Masonic historian Manly P. Hall left us many incredible writings; one such written work is entitled Rosicrucian and Masonic Origins (1929). Within the text/lecture he made mention of the legendary Freemason/Rosicrucian Sir Francis Bacon, “One of the truly great minds of that secret fraternity—in fact, the moving spirit of the whole enterprise-was Sir Francis Bacon,” who by the way wrote the famed book New Atlantis in 1626 (Manly p. Hall, Lectures on Ancient Philosophy— An Introduction to the Study and Application of Rational Procedure, Rosicrucian and Masonic Origins. Hall Publishing Company, Los Angeles, First Edition 1929, pp 397-417).
The ardent student who reads this book soon discovers that Bacon was a proponent of “human liberty.” Especially important, he was also “appointed by the British Crown” to help protect the newly established colonies of the new world in North America, which aligns well with the true purpose of his book New Atlantis. He dreamt “of a day when a new world and a new government of the philosophic elect” would be established, and schemed “to consummate that end” (Hall, 1929).
In reality, Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh were members of a secret group, “but Bacon’s position as Lord High Chancellor protected him from Raleigh’s fate.” In short, although history tells a different story, what Hall was alluding to was a purge against secret societies during the period; a common theme throughout history. Yet Bacon understood what had occurred and “passed over into Germany,” before being fully discovered, where he helped “guide the destinies of his philosophic and political fraternity for nearly twenty-five years before his demise” (Hall, 1929).
There were, of course, other notable men who aided Bacon, including “Montaigne, Ben Jonson, Marlowe, and the great Franz Joseph of Transylvania.” In truth, Franz retired to “a monastery in Transylvania from which to direct the activities of his secret society.” There were several upheavals, but the biggest from the time period culminated into the “French Revolution, which was directly precipitated by the attacks upon the person of Alessandro Cagliostro.” He was certainly “by far the most picturesque character of the time;” in fact, he had “the distinction of being more maligned than any other person in history.” Sometime later, he was “tried by the Inquisition for founding a Masonic lodge in the city of Rome,” for which he was “sentenced to die.” This sentence was “later commuted by the Pope to life imprisonment in the old castle of San Leo.” Nevertheless, shortly thereafter he vanished, followed by a circulated story that “he had been strangled in an attempt to escape from prison.” But in truth, he had been “liberated and returned to his Masters in the East.” Out of this, Cagliostro became idolized; and in time, he “was most adequately revenged” by the people, who “remembered him in the day of their power,” which eventually came through the transformation of European society (Hall, 1929).
History has recorded the fact that Cagliostro “founded the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry;” of which many “French nobility” had been “received into its mysteries.” As for Cagliostro himself, he had been initiated a “Knights Templar” on the Island of Malta, whereupon he became a well known agent for the order. Nevertheless, the “Grand Orient” of France called upon him to prove his worthiness and affliantation to not only establish an independent Lodge, but also to instruct initiates into his own form of Freemasonry; that of the Egyptian Rite. Not surprisingly, “the Supreme Council found it difficult to secure an advocate qualified to discuss with Cagliostro philosophic Masonry and the ancient Mysteries he claimed to represent.” Eventually, eminently qualified egyptologist “Court de Gebelin” was selected to investigate Cagliostro, but after asking only “three questions,” he had to admit himself unqualified to “interrogate a man so much his superior in every branch of learning.” Shortly afterwards, he took to the floor and revealed “to the assembled Masons not only his personal qualifications,” but also prophesied about France’s future. Cagliostro predicted the “Reign of Terror, and the fall of the Bastille.” Moreover, some time later, he predicted the “dates of the death of Marie Antoinette and the King, and also the advent of Napoleon.” Eventually, Cagliostro left French Freemasonry with a “spectacular exit;” they were “utterly incapable of coping with the profundity of his reasoning.” Yet, even today, he is regarded to be “no more a charlatan than was Plato,” another great Masonic legend. Cagliostro, like so many other esoteric legends were vital historical links in establishing a new mindset among the europeans for a new way of thinking; thereby aiding the precept of a new world (Hall, 1929).
About the same time, we see other important figures come onto the stage, like Benjamin Franklin, and Marquis de Lafayette, who played “an important role in this drama of empires.” In truth, Franklin received much of his “esoteric instruction” while in France; he was also the “first in America to reprint Anderson’s Constitutions of the Free-Masons.” In fact, “through all this stormy period, these impressive figures come and go, part of a definite organization of political and religious thought,” which continued to transform the new world of free-Masonic thinkers (Hall, 1929).
In spain we saw Cervantes, in France it was “Cagliostro and St. Germain,” in Germany “Gichtel and Andreae” were the influencers, in England it was “Bacon, More and Raleigh,” and in the United States it was “Washington and Franklin.” Appearing in Germany, the written works Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis contributed greatly to the “establishment of a philosophic government upon the earth.” Moreover, an important link between the “Rosicrucian Mysteries” and Freemasonry were done through the works of “Elias Ashmole,” an English alchemical writer, “with a strong Baconian leaning towards the study of nature.” Interestingly, “the Baconian method, commonly known as the scientific method, is the investigative method developed by Sir Francis Bacon” (Hall, 1929).
The previous several paragraphs may have been seen as a “useless recital” of information; but it is not. Its purpose was to illustrate “upon the reader’s mind the philosophical and political” movement of Masonic and Rosicrucian movers and shakers. Indeed, a “philosophic clan” had moved across Europe “in a subtle manner” to reestablish its “sacerdotal supremacy” or doctrinal leadership. These men, “more or less identified with the progressive tendencies of their day.” They were “philosophers and alchemists,” as well as mystics, who all “bound together with a secret tie, and dedicated to the emancipation of humanity from ignorance and oppression.” In truth, “a group of mystics” even went by the name of the “Society of Unknown Philosophers.” They were “profound thinkers,” who considered themselves political alchemists, which was outwardly displayed by transmuting the base metals of political and religious thinking into a spiritual and ethical gold. They were also “investigators of the superior orders of Nature,” which sought to discover a stable foundation for human government.” Moreover, astrologers studied “the process of the heavenly bodies” in a hope to find a “rational archetype” for humanity. From time to time, characters like Martin Luther, or even Philip Melanchthon, would make contact with this society of thinkers. As has already been established, Freemason Francis Bacon supervised the writing and editing of the first edition of the King James Bible. This Masonic book “bears more Mason’s marks than the Cathedral of Strasburg;” as well, “the same is true respecting the Masonic symbolism found in the first English edition of Josephus’ History of the Jews (Hall, 1929).
For obvious reasons, “the Society of Unknown Philosophers moved” about under the radar of the church. Nevertheless, within the Church there were a “number of scholarly and intelligent men who were keenly interested in philosophy and ethics;” like that of “Jesuit Father, Athanasius Kircher, who is recognized as one of the great scholars of his day.” He was “both a Rosicrucian, and also a member of the Society of Unknown Philosophers.” Likewise, Kircher “was in harmony with this program” of philosophical reconstruction. In a relatively short time, these churchmen “developed an overwhelming preponderance of ecclesiastics” within its membership. Not surprisingly, they “gradually converted into an actual auxiliary of the church;” thereby, allowing them additional freedoms, not normally held. Conversely, “a small portion of its membership” contributed to the study of Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, the Kabbalah and Magic. In time, these men separated themselves “from the outer body of the society,” and became “known as the ‘Order of the Golden and Rose Cross,’ whose adepts were elevated to the dignity of Knights of the Golden Stone.” This “group of adepts” withdrew “from the order,” and claimed to be “inactive;” all the while calling themselves the ‘House of the Holy Spirit.’ These “reclusive adepts” included such “well-known Rosicrucians as Robert Fludd, Eugenius Philalethes, John Heydon, Michael Maier, and Henri Khunrath.” Although lacking any public structure, they did perform an occasional initiation ceremony. Most interestingly, “it was the Comte de Chazal, an initiate of this order, who ‘raised’ Dr. Sigismund Bacstrom” on the “Isle of Mauritius.” In time, however, “the original members of the order passed on,” but not before “first entrusting their secrets to carefully chosen successors” (Hall, 1929).
Meanwhile, another group of men from England, “under the leadership of such mystics as Ashmole and Fludd, had resolved upon repopularizing the ancient learning, and reclassifying philosophy in accordance with Bacon’s plan.” Albeit individually, they collectively undertook the effort to “reconstruct ancient Platonic and Gnostic mysticism.” For instance, Elias Ashmole had become “a member of the European order of Rosicrucians, which helped him greatly “in various parts of Europe” where “isolated individuals” were in “possession of the secret doctrine.” It was this connection that gave him access to an “unbroken line” of esoteric teachings that had been “handed down” from the Egyptians and ancient Greeks “through Boetius, the early Christian Church, and the Arabians” (Hall, 1929).
The efforts of this group of British adepts were successful in bringing Rosicrucians, and its related esoteric knowledge, back to England, where they stayed to aid in the design of the symbolism of contemporary Freemasonry, and also helped incorporate “into the rituals of the order the same divine principles and philosophy that had formed the inner doctrine of all great secret societies from the time of the Eleusinia in Greece.” These esoteric doctrines demonstrate a clear link from the “Eleusinian Mysteries” through the expansive growth of “Christendom, until the sixth century after Christ, after which they passed into the custody of the Arabians,” which is clearly seen “by the presence of Masonic symbols and figures upon early Mohammedan monuments.” These adepts were successful in establishing the “Arabian rites” (Hall, 1929).
In reality, many continental adepts eventually made their way to England, and sat with a “council of English philosophers,” who were themselves initiated into the “Arabian rites, and thus through them the Mysteries were ultimately returned to Christendom.” After establishing a series of “by-laws” for the “new fraternity, the initiates retired again into Central Europe, leaving a group of disciples to develop the outer organization, which was to function as a sort of screen to conceal the activities of the esoteric order.” Thus, the resurgence of Freemasonry in England was “founded upon the activities of this secret society of Central European adepts; whom the studious Mason will find to be the definite ‘link’ between the modern Craft and the Ancient Wisdom. This “outer body of Masonic philosophy” is “merely the veil of this qabbalistic order, whose members were the custodians of the true Arcanum.” Yet, the question remains, “does this inner and secret brotherhood of initiates still exist independent of the Freemasonic order?” Indeed, “evidence points to the fact that it does.” This closely held group of Immortal adepts are the overlords of the Lost Word. They are “the Keepers of the inner Mystery;” and the “Mason who searches for and discovers them is rewarded beyond all mortal estimation” (Hall, 1929).
In conclusion, Hall clearly demonstrated a direct lineage between the rise and stewardship of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, and its impactful thinking on a new world. Was this a plot? Indeed it was. Yet, it was a plot to guide humanity out of dark age thinking into a newer era of intellectual thought to benefit mankind. Much of the benefits we enjoy today, and will still enjoy well into the future, is because of these great adepts. And do they still exists, and are they still guiding humanity today? Well, what do you think?
So Mote It Be!!!
Blue Lodge Master Mason – Scottish Rite Mason – York Rite Mason – Knight Mason – Allied Mason – York Rite College – Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest – Red Cross of Constantine – Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis.