Book Review: Invisibles

Invisibles: The True History of the Rosicrucians

By: Tobias Churton (Author)

It is reasonable to suggest that when published, Invisibles was the most comprehensive, comparative study, to date, of the Rosicrucian mega-meme. (A True History? See below.)

The point about studying this phenomenon is that it addressed issues and raised questions for which answers yet remain. 

Or, are answers hidden in plain sight? Just split a piece of wood, lift up a stone or scratch the surface of masonic ritual and perhaps it is there to be found.

Progress in understanding is not even, a study such as Invisibles gives it a push and must now be the starting-point for pursuing any interest in, or research foray into, this subject.

Columbus did not find a ‘New World’ in 1492; a New Heaven and a New Earth entered creative imaginations from The Reformation, 1517.

It led to taking the earth and religion off the centre. This facilitated a brave new world of seeing the universe measurably; and therefore, humanistically. Copernicus’ treatise, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) remained on the Index of forbidden books until 1835.

Churton writes, ‘And it is precisely the tumultuous area of intersection between theology and science that gave the Rosicrucian idea its extraordinary, multidimensional strength and purpose’ (p.20).

The House of the Holy Spirit, from Speculum Sophicum Rhodostauroticum (The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosy Cross) by Theophilus Schweighardt (Daniel Mögling), 1618.
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Indeed! Standing before the Inquisition in 1623, Galileo and his heliocentric theory was deemed;

(a) ‘absurd’ – we laugh at you;

(b) ‘false philosophically’ – our authority refutes you; and,

(c) ‘unscriptural hence heretical’ – we can kill you. 

The Rosicrucian movement neither was nor is homogenous; Invisibles plaits its various strands; the incommensurability of theology and scientific method are yet to be realised.

Indeed, ‘Politics creates esotericism as surely as theologians create heresies’ (p.268).

To which could be added, scientific methodology, nascent and modern, creates universes which cannot be evaluated in terms either esoteric or heretical.

From Invisibles, can be inferred how the printing press potentially, became the Rosicrucian movement’s weapon of mass destruction, the partial use of which, enabled its progress.

A society rises from brutality to order. Barbarism is the age of the fact, and thus the age of order is necessarily the age of fictions – for there is no power that would be capable of founding the order of the body solely through bodily force.

For this, fictional forces are necessary. (Paul Valery, French Poet, 1871-1945.)

Perhaps the Rosicrucian movement can be understood as the creation of a new fiction (‘narrative’ if preferred) to challenge the order of the day – seeking for ‘truth and openness in matters of religion and science….’ (p.416)

However, scientific methodology does not offer ‘truth’, rather, it describes the measurable universe in terms of prediction and control.

Theories are not disproven or falsified, they are replaced with those offering better prediction and control.

For ‘truth’ one must turn to politicians and theologians.

Entering the secrets of Nature, engraving from Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae (1595) by Heinrich Khunrath
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

In the late twentieth-century, the Church realised that it made ‘mistakes’ regarding the rise of heliocentric theory and asked for forgiveness.

It does not regard Darwinism as absurd, false philosophically or contrary to scripture.

Yet, as led by ‘theologians’, 43% of USA citizens believe that the universe is less than 10,000 years old: where now is Rosicrucian ‘strength and purpose’?

It is far beyond the scope of these reflections to dilate on the massively encompassing content and incisive structure of Invisibles.

This is for those who wish for a better understanding of both how we got to where we are; and, how we might progress using something of the timeless Rosicrucian message and method. 

 

Article by: Gerald Reilly

Gerald Reilly was initiated in 1995 into St Osyth's Priory Lodge 2063. Essex. England (UGLE). 

He was a founder member of Josh Heller's Allthingsmasonic, and with Josh co-wrote 'The Temple that Never Sleeps' (Cornerstone Books, 2006) he is committed to the development of e-Freemasonry.

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