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Posted on Monday, August 29 - 2005

" It doesn't exactly pirouette off the tongue. The word Rosicrucian, that is.Just ask Juanita Rotiz, manager of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. "One of the most frequently asked questions is, 'How do you say that?'" Visitors find there's a Nile-length list of cur..."

Rosicrucian

It doesn't exactly pirouette off the tongue. The word Rosicrucian, that is.Just ask Juanita Rotiz, manager of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. "One of the most frequently asked questions is, 'How do you say that?'" Visitors find there's a Nile-length list of curiosities coursing through this tourist magnet, celebrating its 75th year.An estimated 110,000 come to see this place nestled on the banks of Silicon Valley sprawl. But few know what's behind this secret fraternal organization. Existential questions swirl about the place, such as who the Rosicrucians are, why they are so captivated by ancient Egypt and if their order qualifies as a religion. Members saythe order belongs to Western esoteric traditions and traces back to ancient Egyptian practices.

They also are adamant that the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis not be categorized as a religion, although some scholars disagree. "We consider ourselves a philosophical and initiatic tradition," said Julie Scott, museum president and grandmaster of the North American lodge. "Some of the main differences are we have no creed, there's no dogma. We consider ourselves an educational organization that involves a lot of research and experimentation." A 14-year member, Scott learned about the order from a friend in St. Louis. She credits the teachings for instilling in her a sense of calmness."I try to have a little more equanimity in my life, not so many ups and downs," she said."Certainly with the meditation techniques it helps prepare me for the day to come."The director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, J. Gordon Melton, labels the Rosicrucian an esoteric religion.Melton viewed some of the order's lessons and found they contained basic meditation skills along with rituals for magic."There was little that I found there that I couldn't find in a New Age bookstore," he said.The San Jose order was founded by H. Spencer Lewis in 1915. The New Jersey native moved the headquarters to San Jose in 1927.Journeys to Egypt continue to this day and result in more artifacts in the museum.When a person becomes member, he or she is encouraged to pursue his existing faith practice, Scott said.Members receive a monthly packet ofweek......


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