Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae
Crucis (AMORC)
The largest of the several Rosicrucian organizations operating
in North America and Europe, the Ancient and Mystical
Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) was founded in 1915 in
New York City by H. Spencer Lewis (1883–1939). Lewis dates
efforts to found the order to 1909 when he met with French Rosicrucians
at Toulouse for his original initiation. Upon his return
to America, he began holding meetings. AMORC headquarters
moved to Florida and then in the early 1920s to San
Jose, California, where it is now located. Here Lewis and the
order, which were becoming well known due to a publicity campaign,
were sued by the Rosicrucian Fraternity under the leadership
of R. Swinburne Clymer. The courts, as an outcome of
the case, acknowledged the AMORC as the legitimate Rosicrucian
Order and since then the phrase has been trademarked by
the group.
The AMORC teaches that God created the universe according
to a set of immutable laws. Human beings succeed in this
life through attaining mastership, the ability to bring into material
expression the things which one mentally images. The
techniques taught to students are presented through a correspondence
course, leading to mastery. As each level is successfully
completed, the student is admitted to a higher degree and
given a more advanced set of lessons. Members may, but are by
no means required to, attend local gatherings of students variously
designated as lodges, chapters, or pronaoi, depending
upon their strength.
Ananda Metteya Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
The AMORC sees itself as the continuation of the ancient
mystery schools of the Middle East, once headed by Solomon
and Amenhotep. According to its own history, the group works
in 180-year cycles in which public activity is followed by a period
of secrecy and silence. Thus is explained the broken history
of the order. A new public cycle began in 1909. Among the famous
people claimed as Rosicrucians are Isaac Newton, Rene
Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, and Francis Bacon.
H. Spencer Lewis was succeeded by his son, Ralph M. Lewis
(1904–1987), who headed the order for almost half a century.
He was followed by Gary L. Stewart, which proved to be a disastrous
choice, as it was discovered that Stewart was quietly moving
the order’s money into a bank account in the tiny kingdom
of Andorra. He was removed from office, and Christian Bernard
was selected as the new Grand Imperator.
The AMORC has attained a relatively high profile due to its
continuing mass publicity campaign, making it a large international
organization with members in 85 countries around the
world. In 1990 there were over 250,000 members, 163 chartered
groups in the United States, and 44 in Canada. Its Egyptian
Museum and headquarters complex located in San Jose
are popular tourist attractions. The order publishes two magazines,
Rosicrucian Digest and Rosicrucian Forum, the latter for
members only. Website
Lewis, H. Spencer. Rosicrucian Manual. San Jose, Calif. Rosicrucian
Press, 1941.
———. Rosicrucian Questions and Answers. San Jose, Calif.
Supreme Grand Lodge of the AMORC, 1969.
Lewis, Ralph M. Yesterday Has Much to Tell. San Jose, Calif.
Supreme Grand Lodge of the AMORC, 1973.
‘‘Special Ralph M. Lewis Memorial Issue.’’ Rosicrucian Digest

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