Rosicrucianism emerged in Germany in the early 17th century as a religious, yet scientific, philosophy that sought to explain the essence of God and nature. The movement was a component of the early Enlightenment, and its challenge to the dogma of the Church forced its adherents to compile and profess their work in secret.
Between the years 1607 and 1616 two treatises were published anonymously–the Fama fraternitatis Roseae Crucis oder Die Bruderschaft des Ordens der Rosenkreuzer (The Fame of the Brotherhood of the Rose and Cross), and Confessio oder Bekenntnis der Societät und Bruderschaft Rosenkreuz (The Confession of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross).
Both works were sensational and outlined the history and significance of Rosicrucianism, albeit apocryphally. These works, along with others, were likely influenced by older Eastern texts and were a mix of allegory, symbolism, as well as progressive ideas concerning medicine, mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy.
Though the secretive genesis of Rosicrucianism is debatable, its legendary origins did affect and inspire several leading European philosophers and scientists, such as Kepler, Rheticus, Dee, and Brahe, to assimilate into “invisible colleges,” the most notable transforming into the English Royal Society.
In the early 18th century the scientific ideals of Rosicrucianism began to make their way into the progressive social contracts that formed the basis of modern Freemasonry. From that point forward Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry worked hand in hand to promote freethinking, social progressivism, and scientific discovery.