Fraternitas Rosae Crucis
The Fraternitas Rosae Crucis is the oldest of the several
presently existing Rosicrucian bodies. Founded by Paschal
Beverly Randolph (1825–75) in 1858, its first lodge opened in
San Francisco in 1861. The fraternity had an unstable history
throughout the nineteenth century, as Randolph moved
around the country; on three occasions it closed for a period
and reopened first in Boston (1871), then again in San Francisco
(1874), and following Randolph’s death in Philadelphia
According to Randolph’s claim, he became the Supreme Hierarch
of the Rosicrucian Fraternity in 1846, the same year he
retired from the sea and settled in Philadelphia. However, it
was not until 1861 that he organized the First Grand Lodge. As
American Rosicrucianism developed, Randolph formulated
his ideas in dialogue with Spiritualism. He championed the act
of volition as a central element in occult development and decried
the need of mediums to go into trance and lose control
in order to obtain results. The mature mystical system formed
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Fraternitas Rosae Crucis
the teachings given out to members of the fraternity. Randolph
developed a process of occult transmutation, by which the base
self was transformed into the finest spiritual gold. The teachings
included a belief in reincarnation and the development of
a healthy body through natural means. The inner circle of the
fraternity, to whom its highest teachings were given, was called
the Aeth Priesthood. Closely associated with the fraternity was
the Church of Illumination.
Randolph died at a relatively young age in 1875. He was succeeded
by Freeman B. Dowd, and he in turn by Edward H.
Brown (1907), R. Swinburne Clymer (1922), and Emerson M.
Clymer. The order was largely moribund during the last decades
of the nineteenth century, but was revived primarily
through the efforts of Swinburne Clymer, a natural physician
and writer, who wrote numerous books and led the fight to legitimize
the fraternity, whose place was challenged by newer
groups such as the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae
Crucis (AMORC) and the Rosicrucian Fellowship, both
founded in the early twentieth century.
The fraternity was headquartered at a rural complex near
Quakertown, Pennsylvania. It was headed by a Council of
Three and the Hierarch of Eulis. Included in that complex
were the Humanitarian Society and the Clymer Health Clinic,
both of which continue Randolph’s and Clymer’s concern for
naturalistic health services. Last known address co Beverly
Hall, Quakertown, PA 18951.
Clymer, R. Swinburne. The Age of Treason. Quakertown, Pa.
Humanitarian Society, 1959.
———. The Rose Cross Order. Allentown, Pa. Philosophical
Publishing, 1916.
———. The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America. 2 vols. Quakertown,
PA Rosicrucian Foundation, 1935.
———. The Rosy Cross Its Teachings. Quakertown, Pa. Beverly
Hall, 1965.
Deveney, John Patrick. Paschal Beverly Randolph A Nineteenth-Century
Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex
Magician. Albany State University of New York Press, 1996.

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