Read the seven-part original text of the novel about initiation by Johann Valentin Andreae (1616), with comments from the esoteric analysis of Jan van Rijckenborgh and links to articles. The action takes place in seven days – this is the first day and the preface.
The printed edition in English, translated from the Dutch, was published in two volumes by: Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Part one: First edition 1991
Part two: First edition 1991
All rights reserved, especially regarding translation. It is forbidden to reproduce any part of the following texts and images by means of printing, photo copy, electronic media or any other procedure without written permission by the publishing house in advance.
Preface by Jan van Rijckenborgh
Now that an explanation of The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross has been published, our thoughts are naturally drawn to the author of this book about the classical Rosicrucians, Johann Valentin Andreae. This author bears the signature of a torch-bearer whose light, even now, shines everywhere. And every time a new light has to be proclaimed in the world, in the service of the great work of mankind’s liberation, it will be kindled by and added to the flame of the ancient candelabrum which can never be extinguished.
Mindful of this fact, and now that the time has come, we are filled with profound gratitude that we are allowed to unveil, perhaps for the first time in history, the message of salvation which has taken shape in Johann Valentin Andreae’s ingenious work. We offer this book to all those who yearn for the living knowledge of the tangible path of redemption and who wish to make themselves worthy of it. May there be many, many such people; a multitude that no one can count!
DEN FØRSTE DAG
En aften før påskedag sad jeg ved et bord og talte i ydmyg bøn med min skaber, som det nu var min vane, idet jeg grublede over de mange store hemmeligheder, som Lysets Fader i sin majestæt havde ladet mig skue ikke så få af endda.
Medens jeg således sammen med mit kære påskelam søgte at tilberede en usyret ren kage i mit hjerte, kom der pludseligt et forfærdeligt vindstød, så kraftigt, at jeg troede, at det bjerg, hvorpå mit lille hus var funderet, ville splintres af vindstødets mægtige kraft.
All of a sudden such a terrific wind sprang up that I could not think but that the mountain in which my little cottage was hewn would be blown asunder by this great violence. Since this did not surprise me as neither did similar tricks of the devil, I took heart and persisted in meditation until someone tapped me on the back, which I was not expecting. I was so terrified that I hardly dared turn round but kept my cheerfulness as far as human weakness permits in such circumstances.
However, as someone repeatedly tugged at my coat I turned around and saw a magnificent female figure whose azure garment was gracefully strewn with golden stars, just like the heavens. In her right hand she held a trumpet of pure gold with a name engraved on it which I could read but as yet was forbidden to reveal. In her left hand she held a thick sheaf of letters written in various languages which she had to deliver in many countries, as I afterwards learned. She also had wings, large and beautiful and strewn with eyes, with which she could rise and fly, faster than an eagle.
I might have observed even more about her, but as she stayed with me such a short time and I was still overcome with fright and wonder, I did not do so. For as soon as I had turned round she looked among her letters and at last took out a small one which she put on the table reverently, after which she left without saying a word. But as she rose she blew her beautiful trumpet so powerfully that its echo resounded throughout the mountains and I could hardly hear my own words for nearly a quarter of an hour.
In this unexpected adventure I, poor creature, really did not know what to do. That is why I fell down on my knees and prayed to my Creator not to have me experience anything that could threaten my eternal salvation. The letter After this I turned to the letter in fear and trembling. It appeared to be so heavy that, if it had been made of pure gold, it could hardly have been heavier. When I looked at The seal it attentively I found it sealed with a small seal in which, very delicately, a cross was engraved with the inscription: “/// hoc signo f vinces”. (In this sign you will conquer.)
As soon as I had seen this sign I was reassured, as I knew that such a sign would be unpalatable to the devil, nor would he make use of it. Thus I carefully opened the letter. It contained the following poem, written with golden letters on a blue field:
This is the clay, this day,
this the day of the Royal Wedding is.
Art thou thereto by birth inclined
and unto joy by God designed?
Then thou may’st to the mountain wend
on which three stately temples stand
and there observe the wonder.
Keep to the aim!
In light remain!
Unless thou bathe most carefully
the wedding will do harm to thee.
Woe to him who in sin delays,
he will be found too light in weights.
Underneath was written:
Sponsus et Sponsa
(Bridegroom and bride)
After having read this letter I thought I would faint. My hair stood on end and a cold sweat broke out all over me. For although I did realise that this would be the foreshadowed wedding which was announced to me seven years ago in a vision and which I had awaited so long with great yearning, and which, in the end, I had found to be correct through diligently calculating and recalculating the position of my planets, I still had not expected such difficult and dangerous conditions to be connected with it. Whereas previously I had been of the opinion that I merely had to appear at the wedding in order to be a welcome and esteemed guest, I was now referred to divine Providence of which, in this case, I was far from certain.
The more I examined myself the more I found, even now, that nothing but great ignorance and blindness with regard to secret things reigned in my mind; moreover, that I was even unable to comprehend obvious, daily recurring things. How much less had I been destined by birth to fathom and penetrate the secrets of nature since, in my opinion, nature could have found anywhere a more useful disciple to entrust with its so precious, though temporary and transitory, treasure. I also discovered that my body, my seemingly decent behaviour and my neighbourly love had not been properly cleansed and purified.
The urges of the flesh, moreover, still appeared to exist within me, bent on high esteem and worldly splendour instead of directed towards the well-being of my fellow-man, so that I continually deliberated upon how I could further my self-interest within a short time, erect impressive buildings, acquire an immortal name in the world and more such thoughts of the flesh. However, I was particularly alarmed by the mysterious words about the three temples, which I could not explain in whatever way I thought about them. Perhaps I would even now have been unable to explain them if they had not been revealed to me in a miraculous way.
In this way, hovering between hope and fear, examining myself ever again, yet finding nothing but weakness and impotence so that I was unable to help myself in any way, and being alarmed by the invitation mentioned before, I took refuge in my most familiar and secure habit and prayed, before retiring to bed, earnestly and fervently that according to the divine decree my good angel would be allowed to appear and instruct me in my doubtful state, as it had done before; which did happen, God be praised, for my good, and as a well-meant, serious admonition of my fellow-man.
The dream of Christian Rosycross
I hardly slept when I had the impression that I was lying, heavily chained, in a dark prison tower, together with countless other people. We were deprived of even the faintest ray of light, swarming over each other’s bodies like bees, thus adding to each other’s wretchedness. Although neither I nor any of the others could see anything in the inky darkness, I still heard how some people tried to climb on top of the others if their chains or shackles were the slightest bit lighter. Apart from this, none of us had much of an advantage over the other, as all of us were poor wretches.
After having spent, with the others, a long time in this miserable state, during which people continually called each other “blind” or “prisoner”, we at last heard the flourish of many trumpets. Also the kettle-drums were beaten so skilfully that even in our miserable state we were refreshed and gladdened by it.
In the mean time the trap-door of the tower was lifted and a small amount of light was granted us. Then you should have seen us, tumbling one over the other! All were crawling over each other and thus anyone who had worked his way up was dragged down again by someone else. In short, everyone wanted to be at the top. And I, too, did not hesitate but struggled free from the others, notwithstanding my heavy chains, and pulled myself up by a stone I had managed to reach. But there, too, I was frequently attacked by the others, against whom I defended myself as well as possible with hands and feet. We did not think otherwise than that all of us would be freed.
[comment title=“Commentary no.4: Self-awareness caused by the new light”]All those who are in distress act in the same way. Yet in the midst of all that conflict there arises a measure of exhaustion and…a kind of purification comes about, in the sense of a poverty of the blood. The blood loses some of its passions and such a person becomes rather sensitive.
As the exhaustion increases, so does the sensitivity; a sensitivity to the new light develops, expressing itself in the blood as yearning, as embitterment, and in that light one comes to see one’s condition better than ever before. (Page 34)[/comment]
The redeeming cord
However, things worked out quite differently. After the gentlemen who looked down on us through the opening in the top of the tower had amused themselves somewhat with this crawling and struggling, an old man The guard of with snow white hair ordered us to be quiet. Hardly had his command been acted upon when he began to speak, as far as I still remember, as follows:
If only you, poor human race,
did not yourselves esteem,
ah, how much, by my mother’s grace,
given could have been.
But as you will not listen
You will yourselves imprison
and nighf s captives remain.
But all the evil done,
my dear mother will forgive,
that all her choicest gifts
in the light again might live.
Yet this does happen rarely,
for man mistakes as fancy
her treasures bountiful.
In honour of the feast
we will now celebrate,
may her praise be increased.
Good work will then be done:
a rope she will let down
and those who grap it firmly
will enter freedom shortly.
He had hardly finished speaking when the old Lady ordered her servants to lower the rope seven times into the tower and haul up those who could hang on to it. Would God permit I could describe the pandemonium then breaking loose among us, for everyone wanted to get hold of the rope and by that hindered the others. However, after seven minutes a sign was given with a little bell after which the servants pulled up four persons.
I could not possibly get near the rope because I had the misfortune to have climbed onto a stone in the wall of the tower, as I mentioned already, and thus could not reach the rope which had been lowered in the centre of the tower.
The rope was lowered for a second time. But since the chains of many were too heavy and their hands too weak, they could not hold on to the rope and dragged many who might have hung on, down with them. Yes, many were even pulled down by someone else who had not been able to reach the rope himself. So we envied each other even in our great misery. I pitied those most, however, whose weight was so heavy that their hands were torn off their bodies so that they could not climb up. This was the reason why, until the fifth time, only a few people had been hauled up. For as soon as the sign was given, the servants were so quick in hauling up the rope that most people tumbled one over the other. The fifth time the rope was actually empty, so that most of us, and I too, despaired of our redemption and called upon God to have mercy upon us and, if possible, deliver us out of this darkness, after which in fact He granted this to some of us. For when the rope was lowered for the sixth time, The sixth time some clung to it. And whilst the rope swung back and forth it came, perhaps by the will of God, near me. I quickly caught it so that I hung higher than all the others and thus, at last and beyond expectation, I came out of the tower. I was so happy about this that I felt the wound on my head, caused by a sharp stone when I was hauled up, only when, together with the other released ones, I had to help with the seventh and last hauling up, just as was done during all preceding times. Through this exertion the blood ran down my clothes which, in my joy, I failed to heed.
He who is charged with many tasks, will find that of him much is asked.
After the rope had been lowered for the last time through which most of the prisoners were pulled up, the old Lady had it taken away. She asked her ancient son to announce her resolution to the other prisoners, which astounded me. After some reflection he addressed them as follows:
You children dear
now gathered here,
What long before was resolved upon
is only now complete and done.
What my mother in her great grace
has given your friends for their solace
you’ll not begrudge or grieve upon.
A time of joy will now begin
Where everyone shall equal be,
None wealthy, none in penury.
He who is charged with many tasks,
will find that of him much is asked.
He who with much has entrusted been
must prove, and building must be seen.
Therefore, cease your loud lamenting:
What harm a few more days of waiting!
As soon as he had spoken these words, the trap-door was closed again and locked, after which again the blast of trumpets and the roll of drums resounded. The sound, however, was not so loud as to prevent one hearing the bitter lament of the prisoners in the tower rising above all noise, so that the tears streamed down my face. Soon after, the old Lady and her son sat down in seats which had been prepared beforehand and gave the order to count those who had been freed. When she had learned the number and had written it down on a gold-coloured tablet, she wished to know everyone’s name, which was written down by a page. After she had looked at each of us in turn, she sighed and said to her son, so that I could clearly hear it: “Ah, how I pity those poor people in the tower. Oh, would God permit me to deliver them all”. To which her son answered: “Mother, thus God has ordained. We may not contend against Him. If all of us were lord and master, possessed the goods of the earth and were seated at the table, who would serve us the meal?”
The gold commemorative coin
The mother was silent but soon after she said: “Let these people now be freed from their chains”, which was immediately done. I was almost the last one and although I generally did the same as the others, I could not refrain from bowing to the old Lady and thanking God who, through her, had mercifully and like a father led me out of the darkness to the light. Others followed my example and the old Lady bowed also. Finally, travelling money and a gold commemorative coin were given to everyone. On one side of the coin the rising Sun had been engraved and on the other side, as far as I can remember, the three letters D.L.S. Then we all received permission to leave in order to resume our work, with the admonition to serve our neighbours to the greater glory of God and to maintain silence about what had been entrusted to us. This we promised and so we went our way.
But because of the wounds caused by my shackles I could not proceed very well, as I limped with both feet. Before long the old Lady saw and laughed about it, then called me back and said: “My son, do not mind this defect, but remember your weaknesses and then thank God that He has permitted you, even in this world and in spite of your imperfect state, to participate in such a great light. Keep these wounds for my sake”.
Then the sound of trumpets was heard again, which Awakening startled me so much that I woke up. Only then did I perceive that everything had only been a dream. However, it had been etched so deeply in my consciousness that it continued to worry me, and it seemed to me as if I still felt the wounds on my feet. However this may be, I did realise that God had allowed me to attend this mysterious and secret wedding feast, for which I thanked His Divine Majesty in childlike trust and prayed that He would continue to preserve me in reverence to Him, to fill my heart daily with wisdom and insight and, finally, although I did not deserve it, mercifully to guide me to the desired goal.
Christian Rosenkreuz prepares himself for the journey
After this I prepared myself to set out on my way, put on my white linen garment, girded my loins with a blood-red sash and draped it crosswise over my shoulders. I put four red roses on my hat, so that by this distinction I would be sooner noticed among the crowd.
As provisions I brought with me bread, salt and water, which, advised by someone who would know, I used under certain circumstances, at the right time and not without gain.
Before I left my little hut, however, and dressed in my wedding garment, I fell on my knees and prayed to God to guide me to a good end, whatever might The vow happen. I also made a vow before God’s countenance, that if through his grace anything should be revealed to me, I would not use it to obtain honour and esteem in the world, but only to glorify his name and in the service of my fellow-men.
With this vow and filled with hope I joyfully left my cell.
End of the first day
Read in part two:
The second day – Christian Rosenkreuz on his journey to the fortress