Announcing: The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz
This day, this day, this, this
The Royal Wedding is.
Art thou thereto by Birth inclin’d,
And unto joy of God design’d,
Then may’st thou to the Mountain tend,
Whereon three stately Temples stand,
And there see all from end to end.
Keep watch, and ward,
Unless with diligence thou bathe,
The Wedding can’t thee harmless save:
He’ll dammage have that here delays;
Let him beware, too light that weighs.
Thus reads the invitation Christian Rosenkreutz receives that begins his wondrous journey; and thus begins my invitation to readers of my new edition of Ezekiel Foxcroft’s translation of a seventeenth-century wondertale that has baffled readers, the curious, and esoteric thrill-seekers ever since it first appeared in German in 1616.
As I've written here, I have pondered, puzzled over, and stood bemused by this text ever since my initial encounter with it in my youth. As such, I am very pleased that my own edition is now available. It has been, to say the least, a project with an extra-long incubation period.
As the jacket blurb describeth it:
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz was first published in the seventeenth century and has perplexed, amazed, and entertained generations of readers, seekers, and scholars every since. Often described as an alchemical romance, the book has also been recognized as a precursor to science fiction, as a satire, and as a storehouse of esoteric knowledge. In his commentary, Michael Martin undertakes an agapeic reading of The Chymical Wedding and finds a text that has been misunderstood from the beginning, a narrative that offers instead of hoped-for secrets something much more useful: physic for the soul.
I am also profoundly appreciative of the following individuals and their words concerning my edition of this extraordinary book:
“Tennyson observed that most who sought they Holy Grail followed will-o-the-wisps into a marsh. In hardly any book is the reader at so great a risk of likewise losing the way and falling into reveries than in the enigmatic Chymical Wedding, perhaps as its author would later say, intended more as a pastiche of alchemical allegory than as a straightforward esoteric text. The book becomes a magic mirror in which the readers patently find their own spiritual concerns and ways reflected. What Martin achieves in his version of Foxcroft’s old and classic translation of the wedding and in his commentary, is to go through the mirror to what is surely the goal of all inner ways, the mysterium coniunctionis, the union of opposites, the inner unity we all seek and which ,on the outer side, society today so urgently needs. Michael Martin’s work becomes then what the work in essence is an invitation to that wedding of unification for which we were brought into being and which can and must be ,as he wisely leaves in Foxcroft’s drumbeat, received ‘This day, this day, this, this...’ ”
~ Bishop Seraphim Joseph Sigrist
“This fine edition makes widely accessible a text probably written by the highly influential German Seventeenth Century Protestant theologian Johann Valentin Andreae. It is one of the most significant works of Christian esotericism, which is at the same time a satirical commentary on that very tradition. Its ambivalent and yet symbolically profound quest for the deepest sense of Christian truth, which can serve to heal violent Christian and human divisions, is entirely relevant for us today. Once more we can resonate with Andreae’s sense that this truth is necessarily most evident and yet most secret, most serious and yet most comic, most urgent and yet most dangerous.”
~ John Milbank
“Michael Martin’s edition of the 17th-century tale of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, along with his deeply insightful and soulful introduction and commentary, reveals that this poetic metaphysical story wields a transformative power needed now. The intellectual hubris of our present civilization veils the true world with the life of death. The way out—breakdown as breakthrough—exemplified by the very language of the tale, undoes us, baffles us intellectually, while pure poetic Eros opens receptivity of soul and the equation of Life and Love.”
~ Robert Sardello, Director, The School of Spiritual Psychology
“Although several versions of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz are currently available, Michael Martin reframes his new edition in a very useful way— one that answers what is perhaps the fundamental riddle of Rosicrucianism and the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. Namely, that the authors of the texts that revolutionized Western Esotericism in the early seventeenth century between 1614 and 1616 later confessed that it was all just a ludibrium—a game. What they meant —as Martin explains in both his Introduction and his concluding essay on ‘Marriage and the Chymical Wedding’—was not that it was all a ‘joke,’ but rather that it was a most ‘serious game,’ a linguistic or literary game in the same way that so many alchemical texts (and secrets) depend on wordplay of a very serious kind. In other words: this is a valuable edition that opens new ways of thinking about language and esotericism.”
~Christopher Bamford, author An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit of Wisdom in the West
You can order a copy of The Chymical Wedding here.