Welcome back to my series of posts on my recent trip to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California. This was originally meant to be two posts, but time and my tendency to prattle have escalated it a bit. It’s like that sometimes. Anyway, in Part One and Part Two I talked about the park in which the museum is set, as well as the ground floor and lobby. Let us now venture upstairs, where we will find a little lobby with some benches and a video playing.
The video, which I didn’t sit all the way through, seems to be a history of Rosicrucianism. I only saw the bit around the early 17th century when the Rosicrucian manifestos were published, so I don’t know if they talked about Atlantis or whatever. They seemed to take the party line — ie, that the Rosicrucians had existed prior to this but were hidden, rather than that the manifestos were what started the actual organisation. I didn’t see if they asserted a lineage from ancient whatever. The paintings and the decor generally suggest Egypt, or perhaps Aegypt, though, don’t they?
Heading up another short flight of stairs to the right brings us to the reading room, which is quite comfy-looking. There were some bored kids in here when we arrived, reading a children’s book about a pyramid of cheese and an Egyptian mouse (Tutankhamouse, in all probability). The shelves of the reading room were … interesting. Allison photographed pretty much every title on the shelves, and the mixture was interesting. You’ve got issues of mainstream publications:
You’ve got pop history (sorry, this one is a bit blurry):
You’ve got studies of Egypt in popular culture:
And then you’ve got …
And many more. I would say that the trend on the bookshelves was toward the esoteric, but far from exclusively so. Now, all of these were mixed together willy-nilly, but in fairness I did see that some shelves were labelled “Rosicrucian books” and so on, so it’s entirely possible that this mixture arose from people picking them up and then just putting them back in the wrong place. But doesn’t even that argue that people are taking these as being much the same kind of thing? I dunno.
Anyway, next to the reading room is the art gallery, or, as I like to think of it, where hippie-dippie meets arty-farty. It was … well, first off it was super dark in there, so the pictures aren’t great. But they were hippy stuff with vague shapes and soft coloured auras. Some of them were quite eerie and mysterious, I guess? The whole thing was called “Vibrations,” I shit you not.
There was some kind of shrine thingy at one end, too, with a mirror that had a rose affixed to it. I think it was meant to be over your chest if you stood in the right spot, but I’m not sure. Above it was a cross-triangle thingy, which is a recurring theme in AMORC symbolism — they are on the fountain and on the doors of the auditorium in earlier posts. I’m afraid this photo (which I took, not Allison) is pretty hard to see.
Anyway, back down the stairs to the room with the TV, and then back up across it to some more galleries. One on kingship and religion, one on Akhenaten, and one on … I’m not sure, actually. More artefacts, more models of things (the step pyramid of Djoser, in this case), etc. The school group was in the Akhenaten gallery, and a guide was giving them a clear but detailed account of his reign, including pointing out things like the differences in art styles and so on. It seemed like a very good explanation, simple enough for young kids but detailed enough to show some of the complexities.
And that’s that. In the next post, I’ll talk about what I think it all means.