Rosicrucian Writings Online


Strange Events Cast Shadows

AN INTERESTING REVIEW OF THE PAST YEARS
 
By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1934]
 
 
THE coming month of August marks the 25th anniversary of my personal initiation into the Rosicrucian Order, and the granting to me of authority to reorganize and extend the former activities of Rosicrucianism in America.
 
It was in the year 1909 that I first went to Europe in behalf of my quest for the portals of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, and I did not know then that my several years of anxiety and desire to contact the organization would be fulfilled in accordance with some strange cycle or with some unusual coming events that were casting their shadows long in advance. I remember distinctly that after spending at least five years in intensive research for anything and everything that might shed any light upon the history and activities, purposes and teachings of the Rosicrucian Order, I was more disheartened with my results than our own members were a few years ago when they turned to the average encyclopedia and read such misleading and disturbing remarks.
 
Those who think that it is difficult today to learn any positive facts regarding the so-called real secrets of the Rosicrucians should have enjoyed the very intriguing investigation and hunt that I enjoyed for many years. Like attempting to solve some mysterious disappearance or involved crime, the most important facts seemed to have a way of hiding themselves, and the necessary clues seemed to find pleasure in deliberately concealing themselves, and every avenue of positive results was like a street that ended at a blank wall. Disappointing and discouraging though the investigation was in many ways, the difficulties which seemed to be deliberately invented and placed in the path made the whole search intriguing and fascinating. Imagine turning to any reference book where one would naturally expect to find some definition of the word Rosicrucian and then discovering that even the name itself was not mentioned. Imagine consulting men and women of occult erudition and having them frankly admit that the name Rosicrucian was new to them, and they had not the slightest idea of its meaning or purpose.
 
I remember that I often thought during those years that the quest for the organization was like the human quest for the ideal life. It recedes as you approach the place where you expected to find it. Each day that I thought I was close to the discovery of important clues I would find that I actually knew less and was more mystified and puzzled than before.
 
It is true that I found some books in the largest of the New York public libraries that dealt with the ancient philosophies and occult sciences, and some books that had been written by real and active Rosicrucians in the past. I gleaned much from these books as to what the ancient Rosicrucians proclaimed to the world, and they taught to the outer circle of inquirers, or what they wanted the world at large to think of them and believe of them, but as for any positive facts regarding the inner workings of the organization or its actual existence, there was nothing that was either helpful or directive in my search. More than once I had in my hands some old books hidden under peculiar titles and concealed in unsuspected divisions in the smaller research rooms of the large library which books were unquestionably written by past Rosicrucians and possessed by their successors, for on the flyleaves of such books were the names and marks of several generations of Rosicrucian leaders. But the reading matter on the yellow, faded, torn, musty pages of these old books gave very few clues to the uninitiated. When important phrases were not in Kabalistic or other strange codes or secret ciphers they were in such flowery language with such peculiar terms that they would mean nothing to one who was not familiar with such terminology. There were formulas and methods for doing certain things using only chemical terms and yet one could not fail to have the impression that the whole discourse had nothing to do with chemistry or alchemy of a material nature. Often there were intricate designs and symbology that were a mass of mystical patterns concealing certain important principles. I traced many of these, copied them, and recopied them but could make nothing of them. In later years I took many of our initiated members in New York City to the library and placed these same books before them on the tables, and allowed them to analyze them first from the view-point of the uninitiated, and secondly from the view-point of one who had just started on the path and was familiar with certain terms and cipher codes. They agreed that such books were tantalizing.
 
These books and others which I found did but one thing for me, and that was to convince me that the old organization of Rosicrucians had not been a fictitious one or a mythical one as some authors and writers of modern times have declared. There were too many well known persons, too many important characters connected with the ancient organization, and too many who wrote and published books, and too many who had preserved those books in later years for anyone to believe that the Rosicrucian Order had been a fantastic myth, or the part of some mysterious writer of fiction. But whether the organization had continued to exist or not was another question. Most certainly it had not ceased to exist in the 17th century as most writers stated, and I found books that were dated in the years of the 18th century, but after a certain period in the 18th century there seemed to be nothing left as a monument to the previous existence of the organization. In fact, one would have become convinced by an examination of these old books, and by an analysis of all historical reference to the organization that somewhere around 1730 or 1740 the Order ceased to exist and--strangely enough--all interest in its previous existence seemed to end. After that period the rare books that had been so carefully preserved were allowed to get into libraries or passed from the hands of those who had been caring for them. No new ones were written; no new light cast upon the subject. I began to feel that the fact that these rare books were in a public library instead of in the archives of some foreign branch of the Rosicrucians was ample proof of the statement that the order had disappeared and all of its possessions released to the world through the channels of antiquarians and dealers in rare publications of the past.
 
But in my moments of relaxation and contemplation I could not help feeling that some great event in the history of our country was approaching, and that I was being influenced by the shadows of that coming event being cast over my path, and that I must continue on and move through these shadows into the greater light which I would find. I did not know that the Rosicrucian organization and that the work of the Great White Brotherhood and the activities of the great Masters were carried on in cycles, and that the same impulse which was urging me to seek for the organization was also affecting the lives of others in various parts of North America.
 
The truth of the matter is that in that very year of 1909 when the Cosmic put me in touch with an individual in Europe who could direct my footsteps toward the portals of the organization, the same opportunity was given to a number of other men and women in the United States and Canada, and the further interesting facts are that a number of these persons yielded to the Cosmic impulse as I did, and prepared to wend their way across the seas and through a number of countries to the hidden portals of Rosicrucian light. There was a Mr. Gould living in the New England states, for instance, representing a semi-Masonic and occult research society who prepared to go to Europe in July 1909 to find the ancient Rosicrucian rituals, and any authority he might secure for the purpose of reviving the work in the United States. There was Mr. Max Heindel who felt the same impulse, but who believed that he could shorten the journey and make it fruitful by appealing to other seekers in Germany whose influence might help him. There was an eminent attorney in Boston, long-time student of occultism, who felt the same impulse and wended his way toward France. There was a man in Florida associated with the Scottish Rites of Freemasonry and holding an important position in that great work, and who had contacted some clues regarding the Rosicrucians through his researches and believed that he too should go to Europe in the summer of 1909. There was another eminent student of the mystic orders living in Washington who decided to spend his personal vacation in Europe during the summer of 1909 in order to contact the Rosicrucians, if possible. And there were at least eight or ten others who had the same idea and felt the same impulse, according to recent documents that have come into light in recent years. Mr. Gould passed through sudden transition and into a higher initiation before he could leave America that summer. Mr. Heindel went into Germany and was misled from the right path by the personal opinions of some friends. The man in Boston made the proper contacts in France, and was given the proper directions but yielded to the temptation to proceed slowly and to evade the many tests of endurance, and arrived at the goal of his search just too late to reap all of the reward he expected. The man from Washington likewise received some reward but not all that might have been his. The man from Florida was allowed to contact some high officials of the Order in France and then in England, but was not given any initiation. Some of the others were led astray by personal ambitions, while still others found it difficult to carry on their search through a number of foreign countries. And some gave up in dismay and were disheartened because of the many tests and trials that were purposely set in their path, and so it came about that in August of 1909 with at least twelve men from America on the continent of Europe seeking for the same thing at the same time was most certainly no coincidence, unless we take the original Latin meaning of the word coincidence which was, in accordance with the stars.
 
The fact that I was the only one of the twelve who received initiation and full authority and was permitted to attend a high conclave and to establish certain new conditions in America which were later recognized by all the other Rosicrucian organizations of the same international group, is not a testimonial to any personal prowess on my part except possibly that of determination. That the masters saw fit to offer a heavy cross to me which I willingly accepted, and which at times has been a heavy burden indeed, is something that is associated with Karmic conditions of the past. The important part is that the year 1909 was not only significant in regard to these Rosicrucian pilgrimages on the part of a number of men and a few women, but a part of a world-wide Cosmic plan of reorganization and regeneration. As world events have been studied and analyzed in the past years we have been surprised to see how many national and international movements had their beginning in that Cosmic impulse of 1909, and we have been surprised to see how many of those events cast their shadows long in advance and prepared certain persons and places for the events to occur.
 
Today the shadows of coming events are influencing all of us and account for the passing periods of depression, despondency, gloom, and uneasiness that we see expressed in individuals, nations and international alliances. We are again on the very threshold of momentous ethical, political, and other reforms and modifications that will begin their evolutionary process within another year and gradually bring the world into a new phase of activity. We have already referred to some of these changes in our little free booklet entitled "1934 and War," but other important matters will be described in our booklet for next year. These annual pamphlets dealing with the coming of great events have become a landmark of our organization principally because they have so accurately foretold the coming events.
 
And so we as the present Supreme Lodge of the Rosicrucian organization for North America celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary. A quarter of a century of planning and devotion to certain ideals and purposes has brought about very definite results and laid a foundation that is permanent, and ensconced by the very high ideals of the Rosicrucians. Personally, I hope that every member in the organization in North America will find joy in this year of achievement and change. By harmonizing with the great changes taking place one will become regenerated and strengthened in the unfoldment that will bring the super man and super woman into power. That power will be a working power in the world for it will be a righteous one, a constructive one, a harmonizing, brotherly power that will unite nations and unite peoples. Like all regenerative processes it will bring changes with some disruption and some discordant phases, but some will move onward and forward to a greater degree than ever before, and the Rosicrucians throughout the world will share in this great work to a marked degree. It will lead to better citizenship, to better understanding of our duties and obligations to our country and flag, and our people, and a better comprehension of our Cosmic and Divine privileges and requirements. The year 1934 will be a great era mark in the forward and upward development of civilization.
   

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