Harvey Spencer Lewis

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Harvey Spencer Lewis

Harvey Spencer Lewis F.R.C., S:::I:::I:::, 33°66°95°, PhD (November 25, 1883 – August 2, 1939), a noted Rosicrucian author, occultist, and mystic, was the founder in USA and the first Imperator of Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), from 1915 until 1939.

Life and career[edit]

Lewis was born in Frenchtown, New Jersey. He worked in advertising as an illustrator (the modern term commercial artist best describes his line of work), and he used this experience later to promote the early AMORC, through print ads and booklets. Lewis first learned of the Rosicrucians through his interest in paranormal phenomena. Contacted while on a trip to Europe, he later related that he was initiated into a Rosicrucian order during that trip.

Given the mission to both bring Rosicrucian ideas back to America (an early group had a settlement in Pennsylvania during the 17th century, but it had long been dissolved), and to promote them in a modern way, Lewis established AMORC, becoming its first Imperator and writing what became the order's first canon of lessons in mysticism, and spending the rest of his life working on AMORC's behalf. Lewis also founded the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, still a popular attraction in San Jose, California.

His second wife was Martha, and they were married at least from 1937. Martha travelled with Lewis during the AMORC Grand Tour of Egypt.[1]

Lewis had a radio station broadcasting from Rosicrucian Park, and he also spoke at other radio stations. One of his programs was called "The Pristine Church", appearing on Sundays, with sermon-style talks on interfaith and secular topics.

Lewis was also one of the three Imperators of FUDOSI, and his nomen mysticum was Sar Alden. He held a number of earned and honorary ordinations, titles and degrees, many granted in recognition of his goodwill work. His son Ralph Maxwell Lewis became the second Imperator of AMORC, and wrote a biography of his father titled Cosmic Mission Fulfilled.

Front of burial marker for Dr. H.S. Lewis
Back of burial marker for Dr. H.S. Lewis


According to Michael Nowicki (F.R.C.)'s Mysterious Inventions of Dr. Lewis page (located at the Rosicrucians Salon WebSite), H. Spencer Lewis built several scientific devices.[2]

They included:


The Luxatone or Color Organ was a device which converted audio signals into colours, displayed on a triangular screen. Dr. Lewis used it to demonstrate mystical and philosophical ideas. The audio signal was input with the aid of a microphone.

A booklet titled "The Story of Luxatone – The Master Color Organ" was printed and sent to AMORC members and to newspapers.

Cosmic Ray Coincidence Counter[edit]

This device was a prototype of a Geiger counter and was built in the 1930s.

Sympathetic Vibration Harp[edit]

The Sympathetic Vibration Harp was built by Dr. Lewis to demonstrate the AMORC's principle of sympathetic vibration.


In addition to his other works, on June 22, 1916 Lewis hosted what was announced as a "transmutation" of zinc into gold – a demonstration of classic alchemical principles, in New York City. A team of AMORC Grand Masters, members, one scientist and one journalist assembled, a chosen few bringing selected ingredients, which were then mixed in a brief procedure. The scientist declared the results to have the "properties of gold", and an account appeared in the American Rosae Crucis.[3] (The ingredients for the gold recipe were not revealed; Rosicrucian Questions and Answers explained that while the necessary materials weren't hard to obtain, transmutation wasn't cost-effective; buying elemental gold was more sensible.)


In 1931 Lewis, under the pen name Wisar Spenle Cerve[4] wrote a book (published by the Rosicrucians) about the hidden Lemurians of Mount Shasta that a bibliography on Mount Shasta described as "responsible for the legend's widespread popularity."[5]


  • Rosicrucian Principles for the Home and Business (March 1929)
    • Explains portions of Rosicrucian teachings and philosophy as related to work and personal goals.
  • Rosicrucian Questions and Answers with Complete History of the Order
    • A two-part book: Part One gives the "traditional" history of the Rosicrucian Order, with names and works; Part Two answers common new member and prospective member questions.
  • The Mystical Life of Jesus
  • The Secret Doctrines of Jesus
    • An explanation of many symbols, standards, and interpretations of the work of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles.
  • A Thousand Years of Yesterdays
    • A fictional story, explaining reincarnation as a man re-experiences past selves.
  • Self Mastery and Fate with the Cycles of Life
  • Rosicrucian Manual (1918, 1929 with reissues)
  • Mansions of the Soul: The Cosmic Conception
  • The Symbolic Prophecy of the Great Pyramid
    • Presents an interpretation of Egyptian symbology, with old and new ideas discussed.
  • Mental Poisoning

See also[edit]

Other AMORC Imperators[edit]


  • Note 1: F.R.C. is a Rosicrucian title.
  • Note 2: S:::I:::I::: is a Martinist title.
  • Note 3: 33°66°95° are degrees given to him by the Rite of Memphis-Misraïm.
  • Note 4: XII° on his burial marker means he was a 12th degree Rosicrucian.


  1. ^ Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium at www.egyptianmuseum.org
  2. ^ RC Salon – Mysterious Inventions of Dr. Lewis at www.rosicrucians.org
  3. ^ Alchemy Journal Vol.4 No.1 at www.alchemylab.com
  4. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2nd Revised edition edition (Mar 1999)). Religious leaders of America: a biographical guide to founders and leaders of religious bodies, churches, and spiritual groups in North America. Cengage Gale. p. 332. ISBN 978-0810388789.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  5. ^ Meisse, William C. (1993). Mount Shasta: an annotated bibliography. College of the Siskiyous. p. 146. 
  6. ^ Rosicrucian Order AMORC at www.rosicrucian.org
  7. ^ Kessinger Publishing – Rare Reprints of Hard to Find Books at www.kessinger.net

External links[edit]