This week brings us to something special. A new series will appear on this blog featuring various Rosicrucian scholars, authors and experts. Hi Chris, What got you interested in the Rosicrucian phenomenon? During the course of writing my first book, The Astrologers and their Creed, published in , I kept coming across references to the Rosicrucians. I had only the vaguest idea of who they were and wanted to find out more, as this was obviously an important current within the esoteric traditions of the west, but it was difficult to find anything reliable that had been written about them in English, apart from A. So there was clearly a gap there.
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This week brings us to something special. A new series will appear on this blog featuring various Rosicrucian scholars, authors and experts. Hi Chris, What got you interested in the Rosicrucian phenomenon? During the course of writing my first book, The Astrologers and their Creed, published in , I kept coming across references to the Rosicrucians.
I had only the vaguest idea of who they were and wanted to find out more, as this was obviously an important current within the esoteric traditions of the west, but it was difficult to find anything reliable that had been written about them in English, apart from A.
So there was clearly a gap there. At the same time there was a lot of stuff in German — in terms of both printed books and manuscripts — and I had a command of German, so I decided that I would fill the gap and write a comprehensive history of Rosicrucianism in English. Later I returned to the subject of the Rosicrucians for my doctoral thesis, which was published as The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason.
Have there been any exciting discoveries in your Rosicrucian journey? By far my most exciting discovery — albeit one that must have disturbed quite a few people — was when I was researching into the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. If you remember, the co-founder of the Golden Dawn, Dr. So the conclusion was inescapable. If the writer was a man then Westcott was lying when he claimed to have corresponded with a woman.
If the writer was a woman then the correspondence was false. Either way it was pretty conclusive evidence that the correspondence was a forgery, and a highly inept forgery at that. Forgery or not, the Golden Dawn created a highly effective system of symbolism and ritual, which has continued to thrive and given rise to numerous offshoots. According to your research, did a circle of original Rosicrucians really exist?
Yes and no. These men had a vision of a new age, marked by a synthesis of science, religion and the arts and drawing on an ancient tradition of wisdom, and they looked towards a Europe healed of religious divisions.
I believe they took the view that the best way to realise this vision was to cloak it in a legend, a mystery, and to launch this mystery into the collective mind of the age — the way one might drop a pebble into a pool, causing it to send out endless ripples.
To this end they created a story about a German monk called Christian Rosenkreuz, who made a journey through the Middle East, acquiring wisdom from the sages of that region, and then came back to Germany and founded a secret brotherhood, the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. What elements of the older tradition in particular do you feel are overlooked today by modern Rosicrucians?
Many modern Rosicrucian orders — although not all — are fixated on elaborate ceremonies, grades of initiation, complex systems of symbolism etc. Although these things can be valuable, the danger is that one loses touch with the real world.
One of the people who most effectively realised the Rosicrucian vision in modern times was Rudolf Steiner, who insisted that Rosicrucian wisdom should not be confined to the head and heart, but should flow through the hands, into our manual activities and our daily actions.
Hence the Steiner schools, the biodynamic agriculture, the homoeopathic medicine, the Anthroposophical style of architecture etc. Of all the books you have written, which is your favourite and why?
I would say my novel Return of the Tetrad. It tells the story of a spiritual quest, and the first-person narrator is loosely based on myself, although the events in it are to a large extent fantasy.
London, where I then worked, was a paradise for someone on such a quest, with its rich libraries and bookshops and its thriving esoteric scene, in which I came to know many of the leading figures. Some of them appear in disguise in the novel. For example, the story involves a mentor figure called Gilbert North, who is loosely based on someone I knew at that time, a brilliant man who had been a follower of Aleister Crowley, and later went his own way and became a leading expert on mysticism and an advisor to several publishers in that area.
The novel weaves many themes together: ritual magic, Rosicrucianism, reincarnation, the Tarot … but perhaps its most important message is that magic is all around us if we know how to perceive it. Tell us about the current focus of your writing? In recent years I have been doing less academic writing and more fiction. My fiction obviously reflects my own personal path, which in recent years has taken me into the Pagan movement.
Which authors have influenced you particularly strongly? Those who write about the borderland between the worldly and the other-worldly. One is the early 20th-century German writer Gustav Meyrink, author of The Golem and a number of other occult novels.
Another is the brilliant Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, who is absolutely sui generis. Lewis and J. Williams is one of the few British fiction writers who deal on a deep level with esoteric and supernatural themes. Much of what he wrote was influenced by his time as an active member of A. Another writer I should mention is my long-standing friend Lionel Snell, also known under his pen name of Ramsey Dukes, who writes uniquely thought-provoking, quirky and witty books about the interface between magic, philosophy, science and much else.
He is one of those writers who cause you to see the world in a different way. What attracted you to Paganism? I believe I have always been Pagan at heart, but I have been led to this realisation by stages. When I lived in New York back in the early s I attended a lecture by a rabbi who was a friend of mine, and at one point in the talk he said that the difference between monotheism and polytheism is that in the former history moves in a straight line towards some goal, such as the Second Coming, the Last Judgement or whatever, whereas in polytheism everything moves in a great circle.
And in that moment I realised, in a flash of clarity, that I was a man of the circle not of the straight line. After I came back to Europe and settled in Germany I became actively involved in Paganism, and that has been my path ever since. What are your current projects and your plans for the future? Apart from continuing to write and give lectures, I am involved in various other activities. My wife, Dr. Donate McIntosh, and I have a small self-publishing operation called Vanadis, set up to publish our own books and essays.
One of the things we have published is our new English translation of the Rosicrucian Fama Fraternitatis. We brought it out in to mark the th anniversary of the original publication, together with a new modern German translation by Donate.
We have also recently started up a project in the German-speaking realm to provide spiritual care for sick Pagans, called Verdandihilfe. The name refers to the three Norns or goddesses of fate in the northern tradition, who correspond to past, present and future.
Verdandi is the Norn of the present, who weaves the strands of fate together. Please give us details of relevant websites, links etc. Here are the main relevant ones: My personal website: www.
The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order
Yot The name refers to the mcintoah Norns or goddesses of fate in the northern tradition, who correspond to past, present and future. Add a tag Cancel Be the first to add a tag for this edition. Please enter your comment! Perfect for students of the Western Mystery tradition who want an introduction to Rosicrucianism, with good resources for further study.
Christopher McIntosh Interview
CHRISTOPHER MCINTOSH THE ROSICRUCIANS PDF