This picture is a print from the late 1500’s where in the tradition of the Rosencrucians, a man is depicted who is able to look beyond the world of sense perception and gazes into the spiritual world. The spiritual world is here shown in the tradition of Pythagoras of Samos (ca. 570 BC – ca. 495 BC) who was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. (see Chapter on Development of Thinking during the last 2500 years)
Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religious teaching in the late 6th century BC. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist, but he is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. His worldview was determined by the idea that numbers were ultimately related to the truth (“the World of Ideas” in the Platonic sense). He described the world behind the world of sense perception as a World of Spheres and Harmony, perceived as Music. Pythagoras was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom, and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato, and through him, all of Western philosophy.
Christian Rosenkreutz, here portraited as the last descendant of the nobel German family of Germelshausen near the border between Hesse and Thuringia.
Christian Rosenkreutz as Count of St. Germain in Paris by unknown French artist (ca. 1770-ca.1775)
Louis XV, King of France (1710-1774), painting by F. H. Drouais
Rembrandt van Rijn: Armoured Man (“man in harnas”). Likely a portrait of Christian Rosenkreutz when Rembrandt met Christian Rosenkreutz as his personal student
Rembrandt van Rijn: The Polish Rider. Very likely, this is a portrait of Christian Rosenkreutz when Rembrandt met Rosenkreutz in Amsterdam as his personal student. Rembrandt wrote on the back side of the frame: “This is the man who taught me about Light and Darkness”
Christian Rosenkreutz is the legendary founder of the Rosicrucian Order (Order of the Rose Cross), presented in the three Manifestos published in the early 17th century. The first anonymous public document on the Rosicrucian Order is the “Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis”, which appeared in 1614 in Kassel (Germany), introducing the pilgrim founder “Frater C.R.C.”, followed in 1615 by the “Confessio Fraternitatis” (issued with the Fama). In 1616 appears the Chymical Wedding (“Chemische Hochzeit”) by Christian Rosenkreutz in Strassbourgh (annexed by France in 1681), which discloses for the first time the founder’s name as Christian Rosenkreutz.
It is a “public secret” and a long-beheld tradition among Rosencrucians to consider Christian Rosenkreutz as the same individuality as Lazarus and St. John the Evangelist, who incarnates about every 100 years to be a initiator of mankind development at large. During the years leading up the French Revolution, Christian Rosenkreutz was publically known as Count de St. Germain in France. Rembrandt painted Christian Rosenkreutz as the “Armoured Man” and the “Polish Rider” in an early 17th century incarnation. Rembrandt was a direct pupil of Rosenkreutz. Rembrandt once wrote about Christian Rosenkreutz: “ This is the man who taught me about Light and Darkness.”
Christian Rosenkreuz’s date of births and deaths are not historically known, but in two sentences in the second Manifesto the year 1378 is presented as being the birth year of “our Christian Father”, and it is stated that he lived for 106 years, which would mean he died in 1484. The foundation of the Order can be supposed in similar terms to have occurred in the year 1407. However, these numbers (and deduced years) are not taken literally by many students of occultism, who consider them to be allegorical and symbolic statements for the understanding of the Initiated. The justification for this relies on the Manifestos themselves: on the one hand, the Rosicrucians clearly adopted through the Manifestos the Pythagorean tradition of envisioning objects and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects, and, on the other hand, they directly state, “We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of all secrets.”
In 1760, King Louis XV of France sent Count Saint-Germain on a diplomatic mission to The Hague, the Netherlands, and from there he went to England.
Two or three years later he was in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the end of 1763 he met the well-known Casanova at Tournay in Belgium.
Count Cobenzl in a letter written in 1763 said that St. Germain had performed “under my own eyes … the transmutation of iron into a metal as beautiful as gold”. From 1764 to 1768 the Count was in Berlin. There he closely associated himself with the Abbé Pernety, Princess Amelie, the old Baron Knyhausen and Madame de Troussel. In 1770, he went to Tunis with the Comte Maximilian de Lamberg and to Leghorn while the Russian fleet was there.
In 1773, he traveled to Mantua after meeting his pupil Cagliostro in Paris. In 1774, after the death of Louis XV on May 10, the Count went to The Hague again as diplomat representing several governments. From there he may have made a trip to Schwalbach and returned to Holland.
From 1774 to 1776, he met several Rosicrucian and alchemists at Triesdorf, Germany. In the later part of 1776, he attended a high council meeting of Rosicrucians at Leipzig, and during the next year he helped to establish a Rosicrucian College and Alchemical laboratory at Dresden.
During the signing of the American Constitution the continental congress assembled with doors locked was indecisive to sign the proclamation of independence when a “stranger” appeared among them and delivered a passionate speech in excellent English and exhorting them to sign with the commanding words: “Sign that document!” This stranger was the French Count St. Germain. In 1779, he was in Hamburg to consult with a group of Rosencrucians and then he visited the home of Prince Karl of Hesse, who was then the Grand Master of the Rosicrucians in Germany. Around that time he paid a visit to the Castle of the Duc of the Medici which had an archive for the preservation of the Rosencrucian material from all parts of Europe. Here was the place for many Rosicrucian conventions and for the addition of Rosicrucian material.
In 1785 and 1786, he had a conference with the Empress of Russia; he visited the Princess de Lamballe while she stood before the tribunal only shortly before she was killed by a bullet.
In 1788, according to the Comte de Challons, St. Germain conversed with him in St. Mark’s square in Venice. In 1793 the Count appeared to Jeanne Du Barry while she waited for the scaffold to be guillotined.
Frivolous as their life may have seemed, members of nobility needed mystical truth to be imparted to their souls and unfolding Inner Selves. And so Count de St. Germain set himself to give guidance and instruction of high spiritual level to some of these leaders or leaders-to-be who were tired of the fictitious and hypocritical manners and etiquette of social life and whose education was rigid and shallow and, in that sense, deprived of natural spontaneity and spiritual depth. He also contacted -and contacts- Rosicrucians and mystics of the highest degrees to help them with their social manners and ethical development. Rosenkreutz instructed and trained how to activated life forces (etheric forces) in their bodies. His typical appearance is of medium height, of soft pleasing voice, piercing eyes and wearing a powdered wig, making him look as a typical personage of the eighteenth century. He choose to do so to have maximum acceptance in the circles of power in those days.
Similar documentations may be found in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s description of the Holy Grail as the “Lapis Exillis”, guarded by the Knights Templar, or in the Philosophers’ stone of the alchemists, the “Lapis Elixir” and the tradition of the Freemasonry and Anthroposophy.