Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz

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Chymische Hochzeit des Christiani Rosencreutz Anno 1459, edition 1616

The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (GermanChymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459[1]) was first printed by Lazare Zetzner in Strasbourg in 1616, after having been in circulation for some time as a manuscript. Written between 1603 and 1605, it describes in the form of an alchemical novel the initiatory experiences of Christian Rosenkreutz, which ultimately led to the founding of the Rosicrucian initiation. The very lively, colourful descriptions of the Chymical Wedding remarkably do not paint the picture of a rapt, lofty, unworldly stoic sage, but rather show us a full-bodied, humorous, sometimes also frightened and depressed human being who cries and laughs and to whom the whole range of human emotions in their ups and downs is by no means alien. Only arrogance, vanity and megalomania are completely far from him.

Johann Valentin Andreae

Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654)

The Chymical Wedding was initially published anonymously, but Johann Valentin Andreae is considered to be its author. In the external sense this is probably correct, but he was no more than a tool of the spiritual world, for as Rudolf Steiner has made clear, its spiritual author was not a physical personality at all:

„But no one who knows the biography of Valentin Andrea will be in any doubt that the Valentin Andrea, who later became a philistine pastor and wrote unctuous other books, did not write the "Chymical Wedding." It is sheer nonsense to believe that Valentine Andrea wrote the "Chymical Wedding". For just compare the "Chymical Wedding" or the "Reformation of the Whole World" or the other writings of Valentinus Andrea - physically it was already the same personality - with the unctuous, greasy-oily things that the pastor Valentin Andrea, who only bears the same name, then wrote in his later life. That is a most strange phenomenon! We have a young man, who has hardly finished school, who writes down such things as the "Reformation of the Whole World", like the "Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz", and we have to make an effort to fathom the inner meaning of these writings. He himself does not understand any of it, because he shows that later: he becomes an unctuous oily pastor. That is the same man! And if you only take this fact, you will find plausible what I have just described: that the "Chymical Wedding" was not written by a man, or was written by a man only in so far as, well, Napoleon's secret secretary, who was always full of fear, wrote his letters. But Napoleon was, after all, a human being who stood strongly with his feet, with his legs on the ground, was a physical personality. The one who wrote the "Chymical Wedding" was not a physical personality, and he made use of this "secretary" who later became the oily Pastor Valentin Andrea.“ (Lit.:GA 232, p. 143)

„In terms of content, this writing proves to be one composed out of intuition. Such things can be written by predisposed people, even if their own judgement and life experience do not speak into what is written down. And what is written down can nevertheless be the communication of something real. The "Chymical Wedding" must be understood as a communication about a really existing spiritual current in the sense indicated here, this is dictated by its content. The assumption that Valentin Andreae wrote it out of intuition throws light on the position he later took towards Rosicrucianism. As a young man, he was predisposed to give a picture of this spiritual current without his own way of knowing having a say in it. This own way of knowing, however, developed in the later pietist theologian Andreae. The kind of mind accessible to intuition receded in his soul.“ (Lit.:GA 35, p. 381)

The Chymical Wedding and the Mission of the Buddha on Mars

In 1604, just as the Chymic Wedding was being completed, the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, having completed his last earthly incarnation in the 5th century BC, performed an act that has a similar significance for Mars as the Mystery of Golgotha has for Earth. He had been appointed to this task by Christian Rosenkreutz in the early 17th century. Until about the 16th century, Mars had been in a state of descending development and ever stronger materialistic impulses were emanating from here. The impulses that Mars had been able to give to the Earth and humanity up to that time gave rise in particular to modern materialistic natural science. By fulfilling his mission, the Buddha was able to appease the Martian forces and thus began an ascending development of Mars.


Title page

The title page bears a Latin saying which makes it clear that the writing follows the arcan principle (from Latinarcanum "secret") and that its contents are revealed only to the initiated:

„Arcana publicata vilescunt;
et gratiam prophana amittunt.
Ergo: ne Margaritas obijce porcis, seu
Asino substerne rosas.“

„Revealed secrets become cheap,
profaned, they lose their value.
So do not cast pearls before swine.
do not throw roses to the donkey.“

First day

Today, today, today,
Is the king's wedding,
Are you born to this,
Chosen by God for joy,
You may go up the mountain
Whereon stand three temples,
There thou may'st behold the story.

Keep watch,
Consider thyself,
Thou shalt not bathe thyself diligently,
The wedding may harm thee.
Harm hath he who here despairs,,
Beware who is too light.

Sponsus et Sponsa.

The depicted sign became known as the so-called Monas hieroglyph of John Dee (1527-1608), an English philosopher, mathematician, astrologer and alchemist. In it, the traditional signs of the seven planets are united into one sign. (Lit.: John Dee, 1564)

The narrative of the Chymical Wedding begins on the first day with the eighty-year-old Christian Rosenkreutz (* 1378; † 1484), who lived around 1459 in a hermitage dug into a mountain[2], recounting a self-experienced adventure he had experienced on the eve of Easter Day - meaning, according to the Protestant view, Maundy Thursday, which in 1459 fell on 22 March[3]. The entire narrative extends over seven mental days and begins with Christian Rosenkreutz, deeply immersed in meditation, suddenly feeling a cruel wind blowing towards his hut, a sign that he has entered the restlessly moving elemental world with his consciousness[4]. Then suddenly a glorious woman with wings full of eyes in a blue dress and golden stars[5] and a trombone in her right hand and a bundle of letters in her left approaches him. She hands him a letter inviting him to a royal wedding with gold writing on a blue background. The letter is sealed and the seal bears the sign of the cross and the words: "In hoc signo vinces"[6]. On the trombone is a name that Christian Rosenkreutz recognises but is not allowed to reveal. The wedding, he suddenly remembers, had been announced to him seven years earlier and, after assiduously calculating the planetary orbits, had appeared to be correct[1]. The image of the three temples on the mountain mentioned in the letter at the very beginning remains a mystery to him for the that moment[7].

In a dream, he sees himself transferred to a tower that very night, where he and countless others are waiting in chains to be freed. Then an old man, grey as ice, appears in the opening of the tower together with his mother. At her command, a rope is lowered seven times, by which some of the prisoners - and finally, on the sixth occasion, Christian Rosenkreutz as well - are pulled up[8]. He receives a golden commemorative penny with the image of the rising Sun and the three letters DLS embossed on the back[9]. Awakened from the dream, Christian Rosenkreutz now puts on a white robe with a red belt and red ribbons crossed over his chest and puts four red roses on his hat. For food, he takes bread, salt and water "on the advice of a prudent man". He humbly kneels down and vows that he will do everything for the glory of God and the service of his neighbour.

Spiritual scientific explanations

  1. 1.0 1.1 The year 1459: "It is significant for him that he may say to himself that this condition in his human being is in harmony with the conditions in the universe. In "diligent recalculation and calculation" of his "annotated planets" he has found that this condition may occur in him at the point in time at which it is now taking place. Whoever looks at what is being considered here in the sense of the folly of some "astrologers" will misunderstand it, regardless of whether he, as a believer, agrees with it or, as an "enlightened" person, sneers at it. The performer of the "Chymical Wedding" added the year 1459 to the title of his book for good reasons. He was aware that the state of mind of the bearer of the experience must coincide with the state of mind at which the world has arrived at a certain point in time, if the inner state of mind and the outer content of the world are not to result in disharmony. The soul, which is independent of ordinary sense perception, must encounter the outer supersensible world-content in harmony if the state of consciousness which constitutes the "Chymical Wedding" is to arise through the harmony of the two. Whoever believes that the constellation of the "annotated planets" contains a mysterious power which determines the state of man's experience, would be like one who believes that the positions of the hands of his watch have the power to induce him to take an exit which he has had to undertake at a certain hour out of his life circumstances." (Lit.:GA 35, p. 345)
  2. Inside a mountain Christian Rosenkreutz thus lives, spiritually speaking more precisely in the Earth's interior, as it corresponds to the famous vitriol formula of the alchemistss: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem (Veram Medicinam)
    "Look inside the purified earth, and you will find the secret stone, the true medicine. "
  3. 22 March 1459 according to the Julian calendar valid at that time; cf.:
  4. The Storm: "At a time of elevated mood, on the eve of Easter, this renewed experience occurs. The bearer of the experience feels as if he is being blown about by a storm. This announces to him that he is experiencing a reality whose perception is not mediated by the physical body. He is lifted out of the state of equilibrium in relation to the forces of the world into which man is placed by his physical body. His soul does not live the life of this physical body; it only feels connected with the (etheric) body of formative forces which intersperses the physical body. This body of formative forces, however, is not involved in the equilibrium of the world forces, but in the mobility of that supersensible world which comes first to the physical and which is first perceived by the human being when he has opened the gates of spiritual vision. Only in the physical world do the forces solidify into fixed forms that live out in states of equilibrium; in the spiritual world there is continuous mobility. The bearer of the experience becomes conscious of being taken in by this mobility as the perception of the roaring storm." (Lit.:GA 35, p. 334)
  5. The Woman in the Blue Dress: "Out of the indeterminate of this perception, the revelation of a spiritual being is released. This revelation happens through a definite imagination. The spiritual being appears in blue, star-studded clothing. One must keep away from the description of this being everything that dilettante esotericists like to bring in for "explanation" in the form of symbolic interpretations. We are dealing with a non-sensual experience which the experiencer expresses to himself and others through an image. The blue, star-studded dress is no more a symbol of the blue night sky or anything similar than the idea of the rosebush is a symbol of the evening glow in ordinary consciousness. In supersensuous perception there is a much more active, conscious activity of the soul than in sensuous perception. - In the case of the wanderer to the "Chymical Wedding", this activity is exercised by the body of formative forces, as in the case of physical seeing by the sensual body through the eyes. This activity of the body of formative forces can be compared to the excitation of radiating light. Such light strikes the manifesting spiritual being. It is reflected back from it. The observer therefore sees his own radiated light, and behind its boundary he becomes aware of the limiting being. Through this relationship of the spiritual being to the spiritual light of the body of formative forces, the "blue" appears; the stars are the parts of the spiritual light that are not reflected back, but received by the being. The spirit being has objective reality; the image through which it reveals itself is a modification brought about by the being in the radiation of the body of formative forces." (Lit.:GA 35, p. 335)
  6. In this sign you will be victorious. "The bearer of the experiences described in the "Chymical Wedding" is aware, as an alchemist, that on his path he needs a strengthened faculty of discernment for truth and deception. According to the circumstances of life from which he starts on his alchemical path, he seeks to gain his support from Christian truth. He knows that what unites him with Christ has already, within his life in the senses, brought to development in his soul a power leading to truth, which does not need the basis of the senses, and which can therefore also prove itself when this basis of the senses is not there. With this attitude, his soul stands before the being in the blue robe who points him to the path to the "Chymical Wedding". At first, this being could just as well belong to the world of deception and error as to that of truth. The wayfarer to the "Chymical Wedding" must discriminate. But his power of discernment would be lost, error would have to overwhelm him, if he could not remember in the supersensible experience what in the sensual binds him to the truth with an inner force. From his own soul rises what has become in it through Christ. And just like the rest of his light, the body of the formative force radiates this Christ-light towards the revealing being. The right imagination is formed. The letter that points him on the way to the "Chymical Wedding" contains the sign of Christ and the words: in hoc signo vinces. - The wayfarer knows that he is connected to the appearing being by a force that points to the truth. If the force that led him into the supersensible world had been one that tended to deceive, he would be faced with an entity that would have paralysed his memory for the Christ impulse living in him. He would then only have followed the seductive power which attracts man even when the supersensible world brings forces towards him which are pernicious to his being and will." (Lit.:GA 35, p. 344f)
  7. The Misunderstood Imagination of the Three Temples: "In the letter, three temples are referred to. What is meant by these is not yet understood by the bearer of the experiences at the time when he receives the reference. He who perceives in the spiritual world must know that he will sometimes be granted imaginations whose understanding he must at first renounce. He must accept them as imaginations and allow them to mature in the soul. During this maturation they produce the power within the human being which can bring about understanding. If the observer wanted to explain them to himself at the moment when they reveal themselves to him, he would do so with an intellect still unsuited to the task and would think something inconsistent. In spiritual experience much depends on having the patience to make observations, to simply accept them at first and to wait until the appropriate time to understand them. What the wanderer experiences at the "Chymical Wedding" on the first day of his spiritual experience, he describes as having been announced to him "seven years ago". During this time he was not allowed to form an intellectual opinion about his "face" at that time, but had to wait until the "face" had had such a long effect in his soul that he could experience further things with understanding." (Lit.:GA 35, p. 346f)

The initiation through Manes

The initiation of Christian Rosenkreutz in 1459 was through Manes and was connected with a deeper insight into the nature and task of evil in the world:

„Within this whole stream, the initiation of Manes, who also initiated Christian Rosenkreutz in 1459, is regarded as a "higher degree": it consists in the true realisation of the function of evil. This initiation and its background must remain completely hidden from the crowd for a long time to come. For wherever even a very small ray of light has flowed from it into literature, it has done mischief, as through the noble Guyau, whose disciple Friedrich Nietzsche has become.“ (Lit.:GA 262, p. 24)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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