'Rosicrucians at large': Radical versus qualified invention in the cultic milieu

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This paper explores the differential legitimating strategies pursued by three ‘invented religions’ with roots in the 1930s ‘cultic milieu’. Each of these new formations sought to legitimate itself to contemporary ‘seekers’ through appeals to the authority of a ‘hidden transmission’. The formative appeal was made by the Rosicrucian Order, Crotona Fellowship (ROCF) and was in turn adapted in the historiography of two of the most influential new religious formations of the second half of the twentieth century, Wicca and Findhorn, which shaped the later Pagan and New Age movements. However, while Wicca and Findhorn duly flourished, the ROCF disappeared. Based on primary source analysis of ROCF documents, and analysis of emic historiographies of Wicca and Findhorn, this paper argues that these differential outcomes amongst ‘Rosicrucians at large’ reflect the adaptive fitness of qualified over radical ‘invention of tradition’ in the cultic milieu.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Religion
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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