The Craft Journey — Part Five
A Discussion of some of its Finger-posts and Milestones
W.Bro. J. R. Cleland, M.A., D.D., P.P.A.G.Chap. (Kent)
Part 5. "THE CEREMONY OF RAISING"
"Strange that men should be content to grovel and be men, when they might rise to the rank of gods! (— )Hypatia — Charles Kingsley)
"The boasted strength of the personal self is really its weakness; true strength lies in that which lies behind the personal strength." — Paul Brunton.
"Repose is called the Law of Return.
The Law of Return is called Eternity:
To know Eternity is called Illumination.
To ignore Eternity is to draw misfortune upon oneself.
To know Eternity is to be Great of Soul."
The Book of the Inner Life in Action. Tao Teh King.
"When I was a little boy, I had but little wit;
It is some time ago, and I have no more yet;
Nor ever shall I have, until that I shall die:
The longer that I live, the more the fool am I."
Old Nursery Rhyme (Various versions).
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Corinthians, XV., 54-55.)
"Behold bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the Sanctuary and bless the Lord. The Lord that made Heaven and Earth bless thee out of Zion." (Psalm CXXXIV. A Song of degrees.)
We come today to the consideration of that truly sublime degree, in which, as its title shows, the Aspirant is sublimated, in which in symbol he completes the subjugation of the Personality. Herein, also, that darkness, in which, mistaking it for light, he has revelled for so long, becomes visible to him and, for the first time, he knows it for the darkness which it really is.
As I have indicated in previous papers, this is not a degree of complete resurrection, but only of the conscious realisation of the ultimate certainty of resurrection.
Before he presents himself as a candidate for the degree, the Aspirant should have made himself perfectly conversant with, and be able to perform, at a moment's notice, each and every floor office in the E.A. and F.C. degrees. This, as before, is the responsibility of his sponsors.
With the preliminaries of his preparation we have dealt in Part II of this paper, and now we see him as he " Comes p.p. to be r. to the s.d. of a M.M.," having passed the tests of his efficiency as a F.C., and having been entrusted with the g. of Cancer, the Crab, and the p.w., T.C., of which the name of the lame god, Vulcan, is a corruption. The Aspirant has passed safely, as Candidate, through the Ways of Purgation and Illumination, and should now be sufficiently developed to enter upon the Way of Union. The Light gained upon the Way of Illumination only serves to give emphasis and expression to "that gloom which rests upon the prospect of futurity."
He seeks admission by the use of the knocks which indicate the stage he has now reached as a F.C. These knocks are at once interpreted within the Lodge as an Alarm, for it is now open in the 3rd degree. The F.C. Aspirant has passed far beyond the stage of "humbly soliciting" to be admitted, and he no longer merely "hopes that his progress will recommend him for further promotion. He has now more confidence in himself and "hopes that his further progress will entitle him to be admitted" to the stage of sublimation.
As always, his hope and confidence is based upon his assurance of the "help of God," and he adds to the aid given by the basic sq. the further aid of the c's. We find this instrument added, in the glyph of the degree, to the picture which we have built up from the basic tools. In the E.A. degree, we found the I.G. using a combination of I. & p.r. for purposes of admission; in the F.C. degree, the sq. is used and is added to the Glyph, and we traced the corresponding growth of the Calvary symbol. But you will remember that we noticed that the symbol was incomplete. Today we add the C's to complete the symbolic trowel, and, in the Calvary, the symbolic representation is completed by the addition of the Spear on the one side and the reed and sponge on the other, so placed that together they occupy the same relative position as our c's. You might like to note also the peculiar parallel between these two instruments and the p.w's. used to lead to F.C. and M.M.
Th Glyph still remains essentially incomplete, for the figure has yet to appear in the centre of the diamond. It is the Calvary in intent, although the Aspirant is not yet proven to be ready to undergo "that last and greatest trial," wherein he must tread the "Way of the Cross," that the Personality may be transcended, and the real man pass on to that sublime state of consciousness which shall place him beyond the necessity for entering into that state of death and limitation which we call "life on earth," or "incarnation."
The p.w. is normally in possession of the Aspirant. It is a fact that in some workings, the Irish for instance, the p.w. and p.g. are not communicated to him until later in the ceremony, but his Conductor has them and has oven them for him, which achieves the same object. The ritual interpretation of T.C. as W.P.'s. is interesting. Actually C. is Possessions and T. apparently implies Production, and T.C. is applied mainly to Production of Weapons. It is a highly significant fact that the Age of Vulcan in which we have been wallowing, is, in the throes of its passing, turning the whole of our humanity, in one way or another, into Munition-workers, engaged in the "Production of Weapons." This is itself an indication that the race, as a whole, is ready to undergo "that last and greatest trial" of war and destruction through which they must struggle, if they are to survive. Survival is, in eternity, certain, but its form may be other than the average man has been led to hope for or to expect.
Again we must note that a physical defect is stressed, for, as we have seen, Hephaistos, Vulcan and T.C. are one and the same "lame god." In the passing on to the plane of the E.A. a defect was found in Vision, the passing from E.A. to F.C. stressed a defect in Speech or Aspiration, and now we find a defect in Locomotion.
The Bull-calf of the first p.g. representing P. is now moulded by the f.a. in m's. into the Golden Calf which has been and still is, so commonly worshipped in the guise of W.P's. Actually it pertains to the gross Personality, the lower nature of man himself. No wonder the old god, Vulcan, is in eruption!!
Admission to the Lodge is on the C's., and both points should be applied to the b's. which are exposed for the purpose. It is significant of the coming balance of the thinking principles.
The two triangles, the upward pointing,fiery triangle of Spirit, which represents the Individuality, and the downward pointing, watery triangle of Matter, which represents the Personality, have now approached and the two divisions of mind — the lower mind of form and the higher, formless mind - represented by the bases, have come together and have coalesced to make the clear diamond of the perfected and unified mind, which we find represented in our basic trowel-blade. Upon this diamond has been based the whole of our symbolism of the Sq. & C's., which we watch as it grows with the growth of the Candidate, and see completed with the appearance of the second point at a later stage in this degree. With this we have already dealt very folly. The trowel is sometimes worn as a badge of office by the Tyler, for, although we have seen that he represents the dense physical body, yet he also shows forth the latent potentiality of full Mastership. Indeed, it is advisable that the Tyler should, wherever possible, be an experienced P.M.
In the admission on the C's. there are again no words required, for the aspirant is fully conscious of all that is happening.
On admission, he is received by the D's., acting in consort, so that the three-fold Personality now attains a stage wherein it ceases to manifest only temporarily, and is able to persist as a unity.
The incarnate, physical man, led by his emotional and rational faculties, in perfect balance, proceeds upon his way. The three should now always proceed in line, the Can. between the D's.
The three-fold Personality bends its Physical Vehicle in prayer, and is thus presented to the M.H., in one of the most moving and significant prayers in Freemasonry, carrying, as it does, the necessary warning of the solemnity of the Ceremonial Path which is now opening before him in the Way of Union.
As usual, the whole journey previously traversed must be passed in review, the Aspirant being permitted to Pass on his way only after due trial and strict examination. Speaking for myself, again, I like to hear the full tests applied by each Warden in turn, but I will not press the point.
The Ceremony proceeds as before, the Intuition breaking in to advise the Brn. in the N.E.S.&W. of the approach of the Candidate, who, in combined charge of his mental and emotional faculties, perambulates the Lodge to show that he is the Can. p.p. to be r. to the s.d. of a M.M. He undergoes the required pass-tests on his way and thus returns to the Spiritual Principle, ATMA, by whom he is presented to the Intuition, BUDDHI, and from whom, in consequence, comes the instruction, from which his conductors receive the impetus which causes the complete personality to set out, as a unity, upon this Path of Union. This path should lead to the final coalescence of the three-fold Personality with the three-fold Individuality, for the conscious use of the Ultimate Ego.
The Candidate now learns the method of advance to the E. which, as we have seen elsewhere (see Trans. No. 8), is of great significance. It is the "passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death," the "Way of the Cross," the entry upon the first realisation of the fact of Four-dimensional Space. Starting in the W. it carries him to S., to N, and to E. by three oblique journeys of the Way of Transgression — which, by the by, is not always as bad as our modern use of the term would have us believe, although it always remains "hard," even harder than appears at first sight. The four b. or m. sps. which follow point out the passage into the fourth dimension. Just as the F.C. treads underfoot the goat or Ram, so the M.M. sacrifices the Golden Calf, in complete self-denudation. To carry on the symbol of staircase-building, which we used in the last part of this paper, the Aspirant has now passed into the towelling temple and is on ground-level. In the language of another symbolism, he has "ascended into a mountain to pray" and has reached that summit which has been called Golgotha, the place of the Skull. Remember that all these symbolic stories and pictures are attempts to depict in word and gesture, for the benefit of the spirit of man imprisoned in the flesh, reminders of the facts of the spiritual world, with which the real man, freed from the trammels of the flesh, is already well acquainted. They also remind him of ordeals which he knows that he must freely undergo. On the path to the Place of the Skull he must pass along the VIA DOLOROSA, the sorrowful path of self-immolation and sacrifice, the voluntary treading of which, to the uninitiated and materially-minded man, is the last word in foolishness. He, in his blindness, sees only the present suffering, and has no conception of the goal to which it leads. He sees, as it were, the blade of a sword stretching into darkness over a great gulf, and he fears even to step upon the cross-hilt. He has only scorn for the aspirant who attempts the passage of the abyss upon such a razor-edge. Truly the path is narrow and hard, which leads from Transgression to bold advance towards full-filment. I must return to this later when I come to deal with the tomb, the very name of which bears out what I have been saying.
The position during the Ob. is now, at last, truly balanced, as is necessary if the Aspirant is to open up the direct channel of SUSHUMNA, as he stands between the pillars of the channels, IDA and PINGALA.
In the Ob. itself there are a few significant points upon which we must touch in passing. The wording links up closely with the F.P. of F., of which the Candidate learns at a later stage, but perhaps the most surprising thing, and that which has caused most comment, is that clause which is generally known as the — "Chastity Clause." It is often a matter for wonder, among those who are not yet in touch with the laws of the higher life, that this clause should not come earlier in our rituals, if it is to be included at all. Still more often is it a matter for wonder and comment that it should be thought necessary to have such a clause. Actually, its inclusion at this point marks a very significant change in the relationship of the Aspirant to his Brn. in Freemasonry.
This change can, perhaps, be best illustrated by the change which takes place when a CHELA, or Pupil in the Spiritual Science, is accepted by his GURU, or teacher, into that close relationship which is called sometimes "Son of the Master," when he has made such progress that he can actually enter into the consciousness of his Master, and lay his own thought alongside that of his Master for comparison, merging himself momentarily, at least, in the Master. How close then must become the relationship of Pupil and Master, and how close the relationship between any two pupils of the same Master. The stage of chastity and utter purity necessary to be reached at this point is almost beyond the comprehension of the average man of today. Two men having such relationship will have everything in common - thoughts, emotions, experiences — to such an extent that even a hint of unchaste thought directed towards a relative of his brother-pupil would have the most far-reaching consequences. It is extremely difficult for us, living the normal life of the world, to grasp this utter oneness of the relationship which our founders have endeavoured to depict for us in the F.P. of F. The Christian Master is quoted by St. John (Ch. XIV verse 20) as saying, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father and ye in me and I in you," in another attempt to express this relationship.
In the earlier Obs. we have found three out of the four basic elements incorporated in the p.......ies. Now we have the fourth and last, the element of Fire. It is related to the Centre of the body, the navel, behind which lies the Solar Plexus. It will be found that the navel is the centre of a circle which can be drawn to touch the fingers and toes of a human figure with arms and legs extended upon the diagonals of a square, or, alternatively upon a St. Andrew's Cross of the dimensions which we met in the Greek Rtter Chi, as found upon the Labarum the banner of Constantine. Here the alternate angles are respectively of 72 and 108 degrees. I have touched upon this before and need not repeat myself here. The s . . n connected with the p......... y, which the Can. learns later, crosses this centre of force.
The Ob. being duly sealed, the Candidate has his attention drawn to the growth of the mental symbol, as already mentioned, and is then brought to his feet by the G. of LEO, the Lion, and is now ready to enter upon the culminating events of the degree.
We have seen him pass the stage of "humbly soliciting," beyond the hope that his progress will recommend him," and now he goes on beyond the "hope that his further progress will entitle him" to pass on, for he is now in a position to "demand" to undergo that — "last and greatest trial, by which alone he can be admitted to a participation" in the secrets and mysteries of this Sublime Degree.
The "retrospect" to which his attention is called is but a pale, shadowy explanation of the stages of the journey, yet, by careful and assiduous meditation upon its clauses, it can be made to yield a harvest of great value. The veils are heavy and hang closely, but due perseverance leads to their becoming, if not quite transparent, at least less opaque. This retrospect leads up gradually, and with strong vibratory action, to that point whereat the Personality retires into the background, giving place to the Individuality. Then, in the closest and most intimate union with the Intuitive faculty, the Aspirant reaches out, as did Samson in his blindness, and draws down upon himself the two pillars which he studied so closely in the F.C. degree. I want you particularly to note the relationship and significance of the basic tools in relation to the pillars. The Aspirant first meets the two tools only when the s.i., which represents them in combination, is held in the hand of the I.G. at his admission to seek Initiation. As an E.A., his attention is drawn to them as being the distinctive emblems of the principal officers in the W. and S. and then they are associated with the third tool, the emblem worn by the occupant of the Eastern station. The three taken together are the Negative Aspects of the three-fold Individuality and are carried by the three representatives of its Positive Aspects. In the F.C. degree they are taken over by the Candidate, as a three-fold Personality, as the W.T's. with which he can shape himself during his unfolding of the inner realisation of himself as Individuality. Now, wielded by the same aspects of that Individuality, the same tools turn against the Personality to destroy it; but — please note this point particularly — the Sq. is again dissociated, and its place is taken by something which is, apparently, quite a new conception, the H.M. This H.M. is, however, a direct development of the Square — not, on this occasion, the gallows square but the T-square, into which it has developed. The gallows square becomes the T-square, which then, by rotation, develops three-dimensionality. The H.M. is the type of three-dimensional square which one would expect to find in use if one were living consciously in a four-dimensional continuum. But this is just the stage of consciousness to which we have found that the Candidate aspires, and now, for the moment, he enters into it, if only in symbol. The wielder of this instrument is the Intuition, which, from the first, has been solely responsible for the conduct of that "retrospect" to which we have already referred. The Philistines of the Samson story are those multitudinous modifications of the lower nature which we have referred to as the "golden calf." Here our Samson, with Strength renewed, reaches out and embraces the twin pillars IDA and PINGALA, of TAT and TATTU, of B. and J.- call them what you like — and, in the extreme effort of self-sacrifice, grasps the I.h.p. with his r.h., and the r.h.p. with his I.h., and draws them into himself and thus brings down upon himself and upon the Philistines the whole vast edifice of the Temple. The whole symbolism is designed to accentuate the voluntary nature of the sacrifice, the overwhelming and obliteration of all that mortal man can make into an object of desire, in order that the prison of the personality may be finally and completely crushed. It is of great significance that Samson is said to have been buried in a place called MANAAH, a word which signifies "rest". Another significant fact is that the position of the Spiritual Faculty, the S.W., is no longer in the W. but in the N. As in the case of SHIVA in the Hindu mythology he has two distinct functions. In the N. he is the "Destroyer," but in the W. he is the "Willing Bestower of Requests." Later these two functions are combined to make him the "King" who occupies the central position in the E. in the Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch. It is in this part of the Ceremony that the Symbolic figure appears in the Centre of our Calvary or trowel blade.
And now I want to break away from my main theme for a few minutes and with your kind permission I want to touch upon a very personal theme.
I want you all to come with me upon a journey through space and backward through time to a small temple in the ancient land of Egypt, at a period somewhere about 3500 years before the opening of the Christian Era. We will try to follow to some slight extent the experiences of a very humble little priestess who serves in the great Temple of RA. I cannot even tell you what was her real name, but for years I have treasured her memory as HYNTLA or HENT-RA, which means literally, Priestess of RA.
This girl, for she is little more when we meet her, must have been dedicated to the service of the Temple at a very early age, for the Jewel which she wears upon her brow, to denote her rank, has been fashioned and consecrated especially for her use, to be given to her only when she should be fully admitted, and its consecration alone has covered a period of seven years. During that time she has been on probation, awaiting the time when she could undergo the trials and approbations attendant upon the formal admission to the service of RA. The Jewel, as we would now call it, is of blue faience and represents the right eye of Osiris, the male eye being that necessary to complete the perfect androgynous server, and indicating, by its position on the brow, the opening up of that third eye which anatomists and physiologists of today are prone to dismiss as — an atrophied organ." This is the Pineal Gland, gateway of the Higher Worlds of Consciousness.
One Ceremony only I want to touch upon, as it is important in its close parallelism with our ceremony of Raising, and with the stage of Crucifixion in the Christian Gospel story.
The Temple is arranged in a manner which is reminiscent both of our Craft and Holy Royal Arch lay-out, for it appears as a blend of the two. While the general scheme is such as we would expect to find in a Lodge prepared for a Raising, the Wardens have been moved up to the East, and already appear, relatively to the W.M., in the positions which, in our ceremony, they take up only when called upon to do so. I am, of course, using the titles as they appear today. This position is strongly reminiscent of our Chapter setting, but the order of seating is as in the Craft, J.W. seated S.W. of the W.M., and S.W. seated N.W. so that the three form a small triangle. In the centre of the floor-space, replacing the o.g. of today, lies a cross of timber, curiously hollowed in the middle, and beside it three ropes.
At the point in the ceremony to which I want to draw your attention the Candidate stands before the Master, at the Eastern end or base of the upright of the cross, her Conductors having withdrawn so that alone and unattended she occupies the centre of the base of the triangle of the Principal Officers.
The Master approaches her and the Wardens close in on either side, and, using a wonderfully powerful ritual in which all present take a part, the Master draws her out of her body, which falls back, apparently lifeless, and it is lowered into the hollow of the cross, made to receive it. The loose ropes are laid over the ankles and outstretched arms, being left unfastened in any way, so as to indicate the voluntary nature of the sacrifice. There follows a ceremony closely following the lines of a normal burial service and the body is laid in the tomb.
During the three days that follow, the Candidate — out of the body and functioning in full consciousness on the higher planes — receives a series of instructions which include the methods of withdrawing from and returning to the body at will, and also much high ethical and religious teaching.
On the third day the Lodge again assembles and the body is taken from the tomb and again lies in the centre, in the cavity of the hollowed cross. The three Principal Officers approach and, in another fine ritual, as the Sun rises and Shines in upon the work, the Candidate is restored to the prison of the flesh. Then is she duly raised "to a reunion with the former companions of her toil."
She is now of the number of the "re-born" or the "twice born." She is of the number of those who have been dead and are alive again, yet so changed in outlook that she can never again be the same as she was before undergoing this experience. Gently she is brought back into the body of flesh, and it is fed and tended, to bring back warmth to limbs grown cold and stiff during the three days absence of their tenant. She is then invested with the jewel, strongly magnetised by its long preparation. As we leave her, she is in office as attendant upon the incense burner whence sweet magnetic smokes make clean and fragrant the physical atmosphere of the Temple, and carry their magnetism into the subtler atmospheres. I need not comment upon the resemblances to other ceremonies with which we are all well acquainted, but will return to our discussion of our own ceremonies.
Before resuming work on our Candidate, let me return for a moment to the phrase " tomb of transgression." I want to suggest that, in view of what I said about it earlier in this paper, and taking into consideration the ceremony just described, this phrase may well be taken as a paraphrase of "necessity for incarnation." The entity which steps across, or transgresses, into a body of flesh, finds itself entombed therein, limited and hampered by its body to such an extent that what we call death is indeed a resurrection into life for the entity which has developed sufficiently to understand it and grasp its significance, I will not labour the point, but I suggest it to you as a line which is well worth individual investigation.
We left our Candidate standing between the Wardens, with the Master approaching from the East. I need not here detail the ceremony nor comment upon its parallels with that of which I have been speaking, but there are one or two points which I would like to mention in passing. You will remember that in my paper on the "Masonic Way of the Cross" (Trans., 8), I mentioned that the method of advance in this degree is important evidence, pointing to the truth of the tradition that much of what we find incorporated in our ceremonies today was preserved for us by the Order of Knights Templar, through the darkness of superstitious ignorance which over-shadowed so much of the mid. Christian era. Now, when the Candidate is placed in the position wherein he represents the form of the Master H.A., there are two traditional peculiarities which point in the same direction. If you have ever studied the effigies on the tombs of the Crusaders in our churches, you will have observed a peculiarity which distinguishes them from the tombs of other warriors of the same era. One leg is crossed over the other. Often also the hands are crossed upon the breast instead of being depicted in the more normal attitude of prayer. What is this but the traditional attitude of the M.M. at this tragic moment, and in most lodges we find that it is adhered to with the most punctilious exactness - although I have strong reason to doubt whether its implications are generally recognised. The strength of the tradition is, however, worth noting.
In this scene of desolation and distress there lies veiled the seed of renewal, and our M.M. receives definite teaching that Death — on any plane and however much it may seem to be annihilation — is but the gateway to another phase of life. He becomes ONE with the Master whom he represents, that Master who is himself One with the Master of Masters, who is known to mankind by so many different names and titles; Krishna, Kalki, Osiris, Tammuz, Mithras are some of his names; the Messiah, the Imam Madhi, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Lord of Compassion, the Christos, these are some of his titles. He it is who is the One Initiator, the Shepherd of every fold, for, as he has himself said, all folds will someday be united and "there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
Brethren, the Greater Mysteries still persist, and when one of our humanity attains to that degree of perfection which admits him to the fellowship of the Great Ones in the Great White Lodge, it is the Star of the One Initiator which shines forth in the East in approval and in benediction. His sign is "that bright morning star which brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient of the human race."
The traditional names of the three Ruffians; Jubala, Jubalo and Jubalum - founded upon the name of Jubal who originated the harp and the organ - contain in their suffices the three letters of that great and ineffable three-lettered word which has been called the "Key of the Universe." By the proper intonation of this word, according to tradition, all things are made possible. As the Aspirant returns to his work on earth, refreshed and invigorated by his experience in the Temple, all the Hosts of Heaven find reason to sing with joy that one of the "sons of men" has "seen a great light," and has, even if only momentarily, set foot upon the path.
In the ceremony of Raising, the developed Mentality cannot be effective by itself as a restorative, and the same proves to be the case with the Spiritual faculty acting alone. Each requires the help of the other to be effective and, even acting together, they could do nothing save as assistants to that "more expert workman" the intuition.
In the planning of this world of ours, Man can do nothing without God; and God has limited Himself so as to throw certain responsibilities upon the shoulders of Man. In the resultant sharing of responsibility lies the true solution of the age-old problem of "predestination and free-will." Ultimately it is that great Cosmic Link — the God-Man — who brings into play the colossal combination of the powers of God and of Man, in the character of SALVATOR. On the lower levels we find that it is always a fact that a people without religion are ineffectual or even destructive; a religion that is without appeal to the people, however true it may be in itself, is also ineffectual, and may be equally destructive. A truly religious people can never be destroyed and, in proportion as they guide their lives by the principles of religion, they may become heirs to all that the Universe has to offer.
The Candidate is raised upon the F.P.O.F., as the centre point of a triangle formed by the three Principal Officers. There is a close resemblance here to who takes place a the Ordination of a Priest in the midst of the Bishop and his assistants, but the analogy must not be pressed too far.
At this moment the Candidate realises that all his previous experiences on the lower planes have taken place in a darkness which has now become visible. The real light has always been preserved, but until now it has been to him but a "glimmering ray," so faint as to be, as often as not, totally unnoticed or disregarded.
Much of the address appears to be contradictory. It is difficult for some brethren to understand how the "contemplation of their inevitable destiny" can possibly lead them to a knowledge of themselves and equally difficult to grasp the connection between apparent death and a "vital and immortal principle." The whole matter becomes clear if only he can understand that the "inevitable destiny" and the death to which the words of the ritual refer, are but other names for the coming into incarnation and the veiling of Spirit in the limitations of Matter, which constitute the only method by which the real man, as a vital and immortal entity, can gain the necessary knowledge of, and ascendency over, matter, which will enable him to transcend and control it.
There is a hint here that the process of resurrection is incomplete — as indeed is the case. You any remember that, when Mary met the Master in the garden after the resurrection, he said to her, "touch me not," giving the same implied warning of a process not yet completed.
Now comes the usual recapitulation of the former stages, in an advance which should embody the giving of the full signs of the E.A. and the F.C. before the new step is attempted.
This recapitulative advance being completed, the secrets are communicated. The third r.s. is exactly similar to that taken in the F.C. degree, and the implications are the same, showing a movement at right angles to both the directions of motion in the former degrees. The lameness persists, as does the association with T.C., for it cannot be too strongly impressed upon the Candidate that the full F.C. position, as seen in standing to order in that degree, must be maintained during the taking of the step. To comply with the requirements of the symbolism, this should be a balanced motion, and it is only by the maintenance of the signs that the balance is possible.
It will be noticed that there is apparently no particular Ashlar for the M.M., such as is found in the E.A. and F.C. degrees. Actually such a stone does appertain to the degree, but it cannot be shown nor understood at this stage of the proceedings. I will come back to the consideration of this point at a later stage.
Now let us consider the secrets to be communicated. First, we have three s...s, of which two are c....l and the third p...l.
The first C.... l S...n links the two Centres of Force which we associate with the Brow and Spleen, and is principally useful in the guarding of the former from the effects of over-stimulation of the latter, holding the balance about the Cardiac Plexus, which lies between them.
The second is a reminder of the three points of contact of the strokes which have broken open the gate of the higher faculties and, through the agency of our basic tools have finally cleared the way in the passage of force up the central channel — SUSHUMNA to the S.S. itself. In its passage, this force floods the lateral ventricles of the skull — the wings on the Caduceus of Mercury — and passes over the third Ventricle, which is shaped like a coffin, through the Aquaduct of Sylvius to the Pineal Gland, which it spurs into activity. This is the Conarium, the Knob of the Caduceus and the fir-cone of the Bacchic Mysteries. Here it may be well to say that the coffin to which certain brethren have raised objections, as being an anachronism from an historical point of view, is essential, a reminder of the path of the force within the skull — GOLGOTHA. The same shape is, of course, obtained by joining up the eight free points of the sacrificed Cube, which forms the cross.
The motions of the third or P...l S..n are exactly in line with those of the E.A., but on a different level, the alternative third motion differentiating the salute and the standing to order in the same manner as in the former degrees.
These three s...s together comprise a series of seven motions, corresponding, as we found with the s...s of the other degree, with the key number of the degree itself.
At this point we break away to deal with the G. or T., which as we are told, is the first of the F.P.O.F. It is known as the Lion's G., and, as such, it falls into its proper place in the sequence we have been following. It is inseparable from the others of the F.P.O.F., except when it is used as a G. of Power, as in bringing the Candidate to his feet after the Ob. The F.P.O.F. give us the five points of contact with the natural world, and have a close correspondence with the glyph of the man stretched out in the Circle, who contacts it at five points also, four being on the circumference and one at the centre. In each case four are manifest and one hidden, and the teaching, from one point of view, is that the Elder Brethren of Humanity are always working for the helping of their younger brethren, even though these may not perhaps even be aware of their existence — and far less aware of their help. The F.P.O.F. carry one step further the complete merging of the two entities in the close relationship to which I have already referred. "I in you, and ye in me" is no mere figure of speech when the stage is reached when one can, at will, call to remembrance, experience, and even modify, the thoughts, emotions and experiences of another whom one had heretofore been accustomed to look upon as a separate entity. The illusion of separateness is in process of being dispelled so that each can use the stored up memories and knowledge of the other as he would his owm.
Truly the builder has been smitten, for, in this degree, the last remaining necessity for the intervention of the physical elemental, who has been responsible for the building of the body that the man might have an abiding place in which to sojourn among his fellow spirits in prison, falls away. The Man is now master of his own destiny to a far greater extent than ever before, although he is still in the position of the risen Master in the garden, when he uttered the warning, "touch me not" (John XX., 17.). His reunion with his brethren is closer than ever before, but it has not yet reached a stage when the closeness of the tie can be appreciated while functioning on the physical plane.
The W...s of the Degree represent that stage in the pronunciation of the Key-word of the Mysteries when it is still under the influence of the natural phenomenon which is known in the East as "the pairs of opposites." This word is generally referred to under the veil of the three letters A.U.M., and sometimes written merely as OM. It is, of course, the basis of the sacred name AMEN in all its various spellings, its "permutations and combinations." The pairs of opposites come to us in our symbol of the square pavement. This stage is indicated in the dual rendering, in which, you will notice that the order of the vibrations is opposite in the one to that in the other. The first gives what may be rendered roughly as A.U.M., and the other M.U.A., taking the vowel U. as equivalent to the old Greek universal vowel sound and the A. as the equivalent consonant. The Candidate, being thus restored to his Brethren, is now tested as before and the ceremony follows up with the usual stage of "trial and approbation", after which the Spiritual Faculty presents him to the Intuition "for some further mark of his favour," and is given the delegated power to Invest him.
Unlike the change from E.A. to F.C. which can be, and often still is, made without the removal of the apron, in this M.M. degree the change can only be conveniently made by the use of two separate aprons. It is of the utmost importance that the M.M. apron should be properly adjusted before the F.C. apron is removed, lest the Candidate be, at any moment in the ceremony, improperly clothed.
As I remarked before, the full consideration of the Apron must be deferred until some more convenient occasion, but, indeed, I have already referred to the principal points with which we are immediately concerned, and the few remaining must be covered in a few words only.
The third rosette forms, with those added in the F.C. degree, a triangle, which intersects that which is formed by the turned down flap, showing an intermediate stage of growth towards the full intersection of the H. R. A.
For the first time metals, the products of Vulcan, appear on the scene in the tassels, each of which should be seven-fold in its make up. These are our old friends the triadic pillars, in a new guise, as having grown sevenfold by absorbtion each into each, for, as we have often mentioned before, in the higher mathematics 3 plus 3 is not 6 but 7, just as 1 plus 1 is not 2 but 3, that is if the final result is taken in each case.
An important point, which we must not miss, is the new fastening of the apron. The double cord is now replaced by a single band of blue, with what is generally known as a "snake fastening." In ancient Egypt the corresponding apron was held in place by a girdle in the shape of a snake, encircling the waist and holding its own tail in its mouth. One interpretation of this symbol is fairly obvious, for the initiate of this grade should have reached the full assurance that he is living in Eternity - and let us remember that Eternity must stretch in both directions, or it ceases to be. And so he is prone, by the very fact of his existence, to be immortal. There are few men who question the fact of their own existence. The snake still persists in the clasp which is so universally used to fasten the aprons of today. It has even penetrated outside masonry, and is found as a clasp of the distinguishing belts of our schoolboys and members of sports organisations. Whether these people know it or not, understand it or not, like it or not, they carry on them — usually very appropriately situated on the centre — one of the most ancient badges of brotherhood in the world, a badge which symbolises much of the great good which lies behind that to which we so often derisively refer under the title of "the old school tie." Once, and once only, during the course of my masonic career, have I heard this snake referred to by its proper name, a name which has come down to us all through the ages from ancient Egypt, the KNEPH. On this one occasion I happened to hear a brother asking another to help him to fasten his Kneph, but it is unusual to find brethren who have heard the term used.
The T.H. of the degree centres round the so-called T.B., although it hardly merits the name, for it is really the actual Lodge itself, as prepared for the working of the degree. It contains nothing upon which extensive comment should be necessary from the point of view we are considering in these papers. The shrub and the sprig of Acacia link closely with the ASSWATA Tree of the Hindu, the YGGDRASIL of the Norse mythology, and the many other sacred trees found the world over. To cover the subject adequately took so great an expert as Sir J. G. Frazer, the many volumes under the general title of "The Golden Bough." The single volume abridged version of 1922 is probably the best possible outline of the subject, and to it I must refer you.
There are, however, certain apparent anachronisms in the T.B. which point to the literal meaning as being of less importance than that which lies behind its symbolism. The position indicated in for the sepulchre of the Master is historically impossible, but symbolically vital. Its very peculiar dimensions I have treated very fully in my paper on the Masonic Way of the Cross (Trans. 8). The other points I must leave to our President, when he deals with the theme from the point of view of the T.B's.
Finally, I must devote a few words to the W.T's.
The first of these, the S..... t is, of course, another form of the C.T., which, in one form or another, permeates the whole of the degrees of the Craft series. In the E.A. degree we saw it attached to the Aspirant, as a warning and as a measure of his capacity for perseverance. As a F.C. he found it in the W.T's. which enabled him to determine levels and perpendiculars. Now it is the criterion of measurement, by which he can lay out his course towards the achievement of his Temple. It has a deep significance in reference to Cosmic growth, for its undeviating line is drawn from a cyclic or rotary commencement. I will have much more to say on the subject of this cyclic evolution in a later paper.
The P .... l is symbolic of the working of the Law of Cause and Effect - called in the East the Law of Karma — which has been variously stated in different ages: "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," "as a man sows, so also shall he reap," and so on. "The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children" is another well-known variant of the same law, pointing out that faults committed in older generations, or earlier incarnations, bear fruit in younger generations, or later incarnations. Everything is recorded by the pencil of remorseless fate, and punishment or reward comes, not in any haphazard or arbitrary manner, but as a perfectly natural result of those causes which have been set up earlier.
We have already considered the C's. They form the completion of the Trowel-blade, and thus keep us within due bounds, just as the figure on the cross in the Calvary is bounded, so that we may be enabled to spread the cement of brotherhood when we learn to handle the instrument.
We now have a repetition of the s ... s already communicated, but with two more added, with which we must now deal.
The S .. n of G. & D., in its numerous variations, covers a wide field. In one form it is the completion of the S .. n of S....y, covering the three points therein indicated, uniting them in one, and thus cutting the two highest centres of force off from all that lies below.
In the form which is usually given third place, it links the p..... y areas of the p ... l s... s of the three degrees.
The form usually given second place in this country requires a little more explanation, to elucidate it as I see it. It links closely with a s . . n given in one of the so-called higher degrees, and I feel that it is very necessary not only to see that link, but to distinguish the two signs from one another. The description given is almost exactly the same in each case, but, in my opinion, the linking of the hands should be different. I can best illustrate the difference by reference to certain incidents in the Christian Gospel story, which we must recognise as, in one sense, telling the same story of initiatory growth. We find the story told of the Disciples asking the Master where he proposes to partake of the feast of the Passover. He tells them to go into the city where they will see a man carrying a pitcher of water. They are to follow him to his destination and there make the necessary preparations. Later we find the disciples wrangling among themselves as to which shall be greatest among them. The Master himself carries in a bowl of water and proceeds to wash their feet. Here we have two carriers of water, both of which naturally turn our thoughts to Aquarius, the Water-carrier, whose symbol consists of two wavy lines, one above the other.
Now, the linking of the hands can be accomplished in two different ways, each of which produces just such a wavy line of junction, but, in one case this line appears away from the forehead — "in the street," and in the other adjoins the forehead — "in the upper room." The two together form the complete sign. I suggest therefore that in this degree, which is a degree of the path, or of the street, it is logical that the fingers should be on the backs of the hands to show the line away from the forehead, the outer sign; whereas, in the other, which is most definitely a degree of the upper room, the fingers should be in front, and the line hidden, the inner sign.
Now, the last, the G. or R. S ..n., remains for consideration. When given as such, and not as an acclaim, the thumbs and indices should form a triangle of fire. This is analogous to the mound or spire so often found upon the head of the Buddha, and indicates the amount of Enlightennnent. This has further developments later on, of which it is impossible to speak her, but those of you who have passed through certain later grades will know to what I refer.
Of the full implications of this Sublime Degree there is no time to speak now. I fear I have already outrun my time and your patience, I will try to indicate some lines of thought in the final papers of this series.
Perhaps the best summary of the teaching of the degree is contained in the words of the Christian Master, "The hour is come that the son of man should be glorified. Amen I say unto you except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" (St. John XII., 23-24-25.)
Tennyson wrote truly in "In Memoriam," when he said:
I hold it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things."
Truly may each one, who has experienced the events of this Sublime degree, exclaim
"My God My God! How hast Thou glorified me!"
PEACE TO ALL BEINGS. AMEN.