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If you’re traveling soon to one of America’s most visited cities — San Francisco — and want a break from the foggy weather or are planning to head south to the beaches at Carmel, Santa Cruz or the 17-mile drive area, take a short side trip to a one of my favorite places called Rosicrucian Park in San Jose.
Rosicrucian Park is a whole city block of buildings of Egyptian and Moorish architecture nestled in a quiet residential area. The peaceful environment, along with the spiritual essence of what the park represents, creates a peaceful and harmonious ambiance. Built in the early 1930s by H. Spencer Lewis as the world center for the Rosicrucian Order AMORC, it’s now the administrative and spiritual center for the North American branch of the Rosicrucian Order.
The Rosicrucian Order is a non-sectarian fraternal body of men and women devoted to the investigation, study and practical application of natural and spiritual laws. The park reflects these values, with several spots for reflection and meditation. Weekdays at 12:05 p.m., a meditation for world peace takes place in the main Temple and is open to the public. The Temple is a modified replica of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera in ancient Egypt. The site simulates the twilight of the sun over an open air Temple. The meditation only takes a short time and you return to the world refreshed and alert and ready to smell the rose trees in the nearby garden.
During one of my trips there, in 2004, I was lucky to witness the dedication of the Peace Garden, which is based on the remains of the city of Akhenaten of ancient Egypt. It was the capital city of the famed 18th dynasty Pharaoh who was acclaimed to be the world’s first monotheist. The educational garden is authentic to that time period, featuring buildings, medicinal plants, grape arbors and a pool for fish and lotus plants.
The biggest attraction at Rosicrucian Park is the Egyptian museum, which houses the largest collection of Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian artifacts in the western United States. My kid’s favorite was the rock-cut tomb of an Egyptian nobleman. The guide leads everyone through the partly darkened tomb with a flashlight, explaining the tomb, its sarcophagus, the hieroglyphs, the Egyptian concept of the afterlife, and the numerous paintings on the wall and ceiling — answering questions along the way. Several mummies of humans and animals and other artifacts found in Egyptian tombs are found in the museum. Guided tours also explore the main parts of the museum. You should schedule about 90 minutes minimum for the museum tour. On weekends a planetarium presents star shows throughout the day for added interest for adults and children. There is a nominal charge for the museum and planetarium, but the grounds of the Park are open to the public.
The adjacent grounds include an Egyptian Obelisk, statues of ram headed Sphinxes, the Egyptian hippopotamus goddess Taweret and the Pharaoh Thutmosis III. Thutmosis III is the founder of the world’s first mystery school according to the Rosicrucians. Also there is an open air temple shrine dedicated to the Pharaoh Akhenaten, and a large outdoor board game call Senet available for use. The goal is to remove your pieces from the board before your opponent.
The grounds are landscaped with numerous types of palm trees, drought-resistant grasses, cactus, roses, ferns, native flowers and trees, including a Coast Redwood. In the center courtyard area of the park is the “Fountain of Living,” a Moorish-style water fountain surmounted by the Goddess Isis saluting the eastern horizon.
So if you’re visiting or revisiting the Bay Area, like I would like to do, take in a little taste of Egypt, a little bit of meditation, or family fun at Rosicrucian Park. Rosicrucian Park is located at 1342 Naglee Avenue in San Jose, about 40 miles south of San Francisco.