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Direction of Rosicrucian Research

From: Ed Mahood 
Subject: Re: Direction of Rosicrucian Research
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 22:38:44 -0700

At 12:46 PM 6/11/96 CST, Walter wrote:

I found your reference to CIRCES of interest, but would like to shift some
of the emphases in your comment, if I may.

>AMORC.  If not, you may consider looking into CIRCES.  This Order was 
>founded by Raymond Bernard after he left AMORC upon the death of Ralph 

Actually, the idea for CIRCES was the last in a number of formulations that
developed while Lewis was alive; a 'pilot program' was begun in the late
60s, strictly Templar in flavor, with Lewis' consent, but it proved inviable
so Bernard shut it down.  Shortly before Lewis' transition, Bernard was
going to have another go at it, this time is a slightly different form.  

Originally, membership was to be open only to those members of AMORC who had
at least completed the Temple degree studies.  AMORC's nature has
traditionally been somewhat passive (home sanctum membership being the
primary form; low levels of participation, in general, in affiliated body
activities).  CIRCES was to form an active pole, so to speak, to give a new
avenue of expression to those who had 'learned something along the mystical
path' and who desired to share this with others.  Hence, the outer circle of
CIRCES was directed to cultural and spiritual research as the name of the
organization implied.  

In fact, even after Lewis died, the ties between AMORC and CIRCES were quite
tight, Gary Stewart, Lewis' successor, publically announced as the first
honorary president of CIRCES.  

>and was on the Board of Trustees when he left AMORC.  Things to consider 
>besides the positions he held in AMORC before founding CIRCES are:

>    1) A book titled " A Secret Meeting in Rome" by Raymond Bernard, 
>    published in 1969 and sold by AMORC.  Its presented as an allegory but
>    with hindsite it is clear that he was talking about establishing 
>    CIRCES back in the 1960's.  The reason this is also interesting is
>    that the book would have been reviewed and approved by AMORC 
>    before they would have decided to sell it through their book 
>    store and should have known what it is predicting.  Also, they 
>    still sell it.

This work forms the third part of a tetrology which Bernard had written
earlier.  The two parts preceeding it are entitled "Strange Encounters" and
"The Secret Houses of the Rose+Croix".  The fourth part is entitled "The
Invisible Empire."  Each of these three other parts were translated into
English in 1981 and distributed by the Francis Bacon Lodge in London.  Of
course, the original French version had been circulating for some time.  All
of this was with the full knowledge of the then Supreme See in San Jose.

>    2) When Raymond Bernard left AMORC to start CIRCES activities a 
>    large number of AMORC members left with him to join this new 
>    Order.  As I understand, most of these were AMORC Hierarchy 
>    members.  Meaning they had obtained the last degree of AMORC
>    and had been in it a long time.

Bernard stepped down from his offical position on the board over a year
before Lewis died, thereby making room for Gary Stewart on the Board.
Bernard remained in an unofficial position as Advisor to the Imperator.
When he left AMORC, it was on good terms.  In fact, he would have actually
been the most likely successor to Lewis, but he declined in favor of a
younger successor, among other reasons.  

At first, no one left AMORC for CIRCES for membership in one or the other
was not exclusionary.  Although a large number of higher degree AMORCans
were members of CIRCES, the gamut of members ran from members of other
esoteric orders and societies to individuals who had no other prior esoteric
affiliations.  Entry into the inner orders of CIRCES was after a period of
activity in the outer, exoteric circle of the organization.

>    3) To dispute claims that this was simply a mass exodis out of 
>    AMORC upon the death of Ralph Lewis are the 12th degree 
>    monographs themselves.  Aproximately 12 monographs are 
>    dedicated to presenting the history of the Templar Knights, 
>    stating that there was always a close relationship between 
>    that organization and the rosicrucians, that the Templar 
>    Order still existed and would become active again in the 
>    future.

Links with the Templars are exotic and attractive and circulate readily in
esoteric circles.  It should be remembered that in the late 80s there was a
regular frenzy of Templar and Templar-related activities.  Gaetan Delaforge
published his "The Templar Tradition in the Age of Aquarius", a highly
insightful and readable book that took an historical and spiritual look at
the Templar phenomenon.  Almost at the same time, Umberto Eco's "Faucalt's
Pendulum" appeared which gave esoteric orders a bad rap in general, but took
the Templars to task in particular.  Besides CIRCES (whose first inner
circle was Templar in nature), two European groups made themselves known at
the same time; one of which became quite active in Canada, the US and
Switzerland and recently made sensational headlines of the grizzly mass
murder/suicides of the Order of the Solar Temple.  

Of course there has always been a Templar connection in Masonic circles and
the appearance of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" fueled this connection and
speculation in this direction in particular.  Robinson's "Born in Blood"
appeared not much later which further solidified this link.  What is more,
even quasi-Masonic orders, such as the Martinists, make several references
to the Templars.  The local workings of the Martinists in Barbados (ICES)
all take place under the auspices of the Order of the Grail, to emphasize
this connection.  

>An intelectual investigation may conclude that Bernard simply 
>manipulated members by using what was in the monographs to lead 
>them away from AMORC, but then again it may lead to some other 
>conclusion.  I will add that I am not a current member of CIRCES.

I can see how you may have drawn this conclusion, but the door you wisely
left open may be the more viable alternative.  But, I'm not sure how far an
intellectual investigation here will help.  I am firmly convinced that
Raymond Bernard did not manipulate anyone in regard to CIRCES, for it often
seemed that AMORC was his first and deepest love.  As I stated earlier,
originally there was no problem belonging to both groups simultaneously.
This was particularly important for the long-time AMORCans who did not want
to (and simply would not) renounce their membership in AMROC.  As great as
many members' admiration was for Raymond Bernard, it would have been
unthinkable for them to drop AMORC for Bernard, the person.  

A rift did occur, but it preceeded (and, in part, led up to) the devastating
turmoil that shook AMORC when Gary Stewart was ousted.  There were many
stories circulating at that time of members of CIRCES losing their AMORC
memberships because of their affiliations.  Some of this started with
Stewart, who did a 180-degree turn on CIRCES, but it noticeably increased in
intensity when Bernard's son, Christian, took over as head of AMORC.  I know
for a fact that Raymond was quite disturbed by this.

Much water has since flowed under the bridge:  CIRCES in its
exoteric/esoteric configuration was reorganized in France a few years ago.
The only place that it retained this form was in the United States, but that
has changed as well in the meantime.  The French retreated soley into their
Templar forms, but it would appear that the negative publicity generated,
especially in the French-speaking world, by the demise of the OST, has
driven them to be even lower key than they were.  In the United States, I
recently saw that they have changed as well and are now the Templar Research
Institute, maintaining the flavor, but not necessarily the full form.

  Because networking is apolitical and amorphous, it has no
  'cells' to be attacked, as did the communism of former dec-
  ades.  The fearful soverign nations' politicos will find
  that trying to arrest networking is like trying to arrest
  the waves of the ocean.
                                - R. Buckminster Fuller, 1983

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