The Secret History of the Rosicrucians

The following is an online-only, unillustrated version of my book “The Secret History of the Rosicrucians” that I spent a fair amount of time researching back in 2012.

My aim was to try to reconstruct the secret history behind the key Rosicrucian texts, and to understand what was going on ‘behind the curtain’ – I wanted to know what the original motivation was, what the plan was, and why things happened the way they did.

Yet the story that emerged was stranger and more extraordinary than I first thought, in that it inextricably linked into a single story – I strongly suspect – two of the most mysterious histories known: that of the Rosicrucian manifestoes and that of the Voynich Manuscript, “the most mysterious manuscript in the world”.

Perhaps I succeeded, perhaps I didn’t: at this great distance in time, it can be hard to see how modern historians might ever prove that the events of my reconstruction were precisely what happened.

It might well be that this is no more than ‘yet another Rosicrucian story’ to throw onto Carlos Gilly’s pyre of pamphlets. But… it might also be that, by releasing this to the world, someone somewhere will be inspired enough to go that extra mile in their research, to uncover the key in a little-known archive that unlocks all these resolutely shut doors (perhaps Andreae’s correspondence with Kepler? Who knows!)

Finally; my thanks to a number of people (in particular Elmar Vogt and Philip Neal) who read very early drafts of this back in 2012. Hopefully this version is somewhat clearer and a more straightforward read.

I’ve converted the text to HTML one chapter at a time: this is so that people can leave comments on individual sections without ending up with a single gigantic page. I’ve tried to make my arguments and specific choice of evidence as transparent as possible: but if you think I’ve made mistakes in a certain chapter, please feel free to leave comments on that page.

The Secret History of the Rosicrucians (c) 2012, 2015 Nick Pelling.
1. Introduction
2. The Three Texts
3. Dating The Fama And The Confessio
4. The Fama’s First Draft
5. So… What Was The Point Of It All?
6. ‘Book M’
7. Another Mysterious Manuscript
8. Stories From The Margins
9. Andreae’s Two Journeys
10. The Limits Of Evidence