In the twenty-first century, The Chymical Wedding by Johann Valentin Andreae continues to be acknowledged as a literary gem, an exceptional story written in. The drawings on this page appeared as illustrations in The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, published by Lectorium Rosicrucianum, a Rosicrucian. Inspired by the third Rosicrucian manifesto, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, published four hundred years ago, the anonymous author of this.
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Anno ” was written down inand first published in Strasbourg inhaving been widely circulated in manuscript during the intervening years. It was written down by Valentin Andreae, then a seventeen-year-old student in Tubingen University, later to become a Lutheran pastor. Of him Rudolf Steiner says: European Mysteries and their Initiates It is a continuation of The Order of the Grail and the Order of the Templars; its contents are couched in different terms in succeeding centuries to meet changes in human consciousness and changing human needs.
Later, such Imaginations dried out into abstract, purely conceptual thinking. Today the time is ripe to enliven the intellectual consciousness into a renewed pictorial one. It is therefore in accordance with the spiritual demands at this point of time that “The Chymical Wedding” again begins to attract notice and that its beautiful sequences of imaginative piectures again begin to speak to our hearts and understanding. Christian Rosenkreutz, the Founder of the Rosicrucian Movement, is in our time the Keeper of the Gate, the spiritual leader of this modern age.
It is therefore a book of great significance for our time, one that it is important should be studied both for the deep impression made by its Mystery pictures and for an understanding of its spiritual revelations. We need it as a traveller needs guide-book and map when he journeys into an unknown land; for the journey of which it tells is a journey we must all take sooner or later. Who was, who is, Christian Rosenkreutz? See Note 2 Rudolf Steiner has told us that in the middle of the thirteenth century a child was born who had a very special destiny.
He came into the care of the twelve wisest men of that age, who by world destiny were gathered in a certain spot in Europe. The child was very carefully trained by them, and taught their twelve-fold wisdom.
As a young man, he became very ill; he took no nourishment; his body became almost transparent; and finally he lay in a trance for some days.
When he returned to consciousness it seemed as if the twelve streams of wisdom had been woven by him into an all-embracing wisdom. Soon after this he died, having in this incarnation been kept withdrawn from outer earthly activity. He was reborn in 1 The Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz Inwhen he was twenty-eight years of age, he began a seven-year journey to many Centres of Mystery Wisdom, returning inwhen he was thirty-five years of age see Note 3.
He had gathered chymjcal these centres the essence of their teaching and now grasped intellectually the radiant wisdom that had suffused his feeling-life in the previous century. He was just over eighty years of age when the experience came to him which is recounted in “The Chymical Wedding”; at the age of he died. He warned the royal family and the nobility of their approaching fate, but in vain. He gave to the world the watchwords “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”; and though these were misunderstood by the French Revolutionists in the first flush of wild excitement, rightly interpreted they can become watch-words of our present epoch and the key to the development of the future.
Plato said of the myth of Isis and Osiris that it could be understood on twenty different levels, and was true on all of them. This could equally be said of “The Chymical Wedding. This booklet is the substance of a course of lectures given at Hawkwood College, July It is printed in response to requests from christtian of the Course to have the material in a permanent form for further study.
We send it out in the hope that it may be of some rosenkreutx and profit not only to them but also to a wider circle of people interested in such matters, without as well as within the Anthroposophical Movement.
A distinguished Dutch lecturer who was present at the Course wrote later: I eedding read it ten times, like a child with its picture-book. The outline of the story, which has been included for readers christizn already familiar with the book itself, has of necessity had to be reduced to chymicaal essentials; but as far as possible we have retained the phraseology of the first translation into English made by Foxcroft inas this carries with it something of the flavour of the language of the period in which it was first written down.
For this first tentative effort in understanding the story we have drawn largely on Rudolf Steiner’s three articles published in Das Reich October chgistian April entitled “The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz”. All quotations from these, given in translation are marked with an asterisks. All other books and lectures quoted are by Rudolf Steiner unless otherwise stated. I feared this to be another trick of the devil, who had done me many a spite; and now I weddong my coat being twitched behind me.
Hugely terrified, I turned to look; and there I beheld a fair and glorious lady, in garments of sky-blue, bespangled with golden stars, and with large and beautiful wings, full of eyes, wherewith she could mount aloft and fly swifter than any eagle. In her right hand was a golden trumpet, and in her left a great bundle of letters in all languages, which she as I afterwards understood was to carry into all countries.
From among them she chose a small one and laid it reverently on the table.
Then, without speaking, she spread her wings and mounted upward, blowing so mighty a blast on her gallant trumpet that for a full quarter of an hour afterward the whole hill echoed thereof.
I took up the letter in fear and trembling, and found it so heavy as almost to outweigh gold.
It was sealed with a little seal which bore a curious cross, together with the inscription, “In cbristian Sign conquer,” at which I felt greatly comforted, knowing that this sign was little acceptable, and much less useful, to the devil.
Inside I found this verse written, in golden letters on an azure ground: If you by birth and by God’s choice Are bidden to this feast, rejoice! Forthwith now to the mountain wend Whereon three stately Temples stand, And there see all from end to end. Yourself examine first with care; Let him who weighs too light beware; No guest this Wedding can endure Who keeps not watch and is not pure. Seven years previously, I had learned in a vision that one day I would be invited to a Royal Dosenkreutz and when I now calculated the positions of the planets, I found that this was indeed the appointed time.
But when I examined myself, as bidden by the letter, and contemplated my blindness in mysterious things, my ticklings of the flesh, my rearing of stately palaces in the air and other like carnal designs, I was so overwhelmed by my own unworthiness that I swung between hope and fear. The obscure words concerning the three Temples also afflicted me. At last I begged of my good angel that Chrjstian might be rightly directed in my sleep. In my sleep I found myself in a dark dungeon, fettered, with a multitude of companions all struggling with their chains and swarming like bees over each other.
When presently we heard trumpets and kettle drums, and the dungeon was uncovered, and a small light lowered into it, I contrived to slip from under the rest and heave myself on to a boulder against the dungeon wall. Then an old man with ice-grey locks appeared at the edge of the opening, calling for silence.
He announced that, by the grace of his ancient Mother, a rope would be let down seven times among us, and that whoever was able to cling to it would be drawn up and set at liberty. When the Ancient Matron’s servants let down the rope, I could get nowhere near it, while the heaving of the rest was pitiful to see. After seven minutes a little bell rang, and the rope was drawn up with four men clinging to it. Again and yet again the rope descended, chymcial each time a few more were drawn up, those already released helping the servants to pull.
At its sixth lowering, the rope swung aside, so that I was able to catch it, and so beyond all hope came out, bleeding from a head-wound received from a sharp stone on the way. Now the dungeon was covered again, and those of us who had been drawn up were freed from our fetters, and our names recorded on a golden tablet.
As we thanked the Ancient Matron for chrkstian deliverance and took our leave of her, each of us was given a piece of gold to spend by the way, stamped on one side with the rising sun, and on the other with the letters D. As for me, I could scarcely well go forward for the wounds left on my feet by the fetters.
The Ancient Matron, seeing this, said to cyhmical Keep these wounds for my sake. So I rose and arrayed myself in a white linen coat with a blood-red stole bound cross- wise over my shoulders; then, with four red roses stuck in my hat, and taking bread, salt and water for food by the way, I set out joyfully on my journey. The first it described as short but dangerous, leading into rocky places scarcely possible to pass.
The second was long, but easy provided we kept to it and were guided by our magnet. The third was a royal road, which only one in a thousand might follow.
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The fourth was a consuming way, encompassed by fire and cloud, fit only for incorruptible bodies. The tablet warned us that once we had entered upon any of these ways there could be no turning back, and that if we knew ourselves by the smallest fault to be unworthy, we should not venture further.
At these dire warnings, I sank down beneath the tree in great perturbation of spirit. While I sat perplexed, pondering whether to turn back, and, if not, which way to follow, I took out a slice of my bread from my bag and began to eat. At once a snow-white dove fluttered down from the branches above, betaking herself to me very rosenkreuyz, and I willingly shared my slice of bread with her.
But now a black raven darted down at the dove, who took refuge in flight, the raven hastening after her and I after him. When I had chased the raven away, I bethought me of my bag and bread, left behind beneath the cedar. But when I turned myself about, to go back to retrieve them, a contrary wind was so strong against me that it was ready to fell me; yet if I went forward, I fosenkreutz no hindrance.
Looking about me, I saw I was already, without my knowledge, entered upon one of the four ways – the long, circuitous one. So all that day I followed this road, taking care to stray neither chdistian the left nor to the right. The way itself was so rugged that I was often in doubt about it; but the dove had flown due south, so with the help of my compass I kept strictly to that direction. At last, just as the rosejkreutz was setting, I spied a stately Portal, set high on a distant hill.
So now I made mighty haste, to reach it before nightfall, seeing elsewhere no other abiding-place.
As I drew near, a venerable man in a sky-blue habit stepped forth, made himself known as the Guardian of the Portal, and asked for my Letter of Invitation. With what joy did I present it! When the Guardian heard my name and that I was a Brother of the Rose Cross, he both wondered and seemed to rejoice at it, and treated me with abundance rossnkreutz respect, saying: An acceptable guest you are to me!
Dusk was now falling; and a beautiful Virgin, robed in sky-blue and bearing a glorious cristian, was lighting lanterns along the road to the inner Portal. To this I hastened, and was christiann to find it barred by a terrible chained lion, who, as soon as he espied me, arose and made at chymmical with great roaring.
This awoke the Guardian, who was asleep on a slab of marble; he drove back the lion, and, having read the sealed letter, greeted me with great respect, crying: By now the dusk had deepened, and a bell began to ring within the Castle.
The Guardian warned me to run apace, or I would not reach the innermost gate before it closed for the night. The lights along the path were already being extinguished, and I was thankful to have the Virgin’s torch to guide me through the darkness.
As I entered the Third Portal at her very heels, the gate clapped to so suddenly that part of my coat rosenkreufz locked out, and, since its Guardian could not be prevailed upon to open the gate again, had to be left behind. The Third Guardian now wrote my name in a little book of vellum, and gave me a third token, together with a sedding pair of shoes, for the floor of the Castle was pure shining marble.
My old pair I bestowed on a beggar who sat by the gate.
Two wfdding, each bearing a torch, now conducted me into the Castle, chrixtian left me alone in a little room, where, to my terror, invisible barbers cut away the rosenkerutz from the crown of my head, but on my forehead, ears and eyes they permitted my ice-grey locks to hang.
The hair cut off was carefully gathered up by invisible hands rosenkreuhz carried away. Now a little bell began to ring; and the two pages, returning, lighted me through many doors chrisrian up winding stairs to a spacious hall, where there was a great multitude of guests — emperors, kings, princes, lords, noble and ignoble, rich and poor, all sorts of people, including some I knew well, and as yet had never any reason to esteem; these, when I enquired of them as to their route, I found had mostly been forced to clamber over the rocks.
When, presently, trumpets sounded to bid us to the feast, these were they who scrambled for the highest seats, so that for me and some other sorry fellows there was hardly a little nook left wrdding the lowermost table.
But next to me was sitting a very fine, quiet man, who discoursed of excellent matters. Meat was now brought in, and served by invisible hands, everything so orderly managed that it seemed as if every guest had his own attendant. When one boasted that he could see these invisible servitors, one of them reached him so handsome a cuff upon his lying muzzle that not only he, but many who were by him, became as mute as mice. As they grew warm with wine, these guests of the lewder sort began to vaunt of their abilities; one heard the movements of the Heavens, the second could see Plato’s Ideas, the third could number the atoms of Democritus.