The origins of the Rosicrucians is debated among scholars as to whether they were a real organization or a fictional creation. According to their own writings, the Rosicrucians were a secretive society of mystics who possessed esoteric knowledge and were dedicated to the study of the occult and metaphysics. They claimed to have access to ancient wisdom and were said to possess the ability to transform base metals into gold, as well as the power to heal the sick and even raise the dead. Influenced by a variety of mystical and philosophical traditions, including Atlantis, Ancient Egypt, ISIS, Eleusis, the Essenes, the Pythagoreans, the Orphic, Delphic and Mithraic Mysteries, Gnosticism, Alchemy, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Neoplatonism, and Martinism their teachings emphasized the unity of all things and the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual worlds.
Symbolism played a central role for the Rosicrucians of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Rosicrucians used symbolic language and imagery to convey their philosophical and spiritual teachings, which were often veiled in allegory and metaphor and believed that by understanding these symbols, they could gain insights into the hidden workings of nature and the divine. The symbols they used were not just arbitrary signs, but were imbued with a deeper meaning that could be unlocked through spiritual practice and contemplation.
One of the most famous symbols used by the Rosicrucians was the rose and cross. The rose symbolized the divine spark within each human being, while the cross represented the material world and the challenges and obstacles that humanity must overcome in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Together, the rose and cross symbolized the unity of spirit and matter, and the need for individuals to strive towards a higher spiritual understanding. Over the centuries, the Rosicrucian movement has evolved and branched off into a number of different organizations with unique teachings and practices. Today, there are several different Rosicrucian orders and groups around the world, each with its own particular focus and approach to spiritual development.
The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) is a modern-day Rosicrucian organization that was founded in the United States in 1915 by Harvey Spencer Lewis. It is the largest Rosicrucian organization in the world, with lodges and study groups in many countries. AMORC endeavours to be a continuation of the ancient Rosicrucian movement, which is said to have been revealed in Europe during the 17th century. The modern manifestation of the organization's teachings draw from a variety of spiritual and mystical traditions, and emphasize the importance of personal spiritual development and self-discovery.
AMORC offers a range of teachings and practices, including meditation, visualization, and the study of esoteric texts and symbolism. Members can progress through a series of degrees or levels within the organization, each of which offers a deeper understanding of the organization's teachings and practices. People are welcome to access the resources of the Rosicrucian teachings despite gender, social economic status, nationality or status of birth.
In addition to its spiritual teachings, AMORC also engages in philanthropic and charitable work, and it is involved in various cultural and educational projects. The organization is known for Rosicrucian Park in San Jose, California, which includes an Egyptian museum, Planetarium, a research library, and various gardens and monuments. Additionally, they support an online community, digital learning resources such as videos and podcasts, as well as maintains the Rosicrucian Cultural Center in New York City. The RCCNY offers a variety of programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and study groups, that focus on topics related to Rosicrucian philosophy and practice. These programs are open to the public, and are designed to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the principles and practices of the Rosicrucian tradition. AMORC also hosts international conventions to bring people together to learn and practice Rosicrucian mystical philosophy. Current efforts are also underway to develop one of the former learning center at Rosicrucian Park into an Alchemy Museum.