Rosicrucian Writings Online


The Life and Teachings of a Master Rosaecrucian
By Profundis XII°
[From The American Rosae Crucis October 1916]
AMONG all the Greek or early school philosophers, so-called, whose lives, teachings and accomplishments are deeply interesting, there is one who is especially interesting to Rosaecrucians. It is Empedocles, the scientist, physician, philosopher and Master of a very flourishing Rosaecrucian Lodge.
Empedocles lived the life of a true Rosaecrucian mystic; that is, he applied the teachings of the Order and went about performing such seeming miracles and marvelous manifestations of the Rosaecrucian teachings as one would expect from a Master Mystic.
If we would believe all the fragmentary accounts of his life as presented by some historians and encyclopedia, we would look upon Empedocles as either a forerunner of the man Jesus or else as the greatest enigma of history. True, some consideration must be given to the fact that most of the published accounts of his life and work were written by admirers, students or those who were wonderfully benefited by his personally demonstrated "miracles." We must allow for honest exaggeration, sincere praise tempered with bias and the desire to make the name of Empedocles forever famous.
But the published accounts and records of the life and work of Empedocles are too fragmentary, too incomplete and too opinionated to be of any real value to the Rosaecrucian who desires the truth regarding this most inspiring Master.
Those who have ventured to piece together the few public fragments regarding his life and philosophy seem to fear to express themselves freely; they prefer merely to record his greatness as traditional and leave the reader to judge for himself. It is as if the truth would be staggering; and well it might be to some.
William Wallace, the famous Scottish philosopher, and professor of Moral Philosophy at Merton College, who was one of the foremost expounders and critics of Hegel's philosophy and doctrines, wrote several years ago regarding Empedocles as follows: "It was as at once statesman, prophet, physicist, physician and reformer that he most impressed the popular imagination. To his contemporaries, as to himself, he seemed more than a mere man."
By turning to the Rosaecrucian records, however, one may piece together a very complete--though brief--history of this wonderful man.
Space in this magazine is limited, and it is not appropriate to publish an extended outline of the life and teachings of Empedocles in a public magazine article. Therefore, I will sketch the most interesting facts and leave to a future time the more complete work in book form.
Empedocles was born at Agrigentum in Sicily in the early part of May (according to our present calendar) in the year 492 B.C., and not in the year 490 as most authorities say. The difference of two years is due to a change in the calendar of years which occurred in the fifth century B.C., and which is not properly considered by those who write popular histories.
The exact day of birth is not set down as we indicate those things to-day. But his birth is recorded by his horoscope and this shows that, allowing for the changes of the calendar, plus certain astronomical changes, he was born as stated early in May. But we have one other guide and this is a celebration held in his honor by the older European Lodges on May 6th of each year. We may safely say then, that through the configurations of some old scientist or astrologer in the Order, his birthday was May 6, 492 B.C.
The ancient city of Agrigentum is now the more modern city of Girgenti. It is situated on the south coast of Sicily, 58 miles from Palermo.
The city of Agrigentum was founded by colonists from Gela about 586 to 584 B.C. It acquired first position among the cities established by the Greeks in Sicily.
Its site is one of remarkable beauty and great natural strength. To the north it spread upon a lofty ridge and in the east there was a great rock once used as a Temple Altar, to-day being known as the Rock of Athena. Upon the high plateau surrounding the altar was a Temple of Zeus.* In fact the original city was walled and within its walls were many temples devoted to occult worship--and these temples in ruins remain to this day despite the fact that a very large city has grown upon the site. In a future article I will describe these temples and their purposes in detail.
Tyrants ruled Agrigentum during the life of Empedocles until 472, when democracy was established.
Empedocles was the second son of Mito and grandson of another, named Empedocles, who was also a member of the Order in Olympia and later at Gela in Sicily. The family was a wealthy one and powerful in what might be called political matters. It was at the height of its power and most distinguished at the time of the birth of Empedocles. His father, Meto, does not seem to have been a member of the Order, and about the only fact known of him is that through his political and other power he was largely responsible for the overthrow of the tyrant Thrasydaeus in 472 when democracy was established.
Empedocles was educated as a child by his grandfather. Undoubtedly he was well grounded in the Rosaecrucian teachings, for he was admitted to the Order during his nineteenth year. When he was 26 years old he was given one of the Order's honors and titled as a mystic, and it is during his 30th to 31st year that we find him performing so many of his seeming miracles. However, until his last day, when his transition occurred through an accident (previously foretold by him) in his 62nd year, he was to be found in public, doing deeds of goodness, to the wonderment of that part of the populace which did not understand.
He twice refused to be the King of Agrigentum because of his desire to lead a humble life, and he eventually moved to Peloponnesus to lead a humble, though active life.
Aside from his writings (which caused Aristotle to call him the father of rhetoric) and his philosophy with which I will deal later, he was a living demonstration of what a Rosaecrucian can accomplish for the benefit of mankind by living the true Rosaecrucian life.
He walked about in the purple robe and golden girdle of the advanced mystics of the Order, his long hair bound by a garland, and brazen sandals on his feet. He carried in his hand a long rod on the upper end of which was the Crux Ansata and other symbols of our Order.
He was tall in stature and the records speak often of his magnetic personality and wonderful, strong, kindly eyes. Certain it is he had developed within him that great power and energy which all Rosaecrucians learn to develop in the higher degrees, and which surges forth from the hands to heal and perform seeming miracles.
Of the well recorded acts, we find that Empedocles cured, or removed, blindness of many forms, by the touch of his finger tips; that he caused contagious and eruptive diseases to lose their fever and to leave bodies by what we would call "absent treatment," but which has a different term with Rosaecrucians. He also controlled various natural elements through the directing of a neutral element, developed in his body through study and practice of our teachings. Many contemporary writers testify to his having caused the marshes around Selinus to become salubrious, of having devised a means of laying the destructive winds from which his city suffered, of causing oil lights to go out and re-light by willing it so, and doing many other wonderful things, including the restoration to active, normal life of a woman who had been in a coma for many days.
All this was--and still is--within the province of a Rosaecrucian Mystic, and it is no wonder that he was made Master of the Rosae Crucis Lodge in Agrigentum in his 32nd year. He continued as Master until his 48th year and among his students in the Lodge were many well known Greek philosophers, poets and scientists.
His philosophy was given to the world in a semi-mystical form with much symbolism. Yet his truly scientific work as a physicist, contributed much to the scientific teachings of the Order in the few centuries following his transition. In fact, several of the important laws of our Order's Ontology are a result of his researches and experiments--all of which he fully and ably demonstrated.
In his most popular presentation of his philosophy (the scientific work not being permissible in a public magazine going to those outside our Order) Empedocles held, or expressed his beliefs as follows:
Love and discord alternately hold the empire over all things. But neither one is ever entirely absent, however. Originally, when God spoke the word, Love predominated over all things and all the elements composing the present universe, formed one sphere, one mass, a unit. Thus, love predominating, brought and maintained unity. Since then discord, the opposite of Love, has gained more power and separation of the elements has resulted. Strife in the world is due to the combined action of Love and discord in their determination to reign alone permanently. But Love, always present to some degree, tempers discord, while discord modifies Love in its time of temporary predominance sufficiently to make destruction aid construction. Thus we have a world of contrasts, of good and evil, of war and peace, of joy and sadness, of Love and hatred. Love will triumph again when it has gradually forced discord to expend itself in maintaining its side against Love. Love must conquer for it is infinite, therefore unlimited, while discord is finite, therefore limited in both power and duration.
If there were more like Empedocles to-day--and there could be--then--what? Are we ready for such doctrines and such practices as made Empedocles famous in Sicily and cause the people there, to this day, to celebrate his name at certain times? Another year will tell, when we will have our own American members, many of them, advanced as far as was Empedocles, and ready to teach and PRACTISE.
* There has been considerable discussion for many years regarding this Temple and its so-called Brazen Bull. Some of the world's greatest writers and scientists have argued on the point in question, which, after all, they have not been able to settle. It is because the mythical tyrant Phalaris had naught to do with this Temple. Rosaecrucians in the 4th degree or higher will understand why the Altar and Temple were built on a high rock in the East, and for what the Altar was used.

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