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A centuries-old secret society is hanging out in Fb teams



What do you do whenever you’re a centuries-old secret society seeking to develop your membership? Make a Fb group.

Centuries in the past, Rosicrucians have been solely in a position to preserve their society via their potential to be invisible. However over the previous a number of a whole bunch years, the world has modified — and, together with it, so has the necessity for Rosicrucians to remain shielded from the general public. Now, like a lot of the remainder of society, they’re discovering new methods to attach, by pivoting to Fb, Zoom, and YouTube.

A starting in science fiction or actuality?

When it was first based within the early 1600s, the lethal 30 Yr Warfare was ravaging Europe. It was being fought primarily over faith, and, whereas the Rosicrucian Order will not be precisely a faith, it’s a system of research to know pure legal guidelines. A few of its doctrine consists of references to Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and Christian mysticism. So, like different religions on the time, they needed to preserve their group personal for concern of persecution.

“It was a really difficult time in Europe’s historical past,” Julie Scott, the Grand Grasp of the Rosicrucian Order, instructed Mashable. “It was simply so superstitious. And so the Rosicrucian manifestos have been printed anonymously.”

Within the early seventeenth century, the primary bits of Rosicrucianism started popping up within the type of nameless pamphlets in Germany, which claimed {that a} group of individuals have been secretly working to remodel European politics and faith. However there’s quite a lot of whether or not, when the pamphlets have been written, Rosicrucians truly existed, or if it was just a few elaborately written pamphlet of science fiction. 

Jon Crowley, a novelist who studied Rosicrucianism for a few of his many novels primarily based off of the order, has argued that the books have been doubtless works of fantasy, not primarily based off of lived experiences. However he acknowledges that it is troublesome to know a method or one other.

“No person might actually observe them down as a result of no person would admit to being one.”

“The concept of an organized physique of people that all belong to this group and saved themselves secret, despite the fact that they could have introduced that they find out about a narrative a few group that’s the Rosicrucians — they’ll announce that that physique or that group exists, however they by no means admit that they belong to it. It’s extremely arduous to determine it out,” Crowley instructed Mashable. “And that is what made it much more mysterious that there have been these our bodies of very scholarly, probably magical or magician-like individuals. And no person might actually observe them down as a result of no person would admit to being one.”

Past the rumors

Whether or not they began as a secret society or as a piece of fantasy, the consequence is identical: A bunch started to type that believed the pamphlets to be true. They have been influenced by mystical Christian orders, and they’re additionally linked to the beginnings of the Freemasons. Greater than 400 years later, there are nonetheless members in the present day — simply verify Fb.

“We’re a philosophical group and, Rosicrucians, now we have members all around the world the place individuals are free to observe the custom of their selection,” Scott mentioned. “And we research pure legal guidelines in order that we are able to reside in concord with them. So, we find out about the perfect time to do issues, one of the best ways to strategy issues, whether or not it is meditation or growing our instinct, in order that we get into the pure rhythm of no matter it’s we’re approaching.”

“We research pure legal guidelines in order that we are able to reside in concord with them.”

Because the years handed, the invisibility that when supplied the group with an armor of safety was now not mandatory. Ultimately, they moved totally into the general public eye, full with shiny journal advertisements within the Nineteen Seventies. In the present day, you’ll be able to watch their public talks on YouTube, Zoom into an experiment, or be part of considered one of dozens of regional and nationwide Fb teams.

Whereas lots of the Fb teams are personal, members can be part of any of them. And anybody can change into a member. 

“Anybody could be a member and now we have moderators who ensure that anyone who’s not a member will not be becoming a member of to be able to promote their product or one thing like that,” Scott mentioned. “So the principle factor is we would like individuals to really feel welcome and included and simply to have the ability to observe what Rosicrucians do and the way we strategy the world.”

The Fb web page , which anybody can like and comply with, has greater than 300,000 followers. The biggest personal Rosicrucian Fb group, which you must ask to affix, has 17,000 members. Not all the followers are members of the Order, and it is principally a spot to do what you do on some other community-based Fb group: arrange meetups, submit quotes written in cursive script on inventory picture backgrounds, and argue playfully within the remark sections in regards to the artistry of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Then there are the handfuls of pages made for Rosicrucians in particular areas, which, Scott says, are actually the place the facility of Fb lies for them. “The power of Fb is it connects individuals regionally,” Scott, who joined the Rosicrucian Order in 1993, mentioned. 

Olisa Okanime runs the group’s native social media in Georgia and moderates a number of thousand individuals on social media, she instructed Mashable. She loves the work she does with the Order, however is striving to extend their social media attain — “particularly to nonmembers.”

“We’ve blockbusters on-line occasions proper now that cater to the wants of members and nonmembers alike,” she mentioned. “For instance, now we have a weekly teleconference that’s hosted by our lovable Grand Grasp, Soror Julie Scott. It’s an incredible expertise. You must test it out — nonmembers can attend.”

Karen Wark, a member who works on the Rosicrucian Order’s nationwide social media presence, instructed Mashable through electronic mail that “Fb has given us a approach to join with seekers who we might not have been in a position to earlier than,” like those that reside in rural areas. And, in accordance with Wark, their membership has “elevated considerably” since they launched their important Fb web page in 2009.

“We’ve Rosicrucian members from all around the world and having the ability to join with one another in Fb teams has been actually fantastic for our members,” Wark mentioned. “Earlier than this, we might solely see one another at world conventions, which not everybody would have the ability to attend.”

“Fb has given us a approach to join with seekers who we might not have been in a position to earlier than.”

Fb additionally helps join individuals with the previously secret society’s different on-line packages, just like the YouTube and Zoom classes they host weekly, the place a category grasp from their division of instruction presents on completely different subjects, like pythagoras or labyrinth. As soon as 1 / 4, they’ve a symposium on these platforms, the place members watch a number of completely different shows and take part in an experiment or meditation on the finish.

What comes subsequent? 

It isn’t clear what the way forward for organizations just like the Rosicrucians will probably be, as membership in voluntary associations has been steadily falling in every little thing from church teams to Greek organizations. Based on a , membership charges in a few of these organizations fell from 75% in 1974 to 62% in 2004. However Scott says the involvement of social media has truly helped memberships develop for Rosicrucians.

“We started presenting the Wednesday teleconferences in 2015,” Scott mentioned. “Two of our class masters felt that this is able to be an effective way to achieve members who have been in additional distant areas. And we’d repeatedly have perhaps 75 to 85 members each Wednesday for quite a lot of years. And because the pandemic, on the Wednesday teleconferences, now we have normally between 400 and 500 members now, and for our symposiums that we current as soon as 1 / 4, we normally max out at 1000.”

Okanime additionally says social media helps to extend their numbers.

“With a world pandemic and no in-person actions, coupled with seasoned and coordinated experience from our Grand Lodge, we’re experiencing exponential development in each membership and on-line participation,” she mentioned.

The pandemic seems to be one of many massive pushes to place the Order on-line. That is why they employed Jason Lopez, who joined the group in 2015, to be the communications supervisor in California. 

“It’s a brand new function created by the Order to handle the rising must adapt in the course of the pandemic,” Lopez mentioned. “Our lodges have been closed however we nonetheless wished to attach our members one of the best ways we are able to, [by] ensuring that each second spent in these making an attempt instances are alleviated by the teachings from the lectures we host and the content material that we produce, that may finally create a way of group on-line, if not in particular person.”

However even with the vaccine rolling out, and in-person gatherings changing into increasingly doubtless, Lopez and Okanime are assured their on-line outreach will proceed to extend membership.

“The development has at all times been upward, even earlier than I took on the function,” Lopez mentioned. “It’s a affirmation that extra individuals on-line are wanting into esotericism, philosophy, and historical knowledge teachings. Hopefully they’ll discover some solutions to their questions with the Rosicrucian Order.”

With dedicated social media managers and members throughout a number of states and nations, it is smart {that a} pivot on-line might function a savior of types to their group. However their transition from present solely within the shadows to working inside one of the vital infamously public areas on the earth is an interesting selection. With what we all know in regards to the lack of privateness on Fb, their willingness to embrace the platforms exhibits that the group is extra devoted to the “society” side of secret society than they ever have been to the “secret.”

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