Rosicrucian Fellowship

The Rosicrucian Fellowship Emblem

The Rosicrucian Fellowship (TRF) ("An International Association of Christian Mystics") was founded in 1909 by Max Heindel with the aim of heralding the Aquarian Age and promulgating "the true Philosophy" of the Rosicrucians.[1] It claims to present Esoteric Christian mysteries or esoteric knowledge, alluded to in Matthew 13:11 and Luke 8:10, to establish a meeting ground for art, religion, and science and to prepare the individual through harmonious development of the mind and the heart for selfless service of humanity.[2]

The Rosicrucian Fellowship conducts Spiritual Healing Services and offers correspondence courses in esoteric Christianity, philosophy, "spiritual astrology" and Bible interpretation.[3] Its headquarters are located on Mount Ecclesia in Oceanside, California, and its students are found throughout the world organized in centers and study groups.[4] Its declared mission is to promulgate a scientific method of development suited particularly to the Western people whereby the "Soul body" may be wrought, so that humanity may hasten the Second Coming.[5][6]

Origins and foundation

In 1908 Max Heindel started, in New York City, the work of rewriting a previous draft in German of teachings ostensibly written under the instruction of Elder Brothers in their temple near the border of Bohemia and Germany.[7] Heindel moved to Buffalo, New York, where he finished the typescript about September 1908. The work, called The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, was revised and printed in November 1909.

The first edition of 2500 copies, printed in Chicago, was exhausted in six months but it was learned that 2000 of these had been given by the publisher as payment of the debts of the publishing house to other publishers. Immediately, a large second edition was ordered: a first payment was made to the printer with the help of Augusta Foss,[8] who would become Max Heindel's wife. This time two booksellers bought one-third of the imprint before it was off the press.[9]

The Rosicrucian Fellowship's formal constitution occurred on August 8, 1909, in Seattle, Washington, at 3:00 p.m. The first Rosicrucian study center had been already previously formed in Columbus, Ohio, on November 14, 1908, where Heindel lectured and taught for a number of months. After each lecture he distributed free The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures. The Columbus Center was followed by centers in North Yakima, Washington (November 1909), Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California (February 27, 1910), the city where Heindel reencountered his theosophist friend Augusta Foss. In Los Angeles, Max Heindel gave conferences three times a week to audiences of nearly one thousand people from November 29, 1909, till March 17, 1910.

On October 28, 1911, the organisation's international headquarters, still used today, were opened at Mount Ecclesia in Oceanside, California. The ceremony of ground-breaking consisted in planting a large Cross with the initials C.R.C. (for Christian Rosenkreuz, the legendary head of the original order) painted in gilt letters on the three upper ends and with a climbing rose. The Rosicrucian Fellowship Temple, called The Ecclesia, was erected for the purpose of affording more powerful means for the healing of disease, and dedicated on December 25, 1920. Spiritual Healing meetings are held there each day.

According to Max Heindel, the invisible Order of the Rose Cross exists in the inner worlds, was founded in 1313 and is composed of twelve great adepts presented as belonging to human evolution but already advanced far beyond the cycle of rebirth.[10] Their mission is explained as aiming to prepare the whole wide world for a new phase in religion that includes awareness of the inner worlds and the subtle bodies and safe guidance in the gradual awakening of man's latent spiritual faculties: "to prepare a new phase of the Christian religion to be used during the coming age now at hand."[11]

Admission into the Rosicrucian Fellowship is free of fees and is funded by donation. The Fellowship recognizes seven grades, but its study is primarily based upon a system of three grades: regular student, probationer and disciple.[12] After a two-year term of being a Regular Student of the Fellowship, a person who abstains from all flesh food, tobacco, mind-altering drugs, and alcohol may apply for probationership. When the Probationer has complied with the necessary requirements and completed the term of probation he may send request for individual instruction. Access to the Disciple grade is granted upon merit;[13] once admitted into discipleship subsequent Spiritual unfoldment of the advanced soul within the Order of the Rose Cross is conducted through the process of the nine Lesser Initiations.[14]