The Chymical Wedding: Parallel Work?

The 1616 book, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, is the third of the first three defining works of the Rosicrucian movement. It describes the progression of the fictional Rosenkreutz through a series of allegorical events, while encountering fantastic people, finding mysterious cipher writings, and witnessing bizarre, surreal scenarios in which Rosenkreutz was often an unwitting participant. These events explored, through allegory, various political, religious and ethical questions. At the same time, they symbolically reflected various alchemical processes… not all of which are entirely clear to us today. To better understand this entertaining work, I would recommend the 1991 Phanes Press edition, translated by Joscelyn Godwin, with excellent commentary by Adam Mclean.
Title Plate
Although printed in 1616 for the first time, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz was actually written sometime after 1605 by Johannes Andreae. What most interests me is that, although openly published in 1616, it was released under the premise that it took place, and was written, in 1459. It can be accurately described as a fantasy book, written between 1605 and 1616, pretending to be over 150 years older than it was, using cipher to enhance it’s aura of mysterious, ancient lore. I came across the Chymical Wedding while researching the Rosicrucician connections of the people of my circle of interest, and was surprised just how immersed in this world they were. I do not hold stock in the premise that Francis Bacon was a leader of the movement (nor, of course, the discredited claims he was Shakepeare, for that matter… I am firmly a Stratfordian on that issue), but there is no doubt his works reflected some of the tenets of Rosicrucianism. In fact the work in question, The New Atlantis, reflects several principles, and some of the iconography, of that philosophy.

So of course I was doubly surprised to find that one of this circle, Andreae, was not only a follower of the tenets of the movement, but also claimed to be a writer of one of the chief documents. Years later, Andreae referred to this work as a “ludibrium” of his youth. A controversial statement which has been interpreted in several different ways. I won’t go into all of them here. To learn more about Andreae and Bacon’s possible roles and motivations relating to Rosicrucianism, do not miss reading Francis Yates’ The Rosicruician Enlightenment.

And then, like Bacon, Andreae wrote his own utopia, Christianopolis. And also, like Bacon, he was very interested in the workings of cipher, and used it as a vehicle in his Wedding, to reinforce the aura of secret and important lost works. Of course Bacon used the premise of mysterious writing in his New Atlantis for much the same purpose. In Andreae’s case, he was in contact with Duke August of Bruswick-Luneberg, the self-titled Selenus. From a description of the 1649 collection of Andreae’s writings, Seleniana Augustalia:

“…contains Andreae’s remarkable and important correspondence with the house of Brunswick-Luneberg; that is with Duke August, the three sons and the daughter, [Rudolf August, Anton Ulrich and Ferdinand Albert and the princess Sibylle Ursula whose portraits grace this volume]. Included is Andreae’s poem (Lemmata Sacra). A variety of humanist subjects are discussed, history, art, cryptography, utopianism, the ‘Societas Christianae’, etc.”

Selenus was another remarkable person, in a vast ocean of such remarkable men and woman from this very intellectually rich moment in history, who seems to have influenced almost everything we know today in some profound way: from industry to religion to politics to gaming. The Duke needs his own forum for a proper showing, but for the purposes of this blog, and this investigation, suffice it to say he wrote on, and expanded, the knowledge of cipher in surprising ways. I have one of his adapted codes as a suspect for a Voynich code, and I will write on that shortly.

One Cipher From The Chymical Wedding

One Cipher From The Chymical Wedding

But for the time being, note that Andreae was fairly immersed in cipher, in Rosicrucianism (if not it’s true originator, at least, one of them), in the premise of utopia, and knew the powerful and valuable impact the aura of ancient mysteries had in pursuading people to look to his works for answers to a myriad of problems of religion, and of “science” and society. Whether or not a “ludibrium”, the works of the RC movement did draw believers, and followers, and many throughout Europe looked hopefully for the invisible disciples of the Invisible College. And, I propose, the Voynich Manuscript could be one more document of this type, also filled with cipher, meant to look older than it was, and meant to look mysterious and alien to the European circle hungry for such productions. A book such as this, a tome from the fictional island of Bensalem, would be a near parallel in intent and execution… although, so far, unreadable… to the known contemporary example, The Chymical Wedding.

Voynich f1r Closeup

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8 Responses to “The Chymical Wedding: Parallel Work?”

  1. Madoc Says:

    What a fascinating article! Thanks for that.

    I am afraid you are wrong about the writing of “Rosenkruetz”. Must not the “u” and “e” be the other way round? “Rosenkreutz”? Would make more sense to me.

  2. proto57 Says:

    Thank you for the comment, and the correction! I fixed it.

    Whatever one’s thoughts on the Voynich, the people and works of this time are worth learning about in their own right… so I am trying to keep the information and links of a general nature, while carefully distinguishing them from what are speculative connections to my theory. Rich SantaColoma

  3. sharon Says:

    I believe the icons are astronomical symbols.
    The last icon with 4 crosses in ‘The New Atlantis’ has the meaning ‘asteroid’.

    • proto57 Says:

      last icon with 4 crosses in ‘The New Atlantis’

      I am not sure which icon you mean. Are you referring to the block print decorations in the first volumes of Sylva Sylvarum? If so, which ones? I looked at several, and cannot find the crosses… but would love to see them, so I know what you mean. Thanks, Rich.

  4. Kate Harris Says:

    Hi Rich… I believe that Sharon is referring to the last (farthest on right) ‘icon’ in the second image in this post . It appears to have 4 crosses within the icon.

    I am somewhat of a ‘lurker’ on the VMs mail list and read each post enthusiastically. I do feel that the Chymical Wedding and the VMs are connected… in some manner yet to be determined. That being said. I know there have been many tests on the VMs as to date, materials used etc., but I was curious if the writing itself has been compared using forensic handwriting analysis, to other known writing samples from the age and from specific known authors? If so, what were the findings?

    After seeing your video from the VMs conference, I immediately began to see many similarities between certain ‘letters’ of the CW cipher and certain ‘letters’ in the VMs text that, to me, appear to have been penned by the same individual.



    • proto57 Says:

      I’d like to add: I did contact several forensic professionals with one author in mind, several years ago… showing them a sample from the VMs, and a letter by this suspect of mine. Each time… from three separate individuals, I was asked, “who wrote the Voynich?”. I explained that this is what I am asking. I was then told, “We can’t make a comparison, without knowing who wrote the Voynich”. I am still baffled by this response… I thought that was exactly how they worked… show two samples, one known, one unknown, and then have any comparisons, or lack thereof, noted. Nope. I still don’t really get it… but I’ve not tried since then.

      • Kate Says:

        Rich… I am very much an amateur and not a well versed in anything, however I believe that we as amateurs aren’t afraid to ask the odd or outlandish question as we’re not confined by scholarship, academia or those who fund research grants. You’re most welcome for the feedback and as far as open minds go… I’m a firm believer in that nothing is impossible, probability/plausibility depends on perception, truth and fact are not always congruent and nothing is real… until it is.

        To touch again on smples of writing from other known authors, I was reading an article by Edith Sherwood (specifically The Voynich Manscript: Full Circle) and can definitely see the plausibility in her theory that Leonardo Da Vinci may have been the author of the VMs. Plate 20, in the aforementioned article, is an image that shows and compares known samples of handwriting from Da Vinci with samples of the VMs and they do indeed appear to be similar as they also do with sections of the CW ciphers.

        Who knows? Another avenue to explore. As I said, probability depends on perception.



  5. proto57 Says:

    Hi Kate: Thank you for the feedback, and the open mind.

    Thank you also for pointing out the reference by Sharon. I missed that… but I see what she is referring to, now.

    As for the writing being compared “known writing from the age”, I think it has been to the age of other theories (14th to 15th c.), but do not know of any conclusive results one way or the other. I don’t think the style has been pinned down.

    But as a layperson in this area, I do feel that the styles of the 16th and 17th centuries cannot be ruled out. The strokes and style in general of the Dutch and English “secretary hand” has many similarities, in my amateur opinion. The general look of the CW cipher, I agree, does also remind me of the Voynich writing, especially when compared with the “Bird Glyphs” of f1r. I don’t know that I could go as far as saying the same person, but I feel the same influences, at least, could be involved.

    Thanks for the comments… don’t be a stranger! Rich.

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