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La Donna della Fiamma, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1870] (Public Domain Image)

The Rosicrucians

Their Rites and Mysteries

by Hargrave Jennings

[4th ed., 1907]

[first published 1870]

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Hargrave Jennings was a nineteenth century English writer and occultist. His vision of the inner knowledge of the Rosicrucians in this book is, at its core, very similar to that of the left-hand Tantric path. In some ways he was very reactionary; for instance, he rejects the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs and the atomic theory of the elements. In other ways, he was far in advance of his time in his concepts of the roles of gender and sexuality in the quest for spiritual perfection.

You won't find much in the way of historical description of the Rosicrucians here. Key Rosicrucian documents such as the Fama Fraternatis, Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkrueutz and Confessio Fraternatis (see Waite's The Real History of the Rosicrucians) are not even mentioned. Nor will you find any disclosure of inner secrets. Jennings constantly drops hints that he knows more than he is letting on, but states up-front that he is not an initiate. Jennings believed that the doctrines of the Rosicrucians were derived from ancient phallic worship, and to a lesser extent fire and serpent worship. In this book, Jennings constructs elaborate and constantly shifting sets of correspondences. He tries to interrelate huge sets of symbols and objects in his search for the elusive Rosicrucians. This is not a mainstream concept of the Rosicrucian doctrine, and contemporaries such as A.E. Waite summarily dismissed Jennings' theories.

The book makes frustrating reading at times. Like his friend Bulwer-Lytton, Jennings piles clause upon clause. Often he seems on the verge of stream-of-consciousness automatic writing, walking the thin boundaries between illumination, synesthesia and psychosis. Because of Victorian sensibilities, he is unable to discuss aspects of sacred sexuality without elaborate circumlocutions, resorting to French and Latin when he needs to spell things out. Uncharacteristically for a book of this vintage, there are almost no footnotes, and very little other scholarly apparatus (although he occasionally gives elaborate bibliographic citations in the body of the text).

He goes on about hats, flags, and heraldry, with digressions and out-of-context asides. For instance, in Part I, Chapter 18, he starts out with the color spectrum and its correspondence to the vowels, suddenly veers into the question of evil, and ties the chapter up with a note on the Filioque. He proposes bizarre etymologies, e.g. Iona == Yoni, that even in the 19th century would have been dismissed as bunk (perhaps he is actually using esoteric phonetic resonances). And he is definitely obsessed with spotting phallic symbols, both male and female, everywhere.

This book dovetails with Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages, although Hall is a lot more coherent and organized. The two books cover a lot of the same ground such as eternal flames, Alchemy, the Kabbalah, and so on. Jennings also wrote a number of other books, primarily on phallic worship, including The Masculine Cross and Ancient Sex Worship, (also at online sacred-texts), under odd pseudonyms such as 'Sha Rocco' and Abisha S. Hudson.

Production Notes: Due to the huge number of small illustrations, where multiple figures occurred on a page, I merged them into one image file. This text uses Unicode for Greek, Hebrew and astrological signs; if you have trouble viewing them you should refer to sacred-texts Unicode walkthrough.

--John Bruno Hare, May 1st, 2006

Title Page
Preface to Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition

Part I

Chapter I. Critics of the Rosicrucians Criticized
Chapter II. Singular Adventure in Staffordshire
Chapter III. Ever-Burning Lamps
Chapter IV: Insufficiency of Worldly Objects
Chapter V: The Hermetic Philosophers
Chapter VI. An Historical Adventure
Chapter VII: The Hermetic Brethren
Chapter VIII: Mythic History of the Fleur-de-Lis
Chapter IX: Sacred Fire
Chapter X. Fire-Theosophy of the Persians
Chapter XI. Ideas of the Rosicrucians as to the Character of Fire
Chapter XII. Monuments Raised to Fire-Worship in All Countries
Chapter XIII: Druidical Stones and their Worship
Chapter XIV: Inquiry as to the Possibility of Miracle
Chapter XV: Can Evidence be Depended Upon? Examination of Hume’s Reasoning
Chapter XVI: Footsteps of the Rosicrucians Amidst Architectural Objects
Chapter XVII: The Round Towers of Ireland
Chapter XVIII: Prismatic Investiture of the Microcosm
Chapter XIX: Cabalistic Interpretations by the Gnostics
Chapter XX: Mystic Christian Figures and Talismans
Charts 1-3
Chapter XXI: The Rosy Cross in Indian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Mediæval Monuments
Chapter XXII: Myth of the Scorpion, or the Snake, in its Many Disguises
Chapter XXIII: Ominous Character of the Colour 'White' to English Royalty
Chapter XXIV: The Beliefs of the Rosicrucians--Meaning of Lights and of Commemorative Flambeaux in All Worship
Chapter XXV: The Great Pyramid

Part II

Chapter I. History of the Tower or Steeple
Chapter II. Presence of the Rosicrucians in Heathen and Christian Architecture
Chapter III. The Rosicrucians Amidst Ancient Mysteries. Their Traces Discoverable in the Orders of Knighthood
Chapter IV: Rosicrucianism in Strange Symbols
Chapter V: Connexion Between the Templars and Gnosticism
Chapter VI. Strange Speculations of the Transcendentalists
Chapter VII: Rosicrucian Origin of the Order of the Garter
Chapter VIII: Rosicrucian Supposed Means of Magic Through Signs, Sigils, and Figures
Chapter IX: Astro-Theosophical (Extra-Natural) System of the Rosicrucians--The Alchemic Magisterium or 'Stone'
Chapter X. Rosicrucian 'Celestial' and 'Terrestrial' (Means of Intercommunication)
Chapter XI. The Pre-Adamites. Profound Cabalistic or Rosicrucian Speculations
Chapter XII: The Adapted Rosicrucian Contemplation. Intrusion Of Sin. Ruins Of The Old Worlds
Chapter XIII: Indian Mysterious Adoration of Forms. The Unity of the Mythologies Found in the Bhuddistic and Mohammedan Temples
Chapter XIV: Doctrine and Rationale. The Embodied 'Children of the Elements', Both of Heathen and of Christian Periods
Chapter XV: Robert Flood (Robertus de Fluctibus), The English Rosicrucian
Chapter XVI. Notices of Ancient Authorities
Chapter XVII. Mysteries of the Ancients. The Ark of Noah
Chapter XVIII: Cabalistic Illustrations. The San-Grëale, Greal, or Holy Grëale
Chapter XIX: The Round Table is the Rationale or Apotheosis of the Most Noble The Order of the Garter
Chapter XX: Remarks Upon Two Curious Books
Chapter XXI: Remarks Relating to the Great Mystic, Robert 'de Fluctibus'
Chapter XXII: Alchemy. The Power of Producing Gold and Silver, Through Artificial Means. Doctrine of the Rosicrucians
Chapter XXIII: The Outline of the Cabala, or Kabbalah...
Chapter XXIV: And Last; Cabalistic Profundities


Plate 1. Ever-Burning Rosicrucian Lamps
Plate 2. Sacerdote di Cerere
Plate 3. Gnostic Gems
Plate 4. The Round Table of King Arthur
Plate 5. Plan of the Basilica, St Peter’s in the ''Vaticano.''
Plate 6. Temple of Keylas, or Paradise (Ellora, in the East Indies)
Plate 7. Mysterium [Noah's Ark]
No. 8. Astronomical and Astrological ''Rosicrucian'' Plan
No. 9. Mythological Interchange of ''Macrocosm'' and ''Microcosm.''
No. 10. Chart A. Cabalistic--Astrological and Astronomical. Chaldaic Mysteries
No. 11. Chart B. Cabalistic (Rosicrucian). Mystery of the Interchange of Light and Dark
No. 12. Chart C. Cabalistic (Rosicrucian). Production of the Visible Worlds; Generation of the Microcosmos