From Book Umberto Eco, Foucalt's Pendulum, pg. 183-195

And the famous fraternity of the Rosy Cross declares even now that throughout the universe delirious prophecies circulate. In fact, the moment the ghost appeared (though Fama and Confessio prove that this was a mere invention of idle minds), it produced a hope of universal reform, and generated things partly ridiculous and absurd, partly incredible. Thus upright and honest men of various countries exposed themselves to contempt and derision in order to lend open support, or to reveal themselves to these brothers...through the Mirror of Solomon or in some other occult way.
—Christoph von Besold, Appendix to Tommaso Campanella, Van der Spanischen
Monarchy, 1623

“It’s an incredible story. The manifestoes appeared in an age teeming with texts of that sort. Everyone was seeking renewal, a golden century, a Cockaigne of the spirit. Some pored over magic texts, others labored at forges, melting metals, others sought to rule the stars, and still others invented secret alphabets and universal languages. In Prague, Rudolph II turned his court into an alchemistic laboratory, invited Comenius and John Dee, the English court astrologer who had revealed all the secrets of the cosmos in the few pages of his Monas Hierogliphica. Are you with me?”
“To the end of time.”
“Rudolph’s physician was a man named Michael Maier, who later wrote a book of visual and musical emblems, the Atalanta Fugiens, an orgy of philosopher’s eggs, dragons biting their tails, sphinxes. Nothing was more luminous than a secret cipher; everything was the hieroglyph of something else. Think about it. Galileo was dropping stones from the Tower of Pisa, Richelieu played Monopoly with half of Europe, and in the meantime they all had their eyes peeled to read the signs of the world. Pull of gravity, indeed; something else lies beneath (or, rather, above) all this, something quite different. Would you like to know what? Abracadabra. Torricelli invented the barometer, but the rest of them were messing around with ballets, water games, and fireworks in the Hortus Palatinus in Heidelberg. And the Thirty Years’ War was about to break out.”
“Mutter Courage must have been delighted.”
“But even for them it wasn’t all fun and games. In 1619 the Palantine elector accepted the crown of Bohemia, probably because he was dying to rule Prague, the magic city.
But the next year, the Hapsburgs nailed him to the White Mountain. In Prague the Protestants were slaughtered, Comenius’s house and library were burned, and his wife and son were killed. He fled from court to court, harping on how great and full of hope the idea of the Rosy Cross was.”
“Poor man, but what did you expect him to do? Console himself with the barometer?
Wait a minute. Give a poor girl time to think. Who wrote these manifestoes?”
“That’s the whole point: we don’t know. Let’s try to figure it out...How about scratching my rosy, between the shoulder blades, higher, to the left, there.
Yes, there. Now then, there were some incredible characters in this German environment. Like Simon Studion, author of Naometria, an occult treatise on the measurements of the Temple of Solomon; Hein-rich Khunrath, who wrote Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae, full of allegories, with Hebrew alphabets and cabalistic labyrinths that must have inspired the authors of Fama, who were probably friends of one of the countless little Utopian conventicles of Christian rebirth. One popular rumor is that the author was a man named Johann Valentin Andreae. A year later, he published The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, but he had written that in his youth, so he must have been kicking the idea of the Rosy Cross around for quite some time. There were other enthusiasts, in Tubingen, who dreamed of the republic of Christianopolis. Perhaps they all got together. But it sounds as if it was all in fun, a joke. They had no idea of the pandemonium they were unleashing.
Andreae spent the rest of his life swearing he hadn’t written die manifestoes, which he claimed were a lusus, a ludibrium, a prank. It cost him his academic reputation. He grew angry, said that the Rosicrucians, if indeed they existed, were all impostors.
But that didn’t help. Once the manifestoes appeared, it was as if people had been waiting for them. Learned men from all over Europe actually wrote to the Rosicrucians, and since there was no address, they sent open letters, pamphlets, printed volumes. In that same year Maier published Arcana arcanissima, in which the brethren of the Rosy Cross were not mentioned explicitly, but everyone was sure he was talking about them and that there was more to his book than met the eye. Some people boasted that they had read Fama in manuscript. It wasn’t so easy to prepare a book for publication in those days, especially if it had engravings, but in 1616, Robert Fludd—who wrote in England but printed in Leyden, so you have to figure in the time to ship the proofs—circulated Apologia compendiaria Fratemitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et in-famiis maculis aspersam, veritatem quasi Fluctibus abluens et abstergens, to defend the brethren and free them from suspicion, from the ‘slander’ that had been their reward. In other words, a debate was raging in Bohemia, Germany, England, and Holland, alive with couriers on horseback and itinerant scholars.”
“And the Rosicrucians themselves?”
“Deathly silence. Post CXX annos patebo, my ass. They watched, from the vacuum of their palace. I believe it was their silence that agitated everyone so much. The fact that they didn’t answer was taken as proof of their existence. In 1617 Fludd wrote Tractatus apologeticus integritatem societatis de Rosea Cruce de-fendens, and somebody in a De Naturae Secretis, 1618, said that the time had come to reveal the secret of the Rosicrucians.”
“And did they?”
“Anything but. They only complicated things, explaining that if you subtracted from 1618 the one hundred and eighty-eight years promised by the Rosicrucians, you got 1430, the year when the Order of the Golden Fleece, la Toison d’Or, was established.”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“I don’t understand the one hundred and eighty-eight years. It seems to me it should have been one hundred and twenty, but mystical subtractions and additions always come out the way you want. As for la Toison d’Or, it’s a reference to the Argonauts, who, an unimpeachable source once told me, had some connection with the Holy Grail and therefore with the Templars. But that’s not all. Fludd, who seems to have been as prolific as Barbara Cartland, brought out four more books between 1617 and 1619, including Utriusque cosmi historia, brief remarks on the universe, illustrated with roses and crosses throughout. Maier then mustered all his courage and put out his Silentium post clamores, in which he claimed that the confraternity did indeed exist and was connected not only to la Toison d’Or but also to the Order of the Garter.
Except that he was too lowly a person to be received into it. Imagine the reaction of the scholars of Europe! If the Rosicrucians didn’t accept even Maier, the order must have been really exclusive. So now all the pseuds bent over backward to get in. In other words, everyone said the Rosicrucians existed, though no one admitted to having actually seen them. Everyone wrote as if trying to set up a meeting or wheedle an audience, but no one had the courage to say I’m one, and some, maybe only because they had never been approached, said the order didn’t exist; others said the order existed precisely because they had been approached.”
“And not a peep out of the Rosicrucians.”
“Quiet as mice.”
“Open your mouth. You need some mamaia.”
“Yum. Meanwhile, the Thirty Years’ War began, and Johann Valentin Andreae wrote Turis Babel, promising that the Antichrist would be defeated within the year, while one Ireneus Agnostus wrote Tintinnabulum sophorum—”
“Tintinnabulum! I love it.”
“—not a word of which is comprehensible. But then Campanella, or someone acting on his behalf, declared in Spanischen Monarchy that the whole Rosy Cross business was a game of corrupt minds...And that’s it. Between 1621 and 1623 they all shut up.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that. They got tired of it. Like the Beatles. But only in Germany. Otherwise, it’s the story of a toxic cloud. It shifted to France. One fine morning in 1623, Rosicrucian manifestoes appeared on the walls of Paris, informing the good citizens that the deputies of the confraternity’s chief college had moved to their city and were ready to accept applications. But according to another version, the manifestoes came right out and said there were thirty-six invisibles scattered through the world in groups of six, and that they had the power to make their adepts invisible. Hey! The thirty-six again!”
“What thirty-six?”
“The ones in my Templar document.”
“No imagination at all, these people. What next?”
“Collective madness broke out. Some defended the Rosicrucians, others wanted to meet them, still others accused them of devil worship, alchemy, and heresy, claiming that Ashtoreth had intervened to make them rich, powerful, capable of flying from place to place. The talk of the town, in other words.”
“Smart, those brethren. Nothing like a Paris launching to make you fashionable.”
“You’re right. Listen to what happened next. Descartes—that’s right, Descartes himself—had, several years before, gone looking for them in Germany, but he never found them, because, as his biographer says, they deliberately disguised themselves.
By the time he got back to Paris, the manifestoes had appeared, and he learned mat everybody considered him a Rosicrucian. Not a good thing to be, given the atmosphere at the time. It also irritated his friend Mersenne, who was already fulminating against the Rosicrucians, calling them wretches, subversives, mages, and cabalists bent on sowing perverted doctrines. So what does Descartes do? Simply appears in public as often as possible. Since everybody can undeniably see him, he must not be a Rosicru-cian, because if he were, he’d be invisible.”
“That’s method for you!”
“Of course, denying it wouldn’t have worked. The way things were, if somebody came up to you and said, ‘Hi there, I’m a Rosicrucian,’ that meant he wasn’t. No self-respecting Rosicrucian would acknowledge it. On the contrary, he would deny it to his last breath.”
“But you can’t say that anyone who denies being a Rosicrucian is a Rosicrucian, because I say I’m not, and that doesn’t make me one.”
“But the denial is itself suspicious.”
“No, it’s not. What would a Rosicrucian do once he realized people weren’t believing those who said they were, and that people suspected only those who said they weren’t? He’d say he was, to make them think he wasn’t.”
“Damnation. So those who say they’re Rosicrucians are lying, which means they really are! No, no, Amparo, we musn’t fall into their trap. Their spies are everywhere, even under this bed, so now they know that we know, and therefore they say they aren’t.”
“Darling, you’re scaring me.”
“Don’t worry, I’m here, and I’m stupid, so when they say they aren’t, I’ll believe they are and unmask them at once. The Rosicrucian unmasked is harmless; you can shot him out the window with a rolled-up newspaper.”
“What about Aglie? He wants us to think he’s the Comte de Saint-Germain. Obviously so we’ll think he isn’t. Therefore, he’s a Rosicrucian. Or isn’t he?”

“Listen, Amparo, let’s get some sleep.”
“Oh, no, now I want to hear the rest.”
“The rest is a complete mess. Everybody’s a Rosicrucian. In 1627 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis was published, and readers thought he was talking about the land of the Rosicrucians, even though he never mentioned them. Poor Johann Valentin Andreae died, still swearing up and down that he wasn’t a Rosicrucian, or if he said he was, he had only been kidding, but by now it was too late. The Rosicrucians were everywhere, aided by the feet that they didn’t exist.”
“Like God.”

"It is probable that the majority of the supposed Rosy Crosses, generally so designated, were in reality only Rosicrucians... Indeed, it is certain that they were in no way members, for the simple fact that they were members of such associations.”
This may seem paradoxical at first, and contradictory, but is nevertheless easily comprehensible..."

—Rene Guenon, Aperfu sur I’initiation, Paris, Editions Traditi onelles, 1981, XXXVIII

We returned to Rio, and I went back to work. One day I read in an illustrated magazine that there was an Order of the Ancient and Accepted Rosy Cross in the city. I suggested to Amparo that we go and take a look, and reluctantly she came along. The office was in a side street; its plate-glass window contained plaster statuettes of Cheops, Nefertiti, the Sphinx.
There was a plenary session scheduled for that very afternoon: “The Rosy Cross and the Umbanda.” The speaker was one Professor Bramanti, Referendary of the Order in Europe, Secret Knight of the Grand Priory in Partibus of Rhodes, Malta, and Thessalonica.
We decided to go in. The room, fairly shabby, was decorated with Tantric miniatures depicting the serpent Kundalini, the one the Templars wanted to reawaken with the kiss on the behind. All things considered, I thought, it had hardly been worth crossing the Atlantic to discover a new world: I could have found the same things at the Picatrix office. Professor Bramanti sat behind a table covered with a red cloth, facing a rather sparse and sleepy audience. He was a corpulent gentleman who might have been described as a tapir if it hadn’t been for his bulk. He was already talking when we came in. His style was pompous and oratorical. He couldn’t have started long before, however, because he was still discussing the Rosicru-cians during the eighteenth dynasty, under the reign of Ahmose I.
Four Veiled Masters, he said, kept watch over the race that twenty-five thousand years before the foundation of Thebes had originated the civilization of the Sahara. The pharaoh Ahmose, influenced by them, established the Great White Fraternity, guardian of the antediluvian wisdom the Egyptians still retained. Bramanti claimed to have documents (naturally, inaccessible to the profane) that dated back to the sages of the Temple of Karnak and their secret archives. The symbol of the rose and the cross had been conceived by the pharaoh Akhenaton. Someone has the papyrus, Bramanti said, but don’t ask me who.
The Great White Fraternity was ultimately responsible for the education of: Hermes Trismegistus (who influenced die Italian Renaissance just as much as he later influenced Princeton gno-sis), Homer, the Druids of Gaul, Solomon, Solon, Pythagoras, Plotinus, the Essenes, the Therapeutae, Joseph of Arimathea (who took the Grail to Europe), Alcuin, King Dagobert, Saint Thomas, Bacon, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Jakob Bohme, Debussy, Einstein. (Amparo whispered that he seemed to be missing only Nero, Cambronne, Geronimo, Pancho Villa, and Buster Keaton.)
As for the influence of the original Rosy^ Cross on Christianity, Bramanti pointed out, for those who hadn’t got their bearings, that it was no accident that Jesus had died on a cross.
The sages of the Great White Fraternity were also the founders of the first Masonic lodge, back in the days of King Solomon. It was clear, from his works, that Dante had been a Rosicrucian and a Mason—as had Saint Thomas, incidentally. In cantos XXIV and XXV of the “Paradiso” one finds the triple kiss of Prince Rosicrux, the pelican, white tunics (me same as those worn by the old men of the Apocalypse), and the three theological virtues of Masonic chapters (Faith, Hope, and Charity). In fact, the symbolic flower of the Rosicrucians (the white rose of cantos XXX and XXXI) was adopted by the Church of Rome as symbol of the mother of the Savior.
Hence the Rosa Mystica of the litanies.
It was equally clear that the Rosicrucians had lived on through the Middle Ages, a fact shown not only by their infiltration of the Templars, but also by far more explicit documents. Bramanti cited one Kiesewetter, who demonstrated in the late nineteenth century that the Rosicrucians had manufactured four quintals of gold for the Prince-Elector of Saxony in medieval times, clear proof being available on a certain page of the Theatrum Chem-icum, published in Strasbourg in 1613. But few have remarked the Templar references in the legend of William Tell. Tell cuts his arrow from a branch of mistletoe, a plant of Aryan mythology, and he hits an apple, symbol of the third eye activated by the serpent Kundalini. And we know, of course, that the Aryans came from India, where the Rosicrucians took refuge after leaving Germany.
Of the various groupings that claimed descent from the Great White Fraternity often childishly Bramanti recognized just one as legitimate: the Rosicrucian Fellowship of Max Heindel, and that only because Alain Kardek had been educated in its circles. Kardek was the father of spiritualism, and it was his theosophy, which contemplated contact with the souls of the departed, that spiritually formed umbanda spirituality, the glory of our most noble Brazil. In this theosophy, Aum Banda, it seems, is a Sanskrit expression denoting the divine principle and source of life.
(“They tricked us again,” Amparo murmured. “Not even the word ‘umbanda’ is ours; the only African thing about it is the sound.”)
The root is Aum or Um, which is the Buddhist Om and also the name of God in the language of Adam. If the syllable urn is properly pronounced, it becomes a powerful mantra and produces fluid currents of harmony in the psyche through the siakra, or frontal plexus. (“What’s the frontal plexus?” Amparo asked. “An incurable disease?”)
Bramanti explained that there was a big difference between true brethren of the Rosy Cross — heirs of the Great White Fraternity, obviously secret, such as the Ancient and Accepted Order, whose unworthy representative he was, and the “Rosicrucians,” who claimed attachment to the Rosy Cross mystique for opportunistic reasons, lacking any justification. He urged his audience to give no credence to any Rosicrucian who called himself a brother of the Rosy Cross.
(Amparo remarked that one man’s Rosy Cross was another man’s Rosicrucian.)
One ill-advised member of the audience stood up and asked how Professor Bramanti’s order could claim to be authentic, since it violated the law of silence observed by all true adepts of the Great White Fraternity.
Bramanti rose to reply. “I was unaware that we had been infiltrated by the paid provocateurs of atheistic materialism. Under these circumstances I have no more to say.” And at that he walked out with a certain majesty.
That evening, Aglie telephoned to see how we were and to tell us that we had finally been invited to a rite, the next day. In the meantime, he suggested we have a drink.
Amparo had a political meeting with her friends; I went to join Aglie by myself.

Valentiniani...nihil magis curant quam occultare quod praedicant: si tamen praedicant, qui occultant...Si bona fides quaeres, concrete vultu, suspense supercilio—altum est— aiunt. Si subtiliter tentes, per ambiguitates bilingues communem fidern affirmant. Si scire te subos-tendas, negant quidquid agnoscunt...Habent artificium quo prius persuadeant, quam edoceant.
—Tertullian, Adversus Valentinianos

Aglie invited me to a place where some ageless men still made a batida in the traditional way. In just a few steps we left the civilization of Carmen Miranda, and found myself in a dark room where some natives were smoking cigars thick as sausages. The tobacco, as broad, transparent leaves, was rolled into what looked like old hawser, worked with the fingertips, and wrapped in oily straw paper. It kept going out, but you could understand what it must have been like when Sir Walter Raleigh discovered it.
I told him about my afternoon adventure.
“So now it’s the Rosicrucians as well? Your thirst for knowledge is insatiable, my friend. But pay no attention to those lunatics. They constantly talk about irrefutable documents that no one ever produces. I know that Bramanti. He lives in Milan, but he travels all over the world spreading his gospel. ,A harmless man, though he still believes in Kiesewetter. Hordes of Rosicrucians insist on that page of the Theatrum Chemicum. But if you actually take a look at it—and I might modestly add that I have a copy in my little Milanese library—there is no such quotation.”
“Herr Kiesewetter’s a clown, then.”
“But much quoted. The trouble is that even the nineteenth-century occultists fell victim to the spirit of positivism: a thing is true only if it can be proved. Take the debate on the Corpus Hermeticum. When that document came to light in Europe in the fifteenth century, Pico della Mirandola, Ficino, and many other people of great wisdom immediately realized that it had to be a work of most ancient wisdom, antedating the Egyptians, antedating even Moses himself. It contained ideas that would later be expressed by Plato and by Jesus.”
“What do you mean, later? That’s the same argument Bramanti used to prove Dante was a Mason. If the Corpus repeats ideas of Plato and Jesus, it must have been written after them!”
“You see? You’re doing it, too. That was exactly the reasoning of modem philologists, who also added wordy linguistic analyses intended to show that the Corpus was written in the second or third century of our era. It’s like saying that Cassandra must have been born after Homer because she predicted the destruction of Troy.
The belief that time is a linear, directed sequence running from A to B is a modem illusion. In fact, it can also go from B to A, the effect producing the cause...What does ‘coming before’ mean, or ‘coming after’? Does your beautiful Amparo come before or after her motley ancestors? She is too splendid—if you will allow a dispassionate opinion from a man old enough to be her father. She thus comes before. She is the mysterious origin of whatever went into her creation.”
“But at this point...”
“It is the whole idea of ‘point’ that is mistaken. Ever since Parmenides, points have been posited by science in an attempt to establish whence and whither something moves. But in fact nothing moves, and there is only one point, the one from which all others are generated at the same instant. The occultists of the nineteenth century, like those of our own time, naively tried to prove the truth of a thing by resorting to the methods of scientific falsehood. You must reason not according to the logic of time but according to the logic of Tradition. One time symbolizes all others, and the invisible Temple of the Rosicrucians therefore exists and has always existed, regardless of the current of history—your history. The time of the final revelation is not time by the clock. Its bonds are rooted in the time of ‘subtle history,’ where the befores and afters of science are of scant importance.”
“In other words, those who maintain that the Rosicrucians are eternal —”
“Are scientific fools, because they seek to prove that which must be known without proof. Do you think the worshipers we will see tomorrow night are capable of proving all the things that Kardek told them? Not at all. They simply know, because they are willing to know. If we had all retained this receptivity to secret knowledge, we would be dazzled by revelations. There is no need to wish; it’s enough to be willing.”
“But look—and forgive my banality—do the Rosicrucians exist or not?”
“What do you mean by exist?”
“You tell me.”
“The Great White Fraternity — whether you call them Rosicrucians or the spiritual knighthood of which the Templars are a temporary incarnation — is a cohort of a few, a very few, elect wise men who journey through human history in order to preserve a core of eternal knowledge. History does not happen randomly. It is the work of the Masters of the World, whom nothing escapes. Naturally, the Masters of the World protect themselves through secrecy. And that is why anyone who says he is a master, a Rosicrucian, a Templar is lying. They must be sought elsewhere.”
“Then the story goes on endlessly.”
“Exactly. And it demonstrates the shrewdness of the Masters.”
“But what do they want people to know?”
“Only that there’s a secret. Otherwise, if everything is as it appears to be, why go on living?”
“And what is the secret?”
“What the revealed religions have been unable to reveal. The secret lies beyond.”