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Societas Rosicruciana

Societas Rosicruciana is a name used by a number of Rosicrucian groups. Several of them derive from the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, founded in 1866 by Robert Wentworth Little (1840-1878) in England. Rather unusually for a Rosicrucian organization, it requires a candidate for membership to be a Christian and a Master Mason, which incidentally limits its membership to males. William Wynn Westcott, also associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, was Supreme Magus from 1892 until his death in 1925.

This group has formed two offshoots with which it is "in amity", the Societas Rosicruciana in Scotia in Scotland and the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatis Foederatibus founded in 1880 in the United States under a charter from the Scottish group. In 1935 the SRICF chartered a college in Canada, where a college under an English charter had functioned from 1876 to about 1886. By 1997 the Societas Rosicruciana in Canada evolved from this College, but it appears incompletely recognized by the three original High Councils.

In 1909, Dr. George Winslow Plummer (1876-1944) founded the Societas Rosicruciana in America, apparently seceding from the SRICF; this group appears not to retain the requirement that members be Christian Master Masons. Until 1951 it also used the name of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and retains links with a Florida-based group now using that name.

All these groups have in common a system of nine degrees with Magus the highest; each is comprised of colleges (usually headed by Chief Adepts), under a High Council that is headed by a Supreme Magus.

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