The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz
(trans. Joscelyn Godwin)
Here’s one of the problems for the autodidact who follows his bliss this way and that, from one book to another, reading what he wants. He can end up, at 18, reading one of the foundational texts of western hermeticism without any real context, or real idea of what he is supposed to make of it.
That was me, dear reader, when as a very young, very uneducated man, I picked up the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, one of the three keys texts of the Rosicrucian order of the middle ages, and tried to make sense of it.
Rosicrucian’s (in this first iteration) were: (a) one of the many masonic-like secret societies which developed in the early days of the enlightenment or (b) a couple of wing nuts with access to a printer, and/or (c) a fake or to give veracity to the, quite likely, bullshit texts they produced. Or perhaps it was something else entirely. No one really knows. If memory serves, this is the story of “Rosenkreutz”’s marriage, which functions as an allegory for his finding of certain esoteric knowledge. The book is purposefully incredibly obscure, full of symbolism and allegory. When I read it, I wasn’t remotely prepared to understand it. I was so uneducated even the explanatory notes went over my head. Did I gain something? Yes. Would I have gained more reading this in a more academic, focused, environment. Abosolutely.
Writing this review today I’m almost tempted to go back and reread the damn thing, but life is too short to read renaissance magic books twice, right? right?
Recommended for the enthusiast?
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