The Daily Advance In Masonic Knowledge
Equilibrium Through Movement by W.Bro. Charles M. de Beer, PDGJW
Creative Imagination by W.Bro. John Makin, PAGStB
"Give Me That Word" by Herman M. Selzer, P.D.G.M.
These three papers submitted by members in different countries and at different times over the last two years were, quite by chance, brought together for reading and discussion at one Dormer meeting. It was agreed that there was a harmony in the three papers and that they should be printed as one Transaction.
EQUILIBRIUM THROUGH MOVEMENT
by W.Bro. Charles M. de Beer, PDGJW
Every Freemason is instructed, on joining the order, to make a daily advance in Masonic knowledge. Hence, it follows, that those brethren who do not adhere to this injunction are in fact falling down on the solemn vow they have taken on that great occasion in their life. Though learning the ritual, and advancing through the various 'chairs' may be seen as increasing one's knowledge in the Craft, it is not really what is meant with Masonic knowledge, though it may be part of it.
And, similarly, perfecting one's character by the moral teachings inculcated in the various degrees, can also not satisfy the full meaning which must be attributed to the idea of 'Masonic knowledge', though, once again, it may be part of it.
In saying this I want to refer to the fact that Freemasonry is stated to be a 'Mystic Art' and that, in the second degree every brother is enjoined to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science. The secrets of nature and the principles of intellectual truth are said to be unveiled to him who thus delves in these mysteries. This is the philosophic side of our Craft. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom. From Plato we know that a knowledgeable man is not necessarily a wise man. Wisdom is the understanding of, in Platonic terms: 'The Good'. The Freemason is also taught that he must learn 'how to die'. It is not 'knowledge', per se, that will teach him this, but 'wisdom'. Because to learn how to die really means to learn how to live. We prepare for death by the manner in which we live. Learning how to live in order to know how to die is the essence of Masonic knowledge. This essence of the knowledge we should make our own is the Platonic 'The Good', or what we in the craft name as 'God'. A God who is not circumscribed, who is not the God of any one particular religion and who, in the Royal Arch degree, is referred to by various names all of which have symbolic meaning attached to them, the fathoming of which is a rewarding study.
Thus we see that the daily advancement in Masonic knowledge has vast implications and becomes a never ending search for a truth that will recede as we make progress towards it. Yet, from the first step we take on that path of research, we shall find joy and satisfaction we could not have imagined would be our lot.
Therefore it is to be regretted that so few, so very few brethren heed that injunction to set out on a way of life that will encompass the study of the hidden mysteries of nature and science. Yet, it is not so formidable a task, nor need it detract in any way from the duties we have assumed vis a vis family, career, and the Masonic Order. On the contrary, light will shine in increasing measure on all these other activities.
What we need to start with is to be aware of our life, of all the little as well as important facets of our daily life.
'To be aware' of all aspects of our own life, in a way, is to create, to bring to conscious life all that surrounds us and forms part of this daily living, which really can only be seen as a living reality in so far as we give intensive life to every passing instant with keen consciousness: 'seeing' what we look at, 'hearing' what we listen to, understanding and registering what we are thinking, and discriminating between what we should, and what we should not, think/feel/do.
In Genesis, the creation story repeats, after each 'day' of creative activity: "And God saw that it was good."
Do WE look back on our day's activities to see 'whether they were goods And do we take time off to look at all that has been given to us: family, home, work etc., and 'see that it is good'?, in other words, do we give thanks for all that has been granted to us, for the challenges and tests our circumstances provide us with, and without which there would nor could be any progress?
This especially should we be aware of: we are, each one of us, a small unit of a stupendous whole, and our efforts towards understanding our own position, our own duties and our own potential, will not only benefit our personal daily life but will tend to improve conditions around us and even further afield.
For instance, could it be that the results of such awareness, and the love energy we may be able to generate thereby are factors in the harmonious evolution of the whole Cosmos, whereas the energy of hate and destruction so prevalent on earth, these days, is merely a self-destroying activity that in no way affects the impetus that a contemplative love-energy bestows on the evolutionary process? The Bible tells us that he who wields the sword shall perish by the sword.
Could this not mean that man-on-the-path-towards-unity-and-truth, with love and compassion in his heart for the suffering masses, as each Freemason should be, need in no way despair that such suffering, and the causes of such suffering, will retard his own progress or the evolutionary process in general. Nor, therefore, should it affect his right, nay his duty, to be joyful, and grateful for his own preferment in understanding the real goal in life, as taught by our rituals, i.e. to build by love. Love expressed in all he feels, thinks and does, as well as in his prayers and meditations. Each one of us is a centre which vibrates outwards, touching and affecting not only our immediate surroundings, but the cosmos at large, as ruled by the law that all is interconnected.
In Masonry we are taught that the columns were completed 'when the network or canopy was thrown over them', which phrase denotes that unity which underlies the fact that 'this mine house' was 'established in strength, to stand firm for ever.'
In this paper I philosophise on this issue. What is meant by 'in strength', and by 'to establish', and yet again by 'this mine house'? How does a house 'stand firm', and how long is 'for ever'? What does the network complete, and how?
Thinking on these questions may help us to determine where our duty lies, what we can undertake, and what — in our present circumstances — may lie beyond our possibilities to perform. An entered apprentice could not take the Master's chair with any hope of good performance, yet he may or even should feel happy to have achieved the lowly state of apprentice which, in potential, will enable him to reach, in due course, the position of ruler of his Lodge, that is: of his own being.
Whatever the limitations our life may press upon us, love and joy should be part of that life, in the realisation that ALL life is sanctified, that the Divine energy at the base of all life will flow through our being if we open up to it, and will guide us on the path we have to tread. "Put off thy shoes, for the ground whereon thou standest is holy!"
Love is the intrinsic, underlying universal cause at the base of all manifestation. Of this universal love-energy we can partake by opening ourselves up to nature and to all its phenomena; by dedicating our every thought, feeling and action to the Divine current that flows through and around us.
We shall thus create inner understanding totally in harmony with the Creative Fiat, as well as increasing our attunement to intuitively perceived truths. We shall be protected and guided, with the inevitable consequence that our whole life will gradually be directed towards ever more subtle highways and byways. The more we shall come to know the overshadowing unity of all life, the greater our understanding will be that all life's infinite parts are to be treated with consideration and love, whilst we yet must remain unattached to their comings and goings. Theosophy teaches that the Law binds only those who seek to violate it; it liberates the one who recognises it as a natural expression of his own being as a citizen of the world. Of man-made laws we are free to say that they are 'good' or 'bad'. But the laws of the universe are not a matter of opinion; they are the inevitable outworking of necessity. This may seem like a closed circuit; it is, in fact, the 'way out'. This does not mean escape; rather it means a wider and deeper participation in the universal operation undertaken with a joy and bliss only hinted at in its mundane phase. This postulate of the theosophical philosophy is the most rational and logical hypothesis offered to a seeking world. And Freemasonry, by its several rituals, teaches the same precepts. It is the law ruling our own being as we function in relativity, inspired by the one Reality which pervades and penetrates the whole universe. Acting according to this law is desirable, moral and conducive to fulfillment. There is a little verse that goes:
"Straight is the line of duty, curved is the line of beauty; follow the straight line, thou shalt see the curved line ever follow thee."
Thus we can note that there is oneness of life and universal law, and from these fundamental principles stem all the precepts of Freemasonry, as well as of most other philosophical systems.
Such, therefore, is the context in which we are urged to make a daily advance in Masonic knowledge.
Life is continuous and indestructible, and the underlying meaning of this thought is to guide us to the concept of reincarnation and the law of cycles, of rest and activity, as well as to the balance and justice of Divine Law. Life moves in the direction of restoring balance and harmony between cause and effect. There HAS to be movement, else creation, as we know it would collapse. In movement we find balance and equilibrium. It is an energy, a force, that — of necessity — must always find a middle way between stagnation and annihilation. Life, therefore, is another word for movement and vibration. And that middle way, in our Masonic tenets, lies between the two columns which, thus united, make for strength and stability.
We are taught that the sun rules the day and the moon governs the night, and this rule, too, applies to our days and our nights as citizens of this vast cosmos. Given the fact that there IS life, that we LIVE, and that we now know that life is holistic and wholistic; that genes — imprinted with D.N.A. govern the entire development of the being that is evolved therefrom, and that evolution has been proceeding since countless million years to get this far; that the stars, planets, sun and moon in their respective orbits move in orderly fashion since unimaginable aeons of time through equally unimaginable vastnesses of space, why should these celestial bodies NOT have an influence on all life. We know that the moon influences the tides of the sea and that the sunspots interfere with radio communications. Everything is in vibration and, so vibrating, pulsating, sends out energy waves, electrical impulses. Why should man be immune to them, not be affected by them? We know that the physical body is affected by the rays of the sun, so why not also man's mental, emotional and spiritual bodies? Being a bit of a mystic and a poet, often under the spell of beautiful moon-scapes, brilliant starry nights, sunrises and sunsets that surpass in beauty the power to express it in words, I say: "Of course I am influenced and guided by these celestial bodies!" It is implied, in our rituals, that the sun, at its apogee, illuminates the cavern of the soul, and the most hidden recesses of our being.
The sun, in this symbolism, stands for that Divine energy we are talking about in this paper.
That vital force is a dynamic energy which sustains life, maintains health, and ensures survival of the fittest and also the species. It is the source of all phenomena of life and works in the sphere of the body, the mind and the spirit. It controls all vegetative needs, and the whole living organism that constitutes man is maintained as a complete structure in the face of disturbing elements which may threaten its equilibrium from within or from without. There are innumerable powers and laws involved in the regulation of living organs of which we know very little, and for the recognition of which we need infinitely finer senses that we have at our command for the time being Hence, every created being can be understood only in terms of this vital principle. Do we not say: "Even in this perishable frame there resides a vital and immortal principle, which inspires a holy confidence that the Lord of Life will enable us to trample the King of Terrors beneath our feet." Who or what is the King of Terrors? In Buddhism it is said that there are but two motivating forces: Fear, and Love. Eliminate fear, and Love will guide us, inspire us and see us home. To know how to die is to totally get rid of fear. There is nothing to fear. Life is ceaseless change and a functional activity peculiar to organised life before death. The cynic may say that the cause of death is birth. But death of the body releases the spirit to further life, a life that, provided we have lived constructively and compassionately, can only be more glorious and joyful than anything in our earthly existence will have given us an inkling of. And yet, may-be it is in the construction of the human body that the wonderful wisdom of the Creator, the Divine Architect, is most radiantly clear. A creation that we take for granted, not realising its enormous potential to bring us close, very close, to the centre of all life where God and man can mingle as one. Theosophy teaches that oneness of life, which is all inclusive, all containing and all permeating. Nothing, from the lowest to the highest, the greatest to the smallest can be 'outside' or 'beyond' it. Further, the overall equilibrium is maintained and sustained by Universal Law, undeviating, impersonal, relentlessly just. This means that Life is not haphazard or 'chance'. LAW decrees that an acorn can only grow into an oak tree and nothing else; that it is possible to predict the changing position of the planets; that a reciprocal effect will always follow any cause, by what/whomsoever generated. Thus 'sins' cannot be 'forgiven' and just wiped off the slate. Reparations will have to be made in one life or another. Theosophy is neither old nor new; it is timeless, ageless, the source of all religions, sciences, philosophies, each of which has taken one limited facet of Truth, and often distorted that out of all recognition with the original.
But Masonry can shed all the outer trappings of religion and pierce further than the physical sciences, to investigate more deeply into the hidden laws and processes of nature and the universe, and so to realise man's unique function and responsibility by awakening his intelligence. Such is the vast field we, as Masons, have open before us, and by studying it sincerely and persistently a fuller understanding of the Totality of life begins to unfold. There is no pretence that this is an easy task, but knowledge transformed into wisdom is the pre-requisite for progress to help humanity; the motive for study has to be altruistic selflessness — in so far as any human being is capable of that.
Creation, or evolution, is commenced and perpetually renewed by the intellectual energy of the Logos. The universe, in its infinite detail and with its wonderful laws, comes into existence mainly through the instrumentality of the one source of energy and power existing in the Cosmos: the Light of the Logos.
By opening himself to this creative power, the Mason will find that it will guide him through all the ups and downs of life, through the valley of the shadow of death as well over the high peaks of self-realisation and in the moments of at-one-ment. It is not a question of gaining or creating miraculous powers, but rather of restoring the disturbed equilibrium of our psychic powers, by freeing ourselves from our inner tensions and our mental and spiritual crampedness: Only as a 'free man' can we make progress in Free Masonry, that is, in the Teachings of the Order. This freedom, however, can only be achieved through a relaxed, serene and blissful state of body and soul. The 'I' is not a static, permanent entity, but something that has to be created again and again, something that may be compared to the equilibrium of a cyclist, which can only be maintained by constant movement. It can be compared to the relative stability of atomic or planetary systems, which likewise depend on movement. The moment movement is arrested, the structure collapses and is annihilated. This is a fact of universal importance and in Freemasonry attention is drawn to this by the candidate being told that he can neither rush forward, nor retreat, but must steadily persevere with the initiation process, a process that will be with him during his whole life: 'Do not seek for a Guru, LIFE is your teacher!' In the moment, therefore, in which we would try to arrest, to fix, or to limit this experience of unity, it would break up, turn into self-contradiction, into inner disharmony. If, on the other hand, we dissolve it in the light of higher knowledge, melt it in the fire of a super-individual consciousness, and let it flow without hindrance, then it becomes the vehicle of an all-embracing, imperishable wholeness, in which the limits of individual egohood do not exist anymore. Indeed, we shall then have been re-united with the former companions of our toil. Teachers like the Buddha, and Krishnamurti who died earlier this year, proclaimed that man must achieve his own enlightenment. There is a saying in Eastern philosophy: "When all the knots of the heart are unloosened, then, even here, in this human birth, the mortal becomes immortal. This is the whole teaching of the Scriptures."
The Sufis speak about the two halves of their technique to approach the Fount of Wisdom: The first half is called 'solve and the second half 'coagule'. Solve means to dissolve and coagule means in modern terminology 'rebirthing'. Both parts are essential and in fact there is no use going through the rebirthing process unless one has first gone through the process of dissolving.
Saint Francis refers to this dissolving process when he says that in order to become what we really are we first have to go through a stage where we become nothing. This is 'the dark night of the soul' referred to by St. John of the Cross. That breakdown must become the breakthrough. We have the masonic prayer:
"Endue (the candidate) with such fortitude that in the hour of trial he fail not, but that, passing safely under Thy protection through the valley of the shadow of death, he may finally rise from the tomb of transgression, to shine as the stars for ever and ever."
The inner fire of purification has to prepare the candidate for this resurrection. Herakleitos wrote: "Everything becomes fire, and from fire everything is born." The concept of 'energy' plays a similar role in the modern scientific view. We have learned that we live in a sea of energies and radiations, a vast spectrum of vibratory frequencies of which only a minute portion is perceived by the unaided senses. The fundamental law of the conservation of energy tells us that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed. And Einstein's formula E=mc2 and tells us that mass and energy are equivalent, that things and objects are basically energy, packets of energy bound into matter. The dramatic power of fire to bring about total destruction or transformation of matter led to its becoming associated with inner and outer processes of purification, purgation, destructuring, the dissolving of limitations and obstructions. The chief impact of the fiery spirit is purification, the burning away of tendencies and impulses to wrongdoing and falsehood. In Masonry this is alluded to when the candidate is warned that he must have neither money nor metallic substance on him, else the ceremony of initiation must be repeated.
The Psalmist says those who hate God flee before Him like smoke in the wind; 'like wax melting in fire, the wicked perish in the presence of God.' Taken in an interior sense, this can be seen to refer to evil tendencies in our own nature that are melted away when we invoke the presence of God or Spirit. In the purgatory experience what is consumed are the false identifications, self-concepts and egotistic habits and fixations. These are the metallic substances we have to get rid of, that must be burnt away. The fire of Divine Spirit is both the agent of transformation and its goal or 'end'. The mystics and alchemists have always personalized this theme of God as living fire: God is no longer an immense powerful being out or up there somewhere — but rather the fire of life within every being.' 'Within -this perishable frame resides a vital and immortal principle' is what we 'charge' the candidate with, in Masonry.
A scene of our Royal Arch degree is called to mind when we read San Juan de la Cruz exclaim:
"Oh flame of love so living How tenderly you force To my soul's inmost core your fiery probe Oh lamp of fiery blaze To whose refulgent fuel The deepest caverns of my soul grow bright."
We come to Masonry in darkness, lost in the world of appearances, and are offered a way of life, by means of the teachings contained in the various rituals, that can, and will lead us to inner self-realization if we steadily pursue those teachings as hidden in the liberal Arts and Sciences. If, however. we balk at this, we shall be like T.S. Eliot's stuffed men of straw, lost in 'The Waste Land' of material existence, out of touch with anything more uplifting than a cup of coffee:
"I have measured out my life in coffee spoons Do I dare Disturb the Universe?"
In the Upanisads, an Eastern collection of Theosophical discourses, it is said that Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom by a way of life. It could not be stated more concisely. Where action and study, creative endeavour and contemplation alternate and blend, intuitive knowledge is bound to follow. Inspiration, says an Eastern Teacher, Radakrishnan, is a joint activity, of which man's contemplation and God's revelation are two sides. Revelation is as the breath of God blowing on us. In the Craft we are taught about the columns, the one 'In Strength', the other 'To Establish', the one therefore relating to action, to creativity and the physical building up, the other to contemplative achievements and spiritual understanding. The 'network' thrown over these two sides of a man's life, refers to the evolution that is constantly taking place in the hidden depths of man's seemingly physical being, and to that crowning moment of man's unfoldment Godward, with the lifting up (raising) and redeeming of his outer consciousness and body, finally found worthy of complete spiritualization. That is the canopy, the firmament, the arch of Heaven we can asp*e to, by our studies and meditations, set on the foundation of morality and rectitude in our daily life. All these thoughts indicate clearly that 'being' implies action on two levels, physical and metaphysical. And action is movement which, ultimately, makes for that balance to be found between the two columns and which, in fact, unites them in a structure of equilibrium. The net of relations spreads over all realms of sensuous, mental and spiritual perception and their conceptual derivatives, so that from the chaos of mundane consciousness there arises gradually a well-ordered, clear, intelligible and controllable MAN, master of his destiny: at-one-ment with the Godhead. Form and movement are the secret of life and the key to immortality. Those who only see the transitoriness of things and reject the world because of its transitory character, or cannot get beyond this perception, see only the change on the surface of things. They have not yet discovered that the form of change, the manner in which change takes place, reveals the spirit that inspires all form, the reality that underlies all phenomena. With our physical eye we see only change. Only our spiritual eye is capable of seeing stability in transformation. Transformation is the 'form' in which the spirit moves: IT IS LIFE ITSELF. Death is merely a protest against stagnation.
Thus we repeat: Only movement can lead to equilibrium and 'being' implies movement, or action of some sort. There cannot be 'being in complete inaction. And action, possibly in apparent contradiction to what this paper has proposed thus far, will always create imbalance whereafter, by natural reaction, it will tend to re-establish equilibrium, only once more to unbalance the threatened status-quo by still further action. Thus we will live in a constant flux of transformation that, in itself, is the creative and increasingly more complex state of 'being' that we find represented by the winding staircase, by which we climb higher and higher on a central axis that yet continuously leads to new vistas in all directions.
Albert Pike, in his monumental 'Morals and Dogma', writes at length on the concept of equilibrium :
between the Infinite Divine Wisdom and the Infinite Divine Power, between the Infinite Divine Justice and the Infinite Divine Mercy between Necessity and Liberty, between Good and Evil, and Light and Darkness, between Authority and Individual Action, and, finally:
"Of that Equilibrium, possible in ourselves, and which Masonry incessantly labours to accomplish in its Initiates, and demands of its Adepts, between the Spiritual and Divine and the Material and Human in man; between the Intellect, Reason, and Moral Sense on one side, and the Appetites and Passions on the other, from which result the Harmony and Beauty of a well-regulated life."
According to latest scientific conjecture (Nobel prize winner Prigogine's latest model of an evolving Universe), each new state of attempted balance will be more complex than the previous one. Teillard de Chardin, one of the greatest contemporary thinkers, already alluded to this tendency towards ever greater complexity in creative evolution in his philosophical writings which span the first fifty years of this twentieth century. He coined the word 'Cosmogenesis' for the development of a world in which man holds a central position. Teilhard seems to suggest that a contemplative activity has some significance which reaches beyond the contemplative's own life. Contemplation is somehow involved in the universal process of God's relationship with the Universe. He suggests that the activity of the mystic, one of which is contemplation, mediates in some way God's creative power, in such a way that all things become organized and animated, and establishes an arena or axis about which the earth moves. Now, in our Lodges, when those present perform the various initiatory degrees, the work so undertaken can be said to be a contemplative activity, in which our mystic art is brought to life on that central point from which a mason cannot err, and from where the truths so taught and perceived radiate outward well beyond the boundaries of that lodge- room or 'arena'. Provided, always, that those present do, in fact, participate fully, whether as officers or as 'present in the columns' to the work in hand. The Lodge will then be 'like a sacred door opening onto the Universe, through which God passes and spreads his radiance'. Every human, according to Teilhard, represents a sort of cosmic nucleus of a special nature, radiating around it waves of organization and excitation within matter. Just such a nucleus, with its halo of animation around it, is the unit of human energy. Human energy is invested with a radiating and organizing quality of cosmic significance. Man thereby becomes the most valuable portion of the universe, because the love-energy man can generate establishes him at the vanguard of the evolutive effort. While small in comparison with the vastnesses of the Universe, human energy, by virtue of its animating and organizing effects, is internally and structurally related to cosmogenesis. And, where that human energy, in its purest form, is LOVE, Teilhard insists that through the miraculous operation of a certain curvature proper to our Universe, each particular being contains the hidden power of uniting with all the others and achieving harmony with them — by developing to the full limits of its own self. What we in the craft depict by 're-uniting with the former companions of our toil.' 'Human consciousness represents the mesh of the cosmos, and along the road of harmonious action and deep contemplation we may succeed in entering directly in receptive communication with the very source of all interior drive. Contemplation, finally, is nothing else than an evolutionary stimulus.
ALL SINCERE EFFORT IS PRODUCTIVE AND SACRED!
May we ponder all this and act accordingly in deed and thought!
Having completed this paper, thus far, on Sunday the 16th of November, 1986, as a masonic variation on a paper delivered to the Durban Branch of the Theosophical Society in October, I find in the November 1986 issue of 'the Theosophist' published in Adyar, India, received in the mail on the 17th of November, 1986, an article by Mary Anderson, entitled 'Some Thoughts on Wisdom and Action', which completely fits in with the ideas submitted in this present 'piece of architecture'. I therefore quote some extracts from this article as throwing further light on the subject:
"Wisdom and action may seem worlds apart. Wisdom is apparently abstract while action is apparently concrete. Yet they are — or should be closely related. Wisdom should be in our action and action in our wisdom. Wisdom and action may even be seen as the two complementary components of the whole universe; action as the active, male, outward-going impulse and wisdom as the passive, female, inward-turning impulse. Or action as its breathing-out and wisdom as its breathing in. The one cannot exist without the other and each is present in the other, so that, when we consider one of them deeply, we invariably encounter the other. (note: just as a 'left' hand pillar automatically presupposes a 'right' hand pillar).
Action implies motion that brings about change. It is not limited to the physical sphere, for we act also with our thoughts, our feelings and with our whole attitude. Action for the sake of physical results alone may be foolish. Wisdom is necessary for action to be relevant.
Wisdom in the cosmic sense is the Creator. Here is action indeed, and the root of all action. God did everything through his Wisdom which is His 'Verbum', and which the Christian Bible named 'the beginning'. (note: in Freemasonry the 'lost' word is precisely that knowledge of the all-underlying Divinity in all creation, which we have to recover in our inner being). So first we have Wisdom as the Creator, the First Cause. Then we have the Divine Wisdom, or the Ageless Wisdom, of which Theosophy is the universally diffused religion, an ancient tradition 'as old as thinking man'. It may seem strange that the same word 'Wisdom' should apply both to a human quality and to an ancient tradition. But the two concepts are inseparably linked and neither of them can (in our world) exist without the other. Only a wise person can have access to wisdom. In each of us is a seed of wisdom; it is a matter of quickening it. And here we touch on an important aspect of wisdom: it is inseparably linked with love. He who has access to wisdom which is love, is driven by that love to try and help others, and so become practical. The 'Secret Doctrine' is not meant to give any final verdict on existence, but to lead towards the Truth. The inner, the invisible, the non-material MUST express itself somehow in the outer visible, material world, else it will float in ethereal spheres and remain unproductive. An inner, dynamic, spiritual path should lead to a dynamic path in outer life — to action in the world of to-day. The inner and the outer are one. As we are inwardly, so are we outwardly. The wise man is the man whose wisdom is action, creative power, reflecting wisdom in the cosmic sense as Creator."
And we can conclude this paper by that part of the prayer which welcomes a candidate in Freemasonry: "Endue him with a competency of Thy Divine Wisdom . . to unfold the beauties of true godliness . . . "
- Emulation Ritual
- Albert Pike: "Morals and Dogma"
- The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary
- The American Theosophist, Aug/Sept. '86
- Virginia Hanson: 'A Liberating Law' The American Theosophist, Spring 1986
- Pir Vilyat Khan: 'Dynamics of Transformation'
- Ralph Metzner 'Metaphors of Transformation'
- Jay P Williams: 'Mythic Transformation'
- S. Radhakrishnan "The Principal Upanisads"
- Lama Anagorika Govinda; "Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism"
- Teilhard de Chardin "The Mystical Milieu" Teilhard Review, London, Vol.21, No. 2
- Martin S Laird: 'Contemplation: Human energy becoming Cosmic Energy'
- Homeopathic Newsletter of S.A., August 1986
- 'A Search for a Vital Force' Viewpoint Aquarius, London, September 1986.
- The Theosophist (Adyar, India), November 1986
- Mary Anderson: 'Some Thoughts on Wisdom and Action'
* * *
by W.Bro. John Makin, PAGStB
The Mysteries came into being almost at the same time as humanity itself and they were designed to be a school for living to teach nascent man how to live properly; what to eat and drink and what not to eat and drink; the care of the body and indeed all the necessities of basic life. And the teachers have survived to us as gods and legendary figures. When we consider the happiness and harmony, or the lack of the same, all around us it merely emphasises the need, our present need, for such a school. The aim or motto of such a school might well be the two injunctions made to the Age just passing 'Love God' and 'Love each other' admirably expressed in the Charge to the Entered Apprentice in our Lodges.
The normal method of training or schooling in a trade or vocation was by apprenticeship in which the student is taught not only by precept (i.e., word of mouth) and demonstration but by the example of the Master's life-style itself, for the apprentice not only worked but ate, lived and slept by his Master who imbued his attitude on both the work and the leisure of his apprentice.
Some were considered, either by birth or by training, to be sufficiently experienced in living to justify special treatment, and for them different methods were needed, methods which amounted to a 'crash course', a sort of 'condensed evolution' — for they could learn faster than the average. This special course still followed the principles of apprenticeship, that is to say, the example of a Master — but these Masters were not Masters of a Craft, of a part of life, but of life as a whole, all suspects of living Such a course would not treat of specifics but of generalities, of principles. Thus were the inner Mysteries instituted, at first secret only in the way that lessons in the sixth form are beyond the reach of those in the first form at school. However, as evolution proceeded the world grew wicked as well as older and to protect man from himself and the Mysteries from man's mishandling, the Mystery Schools 'went underground'. Yet they are with us still today.
In such a school a student is bathed for a brief Exemplar. Ritual initiation does not give anything to the Candidate but it stimulates or awakens in him what is already there and which may respond to the chosen stimulus.
In this way the Candidate may be said to be apprenticed to the Exemplar — he is immersed in the carefully prepared atmosphere of the Exemplar's environment, his home or Temple, and then it is up to the Apprentice. The atmosphere or environment would be strongly evocative of the character and attitude of someone who has lived a life of example, one who was and still is a leader and a way-shower in a moral sense, a true Master of life; and such an atmosphere is calculated to influence the Candidate. Thus are Masonic Candidates brought into the environment of Solomon's Temple to be powerfully affected by three great Exemplars, Boaz, Jachin and Solomon. One can also say: the three great Exemplars, Solomon, Hiram and Hiram Abiff.
A notable example of another Biblical figure and an outstanding Exemplar is Daniel.
The Candidate is like a piano wire; he will resonate to sounds outside him according to the tension of his own wire, so to speak. He is chosen as a potential initiate because of that tension, that suitability to take an impress, to resonate. He is made to hear new notes to see if he responds.
The Exemplar's 'note' or influence has to be sounded or invoked into an ideal background, one which is cleansed of all the ills and distractions that disturb everyday life. Therefore a simulacra of perfection, a heavenly situation, has to be produced in the midst of troubled earth — and that is called a Lodge. A Lodge is if you like, an image of heaven and the heavenly Man, all displayed in detail. The means by which this special area is produced is by ceremonial ritual and the use of symbols. A ritual is a procedure in a solemn observance, a practice of a metaphysical kind pertaining to the constitutive essense of a thing. (after O.E.D.)
Symbols are of many kinds and need no explanation here, but one thing is essential in their usage — they must have significance to the user. It is of no use to be told what a symbol signifies; a symbol should bring to an individual using it not only various purports and meanings and associations and relationships but also an emotional aspect which engages the interest, holds the attention and stimulates the memory; in short, it should be significant.
The rehearsal in Lodges of the lectures on the Tracing Boards and of Papers dealing with the symbolism in the Lodge, its furniture and so on, is a most valuable guide to the brethren, but it is not enough to know, there must also be the emotion, the feeling, the inner stimulation of interest and attention which comes from individual work and one's own innate reaction to the ideas and principles evoked by the images and symbols. Not everyone will think the same thought in regard to a symbol but there will be a consensus, a common factor, at every point of importance within a Lodge and this will, of course, most powerfully influence the atmosphere there. Moreover, such factors open the gates to the levels of the national or racial unconsciousness wherein these ideas and images may be said to be stored — and so the influences are strengthened. The Mystery custom of having detailed reports of every ceremony from all present including the Candidate — confirms what has been described.
Rituals are man-made and therefore not sacrosanct. The ones which concern us invoke the Deity and are God- directed. They do not bring down the Great Architect among His worshippers, they lift the worshippers up towards Deity. Within that general goal of ceremonial there are many purposes of ritual — for example, to enlighten, to strengthen, to give thanks, and so on.
Not all rituals are god-directed; some seek to stimulate desire of one sort or another, like stage shows, others may seek to evoke hatred, fear, envy as many political conferences do, and so on. For instance, a thirsty person may be given a cup of water, a mother may kiss better her bruised child, a salesman may lunch his would-be client, a stripper may entice her customer. From all these can be seen that all actions can be talismanic, symbolic, and therefore made into a ritual. It is the intention, the purpose, which defines an act; a stroke of a sword may be in anger, murderous, protective, defensive, divisive. One can say "Hi" as a greeting, reproachfully, in pain, to attract attention — the same act with various meanings. And the tone of voice of a mediating Officer will indicate the force with which that Officer is impregnated and is mediating into Lodge.
Simple acts like sweeping a floor, adding up a column of figures, weeding the garden, all these can be made talismanic if done with the proper intention and they then become channels for the appropriate force to come to earth, or to put it another way, they become suitable forms in which to express the invisible purpose or energy; and the one who performs the act is in that respect a mediator for he or she has mediated that force in and to earth by that act.
Mediation is a word savouring of theology or religion; it is meant here to convey the idea of demonstrating an idea, a concept or a principle in earth — physical earth, and therefore by physical means, an action which can be seen, heard or otherwise perceived by a physical sense organ. It is making visible what is invisible. In ritual mediation is usually by means of speech and actions, occasionally by smell as with incense, rarely with the taste or touch senses. The mediator works between the idea and the 'audience' as an intermediary.
We all recognise Colonel Blimp the red-faced officer spluttering but speechless, shaking his uplifted arms and stamping his feet; he is mediating rage.
It is not so simple to mediate love or wisdom or power one cannot go round kissing people; yet the man who shows patience, willingness to listen, a serene comforting presence and a caring attitude can indeed demonstrate love without the need of words.
Mediation may be defined as the communication of reality based on experience from one person to another. For something to be real it must have been experienced but such experience can be direct or shared. You can experience something and by describing that experience to me I can share it with you; you have mediated that reality to me.
In Mystery Lodges each Officer is given words to say which will in some degree help his mediation — it is part of the 'description' of what he is mediating. The specific principle which each Officer is meant to mediate is best defined during the opening of the Lodge and is further detailed in the different Degrees; during the procedure of a Degree his function is considered to be established, though there may be references to individual functions given during explanatory speeches to the Candidate during the ceremony.
In the Mysteries meditation is not only a pondering upon the possible meaning or significance of something but also exercises the imaginative faculty, building and afterwards destroying and later recalling simple coloured shapes and pictures and images. This is a form of calisthenics of the imaginative mind, just as an athlete or gymnast practises his bodily skills.
Few today realise the connection between emotion and the imagination but control of the imagination gives control of the emotions — and so mastery in the first of the invisible worlds. And most imaginations are puny and weak from lack of exercise, proper exercise under will. Further, few people have reality on the invisible worlds — though they are prepared to discuss them at length — and such practice brings reality, in the same way that a child precipitated into the physical world through birth has little reality of the physical world until he can control his own physical self enough to move his body at will — then the world comes real to him.
It is this developed faculty which provides the form which directs and shapes the force generated in a Lodge of the Mysteries by dedication and will. Such is the theory of the practice which makes a Lodge of the Mysteries so effective. There are no observers in such a Lodge, everyone participates, working hard at visualising the descriptive passages in the ritual, and thinking the thoughts which come so naturally when a specific symbol is mentioned.
Trained initiates are not only practiced in the creation and destruction of mental images but the symbols of a Lodge have been meditated upon in such a way that their meaning or significance comes up simultaneously with the direction of the attention to that symbol — and so does its quality, that undefinable identity which lies deeper and behind the meaning.
But always it needs the emotion to move a symbol, to make it live. The mind is not enough, the heart must burn, there must be interest and enthusiasm — otherwise the engine has no petrol.
In certain ancient workings each Officer announced his function but this is rare today and it is now easy to see why that is a pity. Each Officer should be able to announce aloud his symbol in which his function is summed up for how else is the function of his Office made real in the Lodge? The prayer which is used in the Lodge of Living Stones is in this context as useful as it is beautiful in its expression.
The participants in a ceremonial can strengthen a mediation of an Officer by imaginative co-operation with that Officer and each participant will, during the opening, support one or more Officer as he chooses, as it were putting his shoulder to the wheel and adding his energy to that of the mediator and so getting things moving well. In this way a Lodge properly opened by Officers mediating their Offices and supported by active participants is a pure and perfect but colourless canvas — in other words, innocent in the dictionary sense of being without experience. It is a parchment not yet written upon into this atmosphere — or on to this plain parchment — is imprinted the environment, the characteristics, of the selected Exemplar and this is done by the ceremony itself. To give some further examples, Imhotep in a healing Egyptian ritual, Socrates perhaps in a Greek ritual concerning wisdom, Orpheus as a nature lover, all would serve excellently as colour to the virgin screen, the writing on the parchment.
In Freemasonry the Apprentice is imparted the imprint of the great grandfather of David, a Prince and Ruler in Israel — and Israel is a people set apart, that is to say, initiate. In both the first and second Degrees of Freemasonry the imprint, the delineation of the characteristics of the Exemplars, is extremely sketchy, not to say faint; in the Third Degree as practised today the situation is quite different and an excellent ritual vehicle is formulated.
If then the Lodge work is done aright our Lodge becomes ideally a place of perfection; that may be impossible for humanity at present (are we not told "perfection is not given to man, perfection belongeth only to the Lord"?) but there is every reason for us to strive towards that end.
Since God made man in His own image — or man makes God in his own image! — the Lodge is necessarily an image of God as we see Him immanent in nature, and also of future man, that is, perfected man. However, we differ among ourselves and accordingly the terms in which we formulate our Maker also differ. It is helpful to imagine mankind as a vast circle gathered about a centre which is God; and while those in the West see God to the Eastwards and so worship in that direction, those in the East will see God to the West and will no doubt worship appropriately.
So many arrangements can be expected in different Lodges, all directed to the presentation of Deity or an aspect of Deity, and of perfected man or an aspect of perfected man. I have watched rituals composed of two, three, four, seven and twelve Officers and I have no doubt there are others, too.
Thus a Lodge is a place set apart and very special but which by our labours will become universal as we build the kingdom in Earth or the Temple not built with hands. It represents God in His kingdom of nature and the Spirit of Man in his kingdom, the individual.
Masonically creation, nature, is thought of as seven levels or departments, and therefore man must have in himself those seven levels, just as man has a physical body in the material world. And as some have their strength in their arms while others enjoy strong legs, so we are also different in our development on the various levels or planes. It is the work of the Mysteries to produce all-round development in mankind.
Although "up" to the abstract or spiritual levels, and "down" into earth or matter is common parlance, movement up or down is not implied for in truth spirit and matter and all other levels or departments or planes share the same space — the change is not a change of place but of consciousness.
It is useful to imagine oneself in a corridor hung with veils across and as one walks along through change is not a change of place but of consciousness. the veils one approaches spirituality .....
The influences or forces or whatever one cares to call them that are invoked upon a Candidate in an initiation ceremony — and not all ceremonies are initiatory — have in the past been focussed upon mankind, or mediated to mankind, by the Exemplar when he lived and had his being in earth. At a deep level of our unconsciousness it is held that we share in a common group-unconsciousness — and therefore in group memories; there is then a sort of basic group instinct, and inherited group memory or thought-pattern which may be awakened and stirred up by the appropriate ceremony. This is what should happen in an initiation ceremony.
The beings who have imprinted upon humanity, or upon the races and nations of humanity, a pattern of right living are the great God-figures and leaders who come down to us not in history but in myth and legend — for it is their visions and aspirations speaking to us through their legends which inspire us. And from these legends are built up the ceremonies which bring through their ideals and visions to a later age.
* * *
"GIVE ME THAT WORD"
Herman M. Selzer, P.D.G.M. (Pk), PJGW (Isr), PSGD (Ire), PAGDoC (Engl.)
W.M.: What is this?
Can.: The G. or Tn of an E.A.F.
W.M.: What does it demand?
Can.: A word.
W.M.: Give me that word.
Can.: At my initiation I was taught to be cautious. I will l. or h. with you.
It will not take long before a brother who occupies himself seriously with the study of the deeper meaning and the true significance of the Royal Art comes to realize that every ceremony, every word even used in the ritual of our lodges is of importance, has a meaning, covers some hidden message. Whatever we may think of the background the source of Freemasonry, there should not be any doubt that the originators and compilers of the rituals worked in the various constitutions have made use of the ancient institutions rediscovered at the time of the Renaissance and in no way rendered invalid by the impact of the Enlightenment, and have employed these along with their profound knowledge of ancient philosophies and cosmogonies, passed cultures and forgotten religions.
Neither these introductory remarks nor my statement that nearly every one of the today to us strange sounding phrases and unusual appearing gestures in the lodge ritual hide a deeper sense, will sound strange to you. Everyone of us had the experience that we were struck by a certain wording and the sense that we should search for a deeper or a forgotten meaning.
This happened to me not rarely when I heard the above cited exchange of the newly made brother — or one passed or raised — with the W.M. or the Wardens.
No sooner have we been accepted by the W.M. into the Brotherhood than we are shown that we belong to an elite group of men, and that we are at the same time made acquainted with one of the fundamental rules of the Craft: we are given the "Word". We are entrusted with a Word which we have to guard carefully. We are impressively warned that we should never divulge this word to outsiders. But what is more important we are warned that should the W.M. or any other brother, who undoubtedly is in possession of this word, demand the word of us, we should use the greatest caution in pronouncing it. We should never pronounce it in full. Let me say again how strange it must sound to the candidate, that we should treat the word entrusted to us — so clearly known to the W.M., the Wardens and the other brethren present not only as a secret but as something which may produce a dangerous effect should it ever be fully pronounced.
It is my conviction that the Word with which the candidate has been entrusted is not a watchword, nor is it a password or an identification word though it is explained as such. No sentry, no spy, no computer control demands an individuals identification or identity by having the password or the keyword alternatingly imparted in letters or syllables. On demand the password has to be given in full and immediately. However, when a Freemason is requested to give the word — please note that the expression 'to give' is used — he has to declare that he was strictly warned never to pronounce this word in full, that he has to use it with care and respect, yes, even with a degree of reverence.
If my interpretation of the deeper importance of the "Word" is justified, we have — in view of my introductory remarks — other such examples in mythological, religious or traditional usage.
When we study the mythologies transmitted to us from times past, we discover many impressive examples of the importance attached to the word. nearly all the mythical cosmogonies, i.e. the myths which describe the creation of the world particularly those originating from the earliest days of mankind — mention the power and the force of the "Word". To early man the "Word" physico-magical power; omnipotent power and strength were concentrated in the "Word" itself and as such. The "Word" when in possession of and in particular when pronounced by the Godhead, the priest or the initiate, meant physical and magical power. Later, with humankind's further evolution, the "Word" was thought to possess also spiritual power. With the ongoing development of the human language, while acquiring ever more complex forms and expression in the use of explaining man's fears and hopes, he could encompass his primitive picture of the universe and its creator in a clearly circumscribed concept within the frame of the various religious systems.
Before the creation of the world nothing but the all-powerful word existed; is a common denominator of many primitive religions. Anthropologists will tell you that originally — and this is the case even today so often — the "Word" as such and in itself represented divine power, and was worshipped as such, i.e. that the word, without being associated with a physical manifestation, represented divinity.
The Sumerians believed that the "Word" uttered by their gods had creative power.
In the apocryphic writing "The Wisdom of Solomon" — composed by a Greek Jew in Alexandria — we can read: Your all-powerful word emanated from your royal throne", and in Psalm 55 God's words are called "naked swords", and with his words he created rain and dew.
In Indian mythology the "Word" — here called VAC — occupies a special place. "As soon as the word was pronounced the world was created ... all gods, animals and men depend on the spoken word. . . the word cannot perish, it is the firstborn of the eternal law, the mother of the Vedas, the navel of the divine world." (Taittirya).
Similarly reports the "Bundarish", the cosmogony and cosmology of the Parsees, that 'Ahura Mazda' the Good, won the battle against 'Angra Mainyu' the Evil, when he spoke the prayer made up of twenty-one words, wherein every single of these words was effective.
In many a fable the Word proves effective. To give an example: With 'Sesam' Sindabad the Sailor could open the gates to Paradise.
In ancient papyri we often read how effective the words spoken by sorcerers can be.
In the vedic cosmogony Prajapati was "alone in the world. He only possessed the faculty to speak. Speech was his companion. He thought: 'I will release this speech from me; it will develop into the totality of the universe." (Tandya Brahamana).
In the 4th Book of Esra we read: "When you spoke at the beginning of the Creation, you said on the 4th day: 'Let there be Heaven and earth' and your word performed the work."
In Memphis it was taught that the world was created by the original god Ptah. He gave a name to everything. He thought these names in his heart and with his tongue he commanded them. (Maspero: "Les Momies Royales")
In the mythology of Egypt Ptah is the god of creation. All and everything was created by his word. Before creation there was not even a god and nothing had a name. The Creation began with a word; it is the beginning and creating element.
We read in the 'Leyden Papyrus': "The first god Amun made his voice growl. He was the great growler in the space he had created when he was still all by himself. He began to speak in an all of silence. He began to shout when the earth was still silent. His shouts were there when nothing else existed. Thus he created the creatures, so that they started to live."
The Polynesians tell that Jo, the highest god, ". . . spoke that the waters separate, that the heavens form, that the earth be", and thus by Jo's creative work the world was created." (Eliade: Die Religion und das Heilige.)
A Word is holy and permanently effective. Once it has been pronounced it cannot anymore be annulled, e.g. when Isaac appropriated the blessing reserved for Esau. In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia the importance of the Word is in relation to the importance and position of the speaker. As soon as God uttered a Word it was effective. For God the Creation did not represent any physical effort or involvement; his powerful word did all that was done. God spoke and the Universe was created. Thereafter all created things were given names. The divine separation of light and darkness was effected by a word: "He called the light day and the darkness night." (Gen. 1:4-5). Every creative act begins with the word" ... and God said ...". This proves that the universe was created through the "Word".
The Greek philosopher Heraclitos saw in the "Word" — he called it "Logos" — the universal reason. In Greek philosophy 'Logos' is the force which sets the functions of the world into motion; it is not identical with a transcendental god. These ancient philosophers who used in their systems the concept 'Logos' or the 'Word' did so as the expression of the regulatory principle of the Universe, as the divine intelligence. Philo of Alexandria saw 'Logos' within the complexity of divine thought as well as in the all-comprehensive thought. In the Septuagint 'Logos' means God's word. in the Gospel of St. John 'Logos', the Word, becomes identical with God. "In the beginning was the Word; the Word was with God and the Word was God."
I could cite much more material to show that in antique times the "Word" as such and in itself was an important, powerful, creative and destructive, holy and terrifying principle. But to complete my thesis that the "Word" which the candidate has learned from the W.M., and which should never be pronounced except in part, in portions .... or possibly in some changed form, we shall have to go further.
For the "Word" was in the course of time incorporated in, presented by, identified with a name, the name, some name. In the way in ancient times the "Word" meant powerful knowledge, magic power, knowledgeable strength, the name in a defined shape took over.
In the course of the psychological and linguistic development of humankind — I cannot go into details — the power contained in a word was transferred to and into the name of a godhead, a being or an object. Whoever knew the name of a god possessed power over that god, could call upon that god, could summon that god. Whoever knew the name of a person could exert magic influence upon this person, could subdue that person to his will, could seriously harm that person.
The name of a godhead or an individual not only indicates his power and strength but is also proof of these. By virtue of their names did the gods gain important positions. The kind and number of their names determined their rank in the hierarchy of the gods. The goddess Isis had one thousand names; Allah has one hundred names; the God of the Bible has many qualifications by which he is known.
In Egyptian mythology the wise god Thot — the one with the head of an Ibis — makes use of his name to create the world. In the Bible God, who has created the world by his word, gives Adam the authority to provide a name for every animal; by virtue of this Adam acquired power over all these animals.
Also in the Qu'ran do we find evidence of the fact that whoever knows certain names and words is endowed, by virtue of this knowledge, with power and importance.
"And he taught Adam all the animals' names; then He showed them to the Angels and said: 'Now show me their names, if you are honest'. They replied: 'Glory to you, o Allah. We know only what you have taught us, for undoubtedly you are the All-knowing and the Wisest'. And He said to Adam: 'Now you tell them their names.' ...and He said to the angels: 'Now you bow to Adam'. ." (Sura 2:29).
It is dangerous to pronounce the name of God in full as the one who does so may suffer great harm. Furthermore the name of God should never be pronounced in a loud voice even if the Name is mentioned in an altered form.
In the Royal Arch Degree the "Word" — the true name of God — is never pronounced aloud or in full; it is pronounced in syllables, in a particular position and posture — and only in the presence of three men properly endowed.
In 'Exodus' we read that the name of God should never be "used in vain", and in 'Leviticus' we are warned, that whoever "mentions the name of God" has to die. Only once a year was the name of God pronounced clearly, in full and aloud. It was on Yom Kippur, when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holiest and performed this duty. By pronouncing the full name of God in this way, God had to appear. The High Priest had the power to cite God to appear. No wonder that in their trepidation the people were terrified, that they feared that uncontrollable events might be the consequence, and that they prayed and fasted to prevent such a disaster, that they prayed and fasted that no unforeseen consequences might be the outcome. And when it came to pass that nothing dreadful did occur, when they saw the High Priest emerge alive and undamaged from the presence of God — which means that God had forgiven the accumulated sins of people — the populace was relieved and happy and spent the remaining day and the following night in dancing, drinking and revelry of all kind. This was the way the Yom Kippur Day was viewed in Temple times.
After Isis had succeeded in discovering the true name of the Sungod Ra, could she force him and other minor gods to submit to her will. In the RA-Legend the god said: "My father and my mother have told me my true name, and I have hidden it inside me since my birth, otherwise some sorcerer might have had, with the knowledge of my name, magic influence on me."
Let me go further to give a more complete survey of the importance of the Word — and by analogy of the Name.
Every person, every object has to have a name. The name becomes identified with the carrier of the name. It represents him. Whoever lost his name — or has never received one — was no person, did not exist in a legal sense. The Eskimos say that an individual consists of body, soul and name. Whoever lost his civil rights in ancient Rome lost also the right to use his name. According to Roman Law a slave did not own a proper name.
In order to make an individual a non-person one deprived him of his name. A curse used by Jews is the wish that the name of a felon — or of a personal enemy — be erased for ever. The process of making Stalin into a non-person embraced not only the "non-mentionability" of his name, but also alteration in the history books, the removal of his monuments, changes in the street names etc.
In due course it was accepted that in the same way as was the case with the gods also the citation of an individual's name could be used for magic purposes: whoever knew the name of a person possessed power and influence over this person. In the way of evocation of the godhead's name could force the god to obey the caller, the evocation of a living person's name (and for that matter also the spirit of a defunct one) within a suitable magic formula was likely to enslave that person to the user of that magic.
The Totem name which became manifest in later development stages, does embrace the entire clan. It is kept very secret by its members. Should an enemy ever discover the clan's totem, that group would be seriously endangered by the application of an enemies magic.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead prescribes that the dead soul has to know the names of the door guards in order to have them open the gates to the underworld.
Towns like Athens and Rome possessed their own true names which were known only to a certain class of superior priests.
Religious Jews will — as already mentioned never use the name of 'God'; they will not even use the circumscription 'Lord' except in their prayers. They will instead, when speaking of God outside their prayers, use their expression 'Hashem', i.e., 'The Name'. (It is interesting that this word is also known to the Parsees.)
It will be understandable that in certain cultures also the personal name of an individual is kept secret. In such environment this name is only known to that individual and his nearest relatives. The person who keeps his name secret is protected from the envy and jealousy of the gods and of men.
(This belongs into the field of magic-preventing precautions which one takes with regard to one's nail — and haircuttings, which should never fall into the hands of one's enemies. Pythagoras was even more careful: he advised his disciples to straighten their mattresses after sleep as the impression left by the body over night could be used for nefarious magical practices.)
In many cultures a child becomes a person only when it receives its name. As long as it is without a name it is endangered by demons. The young man initiated into the tribe's manhood often gets a new name. The seriously ill jewish child is given a new name in the hope, not only of confusing the Angel of Death but also of starting it on a new life.
In the "Name-giving-ceremony" the 10-12 days' old child is in India given two names. One of these is the true name. Only the nearest family knows this name. By this ruse the child — and later the adult — is protected from having its name misused by means of magically induced harm. The second name which the child receives and which is used in daily life, is only a pseudonyme, a kind of pet-name.
The Pharaos had, in accordance with their importance many names, but the personal ones, the true names were never made known. These were not even known to the gods. On the many steles which have been discovered one can find a great list of the achievements of these pharaos but never their real personal names.
In this paper I have not only attempted to explain certain linguistic-technical factors in the Ritual. I wanted to point out that a brother is entrusted in every degree with a secret which provides him with strength and power, protection and security. We promise the new brother that he will be granted such advantages on his way to become a happy man and that he will increase his own happiness by giving him the power, the opportunity and the inclination to make others happy. In these our days only few of us will believe in magic and sorcery — but if the knowledge hidden in a name and its use is outside the sphere of interest of many of our brethren, they may at least benefit from the knowledge of the background and meaning of our ritual.
We have learned that the use of certain words and names in our ceremonies has a deeper meaning, that in their reflections of traditions deriving from the Antique we should endeavour to discover still further knowledge and additional deeper meanings which can only result from an esoteric interpretation of this recognition. In order to know what Freemasonry has to tell us we have to learn the language in which the Royal Art speaks to us.
"Here I rest my case", as our colleagues from the legal fraternity like to conclude. I hope you are ready to accept that the "Word" entrusted to a brother was originally not a password in the usual sense of the word, but that what was confided to him enclosed the knowledge of the holy name (rendered harmless under the pseudonym of certain temple columns), which made him think that he possessed unusual power, importance, superiority and security. And even if this complex of superior power acquired and of protection granted by the knowledge of certain esoteric wisdom may by us not find today the same acceptance by us and the same veracity for us, it should stimulate us to search for the certainty that we are under the protection of facts and factors which in the past were differently interpreted from the way we perceive them today, but whose basic and fundamental truths have not disappeared, have not been annulled.