The Rosicrucians began, with Christian Rosenkruetz, a german mystic. He was alleged to be the only surviving son of a King. Supposedly, he was spirited away to a monastery and the rest of the royal family was slaughtered in an uprising. He was a devout student of spiritual studies and when he came of age, he spent years traveling to different parts of the middle east, including Eygpt and the Holy Lands. He acquired a huge knowledge of the mystery schools which were dying out.
When he returned to his home, he gathered eight others to learn from him and instructed them as brothers to the Rose Cross.
The rose is a strong symbol of inner knowledge, as its petals open from the inside out. There are other attributes but that one is my favorite. The cross being symbol of The Christ, of course.
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The brothers were taught and instructed to find an apprentice to teach in preparation of their eventual departure. Their doctrine included medicinal knowledge, Alchemy, and spiritual knowledge. They refused to accept payment for their services; that is one of the fundamental items, to give their knowledge and relief to those suffering freely. They lived and worked like this for years and eventually went back out into the world to reach more of those that needed their help or wanted to learn from their teaching.
Christian Rosenkruetz eventually passed at a very old age, anticipating his departure and preparing for it without the knowledge of the other eight brothers. He left them a letter that they received upon returning from their missionary endeavors. The brothers were despondent but trusted Christian, he advised in the letter his location would be revealed. The instructions he left were only partial expression of his plans for the Rosicrucian movement.
Eventually, one of the predecessors of the remaining brothers was doing some home repair and stumbled across a secret crypt chamber. Inside the chamber he found the beloved Christian interred in a coffin laid out like a sarcophagus. It were an eight sided chamber and contained several "ever-burning" candles that were still lit and burning. When the coffin was opened they found Christian looking as if he were only sleeping, though he had died over a hundred years prior. They found withing the coffin several documents, and a bible I think. One of the documents stated their group should operate in cycles of hidden and revealed in, I think, 109 yr cycles alternating.
The Rosicrucians in the USA are split into two main groups, the Rosicrucian Fellowship and the AMORC. Max Heindel was the mystic that founded the Rosicrucian Fellowship. He was said to have gone to Germany and studied under the primary nine brothers for years. He was then given their blessing to carry their mission to USA, which he did at approximately the same time the AMORC was being established, in 1919 I think. There was a bit of a schsim as each claimed to be endorsed to carry the message, though they had completely different teaching on several critical areas of study and ritual.
Both went ahead and founded their versions, the main difference being the Enochian language adapted as a tool for the AMORC, along with ritual sex. In fact, the Rosicrucian Fellowship recommends abstinence. I think they both respect one another and do not directly express any disagreement or animosity. It is said when Max Heindel departed, he was standing up and collapsed. Instead of falling to the floor invisible helpers caught him and gently laid him on his bed. That is another fundamental tradition of the Rosicrucians, to lend help if they were passing by an area and saw a needy person or situation. After giving their aide, they were to continue on their way with a little fuss as possible, just slip away.
He held a scroll in his hands that is referred to as "The Vellum T". I have never been able to find a transcription of the contents of that scroll, though I have looked a loooong time.
Anyway, he also held another letter to his brethren, which he had dated as to when his remains would be discovered. The date was spot on, the same day the crypt was found.