Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What secret power did they possess? (Besides being white men?)

It's time for a short return to Fate magazine, after dabbling in some of the classified advertisements from a 1971 issue in April.

We're going with another 1971 issue this time around — the one from November of that year. For a cover price of 50 cents, it has stories about Mayans, magicians, Houdini, psychics, submarines, ghosts, evil spirits, retaliating fish and dancing chandeliers. But we're going to flip the magazine over and take a look at the advertisement on the back cover.

The advertisement is for The Rosicrucians, and it claims that the greatness and success enjoyed by Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon came from the "secret power" of their Rosicrucianism.

Wikipedia, despite having a very long article about Rosicrucianism, struggles to define it. That's probably because the Rosicrucians do, too. Wikipedia says the movement is "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past" and has a manifesto that is a mish-mash (my term, not theirs) of Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and mystical Christianity.

But Rosicrucianism also has this amazing illustration, courtesy of Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens exactly four centuries ago, in 1618...

Wouldn't it be fun to tour the country in that thing? You'd have to plan around tunnels and overpasses, but it would totally be worth it.

Getting back to Rosicrucianism, I'm trying not to let its concepts, tangled history and myriad branches melt my brain too much. I found a 2009 message board post that refers to the movement as a "low-pressure, less expensive version of Scientology," so maybe it's best to leave it at that. (OK, one more thing. You might also want to check out this essay on Uncommon Sense Ministries Inc.)

This 1971 advertisement wanted you to send for a free book, The Mastery of Life, from the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, a group of Rosicrucians who have had a sprawling presence and headquarters in San Jose, California, since 1927. If you're curious or bored and want a copy of the modern version of this book, here's the official link. But don't say I didn't warn you.

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