WHO ARE THE ROSICRUCIANS BY RUDOLF STEINER
(DAT ROSA MEL APIBUS “The Rose Gives The Bees Honey”
after the original motto found in the engraving (possibly) by Johann Thedore deBry (d. 1598).
This image of the Rosa Mundi, or Rota Mundi, is the solar wheel of Apollo, the Lord of movement, of the ever passing/present moment. It is the Solar Citadel, the abode of the Heart, the symbolic center of the Supreme Center which is everywhere centered at once. It is a door through which this invisible place may be accessed by one with a pure heart and an unblemished soul. If one gains access to the center of the rose, it speaks the “lost word” of Masonic lore, the Master Word which throws open the lodge doors of every sacred society.
In DAT ROSA MEL APIBUS the Solar Rose represents the labyrinth, the path and pilgrimage of a particular lifetime. The journey into the center can be thorny, but the destination is sweet, like honey to the bee. The pitfalls of the journey are symbolized by the transformative spider and her webs. In the engraving upon which this painting was based, the spider is absent: Love has conquered Death. The term arachnid comes from Arachne, the Greek maiden who was transformed into a spider after losing a weaving contest to the goddess Athena. The spider’s spiral webs show us the dangers on the road to Love, trick snares set to bind and trap, and ultimately victimize the inattentive wayfarer. On the surface, one may reasonably confuse the labyrinth of the rose for that of the web. This requires an inward looking, intuitive approach like that of the bee seeking to pollinate the receptive flower. If the bee successfully reaps the rewards of this lovemaking, the honey will enrich and nourish the entire community of the hive. However, as the symbolism found in DAT ROSA MEL APIBUS shows, while this path may work for bees…
A devout man in deep contemplation, with his head reclined on the bosom of meditation, was immersed in the ocean of vision. When he recovered from that state, one of his companions, by way of pleasantry, said, “What miraculous present have you brought us from this garden which you have been visiting?” He answered, “It was my intention, that, when I reached the rose-bush, I would fill my lap with flowers, for presents for my friends, but when I came to the spot, the odor so overpowered my senses, that my skirt dropped out of my hands.” -Saadi (The Gulistan or Rose Garden trans. by Francis Gladwin for Willard Small, Boston, 1884.)