The Jewel of the Order
Frater I. D. V. A.
Because of the ubiquity of the symbolic designs of the German Gold- und RosenKreuzer Orden of the 18th century, and because many of those designs have been taken up by later Rosicrucian Orders, it is widely assumed that the cross worn by Rosicrucians should be gold in colour. This, however, is not the case.
There is no prescribed colour for a ‘Rosicrucian’ cross, and just as it need not be gold, neither does it have to follow the pattern of the Church, which frequently used green or red crosses for Easter ceremonies. The jewel worn by members of the Order of the Rose and Cross takes the form of a black Latin Cross, edged in gold, with a five-petalled red rose impaled upon it. What does this signify ?
The colour black serves to remind us of our mortality, for in the West black is traditionally the colour of death and mourning. It also reminds us of the crucified Christ, dying as Man, but as a prelude to His glorious Resurrection. Thus Martin Luther’s badge, on which the emblem of the Rosicrucians is based, bears a black cross; and a black cross has always been the badge of the head of the English Masonic Rosicrucian Society – indeed, during the 1870s it was printed on the cover of that society’s journal, The Rosicrucian and Masonic Record.
But we are enjoined also to remember that death is the gateway to eternal life, a necessary stage on our journey of return whence we have come: the path of spiritual regeneration that leads to reintegration with God. For us this path is represented by the line of gold that surrounds the black cross, gold being the colour of resurrection.
The five-petalled rose is the primary symbol of the risen and ascended Christ, and is thus wholly appropriate for our Order: far more so than the image of the dead Christ on the crucifix. Our cross is thus truly a Cross of Life, a constant reminder to us that although we must all pass through death, there is no finality in death: our ultimate end is and always will be reintegration with the living Christ in eternity.