Rosicrucianism is a set of views combining occultism and certain other beliefs and practices, including Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and alchemy. The central feature is the belief that members of a worldwide esoteric brotherhood have secret wisdom that was handed down to them from ancient times.
The origins has been attributed to Johann Valentin Andreae (1568–1654), who in books described Christian Rosenkreuz, the claimed founder of the group. Critics have argued that Rosenkreuz is a fictional character.
Rosicrucianism declined in association with the Enlightenment, but some Rosicrucian ideas survived in Freemasonry. Later, new Rosicrucian groups appeared, sometimes from Freemasonry, as part of a general occult revival.
Rosicrucianism has also influenced theosophy.