Many authors speculate on the most different origins of the Order of the Rosy Cross. Some of them even indicate that its origins come from the time immemorial, because its essence is not to be found in the nature of material things and that, as it is as old as the creation of the world itself, it has an immaterial function within Earth’s soul. Fama Fraternitatis itself refers to its source: “Our philosophy is nothing new, it is in line with what Adam inherited after the Fall and which was practiced by Moses and Solomon”.
Likewise, Egyptian, Persian, Essene, Templar and Arab origins, or even the Order of the Golden Fleece or the Jesuits, are possible sources as well.
On the other hand, there are those who think that the Order is a pure invention of a group of intellectuals, who gathered in Tübingen, in the Black Forest, and who were concerned with making their contemporaries to reflect on the fate of humanity.
In 1614, when Fama Fraternitatis was published, it revealed the existence of an esoteric society, The Order of the Rosy Cross. It was a time that, as nowadays, was marked by great scientific discoveries and bloody religious conflicts. The fraternity, founded by the legendary Christian Rosenkreuz, proposed, through an ancestral knowledge, to reorganize the European society that was in deep crisis.
Since the 18th century, many Freemasons were Rosicrucians and some Rosicrucians even created some Masonic organizations and vice versa. This demonstrates that, in the end, everyone sought more LVX over time, via different paths, which have crossed here and there.
There is a record that Walter Spencer was initiated in Scotland by Anthony Oneil Haye, in 1857. And there are documents in the archives of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) showing that Robert Wentworth Little and William J. Hughan were initiated in 1866 and 1867 by Anthony O ‘Neal Haye, Magus Max, in an Edinburgh Scottish Rosicrucian Society, having H.H.M. Bairnfathur signed as Secretary.
The first Societas Rosicruciana recruitment of its members within Freemasonry started in 1866 in England by Robert Wentworth Little, a treasurer of the United Grand Lodge of England, after he was initiated in Scotland. He elaborated the rituals of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) from rituals that were found in the Freemason´s Hall library. He adopted the hierarchy of the masonic Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross, since their Old System claimed its link to the Egyptian priest Ormus, who was baptized by St. Mark, and who would have Christianized the Egyptian mysteries. He also limited the Order´s membership only to Christian Master Masons.
On October 24, 1873, the SRIA felt the need to charter the current Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia (SRIS), as it exists today, hence the controversy over which of the two is the oldest.
Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF), with its jurisdiction over the USA, was founded with a charter from SRIS in 1880, after several previous attempts, the first dating back to 1873.
The Societas Rosacruciana in Lusitania (SRIL) was constituted on October 5, 2002, in the Church of Santiago of the Castle of Palmela. M.W.Thurman Cleveland Pace Jr., IX º, of the SRICF, chaired the SRIL proclamation ceremony and the investiture of the Supreme Magus. Since 2009, SRIL has expanded its activity to Italy, where it currently has three Colleges. Other Fratres, in different countries, where there are no Colleges, or who wish to have a double affiliation, are individually linked to the Colleges of SRIL in Portugal and Italy.
In summary, SRIL’s ancestry comes directly from the oldest Rosicrucians, Primitive Rosy Cross – the Scottish Society – SRIA – SRIS – SRICF – SRIL. The four Societies maintain friendly relations and a close cooperation.