Friday, September 26, 2008

Esoterica - Follow Up

It is clear from the overwhelming response to 'The Esoterica' post that this subject is highly relevant to Freemasons today. I have received a number of letters from all across the world on this topic.

Things of the Occult are 'Hidden' indeed. For those who have 'ears to hear and eyes to see' the mysteries are readily apparent.

It has always been that those who are not ready do not perceive the Universal Truths. However, those who do deign to seek with integrity and conscience deserve the wisdom of Masters, Teachers and a Knowledge to aid them along the way. This is the shamanic way. And, for many generations of men, this has been the Masonic methodology of tutelage.

I agree that the secrets yet exist hidden within the Rites. I have seen them myself as a Scottish Rite and York Rite Mason. And yet, they are often interpreted, or mis interpreted, by those ritualists who aid in the degrees lacking the wisdom themselves to understand the shadowed meaning.

The Pentalpha, or Blazing Star, is an excellent and profound example of the divide in modern Freemasonry. It is all but shunned in many lodges as it has been demonized by religion in this modern age. And the truth of it? It is indeed a perfect geometric archetype. It is nothing less than the symbol of the 'Golden Mean.'

Perfection is evil?

The Burning Times are over but the superstition remains in the minds of the fervent. How many have feared the revelations of science? Consider Copernicus, Gallileo and Darwin.

The Craft has protected the knowledge of philosophy and the sciences from ignorance and sheltered it for centuries from fearful and superflous religiosity. And it has been damned for doing so. All one has to do is Google the Craft or watch a few errant videos on YouTube and you will find one attack after another against Freemasonry levied by those whose imaginations far outweigh their intellects.

Today, the legacy of Freemasonry rests in the hands and hearts of the many Master Masons who are not afraid to challenge their earliest indoctrinations. The aim is not to destroy but to reveal...to understand...to clarify. Most importantly, the aim of the 'Esoteric' and symbolic aspects of Freemasonry is to afford a man, a Mason, perspective in the world he has found himself in. How like science this is. This 'Esoteric' aim is a philisophical quest.

What are we Masons to do with our Ladders...Pillars...Angels...and Working Tools? Why is it important to become proficient in these arts if what we are doing is not holding them, protecting them, for other seekers like ourselves? We cannot be ashamed of our illustrious heritage and rip it away from the hands of those who knock at the door. I was told that Pike's 'Morals and Dogma' was too wordy, lofty and 'Esoteric' to put in the hands of this modern generation. Many excuses can be offered but none suffice. Perhaps men cannot understand these ideas simply because they have been repressed and put out of use for so very long.

Do we remove the symbols from the Order because it is the politically correct thing to do? It is true that the meaning of symbols evolves over time. But we are not ignorant men and it is the Origen of these symbols that we seek...and not the foolishness that has obscured them with the falling sands of time.

As a seeker myself, I was startled by how closely modern psychology, particularly analytical psychology, confirmed the myths and resembled the religions of man. Science has worked to map the very soul. And yet, science is incapable of offering the Great Truth. For science meanders in the feebleness of its reach. With science alone we are stunted by paradoxes of nonlocality and the reach of time. And that Great Truth? Whose?

Only the philosophies afford the inner epiphanies. For ultimately, meaning is subjective. How can we be completely objective within a world we are a part of? The great analyst Carl Jung once remarked that if you look deeply enough into the psyche you will find the world.

Symbols are the organs of the psyche. They are the paint that reveals the wings of angels. But we must not forget that those wings are there...only going unseen without the proper frame of reference.

The Masonic symbols do not belong to the Cowans or the ignorant who strive to bend their meaning to their own ignominious purpose. Thus we Freemasons only rob ourselves of our inheritance when we aid these outsiders in removing them from their importance to our Masonic journeys.

The Esoteric side of Freemasonry belongs to us and to those like us who strive with purpose toward the Light.

17 comments:

R said...

Salutations on the Three Points

Health Stability Power

Bro:.

All of these are excellent points.

Students of philosophy, history, psychology, and even the physical sciences would be fascinated by the analogies our Masonic Science offers to the inquisitive mind.

The Universities of America today are full of ambitious yet moral men who have a proper upbringing and are disillusioned with a failing educational system, a turbulent society of 'have and have nots' in technological flux, and a social setting where both the streets and corporate offices are full of pimpish players and assorted con men. Here we may note the social purposes and distinguishing integrity that Masonry served in the 19th Century.

Were our Fraternity illustrious again, it would again congregate the men who would best contribute to and most profit from its teachings.

Unfortunately the Lodge is indeed full of ignorant men.

Unless we return to some kind of standard our antique wisdom and ceremonies will not be taken seriously in a world where a college degree is increasingly regarded as little more than a high school diploma, and the skilled trades have all but disappeared.

If we are to be taken seriously again on the campuses, in the brigades and regiments, and at he bar we must cease throwing the doors of the Temple open to the masses.

Sovereignty must be returned to the Lodge by congregating men of industry and intelligence who refuse to admit any but those who are worthy and well qualified even as visitors. Good standing does not a Mason make, not in a day or in 50 years.

The future and survival of our Order and its method of teaching lies in a return to our traditions and heritage, our 'usages and customs' ...As the shamans of the old ways have been saying since the dawn of the 20th Cenury; "we must put ourselves back."

F:. R

2 BOWL CAIN said...

my favorite from manly p hall
"Behind the degree of Master Mason, there is another not known to earth. Far above him stretch other steps concealed by the blue veil which divides the seen from the unseen. The true Brother knows this, therefore he works with an end in view far above the concept of mortal mind. He seeks to be worthy to pass behind that veil and join that band who, unhonored and unsung, carry the responsibilities of human growth. His eyes are fixed forever on the Seven Stars which shine down from somewhere above the uppe r rung of the ladder. With hope, faith, and charity he climbs the steps, and whispering the Master’s Word to the Keeper of the Gates, passes on behind the veil. It is then, and then only, that a true Mason is born. Only behind this veil does the mystic student come into his own. The things which we see around us are but forms-promises of a thing unnamed, symbols of a truth unknown. It is in the spiritual temple built without the voice of wo rkmen or the sound of hammer that the true initiation is given, and there, robed in the simple lambskin of a purified body, the student becomes a Master Mason, chosen out of the world to be an active worker in the name of the Great Architect. It is there alone, unseen by mortal eyes, that the Greater Degrees are given and there the soul radiating the light of Spirit becomes a living; star in the blue canopy of the Masonic lodge."

Freestyle said...

Well 2 Bowl. Once again you offer a superb addition to the forum. I have always loved Manly P. Halls remarkable works. It is astounding that he compiled 'The Secret Teachings of All Ages' as such a very young man in his early twenties. Incredible.

The quote you bring to Light is absolutely relevant to what I am writing about here. This is the point! This is the Celestial Lodge of the True seeking Master Mason. The early degrees are introductions and simply usher one beyond the outer wall. The Holy of Holies can only be reached by those daring to pass the rigors of self examination and the trials of life.

Again. It's a great quote.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

so mote it be
brother

the Seven Stars

Plieades
Alcyone

R said...

Brehren,

It appears I have digressed from the subject. The doctrine alluded to by Hall, Pike, Waite, Wilmhuurst, and even more cryptically, by our 18th Century Brethren the Adepts, I quite agree, is the real point.

But upon such matters I am silent, in this forum as in most. I am a student and I love the study, but I refrain from pointing too much.

This however is a wonderful quote, offered from a Bro:. (2bowl) who has no doubt meditated upon it deeply.

But my concern here is with the Outer Order. It has been corrupted whereas the Inner is beyond corruption.

Some say let it die, but I say those WHO HAVE GONE THIS WAY BEFORE US desrve better, as do those who will sincerely come seeking Light after we are dust.

VIRTVS IVNXIT MORS NON SEPARABIT

For my part I hold to my Obligation as a Master in the Craft (and I say this with all humility as this is only by virtue of an Oath of Office)of passing down the tenets of the Mystic Art and the Land Marks of the Ancient Order unsullied. (and I do not believe these to be merely a list of tenets upon which authorities agree, but a Universal and Sacred Science of Divine origin and synnonymous with Geometry)

Brethren please see my comment upon the esoterica in the previous entry. With the assistance of this new medium of communication there is no end to what we may render together for the Good of the Order.

The Masonic Journal of days long forgotten, covered over with dust and yet full up with Light, Philosophy, Art, Poetry, Science, Learning and Aspiration.....has come back to the Craft in a new and big way!

F:. R

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Time to dust off the Tool Box and break tem out again!

Freestyle said...

Well said Ruffians! WE are Masonry every bit as much as those who let go of tradition...whomever they might be.

It is our very Charge and sworn solemn Obligation to preserve the Order from decay.

So Mote it Be.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

this is a quote from noted masonic author chris hodapp in freemasonry for dummies:"In your research about Freemasonry you will doubtless come across the writings of Albert Mackey, Manley Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, and Albert Pike. These men and many others have filled reams of paper with scholarly observations of Freemasonry. They eloquently linked the Craft to the ancient Mystery Schools of Egypt and elsewhere. They wrote that Masonry was directly descended from pagan rites and ancient religions. Some wrote that Masonry was the stepchild of magick, alchemy, and the shadowy mystics who dabbled in the world of the Kabala (Jewish mysticism) and in mysterious ancient writings like Hermes Trismigestes and the Key of Solomon. The works of these men were filled with fabulous tales of beliefs and cultures and cryptic theories of the deepest and earliest origins of Freemasonry.

In short, they wrote a lot of crap.

Guys like Pike and Mackey were incredible scholars and had dazzling intellectual and spiritual knowledge. Their works are both enlightening and frustrating, because they reach into obscure legends and beliefs and drag out what appears to be a lavish and alluring connection over a 3,000-year period to modern Freemasonry. Unfortunately, much of it is metaphysical wishful thinking.

Sadly, they ignored the paper trail and documented evidence that exists in England and Scotland that really tells the story. Freemasonry descended from the stonemason guilds and was taken over in the late 1600s by philosophers and men of science and learning. The Masons did not build cathedrals by using incantations to levitate stones. They did not cast spells to turn their enemies into stone gargoyles shaped as demons. They did not transmogrify base metals into gold to pay their wages. As Arthur C. Clarke has said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Geometry was not a sorcerer’s art — if it were, no one would be safe from an Advanced Placement high schooler with a calculator and a protractor.

Unfortunately, Pike, Mackey, and Hall were prolific. They wrote big, thick books that are in every Masonic library, so people who don’t understand their works to be Masonic folklore trot them out as experts, “noted” Masonic scholars, and long-dead spokesmen. The problem is that their writings are continually cited as “proof” of an occult connection to Masonry. Worse, their writings are often deliberately altered by the critics of the Craft, and Freemasons have to explain all over again to their relatives and ministers that, no, they aren’t reenacting the dismemberment of Osiris, making pagan sacrifices to Lucifer, stirring cauldrons, or worshiping goats.

They were all well read on the wide variety of world religions and cultures, and their work on the subjects of symbolism and philosophy can be fascinating. But let’s just say their version of history of modern-day Freemasonry is not accurate and leave it at that.

—Freemasons For Dummies"

I did not know Hall and Pike wrote a lotta crap?

http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2008/09/are-dummies-and-idiots-wrecking.html

Freestyle said...

That's amazing he said that, though I remember reading that for myself and shaking my head in bewilderment.

Those words of Hodapps amount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The truth of the matter is far more complex and still deeply shadowed in mystery.

For one, it is not a certainty that Masonry began with the stonemason guilds. I think that 'Born in Blood' at the very least raised significant doubts. The rituals themselves betray far earlier antiquity and I'm not even talking about the Scottish Rite or York Rite.

The history of the Order must be understood in terms of Purpose as well as Symbols and Allegories. What was the point of Freemasonry in the first place?

I also think that one has to weigh the religious and political thinking of the times in which the Craft began to get a good idea of this Purpose and the inherent meaning within those symbols.

As for the symbols themselves and all of that heady exposition that Hall, Pike, Waite and Mackey put forth about them, I think that Hodapp is all but clueless here as to the earliest tenants of comparative religion and philosophy. Sorry Chris, I like you man, but man is a symbol making animal. The symbols are the mind as it were. Take a peek into analytical psychology and brain theory. Then throw in some non local brow raising and you get the idea.

Our understanding of the fundamental 'archetypes' of nature and the mind may well have been 'Magic'...or 'Magick' in the minds of our forebears. But, today, we know it all too well in its modern form...Psychology/Psychiatry.

Take a good look at the Psychiatric disciplines and you cant help but be awed by the barest of its speculations involving human potential. And I am in no way going 'new age' here. Consciousness is still not fully understood and most likely remains on the order of the 'world' rather than the 'individual.' Tests are ongoing now. But one has to factor in the basics of nonlocality and entanglement. Twin studies seem to be the most promising in bringing much of this to light.

The symbols of Freemasonry and its early philosophies and sciences were just that... Philosophies and Sciences!

There remains a problem for some of course. These philosophies and sciences were clearly humanistic. They did not deny God. But they certainly made a clear argument against many of the basics of the established religions and state ideologies.

I guess that is still frowned upon. Anyone want to start a secret society to protect this stuff?? Oh...wait.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

I am not sure if this rite is more in tune with "esoteric" freemasonry, but we are going to be able to investigate and maybe work this rite. A quote from a gnostic site in regards to the Rectified Scottish Rite, RER.

"For the famous occultist A.E. Waite, the Rectified Scottish Rite was the one Rite he craved the most. He "had come to see the Régime Ecossais et Rectifié as maintaining, more than any other rite, the essence in ritual form of that secret tradition that 'tells us not alone that the Soul "cometh from afar" and that the Soul returns whence it came, but it delineates the Path of Ascent'." It was, for him, truly the secret tradition in practice.

There are, at present, officially recognized bodies working the R.E.R. in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Spain, and now the U.S.A. There is much interest in the Rite being practiced elsewhere which has been duly noted."

We will part of the USA that will be able to work this rite. I am truly excited about the exposure these degrees(not for titles, but Light only).

http://www.gnostique.net/initiation/RER.htm

2 BOWL CAIN said...

L'Ordre de Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte

The Rite Ecossais Rectifie (Scottish Rectified Rite) is the oldest continuously extant chivalric Masonic Order in the world. In the United States it is known by the name of its pinnacle degree. It was originally an offshoot of Baron von Hund's Rite of Strict Observance. RER works the following system of degrees:
4° Maître Ecossais/Scottish Master
4.5° Perfect Master of St. Andrew (Worked at the same time as 4° Scottish Master)
5° Ecuyer Novice/Squire Novice
6° Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cité Sainte/Knight Beneficient of the Holy City
7° Chevalier-Profès/Professed Knight (Believed to be a Chair Degree)
8° Chevalier-Grand Profès/Grand Professed Knight (Believed to be a Chair Degree)

The governing bodies of the RER are called Great Priories. There is only one Lodge in the United States, with membership limited to 100, exactly two members from each state. In England, the Order is governed by the Knights Templar. It is important to observe with caution that there are several other groups of CBCS and other Martinist Orders with different histories and lineages: Some of them are outside of Masonry entirely, and some of them admit women.

The Masonic RER, much like the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, is empowered to work the Craft Degrees (EA, FC, and MM), but in the United States and Europe they choose not to do so, ceding this privilege to the authority of the Grand Lodge system which works the York Rite version of the first three degrees. In several other countries, RER works these degrees directly, and they differ from the York Rite version in that they derive from a source that predates the de-Christianization of the Craft which took place throughout most English speaking systems of Freemasonry to accomodate a truly Universal Fraternity.

We will work the non american york rite 3 degree system within this RER...

Freestyle said...

Bravo for the wonderful new information 2 Bowl. I will definitely look into the RER. Maybe some of the other Brothers will have something to add about it.

Now I'm so very curious!

2 BOWL CAIN said...

More CRAP from Manly P Hall:

"FREE-MASONRY is a fraternity within a fraternity — an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect. Before it is possible to intelligently discuss the origin of the Craft, it is necessary, therefore, to establish the existence of these two separate yet interdependent orders, the one visible and the other invisible. The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of 'free and accepted' men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic, and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of a mysterious arcanum arcanorum. Those Brethren who have essayed to write the history of their Craft have not included in their disquisitions the story of that truly secret inner society which is to the body Freemasonic what the heart is to the body human.”

Manly P. Hall 33°,

Lectures on Ancient Philosophy and Introduction to the Study and Application of Rational Procedure, p. 397

Freestyle said...

Very nice. How right he is.

R said...

Mr Hodapp's work is what it claims to be; for dummies.

Brethren,

This is exactly the kind of dishonest and irresponsible propaganda that fuels fear of the Order, becuase it refuses to acknowledge the mystical inclinations of the Masonic movements of earlier centuries with candor.

Any man of reasonable intelligence can see that it is dishonest and deceptive. This lack of academic integrity and plain honesty is embarrasing in an Order that stands for Honor.

Let us be frank, sincere and responsible. Freemasonry, particularly in the so-called Advanced Degrees, was never intended for the masses.

She is intentionaly enigmatic becuase She is a quest of discovery.

She only lends herself to the advancement of Society and the Arts becuase She congregates men of integrity.

She is the same in the Symbolic Degrees to this end, leaving the particular researches of advanced students to their particular interests.

All of us are aware that a multitude of Rites were invented, but the most widespread and comprehensive have out-lived their intended purposes.

It is shameful that the ritual instruction and obligations of these Rites are out of all proportion with honesty and with the positions of their contemporary adherents.

It is nothing less than an empty sham, a trick played upon a candidate who is promised More Light and Truth, but receives more demands upon his social graces with the promise that he is helping the community.

He may learn more in a public library for free, meet men more upright, tried, and true in the real struggles of life, and help the community more by putting alms in the collection plate on sunday morning where there is no need for a Tyler and he may enjoy coffee, doughnuts, and fellowship in the presence of friends and family.

The Order is morally bankrupt and contemporary adherents seek reasons for secrecy and cyphers that are refuted by common sense.

It adds insult to this injury to deride the works of the most accomplished, learned, prolific, fervent, and eminent Masons who devoted their lives to The Great and Good Work.

In the end it matters little. The use of 'Occult Jargon' was intended to keep 'dummies' from reaching the Sanctuary.

Corruption however, matters much, and men of little integrity should be equally barred from the Outer Order, where the obligation upon their lips can only be regarded as a whistle upon the wind. It is this irresponsability that has destroyed the reputations of Feemasons of whatever Rite, Obediance, or Degree.

Ignorance is a choice. Should a pitiful critic of our most advanced professors choose to be honest with his readers and with himself, he will have made a fatal step upon the Path. Fatal that is to those egotistical impediments to Wisdom. Then he may survive the ordeal, grow in virtue, and one day find himself fit to be in the company of Masons.

F:. R

Freestyle said...

I absolutely and wholeheartedly applaud this your comment F:.R.

Again and again, meeting Ruffian Masons like yourself, I am delighted to discover that there is something of a Revolution afoot!

We are the Ruffians now, but we do not do our work for evil. Rather, we move in the shadows to strike against those who have subverted our Order...and so lessened it.

We owe our dues to the rightful restoration of that Great Light to Her proper place as the Center of our virtue.

The Scottish Rite and the York Rite yet offer wonderful Masonic instruction for the true Masonic student and seeker of the Light. These two face the erosion brought about by disagreeable and marauding modern currents in the Craft.

We must stand together as Brother Freemasons and stand in place of those who have come before us...so we may honor them and pass their wisdom to those worthy souls who deign, like ourselves, to travel to the East.

inishbofin said...

2 BOWL CAIN said..."The governing bodies of the RER are called Great Priories. There is only one Lodge in the United States, with membership limited to 100, exactly two members from each state."


This is actually not correct. There exist 3 prefectures limited to 27 CBCS in the USA, forming the Great Priory. Then there are commanderies of Squire Novice, and there are Lodges of St. Andrew (one of which is particularly fruitful and active), and there has never been more than 45 actual voting CBCS members in the US at any given time. This was set up with the understanding that 81 slots would never allow for every State in the Union to produce a candidate as some parts of the US do not (in the opinion of the founders of this particular GP) lend themselves to producing masons of the necessary quality. In any case, the 81 slots were never filled entirely in the history of the Great Priory of the USA.


2 BOWL CAIN said..."In England, the Order is governed by the Knights Templar."


This is a misleading statement in that while Leslie Dring commands the RER which was founded in 1937 to which you refer, this is the junior Great Priory in the UK. The other was chartered by Helvetia at the beginning of that Century & it does not come under the English KT.


2 BOWL CAIN said..."We will work the non american york rite 3 degree system within this RER..."

That is peculiar. While I do not know which Masonic body you hail from, I wonder why you will not choose to work the Rectified Rite as a cohesive, developmental rite from EA to CBCS. Why interject "York Rite" craft degrees in the beginning? I know the complexity of why the mainstream body in the US does not as most US Grand Lodges feel antagonistic towards the model where multiple rites are offered under one Grand Lodge, despite the fact that European, African and Latin American authorities have demonstrated over time that this is a working model that promotes harmony and great satisfaction as the Christian Mason may pursue his mystic rites, and others may pursue theirs. It is ideal to have a GL where the RER, the AASR, the Emulation, the Bristol, the French Rite, etc.. are all offered. Then each one of those systems can extend into their Ne Plus Ultra degrees.


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