The Alchemy web site on Levity.com
Modern Rosicrucian groupsThis provisional list of modern Rosicrucian groups has been drawn up by Alvin sen Evanger.
Both the author and the Alchemy web site would welcome any amendments or additions to this listing. Further details of some of these organisations can be found at
This website, «Tempora Patet Occulta Veritas», is organised by Alvin sen Evanger.
Rosicrucian Fellowship (RF) was founded by the Dane Carl Louis von Grasshof (Max Heindel) around 1909-1912. RF is said to be "inspired" by the Rosicrucians; hence the name "fellowship". Heindel dreamed up a story about a secret initiation into the R+C brotherhood, but have later admitted that the movement never had any genuin connection to the original R+C brethren. The teachings of the fellowship is mainly based on the writings of Heindel, which is influenced by his early studies of Theosophy, and especially Antrosophy as a former pupil of Dr. Rudolph Steiner. The socalled «Rosicrucian tables of houses & ephimerides», are a product of this movement, and Astrology is part of their teachings. RF does not work in lodges, but in churches.
Lectorium Rosicrucianum (LR) was founded in Holland in 1924 by Jan van Rijckenborgh (a former student of Heindel), and is one of the most recent neo-rosicrucian movements. Nevertheless they claim to be the only true R+C group, something which is characteristic for their relatively extreme viewpoints in general. They postulate a gnostic and pagan tradition, and their teachings may be defined as religious and christian. LR demands total commitment from their members, and membership in other orders are forbidden.
Order of the temple of the Rosy Cross (OTRC) was founded in London, 1912, by Mrs. Annie Besant, Mrs. Marie Russak (Hotchener) and Mr. Wedgwood (it even got a Norwegian branch in 1914). They worked with transcendental cermonial magic, and claimed to be representing Templarism as well as R+C (which they regarded as very related). Cultural activities was also part of the order. OTRC consisted mainly of Theosophists and Co-Masons (Le Droit Humaine), but did not survive long and eventually got dissolved in 1918.
Corona Fellowship of Rosicrucians was founded when the OTRC was closed down, by some of the members of the OTRC. One of these members was a certain «Frater Aurelius». The founder of the modern witch movement called Wicca, Mr. Gerald Gardner, was also member of this "co-masonic rosicrucianism". Little is known by the further fate of this movement, but it seems that it did not survive WW2.
Fraternitas Rosæ Crucis (FRC) was founded in 1912 by Reuben Swinburne Clymer. He claimed to be representing the movement originally founded by Pascal Beverly Randolph in 1856. The latter was initiated into the SRIA in 1868, and seems to have held a previous membership from 1840 in the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light/Luxor. However, Randolph admitted in his books that he personally had his "Rosicrucianism" from the visions & inspiration of his heart & mind. This therefore makes all Clymers claims of representing the original R+C brethren invalid. Clymer devoted much efforts and work to slander and attack Dr. H. S. Lewis of AMORC, which he evidently regarded as an enemy. In order to succeed in his conspirating task, he co-operated with some other well-known esotericists of that time. After Clymers death, his son took over as head of the FRC.
Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) founded around 1860 by the freemason R.W. Little. He claimed to have encountered some «Rosicrucian documents» deriving from the authentic august order, but nevertheless the SRIA remained nothing but a designed alternative for Freemasons. Many well-known individuals of the 19th cent. held membership in this society; John Yarker, P.B. Randolph, E. Bulwer-Lytton, Dr. Wynn Westcott, A.L.Constante (Eliphas Levi), Theodor Reuss, Kenneth Mackenzie, Frederick Hockley, etc, etc. The SRIA was originally nothing but a study group, and did not work with rituals. It did spread abroad, for instance they got a body in Canada, under the British jurisdiction, with the name Societas Rosicruciana in Canadiensis. Likewise, in Pennsylvania, a charter was given in 1879 to establish the Societas Rosicruciana in U.S.A. A bit later, the Canadian branch chartered the Mason Albert Pike, to run a branch in the USA, unaware of the previously existing branch deriving from the U.K. These two efforts of operating the SRIA in USA, was not very successfull at the time, and it appers that one of them gradually went into sleep, while the other one still exists as:
Societas Rosicruciana Civitatibus Foederatis (SRCF) is a masonic "Rosicrucian" organisation, founded in Pennsylvania in 1879, only open to Master Masons. Many members of the american S.R.I.A. joined it, especially after the schisms in that group. It have worked in accordance to the original constitution, and still exists. In 1980 it had a total of only 773 members.
Societas Rosicruciana in America (SRIA) is the name of yet another SRIA offspring. A third group of masons was very eagerly to maintain an American body of the SRIA, so they eventually got chartered in Philadelphia, and later it spread throughout the states. After some years in function as a literary society with banquets, this American branch named SRIA in America, reformed and reoganized their body in 1889, and renaming it to the Societas Rosicruciana in the United States of America (SRIUS). Unfortunately, also this society had problems with surviving. However, in the Boston body, a certain Sylvester Gould was initiated into the society. He was a very productive member, publishing magazines, and studying the old R+C tradition. Eventually, with the dream of transforming the SRIUS into a representative of the true R+C order, he contacted the authentic brethren in Europe in 1909. But alas, he also died that year, hence his project died with him. Some of his followers, continued the society, and restructured it in 1912 and 1919 under the old name Societas Rosicruciana in America. One of their leaders was Mr. George Plummer, the author of many esoteric books under the pseudonym «Frater Khei». Then, in 1916, they started admitting women to their ranks, hence lost their original status. They were neither recognized nor sponsored by the english motherlodge, or by any other masonic organization. They also worked differently than the other SRIA, introducing new rituals and study material. After this schism it became fully independent and is today in the rare situation of being headed by a female, an 85 year old Imperatrix.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD) was founded in 1888 by Masons and members of the S.R.I.A. Their heritage was that of the Fratres Lucis (FL) / the Asiatic Brethren / HBL. The Rosicrucian contact was allegedly made through a mystical German Adept; Mrs. Anna Sprengel. HOGD was headed by MacGregor Mathers, William Robert Woodman & Wynn Westcott, and they were also initiates of the SRIA. This order (and its descended lineages) had members such as Dion Fortune, Paul Foster Case, Aleister Crowley, William Butler Yeats, Bram Stoker, Revd. V.A. Ayton, F.L. Gardner, Francis Israel Regardie, Mina Bergson, August Strindberg, Rider Haggard, R.F. Felkin, and many more. The Golden Dawn did not survive as an order, but several branches continued to operate as independent bodies after the order was dissolved around 1903. One of their Rosicrucian descendants are the Rosæ Rubeæ & Aureæ Crucis (RR+AC), which was originally the name of «the inner order» of the Golden Dawn. It is, however, not identical to the Ordo Rosæ Rubeæ & Aureæ Crucis which is a very small independent order, mainly located in northern Europe. The influence that work & people of the HOGD have had on modern magic and esoteric orders can not be underestimated, and the whole phenomenon have become a legend resulting in dozens of books written about it
Builders of the Adytum (BOTA) was founded by Paul Foster Case, after he had been expelled from a Golden Dawn lodge, allegedly because he was publishing some of their trade-secret materials. Case was of the opinion that one becomes a Rosicrucian, not 'join' them, and that his order (and others) consequently only can be a vehicle for the labours of the individual students, on their path to such a goal. He also made the similar point that there may be some 'true' Rosicrucians in any order as well as outside every order. Nonetheless, he claimed to be in touch with the 'invisible R+C masters', hence legitimizing the R+C aspect of this hermetic order. Besides from qbl, BOTA is also known to work with Tarot, and the «BOTA-deck» is relatively well-known and popular.
Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) defined itself as Rosicrucian, especially during the reign of Reuss. The order was originally founded by Carl Kellner, Heinrich Klein & Franz Hartmann in 1895. Theodor Reuss succeeded Kellner as chief in 1902, and it became at this point a really operating order. Reuss energic efforts caused it to spread throughout Europe and eventually branches in the USA was established. OTO postulated that it consisted of a large number of esoteric tradtitions (Templar, Martinist, R+C, AASR, M-M, Illuminati, etc, etc), hence the R+C aspect was not the dominating one. As the name indicates, OTO is a heir to the tradition of the Knight Templars. The order have experienced tremendously many schisms throughout the years, and today there are many groups claiming to be representing the genuin lineage of the order. The most well-known modern branch, is the Thelemic organization located in California operating internationally under the name OTO.
Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (FRA) was founded by the German esotericist Arnoldo Krumm-Heller, at first in Latin-America (where he had arrived at the age of 16), but eventually with branches all over the world (allthough mainly in the latino-speaking countries). The roots of the FRA are obscure, but interesting. Krumm-Heller may have had a lineage to the HBL/FL. Anyhow, he was in contact with several other orders, as the OTO, OMM, AMORC & FRC. His most important co-operator was Theodor Reuss, Grand Master of the OTO. After the death of Reuss, Crowley seems to have had some influence on Dr. Krumm-Heller. It is also claimed that Spencer Lewis at one time was chartered by the latter. A brief period, even R.S. Clymer joined forces with K-H. After his death, he was succeeded as Grand Master of the order, by his son, Parsival Krumm-Heller, which settled in Austria.
Collegium Pansophicum (CP) was founded by the Heinrich Tranker in 1923. HT was the head of the German branch of the OTO. He regarded himself as the true successor of Theodor Reuss instead of Crowley. CP claimed to be the only order containing the true secrets of the old R+C brethren, but it did not stop them from co-operating with AMORC at least until 1931. Together with Spencer Lewis, Traenker issued a so-called «Second Fama», announcing the presence of the R+C. Fraternitas Saturni was founded by displeased CP members and was headed by Albin Grau. FS did not accept Crowley as the heir of Reuss either, but they nevertheless symphatized with the philosophy of Thelema. Both the orders are still in existance.
Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose Croix (the Cabalistic order of the Rosy
Cross) (KRC) was founded in Paris 1888, with Count Stanislas de Guaita
as the first Grand Master. It had a council of 12 members, six of them being
unknown so the Order could be resurrected in case of decay. There have been
much speculation on what lineage this Order had, and both Levi &
Bulwer-Lytton have been mentioned as a link to the past. The KRC attracted
the leading European occultists of the time, including people like Paul
Adam, F. Jollivet-Castelot, August Reichel, Abbeè Alta (Melingè), Francois
Barlet, Marc Haven, Victor Blanchard, Spencer Lewis, Lucien Chamuel, Sedir
(Yvon Le Loup), Pierre Augustin Chaboseau, and several other well-known
figures. The order teached qbl and the opus magnum, as well as working
ritualisticly. It worked with 3 degrees, and one secret fourth degree. It
was closly attached to the Martinist Order (of Papus). The Grand Masters of
the order succeeding de Guaita was:
Order of the Temple & the Graal and of the Catholic Order of the Rose-Croix (l'Ordre de la Rose Croix Catholique, du Temple et du Graal) (CRC) (catholic, as in universal) was established by Josephine Peladan in 1890. Peladan had been initiated into the remains of an obscure order, generally refered to as the «Toulouse R+C Order», apperantly identical to the Order that both his elder brother, Adrian Peladan, was initiated into in 1858, and Dr. Harvey Spencer Lewis in 1909. Peladan now claimed that the order was as good as dormant (which might not have been the case), and that it was he who now continued that lineage. The foundation of CRC enraged de Guaita & co. and a shcism resulted from this. Most of the members of KRC was loyal to Guaita and stuck with the order. CRC was not only a place for esoteric training, but was also concerned with activities involving science, culture, music, drama & the arts. Peladan frequented many famous musicians and artists (like Gustave Moreau, Fèlicien Rops, Georges Rouault and Erik Satie), and was also regarded as quite an eccentric. After Peladan's death in 1916, the KRC was fundamentally reorganized by some of his disciples, as well as by some other Rosicrucians. (see ORA)
Ordo Rosæ Aureae (ORA) descends originally from the order of Peladan. The successor of Peladan, Emille Dantinne (Sar Hieronymous) reformed the CRC together with his kindreds (for instance assisted by some members of KRC), and became its new Imperator. The CRC was renamed: R+C Universitaire (9 degrees), R+C Universalis (3 degrees) and R+C Interioure (the inner order). Beyond the latter was the «Celestianl R+C» which was only reserved to a very few, notably those who attained such heights of illumination. The deputy Imperator of RCU was Francois Soetewey, and Jean Mallinger (leader of the Belgian OMM, among else) also being one of its most important members. Jules Rochat of Abbaye was made the Imperator of the inner order. Dantinne resigned from his office as early as in 1952 (He died in 1969), replaced by the former German Grand Master of AMORC, mr. Martin Erler. Again the order was submitted to reorganizing, and got the name ORA in 1956. ORA also consists of the Pythagorean Order (OHMT). Both HSL and RML of AMORC, received their Imperator Initiation (the 13th degree of R+C, slightly analogue to the LI of Martinism) from Dantinne in Europe (the current AMORC imperator, have not received such a recognition yet). RCU had been one of the participants of FUDOSI, and ever since the dissolution of the latter in 1951, ORA have been operating very quiet and in small restricted groups. They obviously does not desire great attention.
Alchemical Rose-Croix Society (originally: Association Alchimique de France) was headed by the mysterious alchemist, writer & eccentric; Francois Jollivet-Castelot. The organization seems to have been reorganized in 1896. Some of the members are well-known characters; Gerard & Philippe Encause, H.E. Lalande, Charles Barlet, Paul Sedir, M.S. DeGuaita, Tabris, etc. At a time it seems that "The Société Alchimique de France" was a section of the Faculté des Sciences Hermetiques. FJC was also involved with other orders, such as AMORC, the Martinist Order, FUDOSI, KRC, OHMT, and more. Also, it is claimed that he was the head of the Parisean body of the «Toulouse R+C». FJC even founded an organization called the 'Non-Materialist Communist Union', as an alternative to the socialistic internationals dominated by atheists. August Reichel was FJC faithfull disciple, and the former was the Grand Master of a very interesting and obscure order called the Brotherhood of the Illumined Brethren of the Rose-Croix. FJC was also the brain behind a popular occult magazine which had been in existance since 1875, named "l'Hyperchimie". Sedir was the Chief Editor and Jollivet Castelot was the manager. From 1904 to 1914, the review was published under the name of "Nouveaux horizons de la Science et de la Pensee". In 1920, it eventually became "La Rose-Croix". This periodical, which was the Rosicrucian version of «L`initiation», declared the formation of the FUDOSI in 1934, and also published the «Fama Fraternitatis» of Lewis and FJC. FJCs alchymical society does not apper to have survived him, but many of his books explaining his occult and political work still exists, though not yet in English.
Rose-Croix de L'Orient (RCO) is the name of a very obscure movement, which have left few traces throughout history, but some brief references. It might be identical to August Reichel`s «Brotherhood of the Illumined Brethren of the Rose-Croix», but i have no knowledge about this, and are just speculating. Sar Ignatius, head of the «R+C Martinist Order», informs me that the RCO have been in existance under Dr. E. Bertholet, the head of «Ordre Martinist & Synarchy» in Switzerland (many orders were flourishing around there from the period 1890-1940). The OM&S became dormant after Dr. Bertholet's death. His son-in law, Peter Genillard did not want to continue the OM&S work. He wanted to work only in the "Rose-Croix". The "Rose-Croix" in question was not just AMORC (he was a Grand Officer in the Swiss AMORC Grand Lodge), but the "Rose-Croix de L'Orient" (Rose-Cross of the East). RCO was never listed as part of the FUDOSI, but many of the occultists in FUDOSI is bound to have known about them (btw; one can speculate why Victor Blanchard was made R+C Imperator of the east/orient, in the FUDOSI? HSL was Imperator for America and SH was Imperator of Europe). This secret Order is also mentioned by Sar Aurifer (Robert Ambelain) in his _Sacrementaire de la Rose-Croix_, a collection of exorcisms and prayers. Tradition relates that it was this Order from whom Saint-Martin received a Rosicrucian Initiation. It may have descended from the Order of the "Asiatic Brethren", favourably described by A.E. Waite in his book, _The Brotherhood of the Rosy-Cross_. Ambelain was allegedly the head of RCO, until his recent transition. In the USA, Ron cappelo (who also runs OMM, KRC and some more) are the GM of RCO.
Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosæ Rubæ Aureæ Crucis (AAORRAC) in Austria, which became, as the name indicates, a part of AMORC, although originally independent. It was lead by Eduard Munninger with headquarters in the legendary "Castle Kraempelstein". Munninger & Martin Erler was co-operating in the revival of R+C in Germany after the World War II. The roots of AAORRAC however, is questionable, as Munninger claimed connection with virtually every authority of that time (Franz Hartmann, Walter Heilman (?), Friedrich Lienhard (?), Anna Sprengel (see Golden Dawn), Max Heindel, etc.) Munninger postulated to Clymer that he represented Krum-Heller in Austria, but the fact remains that Munninger was an AMORC member and actually operating under the jurisdiction of Martin Erler. Today the AAORRAC is led by Karl Plank who also once was an AMORC member. Among else, he applies the teachings of AMORC in the AAORRAC.
Antiquus Arcanus Ordinis Rosæ Rubæ Aureæ Crucis (later: Antique Mysticusque Ordo Rosæ Crucis - AMORC) was originally founded as the American branch of the European R+C Order, between 1909-1915. The Imperator, Dr. Harvey Spencer Lewis, claimed an initiation into the august order in 1909, but this relation have often been questioned by the critics. However, Lewis did manage to collect different small bodies throughout Europe and melt them into the American AMORC concept, especially after the World War II. Lewis also co-operated with several individuals & orders, as OTO under Reuss, Tranker's Pansophia, and later with the old authentic orders associated in the FUDOSI. Ralph Maxwell Lewis, succeeded his father HSL as Imperator and developed AMORC into the vast organisation they are today. After his death in 1987, Gry L. Stewart succeeded him, but after a few years during his reign, it all culminated into a big-time scandale, with mutual accusations of conspiracy and corruption. After this, Stewarts counterpart, the former French Grand Master Christian Bernard, have held the office as Imperator. Another former French Grand Master, mr. Raymond Bernard (father of Christian) created an order called CIRCES, focusing on the heritage of the Templars, Pythagorean Order & Melchizedec order. I have been led to believe that the material CIRCES works with, originally derives from the OHMT and other FUDOSI affiliated orders. Extremely many occultists (many which have been involved into other order later) have been involved in AMORC during their walk on the mystical path. But also a few celebreties have held membership, such as Walt Disney and Edith Piaff.
Ancient Rosae Crucis (ARC) was founded by people who left AMORC some years ago because of the "Stewart-affair". They originally asked Gary Stewart to become their Imperator, but due to internal disagreement he left the organisation and they now function under the leadership of their founder and Grand Master, Mrs. Ashley McFadden (the author/editor of the 'Rosicrucian Primer'). At the time being they are located mainly in the USA. Their teachings are based on AMORC monographies deriving from an earlier date than those used by the present AMORC. This order have no other initiatoric lineage than that of the original AMORC
ConFraternity Rosae Crucis (CR+C) which is an umbrella-organization containing several AMORC-offspring bodies, and headed by the former AMORC Imperator Gary L. Stewart. They work with old AMORC lessons and rituals, as well as some supplementary stuff. However they are connected to, and partly controlled by the OMCE, a templar order which also is lead by GLS. This order have no other initiatoric lineage than that of the original AMORC, but they do have the Imperator succession.
The Elder Brothers of the Rose-Croix and the Church of the New Alliance (Les Freres Aînés de la Rose-Croix) (FARC) of which I have no certain knowledge. One source claims that they wish to remain anonymous to the public and discreet in its activities. The alleged formation of the FARC was in 1316 connected to the Templar myth. Without going into the fantastic details, one can say that a some members emigrated to Scotland and regrouped under a new banner and took the name of Frères Aînés de la Rose-Croix (Elder Brothers of the Rose-Croix). Alchemy was their most important work. It is to be understood that they still exist.
There are several other Rosicrucian groups in addition to these. Some are less known and even dissolved, some work under other names than that of «R+C», but those I have listed above and described briefly I believe are the most known Rosicrucian societies and orders which have existed, at least throughout this century. I believe that the trees shall be judged by their fruits, so if any of these organisations serves a good purpose, there is no problem in them operating even if they should wrongly use the term Rose Cross.
The author wishes to thank E. Mahood, P. Koenig, M. Jacobs and M. Restivo
for their kind support.