The Alchemist’s Rose

My daughter and her ilk choose to believe I am an insane person, a leach who has attached himself to my sister’s fame, and our rosy family name, who then go about the web gathering a meaningless bouquet.

Another possibility is that I have been chosen by folks unseen, perhaps those who have died, but want to convey their secret unto a living soul? These are your two choices. Vote, please!

Oh, I’m sorry, I left out the rosy possibility aliens from another planet are at work here, and my obsession is driven by extaterestrials. Oh, and you can’t leave out the fact I died as one of Stanly Augustus Owsley’s chemical guinea pigs, I on a massive dose of LSD when we foolishly climbed that rock. Now, that was insane!

“Better living through chemistry!”

The one great fact is, we are all going to die. However, a handful of men have made us believe there is life after death, and, a scientific means to cheat death. The alchemists looked for an alternative. Peter Von Rosenberg for instance was a Pythagorean Catholic who gave all his good friends a skull on a gold chain so his peers could find each other immediately upon dying. Peter and his brother William, were Master Alchemists who lived during the Renaissance, and may have known Godschalk Rosemondt and his friend Pope Adrien – as well as Charles Quint who founded Falcon Art College and made Rosemndt the head master. Then there is the Swan Brethren and their rose. What do these folks have in common – besides THE ROSE?

They were ART LOVERS – but for Adrien who loathed the Medici and the Borgias – who spent monies that could have gone to the poor – on artists and art! This is now a very hot political topic, a;ong with Romney’s purge of the 47% percent that will define the Republican Party for a long time to come, win or lose. I am the Family historian for the founders of this party. That Adrien left monies for Rosemondt to found the Pope’s College, where only poor boys were admitted, is going to be Republican History, for Adrien concluded boys born of wealth were corrupted at an early age, and thus could not serve as Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals, and…….fill the shoes of the humble Fisherman.

“I will make you fisher of men!”

A Rosemondt married a man of Bohemian descent. Presco comes from Braskewitz, which is Bohemian for Ambrose, a rose name that means ‘Divine Immortal’. While dead I took note of a great silver ship sitting on the horizon of the sea. I told friends of this ship and said it was propelled by manipluating gravity like trying to put similar poles of the magnet together that are repelled. Wheh I became follower of Meher Baba I took noted of his opinion as the God-Man that flying saucers arenot real. Hmmmm! Why bother to inform us?

My mother was given this name when she was born – Rosemary Rosamond. Her mother came to own this name when she got married – Mary Magdalene Rosamond. Ten thousand meteors fell to earth the evening I was born, two minutes past sunset. The only ambition my mother had for me, was to become a Francsican Monk. I died a virgin and a candidate for the Papacy on the terms that that Adrien left behimd in his Will. All Adriens Papal papers were disapeared. He was the only one interested in saving the the Knights of Saint John of Malta. He sent a resuce fleet and gave them a home-coming parade in Rome. Adrien called for another Crusade – THE FINAL CRUSADE – but the Europeon Rich were too busy making gobs of money! Now, they and we……………….pay the piper!

There has been a gathering of guilds in the marriage contracts made in my family, the Templars, Swan Brethren, Feemasons, the Oddfellows, are the ones we know for sure. The rose is the symbol of the Guilds.

Jon Rosamond

The rose is the official flower of the Guild and fresh roses are present at all Guild meetings. The placement, color, and state of bloom of the roses carry subtle messages for Guild members on the nature of the meeting and how to conduct themselves. There are no posted announcements of the subject matter of meetings or printed rules of behavior. Only the silent message of the rose guides members on a heart-to-heart basis.

Historically, roses represent the presence of our founder and patron, Wilhelm von Rosenberg, whose family name means literally “mountain of roses.” The rose carried deep personal meaning for him. The five-petaled red rose figures prominently in his personal coat of arms (shown at left), and the rose symbol is present in many other forms at all of his family estates.

If ancient aliens visited Earth, who were they, and where did they come from? Possible historic evidence and beliefs are examined around the world. The Dogon people possess knowledge of a galaxy they claim was given to them by a star god named Amma. The Hopi and Zuni people celebrate Kachinas, gods from the sky, whose headdresses and costumes appear to resemble modern helmets and protective clothing. Halfway around the world, Chinese legends tell of the Han leader, Huangdi, arriving on Earth on a flying, yellow dragon. Was this dragon more likely a spacecraft? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that these are far from chance encounters and that extraterrestrials not only interacted with us, but changed the course of human history.

The founder of the family was Vítek III, the son of Vítek z Prčice. The Rosenberg thus originated as one of family branches of the Vítkovci. The family residence, the Rosenberg castle, was founded around the year 1250 by Wok (1262) who was also at the establishment of the monastery in Vyšší Brod in 1259. After the Lords of Krumlov died out in 1302, Jindřich I took over the Krumlov castle as well as the whole property of the allied family branch and he transferred the family residence to Krumlov.
The Krumlov castle thus became the residence of the Lords of Rosenberg for the next three hundred years. Peter I. von Rosenberg held the post of the superior chamberlain at the court of John of Luxembourg. His wife was a widow of the Czech King Václav III. – Viola Těšínská. His oldest son Jindřich perished together with John of Luxembourg in the battle of Crecy in August of 1346. Another significant personage of the family was a son of Oldřich II. – Heinrich III.von Rosenberg who lead the Union of Nobility, which was displeased by the reign of King Václav IV. The Union of Nobility therefore imprisoned the king in 1396 at the castle in Český Krumlov. Heinrich’s son Ulrich II von Rosenberg belonged to the Czech members of the nobility who defended the interests of Czech Catholic nobility and of Sigismund of Luxembourg during the stirring times of the Hussite wars. A daughter of Ulrich II was Perchta von Rosenberg who is identified with the Rosenberg “White Lady” (see Tales of the White Lady). The renowned personage Peter IV. von Rosenberg meant, for the Rosenberg dynasty, the development of economic activities (namely fishing and the mining of heavy metals), the beginnings of humanism and the Renaissance, and especially the affirmation of a significant position of the Rosenbergs among leading Bohemian families.
The decline of the family of Rosenberg is linked with Wilhelm and Peter Wok, the sons of Jošt III, who were brought up in the guardianship of their uncle Peter V. Wilhelm von Rosenberg was indisputably the most significant representative of the family as he made Český Krumlov the centre of cultural and political life. After his death in 1592, his younger brother Peter Wok von Rosenberg assumed the reign. In 1601, he was forced to sell the Krumlov castle to the Emperor Rudolf II of Habsburg. Peter Wok transferred his residence after the sale to Třeboň where he died in 1611. Peter Wok brought to a close the three-hundred-year-long history of one of the most influential Czech noble families – the Rosenbergs.

Wilhelm was one the most significant members of his family. He came into politics very soon, taking over the custody of the family estates at 16 years old. He chose the Český Krumlov castle as his residential seat and he ordered it renovated into a chateau in Renaissance style. He also took care of the economic development of his estates. He had a very good regent, Jakub Krčín of Jelčany and Sedlčany. Wilhem was a tolerant Catholic, even though he established a Jesuit college in Český Krumlov at Horní No. 154 street. As the highest royal officer in Prague, he served the emperor Maxmilián II. and the emperor Rudolf II. von Habsburg as a diplomat. He was married four times but did not have any children from any of his marriages, and for this reason his brother Peter Wok von Rosenberg took over the custody of his estates when Wilhelm died. See also Renaissance magnate Wilhelm von Rosenberg.

From his childhood, Peter Wok grew up in the shadow of his older brother Wilhelm von Rosenberg who was being prepared for the position of Rosenberg. This was a reason why Peter Wok never achieved a more influential position or more success in politics and lived in seclusion at the Bechyně castle. He took over the care of the Rosenberg after Wilhelm´s death in 1592. Because he did not have any children with his wife Kateřina of Ludanice, he was forced to sell the Český Krumlov castle to Emperor Rudolf II von Habsburg in 1601, also because his family was in deep debt. Peter Wok used to be described in the older literature only as a spoiled profligate, but this is quite untrue. The “last Rosenberg” died in 1611 in his residence in Třeboň. See also the last Rosenberg, Peter Wok von Rosenberg.

John Dee
(1527- 1607)
Astronomer, mathematician and alchemist
Born in 1527 in London to the family of a rich businessman. He studied mathematics and astronomy on the Paris and Cambridge universities, then extensively travelled, acquainting himself with alchemy and magic on his trips around Europe. He served as the astronomer and mathematician at the court of the English Queen Elizabeth who in 1583 entrusted him with a secret diplomatic mission at the emperor Rudolf II\’s court in Prague. Dee came to Prague with Edward Kelley. After losing favour in Prague, he came to the service of Wilhelm von Rosenberg. He lived most of his time at Třeboň castle, until in 1589 he left the service of Wilhelm and returned back to England.

According to the legend, the family of Witigonen has its origins in Ancient Rome. The family was related to the Roman Ursini family, who is said to have resided on the mountain “Mons Rosarum” near the city of Rome. After Rome was plundered by the hordes of the Visigoth leader Totila in 546, the family left Rome and one of its members named Vítek (in German, Witigon) travelled together with his wife and child up to the north, passed the Donau river and settled in Southern Bohemia. He started a new family there and gradually acquired extensive domains, which he gave to his five sons before his death. Each son received a coat-of-arms with a five-petalled rose, the color of which symbolized each particular dominion.
So much for legend – historical reality offers us some slight variations. Vítek did not come to South Bohemia in the 6th but the 12th century, and he did not come from the Italian family of Ursini but from the family line of a Czech Princess of the Přemyslovci. In 1173 Vítek of Prčice was mentioned as an envoy to the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa, and in 1179 he apparently settled in Southern Bohemia. The fact that his domains were not liable to the so-called law of escheat indicates his strong influence, as his property did not have to return to the hands of the family of Přemysl. Vítek could freely dispose of his properties and therefore gave it to his four sons – Jindřich of Hradec; Vítek II senior, predecessor of the Lords of Krumlov; Vítek III junior, founder of the family of Rosenberg; and Vítek IV. It is likely that the then newly founded residences Nové Hrady (New Castles), Rožmberk (Rosenberg), Třeboň and Krumlov fell into the rank of domains of the Vítek family, while Krumlov would have been their fourth castle in the rank. This historically important moment is rendered in the painting “Division of the Roses”, which can be viewed in the sightseeing tour at the Český Krumlov castle.

The Vítkovci were among the oldest members of Czech nobility. The first information about them dates from the 12th century, mentioning Vítek of Prčice in 1134. In 1165 he was the senior waiter to King Vladislav I. In 1173 he was the Envoy of the same king to the court of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa. In 1179 he fought in the battle of Loděnice between the “peasant duke” Soběslav II and another member of the Přemyslovci, Bedřich. Soběslav won the battle, but had to resign because of quarrels with the nobility, and subsequently Bedřich ruled the country. By this time, Witigo was probably a wealthy man and fought for him. In 1184 he became the Count of Prácheň and it is very likely that he used this as the reason to break through to the southern parts of the country that were owned exclusively by Czech dukes.

According to legend, Witigo had five sons. He divided his land between them and they founded new castles and estates such as Krumlov, Rožmberk, Jindřichův Hradec, Třeboň – Landštejn, Stráž nad Nežárkou and Sezimovo Ústí. This old legend is depicted in the picture in the Telč Castle and also its copies in Krumlov and Jindřichův Hradec. These show us how Witigo divided the coats of arms, each with a different coloured five-petalled rose, among his sons. The oldest, Jindřich, is given the golden rose on a blue background and is leaving for Jindřichův Hradec. Vítek z Klokot has a silver rose on a red background on his banner and goes to Třeboň. The ancestor of the Lords of Stráž departs with a blue rose on a golden background. Sezima, who was illegitimate, is also leaving for Ústí and carries a banner with a black rose on a golden background. Rožmberk and Krumlov are to be ruled by Vítek with a red rose on a white background.
The pictures, however, depict only a legend and are not very accurate. The castles painted there were actually founded much later in the 13th century, for example Stráž, around 1276. The other inaccuracy is that the Krumlov Witigonen was split in the next generation into two separate clans. They were already separated by Witigo\’s sons Vítek II referred to as the elder, who started the Krumlov Witigonen, and his younger brother, also called Vítek, who started the Rosenberg Witigonen. The third mistake is heraldic. The Krumlov Witigonen had a green rose in their coat of arms, not a red one, as the picture shows. The historical truth is, that Witigo had five sons :
Jindřich – the founder of Jindřichův Hradec Castle – a golden rose on a blue background
Vítek II Elder – first of the Krumlov Witigonen – a green rose on a silver background
Vítek III Younger – first of the Rosenbergs – a red rose on a silver background
Vítek IV first of the Lords of Třeboň and Landštejn – a silver rose on a red background
Sezima – a black rose on a golden background.

In the enumeration of outstanding alchemists who practiced in the Rosenberg background, we cannot leave out the English alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee. They came to Bohemia for the first time in 1584. They found accommodations in Prague at the place of Tadeáš Hájek z Hájku who let them also take their entrance examination. Later, John Dee is said to have carried out a transmutation of mercury into gold in front of Rudolf II, then he offered Rudolf his crystal ball and a magical anthracite mirror. Two years later, in June of 1586, both the Englishmen were suspected of political intrigue and had to leave the country very quickly. But shortly afterwards Wilhelm von Rosenberg allowed them to return to Bohemia, to his South Bohemian dominion. John Dee and his family dwelt in Třeboň from September 14, 1586. He enjoyed his South Bohemian asylum so much that he named his son, born there in February, Theodorus Trebonianus – Theodorus of Třeboň. According to written documents, Edward Kelley also used to visit Český Krumlov from Třeboň. The documents are silent about John Dee, but we can be sure that even he visited Český Krumlov personally during his stay in Třeboň. John Dee left Třeboň in March 1589, then later on Edward Kelley left for Prague to the laboratories of Emperor Rudolf II.

In the enumeration of outstanding alchemists who practiced in the Rosenberg background, we cannot leave out the English alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee. They came to Bohemia for the first time in 1584. They found accommodations in Prague at the place of Tadeáš Hájek z Hájku who let them also take their entrance examination. Later, John Dee is said to have carried out a transmutation of mercury into gold in front of Rudolf II, then he offered Rudolf his crystal ball and a magical anthracite mirror. Two years later, in June of 1586, both the Englishmen were suspected of political intrigue and had to leave the country very quickly. But shortly afterwards Wilhelm von Rosenberg allowed them to return to Bohemia, to his South Bohemian dominion. John Dee and his family dwelt in Třeboň from September 14, 1586. He enjoyed his South Bohemian asylum so much that he named his son, born there in February, Theodorus Trebonianus – Theodorus of Třeboň. According to written documents, Edward Kelley also used to visit Český Krumlov from Třeboň. The documents are silent about John Dee, but we can be sure that even he visited Český Krumlov personally during his stay in Třeboň. John Dee left Třeboň in March 1589, then later on Edward Kelley left for Prague to the laboratories of Emperor Rudolf II.
To understand the archetypal signature of the rose, it is necessary to suspend one’s intellectual and cultural connections to it and simply be open to the “presence” of the rose. This popular flower has a complicated symbology with paradoxical meanings. It is at once a symbol of both purity and passion, both heavenly perfection and earthly desire; both virginity and fertility; both death and life. The rose is the flower of the goddesses Isis and Venus but also the blood of Osiris, Adonis, and Christ.

Originally a symbol of joy, the rose later indicated secrecy and silence but is now usually associated in the common mind with romantic love. But the rose is much more meaningful, much older and more deeply embedded in the human unconscious than most people believe. Rose fossils 35 million year old have been found in Europe, and petrified rose wreaths have been unearthed from the oldest Egyptian tombs. At Guild meetings, the symbology of the rose is associated with the color (or combinations of colors) of its petals:

Red Roses: passion, love; vitality, feeling of being alive; masculine or active energy; creative projects; workshops
White Roses: purity, innocence; acceptance; unconditional love; feminine or passive energy; initiation of new members, construction projects
Black (or Withered) Roses: love is gone or over; disaster; depression; death; problem discussions; emergency meetings
Pink Roses: gentleness; softness; thankfulness; loving and supportive friendship; awards and honors
Yellow Roses: compassion; camaraderie; free-flowing conversations; joy and security; social affairs; dinners; intellectual lectures
Orange Roses: enthusiasm; fascination; optimism; planning meetings
Blue Roses: spiritual longing; promise of a perfect world; group meditations
Golden (or Gilded) Roses: completion of important project; perfection of oneself; invocation of cosmic energy; invocation of past masters
The numerological elements of the rose are also present in Guild documents and meetings. In general, the rose represents the number five. This is because the wild rose has five petals, and the total petals on roses are in multiples of five. Geometrically, the rose corresponds with the pentagram and pentagon. Five represents the Fifth Element, the life force, the heart or essence of something. In an absolute sense, the rose has represented the expanding awareness of life through the development of the senses. Six-petaled varieties indicate balance and love; seven-petaled varieties indicate transformative passion; and rare eight-petaled roses indicate regeneration, a new cycle, or a higher level of space and time.

The rose is one of the fundamental symbols of alchemy and became the philosophical basis of Rosicrucian alchemy. It was so important to alchemists that there are many texts called “Rosarium” (Rosary), and all these texts deal with the relationship between the archetypal King and Queen. We have noted the Rosarium of Jaros Griemiller, an original member of the Guild. Another important Rosarium was prepared by alchemist Arnold de Villanova, who also interacted with Guild members.

In alchemy, the rose is primarily a symbol of the operation of Conjunction, the Mystical Marriage of opposites. It represents the regeneration of separated essences and their resurrection on a new level. In the Practice of Psychotherapy, Carl Jung discussed the archetypal underpinnings of love between people in terms of the rose: “The wholeness which is a combination of ‘I and you’ is part of a transcendent unity whose nature can only be grasped in symbols like the rose or the coniunctio (Conjunction).”

In alchemy the red rose is regarded as a masculine, active, expansive principle of solar spirit (Sulfur), where the white rose represents the feminine, receptive, contractive principle of lunar soul (Salt). The combination of white and red roses (spirit and soul) symbolizes the birth of the Philosopher’s Child (Mercury). During the operation of Conjunction, the relationship of the masculine red rose to the feminine white rose is the same relationship depicted in alchemical images of the Red King and the White Queen or the Red Sun and White Moon. White roses were linked to the White Phase of the Work (albedo) and the White Stone of Multiplication, while the red rose was associated with the Red Phase and the Red Stone of Projection.

The single golden (or gilded) rose is a symbol completion of the Great Work or of some consummate achievement in personal or laboratory alchemy. The Popes used to bless a Golden Rose on the fourth Sunday in Lent, as a symbol of their spiritual power and the certainty of resurrection and immortality. In alchemical terms, the golden rose means a successful marriage of opposites to produce the Golden Child, the perfected essence of both King and Queen.

Because Mary is the Christian model of union with God, the rose and the rosary became symbols of the union between god and mankind. Scenes of Mary in a rose garden or under a rose arbor or before a tapestry of roses reinforces this idea. Mary holds a rose and not a scepter in the art of the Middle Ages, which means her power comes from divine love. The rose garden in alchemical drawings is a symbol of sacred space. It could mean a meditation chamber or tabernacle, an altar, a sacred place in nature, or paradise itself. In all these instances, the rose garden is the mystical bridal chamber, the place of the mystic marriage.

The rose has obvious connections with sexual energy in alchemy. The “rose colored blood of the alchemical redeemer” or the “warm red tincture” were references to healing effects of purified (alchemically distilled or sublimated) sexual energy. For instance, the Renaissance alchemist Gerhardt Dorn calls rose-colored blood a vegetabile naturae whereas ordinary blood was a vegetabile materiae. In other words, rose-colored blood carries the natural essence or soul, while ordinary blood simply functions on the physical level to supply oxygen to cells, etc. That is the meaning of the alchemical phrase, “The soul of the Stone is in its blood,” or as Carl Jung put it: “The rose red color is related to the aqua permanens and the soul, which are extracted from the prima materia.” The sword and knife, symbols of the Separation operation, carry such power in alchemy partly because of their ability to draw blood.

In spiritual alchemy, the single red rose represents the mystic center of a person, his or her heart of hearts – one’s true nature. It also represents the process of purification to reveal one’s essence or the inner “pearl beyond price.” Sufi spiritual alchemist Rumi described this idea when he wrote: “In the driest whitest stretch of pain’s infinite desert, I lost my sanity and found this rose.” As a symbol of the Mystical Marriage on a personal level, the red rose represents a special kind of love in which one “melts away” into the beauty of another, and the old identity is surrendered for that of the beloved or a higher identity within oneself. In this sense, the rose is a symbol of complete surrender and permanent transmutation.

Alchemist Daniel Maier discusses the symbolism of the rose in his Septimana Philosophica: “The rose is the first, most beautiful and perfect of flowers. It is guarded because it is a virgin, and the guard is thorns. The Gardens of Philosophy are planted with many roses, both red and white, which colors are in correspondence with gold and silver. The center of the rose is green and is emblematical of the Green Lion [First Matter]. Even as a natural rose is a pleasure to the senses and life of man, on account of its sweetness and salubrity, so is the Philosophical Rose exhilarating to the heart and a giver of strength to the brain. Just as the natural rose turns to the sun and is refreshed by rain, so is the Philosophical Matter prepared in blood, grown in light, and in and by these made perfect.”

Because of its association with the workings of the heart, the rose in alchemy has come to symbolize secrets of the heart or things that cannot be spoken or an oath of silence in general. In the folded structure of the rose, the flower seems to be concealing a secret inner core. “Mystery glows in the rose bed and the secret is hidden in the rose,” wrote the twelfth-century Persian alchemist Farid ud-din Attar.

During Alchemy Guild meetings, a red rose hung from the ceiling indicates the material to be discussed is confidential for members only and is to be kept secret. On the Guild’s websites and in its printed matter, a red rose icon or the Latin phrase “sub rosa” (“under the rose”) indicates the material is secret. Clicking on this icon on websites will take the visitor to password-protected areas intended for members only. This concept originates in the hermetic tradition of hanging red roses from the ceiling of meetings to indicate that discretion was called for and none of the information discussed should leave the room. The symbol was used in a number of hermetic organizations in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance and was well known to alchemists. For instance, in Sebastian Brant’s fifteenth-century alchemical treatise “Narrenschiff” (“Ship of Fools”), the author warns: “What here we do say, shall under roses stay.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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4 Responses to The Alchemist’s Rose

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  2. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    The work of Remedios Varo is full of Alchemy. The Rosenberg brothers were patrons of John Dee. I had to cut away my natal family who were dragging me down into the abyss of ignorance. I will reveal The Cluster that Pynchon is a member of. “Remedios Varo’s small, complex paintings portray a world in which alchemy, magic, mysticism and science co-exist. Varo was a relentlessly inquisitive, intelligent woman of great wit, whose slight build and striking features are often echoed in the humans and hybrid creatures who inhabit her paintings. As a girl she dreamed of travel, but after world events forced her twice into relocation and exile she came detest travel and chose instead to journey inward, exploring her creativity and spirituality through her painting. It is instructive to trace how Varo’s interests, talents and personal history, combined with her place in world events, lead to a merging of subject matter and style that was so uniquely her own.”

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