the Most Holy Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross. and the Constitution of the Societas Rosicruciana in America: to which are appended the By-Laws of Metropolitan College S.R.I.A.”
Prayer of the Rosicrucian.
Here is the prayer of the Rosicrucian which he is expected to repeat at least three times daily “in a slow, forceful and intense manner”:
“Great Central Flame: thee we venerate, thee we adore, thee we invoke: not as a person but as Essence, Power, Wisdom, Light and Life Incarnate. Be with us in this and all laudable undertakings.
“Invisible Fraters of the Rose Cross: Let your guidance be manifest through counsel of the Worshipful Adept in this and all future convocations.”
To all the secret publications from which the above data were drawn is appended this “Allegiance”:
“Metropolitan College S. R. I A. acknowledges allegiance to the magi and officers of the high council of the Societas Rosicruciana in America as the sovereign source of the Rosicrucian art in the United States of America. The house of the S. S. is at present situate in the city of New York.”
Tel-el-Amarna Colony Scheme (1928)
- "5,000 FROM AMERICA TO MOVE TO EGYPT, Will Try Living Under Ancient Laws.", Menasha Record (Menasha, WI): 6, 13 Jan. 1928, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119949582/5000-from-america-to-move-to-egypt/ — in which there is apparently an announcement by H. Spencer Lewis of plans to mount an expedition of 5000 to Tel-el-Amarna, establish a colony living in the manner of ancient Egyptians.
- "Letter to the Editor: The Rosicrucians (Re: Tel-el-Amarna Colony Scheme)", Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, AB): 4, 6 Feb. 1928, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119968285/letter-to-the-editor-the-rosicrucians/ — in which James Clements denies any scheme to establish a colony in Egypt.
- "Rosicrucians Will Conduct Old Initiation Ceremony in Egypt", Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY): 2, 21 Dec. 1928, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119968526/rosicrucians-will-conduct-old/
vs. Universal Order of Ancient Mysteries (1931)
UOAM was sued by AMORC for plagiarism of their rituals.
- "RIVAL RITUALS FIGURE IN TRIAL: Rosicrucians Ask Court to Enjoin Offspring, Assert Defendant Order Used Their Literature; Yogi Book Admitted to Be Source of Materials.", Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA): 21, 6 Jan. 1931, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119974535/rival-rituals-figure-in-trial/
- "Rosicrucians Sue New Cult, Charge Ritual 'Borrowed'", Daily News (Los Angeles, CA): 19, 6 Jan. 1931, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119968819/rosicrucians-sue-new-cult-charge/
- "ROSICRUCIAN COURT FIGHT DISMISSED: Abrupt Action Proves to Be Surprise in Contest of Clashing Orders", Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA): 20, 7 Jan. 1931, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119974815/rosicrucian-court-fight-dismissed/
- "ANCIENT MYSTERY WINS ROSICRUCIAN PLAGIARY BATTLE", Daily News (Los Angeles, CA): 7, 7 Jan. 1931, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119975023/ancient-mystery-wins-rosicrucian/
vs. George L. Smith (1932-1933)
Smith & co. were sued by AMORC, Lewis, for libel.
- "NO VERDICT IN LIBEL SUIT BETWEEN CULTIST PRINTER", Morning Union (Grass Valley, CA): 1, 22 Jul. 1932, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119969100/no-verdict-in-libel-suit-between/
- "BAKERSFIELD MEN ANSWER CHARGES OF ROSICRUCIAN: Defendants Contend Founder Of Sect Drew Heavily On His Imagination", Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA): 15, 3 Feb. 1933, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119976624/bakersfield-men-answer-charges-of/
- "Kern Man Sues Rosicrucians For $100,000", Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA): 15, 16 May 1933, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119969273/kern-man-sues-rosicrucians-for-100000/
- "Rosicrucian Head Wins $1 Libel Suit", Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA): 17, 27 Jun. 1933, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119969348/rosicrucian-head-wins-1-libel-suit/
in Federal Court (1936)
Lawsuit for control over AMORC assets against the Lewises.
- "Alleged Secrets Of Rosicrucians Bared In Court", Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, CA): 2, 21 Feb. 1936, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/119979118/alleged-secrets-of-rosicrucians-bared/
vs. Virgil L. Rankin (1936-1937)
Rankin was an advertising agent for AMORC.
- "Rosicrucians Lose $21,000 Judgment", Modesto Bee (Modesto, CA): 5, 3 Jul. 1936, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120015595/rosicrucians-lose-21000-judgment/ — Rankin awarded damages, AMORC appeals.
- "New Trial Granted In $100,000 Suit", Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA): 8, 2 Sep. 1936, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120015632/new-trial-granted-in-100000-suit/ — AMORC appeal successful, new trial ordered.
- "Rosicrucian Order Awarded Nonsuit", The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA): 1, 9 Dec. 1937, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/120015647/rosicrucian-order-awarded-nonsuit/ — Retrial with no damages awarded.
vs. Alfred Aram (1936)
Rankin was an attorney for AMORC.
- "Attorney's Suit Asks $200,000 Damages", Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA): 23, 17 Jul. 1936, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=OT19360717&dliv=userclipping&cliparea=1.23%2C24%2C5014%2C633%2C939&factor=2&e=-------en--20--1--
vs. Bernard Justice (1936)
Justice was a member of AMORC, suit brought over the spending on the Smith case, demanding that Lewis reimburse $15K in funds to the AMORC treasury.
- "Trial of Lodge Suit Ordered Continued", Oakland Tribune (Oakland, CA): 6, 20 Sep. 1936, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=OT19360920&dliv=userclipping&cliparea=1.6%2C3540%2C5464%2C601%2C829&factor=2&e=-------en--20--1--