Alton Towers, Sir Francis Bacon and the Rosicrucians


Dagobah Resident
It's not new. Just look at things like Combat 18.
-> Combat 18 - Wikipedia
I was aware of Combat 18 but not that it took its name from Hitler's initials. I wonder how many of these right wing Neo-Nazi groups are really controlled opposition. It probably helps the PTB to have extreme right bogeymen they can use in order to keep the extreme left and liberals on their toes and give them a visible enemy to confront. Afterall, the C's have said that the Nazis were a creation of the Illuminati, so why not the Neo-Nazis? It makes sense for them to polarise societies and maintain antagonism within them.

See also the English Defence League: English Defence League - Wikipedia for a more modern example.

Apparently, besides the number 18, the number "88" is also a code for "HH" (Heil Hitler), in Neo-Nazi circles. This again links us to another UK extreme right wing group called 'Column 88' - see: Column 88 - Wikipedia. Quoting from Wikpedia:

"Column 88 was a Neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation based in the United Kingdom. It was formed in the early 1970s, and disbanded in the early 1980s. The members of Column 88 undertook military training under the supervision of a former Royal Marine Commando, and also held regular gatherings attended by neo-nazis from all over Europe. The name is code: the eighth letter of the alphabet 'HH' represents the Nazi greeting 'Heil Hitler'.

According to historian Richard Thurlow, Column 88 took their name from a group of Austrians who set up an underground group of this name in 1934 when the Austrian government banned the Nazi Party.

According to one report, "Column 88, was connected with the Gladio networks. These networks were set up after the Second World War, with the support of the US Central Intelligence Agency, by a number of powers, both within and outside NATO as anti-communist resistance bodies". According to another report, Major Ian Souter Clarence, a former Special Forces Officer, "helped set up Column 88 in the 1960s as the British section of Gladio"."

If these last two reports are true, then this does seem to implicate the Illuminati since MI5, MI6 and the CIA appear almost certainly to be Illuminati controlled organisations (see my earlier posts on MI6 operative Ian Fleming and MI5's pyramid motif or badge). Indeed, given Rosicrucian influence over the English Secret Service since the times of Sir Francis Bacon (who for a time was England's spy master) onwards and the high level of Masonic representation amongst M15 and MI6 officers, is this really so surprising.

Please note I am currently working on my next post on the creation of Rosicrucian America, which I hope to post in the near future.


Dagobah Resident
Sir Francis Bacon, John Dee and Rosicrucian America

In this article, I want to examine the impact that Sir Francis Bacon’s writings and teachings, and the Rosicrucian movement in general would have on the evolution of the future United States of America. To this end I am particularly indebted to Steve Sora and his book Rosicrucian AmericaHow a Secret Society Influenced the Destiny of a Nation, which I will quote from extensively. The first part of the article will, however, concentrate on the people, especially John Dee, who would help to launch the English (and Rosicrucian) colonisation of North America.

However, before proceeding, I must first put on record that I do not pretend to be any kind of an expert on American history. I have a good general working knowledge of American history but, as someone born and educated in England and raised on British history, I certainly do not have the kind of in-depth knowledge that an American student majoring in U.S. history might be expected to have. Hence, I would appreciate the input particularly of American Forum members who read this article where they may have additional information to add to what is said here.

I think it is fair to say that both Laura and the Cassiopaeans have taught us that we cannot rely on official or mainstream history, since it is often just a gloss on real events, written either by the victors or those writing on behalf of the predominant power elite of the time. Thus, official history can often represent a major distortion of the true events and facts, or, in the worst-case scenario, it can represent an outright fabrication. To cite just one example from British history, the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1689 that saw King James II forced from his throne was anything but glorious. It was, in reality, an invasion by a hostile foreign potentate who seized the British throne with the help of a small group of English Parliamentary plotters (who may all have been Freemasons) and the abject treachery of England’s greatest military commander of the age, John Churchill, the First Duke of Marlborough. As to the charge of treason against John Churchill, this was upheld by a noted British historian of the 20th Century, who just happened to be his direct descendant. That historian was none other than Sir Winston Churchill, the famous British wartime leader, who in his memoirs wrote that he had struggled when writing about this particular episode of British history in his monumental work The History of the English-Speaking Peoples, since he could come to no other conclusion than his illustrious ancestor was a traitor to his king.

If such distortions are true of major events in British history, then the same is no doubt true of American history as well, which might explain why the famous 20th Century American industrialist Henry T Ford famously exclaimed that “history is bunk” [Indeed, he himself could be said to have betrayed his own country’s war efforts when he sent his son Edsel to Casablanca in Morocco to conduct secret negotiations with the Nazis over the building of troop carriers at Ford’s car plants in occupied France for the German army. See:Ford and the Führer]. Steve Sora also takes this line where he states “History is written by the victorious, so it should always be considered suspect”. As to American history, he commences his book with the following statements:​

History, as we have been taught it, implies an America born from the grassroots movement of a large populace striving for freedom of worship as well as freedom from high-handed taxation. The truth is that a very small handful of individuals with lofty goals was the party responsible for seeking these freedoms. This group consisted of alchemists, geomancers and philosophers, many of whom met in secret and risked everything on their new venture.

From its humble beginnings in a college in sixteenth century
England, this small circle of individuals has played an unusually great role in the history of the world. This true secret society has influenced politics, science, and the very foundation of the United States. The circle has been known by more than one name, but its most fitting name is “the Invisibles”.

Forced to remain sub rosa (under the rose), many of the new thinkers took protection by coming together as groups, or circles, and in their entirety became an Invisible College. This “College” would eventually spread from England to Italy, Germany, France and the New World. Its curriculum consisted of an underground stream of knowledge. Secret societies survived even while the Cathars of France and Italy were being exterminated by the Church”.

The Underground Stream

We have, of course, encountered this theme of the underground stream, which launched the Renaissance, before on this thread when I mentioned the role played by individuals such as Réne d’ Anjou, the 15th Century French nobleman and patron of the arts, who was one of the first to promote the theme of Arcadia. He especially influenced the Medicis who would play a major part in kick starting the Renaissance in Italy. In medieval art, Arcadia was frequently denoted by a fountain or tombstone [MJF: which makes me think here of the Skull & Bones Society and their headquarters known as ‘The Tomb’], both of which are associated with an underground stream. This stream is usually equated with the river Alpheus – the actual geographical Arcadia in Greece, which flows underground and is said to surface again at the Fountain of Arethusa in Sicily. The river Alpheus derives from the same root as the Greek word ‘Alpha’ meaning ‘first’ or ‘source’. Among other things it would appear to connote the ‘underground’ esoteric tradition of Pythagorean, Gnostic, Cabalistic and Hermetic thought.

Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent, the three authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail thought it might also connote something more than a general corpus of teachings, perhaps some very specific information – a ‘secret’ of some sort, transmitted in clandestine fashion from generation to generation, which might relate to an unacknowledged and thus ‘subterranean’ bloodline. They, of course, had in mind the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. They could be right about the bloodline secret, except it may be a very different bloodline from the one they proposed in their book. It may well be the ‘Grail bloodline’ linked perhaps to the Nordic Covenant.

Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent noted that during the 16th Century Arcadia and the ‘underground stream’ became a prominent cultural fashion, which would inspire the likes of Sir Philip Sydney in his most important work, Arcadia. It would also inspire Sir Francis Bacon who saw in North America the opportunity to create a new Arcadia. By the 17th Century the motif of Arcadia would also inspire the artist Nicolas Poussin (a suspected Rosicrucian) in his two works relating to ‘Les Bergers d’Arcadie’ (the Shepherds of Arcadia). Indeed, Poussin spelled out the ‘underground stream’ symbolism clearly in his first painting on the theme of the Shepherds of Arcadia when in the foreground of the painting (see below) he depicted the river god Alpheus, who was lord of the underground stream.

Nicolas Poussin’s Et in Arcadia ego
Returning to Steven Sora, he went on to state:

Smaller circles of men banded together to help inspire each other on Paths of discovery. Among such groups were a handful of men who stood out, both in terms of spreading knowledge and in forming and maintaining the secret societies. They ensured that these societies avoided detection and yet succeeded in their purpose.

Possibly the greatest of these individuals was the Englishman Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), an intellectual giant who would go on to be a founder of the Rosicrucians [ ]. Bacon was a philosopher and writer. He was also the architect of what would be the American Revolution even though he lived and died [MJF: assuming here that he did!] much earlier in time, long before his work would come to fruition. And although he would not reach the “promised land” himself, his efforts launched the expeditions that would attempt to create a new society where a democratic ideal could be installed as a progressive model.

In this, Bacon and his circle became the driving force for the English colonisation of the Americas. For Sir Francis Bacon there was an Atlantis, and it was directly across the Atlantic Ocean. In the distant past the Americas had shared commerce with Europe. Bacon wrote:

“You shall understand … that about 3,000 years ago, or somewhat more, the navigation of the world, especially for remote voyage, was greater than at this day.”

Bacon continued:

“We lost our traffic with the Americas … navigation did everywhere greatly decay.

*The above quotes attributed to Bacon come from James Baileys book - The God Kings and the Titans.

Strangely Sora does not comment on the startling nature of the claim made in Bacon’s quote. You have to ask how is it that a 17th Century writer and philosopher knew of this earlier commerce between America and Europe, which dated back more than 1400 years before his own time? This time period long predates the Greek and Roman eras and takes us back to the halcyon days of ancient Egypt and Assyria. Indeed, 1400 BC places us in the same timeframe as the 18th dynasty pharaohs of Egypt, including the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton.

Could the ancient Egyptians have undertaken transatlantic voyages? Well, we have tentative evidence that their boats were able to navigate their way to northern Britain and Ireland (recall here the Egyptian Bronze Age boats that were discovered well preserved at North Ferriby in East Yorkshire and the skeleton of the young Egyptian nobleman found at Tara in Ireland). We have also considered possible hieroglyphic evidence for an ancient Egyptian expedition to Australia. Moreover, Laura also mentioned in Secret History of the World the evidence for Bronze Age copper mining in North America, which would seem to date back to this timeframe as well. The C’s confirmed that this mining activity was undertaken by Celts and not native American peoples (N.B. the Celts have always been great miners). The point here is that Europeans of the 16th Century, then as now, were led to believe that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, which for them became the ‘New World’. There is no official history from before Bacon’s age that relates an earlier discovery of the Americas (although there were vague references by ancient writers to a vast land existing across the Atlantic Ocean), which Bacon could have drawn on to make this bold statement. Thus, we have to ask whether he had access to secret knowledge of ancient links between Europe and the Americas. This is quite possible, and Dr John Dee could have been the source for this information (see more below), given Dee’s extensive collection of ancient works and tomes, many of which are now missing, and his network of contacts on the Continent. Indeed, in persuading Queen Elizabeth to support the establishment of an English empire based on North America, Dee used various legends (for example, the Celtic tales of St Brendan and King Arthur) to support an English prior claim to possession of the lands of North America.

It is the Celtic connection that particularly intrigues me though. Although in the 17th Century, English colonists did not carry out any meticulous archaeological surveys in their new American colonies, a lot of serious archaeology has been conducted since. In spite of intense hostility from mainstream American archaeologists, there is now an abundance of evidence emerging to show that there was a strong Celtic presence (and an Egyptian and Phoenician one too) in North America from deep into antiquity.​

Professor Barry Fell

Professor Barry Fell’s makes a strong and compelling case for an ancient Celtic presence in North America in his excellent book America BC, which is based on the numerous neolithic stone monuments that have been discovered all over the USA (but particularly in the north-east states) and the associated ancient Ogham* stone inscriptions, which betray a definite Celtic origin. Like the Middle Eastern/North African Phoenicians who settled in Spain, the Celts were also the great sailors of the ancient world.

*‘Ogham’ script dates back centuries and has several theories about its origins. Traces of Ogham can still be found across Ireland, Britain and the Iberian Peninsula. The ancient script of Ogham, sometimes known now as the 'Celtic Tree Alphabet', originally contained 20 letters grouped into four groups of five.

Using his knowledge of deciphering ancient stone inscriptions, Fell drew a connection between the Celtic god Bel and the Canaanite god Baal based on an ancient stone Ogham inscription he had discovered in North America, which clearly describes Bel as Baal, the principal god of the Canaanites, who occupied what would become Northern Israel. The ancient Canaanite culture would in time give rise to the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were a Semitic-speaking people of unknown origin who emerged in the Levant around 3000 BC. The religious practices and beliefs of Phoenicia were generally common to those of their neighbours in Canaan, hence they were also Baal worshippers. The Phoenicians subsequently extended their presence throughout the Mediterranean, from Cyprus to the Iberian Peninsula (via their colony in Carthage). They were renowned among their contemporaries as skilled traders and mariners, becoming the dominant commercial power for much of classical antiquity. The Phoenicians developed an expansive maritime trade network that lasted over a millennium, helping facilitate the exchange of cultures, ideas, and knowledge between major cradles of civilisation such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Their best-known legacy is the world's oldest verified alphabet, whose origin was connected to that of the Hebrew script via the Proto-Sinaitic script. and which was transmitted across the Mediterranean and used to develop the Arabic script and the Greek alphabet and in turn the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. As early as 1200 BC, the Phoenicians built large merchant ships. During the Bronze Age, they also developed the keel. Hence, if any ancient group of mariners was capable of sailing to America and establishing trading links with the indigenous peoples of that continent, it was the Phoenicians.

However, Fell viewed the creation of trade links and settlements in America as primarily a Cantiberian enterprise, which involved a mixed group of Phoenicians, Basques and Celts from the Iberian Peninsula working together to establish these trade links and settlements. Fell found evidence not just of Phoenician script but also Basque and Celtic (Ogham) script too. For him there were also definite signs of Phoenician, Basque and Celtic influences on the languages of many of the native American tribes encountered by the first European settlers. This may explain why a native American tribe such as the Mi’kmaq or MicMac may have been so welcoming to Prince Henry Sinclair’s expedition to Nova Scotia in the late 14th Century. Official history suggests that the first Europeans to make contact with the Mi’kmaq were the early European explorers John Cabot and Jacques Cartier. By the early 16th century fisherman from Portugal, Spain, France, and England [MJF: which had all been Celtic territories in the distant past] all participated in the whaling industry and while the contact with the Mi’kmaq was not one of colonisation, many of the fishermen would set up camp on the coast before they sailed home. Thus, it is an irony of history that these new western European settlers/traders from former Celtic dominions were replicating the same trading/settlement patterns as their ancient Celtic ancestors.

But again, we need to ask the question how did Bacon know of these ancient Celtic trade links when evidence for them has only emerged in the late 20th Century?​

The British Claim to North America

The answer to that question might lie, as I said, with Doctor John Dee. As we have seen in earlier posts on John Dee, it was he who made out the case for an English prior claim to North America in order to encourage Queen Elizabeth I to back plans for the settlement of the New World by English colonists. Although a papal treaty had awarded the Americas to Portugal and Spain, England was now a protestant country, which owed no fealty to the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. However, Dee realised that it would also help his case for promoting an English prior claim if he could adduce evidence for the past discovery and settlement of America by Britons.

You will note that I specifically refer to “Britons” above rather than the English or Anglo-Saxons. For those not familiar with British history, Britain had been a (Brythonic) Celtic country up to and after the Roman conquest and colonisation of the country. Although many Britons had become Romano-British in both their lifestyle and culture, most of them still retained their Celtic language unlike the Spanish Celts, for example, who were completely Romanised. However, when the Romans pulled their last garrisons out of Britain circa 400 A.D. to defend Rome from the Germanic hordes, the British soon experienced attacks from the Picts in the north and the Irish Hibernians (Gaels) from the west. This led the Romano-Celtic British leader Vortigern to seek assistance from some of the Germanic tribes based on the mainland of Europe, especially the Angles (from whom the name ‘England’ derives) and the Saxons. Unfortunately, as is often the case in history, these Germanic mercenaries turned from saviours to conquerors. Consequently, the Anglo-Saxons would come to dominate most of what we call England today, imposing their language, customs and laws on the country.

The Anglo-Saxons would, however, encounter stiff resistance from the Cymri people in what today we call Wales (Cymru) and in the north, particularly Northumberland, the land of the Brigantes or Briganti Celtic tribe. You should note here that the people of what is now Wales were not distinguished by the Romans from the rest of the peoples of southern Britain; all were called Britons and spoke common Brittonic, a Celtic language.

As well as the Dark Age Anglo-Saxons and Dutch Fresian colonisers, the Vikings, especially the Danes, would subsequently get in on the act until in 1066, the French-Normans under Duke William of Normandy would complete the conquest and institute the Plantagenet line of kings of England. However, like the Romans before them, the Norman kings would attempt to conquer the whole of mainland Britain, including Wales and Scotland. In the case of Wales, they would eventually succeed when one of the last independent Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last), was killed at the Battle of Orewin Bridge in 1282. His brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, was executed the following year. After these two deaths, Edward I of England invested his son Edward of Caernarfon as the first English prince of Wales in 1301. However, the title was later claimed by the heir of Gwynedd, Owain Glyndŵr (Owain ap Gruffydd or Owen Glendower), from 1400 until 1415 (the date of his assumed death) who led Welsh forces against the English. With conquest came assimilation and the English kings and their government officials in Wales would lead an unrelenting attack on the Welsh language and culture, which persisted long into the 19th century, with a ban on the teaching and use of the Welsh language in Welsh schools. This bred fierce Welsh resistance to English rule and subordination, which is still very much felt to this day.

As someone of Norman ancestry (my ancestor Ralph de Frane was a right-hand man of William the Conqueror who remained behind in Normandy to protect William’s Duchy whilst William embarked on the conquest of England), I can personally vouch for this surviving Welsh resentment of the English/Norman conquest of Wales. In Wales, the sport of rugby football is a religion and the Welsh love nothing better than defeating their hated English oppressors when the two nations clash during the annual Six Nations Rugby Union internationals. At these games, the old rivalries still loom large, as I would find out when I attended one such international game at Twickenham in south-west London with my brother in the 1980’s. The Welsh supporters would sing their Welsh national songs (in Welsh of course) at these games and jeer the English players. Unfortunately, my brother and I found ourselves that day in an overwhelmingly Welsh section of the crowd. It was here that I witnessed a most interesting conversation between a Welsh rabble rouser and an Englishman, which was a history lesson in itself. The conversation went something like this:​

Welsh rabble rouser pointing at the English players on the pitch and turning to his Welsh colleagues behind him yells:

You f***ing English donkeys, you invaded our country, you burned down our towns, you killed our men and raped our women. We are going to f*** you off the pitch today to loud cheers from his fellow Welsh fans.

At this point a young Englishman standing just in front of him turned around and said Taffy old boy, we English, Anglo-Saxons, didn’t do any of these things. We built Offa’s Dyke* to keep you lot out of England. No, it was the Normans who did those things, not we English.”
*Offa's Dyke (Welsh: Clawdd Offa) is a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the border between England and Wales. The structure is named after Offa, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia from AD 757 until 796, who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between the Anglian kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys.

Our Welsh rabble rouser grunted Eh! and after thinking about what the English fan had said for a moment, turning round to his fellow Welsh fans, he then gesticulated at the pitch and shouted: “You f***ing Norman donkeys, you invaded our country, you burned down our towns, you killed our men and raped our women. We are going to f*** you off the pitch today”, again to loud cheers from his Welsh colleagues.

At this point, my brother and I kept very silent since you see, my ancestors were henchman for Edward I of England who placed his toughest and nastiest Norman knights on the Welsh border, who did exactly what the Welshman had said when they would lead punitive missions into Wales from English bordering counties to enforce English rule. In this last respect, my ancestors were based primarily in the county of Herefordshire on the Welsh border. Incidentally, when my paternal cousin visits Wales and crosses the border, he always announces to anyone in the car that we are now entering conquered territory, so the antipathy cuts both ways, at least where he is concerned.

You may ask at this stage why any of this matters to American history. Well, John Dee, although born and raised in London, was reputedly from a Welsh family. Indeed, he claimed descent from Rhodri the Great, Prince of Wales, and constructed a pedigree accordingly (see: John Dee's genealogy and self-portrait | The British Library ( His family had arrived in London with Henry Tudor's coronation as Henry VII after Henry had defeated Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Whatever the truth of the matter, Dee’s father, Roland Dee, was definitely of Welsh descent. Moreover, Henry VII, was a Welshman and had a strong, romantic attachment to the legend of King Arthur of the Britons. He even called his first-born son, Arthur. Henry's father, Edmund Tudor, the 1st Earl of Richmond, was a half-brother of Henry VI of England and a member of the Welsh Tudors of Penmynydd, Henry made political capital out of his Welsh ancestry in attracting military support and safeguarding his army's passage through Wales on its way to the Battle of Bosworth. Wales was historically a Lancastrian stronghold, and Henry owed the support he gathered to his Welsh birth and ancestry. He came from an old, established Anglesey family that claimed descent from Cadwaladr, in legend, the last ancient British king, and on occasion Henry displayed the red dragon of Cadwaladr. He took it, as well as the standard of St. George, on his procession through London after the victory at Bosworth. A contemporary writer and Henry's biographer, Bernard André, also made much of Henry's Welsh descent.

And John Dee’s monarch, Elizabeth Tudor, was, of course, the granddaughter of Henry VII. Hence, as Steve Sora explains, although the English had anglicised the legend of King Arthur, even accepting a claim made by medieval English monks that they had found his remains at Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, his roots in British folklore always lay with the Welsh, not the English. John Dee, being of Welsh stock, would certainly have been aware of this and may have had in his collection of books ancient Welsh manuscripts which fleshed out the Arthurian legends (N.B. Dee seems to have placed Avalon, Arthur's burial place, in America – see more below on this) and perhaps reference works for other acclaimed Celtic discoverers of North America such as the Irish Saint Brendan and the 12th century Welsh Prince Madoc. In Queen Elizabeth, with her own Welsh ancestry, Dee would find a willing listener. In this way, Dee in presenting his Arthurian claims to Elizabeth for a British original discovery of North America would play a key role in obtaining her royal support for his ambitious plans to explore and settle the continent. These plans would be backed by the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Richard Grenville, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and, of course, Sir Francis Bacon.

I may do a separate post on Prince Madoc and other supposed discoverers of America prior to Columbus like the English Franciscan friar Nicholas of Lynn (see more below on him), since there may be more than a grain of truth to their stories and the subject really deserves an article of its own. This post may also include an analysis of Prince Henry Sinclair’s alleged voyage to Nova Scotia in the late 14th century, which I appreciate is controversial but their does seem to be hard evidence now emerging for Sinclair’s voyage to have really occurred.
Dee as a Proto-Rosicrucian

According to Steve Sora, before the Rosicrucians even had a name, Dee had his own sect built around him. Although he was not a Freemason, Dee was certainly knowledgeable about many of the topics pursued by the Freemasons. For example, apart from his mathematical skills, Dee also had a great interest in architecture and in navigation (bearing in mind here that he was one of England’s foremost cartographers as well as being a personal friend of the celebrated Flemish cartographer/map maker Gerardus Mercator), with English explorers and renowned mariners often visiting him to discuss the planning of their voyages to the New World. Sora claims that one way we can trace Dee’s Rosicrucian leanings is to look at his servants and associates, all of whom were involved with alchemy in one way or another. Interestingly, he doesn’t mention Edward Kelley, Dee’s famous scryer (or trance medium) who was known to be an alchemist and who for a while was celebrated in that capacity in Bohemia, the centre of power of Emperor Rudolf II , who had a great interest in alchemy and all things esoteric. Nor did Sora mention either Adrian or Humphrey Gilbert, who were the half-brothers of Sir Walter Raleigh, who, like Raleigh, were renowned mariners and explorers in their own right. Apart from exploring, both men also dabbled in alchemy.

As a side note, it should be mentioned that in this last connection Adrian Gilbert was the assistant to Mary Sidney Herbert, the Second Countess of Pembroke, in her alchemical laboratory. She was one of the most educated women in England at that time, being able to speak and read several languages, and, like John Dee, she also possessed an extensive library of books. As with Bacon, Marlowe and Edward de Vere, she is suspected of having a hand in the authorship of the literary works attributed to William Shakespeare. Combined with her love of riding, hunting, and hawking, she was the perfect example of a Renaissance woman. Moreover, like Sir Walter Raleigh and Robert Deveraux, the Earl of Essex, she made her main residence at Wilton House a cultural centre of England where she nurtured writers and poets such as Sir Philip Sydney (who wrote Arcadia), Michael Drayton, Edmund Spenser (the author of the Faerie Queen), Thomas Kydd, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson within its cosy academic environment, all these men being frequent visitors to her home.

Like Dee, she was also interested in musical codes and invisible ink. She sponsored other writers whilst indulging in her own literary efforts as well. Curiously, a letter written to her son in 1606, which was found in the archives of her home declared: “We have the man Shakespeare here”. Was it William Shakespeare she was referring to or one of the men who may have penned the works attributed to him? Here it should be noted that the first folio (i.e., collection) of Shakespeare’s plays was dedicated to her sons. Furthermore, her symbol was the swan, and she had an estate on the river Avon. Was Mary Sidney Herbert the real ‘Sweet Swan of the Avon’, an expression first coined by Ben Jonson in his poem “To the memory of My Beloved, The AUTHOR Mr William Shakespeare And what he hath left us”, which was prefixed to the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works published in 1623:​

Sweet Swan of Avon! What a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appeare,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
That so did take Eliza, and our James!

See: Waugh on Jonson’s "Sweet Swan of Avon" | Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship for a commentary of the above verse by William Waugh.​

The “swan” since Virgil’s day was conventionally used as a symbol to represent a poet and “Avon” is the name of the river that runs through Stratford in Warwickshire where William Shakspere was born in 1564 and died in 1616.

One man who thinks Mary Herbert may have been the real Shakespeare is Robin Williams the author of Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare? The actor Mark Rylance, who was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London (1996-2006) and Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, when writing a forward to Williams’ book declared:

It is long overdue that someone took a closer look at the brilliant Mary Sidney. I have a suspicion that Mary Sidney's life, and especially her dedication to the English language after her brother's death, may throw important light on the mysterious authorship of the Shakespeare plays and poems."

Dee’s Associates and Influences and their Connections to Rosicrucianism

First, I might add that in seeking Rosicrucian links through the practice of alchemy, it is fair to say that not all 16th Century alchemists would have been Rosicrucians and, by the same token, not all Rosicrucians would have been practising alchemists. Hence, a person’s involvement with alchemy does not automatically mark them out as being a Rosicrucian, although many Rosicrucians did certainly practice alchemy. Having made that distinction clear, let us now look at some of Sora’s Rosicrucian candidates from among Dee’s associates and retinue of servants.

Roger Cook was in Dee’s employ from 1567 to 1581 after which he left only to return in 1600. At that point Cook changed his name to Roger Cock, possibly because the rooster is a spiritual symbol. He subsequently went into the employ of Cornelis Drebbel, an alchemist, inventor and a man who was considered to be the most important Rosicrucian of his day. With apologies to Dutch Forum members, I must confess that until I read Sora’s book, I had never heard of Drebbel, but historians consider him, as a prolific inventor, to have been the Thomas Edison of his day. For more on Drebbel see: Cornelis Drebbel - Wikipedia

Drebbel was born in Alkmaar, Holland to an Anabaptist family in 1572. Drebbel became a skilled engraver on copperplate and also took an interest in alchemy. He initially made his living as a painter, engraver and cartographer. He first came to England in 1604. His inventions covered a wide range of apparatus. He arguably built the first navigable submarine in 1620, even taking King James I for a trip in it down the river Thames. He also built telescopes and microscopes – and even hydraulics for the theatre. He astonished the court of King James with his inventions (a perpetuum mobile and automatic and hydraulic organs amongst others) and his optical instruments. His fame circulated through the courts of Europe. In October 1610, Drebbel and his family moved to Prague at the invitation of Holy Roman-German Emperor Rudolf II (as had John Dee before him), who was preoccupied with the arts, alchemy and occult sciences. Here again Drebbel demonstrated his inventions. When in 1611 Rudolf II was stripped of all effective power by his younger brother Archduke Matthias, Drebbel was imprisoned for about a year. After Rudolf's death in 1612, Drebbel was set free and went back to London in 1613. However, as a glutton for punishment or perhaps thinking lightning could not strike twice, at the request of Holy Roman-German Emperor Ferdinand II in 1619, he went to Prague again to tutor the Emperor’s sons and was taken prisoner after the Battle of White Mountain and the capture of Prague in 1620. He subsequently returned to London where he would die in 1633. The eminent Anglican clergyman, Robert Burton, noted in his book Anatomy of Melancholy (a three-part treatise on depression) that Drebbel was a Rosicrucian and an alchemist. Unfortunately, Sora does not mention whether John Dee ever became associated with Drebbel. However, given Drebbel’s high reputation at King James’s court and his standing as a scientist and inventor, their paths would no doubt have crossed at some point.

Sora then mentions Dee’s other seminal assistant and pupil, Patrick Sanders (or Saunders). His name appears in connection with a loan of some of Dee's alchemical books to Henry Percy, the “Wizard Earl” of Northumberland. The antiquarian and early Freemason Elias Ashmole knew Saunders and his activities, describing him as “an astrologer and physician as well as a scryer with a reputation for seeing visions in crystals." It is not surprising, in light of this description, that Saunders found a place with Dee as an alchemical assistant. Sanders would eventually go on to become a member of the Royal College of Physicians. However, he also edited a work by the 13th Century Franciscan Friar and alchemist Roger Bacon, Epistola … de secretis operibus Artis et Naturae, which he dedicated to the Rosicrucians. In 1619 Saunders also wrote an inscription in the album amicorum of a Rosicrucian from Lübeck, Joachim Morsius. Sanders acquired several of Dee's manuscripts after his death. Some of Sander’s own alchemical manuscripts are now housed in the British Library.

Sora tells us that another influence on John Dee was Giacopo Brocardo. He has been described as a Christian Kabbalist. He wrote The Revelation of St. John and is considered a forerunner of Rosicrucian tradition. In his written works he maintained that the finding of Christian Rosencreutz’s tomb would precede the victory over the antichrist. He also claimed that a last age would end 120 years after Martin Luther was gone.

Sora also points out that Dee studied and taught at the university of Louvain in what today is Belgium. This school was a hotbed of occult philosophy, mathematics with a Pythagorean bent, and gnostic thought.

Another fellow alchemist was Robert Fludd (1574 – 1637), who was a friend of Dee’s and inherited his mantle as England’s leading exponent of esoteric thought. He is remembered as being an astrologer, mathematician, cosmologist, Qabalist and Rosicrucian. Both men would share the same thirst for knowledge in a new and evolving scientific framework. However, whilst Fludd would be highly esteemed as a scientist by England’s scientific community, Dee would not be, due no doubt to his involvement in what may be described as the dark sciences. Ironically, Fludd would openly endorse the Rosicrucian tradition spread by Dee and Bacon, calling the Brothers of the Rosy Cross and their work with magic, alchemy and Kabbalah the highest good.

Fludd was a member of the Royal College of Physicians as was Robert Boyle (famous for his ‘Boyle’s Law’ for those who remember their chemistry classes) who had close ties to the Palatinate in Germany where Rosicrucianism flourished and where, Sora notes, many of Pennsylvania’s immigrants would later originate from. Like his Rosicrucian colleagues, he never claimed to be a member of any esoteric order but his letters were replete with references to the Invisible College. However, as Sora points out, letters from others attest to the fact that their authors belonged to an Hermetic society, Boyle being a case in point. Born in1627, Boyle was a founder of the Invisible College. Sora quoting author Michael White in his biography of Sir Isaac Newton: “The real Invisible College was the network of nameless adepts who kept alight the alchemical flame.” It is worth noting here that Boyle was Sir Isaac Newton’s teacher in the alchemical sciences and his writings were mostly concerned with alchemy. From a religious viewpoint, Boyle claimed to be an Arian and not a believer in the Holy Trinity, which would have been viewed as heretical at that time. He also claimed that the ancients were far more knowledgeable than scientists of his day (MJF: given what we know of the advancement of Atlantean learning, this claim was undoubtedly true and is still applicable in our own age, in spite of the great advances made in science since Boyle’s era – recall here that the C’s once said our science was like that of the Neanderthals compared to the Atlanteans). Yet like Fludd, Boyle has still received the respect of history in his role as a scientist, a respect that has never been conferred on John Dee.

Apart from these scientific luminaries, Dee’s house at Mortlake would become more of a private college than a home where visiting scientists were made welcome, with rooms being set aside for them as laboratories so they could conduct their experiments. Regular guests included Edward Dyer (the Chancellor of the Order of the Garter), Robert Dudley (the Earl of Leicester), Adrian Gilbert a half-brother to Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Philip Sydney the author of Arcadia and his sister Mary, the Countess of Pembroke (see above). However, one of Dee’s closest friends was Sir Walter Raleigh whose social and intellectual circles (MJF: recall here Raleigh’s ‘School of Night’) overlapped with his own. The nearby Syon House, which was owned by Henry Percy, the Wizard Earl of Northumberland (who was married to the sister of Robert Deveraux – the ill-fated Earl of Essex) also served as a place where great minds shared similar interests. John Dee would visit Syon House and therefore he seems to have straddled both the Raleigh circle and the Earl of Essex (Baconian) circle.

Percy was a patron to the astronomer Thomas Harriot. Harriot had been a navigational tutor to Raleigh and his captains. From 1598 (or possibly from 1607) Harriot lived at Syon House. There he used a telescope to make a map of the moon several months before Galileo did the same. Before entering Percy’s service, Harriot had travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke Island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh and led by Sir Ralph Lane. He learned the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans and could translate it, making him a vital member of the expedition. His account of the voyage to Roanoke, called A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, was published in 1588 and it contained an early account of the Native American population encountered by the expedition. It would prove very influential upon later English explorers and colonists. Harriot wrote: "Whereby it may be hoped, if means of good government be used, that they may in short time be brought to civility and the embracing of true religion." At the same time, his views of Native Americans' industry and capacity to learn were later largely ignored in favour of the parts of the "True Report" about extractable minerals and resources. This may bear out what I said in my earlier article on Sir Walter Raleigh about this focus on purely material rewards being perhaps the reason why the Greys abducted the Roanoke Colony en masse but left the Virginia Colony sponsored by Sir Francis Bacon to survive, in order to facilitate the fulfilment of Bacon’s Rosicrucian dream of America becoming the New Atlantis.
The Monas Hieroglyphica

In 1564, Dee would put together what was considered his most important work, the Monas Hieroglyphica, which is viewed as an alchemical text written in an alchemical language. He dedicated it to Emperor Maximillian of the Holy Roman Empire. He included on the front cover of the work an odd symbol (see below) representing the moon, the sun, the elements and the zodiac sign of Aries (the zodiacal month which commences at the Spring Equinox), which he had invented. The book is an exposition of the meaning of the symbol. When Dee was asked to explain the symbol to Queen Elizabeth and later to Emperor Rudolf II, he claimed that a single four-letter word held the secrets of Creation (as it did for the Jews – which could therefore link it to the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Hebrew theonym or name for God “YHWH”, possibly derived from a verb that means "to be", "to exist", "to cause to become", or "to come to pass".

1679411557447.png 1679411580048.png
Frontispiece of the 'Monas Hieroglyphica' by John Dee, printed by Willem Silvius in Antwerp, 1564. Dee’s glyph can be seen on the right.

The glyph on the right was subsequently adopted by the Rosicrucians and appears on a page of the Rosicrucian Manifesto The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (1616), beside the text of the invitation to the Royal Wedding given to Rosenkreutz who narrates the work. The esoteric historian Dame Frances Yates who specialised in the Renaissance notes that Dee's influence later "spread to Puritanism in the New World through John Winthrop Jr., an alchemist and a follower of Dee; Winthrop used the 'Monas' as his personal mark." John Winthrop (1606 – 1676) was an early governor of the Connecticut who played a large role in the merger of several separate settlements into the unified colony. His father had been a founding governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. During his tenure as Governor of Connecticut, Winthrop oversaw the acceptance of Quakers who were banned from Massachusetts. While in England, he was elected as a Fellow of the newly organised Royal Society, which was the institutional successor to the Invisible College. Winthrop is thus indicative of an early Rosicrucian presence in the embryonic America and his adoption of Dee’s Monas as a personal mark indicates the lasting influence of John Dee on the Rosicrucian movement.
Continued in Part 2


Dagobah Resident
Sir Francis Bacon, John Dee and Rosicrucian America Part 2

John Dee and Gerardus Mercator and England’s Claim to North America

The year 1577 may have been the year that modern America was conceived for on the 20 April of that year, Gerardus Mercator replied to a letter from John Dee (N.B. the two men had been firm friends since becoming acquainted in Louvain in their youth), which Dee later published in a manuscript entitled "Volume of Great and Rich Discoveries". Dee was questioning Mercator as regards the provenance of the Polar insert on his 1569 Arctic map. Mercator had borrowed Cnoyen’s ‘Itinerarium’ from a friend and detailed all of his notes from it to Dee in the letter. Unfortunately, Dee’s manuscript has been badly damaged by fire, but enough remains to gain a very good idea of the Inventio Fortunata’s contents (fortunately, a list of the contents of the missing parts, the first five chapters, were summarised by Samuel Purchas).

Please note that I am relying here particularly on an article called King Arthur in Hyperborea & The Arctic Mud Flood Cataclysm, which I first posted on the Alton Towers thread on 21 April 2021. See: Alton Towers, Sir Francis Bacon and the Rosicrucians | Page 6 | Cassiopaea Forum. To show how Dee relied very much on King Arthur and other Britons such as Prince Madoc of a Welsh royal family to justify English prior claims to North America, I will quote at length from that article:

In that same year (or possibly 1578) John Dee wrote a book entitled "Brytanici Imperii Limites" (The Limits of the British Empire), which is a compilation of four documents originally written for Queen Elizabeth I and assembled under his supervision in 1593, then placed in the Crown’s Archives. It was only rediscovered in 1976 and is now in the British Library.

In his Brytanici Imperii Limites, Dee argued that because King Arthur had once extended his kingdom to include Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and parts of the North Pole, so too might Queen Elizabeth I. He also argued that England should lay claim to new lands through colonisation and that this could be achieved through maritime supremacy. Interestingly, he also included ‘Atlantis’ in his list of acquisitions, but everyone will tell you what he really meant was ‘America’, even though everyone else seemed to be calling it Terra Florida at the time.

It would be easy to discount this concept as the ravings of madman who was basing such a wild claim on nothing more than a fantasy and who was simply trying to gain favour with the Queen, but he had proof and he wasn’t the first to associate Arthur with northern conquests.

Note the Colonies sent by King Arthur into all the north Islands and by name into Grocland, which I yet suppose to be the same which is otherwise anciently known as Groenland [i.e., Greenland] and of that you had the word before owt of the boke De Priscus Anglorum Legibus” (Dee assumes that Grocland is Greenland based solely upon the shared ‘Gr’. However, on Mercator's globe Grocland lies west of Greenland and may be a representation of the Arctic Baffin Island.)

The source he refers to was William Lambarde's Archaionomia sive de Priscus Anglorum Legibus libri (1568), which Dee had a copy of in his famous library. This same source was also known to Richard Hakluyt*, another proponent of an Arthurian Atlantic and Arctic empire, who would translate it later in his ‘Principal Nauigations’ (1599):​

*Hakluyt has leant his name to the Hakluyt Society referred to by Laura in the transcripts: “Q: Well, I just thought I would ask! What I found out was that this wonderful Hakluyt Society that chronicled the funny business in the Canary Islands {which I had read previously, and which
Arthur which was sometimes the most renowned king of the Britains, was a mightie, and valiant man, and a famous warriour. This kingdome was too litle for him, & his minde was not contented with it. He therefore valiantly subdued all Scantia, which is now called Norway, and all the Islands beyond Norway, to wit, Island [i.e., Iceland] and Greenland, which are apperteining vnto Norway, Sweueland, Ireland, Gotland, Denmarke, Semeland, Windland [Latin text, Winlandiam], Curland, Roe, Femeland [i.e., Finland], Wireland, Flanders, Cherilland, Lapland, and all the other lands & Islands of the East sea, euen vnto Russia (in which Lapland he placed the Easterly bounds of his Brittish Empire) and many other Islands beyond Norway, euen vnder the North pole, which are appendances of Scantia, now called Norway.”

William Lambarde himself had a very clear source for the text he gave in his Priscus Anglorum Legibus - a manuscript of the Leges Edwardi Confessoris that contained an Arthurian section taken from the Leges Anglorum Londoniis Collectae, from c. 1210. (I hope you’re following this because I’m not sure I do…) The tradition of Arthur as an Arctic conqueror must certainly go back to at least the very early thirteenth century.

Even older evidence comes from a fragment of a text known as Insule Britannie, c.1199. Whilst it makes no mention of Arthur by name, it lists a number of northern islands as being "British" possessions, all but one of which are also named (in similar spellings) as constituent parts of Arthur's British Empire in the Leges Anglorum. This would indicate that there was an even earlier source than the Leges and the Insule Britannie, now ‘lost’. It’s unlikely that they are simply elaborations of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, given their very different concept of Arthur. Similarly, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s source, the Historia Brittonum c.828, with its ‘dux bellorum’ or military leader, bears no relation to the King Arthur of the Leges and the Insule Britannie. It is highly likely that the lost source is the Gestae Arthuri. Both the Leges Anglorum and the Insule Britannie are sanitised versions of it with falsified incorporations from Adam of Bremen's
Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesia Pontificum of c. 1075, whereby the account of the Christian conversion of Norway (begun by John, an English bishop, and spread by Olaf, king of Norway), was transferred to Arthur.

Eirik the Red is also claimed to have discovered and subjugated Greenland and Vinland in the ninth or tenth century. These Norse sagas reported in detail the discovery voyages of Iceland, Greenland and Vinland. However, and very importantly, the Gestae Arthuri has the knowledge of these lands as a precondition – there is no discovery required. Also, if the Gestae Arthuri is simply transferring the Norse tales to Arthur, why do the Norse sagas never mention the Hyperborea region at all? Besides, the Gestae Arthuri may even predate Eirik the Red’s adventures. Also “when the Norse first landed on Iceland, they found it inhabited by a British people that they termed the “Pappar”, whom they promptly drove extinct.” Good luck trying to find any decent information on these Pappars.

Dee went to some pains to legitimize his Arthurian material, complaining that the profusion of "fables, glosinges, vntruthes, and impossibilities, incerted in the true historie of King Arthure" meant that the "truth yt selfe" of Arthur's historical acts, as Dee conceived it, was often disbelieved or ignored, and can only be retrieved through a purging of the parasitic legends that had gathered around it... Having weeded out the "untruths" from the Arthurian narratives he had gathered, Dee could confidently proclaim that Arthur had conquered Gaul, Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, all the northern islands around Russia (i.e., the entire Arctic Ocean abutting northern Europe, Estotiland—which may be the Canadian Baffin Island, if it describes a real place), as well as the North Pole itself.”

In his Brytanici Imperii Limites Dee states that there once were many proofs of Arthur's conquests, but "willfully and wickedlie (as by sondrie credible gentlemen I have heard it testefied), this Polijdor [Polydore Vergil] burnt [them], yea a whole carte load almost"

Dee's concept of Arthur as a North Atlantic and Arctic conqueror doesn’t appear to have been his own invention.

4. Arthur’s Quest to the North Pole

What follows is a story about King Arthur that doesn’t equate with any character of romantic fiction…

In northern Norway (which is also called dark Norway [because] it is dark three months on end, the sun never rising above the horizon) there is sometimes a sort of dawn ... The passage to North Norway is not easy because of the fast-flowing seas which flow past Grocland … This North Norway stretches to those mountains which surround the North Pole in a circular course. These are the mountains of which it is written that they were among them certain cities, as you can find mentioned in the Arthuri Gestis, and over against them dwell people of small stature, mentioned in the same work. These things, and more besides, concerning the northern regions can be found at the beginning of the Arthuri Gestis. Long ago the islands lying in the North were called the Ciliae, now the Septentrionals, and among them were North Norway and many small rivers which are called the Indrawing Seas because their waters are pulled towards the North with a great constant force, such that no wind can drive a ship against them. And in this attitude there are very high mountains reaching to the clouds, and in this attitude the air is very often murky and dark.

In the 78th degree of latitude (like a crown or circlet) there stand around the North Pole immensely high mountains over most of the land, but in some places, there are reports that these Indrawing Seas, [are] in some places up to 50, 60, or 100 leagues across (some broader but others narrower) which everywhere pull to the North. One group of Arthur’s knights sailed thus far when he was conquering the Northern Isles and making them all subject to him. And in the writings of the ancients it is stated that these Indrawing seas snatched from Arthur some 4000 men who never returned, but [that], in 1364 eight of the descendants of these men returned to the King of Norway, and among them were two priests, one of whom had an astrolabe, and he was descended by five generations from [a man named] Bruxellensis, who … was in one of the first ships to penetrate those northern regions.

That Great Army of Arthur had lain all the winter (of 530 AD) in the northern islands of Scotland. And on May 3 a part of it crossed over into Iceland. Then four ships of the aforesaid land had come out of the north and warned Arthur of the indrawing seas. Arthur did not proceed further but peopled all the islands between Scotland and Iceland, and also peopled Grocland, where he found people 23 feet tall. When those four ships returned there were sailors who asserted they knew where the magnetic lands were.

On May 3 the following year Arthur then sent 12 ships with 1800 men and 400 women northwards. Of these 12 ships, five were driven onto the rocks in a storm but the rest made their way between the high rocks on June 18, forty-four days after they had set out. (Please note: seven ships made land.)

The priest who had the astrolabe told the King of Norway that there had come to the Northern Isles in 1360 an English Minorite from Oxford, who was a good astronomer. He, leaving the others who had come to these islands, set off further throughout all the northern regions and put into writing all their wonders, and gave the resulting book, which he called Inventio Fortunae, to the King of England. This book begins from the furthest clime, from 54°, and continues all the way to the Poles. This Franciscan reported that these mountains surround the Pole without a break except in those places where the Indrawing seas break through.”

Some things not mentioned by Dee that were included in Mercator’s letter are:

North Norway lies “over against” the country called The Province of Darkness.
  • The Province of Darkness is the most westernbound of the Grand Cham’s land. [F: Tartaria/China.]
  • Just 12 miles of sea separate The Province of Darkness from Dusky Norway.
  • Right under the North Star, opposite Norway, there lies a fair level land which is uninhabited, where many beautiful… (burnt and illegible.)
  • Evidence of previous human settlement in the form of shipbuilding remnants were discovered in Iceland and Grocland.
  • "There are many trees of Brazil wood" in Markland (Labrador).
  • Detailed descriptions of the magnetic rock at the north pole, as high as the clouds and the whirlpool around its base.
  • Details of the polar geography and the extremely temperate weather.
To summarise: Here we have King Arthur on an expedition to specifically penetrate the circular mountain range surrounding the North Pole, where there are cities. Five generations later, eight descendants of Arthur’s men returned to Norway. Two of the eight were priests. One of the priests states that four years earlier a group of people visited them in the Northern Isles, one of whom was an English Minorite Monk from Oxford who was a good astronomer and had swapped his astrolabe with this priest for a “Testament”. This monk then set off on his own to explore the northern regions. He described all the wonders of the islands in a book that he called the Inventio Fortunata and at some point, gave it to the King of England who then sent the monk to do monkey-business on his behalf five times.

Peter Heylyn recounts the Inventio Fortunata polar geography as fact in the fourth book of his ‘Cosmographie’ in Four Books (London, 1652).

We know from others involved with the book that it contained information down to 18° N. The Inventio Fortunata is mentioned by Christopher Columbus' son, Fernando, and the 16th century historian [Bartolomé de] Las Casas. Both wrote that Inventio Fortunatae contained astonishing information about two floating islands far to the west on approximately the same latitude as the Cape Verde islands (18 degrees north) and that Columbus was aware of this information."

Returning to Steve Sora’ account now, he also refers to Mercator’s letter to Dee, in which Mercator confirmed that the information he was conveying to Dee had been received from Jacob Cnoyen, a cartographer who in turn corresponded with Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish cartographer and the creator of the first modern atlas (N.B. a man who Dee and Mercator knew personally). As noted above, he referred to a “priest with the astrolabe”, who Sora believes was most likely the Oxford based Franciscan friar Nicholas Lynn, who had taught the use of that key piece of navigational equipment two centuries earlier. Lynn supposedly produced a travelogue, Inventio Fortunata, of his voyages to America between 1330 and 1360, to King Edward III of England. This work would find its way to Venice where it would be used by the Franciscans as part of their world map. This map identifies Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Cape Cod. It also depicted the peninsula of Florida. The Franciscans or Grey Friars were known for their world travels in the service of their order and their kings. However, it is only fair to point out that Wikipedia thinks this claim was erroneous:
"The identification of Nicholas as the Franciscan (Minorite) friar who wrote a text called the Inventio Fortunata, allegedly describing a voyage to Greenland and beyond, was first proposed by Richard Hakluyt, the late 16th-century historian of exploration. Hakluyt based the claim on information from mathematician John Dee who, in turn, relied on information obtained from the Dutch cartographer Gerardus Mercator. Nicholas, however, was a Carmelite, not a Minorite, and if Hakluyt and Dee had read Bale (rather than apparently basing their identification on Chaucer's praise for Nicholas' work with astrolabes), they would have discovered an entry about a Franciscan friar named Hugh of Ireland, who wrote "a certain journey in one volume".

According to early 16th century literary historian
John Bale, Lynn became a Carmelite friar and moved to the university town of Oxford, where he developed a great reputation for his scientific work. In 1386, at the request of the powerful lord John of Gaunt, he published a Kalendarium of detailed astronomical tables covering the years 1387–1462. It survives in sixteen manuscripts and one printed edition. Designed for use in the astrologically based science of the time, the tables were very sophisticated, even including rules for synchronising medical treatment with astronomical cycles, such as the right phases of the moon for blood-letting. His contemporary Geoffrey Chaucer
wrote very approvingly of Nicholas' work, and made much use of it."

So, did Mercator simply get the friar’s name and the religious order confused? Who knows. Unfortunately, I have not been able to dredge up any information on Hugh of Ireland. However, the Franciscans arrived in Ireland around the 1220’s and 1230’s, so Hugh of Ireland could not have been operating in Ireland before this period (N.B. many of the original Franciscan friars in Ireland were Anglo-Normans, not Irishmen). This would indicate that if Hugh had undertaken a voyage to Greenland and beyond it would have been during the late 13th or the early 14th century. It should be noted here that several Franciscan friars accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Caribbean, in September 1493, becoming the first priests to spread the gospel in Latin America (see: Franciscans Confront Columbus Issue - Los Angeles Times ( If Friar Hugh had really undertaken a voyage to North America from Greenland, he may well have beaten his religious confreres to the Americas by at least two centuries.

However, is there anything to substantiate a Christian presence in Greenland dating back to this period, which Hugh could have used as a springboard for the exploration of North America? Well, yes there is. Christianity was first brought to Greenland circa 1000 AD by Norse settlers (Vikings). Catholicism was subsequently introduced to Greenland in the 11th century with the help of the King of Norway, thereby establishing the first churches in the Western hemisphere, and, after much effort, the people of Greenland received a bishop of their own. The church thrived with the Norse colony which saw its peak in the 14th century and had an active relationship with Scandinavia and the European continent. The abandonment of the colony around 1450 ended any church presence in Greenland. However, was there ever a monastic institution based in Greenland during the relevant period. Well, yes there was.

In Andrew Sinclair’s book The Sword and the Grail he gives an account of the famous Zeno Voyage to North America (which admittedly is much disputed). According to the Zeno Narrative, in 1393, Nicolo Zen sailed from Orkney to Greenland on a voyage of exploration, carrying Bishop Henry of Orkney who was to become the Bishop of Greenland in place of the existing incumbent after a deal was struck between Prince Henry Sinclair, who wanted rid of him, and the Pope (this exchange of bishops is attested to in the Greenland Records, which are still preserved in the Vatican Archive). Nicolo’s first port of call was a remarkable monastery of Preaching Friars, which used hot springs to heat their building and to cook food and even grow vegetables in winter in an early form of greenhouse. As I mentioned before, the Zeno Narrative has been much disparaged and denigrated but modern archaeologists have discovered active volcanoes and hot springs in Gael Hamke Bay on the east coast of Greenland near the ruins of the Monastery of Sanctus Olaus (St. Olaf), which seems to have been miscalled San Tomaso (Thomas) in the Zeno Narrative. It was normally the first landing place for trading ships from Trondheim in Norway. The existence of this Augustinian monastery with its early central heating had been affirmed in 1349 by a Greenlander, Ivar Bardsen, who was a steward of the Bishop of Greenland at Gardar on the west coast. He also wrote of the hot springs on an island nearby in Unartoq Fjord being used for washing and healing the sick, as well as of a Benedictine nunnery on an adjacent fjord. The surviving ruins of the medieval church at Kakortok also lend support to the Zeno Narrative, as does its stone architecture with an occasional arched window of splayed stones so similar to Orkney buildings and to the mysterious Newport Tower in Rhode Island.

So again, we meet Augustinian monks, but this time based in Greenland, not Jerusalem. These would appear to be friars rather than canons though. This reference makes me think though of what the C’s said here:​

Q: Okay. I think that helps. We will take care of it and see where it goes. Now, I was trying to relate the Canaries to Roswell, and noted the funny numbers of lines of latitude. I really didn't WANT to read any more about this subject, but I dug out all the stuff sent to me by Stan Friedman. And, while I was reading, I was looking at the map and locating the various sites mentioned by him. It seems that the actual 'crash' did not take place AT Roswell. It was nearer to Corona. And, near Corona is a place called 'Socorro,' and there is a Socorro on the Canaries, also, which is almost exactly where this statue of the Virgin was found. C**** and I looked it up and it means 'succour.' The inscription on the painting of the Magdalene that is in the church at Rennes le Chateau talks about the 'tears of the virgin' washing away sin and is a plea for 'succour.' And this painting is modelled on the painting of St. Anthony, the hermit, who is shown being tempted by creatures that can only be described as 'aliens.' Now, there is also a Magdalena, a St. Anthony, and even a Pearce on the map near this crash site. And when I drew little lines connecting them all, they enclosed this plain of San Augustin....

A: And who was Saint Augustine/San Augustin... Augustus, Augustine Monks, etc?

But Sinclair also speaks of the Newport Tower on Rhode Island, which we discussed in an earlier post on this thread. Sinclair devotes a whole passage to discussing this tower, which I will leave to a subsequent post. He attributes the building of the Tower to his ancestor Prince Henry Sinclair in 1399. However, Sinclair does make the important point that the Newport Tower featured on a number of early maps showing the coastline of North America such as those of the Italian explorer Verarazano, who referred to it as a “Norman Villa”. Steve Sora also covers the Newport Tower in his book but is dismissive of the theory that the Tower was built by Vikings and again attributes its construction to Prince Henry Sinclair and Cistercian monks. He argues that the Vikings were undoubtedly in North America as can be attested by the structures found at L’Anse aux Meadows, but he argues that the Vikings would have built structures that could be erected quickly and served a practical purpose, not a sophisticated tower like the one found at Newport. Unfortunately for Sinclair and Sora the C’s disagree since they stated quite clearly that the Tower was built by Vikings in 1102 AD:​

Session 5 July 1997:

Q: (Laura) Well, all my other questions have sort of become entirely insignificant. But, I will try to get a few in before the tape runs out. This William Mann has made some sort of connection to the ruins of a fort, or some megalithic type thing, related to the number 64 - though I had a rather different idea about the number 64 - but he thinks this all relates to a point where one can transcend space and time. Now, let me break it down. What is the ruin? The old fort?

A: Viking oriented.

Q: Can you tell me the approximate year when it was built?

A: 1102.

Q: Does it have any relationship to the Templars?

A: No.

Hence, the C’s clearly refute any suggestion that Prince Henry Sinclair, with his family’s strong and established Templar links, had anything to do with the construction of the Newport Tower, which had long been in existence before he alighted in America. The C’s use of the word “oriented” may be significant here since the word means, inter alia, “to align or position (something) relative to the points of a compass or other specified positions.” This use of the word may confirm James Eagan’s theory that the Tower was built as an astronomical observatory for determining the solstices and the measurement of the cycles of the sun and moon. However, this is not to rule out that the Tower could have been adapted later by Sinclair and his fellow explorers.

As noted above, the Vikings had become fully Christian by the early 12th century when the C’s say the Tower was constructed and we know that Christianity was first brought to Greenland circa 1000 AD, a full one hundred years earlier. Leif Ericson, the famous Viking explorer and son of Eric the Red, visited Nidaros (modern Trondheim) and converted to Christianity while at the court of the Norwegian king. He then returned to his father's farm in Brattahlid, southern Greenland, and brought two priests sent by Norwegian King Olaf Tryggvason. At the height of the settlement's extent, there were five thousand Norse Catholics in two settlements. Sixteen parishes and churches were founded along with at least two monasteries and a convent for Benedictine nuns.

Although we know there was an Augustinian monastery in Greenland in 1349, we are not told how early this was established. St Olaf, after whom the monastery was consecrated, was a Norwegian King born circa 995 AD who died in battle on 29 July 1030, soon after being canonized. Twenty-three years after his death, the Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen, founded by St. Ansgar, was given jurisdiction over Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and the Danes. Hence, by 1053 AD the Viking settlers of Greenland had become subject to the authority of Rome, which is well within the 1102 AD construction date for the Tower. Even if a monastery was not established until after 1102 AD, that does not, of course, rule out a monastic presence on Leif Ericson’s exploratory voyages to North America in the same way that we know Franciscan friars accompanied Christopher Columbus to the New World on his second voyage of discovery.

If not Scandinavian, could the monks have been Irishmen? Well, yes, it is possible since there is evidence that Irish monks had previously settled on Iceland from where Eric the Red had hailed, these holy men being known as “Papars” (Old Norse for Irish monks, clerics or hermits). There is little to suggest that these holy men established any permanent settlements in Iceland though. Having initially discovered a stable sea route from Ireland to Iceland, it is believed that they made repeated return journeys over the course of several decades until the arrival of the first Norse settlers circa 870 AD. Shortly after this date the monks had all but vanished from the island, never to return. In established works such as The history of Iceland by Gunnar Karlsson the arrival of the monks has become accepted history. Nevertheless, while conclusive archaeological evidence of the presence of monks has been unearthed on the remote Orkney and Shetland Islands, no such proof has ever been found in Iceland and so it remains a subject of some debate in academic circles. Nevertheless, there is strong DNA evidence for an Irish presence in Iceland, which suggests that at the time of the original settlements between about 62% and 70% of women in Iceland were of Celtic origin (probably captured slaves). The figure is about 20% for men. Could some Irish monks or hermits have remained after 870 AD to minister to the Irish wives of the Norse settlers and eventually a few of their successors emigrated with Eric the Red or his son Leif Ericson to Greenland, where they may have accompanied Viking explorers to North America in the 11th century? Although unlikely, one cannot rule out this possibility. And then there is the Irish monk St Brendan and his famous legendary voyage to America but that is a whole other story. Having digressed from John Dee and Mercator, let us return to Dee and his influence over the early English exploration of North America.
John Dee and the English Exploration of North America

To show how much Dee’s Brytanici Imperii Limites galvanised the interest in the exploration of North America, Dee’s house in Mortlake soon became a clearing house for the latest information about new discoveries. The mapmaker Abraham Ortelius (see above), recently made the Spanish Geographer Royal, visited Mortlake. The lawyer Richard Hakluyt, whose cousin and namesake would later write the chronicles of this age of discovery discussed the claim that King Arthur had conquered Friseland. Simao Fernandez came with maps made after a trip to Nurembega, the area of America that was to become New York and New England. Apart from navigators, Dee also hosted privateers in search of opportunities, the most frequent visitors being Adrian Gilbert (who was also an alchemist – see above) and John Davis. Adrian was the brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. These three men set up the ‘Fellowship of the New Navigations Atlantical and Septentionall’ and in 1583 succeeded in getting royal backing to discover and settle the northern parts of Atlantis (America) called ‘Novus Orbis’ (i.e., the New World). Dee’s involvement with these schemes helped define the sense of mission and of English national destiny that drove adventurers like Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh across the Atlantic Ocean. Queen Elizabeth became increasingly enthusiastic about Dee’s ideas and was anxious to be kept informed of their developments. Much as Dee would describe in his writings to the Queen would materialise in one form or another since North America would be colonised, a British Empire would emerge and the expedition that Dee had been helping to plan laid its foundation, but Dee would have no part in this future. Instead, it would fall to Sir Francis Bacon to bring these plans to fruition.​

Sir Francis Bacon and his Vision for America as the New Atlantis

That same year of 1577 in which Dee published his book The Perfect Art of Navigation saw him working out its details in his circles and his work influenced Sir Walter Raleigh, who, with funds from his own circle would go on to send three expeditions to Virginia. As Sora points out, whilst these expeditions were ill-fated, they would pave the way for the establishment of greater, permanent settlements. The colony (and future state) may have been called Virginia after Elizabeth, the so-called Virgin Queen, but the flag that would eventually fly over the colony depicted Bacon’s goddess Athena Pallas with spear and helmet (of invisibility) he had designed whilst still at law school (see below).


Note that the flag of Virginia was adopted in July 1776 after a committee of four colonists had proposed it. Many attribute the design of the flag to George Wythe (1726 – 1806) who was an American academic, scholar and judge, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, being the first of the seven signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence from Virginia.

Wythe taught and was a mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Henry Clay and other men who would later become America’s leaders. I have not been able to ascertain whether Wythe was a Freemason or Rosicrucian but, although the standard explanation of the flag depicts Tyranny lying prostrate beneath the feet of Virtue symbolising Virginia’s victory over Great Britain, the flag can also be seen to owe its origins to the story of Achilles slaying of Hector during the Siege of Troy, in which the goddess Pallas Athena, the spear shaker, played a major part. In Book XXII of the Iliad, while Achilles is chasing Hector around the walls of Troy, Athena appears to Hector disguised as his brother Deiphobus and persuades him to hold his ground so that they can fight Achilles together. Then, Hector throws his spear at Achilles and misses, expecting Deiphobus to hand him another, but Athena disappears instead, leaving Hector to face Achilles alone without his spear. Western artists and allegorists have often used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy, which might explain why Wythe may have chosen her as his symbol for Virtue. However, Wythe may have also known of Bacon’s writings (particularly New Atlantis) and his veneration of Athena Pallas and, given Bacon’s role in drawing up the colony’s original constitution, he may have wished to give a nod to Bacon in using the imagery of Pallas Athena standing over the dead body of Prince Hector with spear in hand (see image below).

Achilles about to kill Hector with Pallas Athena between them by the Artist: Giovanni Maria Benzoni​

Recall here that at the Grey’s Inn Revels of 1594–95, Bacon’s play The Honourable Order of the Knights of the Helmet was performed at which Bacon would institute the secret society of the Knights of the Helmet. The helmet referred to in the title of the order was the helmet of the goddess Pallas Athena, the “Spear-Shaker.” According to myth, the helmet of Pallas Athena made the wearer invisible, thus, a member of the Order was known as “An Invisible.” In the play, with its Masonic overtones, the initiate to the Order swore “to defend God and the State, to attack Ignorance, to defend Truth and Virtue ceaselessly and secretly,” and to work to “dissipate the clouds of ignorance by the light of knowledge by blazing it openly before the eyes of men or flashing it secretly to illuminate the darkened places of the mind, to work for the all-round good of humanity without fee or reward”. This oath fits very nicely with a description of later Rosicrucian ideals and principles.

Bacon would later write New Atlantis, which was a blueprint for a government that was free of religion and hereditary leadership. It was to be leadership by a group of benevolent, intelligent, and ethical men believing in science and man’s own inner abilities and enlightenment. This was Bacon’s dream for Freemasonry. The privileged elite would study the sciences in secret and act as an invisible government, deciding what people should & should not be told. Unfortunately, as with so many well-intentioned utopian schemes, the power exercised by this secret society, corrupted the dream as well as the men involved. Hence, we have the world we live in today, which is manifesting, even as I write, in the Illuminati’s New World Order.
John Dee Passes the Torch to Sir Francis Bacon

When James I ascended the throne Dee’s star was waning, but Francis Bacon’s star was ascending. This transition or passing of the baton may be what lies behind the famous woodcut by Jacob Cats published in a book of woodcuts in 1655. It depicts an elderly wizard (Dee) passing a lamp to a young man (Bacon) at court.​

Lampado Trado​

Called Lampado Trado, the woodcut scene (see above) is alleged to represent Dee and Bacon. Dee could be considered the Merlin of his day and Francis Bacon his Arthur, with his round table comprised of the Invisibles. Between the two figures is an open vault. Some have theorised that such a vault contained books, notes or other evidence of Dee’s accumulated learning, which had to remain concealed. People have speculated about the whereabouts of the vault, some believing that it may have been located beneath the River Wye in England (such a vault was in fact found under the river but proved to be empty) or underneath a church in Bruton, Virginia. Alternatively, some imagine it to be the famous Chapel Vault located in the Money Pit on Oak Island. However, I would particularly draw your attention to the buckle on the shoe of Bacon’s right foot for it is decorated with a large rose, which is symbolic of the rose of the Rosicrucians. Another link between Bacon and the woodcutting can be found in Bacon’s tomb in St. Michael’s Church in St. Albans for adorning it is a statue of a young man with the same rose on his shoe buckle. This cannot be mere coincidence.​

Bacon’s Influence on Post Colonial America

Upon Sir Walter Raleigh’s death, his enemies replaced him and created the Virginia Company of London. Among its council were the Earl of Southampton, William Herbert (the third Earl of Pembroke), Thomas Cecil, Henry Neville, Sir Edwin Sandys and Sir Francis Bacon, who acted as its first secretary. Although the fledgling colony at Jamestown faced many early trials and tribulations it would eventually flourish. However, for Sora, Virginia was really an experiment in creating a ‘New World’ where more than one religion might be tolerated as a matter of choice, where rule would be established by vote and where science would be practised and not punished by horrific torture and death. This would be the place where Bacon’s plan or grand design, as set out in his book New Atlantis, would become reality. Where liberty would be more than a mere word. Indeed, there are those that believe that in addition to New Atlantis, Bacon had also sketched out what would become the American Constitution and his work describes a congress of educated men. Intriguingly, some believe that Bacon’s chaplain, secretary and trusted friend, William Rawley, may have brought Bacon’s documents to America before he died in 1660. Some modern researchers believe there are numerous vaults in America that might be candidates for being the repository for Bacon’s works. One such candidate is Williamsburg’s Bruton Church, but this theory really deserves a post of its own. In this last regard, it may be worth bearing in mind Sir Walter Raleigh’s words concerning Bacon: “And thy great genius in being concealed, is revealed.

But did Bacon’s plans find an echo in the later works of America’s Founding Fathers? According to Sora they did. He cites as one example the city of Williamsburg, Virginia that had been founded according to an obvious architectural plan. He relies here on the writer Cort Lindahl who proposes that: “The layout of Williamsburg and all the associated Rosicrucian and Masonic symbolism indicate that [Thomas] Jefferson may have been carrying out a plan set in motion by Sir Francis Bacon.” Sora states that it is clear that Jefferson had inherited Bacon’s plan for a New World, built according to various alignments. Jefferson (who was mentored by George Wythe remember) would influence the building of several properties in a fashion that would be echoed later in Washington D.C. and other prominent American cities.​

The Rosy Cross Rises over Pennsylvania

Sora argues that perhaps no man did more to ensure that Bacon’s vision and Rosicrucian tradition would find a firm foundation in the New World than William Penn (1644-1718), the founder of Pennsylvania and the guiding force in bringing the tradition to America.

Born in London in 1644 to an English father and Dutch mother, by the age of thirty Penn, a writer and Quaker (a member of the Religious Society of Friends), had conceptualised his own version of a utopia where man was free to worship as he pleased. At its centre would be Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his North American land holdings along the North Atlantic coast to Penn to pay the large debts the King had owed to Penn's father, the admiral and politician Sir William Penn. This land included the present-day states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Although Penn’s image today is that of a pacifist, in his own time he was viewed as a rabble rouser and a rebel. In that era, Quakers were regularly arrested for holding to their beliefs. Penn would be thrown out of Oxford and then out of his father’s home for his views and, like writers of the previous generation, he would also spend time in the Tower of London because of his works, which challenged official Anglican dogma and doctrines. Penn was imprisoned on four occasions and on each occasion his father successfully intervened on his behalf to get him released.

But how do we know Penn harboured Rosicrucian tendencies? Well, as Sora explains, Penn wrote a constitution for a colony in the New World, no doubt in imitation of Sir Francis Bacon. The co-author of the constitution was Algernon Sydney, who was the grandnephew of Sir Philip Sydney, and a follower of the Bacon philosophy. This was the same Philip Sydney who had written Arcadia and was close friends with Sir Walter Raleigh (being a member of Raleigh’s School of Night), Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Walsingham, the Earl of Leicester and Fulke Greville (Sydney’s biographer). As Sora notes, the School of Night had left its mark and others would keep its philosophy of independence and the right to civil liberties alive as time continued to pass.

Penn crossed the Atlantic in 1682 to create his New World and his new city of brotherly love. Penn took his first step on American soil, sailing up the Delaware Bay and Delaware River, past earlier Swedish and Dutch riverfront colonies, in New Castle (now in Delaware). The colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new proprietor, and the first Pennsylvania General Assembly was held. Penn wanted to build a new Babylon, a city between two rivers and geographically Philadelphia met that criterion since it is situated between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Interestingly, the city was laid out in gridiron pattern (English cities are not) with parallel avenues running east and west and crisscrossing avenues running north and south. However, this great rectangle was not organised perfectly to the east and west but fixed ten degrees south of east instead. The result of this is that the sun aligns with the city’s streets on two dates equidistant from the two equinoxes. These two dates, when taken together, could signify the death and rebirth cycle, which although thinly disguised in Christianity is more openly celebrated in the Celtic tradition (MJF: think here of Stonehenge and the modern day Druid gatherings held at the summer solstice).

Sora states that there can be little doubt that William Penn was at least influenced by Bacon and Rosicrucian tradition. He backs this by pointing out that Penn first broke bread in the oldest tavern in Philadelphia in 1682 and its name was no coincidence since it was the ‘Blue Anchor Tavern’ - which invokes a distinctive Rosicrucian symbol [MJF: I have not been able to verify this myself, but the anchor has been used as a symbol throughout antiquity in connection with the sea and mariners. It has also been used to signify safety and stability, steadfastness, determination and eternal love and fidelity. In Christianity it symbolises hope and was sometimes used as an alternative symbol for the cross during periods of persecution. Perhaps more relevant to Penn though is the fact that the anchor symbol also served the purpose of marking safe houses for those seeking refuge from persecution]. Sora adds that northeast from the centre of the city is Bensalem, which was named for the Bensalem envisioned in Bacon’s New Atlantis. In Bacon’s Bensalem, all were free to study, experiment, read and write, and worship.

However, Penn was not just a reformer in social and religious matters since in the political sphere, he would be one of the earliest supporters of colonial unification when he wrote and urged for a union of all the English colonies in what was eventually to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he included in the West Jersey Concessions and set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame of Government would serve as an inspiration for the members of the convention who framed the new U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787.

A decade after arriving in America, Penn obtained a full charter for Pennsylvania. This would be known as the ‘Great Experiment’. The charter immediately catalysed a large number of emigrants to move to the colony. Penn’s welcome was extended to thousands of fellow Quakers as well as various German sects in Europe. Indeed, the scale of immigration from central Europe was so great that by the time of the American Revolution in 1776, Pennsylvania was only one third English. George Fox, who had initiated the Quaker movement, was a friend of Penn and he had preached the doctrine of the ‘Inner Light’ in the late 1640’s. Unlike the Puritans in New Plymouth who were fundamentalists or literalists where the word of the Bible was concerned, the Quakers were mystics who believed in being moved inwardly by the spirit (hence ‘quaking’). However, the Quaker doctrine was genuine in preaching religious toleration and the Quaker Society of Friends was in essence a pacifist organisation. Even though Penn himself drew a distinction between wars of aggression and wars of defence, many Quakers in his community would not bear arms.
The Pietists

One group of immigrants who would have a deep and lasting impact on Pennsylvania was the Pietists who arrived in 1694 with their leader Joahn Kelpius. Kelpius had studied theology at the Bavarian University of Altdorf, where he obtained a master’s degree at the age of sixteen. In terms of his philosophy he was part Pietist and part Rosicrucian. Having studied under the German theologian Johann Jacob Zimmerman, he wished to create his own Chapter of Perfection in America. It should be noted here that Zimmerman was well versed in the works of various occult philosophers ranging from Jacob Boehme to Johannes Valentinus Andrae and had studied the Kabbalah and Rosicrucian texts. Zimmerman had died the year before the Pietists set out for America and Kelpius had assumed the leadership of the group in his place, proving to be a charismatic mystic. He had also met Jane Lead in London, a prophetess who had founded the Philadelphia movement in 1670, which promoted esoteric Christianity. She was a medium who claimed the ability to channel the Virgin Sophia. Johann Wilhelm Petersen, a German-born Philadelphian and Pietist, gave her views scriptural foundations in his Mystery of the Restitution of All Things (1700–10). The Pietists would land in Philadelphia at the Blue Anchor Tavern (see above) on Saint John’s Eve, i.e., the eve of the feast day of St John the Baptist celebrated on 24th June each year (MJF: recall here that St. John the Baptist was a patron saint of the Knights Templar) .

The Pietists would live as hermits in the wooded area known today as Fairmont Park on the banks of the Wissahickon Creek. They constructed a monastery of wood whilst they awaited the fulfilment of the prophecy that would be the biblical Apocalypse. They called themselves the Society of the ‘Woman of the Wilderness’ and blended a pagan Druidism with Rosicrucian theology. The “end” for them was supposed to have occurred at the end of 1694, the year they arrived, and then in 1700.

Near what today is Hermit Lane, Kelpius took up residence in a cave where he meditated and sometimes gathered together his brotherhood. The brotherhood measured the skies, practised astrology, experimented with alchemy and studied numerology, all activities historically connected with the Rosicrucians. They would also heal the sick without charge, a key Rosicrucian tenet. They also founded the first free public Sunday School, which was non-sectarian and built meeting houses for religious practices where they invited everyone to meet in them and exchange ideas. They also established an observatory, built the first organ in the colonies and created botanical gardens for research. In short, they sought to create the type of utopia Bacon had envisioned.

Sora tells us that the brotherhood, called by local people the ‘Monks of the Ridge’, considered the number forty (40) to be sacred. As a result, Kelpius’s community generally numbered forty members. The wooden monastery they built was forty feet by forty feet, as was their burial ground. Symbols found inside Kelpius’s cave indicate a Rosicrucian influence and in 1961 a Rosicrucian monument was erected outside it. Kelpius would eventually die from pneumonia in 1708, perhaps induced by the rigorous life he led.

However, Sora tells us that Wissahickon Creek would become the River Ganges of the Rosicrucians in America with Benjamin Franklin and George Washington having connections to the Pietists, Washington even being described as “an acolyte” of the Wissahickon sect. A Pietist who Washington met through the group, Peter Miller, would translate the Declaration of Independence into German for the large German-speaking local population who did not speak English and for subsequent export to Europe. Interestingly, Franklin would keep his connections up with the Pietists even after they had left Philadelphia for Ephrata (see below). By 1720, Rosicrucian chapters were meeting in taverns throughout Philadelphia, which mirrors the way in which Freemasonry in England originally used taverns as meeting places during the early 18th Century. According to Robert Hieronimus in his book Founding Fathers, Secret Societies, Franklin even had his own lodge [MJF: Please note that I aim to do a separate post on Benjamin Franklin that will explore his links with Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, since he is a key, and very influential, figure in American history].

Sora then tells us that the formation and settlement of Kelpius and his Pietist group in Pennsylvania represented a trend that would continue long into the future as wave after wave of similar groups would arrive including: the Mennonites, Hutterites, the Swiss Brethren (or Anabaptists), Schwenkfelders and the Amish, who were all fleeing persecution and war in Europe. In addition, radical groups with alternative views concerning gender, sex, marriage and community poured into Pennsylvania. These included the Waldensians and the Moravians; the latter group being descended from the old Hussite movements of Bohemia and Moravia.

With many of these sects came a host of charismatic leaders. One of these from the German Palatinate (a hotbed of Rosicrucianism) was Conrad Beissel born in 1691. He was initiated into Rosicrucianism and may have achieved its highest rank. He was knowledgeable as a mystic and familiar with the works of Paracelsus and with the Kabbalah. His teachings were described as “Rosicrucian doctrine pure and undefiled.” Beissel had a strong relationship with the Wissahickon hermits and under his direction work began on a chapter house that when completed in 1738 would house the Ephrata community. Secret rights of rejuvenation would be practised in the temple area. Thirteen members (N.B. the same as a coven of witches) would spend forty days and nights there, beginning on the night of the first full moon in May. This period involved the members in purging their bodies through fasting and laxatives, shedding blood and partaking of the “grain of elixir” (MJF: which makes me think of monoatomic gold but it could, of course, have been a psychedelic substance). Whatever this substance was, it apparently caused convulsions, sweating and loss of speech. This Zionitic Brotherhood would be dressed in white and walked barefoot like the Jewish Essenes had done two thousand years before. Unfortunately, Sora tells us that whatever secrets were contained within the chapter house at Ephrata remained in the chapter house (MJF: like those of the ancient Dionysian rituals, the Essenes and the Knights Templar before them).​

The Moravians

Of all these mid-European Protestant sects perhaps the most radical were the Moravians whose leader was Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. They lived primarily in close communities in Bethlehem and Nazareth and their clergy were both male and female, which compared to today was highly unusual in that age. This practice of allowing women Moravians to preach in Pennsylvania would, however, lead to a period of conflict between the Moravians and members of the Lutheran and Reformed Protestant movements, who made up a large percentage of the German immigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1730 and 1754. These more orthodox Protestant sects viewed this practice as anarchy and wanted to stop it.

They also counted both male and female members of the nobility among their number. They were divided into groups by sex and age and called these groups choirs. Sora tells us that they had rites of communion and baptism and indulged in love feasts, singing, and elaborate rituals that celebrated marriage and sex. Indeed, Zinzendorf and the Moravians would declare that sex between husband and wife was holy and a service to God (MJF: which seems to be the complete antithesis of the Cathars’ beliefs). Zinzendorf’s group was based in the Netherlands in 1730 and would send missionaries to America where they settled in the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth.

The Moravians in Bethlehem were a very secretive group. An odd feature of their living arrangements was that women would generally be housed in buildings on one side of the street and men in buildings on the opposite side. However, there appeared to be tunnels under the street which connected them, which makes one wonder whether the men used these tunnels to sneak through in order to visit the women. The Sun Inn, built on the grounds of the Moravian community in 1758 was said to connects these tunnels, have hidden chambers, and be the hiding place of a treasure belonging to one mysterious cleric called Brother Albrecht (MJF: all very reminiscent of the Templars I might add). And as American readers may appreciate, the inn was yet one more place that George Washington was known to have slept at, as did other revolutionary luminaries such as Lafayette, the Adamses, Pulaski and von Steuben, as well as the chiefs of several Native American tribes.

As Sora explains, for many of these sects this was a time of spiritual exploration, but the Moravians would take such experimentation to new levels. The Moravians came to believe that they had discovered the feminine Jesus and the androgyny of the Trinity and Christ (they hadn’t, as the Gnostics had promoted this concept as far back as the 1st and 2nd centuries AD). Thus, at Ephrata, Sophia represented God’s femaleness (MJF: consider here the Templars veneration of the crystal skull Baphomet – the ‘Baptism of Wisdom’- “Metis” being equivalent to “Sophia”). However, the Moravians went even further and claimed that all souls were female. For them the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost had hovered over the waters of Creation and was Mother (MJF: which in some ways mirrors the Mother Goddess beliefs of our ancient ancestors). In a parallel to our own present age, the Moravians tolerated gender transformations and single men and women kissing in public. Indeed, it was this sort of practice that helped to get them kicked out of Europe. Now in Pennsylvania they found that their sexual experimentation was considered obscene to outsiders. Perhaps this might explain why the Moravians would later burn many of their records.​

The Drunkard or Brethren Community

In the late 18th Century, the small town of Pricetown, Pennsylvania would become home to what was known as the Drunkard or Brethren Community. Today there stands a church there that was dedicated on the Friday of the winter solstice. The Drunkard or Brethren were pacifists who lived the utopian dream of Bacon and Penn. As time went by, they did away with their distinctive hats and dress, unlike their Mennonite and Amish neighbours. Conrad Price, the person after whom the town was named, was among the original twelve Brethren pioneer families who settled in Pricetown circa 1754. The new community was an outgrowth of the Brethren Plain Sect that had earlier settled in the Oley Valley. For more see: The Brethren Community of Pricetown - Berks History Center.

However, as Sora points out, the church in Pricetown contains a marvel of Masonic and Rosicrucian symbols inside. For example, its altar features two columns more commonly found in a Masonic Temple (i.e., the twin pillars of Joachim and Boaz). The windows, walls and even the ceiling are decorated in a Rosicrucian motif.

St. John's United Church of Christ in Pricetown, Pennsylvania
Further images of the interior of the church can be found on the following link: St. John's UCC of Pricetown | Fleetwood PA | Facebook


We have learned from previous posts that Rosicrucianism manifests in many guises such as the monarchist and later fascist leaning Martinists, occult groups like the Orphic Circle and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and now in radical Protestant groups such as the Pietists, the Moravians and the Drunkard or Brethren Community. This shows just how varied Rosicrucian expression can be.

Sora concludes his description of the Rosicrucian influences on English colonial America by stating that the colonies settled by England were positioned to achieve their religious and philosophical goals. Although Massachusetts had more restrictive rules and beliefs, whereas Virginia had more open attitudes, it was the colony of Pennsylvania which displayed the true Rosicrucian orientation for it permitted the most variation in religion, and it allowed the ideas of science and philosophy in the style of Bacon and Dee to flourish.

Hence, one can see in retrospect that for Dee and Bacon the English colonisation of America was a Rosicrucian project by which they intended to establish a New Atlantis or Arcadia in the New World. However, it would take a revolution to bring around the true fulfilment of that dream.

In my next post, I will explore the Rosicrucian background to some of the leading Founding Fathers of the Republic and show how they would put their Roscicrucian ideals into practice.​
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