The Lodge Man
W.Bro. J. R. Cleland, M.A., D.D., P.P.Gr; Chaplain
My last paper was intended to introduce the subject of "Evolutionary Symbolism", and I then attempted to give you some idea of a few of the fundamentals upon which students may set to work and build up an appreciation of the inner meaning of symbolism in general. On this occasion, I propose to develop in particular one line of Craft symbolism which is based upon these fundamentals, and as we proceed I will endeavour to show how the Lodge should be considered as being a symbolic representation of the Candidate himself, who is regarded as a unity containing within him the full array of the potentialities of perfection.
In the first place, there are a few of the sayings attributed to that great Initiate, known as St. Paul, which have a bearing upon our subject, and which we may therefore take as giving, as it were, the keynote of the symbolism we shall discuss. These sayings are taken from the Pauline Epistles, and when considering them it is necessary to bear in mind that much the greater part of the New Testament writings were in no wise written for "the man-it-the-street". This applies particularly to the Epistles which contain what are best described as "Upper Room" implications, meaning that they are addressed to the man who is already "on the path"; in other words, they are couched in the language of the Mysteries, are veiled and symbolic, and for this reason easily — in fact generally — misinterpreted and misunderstood by the uninitiated. Hence, if we take the sayings I am about to quote and apply them to ourselves as members of a Masonic Lodge, we gain a far greater insight into the meaning they were intended to convoy, than we should if we attempted to attach a significance to them in our dealings with the popular world. If we attempt the latter operation we may, indeed, be more completely misled then if we made no endeavour to apply them at all, I will make no former comment; here are the quotations: —
"... we are members of one another" (Ephesians 4, 25).
"... we are members of his body" (Ephesians 5, 30).
"For as we hove many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another." (Romans 12) 4-5).
You will recall that on former occasions we, in this Circle, have thoroughly investigated the problem of the true Constitution of Man, and we have studied and tried to understand him as a real, permanent and eternal being. Moreover, we have found him to be essentially GOOD, as being made "in the image of God". His perfection, we have found, in veiled by the limitations imposed upon him by his vehicles, gathered around him from the matters of the various planes of existence, into which a Spark of the Divine Fire has thrown a portion of its consciousness in order that it may gain ascendancy over the planes of Nature and reproduce and multiply its body, to the greater experience and realization of the Consciousness of the Universe. And who shall say that the process has an ending there? "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be"; so the great process goes on which, being finite, had beginning, but, being infinite; can have no start nor finish. The ancients used the symbol of the Circle to demonstrate this very point; the circumference of the circle is finite and has definite lap-length, but it has no point upon it which could, more than another, be classed as beginning or ending. In our own days the "peculiar system of morality" — a term which, by the way, has nothing to do with morals as popularly understood — which we call by the name of Freemasonry, has been specially designed to unveil the story of Man by progressive stages. For the Apprentice or neophyte the system is "veiled in allegory"; but as the aspirant begins to make "progress in the science" the veils grow lighter and it becomes apparent to him that it is "illustrated by symbols." Thus at length the "connection of the whole system, and the relative dependence of its several parts" is unfolded to his view and, perchance, he then passes on to other considerations of greater import.
Those who framed the various forms of the Ancient Mysteries knew what they were doing; they had first hand knowledge of these things, and they knew that, in the hands of the undeveloped and unscrupulous, such knowledge could be misapplied and become a danger and menace to mankind. This has, in fact, happened time and again in the history of this world of ours; the V. of the S.L., tells of the fate which overwhelmed humanity on one such occasion. I refer to the legend of the Flood, which may allude to the sinking of Poseidon in 9,650 B.C. Plato furnishes us with the date, and we learn that this island of Poseidon was the last remnant of the once vast continent of Atlantis, and that it carried with it to destruction its 60 millions of inhabitants, all drowned in the course of a single night. However, I personally am of the opinion that the Flood legend is much older than this, and in my view it refers more particularly to the greater catastrophe which overtook the continent of Atlantis in about 210,000 B.C., in preparation for which tradition informs us, the Initiates built that great hall of Initiation formerly known as "The Light" and now designated the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. The legend may, of course, have its origin still further back in time, for that flood was by no means the first of which we have record preserved in the tradition of the Atlantean continent. The legend, also has a Cosmic meaning, as well as the reference to terrestrial events. I have mentioned these facts merely to impress upon students something of the vast scope of the studies which open up when we embark upon the quest of origins in the realm of Masonic symbolism. Much later in time Plato caused to be engraved over the entrance to his famous Academy, which has given its name to so many succeeding institutions, the words "No entrance to the ungeometrical", but the Mysteries had another maxin which will be the special subject for our consideration in this Paper. This maxim was 'KNOW THYSELF", and the knowledge implied was to be no superficial thing, but a gradual unfolding of the qualities and powers of the various vehicles of man, and the identification of the consciousness therewith on successively higher and more tenuous levels. In the terms of Egyptian metaphor, the "veils of Isis" must be set aside by the neophyte until such time as he acquires the strength, establishment and stability to stand upright, four-square, and unafraid in the full light of the Goddess.
In the Masonic Lodge, then, we should be able to trace a full picture of the Constitution of Man, complete in its various parts, and in this picture each Officer and each brother must play a dual role to comply with the universal axiom, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, each must have two aspects, two roles to fulfil, positive and negative, and objective; one is associated with and gives him place in the Macrocosm, external to the Candidate as a Personality; the other Microcosmic in its application. Many attempts have been made by others to interpret our Masonic Offices, and naturally those will be found to vary considerably according to the outlook of the observer. For this reason, I have purposely avoided any reference to the conclusions arrived at by workers in the same field, and I have tried to approach the matter afresh without being influenced by preconceptions gained elsewhere. Similarly, I acknowledge freely that any student who undertakes the task of analysis and, in doing so, does not allow my findings to influence him, will find many points upon which he can honour me by a thorough and conscientious disagreement. I shall, in fact, welcome such disagreement as basis and impetus to further study, and as a sign that the matter has been found to be sufficiently interesting to form a subject for investigation, meditation and ultimate criticism.
We commence by studying the roles played by the Officers and brethren in the constitution and working of the Lodge. Our object is to ascertain, if we can, from their activities and functions, their places in the make-up of the symbolic Lodge Man; so that when all are functioning fully and truly, we may obtain a chart or diagram of that perfection of humanity as the mirrored image of God, towards the realisation of which the Candidate has, nominally at least, turned his steps. This "Perfected Man" is himself that "Kingdom of Heaven" which is "at hand", close at hand, within each human being, awaiting only conscious realisation. Such realisation must be commenced by the "turning of thought" towards it, by "no-pentance". One of the Patrons of our Craft, St. John Baptist, who preached concerning the opening of the way to this realisation, expressed his teaching in words which place emphasis upon these considerations. "Repent", he cried, "for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!", or, to paraphrase and expand his call; "Think again and think differently, and you will eventually come to the realisation that all happiness you now seek is actually with you and has always been within your grasp, awaiting only the turning of your thoughts into line with it, to be realised and owned by you as an eternal and imperishable possession". Turning again to the Officers of the Lodge, we must bear in mind that throughout our study of their functions, duties, badges of Office, and their relationship with each other, we must keep prominently before us the Constitution of Man, sevenfold, as we have discussed in earlier Papers. This is important because all the senses and the functions of the vehicles or bodies of various grades of matter are related to the basic seven-fold division.
Now, the Candidate for admission to a participation in our Masonic mysteries is, of necessity, regarded as a man who has, although possibly subconsciously, visualised the essential underlying idea of aiming at perfection. He is deemed, therefore, to have sensed that such perfection can only be attained by contacting and learning to use and control the several vehicles of which he is the tenant. According to the hypothesis of our rites and ceremonies, the Candidate attains this perfection symbolically when, in their succession, he meets the Officer of the Lodge and learns of their duties and functions. Theoretically, he merges himself in each of the Offices and thus becomes one with the particular aspect of which each Officer is, for the moment, the representative. It has been the custom, when the duties of the Officers of a Craft lodge are under consideration, to commence at the top and work downwards, but here I propose to adopt a different procedure, which is that of following the Candidate through the main episodes of the Ceremonies. I do so because in my opinion, we are able, in this way, to build up the Lodge Man from the foundations, and gain a clear conception of the process of unfoldment as illustrated in the constitution of the Lodge. Before proceeding further, however, I would direct your attention to the diagrammatic view of the Officers and their functions, as set out in the chart which I have prepared and incorporated in this Paper, where they will be found linked to the diagram of the Seven-fold Man. Once more permit me to impress upon you that I have no wish to dogmatise; others may find that a different conception of the Officers is more helpful; in this matter, as in every other sphere of thought, so much of the interpretation of that which is observed, must always depend upon, and be relative to, the observer. There is a nice little alliteration which puts the situation in a nutshell:-
RELATIVITY RULES REACTION
This is always true on all planes of being. You will note that in the Diagram I have shown how the Principal Officers (and in this category I have included the I.P.M; who really stands above and without, in company with his peers the P.M.'s) link up parallel with the planes of the make up of the manifested man. Then there are the five junior or minor Officers, each of whom is responsible for a certain form of test through which the Candidate must pass, and each of whom is linked to one of the five senses. Further, we have the Stewards, and that much neglected Office of Librarian; the diagram illustrates their place in the scheme. And, last but not least, there are the Brethren in the columns; these Brethren represent the various aspects and organs which must be included in the make up of the complete and perfect man. They point to the virtues and the many faculties which are associated with them, for it was a wise old custom now unfortunately almost forgotten, which allocated to each member of the Lodge some faculty or virtue. Formerly, every Brother was expected to cultivate his particular faculty, to meditate upon it, and to express it through himself, so as to become a sort of power house capable, by means of concentrating upon it during the ceremonies, and thereby creating an atmosphere and, as it were, spraying it out to surround the Candidate. If this practice were revived today, the improvement in the general tone of our ceremonies, and the results upon any Candidate who happened to be at all sensitive, might be far reaching. The first Officer contacted by the Candidate is the Tyler, who represents the Life of the Physical Body, sometimes called the Physical Elemental. He is not the real man, but stands outside him as a means of contact and communication with the outer world of sense. Without a physical body no man could learn to control the matter of the most dense of all the planes of Nature and could, therefore, never learn to exercise the functions of Creation: Preservation and Transmutation therein; he could never be "properly prepared to go forward. God being all-in-all, full at-one-ment can only be reached through the fullest possible identification with all, and for full identification, the fullest possible experience is required. As Narada once said, "One must study to know, know to understand, and understand to judge". Ultimately judgement is a prerogative of Deity, and can only be reached through the fulfilment of the pre-requisites, in the case of man, of close study and understanding. An interesting point symbolically is that it is necessary for the Tyler to enter Open Lodge on two occasions only; the first is when he is invested and instructed in his duties and functions by the perfected and completed man within (represented by the W.M.); the second is when he comes to prepare the floor of the Lodge (which he should do in the Third Degree) for the symbolic descent of the Spiritual Man into the sepulchre of the flesh. The Inner Guard is the static or formative complement of the dynamic life-holding Tyler. The Tyler's knocks, by means of which he should be summoned when required, indicate his full status as the dual Physical, Dense and Etheric. Although the Tyler remains outside the Lodge in his dense physical aspect, he nevertheless enters and becomes the lowest portion of the three-fold Personality, in the person of his "alter-ego", the I.G. Neither of these Officers is complete without the other, while together they keep the gates against "all cowans and intruders". From one point of view the Tyler and the I.G. represent the consciousness of the undeveloped physical man; here the Tyler is what we call the subconscious, and the I.G. the waking consciousness which, when under control, together open the Gate to the superconscious. The single sword of the Tyler is the symbol of silence and secrecy, and when this is held by the I.G. it becomes the instrument of testing the warning-note of the dangers involved in too rash an advance. The swords in saltire of the I.G. indicate the social consciousness, our interdependence in the higher physical levels, and above all, the trials and sufferings to be undergone in the process of leaving the dense physical behind us. The saltire cross is always a symbol of testing, and for this reason the Officers of the Lodge who wear it are all essentially agents for the testing of the Candidate. The I.G. is the first tester; he who weighs the Candidate in the balance, and who is also the judge of the qualifications of visiting Brethren applying for admission to the Sacred Precinct of the Lodge. He (the I.G.) therefore represents Osiris as judge of the dead, a Lord of Karma, signifying the conscious judgement of self under the tutelage of the J.W. Further, he represents the Fates, the Norns and many other judges, and is linked indissolubly with the physical plane (that plane where debts are incurred and liquidated), in the person of his brother Officer the Tyler. It is by the joint action of these two Officers that the Candidate is first admitted to the Lodge, but only after he has been "properly prepared" as a physical man in control of his physical vehicle, having "been divested of all monies and metallic substances and no longer clogged with its lowest vibrations. Immediately upon his entrance into the Lodge the Candidate begins to function as a triple Personality, for having left behind him the denser portion of his physical make-up, he now kneels as the Etheric man, and is overshadowed not only by his immediate conductor, his passional nature (represented by the J.D.), but by that nature linked with the Lower Mental Body, the S.D., the link being made by two rods of power held over him in saltire. We may note here, that whenever the Candidate in the Craft Degrees is presented before God in prayer or in Obligation, he is presented as a complete three-fold Personality, under trial, the saltire cross. At the conclusion of the prayer the Candidate rises in Faith, and relying on such sure support, he proceeds once round the Lodge, contacting the higher levels of his being, in so far as they are contactable while he remains completely subject to his emotions. At this point in some workings, the Candidate is presented to the spirits of the elements and learns to control them through a knowledge of their names. During, his passage around the Lodge the Candidate is questioned and tested, underdoes trials and approbations, and is permitted to enter the realms of the Higher Mind and of Spirits although still unwittingly, Having contacted Pure Spirit (the S.W.), he is thereby presented to his Intuitional counterpart, the W.M., who, through his Spiritual being, commands the passional nature to give him his first instruction in passing from W. to E, which is over a plane figure, to demonstrate that he is working in two dimensions or planes. Arrived at the E. the Candidate is Obligated by his Intuition, the Love-Wisdom Nature, through which alone he can progress and contact Deity. It is here (in the E.) that in Hope, he hears the long-awaited question, "In your present conditions what is the predominant wish of your heart"? — eagerly, he asks for light! Restored to Light, the Candidate perceives the Individuality as a whole for the first time in Open Lodge i.e. in full consciousness, and done so, he is rewarded with the power to return to that state of consciousness. This power, it should be noted, is conferred by his own Intuitional self, yet he must still remain in the body until he has passed through another series of tests and trails, which culminate in his once more contacting the Atomic level where, by command of his Buddhi (Intuition), he is invested with a "coat of skin", indicating that he has gained full control of his animal nature and has the ability to throw it off at will. The addresses which follow are all upon themes connected with desire and passion, and emotion, and their conquest; he is taught Morality. He is then tested again, and reaches the third Cardinal virtue, CHARITY, following which he is presented with the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice. Finally; the Candidate is introduced to the doctrine of Karma; for he is told that nothing can be obtained without ultimate payment having to be made, and he is thence led to find that Law and Order are the rule, and not the exception, in the Universe. Now comes a pause for the digestion of all that he has been taught, and in due time he again appears for testing to ascertain if he is worthy to be passed to the degree of a F.C. It should be remarked that in the second stage he comes as one who "has made such progress as he hopes will enable him to be passed to the Second Degree"; at a later stage to hopes that his further progress will "entitle" him to be raised.
In the Second Degree the Candidate is again prepared on the physical plane. This preparation reverses that of the First Degree because it represents the opening of a second channel of power in the body, known in the East as "PINGALA", just as the preparation in the First Degree represented the opening of "IDA", the magnetically opposite channel. The Candidate is again taken over by the J.D. (the Etheric Man) and then passed on to his new conductor, the S.D. representing the Lower Mind, this time in full consciousness. Once again he is presented before God, and the ceremony proceeds in a similar manner to that of the former degree, except that in this instance he circumambulates the Lodge twice undergoing tests. As in the E.A. Degree the Candidate gained ascendancy over the world of dense matter and the rulers of the Elements, so he now journeys in search of ascendancy over the world of sense and emotion. It is to be regretted that both of these trials and journeyings have, in the passage of time, been cut down to a minimum and shorn of much of their symbolism and effectiveness, for it is now but rarely that a candidate has any realisation of the meaning of what he has experienced. Note at this juncture that in the First Degree the Candidate was permitted to Enter, he is now permitted to Pass. He is again presented to his Intuition (represented by the W.M.) by Pure Spirit (represented by the S.W.), and learns a new method of advance which is by means of re- spir- ation ("as though ascending a winding staircase"). This is an advance in three planes or dimensions, and it takes place in the personality functioning as a complete unity. Again he kneels, a completed Triad under trial, and is Obligated. He now receives the secrets of the Degree from the Intuition, and is tested, presented and invested by Atma (the S.W.). On this occasion the "coat of skin" has additions in blue, and digressing for a moment on the matter of colour, I would call attention to the suggestion put forward by Sir James Jeans in one of his books on popular astronomy. He says, go and watch the waves running up to the piles of a pier and notice what happens, how the short waves are stopped and damped down, while the long, ones pass on almost unaffected, and then he points out that in the same manner light waves are affected by small particles of dust which give rise to the colour effects observed in the blue of the sky and the red of the sunset. The analogy holds good in Freemasonry, for the appropriate colour of the Craft Degrees is BLUE, and this is the colour of mental and lower vibrations generally, whereas when the Craftsman is "installed" as Master and becomes a "ruler", he is eligible to participate in the essential secrets of the Supreme Degree (by passing through the Chairs of the three Principals), involving vibrations in which red is predominant. The sash worn by the R.A. Companions will illustrate what is here indicated.
Progressing further to the Third Degree, the Candidate is again prepared. On this occasion the preparation symbolises the balance of the two former, and the channel known as SUSHUMA is opened. As this channel cuts directly through the paths of IDA and PINGALA, there is formed the necessary link leading to the state of full SAMADHI (contemplation), represented in the Craft by the "Installed" Master. Once move, then, the Candidate is prepared "in the body" (represented by the Tyler), examined "on the threshold" or Etheric level (represented by the I.G.), and taken in charge by the purified Emotions (J.D.) linked to the Lower Mind (the, S.D.), The tests are repeated (around the Lodge); this time upon three levels, and the Candidate is instructed to advance in such a manner that the whole of the lower nature is trampled underfoot (signified by "stepping over an o... g....). At this stage of his ceremonial progress the Candidate is symbolically "in the world; but not of it," and although he has accomplished a great deal there still awaits him, "that last and greatest trial." After the Obligation has been administered, again under trial, his attention is called "to a retrospect of those degrees in Freemasonry through which" he has already passed, and he is reminded thereby of all that has led up to his being in the situation in which to now finds himself. Then follows a solemn warning regarding the forthcoming test of his "fortitude and fidelity", and in preparation for the trial the Emotions (J.D.) and Lower Mental (S.D.) are replaced by the higher spiritual powers in his make up (represented by the two Wardens). From what follows it becomes clear that the "three Ruffians" (the "taking of the Kingdom of Heaven by violence"), are the three aspects of the higher man; the INDIVIDUALITY, and a tint of this appears in the traditional names assigned to them. All the names are founded upon the root-namo JUBAL. Now, Jubal was the reputed inventor of the Harp and the Organ, and the word itself apparently means Music, or, more correctly, vibration. Added to this root- word we find the three syllables of the ancient "sacred word". A U M; Alpha, or beginning, is represented by the J.W., Omega, or ending, by the S.W., and "M", the middle letter of the alphabet, signifies Balance or Preservation, and is represented by the W.M. By the action of these apparent "ruffians" the Personality is destroyed ("done to death") and then transcended. One thing that calls for particular notice in this part of the ceremonial is that the S.W. leaves the place where he performs his temporary office of Destroyer and moves over and takes up his true position in the N. as Transmuter. Thus he becomes, in himself, the true representative of AIN SOPH, the first manifestation of Deity, for AIN is the Unmanifest or, from our point of view, NO — THING. The raising of the Candidate therefore takes place in the order of A, U and M, after which he makes the discovery that the former complete darkness (the darkness of empty space) has now become "darkness visible." In other words, the work, of true creation has commenced, in that visible darkness the manifestation of the "Overself", to gain knowledge of which has been the aim and object of the whole series of events.
The next stop I am not permitted to describe fully in this paper, but I would nevertheless remind you all that there is a next stop. I would furthermore have you realise that, before a Board of Installed Masters can be opened, the Etheric body must be replaced by a portion of the Light of Ain Suph. Moreover, even the Higher powers must be similarly replaced, while the Emotional and the Lower Mind drop out completely, The awakened Conscience takes complete charge of the floor of the Lodge and holds full discretion, having a full vision of all that has gone before as well as that which is to come. He (the D. of C) has the full realisation that only through sacrifice and suffering, symbolised by the saltire cross made by the rods of power which constitute his badge, can man be perfected in God.
The Craft system culminates in the Supreme Degree, but we are here concerned with the Lodge Man and, in conclusion, I wish only to call attention to the beautiful expression made use of by the other Patron Saint of the Craft, St. John the Divine:-
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God",
We leave our subject with a last thought. Man, the faint echo of God has returned whence he came, and again the full voice of God resounds in His Universe as the Music of the Spheres, the Great choir of Heaven crying out once more the immemorial, timeless message, "Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth Peace, to men of goodwill!"
SO MOTE IT BE.
PEACE TO ALL BEINGS