Invisibles: The True History of the Rosicrucians
by Tobias Churton
published Lewis Masonic
HB, 444pp, £19.99
reviewed by David Rankine
If you have read any of Tobias Churton’s works before, like The Gnostics or Freemasonry – the Reality, you will know he has a habit of setting himself difficult topics to cover, and then making them accessible through good scholarship and a sharp lucid explanatory style. With Invisibles he remains true to form, providing a comprehensive overview of the history and development of Rosicrucianism, one of the most significant strands of the spiritual tapestry created through the development of Western society in recent centuries. As with his other books, Churton utilises his habit of digressing down fascinating avenues of information, only to bring them back in front of the reader to illustrate the points he was making from a completely different angle! He also provides the information ina manner which allows the reader to form their own conclusions, a rare and useful quality in a work such as this.
This book could be described as the hidden or invisible history of the spiritual development of science and philanthropy over the last four centuries. It is divided into two parts, Origins and Development, both of which introduce the reader to a whole cast of historical figures, some better known and more familiar than others. Even with the better known figures, there are still details and snippets which a few produce surprises waiting to leap on the unexpecting mind and cause a re-evaluation of ideas.
Churton has produced a book which should be read over a period of time, as every chapter is full of ideas which need time to be fully explored and take seed like a strong tree. If anything, there isalmost be too much information in some chapters, hence my recommendation to take your time over this book. Like a fine wine, it has the benefit of maturity, and is best enjoyed through sips and not gulps!
So to the essence of the book – everything you would expect is included in this work, from the Fama Fraternitas and Christian Rosenkreuz to the Rose-Croix and the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. The European essence of Rosicrucianism is explored through its luminaries, of whom there are many. For me perhaps the best quality of this significant tome is that it manages to bring out the spiritual essence which pervades the history of Rosicrucianism, a major feat for which Churton is to be congratulated. This book is an excellent and worthy study which deserves to be read by anyone with the slightest interest in spirituality, history or indeed the road of the Philosopher’s Stone to personal transformation.