Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis

Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

The Ancient Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis (AMORC), also called Rosicrucian Order, is a philosophical and humanist worldwide fraternal organization. Members are known as students. The organization states it is devoted to "the study of the elusive mysteries of life and the universe". The organization is non-sectarian and it is open to both men and women of legal adult age (18 years old in most countries) regardless of their various religious persuasions.

The AMORC association was founded between 1909 and 1914 in New York in order to support and organize the activities of a legendary Rose-Croix Order, tracing its origin to Ancient Egyptian mystery schools, which they claim studied a wide variety of mystical subjects. The oral account holds that these schools were founded during the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tuthmosis III and included among their most esteemed pupils Pharaoh Akhenaten.

As the phrases "Rose-Croix" and "Rosicrucian" are in the public domain, there are a number of organizations that describe themselves as such. According to AMORC members and related publications, these organizations may or may not be related to a real Rosicrucian Order and most of them are not. AMORC claims to be the only organization keeping the teachings of their ancient Rose-Croix Order unaltered and the primordial tradition intact.


The name AMORC is an abbreviation for the Latin title Antiquus Mysticusque Ordo Rosæ Crucis. The organization's traditional and authentic Latin name is Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis (AAORRAC), which translates in English to Ancient and Secret Order of the Red Rose and of the Golden Cross. H. Spencer Lewis, wrote that "It must be noted that from the very start, and with the issuance of the first public manifesto, the correct name of the international Rosicrucian organization was used, namely, the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. This is a slightly abbreviated form of the original Latin name, Antiquus Arcanus Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, and the initials AMORC were immediately used as well as the true and original symbol of the Rosicrucian Order — the golden cross with but one red rose in the center.


The history of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC may be classified into two general categories. First, there is the traditional history, consisting of tales and legends passed down for centuries by word of mouth. Secondly, there is the chronological history, which consists of accounts arranged by specific date and verifiable fact.

Traditionally, the AMORC version of Rosicrucianism traces its origin to the mystery schools or secret schools of learning established in Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III, about 1500 B.C. These schools were formed to probe into "the mysteries of life" — in other words, natural phenomena. Over centuries of time, these Mystery Schools gradually evolved into real centers of learning and from Egypt, they spread into Greece, and thence into Rome. During the Middle Ages they were concealed under various names due to the prevailing circumstances of the times.

AMORC also claims that Rosicrucianism is mentioned as far back as 1115 CE in a book of the collection of Brother Omnis Moriar in Germany. However, other Rosicrucians not associated with the AMORC claim that no such brother nor book ever existed and that the alleged name “Omnis Moriar” is a Latin phrase meaning “I shall completely die”. It is also felt by some Rosicrucians that the alleged name derived from the opening words of Horace in Ode 3.30 in which he writes: “Non Omnis Moriar” (“I shall not completely die”).

Chronologically, Rosicrucianism rose to considerable prominence in Europe during the Seventeenth Century following the publication and wide circulation of a small pamphlet, the Fama Fraternitatis.

AMORC also believes that the Rosicrucians first came to America in the chartered vessel Sarah Maria during the early months of 1694 under the leadership of Grand Master Johannes Kelpius and they established a colony in what is now Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. They finally settled on the banks of the Wissahickon. "In that retired valley beside the flowing brook the secret rites and mysteries of the true Rosicrucian Philosophy flourished unmolested for years, until the state of affairs brought about by the American Revolution, together with pernicious Sunday legislation which also discriminated against the keepers of the scriptural Sabbath day, gradually caused the incoming generation to assimilate with the secular congregations. However, this belief is disputed by another Rosicrucian organization that also claims to be the genuine Rosicrucians in America: the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross at one time headed by Dr. R. Swinburne Clymer. The fact is that Johannes Kelpius of the Jacob Boehme Lodge in Germany led the German Pietists to America and these Rosicrucian immigrants and their descendants established a commune in 1732 at Ephrata, Pennsylvania known as the Ephrata Society under the leadership of Johann Conrad Beissel and Peter Miller (who at the behest of Congress translated the Declaration of Independence into seven languages); the buildings still exist today as part of a historical park known as Ephrata Cloisters. It is also a fact that the two rival organizations historically disputed their claims to Rosicrucian genuineness.

In 1776, the Rosicrucians under the guise of Illuminati headed by Weishaupt (not recognized in the XXth century as genuinely 'Rosicrucian' by AMORC Imperator H. Spencer Lewis) began a cycle of activity which coincided with the American Revolution and culminated with the reign of terror of the French Revolution and the ascent to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, recognized by H. Spencer Lewis as a Rosicrucian.

It is around this time that an enigmatic figure makes his appearance in the European theater going by the name of the Count of St. Germain and he is gone. Considered an impostor by many and an Ascended Master by a few, he is thought to have been Francis Bacon himself immortal. It is also this time that the Rosicrucian Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton uses as historical background for his novel Zanoni - an immortal Rosicrucian who is guillotined during the French Revolution. It would not be until the XXth century, in 1950, that Samael Aun Weor would reveal the apparent contradiction of the reason for the Fall of Lucifer in his magnum opus The Perfect Matrimony. He would also reveal publicly for the first time the secret of the Great Arcanum, a plan which had been drawn by a group of initiates during the French Revolution to reveal the secret to the people at large, a secret which had presumably belonged to the aristocracy; initiates who included among others Robespierre, Danton and Marat (especially Marat!) which led eventually to the celebrated prophetic supper of Cazotte.

For about one hundred years after 1800 A.D., the Order experienced a great deal of difficulty in its activities. In 1848, Louis Blanc in his History of the French Revolution reported that in 1781, Cagliostro was initiated into the Illuminati at Frankfurt. Many veiled stories by Emile Zola regarding the Brotherhood appeared in France. After 1900 A.D., many prominent persons among whom were I. K. Funk, president of the Funk and Wagnalls Publishing Co., "Fra" Elbert Hubbard of the Roycrofters who became an uncle to L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology and the mystic writer Ella Wheeler Wilcox were all active in establishing the new cycle of activity of the Rosicrucian Order in America. H. Spencer Lewis became a "secret partner" of Big Business in America. It is partly this mystic influence in big business that Ayn Rand unwittingly attacks in her novel Atlas Shrugged.

In 1909 Harvey Spencer Lewis visited France in search of Rosicrucians. He did contact one lineage of Rosicrucians, proved his integrity and knowledge in matters of philosophy and esotericism, and was duly initiated in Toulouse, France, and given the mandate to establish the Order in North America. After further qualification and preparation, the first official Manifesto was issued in the United States in 1915, announcing the establishment of Rosicrucian activity in America. Beside his many European connections, Dr. H.S. Lewis also had a notable association with Mrs. May Banks-Stacy, said to be one of the last successors to the original colony of Rosicrucians that settled in America during the late 17th century. By the end of the 1920s he was known for being acquainted with most of the then notables of the esoteric world, but oddly, he had no connections with nor knowledge of such major figures as Gerard Encausse and those associated with his work.

The early AMORC headquarters were located in New York City, San Francisco, and then Tampa. The headquarters moved to San Jose, California, in 1927. Harvey Spencer Lewis died in 1939 and in accordance with his wishes as stipulated in his will, he was succeeded in the Office of Imperator by his son Ralph Maxwell Lewis who had previously served as Supreme Secretary. Gary L. Stewart who previously served as Grand Master of the English Speaking jurisdiction and then Vice President of the Board of Directors was appointed to the Office of Imperator upon Lewis' death in 1987 in compliance with Lewis' wishes. Christian Bernard who had been the Grand Master of France and then succeeded Stewart to the position of Vice President of the Board was elected to the Office of Imperator in 1990 by the Board of Directors.

World War II had a devastating impact on the membership of many esoteric groups, which were outlawed under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Leadership figures in particular were frequently arrested, persecuted, or assassinated by the Gestapo. Others died in concentration camps. AMORC, protected by virtue of being in the United States, underwent a dramatic period of growth during this time. After the war ended, AMORC was able to lend support to its battered sister organizations. Eventually many of these came to be absorbed under the administration of AMORC's leadership in San Jose.

Philosophy and teachings

Other streams of tradition and teaching come to AMORC from many different areas of the ancient world, including the ideas of the major philosophers, traditional healing techniques, health, intuition, and the psychic consciousness. According to its publication, Mastery of Life, some other topics include:

Organization and structure

AMORC is a worldwide organization, established in the United States of America as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, with the specific and primary purpose of advancing the knowledge of its history, principles, and teachings for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. It is financed mainly through fees paid by its members. Income is used by the organization to pay expenses, develop new programs, expand services, and carry out humanitarian work.

Grand Lodges

The organizational headquarters for different jurisdictions of the AMORC are designated as "Grand Lodges." The English-speaking Grand Lodge for the Americas is headquartered in Rosicrucian Park in San Jose, California. All Grand Lodges are governed by The Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC. The Supreme Grand Lodge meets annually in Lachute, Quebec, Canada and is responsible for the worldwide coordination of AMORC, the establishment of new administrations, and the appointment of jurisdictions to Grand Lodges, usually based on language. This body consists of the Imperator, Grand Masters, and related executive officers.

Lodges, Chapters, Pronaoi, Atrium Groups

On a local level, members of AMORC often form smaller affiliated groups organized as Lodges, Chapters, Pronaoi, or Atrium Groups. These various titles differ according to the members of each body in regular attendance. Participation in these groups is optional, and participants retain compulsory membership with their respective Grand Lodge. Many of these groups charge additional dues to participants in order to cover expenses such as rent and mailings. Most affiliated bodies of the AMORC periodically offer Open Meetings or Lectures to which the general public is invited and welcome.

AMORC leadership

From 1915 to 1990, the leadership of AMORC was entrusted to the Office of Imperator. This Office had a dual function: that of Imperator who was solely responsible for all doctrine and ritual of the Order; and that of Corporate President who sat at the head of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors were responsible for determining all corporate matters related to the organization. When AMORC reorganized in April, 1990, the dual function of the Office was merged into one position, that of President of the worldwide AMORC organization. However, internally, the President was still referred to by the traditional title of Imperator. In addition to the Imperator, each Grand Lodge has a Grand Master. The title of "Master" does not connotate any type of authority intellectual or otherwise over other members of AMORC and is not intended to imply a master/slave relationship. The term "master" itself most likely derives from the Latin term magister, which is also in modern use to denote a graduate level degree in academia.

In 1990 there was a dispute over the leadership of the AMORC, which was then under the leadership of Imperator Gary L. Stewart. This move was prompted by allegations made by a few members of the Board of Directors of embezzlement on the part of Stewart. In April, 1990, a lawsuit was filed by the Board and, as a result of the allegations, Stewart was kept from returning to AMORC's properties by virtue of a Temporary Restraining Order until trial. The newly expanded Board of Directors voted that the Vice President of the Board of Directors, Christian Bernard, should assume Stewart's offices. An installation ritual was held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California. During the next three years there was little activity in the lawsuit and the case never went to trial. However, prompted by the Insurance Company of North America's Motion for Intervention on June 3, 1993 alleging insurance fraud against the new AMORC Board of Directors, AMORC sought to settle out of court and on August 10, 1993 dismissed their case against Stewart with prejudice. The dismissal was the final severing of the relationship between Stewart and AMORC.

AMORC and new organizations

In January, 1991, Bernard legally dissolved the original Supreme Grand Lodge corporation and reincorporated a new Supreme Grand Lodge in Quebec, Canada. This action was not welcomed by many members. Since then the Confraternity of the Rose Cross, led by former AMORC Imperator Stewart, was founded to perpetuate the movement started by H. Spencer Lewis and uses the original version of the monographs he wrote as opposed to the monographs currently used by AMORC. Stewart also founded the Order Militia Crucifera Evangelica and assisted with the formation of the British Martinist Order. Other Rosicrucian organizations formed as a result of the schism within AMORC include the Ghanaian Order of the Rose Cross led by Benjamin Quaye; the Norwegian Order of the Rose Cross led by Robert Aarberg; and the short-lived Ancient Rosae Crucis which was led by Ashley McFadden.


The AMORC is known for its many publications, including a public magazine called the Rosicrucian Digest, an online academic periodical called the Rose-Croix Journal and a Peace e-zine. The organization is also a prolific publisher of books which focus on topics such as metaphysics, mysticism, and Egyptology.

Rosicrucian Digest

The Rosicrucian Digest was first published in 1915 under the name American Rosae Crucis, and then The Triangle, The Mystic Triangle and finally The Rosicrucian Digest. It has been adapted to serve the needs of each period. It is now published by the AMORC English Grand Lodge for the Americas. Beginning with the December 2006 issue (Vol 84:2) the Digest began a series of multimedia thematic issues available online and in print twice a year. The first issue (December 2006) dealt with Atlantis, while the 2007 volumes will cover Ancient Egypt (June 2007) and The Essenes (December 2007).

In the United Kingdom the public magazine is named Rosicrucian Beacon and is published quarterly by the "English speaking jurisdiction for Europe, Africa and the Middle East of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC." Other AMORC jurisdictions have similar publications.

Rose+Croix Journal

Launched in 2004, AMORC's Rose+Croix Journal is now in its third year of online publication. It is "an international, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal that focuses on topics that relate to the sciences, history, the arts, mysticism, and spirituality, especially interdisciplinary topics and transdisciplinary inquiries that traverse and lie beyond the limits of different fields of study. These topics may relate to any of the arts and sciences and/or to other emerging fields of human endeavor" (from the Rose+Croix Journal's About page). The Journal's Website also has a Resources section with the four Rosicrucian Manifestos, Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, Rosicrucian Documents, online editions of the Rosicrucian Digest, etc. Submissions are solicited from Members and the Public.

Peace Consciousness

In 2007, the English Grand Lodge for the Americas launched a new e-zine, Peace Consciousness.org. It is self-described as providing "both a forum for exchanging ideas related to peace, and for suggesting means at all levels to use in resolving differences between individuals, groups, nations, or even species. We will learn not only where we have common ground, but also learn to celebrate our differences, because those differences provide richness, diversity, and a continual flow of new ideas for us to consider." (from the About page). Submissions of articles and art are solicited from Members and the Public.


The English Grand Lodge for the Americas began a series of public Podcasts in 2006. Topics range include mysticism, Egyptology, peace, esotericism and other subjects.

Mastery of Life

The Mastery of Life is a free introduction to the teachings of AMORC. It deals with many basic philosophical questions from the AMORC Rosicrucian perspective and gives an overview of the Order.

The Positio Fraternitatis Rosæ Crucis

The public presence of the Rosicrucians in Western Europe was made known through the publication of three manifestoes. Continuing this tradition, the AMORC introduced a fourth manifesto, the Positio Fraternitatis Rosæ Crucis at an AMORC convention in Sweden on August, 2001. The Positio offers AMORC's observations on problems in the modern world, along with proposed solutions. The piece is generally perceived as idealistic and written as a so-called Utopian Work, based on a concept first introduced by Sir Thomas More. This idea was later given a Rosicrucian twist in the book New Atlantis, by Sir Francis Bacon. Among the aspirations in the Positio are:

  • Politicians are profoundly humanistic and strive to serve the common good;
  • Economists manage state finances with discernment and in the interest of all;
  • Scientists are spiritualistic and seek their inspiration in the Book of Nature;
  • Artists are inspired and express the beauty and purity of the Divine Plan in their works;
  • Physicians are motivated by love for their fellow-beings and treat both the soul and the body;
  • Misery and poverty have vanished, for everyone has what he needs to live happily;
  • Work is not regarded as a chore, but as a source of growth and well-being;
  • Nature is considered to be the most beautiful temple of all, and animals are considered to be our brethren on the path of evolution;
  • A World Government composed of the leaders of all nations, working in the interest of all humanity, has come into existence.
  • Spirituality is an ideal and a way of life which springs forth from a Universal Religion, founded more upon the knowledge of divine laws than upon the belief in God;
  • Human relations are founded upon love, friendship, and fraternity, so that the whole world lives in peace and harmony.

Public activities

Many of the activities of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC are open to the public, as well as members. These include:

  • Online Classes: In the fall of 2006, the English Grand Lodge for the Americas began offering free online classes in many subjects. Most of these Rose+Croix University Online Classes are open to both AMORC members and the public.
  • Open Classes: These are held in many locations, including in North America and the Caribbean, and are listed on the AMORC English Grand Lodge for the Americas site in the external links below. Other such public activities can be found on the international sites.
  • Meditation for Peace: In 2004, Imperator Christian Bernard proclaimed the annual Rosicrucian Meditation for Peace Ceremony at the Rosicrucian World Peace Conference (see below). This is held at the Grand Lodge and in Affiliated Bodies throughout the world on the fourth Sunday of June each year. North American and Caribbean locations are listed on the AMORC English Grand Lodge for the Americas site.
  • Autumn Equinox Memorial Ceremony: The annual Memorial Ceremony is held at the Grand Lodge in San José and in Affiliated Bodies throughout the world near the Autumn Equinox each year. North American and Caribbean locations are listed on the AMORC English Grand Lodge for the Americas site.
  • Council of Solace Ritual: The Imperator and Supreme Board of AMORC recently opened the Council of Solace Ritual, welcoming both Members and the Public to participate. In North America and the Caribbean, this meditation ceremony is held at the Grand Lodge Headquarters in San Jose, and in some Affiliated Bodies, listed on the AMORC English Grand Lodge for the Americas site.

Conferences and councils

AMORC often organises various conferences around the world, usually restricted only to members, and several councils of experts on various topics.

Rosicrucian World Conventions

In August 2001 the world convention took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. The main theme of the convention was world peace and harmony. The convention was of significant importance to Rosicrucian history because Imperator Bernard presented the "Positio Fraternitatis Rosæ Crucis" to inform the public about AMORC's position on the current world situation.

In July 2004 The Rosicrucian World Peace Conference was held in San Jose, California, USA. Over 2000 Rosicrucians from 70 countries gathered with Imperator Christian Bernard, and North American Grand Master Julie Scott. The Imperator dedicated The Rosicrucian Park's newest institution, the Rosicrucian Peace Garden, designed according to examples from Egypt's 18th Dynasty by the Grand Master of the English Grand Lodge for Australia, New Zealand and Asia, Peter Bindon.

The next World Convention will take place in Berlin, Germany in 2007.

International Research Council

The International Research Council is a group of AMORC members who have expertise in several areas, including physics, biology, philosophy and music. According to the AMORC, the members of the International Research Council dedicate themselves to the advancement of their profession for the benefit of humanity.

Council of Solace

The Council of Solace is a group of Rosicrucians who meditate and pray daily on behalf of others. They offer free 24-hour metaphysical aid to people in need regardless of membership. The Council of Solace meditation ritual held in a number of locations is now open to both members and the public.


Around the world, each AMORC Grand Lodge has its own headquarters facilities. In North America, the headquarters of the English Grand Lodge for the Americas is The Rosicrucian Park in San Jose, California, USA, founded in 1927, which includes the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the 5th Planetarium built in the USA (and the first to have a US-built star projector, built by Dr. Harvey Spencer Lewis), the Rosicrucian Peace Garden, Rosicrucian Research Library, Grand Temple, Administration Building, Fountain Plaza and Gardens.

Radio programs

Harvey Spencer Lewis had a radio station broadcasting from his office at The Rosicrucian Park. The broadcasting began on February 15, 1928 and was delivered by two 30 metre radio towers inside the park.

The radio towers have since been removed, and for some time, AMORC continued to broadcast through the historic San Jose KEEN radio station. Today, the Rosicrucian Podcasts continue this legacy.


AMORC has become the target of criticisms from some groups.

Conspiracy theorists have attempted to link AMORC, through persons once participant with the group as a possible co-conspirator and beneficiary of funds which vanished as part of the Order of the Solar Temple mass suicide in 1995. Conspiracists also believe this link ties in with NATO-organized secret anti-Soviet armies in Europe (known as Operation Gladio). Former member of the World Council and former Grand Master of France, Raymond Bernard has refuted these allegations in an interview. When asked "What is the influence of the Secret Service in the traditional movements?", Bernard responded:

I must be again very clear and categorical in my response on this subject. Never, at any time, has any contact whatsoever has been made with me in order to fulfill a mission of this sort, or that I do anything whatsoever in the service of an unspecified organ of information and, to be even more precise, I affirm clearly that at no time has there been any pressure, official, semi-official, or other request, which could, in any manner, make me suppose that one expected that I accomplish a mission for the information services or official services of any nature whatsoever...To claim otherwise would be an out and out lie, pure fabrication, pure calumny and pure slander!

Other Rosicrucian organizations, such as FUDOFSI and Fraternitas Rosæ Crucis have criticized AMORC's authenticity with the benefit of bolstering their own claims of authenticity.

Gary L. Stewart of the Confraternity of the Rose Cross believes that the nature of the modern AMORC is now different from Harvey Spencer Lewis's legacy. The same view is held by other organizations which started as splinter groups from AMORC after its 1990s corporate reorganization.

AMORC, like many other similar organizations, has been criticized by some Christian groups. The PanHellenic Parents Union has included the AMORC in a list of 422 organizations which considered as incompatible with the Eastern Orthodox tradition by the "7th Panorthodox Conference" of 1995 and its president Metropolite Hieronymus of Theba and Levadia.

AMORC promotes the idea that one can develop "untapped potentials of the human mind-seeing auras, premonitions, telepathy and the 'mastery of life'" (from Chapter Three of Psi Development Systems). Some people, while concurring these abilities are attractive in their own right, find it a little hard to believe.

Some theologians have tried to classify it as a secret society. For an example, see the ECWA case below.

Evangelical Church of West Africa

In 1984, the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) sought to outlaw AMORC in Nigeria. ECWA claimed that AMORC is a secret society and published relevant claims on its publications. AMORC filed a libel suit against ECWA and the Lower Court decided against ECWA and ordered the church to pay one million naira to AMORC in 1988. Then, the ECWA appealed against the court's decision. AMORC appealed to the Supreme Court and ECWA counter-appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed both appeals. In 1999 ECWA filed a new suit against AMORC, requesting from the Registrar General of CAC and the IG of Police to withdraw AMORC's registration certificate and seal its offices in Nigeria. ECWA also requested AMORC to be declared a secret society. The new ECWA's lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court in June 2000.

See also



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