Rosicrucian Writings Online
FRANCIS BACON AND HIS SECRET WRITINGS[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1934]
Another interesting phase of his life, however, deals with his work as a Rosicrucian and as Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order. Very little public light has been thrown upon this phase of his life for the public at large is not greatly interested in this matter. Rosicrucians throughout the world have ample evidence of his activities as a Rosicrucian and, therefore, do not need any additional evidence at the hands of outside investigators.
Of course, there are a few who declare very positively that Francis Bacon was not a Rosicrucian and had nothing to do with Rosicrucianism and was never in possession of any Rosicrucian authority. These persons are found among those who have some personal reason for wishing to have the real facts of Bacon's life concealed. Just as there are those who profit by the concealment of the fact that Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays, so there are a few who find it personally convenient to deny the existence of an international Rosicrucian organization and to deny that Francis Bacon ever possessed any authority in such an organization and transmitted that authority to others.
Among the few throughout the world who claim to be experts in this subject of Rosicrucianism and who insist upon claiming that Bacon never had anything to do with the "Rosie Cross" Fraternity is one Dr. Clymer of Pennsylvania who has constantly ignored all of the positive evidence that has been unearthed in recent years and who closes his eyes to the facts and insists that Bacon was in no way associated with this old fraternity.
There are so many forms of concrete evidence to prove Bacon's connection with the Rosicrucians that we wonder how any person who has ever possessed even the slightest connection with the organization, or who has ever seen any of the genuine rituals and manuscripts, can take such a position as this.
In some of Francis Bacon's sonnets he speaks of the Rosicrucians and reveals his connection with them; and we have copies of these sonnets and photographs of the original folios of them showing these definite statements on the part of Bacon. Furthermore, there are documents and folios in England which we have seen and photographed, which revealed the nature of the correspondence that passed between Bacon and his Rosicrucian representatives on the continent. It is well-known from Bacon's acknowledged writings that he was the inventor of a very wonderful cipher system which he introduced to the world at large and which he used himself in the writing of many mysterious manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have been published and through the use of the key to the cipher which he revealed in another one of his acknowledged publications, one can decipher the hidden messages and learn the facts of his private mystical activities.
What will interest our readers especially is one large book written by Francis Bacon and published in London. We have in our large collection of Bacon's writings an original copy of this old book. Its pages are yellow and stained and discolored with age and water-marked with the same Rosicrucian symbols that he had placed in the paper of his other books. This particular book is one that outlines the thousands of experiments conducted by Bacon and his Rosicrucian associates in England during the time when they founded the first Rosicrucian college in England and which they called the Invisible College. It was very secret and limited exclusively to the Rosicrucians of England and the Rosicrucians who came from the continental branches of the organization. Later the college was chartered and christened and was known as the Rosicrucian College, and, finally, it evolved into a larger and more universal institution according to the plans and desires of Bacon and became what is now known as the Royal Society of England.
A number of books dealing with the history of the Royal Society of England, and many manuscripts to be found in the British Museum and in English archives recording the history and activities of the Invisible College, plainly reveal that it was originated by Bacon and a number of eminent scientists and experimenters as a place for the testing of nature's higher laws, the discussion of them, the study of them, and the ultimate compilation of the facts thus revealed. In other words, Invisible College became precisely what is now planned for the Rose-Croix University at Rosicrucian Park in California in harmony with the Rose-Croix Universities in other parts of the world.
The findings, the discoveries, and the revelations made by these groups of experimenters in the Invisible College were carefully registered in manuscript form and copies of these notations were sent to the various Rosicrucian laboratories and experimental groups throughout Europe. In order that these facts might never become lost they were put into written form in a very limited edition of a large book with Francis Bacon's name attached as the writer and the notater.
From the copy now before me as I write this article I turn the musty pages and read the old-fashioned English type and note the many peculiar letters that are part of a separate cipher story that runs through the book, and I am impressed by the nature of the thousands of experiments described in plain English.
Picking out only a few of them here and there at random, all of us here at the Supreme Temple have been astonished to note that many things discovered in recent years and looked upon as modern discoveries of a scientific nature are touched upon in these experiments. Most of the experiments are of such a simple nature that the average man or woman could perform them in the privacy of his own home, or most certainly in a small laboratory that could be arranged in the average kitchen. These experiments deal with the laws of nature outside of man and within man. They deal with fire, air, and water, with vibrations and with the effect of them. They deal with music, sounds, colors, harmonies. They deal with the actions of insects and animals. They deal with health, life and disease. They discuss and reveal simple methods of curing disease and of prolonging life, and even of preparing that famous elixir of life for which many ancient Rosicrucians sought. The experiments deal with dieting, with exercise, sleep, dreams, and of projecting. They deal with Cosmic laws of an occult nature. They explain the so-called spirit energy that exists in all matter in the same terminology and in the same manner as found in our present-day Rosicrucian lessons. They deal with concentration of the mind and the effect of the mind on the body and things outside of the body. Every sort of experimental subject that is of interest to Rosicrucians is touched upon in this large book. Reference is made to the alchemists, the mystics, arcane philosophers and their teachings. Reference is also made to the secret doctrines of his organization and his group of workers.
Those who claim that Bacon never showed any interest in metaphysical or mystical matters and, therefore, could not have been a Rosicrucian, have simply never seen this book and similar books dealing with this phase of his life. Just because a man has written many kinds of books and in some of them has not touched upon the subjects that are left for other books, is no reason for anyone to decide that such a person is not interested in the subjects he has concealed. It is true that in many of Bacon's books he makes no reference to things occult and mystical. But this proves nothing. We have members in our organization today who have written books upon various subjects, such as the book by one of our members dealing with the nature and quality of coal in all of its forms of natural manifestation and production. This man is an expert on the subject of coal. To read his book one would never gather the impression that he has also written on occult and metaphysical subjects and is deeply interested in them. On the other hand, there are some of Bacon's books, such as the one that is well circulated and known as the Advancement of Learning, that plainly reveals that Bacon was interested in promoting education along the very lines used by the Rosicrucians and recommended by them.
In the very book I have before me now there is reference to the secret society of the Rosicrucians by descriptions of its various departments of activities and how it should be organized and continued in the future.
In speaking of the future departments of the organization and comparing them with those departments which the typical Rosicrucian organization of today maintains, he says:
"For the several employments and offices of our Fellows, we have twelve that sail to foreign countries under the names of other nations, (for their own we conceal) who bring us the books, and abstracts and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light."
All of the officers and workers in the Rosicrucian organization of Bacon's time were called workers in Light of some kind, as we shall see.
He continues with these descriptions: "We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators. We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts, and also of liberal sciences and also of practices which are not brought into arts, these we call Mystery Men. We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call Pioneers or Miners. We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tables, to have the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call Compilers. We have three that bend themselves looking into the experiments of their Fellows and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practice for man's life and knowledge, as well for works as for the plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations and the easy and clear discovery of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call Dowry Men or Benefactors. Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labors and collections, we have three that take care out of them to direct new experiments of a higher Light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call Lamps."
Speaking of the other members which constitute the "whole number," referred to above, we find another paragraph which says:
"We have also, as you must think, Novices and Apprentices, that the success of the former employed men do not fail; besides a great number of servants and attendants, men and women. And this we do also, we have consultations which of the inventions and experiences, which we have discovered shall be published, and which not; and take all an oath of secrecy for the concealing of those which we think meet to keep secret; though some of those we do reveal sometimes to the State, and some not."
A careful reading of the foregoing paragraph will show that there were three members, namely, Novices, Apprentices, and Fellows and that women as well as men were admitted. This has been denied by some self-appointed critics of Rosicrucianism on the basis that the Rosicrucian organization started as a semi-Masonic body and never admitted women until the modern form of AMORC did so. The next paragraph is also very interesting and speaks of the ordinances and rights and then we have this very interesting statement:
"We have certain Hymns and services which we say daily, of laud and thanks to God for His marvelous works; and forms of prayers imploring His aid and blessing for the Illumination of our labors and the turning them into good and holy uses."
Note should be taken of the fact that throughout these paragraphs there is reference to Light and to Illumination, using two of the old mystical and Rosicrucian terms. Speaking of their various branches and how the high officers visited them, a paragraph states that they had regular circuits for their visits in order to inform these branches of the new discoveries and they also publish in pamphlets such matter as they thought would help the people at large. They also did much as the Rosicrucians do today in announcing from time to time such information as would be helpful to a nation of people by warning them of coming events, just as has been done by AMORC in the publication of its books such as the recent 1934 and War. Speaking on this matter, Bacon says:
"And we do also declare Natural Divinations of disease, plagues, swarms of harmful creatures, scarcity, tempests, earthquakes, great inundations, comets, temperatures of the year and divers other things; and we give counsel thereupon what the people shall do for the prevention and remedy of them."
Certainly such activities on the part of any group of men constituted something different from an ordinary school of students or scientists. Note there is reference to keeping certain matters secret and of meeting in secrecy. Note the strange subjects investigated and the form of having students in the grades of Novices and Apprentices. This is not typical of any other form of organization than a secret society such as the Rosicrucians.
Let us take a peep into Bacon's laboratory as he described the typical Rosicrucian laboratory of his day, and see what we find them doing on this particular occasion and in this particular laboratory.
"We also have perspective houses (or laboratories) where we make demonstrations of all Lights and radiations, and of all colors; and out of things uncolored and transparent, we can represent unto you all several colors not in rainbows (as it is in gems and prisms) but of themselves single. We represent also multiplications of Light, which we carry to great distance and make so sharp as to discern small points and lines; also all colourations of life, all delusions and deceits of sight in figures, magnitudes, motions, colors; all demonstrations of shadows. We find also divers means yet unknown to you of producing of Light originally from divers bodies. We procure means of seeing objects afar off as in the heavens, and remote places; and represent things near as afar off, and things afar off as near, making feigned distances. We have also helps for the sight, far above spectacles and glasses in use. We have also glasses and means to see small and minute bodies perfectly and distinctly, etc."
Then he goes on to explain they have laboratories for testing sounds and the generation of sounds and of examining crystals and minerals that are magnetic, such as lode stones, all of which contained vital forces. And, they had laboratories for demonstrating the nature of meteors, snow, hail, rain, and other manifestations of an astronomical or cosmic nature. They had an ether house where even the air was filtered and qualified to assist everyone in regaining health through breathing properly and bringing the right degree of nous into the lungs as explained in our modern monographs.
Turning again to the section relating to the experiments, we find that many of these experiments deal exhaustively with transmutation and the manner of changing metals into gold. The entire process is explained and the laws involved carefully revealed. In speaking of the transmutation of metals Bacon, in typical Rosicrucian manner, refers to the fact that the spirit in all matter must be changed in order to change its outer manifestation. This is equivalent to saying that the spirit energy in matter must change its rate of vibrations before the piece of metal may be changed from lead into gold. In thus affecting the rates of vibrations the atoms and molecules of the pieces of metal are changed in their relationship to each other causing them to become less congested or more closely associated and in this way affecting the atomic structure of matter, as modern science calls it.
For the comparison of terms and language, let us note what Bacon said in his explanation of transmutation regarding this change in atomic structure through changing the vibrations of the fundamental spirit energy. He said that the second step in the process of transmutation after using the proper heat is to see that "the spirit of the metal be quickened and the tangible parts opened; for without those two operations the spirit of the metal, wrought upon, will not be able to digest the parts." He explains which metals are the easiest to work with in the process of transmutation and what other chemicals or minerals should be associated in the crucible in order to attract the proper rate of vibrations and affect the spirit of the metal. He calls attention to the errors made by the early alchemists and especially the error of attempting to transmute metals too rapidly and thereby injuring the process.
Surely this subject of alchemy and transmutating reveals that Bacon was more than a mere writer of scientific discussions of any kind and puts him at once in the class of alchemists, hermetic philosophers, and Rosicrucians.
Dealing with the subject of concentration of the mind and the use of mind power in affecting things within the body and outside of it, Bacon gives a long list of experiments which are embodied in our present-day teachings. Allowing for a slight difference in language and terminology, many of the paragraphs written by Bacon prior to 1626 read like some of our present-day lessons. In the preparation of the lessons now used in North America, a number of popular terms were introduced in order that students might be more or less familiar with the terms used. Such words as concentration and will power have been introduced in our modern lessons because they mean something very definite to the people of North America, whereas in the days of Bacon they did not have such popular meaning. Bacon used the term imagination, or the power of imagination, to mean the power of imaging or visualizing (or creating an image) in the mind and concentrating upon it. In our higher degrees we have returned to this original Rosicrucian terminology and use the terms imagination and imaging in the same way in which Bacon used them.
In speaking of the power of imagination and the building of images in the mind through visualizing, Bacon states in this old book the following interesting facts:
"The power of imagination is in three kinds. The first, upon the body of the imiganant including likewise the child in the mother's womb. The second is the power of it upon dead bodies, as plants, wood, stone, metals, etc. The third is, the power of it upon the Spirits of Men and living creatures."
We notice from this statement that Bacon divides the influence of the power of visualizing and concentration into three fields, namely: the first is the effect upon the person himself who is concentrating and visualizing; and you will note that he includes that influence which we now call prenatal or the influence of the mother's mind upon the unborn child. Many believe that this is a modern application of psychology and yet this shows that in the Rosicrucian teachings, back in the 16th and 17th centuries it was well understood. The second field of influence according to Bacon is on such "dead" bodies as plants, wood, stones, etc. When Bacon calls things dead he means dried plants and pieces of dried wood and not living plants or living trees, for these living things come under his third classification where he says that the power exerted by a person's concentration and visualization is upon the spirits of men, and living creatures, which would include, in the ancient Rosicrucian category, all living things of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms.
Bacon in his book gives a list of hundreds of experiments that can be used to prove the influence of visualization and concentration. All of these are typically Rosicrucian and are included in our work of today.
In speaking of diet in connection with the experiments on curing disease and prolonging life he reviews the teachings and writings of the ancient mystical philosophers and in one paragraph states: "A Pythagorical or monastical diet according to strict rules and always exactly equal, seemeth to be very effectual for long life."
This refers to the manner of living of Pythagoras and those in the monasteries who lived according to the mystical rules of life. He then goes on and describes these diets and the general method of eating and living and adds: "A life led in religion and holy exercise seemeth to conduce to long life. There are in this kind of life these things, leisure, admiration and contemplation of heavenly things, joys not sensual, noble hopes, wholesome fears, sweet sorrows, lastly continual renovation (regeneration) by observances, penetances, expirations all of which are very powerful to the prolongation of life."
Summing up his review of life itself and the methods of living most healthily and happily he finally resorts to stating a very old and very true Rosicrucian principle in the following language:
"First, we are of that opinion, that we esteem the Offices of Life to be more worthy than life itself."
He goes on to explain that if there be anything in our lives that prevents us from serving the common good of all or from fulfilling our true mission in life, or from contributing to the great scheme of things, we are defrauding and cheating ourselves of the real pleasures of life and we are sure to cut short our span of life.
We believe we have said enough and quoted enough from this one great book of Bacon's to prove his association with the Rosicrucians and his familiarity with the ancient mystical philosophies. It is from such books as these, and hundreds of others like it, that our special lessons and lectures of a supplementary nature, and our annotations in the various graded monographs, were prepared so that while the modern Rosicrucian instruction is being given we are also perpetuating the ancient teachings from these books and from rare old manuscripts that are sent to us from time to time from the European and other branches of the Order.
We leave our readers to judge as to whether Francis Bacon and his group of Rosicrucian workers were in advance of their time or not and whether their system of study and analysis was sound or purely speculative. A careful verification of this subject will surely reveal that the Rosicrucians have always been well in advance of the times and true pioneers of wisdom and helpfulness in all ages.
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