On the Meaning of Damcar in Rosicrucian Mysticism

In the Rosicrucian manifesto, Fama Fraternitatis, the youthful Christian Rosenkreutz acquires his knowledge of mysticism during a journey to the Holy Land, in a place called "Damcar," described as a city in Arabia. While today the word "Arabia" tends to refer to the Arabian Peninsula, the Fama is probably using it merely to refer to lands inhabited by Arabs. Across four centuries, scholars have tried to identify the city of Damcar, but without success.

The likely reason for using Damcar, rather than the real name of the mystical city, is that the real name would openly identify one of the founders of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, surely something they wanted to keep a secret. In 1652, the first English translator of the Fama, Thomas Vaughan (who is quoted below), was totally confused by the meaning of Damcar, but seeing an apparent reference to Damascus and thinking Damcar may be the same place, opted to translate everything with the nonsensical "Damasco." Original German words are in brackets:

"Brother CR .. went to Damasco [Damascum], minding from thence to go to Jerusalem; but by reason of the feebleness of his body he remained still there, and by his skill in Physick he obtained much favour with the Turks: In the mean time he became by chance acquainted with the Wise men of Damasco [Damcar] in Arabia, and beheld what great Wonders they wrought, and how Nature was discovered unto them. "

Here we learn that Damcar was a city of wise men who were mystically active. Since Brother CR became familiar with them in Damascus, Syria, we have to assume that the city of Damcar is relatively close to the city of Damascus.

The Fama continues: "hereby was that high and noble Spirit of Brother CR [CRC] so stirred up, that Jerusalem was not so much now in his mind as Damasco [Damcar]; also he could not bridle his desires any longer, but made a bargain with the Arabians, that they should carry him for a certain sum of money to Damasco [Damcar]; he was but of the age of sixteen years when he came thither, yet of a strong Dutch [teutschen] constitution. "

First of all, we observe that Brother CR and Brother CRC can not be the same person because Brother CR is afflicted with "the feebleness of his body" but Brother CRC is only 16 years old and of strong constitution. Thus, while Brother CR is stuck in Damascus, Brother CRC has to be in Jerusalem. Since Brother CRC pays Arabs to carry him to Damcar, we have to assume that Damcar is relatively close to Jerusalem.

The city of Damcar is therefore close to Damascus and it is also close to Jerusalem. Where is it located? Obviously, the city of Damcar has to be located in northern Israel.

We must now concentrate on the word "Dutch" toward the end of the last quote. Since "Damcar" is an enigma, could it be an anagram of a Dutch word? Let's try DRAKEN, rearranged as Denkar, pronounced Damcar. Dragons. Yes, dragons. But a better translation of "teutschen" might be "German" rather than "Dutch." The German word for dragon is "Drachen," which is close enough because the Germanic "c", "ch" and "k" have similar sounds, and all the same arguments apply.

For the Christian mentality of the early 17th century, the words "dragon" and "Arabia" would quickly conjure up only one thing: Saint George. Everyone knew that Saint George killed the dragon, by some legends near the Bay of Beirut, and by other legends in the Holy Land or in Libya, but nonetheless all Arabic places.

Next, we must take note of the noble "Spirit" of Brother CRC, which reminds us of the two "Sancti Spiritus" and the "Spiritum Sanctum" from elsewhere in the Fama. Thus, the Fama probably wants us to view only the "Saint" as a clue (and disregard the "George" except to work in English as this was the patron saint of England!). "Saint" is a word that has five letters and begins with the letter "S."

To sum up: Damcar is a mystical city renowned for its wise men. It is located in northern Israel, and the real name of this city has five letters and begins with the letter "S."

Safed, a city of northern Isreal, was the originating city of modern mysticism, known as Kabbalah. In the 15th and 16th centuries, wise men came from many places -from as far away as Spain- to congregate there. There can be no doubt that the indicated city is Safed because the Fama refers to the Kabbalah (Cabala) or cabalists in four different places.

Isaac Luria, famed founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah, was 36 years old (16 plus 20 or the "XX" part of "CXX" in the Fama) when he arrived in Safed in 1570 after getting a cold reception in Jerusalem ( "Jerusalem was not so much now in his mind "). In sharp contrast, in Safed he was welcomed with open arms ( "there the Wise men received him not as a stranger (as he himself witnesseth) but as one whom they had long expected").

The story of Isaac Luria continues in Nova Atlantis, Rosicrucian "fragments" attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, where we encounter the mysterious "sacerdote Aegyptio." These are Spanish words inexplicably inserted into an all-Latin text. The distinction can be significant: whereas the Latin "sacerdos" generally refers to a priest, the Spanish "sacerdote" can refer to a person who performs the rites of any religion. Later, the Nova Atlantis proclaims "Erat autem Iudaeus." Isaac Luria was in fact an Egyptian rabbi.

The Nova Atlantis goes on to say that he was sometimes called the Milky Way ( "Vocabat eum etiam quandoque viam lacteam"). Luria was widely known as ha-Ari, the Lion, where Leo is a constellation of the Milky Way. And he was sometimes called the Elijah of the Messiah ( "quandoque Eliam Messiae"); Luria was noted for his frequent conversations with Elijah the prophet. And there were many other names that signaled his greatness ( "aliis compluribus nominibus magnum eum insigniebat"): Ha'ARI Hakadosh, ARIZal, Rabbi Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi. Above all, these words are quickly followed by a direct reference to the Kabbalah ( "per secretam quandam cabalam").

In conclusion, there is ample reason to suspect that Rosicrucian mysticism is a historical derivative of the Lurianic Kabbalah. Indeed, there seem to be many parallels in the teachings and beliefs of both.

Source by Morten St.

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