On the Meaning of Damcar in Rosicrucian Mysticism

In the worship session with rise, Fama Fraternitatis, the youthful Christian Rosenkreutz acquires his knowledge of mysticism during a journey to the Holy Land, in a place called “Damcar,” described as a city in Arabia. While today the word “Arabia” tends to refer to the Arabian Peninsula, the Fama is probably using it merely to refer to lands inhabited by Arabs. Across four centuries, scholars have tried to identify the city of Damcar, but without success.

The likely reason for using Damcar, rather than the real name of the mystical city, is that the real name would openly identify one of the founders of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, surely something they wanted to keep a secret. In 1652, the first English translator of the Fama, Thomas Vaughan (who is quoted below), was totally confused by the meaning of Damcar, but seeing an apparent reference to Damascus and thinking Damcar may be the same place, opted to translate everything with the nonsensical “Damasco.” Original German words are in brackets:

“Brother C.R… went to Damasco [Damascum], minding from thence to go to Jerusalem; but by reason of the feebleness of his body he remained still there, and by his skill in Physick he obtained much favour with the Turks: In the mean time he became by chance acquainted with the Wise men of Damasco [Damcar] in Arabia, and beheld what great Wonders they wrought, and how Nature was discovered unto them.”

Here we learn that Damcar was a city of wise men who were mystically active. Since Brother C. R. became familiar with them in Damascus, Syria, we have to assume that the city of Damcar is relatively close to the city of Damascus.

The Fama continues: “hereby was that high and noble Spirit of Brother C.R. [C.R.C] so stirred up, that Jerusalem was not so much now in his mind as Damasco [Damcar]; also he could not bridle his desires any longer, but made a bargain with the Arabians, that they should carry him for a certain sum of money to Damasco [Damcar]; he was but of the age of sixteen years when he came thither, yet of a strong Dutch [teutschen] constitution.”

First of all, we observe that Brother C. R. and Brother C. R. C. cannot be the same person because Brother C. R. is afflicted with “the feebleness of his body” but Brother C. R. C. is only 16 years old and of strong constitution. Thus, while Brother C. R. is stuck in Damascus, Brother C. R. C. has to be in Jerusalem. Since Brother C. R. C. pays Arabs to carry him to Damcar, we have to assume that Damcar is relatively close to Jerusalem.

The city of Damcar is therefore close to Damascus and it is also close to Jerusalem. Where is it located? Obviously, the city of Damcar has to be located in northern Israel.

We must now concentrate on the word “Dutch” toward the end of the last quote. Since “Damcar” is an enigma, could it be an anagram of a Dutch word? Let’s try DRAKEN, rearranged as Denkar, pronounced Damcar. Dragons. Yes, dragons. But a better translation of “teutschen” might be “German” rather than “Dutch.” The German word for dragon is “Drachen,” which is close enough because the Germanic “c”, “ch” and “k” have similar sounds, and all the same arguments apply.

For the Christian mentality of the early 17th century, the words “dragon” and “Arabia” would quickly conjure up only one thing: Saint George. Everyone knew that Saint George killed the dragon, by some legends near the Bay of Beirut, and by other legends in the Holy Land or in Libya, but nonetheless all Arabic places.

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