|Rivista di Massoneria - Revue de Franc-Maçonnerie - Revista de Masonerýa - Revista de Maçonaria|
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by George H. STEINMETZ
A spiritual interpretation of the esoteric work of the Masonic lodge, analyzes the lectures and symbols of the three degrees. ( 1948 )
|PREFACE - FOREWORD - CHAPTERS 1-5|
"The archetypal image of the wise man, the saviour or redeemer, lies buried and dormant in man's unconscious since the dawn of culture; it is awakened whenever the times are out of joint and a human society is committed to a serious error" *
In the present era, when indeed, "the times are of joint," Freemasonry should eagerly embrace the sacred opportunity of awakening the torpid consciousness of the leaders of the masses to the real truths of Masonic Wisdom. This is my prayer and my hope; and this desire has inspired me to present in this treatise the illucidation of those Masonic truths as I have been given the light to see them.
* C. G. Jung Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Harcourt, Brace & Co.
"A younger Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the material, for want of judgement, and for increasing and continuing of Brotherly Love."
A good man and true makes known to a friend his desire to become a Mason. He is given a petition for the degrees of Masonry, which he fills out and presents to the Lodge. It is received; a committee of investigation is appointed and functions, efficiently or otherwise, and if elected, the degrees are conferred in due course. The newly-made Master Mason sits among the brethren, is present at the conferring of a few degrees, becomes wearied of the same routine repeated over and over again and soon fails to attend Lodge, except, perhaps, on some special occasion such as a Past Master's night, a banquet, or possibly not at all.
Over twenty-five years of experience in Masonry has forced the conclusion that this lack of interest of Masons in Masonry is largely due to failure on the part of the Lodge to teach the science and philosophy of Masonry, especially to the younger members, at the time when their curiosity is aroused and their interest is flaming. Masonry has been defined as a "system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." The ritual nowhere adequately explains these symbols and allegories, and not only conceals the true explanations but also often actually misleads. To transform rough ashlars into perfect ashlars, reading, study and instruction are required. It should not be forgotten that only stones capable of being fashioned should be admitted to our Venerable Institution, and that the INTERNAL QUALIFICATIONS should be carefully scrutinized.
Masters of Lodges, officers and coaches are continually being asked questions by those of inquiring minds which they are all too often unable to answer. The necessary information can be obtained only from the continual and persistent study of the writings of those Masonic students who have placed their thoughts and researches upon the written page, thus conforming to the admonition to the "well informed brethren" to impart knowledge to the lesser informed.
In this book Brother Steinmetz has created an elementary textbook and guide for the study and understanding of the esoteric meanings of Masonry. He is enanently well qualified to undertake this task, being well versed in the Mysteries, a student of Hebrew, a clear, logical thinker, realizing the necessity for continued Masonic education. Since it is intended for the use of the beginner rather than for the advanced Masonic Scholar there are many quotations from the monitorial work to facilitate its use. S ome students of Masonry may not agree entirely with the interpretations herein set forth. Even these, however, will benefit as they will need arrive logically at a better explanation, and in so doing advance themselves.
A careful study of this book will implement the student with proper and plausible explanations of many of the symbols and allegories contained in the three degrees, and will stimulate him further to pursue the study of the deeper esoteric meanings of our exceedingly rich ritual. It must not be forgotten that although the Grand Lodge system dates from the year 1717, Masonry or the thing called "Masonry" has existed from the beginning of man.
This instructive, thought-provoking book should be in the hands of every English speaking Mason. The study and possession of the knowledge contained in it will bring about greater understanding, fellowship and brotherhood among those who are privileged to be members of this Honourable Institution.
HERBERT H. SCHULTZ MD., P.M., 32°
"Most holy and glorious Lord God, the Great Architect of the Universe, giver of all good gifts and graces; in Thy name we have assembled, and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant that the sublime principles of Masonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, so harmonize and enrich our hearts with Thine own love and goodness, that the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign for ever before Thy throne."
By Way of Introduction
"Myself when young did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument About it and about: but evermore Came out by the same door wherein I went."
This quotation from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is "veiled in allegory," as is Freemasonry, and is an excellent description of my mental state, when first I started meditating upon the deeper aspects of life.
The quotation appealed to me, for, as the Poet, I too had eagerly frequented both "Doctor and Saint." Doctor, learned in things material; Saint, supposedly learned in spiritual matters. Like Khayyam, I "came out by the same door wherein I went" - not satisfied nor enlightened by the answers given me.
It is inherent in man to seek a religious belief to which he can subscribe with wholehearted faith. I was seeking such faith and was sincere in my desire to find a religious belief. But intellect demanded it be consistent with such knowledge as I possessed of natural history and material science.
In this search I studied every religion with which I came in contact. As a singer in various churches, I was afforded opportunities to hear the creeds of the principal faiths expounded. I did not exclude Roman Catholicism or Buddhism. Both contain much to commend, particularly the latter in its esoteric form. The study was far from time wasted.
None of these creeds provided a satisfying meaning of life; the answer to "WHY AM I HERE?" which, at some time, every individual asks from the depth of his being. The answer, to my entire satisfaction, finally came with a fuller understanding of Freemasonry.
Most of the truly great Masonic writers have deplored the lack of esoteric Masonic knowledge among the craft in general. Mackey speaks of the "Parrot Mason," describing him as: "One who commits to memory questions and answers of the catechetical lectures, and the formulas of the ritual, but pays no attention to the history and philosophy of the institution; called a Parrot Mason because he repeats what he has learned without any conception of its true meaning." He also ironically describes as "Bright Mason s" those who are letter-perfect in the ritual and continues: "but the progress of Masonry as a science now requires something more than a mere knowledge of the lectures to constitute a Masonic Scholar."
Long ago J. D. Buck stated: "In its ritualism and monitorial lessons Masonry teaches nothing in morals, in science, in religion, or in any other department of human knowledge or human interest, not taught elsewhere in current forms of thought, or by the sages of the past. In these directions it has no secrets of any kind. It is in the ancient symbols of Freemasonry that its real secrets lie concealed, and these are as densely veiled to the Mason as to any other, unless he has studied the science of symbol ism in general, and Masonic symbols in particular. * * * THE MOST PROFOUND SECRETS OF MASONRY ARE NOT REVEALED IN THE LODGE AT ALL. THEY BELONG ONLY TO THE FEW."
Buck also made the statement, which is as true today as when he first uttered it, years ago: "There was never a greater need than at the present time; never so great an opportunity as now for Masonry to assume its true place among the institutions of man and force recognition by the simple power of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, based upon philosophy, as nowhere else exists outside of its ancient symbols. If the majority of Masons do not realize the true significance and value of their possessions ther e is all the more need for those who do to speak out, in the face of discouragement and detraction, and do their utmost to demonstrate the truth."
Albert Pike writes in Morals and Dogma: "A few rudimentary lessons in architecture; a few universally admitted maxims of morality; a few unimportant traditions whose real meaning is unknown or misunderstood, will no longer satisfy the earnest inquirer after Masonic truth."
In Pike's Legend 4 o to 14 o Scottish Rite, he states: "In the United States, the Blue Degrees teach morality only, refuse to intermeddle with questions political or religious, and require only a belief in God, and, faintly, in the immortality of the soul; except so far as they declare the Holy Bible to be the rule and guide of man's conduct, and the inspired word of God; which, if it were not evaded in practice, by the admission of Hebrews, would make the Masonry of the United States a strictly Christian association. In the early part of the 18th century, Freemasonry was, for many of its initiates, the teaching of the Hermetic philosophy."
In one of his most vehement bursts of sarcasm, of which Pike was a master when he deemed the occasion demanded, he refers to the Blue Lodge lectures in these words: "It has been objected to us, that in our lectures we undervalue that which is absurdly called 'Symbolic Masonry,' as if any Masonry could be not symbolic. It is quite true that we should not value it, if we saw nothing in the symbols of the Blue Lodge beyond the imbecile pretences of interpretation of them contained in the ordinary sterile instr uction which we owe to Webb and his predecessors."
There is truth in all these charges. The average Mason is lamentably ignorant of the real meaning of Masonic Symbology and knows as little of its esoteric teaching. On the other hand one must admit the existence of mitigating circumstances. This is a busy world and few are blessed with the time, even though they have the inclination, to acquire such knowledge. There is no one source where a general knowledge may be acquired, as most writers deal with specific phases of Masonry. Frankly speaking, Pike, M ackey and even Waite, are too recondite for the average Mason to gain much enlightenment from their writing. Unless he approaches their work with a considerable background of metaphysical and philosophical knowledge, they will profit him little.
It is to place as much of this teaching AS IS SEEMINGLY ADVISABLE in a more accessible form that this book has been undertaken. The writer has earnestly endeavoured to write as simply as the profundity of the subject itself permits. The reader is asked to be mindful of the fact that in a work of this nature there is included the no small handicap of being forced to allude but vaguely, at times, to those things which cannot be committed to writing. I have taken the various printed manuals as my precederic assuring no objection can be offered for printing herein such ritual as the Grand Lodges have authorized to be printed in these manuals. Where it seems advantageous I have therefore taken the liberty of quoting freely therefrom.
The only motive for this book is the fulfilment of the writer's obligations, both moral and Masonic, to assist others to such light as he has been so generously allowed to attain. The reader is asked to approach the subject matter with the words of Herbert Spencer as his guide: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation before investigation."
When I petitioned the Masonic Order I believed in a Supreme Being, therefore my application was not a misrepresentation insofar as claiming a belief in a "one living and true God." My principal reason for seeking admission was that many of my associates were members of the Order; observation satisfied me that most of the better class of business men I contacted were Masons, and my superior in the organization with which I was connected, and whom I greatly admitted, was "high in the Order."
These, I confess, are not the most worthy of motives, but are probably on a level with those of most persons seeking membership in the Masonic Lodge.
In retrospection I realize that at first I obtained very little benefit from Freemasonry; nor does one become a swimmer after the first few times in the water. It takes constant practice to attain proficiency in either art. Later I was requested to organize a lodge quartet and as a member thereof I was called upon to attend and assist in initiations. Hearing the degrees repeatedly conferred, many of the beautiful phrases of the ritual impressed themselves on my mind. It was but natural that I should pon der over their meaning.
Because of an inquisitive disposition I attained whatever progress I have made in Masonry. The first serious thinking I recall devoting to Masonry was stimulated by the instructions to the candidate at a certain time to pray for himself, coupled with the reminder that previously the Lodge had prayed for him. This appeared to be significant, as it was the first time the candidate was not prompted to give a specific reply, or told precisely what to do.
The obvious answer occurring to one is that if prayer is to be most effective one should pray for oneself, but that seemed too apparent and not entirely satisfying. The answer to this question is the raison d'etre of Masonry. However, like all of Masonry's secret lessons the reason is so concealed that only he who sincerely seeks will ever discover it.
When the truth of this lesson has been realized one discovers the most important facts of existence itself; then, too, he learns that Masonry is religion as well.
Masonry - Religion
"Religion must be as graduated as evolution else it fails in its object. * * * If a religion does not reach and master the intelligence, if it does not purify and inspire the emotions, it has failed in its object, so far as the person addressed is concerned."
The order has at all times been careful to explain that Masonry is NOT a religion. It has denied the fact over and over again, and insisted that it was a lodge or brotherhood, and in no way did, nor was it intended to, take the place of the church in a man's life. It is claimed that Masonry is universal, its tenets such that they can be subscribed to by Christian, Jew, Mohammedan and Buddhist alike, and all may meet in brotherhood at its altars.
Has Masonry been too careful in its explanations? Too vehement in its denials? Has it so loudly proclaimed it is not a religion that its followers have been misled into thinking it is not RELIGIOUS? Has it been fearful of inadvertently stepping on the figurative toes of some creed, mistaking a creed for religion?
A creed is defined as: "a formally phrased confession of faith; a brief authoritative summarizing statement of religious belief." As such, certainly Masonry is not a "creed," but also a "creed" is not "religion." What is religion? The dictionary defines it as: "The recognition of man's relation to a divine superhuman power to whom obedience and reverence are due; the outward acts and practices of life by which men indicate their recognition of such relationship; conformity to the teachings of the Bible, ef fort of man to attain the goodness of God."
What is Freemasonry? The Masonic Manual of Missouri contains this definition: "Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Its tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth. Its Cardinal Virtues are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. Its religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the one living and true God."
In Morals and Dogma Pike offers the following definition: "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual struggle, effort and warfare of the spiritual against the material and sensual. That victory, when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear his well-earned laurels, is the true HOLY EMPIRE."
The time has arrived for Masonry to make its position clear, to not only admit, but rather to declare, that it is religious, even though it may well explain it is NOT A RELIGION in the commonly accepted misuse of the word "religion." An attitude to the contrary may have been excusable in the past, as the vast majority of Masons, ignorant of the esoteric teachings, were equally ignorant of the fact that those teachings constitute religion. This has never been true of the Great Masonic Scholars of the past, all of whose writings show their recognition of the religion in Masonry. What is religion? "Religion is the recognition of man's relation to a divine superhuman power to whom obedience and reverence are due." The Masonic Manual states: "Freemasonry's religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the ONE LIVING AND TRUE GOD." The definition of religion continues: "The outward acts and practices of life by which men indicate their recognition of such relationship." Paralleling this the Masonic Manual continues: "[Freemasonry's] tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth." How more can one's "outward acts and practices" indicate recognition of the Supreme Architect of the Universe and the relationship to Him, than by the practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth? Recognition of Him as Father of all necessitates the recognition of every fellow man as a brother, demanding brotherly love which encompasses relief when needed, and above all else, truth.
"Conformity to the teaching of the Bible." Is there ever a time in the Masonic Lodge when the Bible is ignored? Is it not constantly open on the altars of Freemasonry? Is not the attention of the newest Apprentice immediately directed to it? Is he not told: "The Holy Bible is given us as the rule and guide of our faith and practice"? Scripture is quoted in each degree, and the closing prayer is: "and with reverence study and obey the laws which Thou hast given us in Thy Holy Word." If "conformity to the tea chings of the Bible" is the criterion on which to decide whether or not Masonry is religion, the case is already settled in the affirmative.
What of the last portion of the definition of religion: "Effort of man to attain the goodness of God."? "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." "Effort of man to attain the goodness of God." Who knows the "goodness of God"? How can it be measured by finite mind? It has been said, "man makes God in his own image." This is the utterance of the cynic, but strangely, in a different sense than the or iginal remark was intended, it is true. The Book we are admonished to study "with reverence" informs us that man is made in God's image. That likewise is true. God first made man in His image and ever since, man has been making God in his own image. If one sits between two mirrors he sees his image reflected in the one glass while the other reflects the image of the image. Here the material analog must cease, for as man continues to "make Go d in his own image," and grows SPIRITUALLY to that first liken ess to which he aspires, his conception broadens and he immediately makes God in the image of himself at his newly attained spiritual level, and so on ad infinitum. At each step the "goodness of God" comes closer of attainment. Eventually man makes God in his image, and the image is indistinguishable from the object. Which has made which? What matters? Only that the ultimate has been reached.
The Master, Jesus, was once asked a question intended to put him in an embarrassing position with the Roman Authorities. "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? * * * Shew me the tribute money. And they brought him a penny. And he saith unto them, whose image and superscription is this? They say unto him Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." At the time it was the answer of a shrewd psychologist putting his questioner "on the spot" intended for himself, but like all his answers, it not only settled the question at the time but has come down through the ages, settling the questions of future generations.
What is the significance of this incident to our problem? Call the material things of life "Caesar," and the spiritual "God." Turn back to the definition of Masonry and read: "Its Cardinal Virtues are TEMPERANCE, FORTITUDE, PRUDENCE and JUSTICE." Jesus did not advise to disregard Caesar, or the material, but to render unto it its just due, being careful to render unto God or the spiritual its due as well.
"TEMPERANCE" - temperateness, not prohibition of material things, but judicious use of them, restraint from over-indulgence. "Be ye temperate in ALL THINGS." Temperate in what you eat, as well as what you drink. Temperate in your remarks and speech. Temperate in your judgment of your fellow man, that "due restraint upon our appetites and passions which render the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vices." Again quoting from Morals and Dogma, temperance is the "conquest o f the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." It is also the circumscribing of our desires and the keeping of our passions within due bounds, not with a brother Mason alone, but WITH ALL MANKIND.
"FORTITUDE" - is an attitude of soul. According to the dictionary it is "spiritual strength to endure suffering and adversity with courage." But could one endure adversity without faith? The only reason man manifests fortitude is his intuitive knowledge that fortitude is compensated on the spiritual side of life.
"PRUDENCE" - "Teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictates of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge and discreetly determine on all things relative to our present as well as future happiness."
"JUSTICE" - is the principle of dealing uprightly and fairly with others, regardless of the material relationship which exists between us. Justice renders unto each man his due, regardless of his station in life, without fear or favour. The just man is a righteous man, he cannot be otherwise. The more he "prudently" envisages what real justice is, the better will be his actions. The just man will be he to whom Buddha referred when he said: "He is the noble man who is himself what he believes other men sh ould be." It is the ultimate of justice not to expect anything of others we are not willing to do or BE ourselves.
By giving the material due consideration, and in justice rendering unto it the things which are the material's but giving it no more, by properly keeping our desires and passions between the extended points of the compasses, we have automatically rendered unto the spiritual the things which are the spiritual's. Man is not a "division" but a "unity"- Body, Soul and Spirit - and when we render its due to any undivided part we have served the whole. Is this not religion as described as "an effort to attain t he goodness of God"?
Neither official denial nor confirmation can change facts. It is of small consequence whether or not Masonry is acknowledged to be religion. The important thing is HOW IT IS PRACTISED. Draw aside the veil of allegory from the "beautiful system of morals," thereby discovering the deeper spiritual truths of its meaning, while at the same time following the material admonitions.
"Illustrated by symbols" each symbol points a moral lesson and is used as an example for the material life, but there are always other interpretations which have reference to the spiritual. Until one "seeks and finds that deeper meaning and applies it spiritually Masonry is NOT religion. It becomes religion only to him who finds religion in it, to others it remains but ritual, and at best a system of morals. Yet there remains the promise contained in the "rule and guide of our faith and practice"-"SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND."
"Be specific, be definite in your mental work. You are dealing with Intelligence, so deal with It intelligently."
MENTAL SCIENCE asks no one to accept any statements made in its behalf that cannot be proven. We should attempt to prove each statement as we build our premise, exactly as the investigator in any other science would proceed to prove his findings.
While all Freemasons necessarily profess a belief in a "one living and true God," else they could not be members of the Order, for the sake of consistency a scientific reason should be established for that belief.
This seemingly is a world of opposites. Negatives at first glance appear to be truths, but on analysis are not. Darkness, of itself, does not exist. It is merely the absence of light. Ignoring the negative side of the question but turning to the affirmative, let us build up a rational belief in a Supreme Being.
We exit The Universe exists. We are conscious of both our own existence and our surroundings. Consciousness is a degree of intelligence. That same intelligence which makes us aware of our own existence and the existence of the world in which we live forces us to admit the prior existence of some creative force which caused both the universe and ourselves.
This is not an attempt to advance an argument to the individual who says "we just happened." In fact he will not be reading these lines. Such a view is so inconsistent with nature that it requires no answer from the thinking person. Nothing in nature "just happens." There is always a reason for natural action if we but find it, and we cannot malign the Omni-present because the human mind cannot grasp the reason for some particular thing and say "there is no reason, no cause." We must ultimately come to th e conclusion that we and the Universe are the result of definite, intelligent planning; in other words - THOUGHT.
The next step in an attempt to find a logical basis for belief is to ascertain HOW we were created. Man the finite cannot comprehend the INFINITE and, therefore, unaided, realize infinity, yet he must needs attempt that very thing. Fortunately, there is in every man that which impels him to seek the infinite, and by means of it apprehend sufficient of the concept of infinity to pursue the proper train of thought.
The universe is distinctly material and, being material, there must have been a time when it did not exist. Hence the Biblical statement: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This provides a good starting place, and, by applying the theory of negatives, can be restated; "until created the EARTH WAS NOT." The Bible carefully states "CREATED, not "BUILT." To "build" is to construct or rearrange out of existing material. To "create" is to materialize something out of apparent nothing.
There is some question. as to the correctness of the translation of the foregoing passage, the Hebrew word "ROSH" being involved. It is true that "rosh" may be translated "beginning" but the best Hebrew authorities seem to prefer "the head." Thus we are told that "ROSH HASHANA" means "the HEAD of the year." It is not phrased: "the BEGINNING of the year." In connection with this distinction of meaning it should be noted that "the head" carries the inference of knowledge or wisdom. It is the seat of wisdom. Thus this passage may well be translated: "IN WISDOM God created the heavens and the earth."
Returning to the Bible we read: "In the beginning the earth was without form, and void." That statement seems contradictory, for regardless of the SHAPE of a thing it cannot be without form. If it exists as material, whether round, flat or square, that is its form. From this one can only conclude that the earth did not exist as matter. How then did it exist, if in the beginning it was without form and void? Only as thought, an idea, WITHOUT (MATERIAL) FORM, in the Universal Mind.
The suggested translation lends itself to this line of reasoning. If we say "in wisdom" rather than "in the beginning," we immediately predicate a "mental creation" preceding the material manifestation in form and space. In another passage we read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, etc." "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." Again we change not the sense, but give it actually more specific meaning if we translate: "In WISDOM was the wo rd, etc."
Earth then, came into existence through the WISDOM of God and by the word of God. What is a word, but the vocalization of a thought? A "word" must be "THOUGHT" before it can be spoken. (We seek a "word," and the reason for our quest is that we, too, may create by means of this word.) A "word" being a spoken thought, we may now change the initial statement of the Bible to read: "In WISDOM God THOUGHT the world into being."
Everything in nature indicates the absolute consistency of the Great Universal Mind, hence we reason when we see the operation of physical laws, that spiritual laws work on the same basis. The Infinite Intelligence can arrive only at a perfect plan of operation, and that plan is absolute.
In studying nature's laws as a starting point in the "seen" we can conclude that the operation of spiritual laws in the "unseen" is similar. Hence the conclusion can readily be reached that there is but one set of laws, or one great universal law. It can be likened to that portion of a spar seen above the water, because of which we know the portion under the water of necessity exists.
Wheat planted in the ground produces wheat, and wheat only. Cattle bred produce cattle, and cattle of the same type and breed. Man produces an offspring of like form and intellect. If the absolute immutability of this law could not be depended upon there could be no assurance of our own continued existence, or of the continuance of the universe.
If, in the wisdom of Universal Intelligence, the operation of this law in the material world is satisfactory, why not apply the same to the spiritual world? This is the dictate of reason, and we may strengthen our conclusion by the precept of the Bible, which the Mason is admonished to use as "the rule and guide of his faith and practice."
The Great Teacher suggests the law of like producing like by several questions he asks, as well as by directly stating it to be so. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Also - "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Again we are specifically told: "And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our likeness." We have definitely concluded God is not material, but spirit - Mind. He could not have referred to man's physical body when he said "in our own image and likeness," so this can only mean SPIRITUAL LIKENESS.
The Bible contains two separate and distinct accounts of the creation of man. One which may be called the birth of the idea, or ideal, of man in the Infinite Mind; the real spiritual "thought creation" as dearied in the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses of the first chapter of Genesis. In the second chapter of Genesis, seventh verse, is found the description of the physical creation, the actual making of the material body.
William James, writing on the theory of the secondary or subliminal consciousness, says: "In certain persons, at least, the total possible consciousness may be split into parts which coexist, but mutually ignore each other." F. W. H. Myers suggests that the stream of consciousness in which we habitually live is not our only one. According to Bramwell, from whose book, Hypnotism, its History, Practice and Theory, we are here quoting, Myers termed the "self below the threshold of ordinary consciousness the s ubliminal consciousness, and the empirical self of common experience the supraliminal."
Psychology teaches that we have two minds, or one mind capable of two distinct functions. It is immaterial for our present purpose which view we accept, but for the sake of clarity we will henceforth speak of two minds: the objective, or Myers' supraliminal, and the subjective, which he describes as the subliminal consciousness. The objective mind of man is the manifestation of the Universal Mind, which is subjective upon the objective plane.
The objective mind of man, with its ability to reason inductively, make choices of its own and distinguish between good and evil, is the highest work of all creation (in a material body) up to the present time. By culminating in man, with his objective mind, evolution has at last produced something which can go on of As own accord and volition.
While throughout the animal kingdom there is evidence of ability to reason, and particularly in the higher animals does this approach more nearly what man terms reasoning, it is man alone who has attained to the eminence of being a free moral agent; free to make his own decisions, draw his own conclusions and have cognition of the existence of the very Universal Law which underlies the attainment of this stage of his development
With the objective mind man makes his conscious decisions. It is the seat of the ability to choose. HE HAS THE POWER OF CHOICE. It is the objective mind which recognizes the fact and says: "I AM!"
The subjective mind is described as being impersonal, passive, directed by the objective mind and having no will of its own. It faithfully follows the dictates of the objective mind. It is proven beyond argument that it is also the controller of bodily functions, as may be recognized when it is realized that we do not consciously, objectively, direct the heart beat or respiration. These other functions are not material to the present study, so we particularly note the IMPERSONAL QUALITY of the subjective mind for the present.
In a study of the characteristics of the subjective mind, its impersonal nature may be better understood by observing its action in hypnotism. Hypnotism is the displacement of the subject's objective mind by the objective mind of the hypnotist, in order that the hypnotist may directly make suggestions to the subjective mind of the subject.
Mental science teaches that the, subjective mind is impersonal, and this is readily proven by hypnotism. In Bramwell's book, previously quoted, he states relative to changes in personality: "Here the subject [while under hypnotism] assumes the role suggested [by the hypnotist], and speaks and acts in accordance with his conception of the part."
Another fact demonstrated through hypnotism is that the subjective mind reasons entirely deductively, and is incapable of reasoning inductively. In inductive reasoning conclusions are drawn from a number of known facts, whereas deductive reasoning assumes two or more facts to be true, without actual verification; but, if correct, then further conclusions must of necessity be true.
Given the initial suggestion by the hypnotist, the subject will follow through, DEDUCTIVELY even to the most minute detail, arriving at the correct conclusion with a display of intelligence at times far superior to the known ability of the objective mind of the individual. However, the hypnotized subject will neither show any tendency, nor evince any ability, to establish inductively the correctness of the original assumptions, no matter how false, or even ridiculous, they may appear to the objective mind of an observer.
Mental Science informs us that this subjective mind is the individual's undivided part of the great subjective mind of the universe, that creative force which brought us into being, and therefore we are like our Creator. Science thus establishes that we are AS OUR CREATOR, and enlightens us as to the real meaning of the Biblical statement that man is made in the image and likeness of God.
So much for the present of Mental Science. However we hope to subsequently establish the fact that Freemasonry and Mental Science are synonymous. Through its careful and secret teaching Freemasonry has preserved knowledge of Mental Science through the dark ages of ignorance, so that in our more enlightened day, when a man has the right to think for himself and express those thoughts openly, the great storehouse of knowledge is found stocked with the fundamental ideas.
However, due to the necessity of secrecy in the past, this knowledge was concealed in allegory and illustrated only by symbols. The full import was unknown, even to some of those who zealously guarded it and were instrumental in its preservation. For this reason, even today, it is not an "open book" which may be read with ease. The knowledge IS ALL THERE, but it is still "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," and is useless until laboriously dug out and exposed to the view of the intellect.
This knowledge is ours for the asking. All we need do is knock at the door of this storehouse of wisdom and "it will be opened unto us," but the door is not equipped with an electric eye which will swing it open as we pass. It takes a "distinct knock," and patience to gain this important privilege. It demands a well formed PERSONAL DESIRE to give the knock and patiently await a due time. We have encountered in the spiritual world the law of the material world, and are dealing with personal desire. We mu st first "form a favourable opinion" of this knowledge we seek, then request admission. That request must be "unbiased by the improper solicitations of friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives." It must be for a far more noble and glorious reason: "a desire for knowledge and a sincere desire of being serviceable to your fellow creatures." Finally, we must be able to truthfully answer: "it is," when asked: "Is this of your own free will and accord?"
"Our starting point is that of a divinely ordained security from which we may quietly grow into that higher evolution which is the fulfilment of the law of our own being." -Thomas Troward
WE ARE told that Masonry was originated by King Solomon at the building of his Temple. However, it is a well established fact that Masonry is an ancient esoteric philosophy of life, ancient even in King Solomon's day.
This philosophy has been traced back to the "Lost Continent of Atlantis." The Great Masters, the "Noahs," of the time, warned of the impending doom of the continent, assembled the "worthy and well qualified" of their followers and migrated to Africa. They took with them the truths of that philosophy and re-established it in their new dwelling place. There we find their ruined temples which, compared with our lodge rooms, have similar floor plans, the same "dark north," and many of the same emblems.
In this connection the following quotation from James Churchward in Children of Mu may prove very enlightening. "Many Egyptologists find enigmas concerning the two Egyptian religious cults. These apparent enigmas are brushed aside when it is known in what way Egypt was first peopled and by whom. * * * Egypt was first colonized by two sets of people, commencing at two separate and distinct parts. One set coming to lower Egypt from the west, the other set coming to upper Egypt from the east. * * * Eventual ly the upper Egyptians met the lower Egyptians on the valley of the Nile. * * * A tablet found in Maycarne, Crete, by Schliemann says: 'The Egyptians descended from Misar. Misar was the child of Thoth, the God of history. Thoth was the emigrated son of a priest of Atlantis. He built the first temple at Sais and there taught the wisdom of his native land'."
Also, in South and Central America have been found ruins of Masonic significance. Churchward advances some strong, if unusual, arguments to support his claims that all these civilizations emigrated from the continent of Mu in the Pacific Ocean.*
Modern archaeology has accomplished much in rediscovering the ruins of the ancient temples, but as yet has not succeeded in bringing to light the philosophy of the Incas and Mayans to the point where it can speak with authority. In Egypt more has been learned from the temple ruins and hieroglyphics found on other monuments and on the walls of tombs.
* Those interested in an exhaustive study are referred to the Mu trilogy by Churchward: The Lost Continent of Mu, The Children of Mu, The Sacred Symbols of Mu.
That knowledge has brought to light more Masonic allegory and symbolism, as evidenced in their beliefs and practices. Unquestionably our third degree derives from the Mysteries of Osiris, or from the still more ancient legend from which the Osirian myth itself originated. This notwithstanding that some Masons see in the third degree the "enactment of a tragedy" which occurred at a later date in history. It is of interest to note that some modern psychologists claim all these "tragedy" legends stem from t he same ancient source. Historically true or false, it is a psychological necessity, and had there been no Osiris, no Hiram, no Christ, man's mind would have been compelled to fashion one.
He who does not wish to accept the "Atlantean" account will find himself on the threshold of an even more wonderful exhibition of the universality of Freemasonry if he will analyze the facts. He must seek elsewhere for an explanation: that at different places in the world temples of similar plan, undoubtedly used for similar rites and decorated with similar and, in some instances, identical emblems, were constructed. Why should these widely separated peoples, with no means of communication, arrive at the same conclusions regarding their origin and status in the universe? The only logical answer is contained in the teaching of Mental Science of an All Intelligent Universal Subjective Mind to which all human minds have access. From it they received the TRUTH, and there being only ONE TRUTH, necessarily, they arrived at the same conclusions.
To quote Francis Grant: "If miracles exist - does not one lie in this, that men far removed, at times simultaneously, should pronounce the same doctrine of Truth and the same path of human liberation? Apparently all men - whatever their race or creed - may pluck the same flowers in the Plane of High Heaven." *
This digression from the statement that Masonry is even older than Masonic tradition claims is for the purpose of establishing more firmly in your minds the age and universality of its great philosophy. Masonry contains within its teaching the whole purpose of man's existence, and the method of attaining the end of Creative Spirit in personalizing Itself through man. Man being created in the "Image of God" possesses within himself the potential possibilities of infinite progress and evolution. Harmonizing the Biblical story of creation with the findings of modern science, evolution, when carefully considered, is not in any way contradictory to the Bible. Evolution strengthens our faith in the Bible's prophetic utter-
* Francis Grant in The Introduction to Oriental Philosophy.
ances as to man's glorious possibilities. Man's primitive beginnings, when compared with his present attainment, give us renewed faith in the Divine purpose of the Creator for man to attain even higher levels than he has already reached, by the attainment of MASTERSHIP!
Man is a complex being consisting of material, psychical, and spiritual nature, and material science alone does not completely satisfy our investigation. Therefore we must direct our attention to that element within him we call "spiritual," and it is found that man's "spiritual" nature makes for his highest attainment. The quality whereby he attains that high evolution is the POWER OF CHOICE!
The creative law of being, implanted in man by Divine Intelligence, gives man the "freedom of choice," whether to spiritually retrograde or progress. The choice, however, lies between these two; there is no standing still in this universe of motion. Natural evolution betters the entire race without regard for the individual. SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION betters the INDIVIDUAL THROUGH HIS OWN EFFORTS. The statement that: "previously the Lodge prayed for you" is, in effect, advising that: "before the LAW OF EVOLUT ION ADVANCED YOU)); "NOW, You must (pray for) advance YOURSELF!"
In bringing the candidate to that part in the initiation where he must pray for himself, the Lodge has brought him to the same point as all others who have gone the way before him. From this point (level) individual desire is necessary to make further progress. It is a PERSONAL PROBLEM of "ASKING" - "SEEKING" "KNOCKING." This not only applies to that particular moment in the Lodge room but to any further progress in Masonry. In fact it is not too inclusive to add - ANY PROGRESS IN LIFE ITSELF!
Our quest is for the re-discovery of something lost. It is the knowledge of the two-fold principle in nature and specifically, knowledge of the modus operandi of the Constructive Principle. The loss of the knowledge of the Constructive Principle in nature brought into man's existence its opposite, the Destructive Principle.
Light is the symbol of knowledge, and knowledge properly used leads to wisdom and power. Therefore the Ancient High-Priest's breastplate had engraven thereon the two words: "URIM and THUMMIM"
LIGHTS AND PERFECTIONS!
The Secret Doctrine
"FREEMASONRY is a beautiful system of morals veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Its tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Its Cardinal Virtues are TEMPERANCE, FORTITUDE, PRUDENCE, and JUSTICE.
"Its religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the one living and true GOD."
- Masonic Manual of Missouri
IN ADDITION to the definition of Freemasonry on the opposite page we repeat Pike's definition: "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual. That victory, when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear his well-earned laurels, is the true HOLY EMPIRE."
These two definitions of Freemasonry are apparently similar, yet there is a difference. The latter informs us what Freemasonry is, and to a limited extent advises how to become a Master Mason through "the conquest of the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." However, it contains thoughts different from those in the former definition and is more definite as to the "morals."
The definition from the Blue Lodge Manual very distinctly states that "this system of morals" is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." This statement will bear further investigation. If it is correct, it may be assumed there is something underlying the explanations given in the various lectures of the degrees. "Something" which is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." This can be considered as an instruction where to look for further meaning. It is obvious that the "veil" must be pa rted and the hidden meaning of the "allegory" discovered. It is equally obvious that the usually accepted meaning of the symbols is not enough for our purpose, for then their meaning would be immediately apparent and such is not the case. This "system" which they "illustrate" then must be "illustrated" by a more recondite interpretation of their meaning than is apparent on the surface to the casual observer.
Analysis of the actual words in the quotation reveal a subtle significance not ordinarily attributed to them. MORALS - The common use is: "discrimination between right and wrong, chaste, just, ethical." This word of Latin origin literally means "custom," but a shaded meaning states: "verified by reason, logic or probability."
ALLEGORY - "Description of one thing under the image of another. A narrative in which a teaching is conveyed symbolically. Presents a truth under the guise of fictitious narrative or description."
SYMBOL - "Something that stands for, represents, or recalls something else, not by exact resemblance, but by suggestion or associations in thought; especially an object that represents something abstract, as an idea, quality or condition."
If the definition of Freemasonry is reconstructed in the light of the words used in the previous definition it will read: "Freemasonry is a beautiful system of customs, or method of living, which, if followed, results in one's discriminating between right and wrong, being chaste, just and ethical. This custom is verified by reason and logic. However, it presents a truth under the guise of fictitious narrative, and is in reality describing one thing under the image of another, using actual objects to repre sent abstract ideas - "NOT BY EXACT RESEMBLANCE - BUT BY SUGGESTIONS OR ASSOCIATIONS IN THOUGHT!" There is the answer. The symbols are not used in the commonly accepted meaning. It is "NOT BY EXACT RESEMBLANCE"; there IS a more recondite interpretation, as we suspected; it is one of "SUGGESTIONS OR ASSOCIATIONS IN THOUGHT.))
There is a SECRET DOCTRINE in Freemasonry. That secret doctrine is concealed, rather than revealed, by the very lectures which, we are told, offer a "rational explanation" of the ceremonies of initiation. If we were to accept these "rational explanations" as final, and seek no further, Freemasonry would be a farce. We should find ourselves on a "dead-end" street from which it would be impossible to make any progress.
Here it is necessary to digress that we may lay the foundation for our super-structure (as any Operative Mason would do) by inquiring into some of the actual history of Freemasonry, to discover its beginning and evolution.
Historically, we trace Freemasonry to a number of Operative Lodges in England. Extant records indicate that in the year 1717 four lodges in London established themselves under the denomination of a Grand Lodge which they constituted at that time. One of the oldest documents containing a written record of Operative Masonry is the Regius or Halliwell MS., circa 1390.
Many books have been written proposing various theories as to the origin of Freemasonry. The generally accepted theory is that our present lodges are the outgrowth of the Operative Lodges, or Guilds, of the Middle Ages. There is no inclination to question the fact that our modern lodge AS AN ORGANIZATION, owes its origin to these Operative Lodges, but what of its esoteric teaching?
Are we to believe that these craftsmen of the medieval guilds, most of whom were actually illiterate, conceived an entire philosophy such as Freemasonry, and then, with consummate cunning, concealed it beneath a complicated system of symbolism and allegory? For the rank and file, the symbols were used, if at all, for ethical analogies, and they were as ignorant of the underlying meanings, as are most Freemasons of today. They but served the purpose of being the preservers of its mysteries. As the reincarn ating soul is said to choose the body and environment best suited for its growth and evolution, so may it be that these Operative Lodges were chosen to form the "body" for the spiritual teachings of the secret doctrine.
Let us investigate the term "free" as used in relation with "Mason." Some authorities advance the theory that in ancient times "bonds-men" could not join the Operative Guilds, hence a Mason was a "free man" and, perforce, a "Free Mason." Others attach significance to the word "free" in connection with the request for admission, it being of the applicant's "free" will and accord. Both theories find some support in the rituals of various Grand jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions the candidate recites his q ualifications, at the door of the lodge room, as being of "lawful age, FREE-BORN etc." Here is predicated the theory of being a "free" man. All ritual supports the theory of its being of the candidate's "FREE-WILL" and accord. Enough theories have been advanced to fill volumes on the specific subject. Herein it is not possible to even comment on all of them. One of the more interesting is cited for the benefit of the reader, as it also co ntains the thought of the antiquity of Masonry.
Robert Hewitt Brown writes: "Long before the building of the Temple of King Solomon, masons were known as 'sons of light.' Masonry was practised by the ancients under the name of Lux (light) or its equivalent, in various languages of antiquity. * * * We are informed by several distinguished writers that it (the word masonry) is a corruption of the Greek word 'MESOURANEO' which signifies 'I am in the midst of heaven,' alluding to the sun, which, 'being in the midst of heaven,' is the great source of light. Others derive it directly from the ancient Egyptian 'PHRE,' the sun, and 'MAS, a child: 'PHRE MASSEN'- the children of the sun, or Sons of Light."
Regardless of the origin of the modern lodge, or of the name "Freemasons" we can, after freeing the symbolism of modern adaptations, discern in Freemasonry the outline of the teachings of the ancient mysteries of Egypt. ONE SUPREME BEING - IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL - THE THREEFOLD COMPOSITION OF MAN, that is: body, soul, and spirit (more correctly expressed as physical, psychical, and spiritual). Three planes of being dealt with in three "grades" or levels of instruction.
Pythagoras said: "God formed two things in his own image: first the Universe itself, and second, man." The Bible informs: "and God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness." The ancients postulated the complete man as the triune man composed of body, soul, and spirit. He was symbolized by the right angle triangle. The horizontal represents the physical or material, the perpendicular represents the psychical or mental, and the hypotenuse the spiritual. (The complete man symbolized by the right angle triangle should not be confused with the perfect or spiritual man, whose emblem is the equilateral triangle.)
The purpose of the mysteries was to teach the candidate the secret of making of himself the perfect man. Symbolically, it is the secret of progressing the right angle triangle to an equilateral triangle. As no "whole" can be complete and perfect except its parts be complete and perfect, their instructions were divided into three parts, or grades. The first dealt with the physical, the second with the psychical, and the third with the spiritual.
The body is the vehicle of the mind and the spirit; and to make it a fit habitation for them the Mysteries began their instruction with the purely physical aspect of man and his material relation to the Universe. This teaching was that a strong and obedient body was requisite for the development of a strong mind and, mind being the instrument of spirit, a strong and well developed mind was essential to spiritual development. Theirs was a rigorous and dangerous initiation, and a strong body was indispensab le to the candidate if he were to survive the physical ordeals entailed by the actual initiation as well as the arduous studies necessary for his mental development. This occurred before he was even introduced to the spiritual. Also, it was necessary to understand the operation of material laws, for they subscribed to the ancient theory that the material laws are but the extension into the manifest universe of the spiritual laws. "As above, so below ."
The candidate was obliged to spend years, if necessary, in each of the grades preceding, before he was permitted to proceed in spiritual instruction. Under such a system it is obvious that it was highly essential to "make the necessary proficiency in the preceding (degrees) grades," before he could be admitted to the next higher.
If Freemasonry is the actual descendant or, if one prefers the term, reincarnation of the Mysteries, back of its "veil of allegory," then must be concealed a deeper truth than expounded in the various lectures of the degrees. Therefore, we should be able to discover a similarity in its degrees with these ancient grades. The first degree should concern itself with the physical or material; the second should deal with the psychical or mental; the third degree wholly with the spiritual. The ceremony of initi ation in each degree should reveal a more recondite teaching than that which appears on the surface. It should be discovered that its symbology and allegory is as useful to CONCEAL that teaching from those who do not seek it out as to REVEAL it to him who, "of his own free will and accord," earnestly and prayerfully attempts to pierce the veil of mystery.
If the symbols can be consistently interpreted in this manner,
throughout the three degrees, we have confirmed Freemasonry to be
the reincarnation of the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt; we have
rediscovered some part of the ancient teaching and have removed the
veil of allegory from the Great Truth of the Universe.
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