Trip Report: Rosicrucian Museum

All right, guys! I am here in America, and that means it’s time to do some field reporting. Today my wife and I took a trip to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California. Now, some people reading this are going “… the hell? There’s a Rosicrucian Museum?” And some people need an explanation.

The Rosicrucians are one of those weird occulty proto-Enlightenment things that pops up in Renaissance Europe — in this case in early 1600s Germany. They were (allegedly) a line of initiated expert-types who knew a lot about alchemy, astrology, science, magic, what have you, and would use their knowledge to lead Europe into a new age of peace and brotherhood. Whether or not any Rosicrucians actually existed before the publication of their founding texts, it wasn’t long before people began taking the term for themselves. Today there are God only knows how many different Rosicrucian groups around the world, ranging from slightly mystical Christian organisations to quasi-Masonic clubs to initiatory esoteric secret societies. The guys who run this museum, the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, are the latter.

So what the heck are a bunch of Renaissance utopian conspiracy mystics doing running an Egyptian history museum? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll already have some inkling. These guys aren’t so much interested in Egypt as they are in Aegypt, the legendary home of occult initiation. And yet by all accounts this museum is legit. Let’s see for ourselves.

Now, before I left I decided I needed a little mystical protection of my own. As I’ve previously discussed, the idea of Egypt being the source of mystical revelation also extends to the world of comic books. Consider, if you will, the case of the original Blue Beetle:

omar

So in order to, you know, war against evil or whatever, I made sure I was prepared for the trip with my very own Blue Beetle shirt:

IMAG0758

 

Thus protected, I set off to see what the place had to offer. I had been there before, but not really taken the time to document it or, to be honest, paid as much attention as I should have.

When you arrive at the Rosicrucian Museum, you will begin to see some things you would not expect to find in a major American city. Consider for instance this utility box thingy.

boxthingy

Now there’s something you don’t see every day. And the whole thing is like that: once you park and start walking around Rosicrucian Park, you might start to feel like you’re in some kind of Hollywood epic. The whole place is like some weird theme park/movie set. Allow me to demonstrate:

This little garden is next to the parking lot.

This little garden is next to the parking lot.

pillars

complex

 

As you proceed into the park, you start to get more of an impression of the ancient Egyptian vibe of the place — although there’s also a lot of AMORC symbolism scattered around.

The fountain in more detail. Note AMORC symbolism.
The fountain in more detail. Note AMORC symbolism.
This is the administration building.
This is the administration building.
A statue of Tuthmosis III because ... er ...
A statue of Tuthmosis III because … er …
School group playing large-scale Senet.
School group playing large-scale Senet.
Do you like my obelisk?
Do you like my obelisk?

hippo

The planetarium! Why a planetarium, you ask? Why indeed.
The planetarium! Why a planetarium, you ask? Why indeed.

Now that we’ve explored the park, we can see that it’s a bit of a mishmash of different Egyptian styles and periods (minus the auditorium and planetarium), and there’s a certain amount of Rosicrucianism blended in amongst the Egyptian themes, as if it belongs there. I haven’t shown you the “peace garden,” because visually it’s not very interesting, but it does have a sort of hippy-ass poem on it about how you can contribute to peace by doing this, that and the other. It’s just not terribly exciting to look at.

But now that we’ve had a look around the exterior, let’s head to the entrance.

entrance

I have to tell you that it is pretty impossible to walk between the Sphinxes to the big brass door framed by pillars and not feel like a baller.

So we’ve seen the wonderfully gaudy and confused outside; will the inside live up to its promise? Well, I’ll talk more about this in my next post, but in order not to give the game away I will say: no, not really. It’s good … but it’s interestingly different from the outside.

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Trip Report: Rosicrucian Museum

4 thoughts on “Trip Report: Rosicrucian Museum

  1. The grounds of the Rosicrucian were one of Nenya’s main playgrounds for her first couple years of life (with preschool, they don’t get down there as often). She knows Taweret by name (not just the big statue, she recognizes her whenever she sees Egyptian things in museums) because they pat her every time they go because I would go there and ask her to say a good word for me during my pregnancy. I also have more than one picture of M holding her up to the sky inside the little temple in the big courtyard garden.

    The inside we’ve only seen a couple times, because it is interesting but severely ‘off’. It drives Monica nuts from a museum curator perspective. And the planetarium show is a unique little pocket of WTF.

    The grounds are amazing though. I’ve always always wanted to find some way to LARP there.

    1. I admit that was what I thought as I was walking through the grounds.

      From a museological perspective, it’s clearly the product of an older way of doing things. I think that’s how I would put it. But I will talk about that more in my next post.

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