THE MOUNT OF BLESSING

(being a study in the metaphysics of the Masonic Work)

by W.Bro. Major A. CATHCART BRUCE, P.G., Steward, P.M.,
The Lodge of Living Stones, No. 4957

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help." Psalms of David.

"...Lay thine uphill shoulder to the wheel And climb the Mount of Blessing ...." Tennyson.

O Lord in Thee have I trusted let me never be confounded." "Te Deum." Book of Morning Prayer.

I am going to speak this afternoon on a most interesting but nevertheless on a somewhat difficult subject: in fact I doubt if the matter has been approached or considered Masonically before except very briefly by the late Worshipful Brother W. L. Wilmshurst.

I propose to deal with deep matters not generally recognised by the Craft, and I would go further and say that some of you may probably consider what I am about to assert as being fantastic. You have every right so to do; yet I would ask you all to bear in mind that Freemasonry has many facets, some of which are obvious, others being deeply concealed. Is it not a fact for instance that there exist many and varied interpretations both of an outward and of an inward nature which can be put upon our ritual and our symbolism? I have no doubt that this is a point which worries many brethren, especially those with no philosophic background or those who, with the best will in the world, have neither the time nor the opportunity to acquire it. One authority, let us say, will give a certain explanation concerning some particular office or some portion of our work, whilst another may give an entirely different one: The result often being a puzzle as to which is the more correct; as to which should be believed. Is not this so? The answer in such cases probably lies in admitting that both may be right depending on the angle of approach we choose to take in any given case.

I mention all this because what I am about to discuss with you is just such another facet of Truth, albeit an unusual and concealed one; yet I venture to suggest that it is one having a very distinct and important bearing on the hidden side of our Mystic Art, and one that is necessary to the better understanding of all that we do.

In the sacred Colleges and Schools, in the Lodges if you like, of the Ancient Mysteries there was ever an exoteric teaching for the multitude and an inner esoteric teaching for the initiated few, the lower grades of the latter receiving less than the higher: thus arose the lesser and the greater Mysteries respectively. Indeed I am persuaded that this was the case in the beginning even with Christianity itself. It would appear that in spite of climate, race, or creed, the nations of Mankind are, and have always been, in their thought processes, spiritually one, for the fundamentals appear in all religions. Many scholars agree that originally Christianity was of the nature of a secret order, having three degrees, which still continue today in greatly modified form under the names of (1) Baptism, (2) Confirmation and (3) The Holy Sacrament. It is also known that candidates were originally called:-

(a) Catchumens (a) Entered

(b) Leiturgoi as it were (b) Fellowcrafts

(c) Presbuteroi, (c) Master Masons or Priests

and there is much further evidence which however has no direct bearing on this paper and so there for the moment let us leave the matter, except to point out, that with regard to their being an inner and outer teaching in Christianity itself, you may recall the words of the Christian Master: "Unto you (chosen disciples or initiates) it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the multitude) all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand."*

Now there was a "Great Work" carried out at times between the Hierophant and his pupils, between a Master and his disciples, in which they strove to contact the loftiest planes of Spirit. I hold that Freemasonry being after all a modern mystery system of regeneration, though indeed but a modest and shrunken descendant of its great prototypes, is no exception to this old rule, or should not be so.(+) There can exist between the Worshipful Master (The Hierophant) and his lesser brethren, an esoteric relationship undreamed of by the majority of our brethren today.

"In Masonry. as in the Scriptures of every other ancient expression of Mystical Teaching, there is frequent allusion to Mountains and Hills, and to the work of Lodges and Chapters, conducted upon them." (++) Such references to Mount or Hill have not only a physical or geographical connotation but refer to the spiritual elevation of the work undertaken by some particular group or school of Initiates.

Mystical teachings, mystery systems of all lands and ages, often refer to this special type of spiritual alchemy. Many countries have, or had, their sacred mountains all of which are the same fundamentally and whose names convey to those properly prepared, an expression

* Mark iv, II and 12. See also I Cor. ii, 7, and iii, I and 2.

(+) It were well at this stage if I made it clear what I consider regeneration really means. Surely it is the commencing to build the resurrection body, or body of light, here and now, instead of having only a vague anticipation of receiving it in some future post-mortem condition (++) See "The Masonic Initiation", W. L. Wilmshurst.

of super-physical heights to which the consciousness of Man can ascend. ($$) Consider for instance the "Sermon on the Mount" in the Gospel story, which refers entirely to matters connected with the highest and holiest planes of thought. It must be left to each one of us individually to think out the exact nature of such great and lofty works; suffice it to say that they were carried out not by means of Man's physical consciousness at all but always through his higher faculties.

In our present mechanistic and material existence it is only at times, and after due preparation, that we are enabled to touch even the fringes of all that is implied by the phrase "being on the Mount" or ascending the "Hill of Vision," as our Patron, Saint John did when "in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Only the truly initiated or perfected man, the super-man, can live constantly in such a high state of Grace and fulfil its laws, whilst remaining immersed in necessary mundane affairs. Such an idealistic state is known to be possible though naturally still very rare.

We should never strive to attain such beatitude for ourselves alone however; that would be to deny the real meaning of all Initiation: rather must we work for the advancement of the whole world: The real Adept has no thought of self. Part of the Lodge of Living Stones' exquisite Lodge Prayer points to this same truth:-

... "May Light illumine and Love enfold us so that we know ourselves one in God, and that from our unity may go forth to all beings, Light and Love and Peace."

Have you ever considered that phrase "all beings Such is not limited to humanity only but surely also includes the angelic kingdoms and the sub-human kingdoms too. Initiation, you see, is never solely for our own use except in so far as it may fit us the better to help on the evolution of all creatures. The true master is the perfect servant. ".... He that is greatest among you let him be as the younger, and he that is chief as he that doth serve." (||)

In order therefore that you may the better understand that to which I shall eventually come, I propose now to describe in some detail two instances of this work "upon the Mount" taken from two distinct Mystery Systems of former times. The first concerns that of ancient Persia;

($$) Eg:- Mt Olympus; Mt. Horeb; Mt. Hermon; Mt. Moriah; Mt. of Olives; even Golgotha. Note also in the Modern World, Mt. Kailasa in Tibet, Mt. Fujiama in Japan and Mt. Snowdon in Great Britain, also many others. (||) Luke xxii, 26.

and the second is an example from the V.S.L., concerning The Hebrew peoples of the Old Testament. Both are examples of the "Great Work," or of Theurgy, which latter may be defined as a means of bringing certain events to pass by Divine methods as opposed to ordinary necromancy, which often lapses into the unhallowed or black variety.

2

So would you look, firstly at the photographic reproduction taken from an original in the possession of the late Worshipful Brother W.L. Wilmshurst: [Vide frontispiece]. It depicts for us a scene cut on the front of a cave-temple somewhere in the mountains of Persia, showing a concealed work of the Zoroastrian epoch, closely tyled by janitors or guards, armed with spears, on three different levels.

On the lowest level are fourteen Adepts or Initiates. There is nothing to indicate whether they are of alternate sex (though this might possibly be), they all look like men. On the next level are fourteen more, making a total of twenty-eight altogether. On the highest level of all is the Arch-Magus, presumably Zoroaster himself. He is holding a serpent and approaching a hive-shaped altar over which glows a bright eight-pointed star. In the midst is a tau-cross shaped figure only partly human in aspect, the lower part being composed of eagles wings, tail, and claws. Dominant elements are the bull (or cow) heads projecting from the corners of the roof of both storeys, and the posture of the Adepts also suggests a like correspondence. Let us try and explain this strange picture from the standpoint of spiritual science.

Firstly:- Are these fourteen Adepts on the middle level intended for different persons from those immediately below them? That is difficult to say and whilst the actual number of twenty-eight may have some connection with the phases of the Moon, it is more probable that the upper fourteen represent the psychic bodies of the lower fourteen. The reasons for such an assumption will, I hope become clearer as we proceed and study together our second example of the "Great Work" in a moment. At any rate it would seem obvious that all of them are giving support and supplying spiritual energy or force in some manner, to the Arch-Magus who is on the roof: that is to say he is not in physical consciousness at all but is functioning in the Spirit. The serpent, of course, is that symbolic serpent of wisdom well known in Masonry and indeed the same as that which appears in the Garden of Eden story.

With regard to the altar being hive-shaped, you should be able to think the matter out for yourselves, but I would just say this, that in the Mysteries of Mithra practised by the Ancient Persians under Zoroaster, there was a Lion grade, or degree, in which a honey-rite figured. Honey was valued for its purifying and preservative qualities, wounds being cleansed for instance with honey and so honey came to stand for purification from sin and signified also the power of preservation. Certain grades of Initiates were also actually known as "Bees," and these brief remarks may help you to think out the significance of the hive-shaped altar. A hive with seven bees is a well known Masonic emblem, [Vide "The Mysteries of Mithra" in the "Echoes of the Gnosis" series by G.R.S, Mead.] The eight-pointed star is a recognised occult symbol for the Christ-Logos. From out this star seems to have flown towards the Arch Magus or Master, a Theophany, that is to say a God-manifestation. The Tau-Cross needs no explanation, its meaning should be well known to us in the Craft. The eagle's wings, feathers, etc.: - are common symbols of the protective and preservative attributes of Deity. It is interesting to call to mind in this connection the symbol of the winged solar disk often placed as a protection over the entrance pylons of temples in ancient Egypt, and North American Indian Totems often embody the same idea.(*) Does not the Hebrew psalmist also cry:-

"He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shalt thou trust." (Psalm xci, 4.)

The symbolism of the horns is probably an astrological one connected with the Zodiacal sign of Taurus, the Bull. This may have been the dominant sign of the Zoroastrian epoch, as Pisces, the Fishes, was of the Christian era and as Aquarius, the Water-Carrier, is of the new age being heralded in at the present time. The Bull is quite likely to have a further connection here with the Mysteries of Mithra, for it was their principal sacred animal and figures largely in all Mithriaca. It does not concern us very much anyhow with regard to this particular paper.

3

Let us leave this interesting matter and turn our attention now to the second example of the "Great Work" taken this time from the V.S.L. I would draw your attention therefore to part of the beginning of

(*) Cf:- The Thunder Bird Totem of the Canadian Indians. Also see Appendix to this paper. Further the highest Initiates of the Persian Mysteries were sometimes called Eagles, as doubtless they were known as Hawks in Egypt, for they had to be born anew as Horus and capable of rising - "Mounting up as Eagles" - or understanding the Divine. Chapter xxiv, of the book of Exodus.

".... and he said unto Moses, come up unto the Lord, thou and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off ... and Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him ... Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Ahihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the Nobles of the Children of Israel he laid not his hand; also they saw God and did eat and drink......"

This somewhat obscure passage actually describes an act of exactly similar nature to the one which we have just been considering. Both are in fact instances of theurgic ascents into the world of Spirit, carried out for a definite purpose, and undertaken according to definitely prescribed and well-known principles associated with the occult geometry of numbers. I once referred to the importance of number, weight, and measure in all things: to give you an instance: - "Beauty is form, and number is a constituent of form, and all things are therefore determined by number. The exalted measurements of Ark, Tabernacle, and Temple obviously suggest that there is a geometry of Law, and Astronomy proves this nowadays." I will not digress further but return to our story.

As I said, this is an account of a theurgic ascent organised on divine and holy principles and carried out by the heads of the Hebrew people, the Inner Holy Assembly as it was called, in order to contact, through mystical vision, the Spiritual or Archetypal World so that they might receive divine mandates and ordinances for their national guidance.

Note then that this organisation or Lodge followed the progression 1 - 3 - 7* i.e.: Monad - Triad - Heptad; that is to say it was in agreement with all hidden teachings on the coming forth of Deity into manifestation. First Spirit as a Unity; this subsequently passing into a Trinity, which finally becomes a Septenary.

We have for instance the seven days of the week, the seven who make a perfect Lodge; seven tassels on each side of a Master Mason's apron, and again the seven steps to the pedestal, the seven days of creation, the seven years taken in the building of Solomon's Temple

(*) This progression can be classified as "algebraic" for it is a progression starting from Unity which may be expressed as (2n + 1); thus you have 1: (1 x 2 + 1 = 3: (3 X 2 + 1) = 7: and so on.

which was dedicated in the seventh month with a festival lasting seven days. Again are there not seven planets, of the old Cosmology, whilst the Hindu's think the world is enclosed in seven shells and the Goths have seven deities; and so on and so forth. It is all summed up in the words of the well known hymn: -

"Thou the anointing Spirit art Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart."

All, you see, are examples of divine mathematics. So it is with the instance we have under review, the components being (1) Moses the Arch-Magus or Hierophant representing the Divine Monad. (2) Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu; the Trinity or Triad. And (3) the Seven (or multiple of Seven), in this case Seventy, represented by the Elders of Israel, the Adepts or Initiates. In the latter part of the biblical text I have quoted to you they are referred to as Nobles. This means of course spiritually noble or what we term today in our system, Master Masons.(+) The further occult interpretation of the whole story of this very deep matter or psychic work is as follows.

In olden days the Master of the Mysteries was often undoubtedly really clairvoyant and capable at will of entering into that state of deep trance-meditation called "Samadhi," which is still practised successfully today by genuine Yogis in India, Tibet, and elsewhere in the East. In this trance-state or condition of ecstasy, the higher vehicles are free to contact, and to function in, the Spiritual World but this could (and can today), only be done with impunity by those spiritually so qualified; by real Initiates; and then always and only along certain well-known lines. This contact, if and when successfully established, then descended via the same channels and flooded all the individuals engaged in this great piece of ritualistic work, producing a state of spiritual exaltation and vision. It is a question of stepping-up the power as it were. The seventy Elders by meditation and prayerful concentration supplied the necessary force or energy to support the psychic vehicles of the higher Triad; namely Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu; by, and through whom, the higher consciousness, spirit or "Overself" of Moses passed on into contact with things Divine.

Now note further that only Moses, representing the Monad, only Moses the Master could come near the

(+) Those of us who have any knowledge of the Kabbala, a body of Hebrew Mystery Teaching or who care to study it, will find a further correspondence therein with what is called "The Sephirotic Tree:" Moses as "Kether" Aaron as "Death"; Nadab as "Binah", and Abihu as "Chokmah". The seven tens being distributed over the seven Sephiroth.

Lord; could actually contact the Highest. Only the high priest, remember, can enter the Sanctum Sanctorum (the Spiritual World), and then only after certain ceremonial purifications, etc.: after due preparation, properly prepared as we say. The Triad could not come nigh but served intermediately between Moses the Master and the seventy Elders of the people who were, we are told, not to go up, but remained in normal consciousness at the foot of the Mount until divine contact had been established. They were then all illumined according to their several capacities. As a result of which (verses 9 and 10) they saw the God of Israel in the body of heaven.

What does that mean? It is a difficult saying, in fact the whole matter under review is more than difficult to our Western minds as I warned you at the outset. What it means is, that they were enabled, in some measure at any rate, to contact their "Overselves," that Divine Spark within each one of them, the true spirit substance often symbolically described in the V.S.L. as a sapphire, corresponding to the terrestrial blue of the sky or heavens.

The phrase "the body of heaven" or of God, does not perhaps concern us in this paper so closely but just to round off the whole story, we can say that by it is meant the body and blood, the bread and the wine, which they did eat and drink; partaking of it not sacramentally which is only the exoteric aspect of that side of the old Mysteries but actually in vision. (Vide: I Cor. x, 3 and 4). It was the real Eucharist, the real Holy Grail. A most difficult matter indeed for us to begin to comprehend who have never experienced such mystical ecstasy.

It may be of interest to point out here that this idea of a theurgic ascent is reproduced for us today though quite exoterically, and possibly unwittingly, in the Catholic High Mass, in all Christian countries where the invisible Christ represents the Monadic Highest; the officiating priest and his two assistant celebrants - the Triad; whilst the congregation supply (or should supply) the additional spiritual force to support the celebrants at the altar.

To return to our story. This being a legitimate ritual act, a sanctified and ordained work it could after due preparation, be achieved with perfect safety: "Upon the Nobles He laid not His hand." Self-willed, unsanctified theurgic experiment was always attended by disastrous psychical and physical consequences. (Vide: Ezekiel xix, 12 and 13). This is the taking of the name of God in vain, that is to say invoking the terrific powers of the Spirit for vain and selfish purposes: Upon such the Spirit does react and lay his Hand. As one instance of such an unpurified assembly the story of the contest of the priests of Baal with Elijah may be studied.(*)

In any circle of unpurified, unprepared persons with little or no understanding of what they are doing, nothing holy can ever manifest or come through. The average type of spiritualistic seance with its accompaniment of table rappings, knocks and so forth is a further example. If such a circle genuinely contact anything at all it is usually only by the lower levels of the non-physical planes, hardly ever anything truly spiritual or even remotely holy. The danger to those taking part is often physically and psychically very grave. They are playing with fire and run the risk of taking the name of God in vain.

An Holy Assembly on the other hand such as in the Greater Mysteries of antiquity was quite another thing. They were members of a Sacred College, Lodge or Church and if working along divinely appointed lines and according to ancient landmarks, were perfectly safe.

Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew xviii, 20.)

I would like to take the opportunity at this juncture before passing on, to explain to you a little more fully, but on general lines only, what the Holy Assembly of Israel really was and what it attempted to do. I, for one, believe that the people of Israel in ancient days were a nation set apart in the world by divine ordinance for a definite purpose just as I believe the English speaking peoples are today. The Lesser Holy Assembly of Israel as it was called, was intended to serve as a reflection on the physical plane of the Divine Archetypal Church or Greater Holy Assembly in the heavens known to us today as the Grand Lodge above: Its work was to prepare a living vehicle here below for the habitation of God. Its members were the flower of the humanity of Israel, men (and quite possibly women too), chastened by experience, prepared by study and by custom, purified by descent, to serve as a "Tabernacle" for the Most High and His Mandates: to serve as a vehicle for the enshrinement of Godhead which could and did descend, enter in and inform, in a variety of ways according to the state of purity of the collective soul of it members at any given epoch. Such in brief appears to me to have been the mission of the Holy Israelitish Assembly in the ancient world, of whose work that which I have just recounted to you was one specific instance.

(*) I Kings, chapter xviii.

Brethren, so far all the strange things of which I have been telling are but a preamble to the main theme of my discourse and I would now like to see if my remarks so far have any application at all to our own Masonic Mystery System. I believe they have, for is not our work sanctified, divinely blessed, and ordained? At least so we believe it to be.

4

"I will go up, go up, To the high hill of the Lord; The world is an empty cup And a voice in my heart has stirred To seek for a long-lost word."

W.L. Wilmshurst, A song of Degrees.

Please do not think that I imagine for one moment that the ordinary Lodge is capable of carrying out such highly mystical work as that which I have just been outlining to you. Of course it cannot. First of all the Craft is not generally conscious that such a possibility may one day even exist! Secondly, if it did, there is infinitely less chance of it being successfully carried out, even in some degree only, than might pertain perhaps to a group of genuine Oriental or Occidental seers whose whole non- materialistic viewpoint is so very different from our own, enabling them to develop within themselves powers of which we scarcely dream and whose very physical bodies are strictly disciplined and in a state of great purity, extending over periods of many years of preparation. No; but, I have given you the two instances I have because I believe that Freemasonry at its highest is capable of working along similar lines up to a point though of course, at yet, on an infinitely lower and on a much more simple general level. Yet this should not be beyond the comprehension or the powers of all serious, reverent and earnest brethren. I maintain, and hope now to show, that Freemasonry at its best serves, or will one day serve, much the same purpose, restore much of the lost Mysteries to the world, give back to religion much of that inner understanding which it would appear to have temporarily lost almost completely, and raise a Tabernacle again on earth, a true Holy Assembly in modern dress, suited to the intellectual and spiritual outlook of the present day. Neither must we forget that, as was the case in olden times, so today we have to fight Rival Pretenders, those who follow after false-gods and worship in unpurified and unhallowed assemblies, if I may so generally describe them. Can we not see such Pretenders to the throne of Grace rampant in the world at this very moment? We as Freemasons must be watchful, must be active in our spiritual struggle and in our work. So I repeat Freemasonry should be capable of carrying out the "Great Work" at least in some measure.

Far be it from me to suggest to you that we should attempt to carry out, or gain a name for, any strange or unorthodox practices. I do no such thing, but I wish to lay certain thoughts before you for your earnest consideration and private meditation, based on just those very theurgic principles I have already disclosed to you.

To begin with then, a properly constituted and warranted Lodge does work, we believe, under the Divine blessing and in the name of the Most High. It should be, if we but realised it, an Holy Assembly of Elders and Nobles. We, in our work in a Temple do not take the name of T.G.A.O.T.U. in vain: on us therefore the Lord does not lay his hand and we are safe; "for where the name of God is invoked we trust no danger can ensue." Brethren, we have so often heard that phrase in our first degree ritual. I hope now we understand better what it means. The mere saying of it admits that there is a possibility of danger, but the danger therein implied is far greater and of a totally different nature than that which we normally associate with the well-known words. We are safe because we come properly prepared and are sanctified according to ancient custom and procedure: for indeed "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

Again do we not arrange ourselves according to definite and age-old numerical and geometrical principles? In the opening lines of the first of our Masonic lectures we find these words: - "Brethren, Masonry according to general acceptation of the term is an Art founded on the principles of geometry and directed to the service of mankind."

What could be clearer than that? Both these statements are important and both agree with ancient practice. Let us examine them more closely.

(a) The Worshipful Master represents the Arch-Magus, the Hierophant. The Triad may perhaps be said to be formed by him together with his two principal officers, the Wardens. The Elders or spiritual Nobles are the Master-Masons on the floor of the Lodge.

(b) Why do we meet in a Temple at all? Of course there are the common and usual explanations all of which are true, chief amongst which no doubt is that we aim at the spiritual regeneration of the individual. But, Brethren, as the last statement in the sentence from our Lectures, quoted above, lays down, there is a much greater matter involved than even the high purpose of personal evolution. We exist as a fraternity in order that we can be of service to mankind, in order that we can call down Divine Blessing - Grace - Power - Wisdom and above all Love, not only on ourselves but also on the whole Masonic Brotherhood scattered over the surface of the globe; and further than that, not only on them, but on the whole of humanity whether Mason or non-Mason, male or female, who are one vast brotherhood under God. As Shakespeare says in his "Measure for Measure ":

Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues Did not go forth of us 'twere all alike As if we had them not."

We should strive on each occasion that we meet to rally our spiritual strength to the side of the forces of Light existing in the Cosmos, for the benefit of the whole world irrespective of nation, creed, or colour. We should be one gigantic broadcasting-station or space satellite for spiritual force. How essential this is in these present days when as the great Initiate Paul says in one of his letters:- "We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world." (*) Let us remember that in the fulness of time a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, ever working silent and in concealment.

In order that this sanctified work of ours may have any lasting effect or real spiritual force, not only on a particular candidate for a particular degree, not only on mankind in general even, but on all the hidden planes of life, then all must play their respective parts to the full in every Lodge or Chapter. Our work is something infinitely greater than that which we commonly suppose. If any ritual is to be effective all those taking part have to labour, have to work, have to concentrate, not only those officers who may happen to be the more directly concerned but all the brethren (and this includes the visiting brethren too), each must be active in prayer, in thought and in aspiration, offering themselves as a mystical but scientifically prepared vessel according to their spiritual rank and ability, in order to build up that force and magnetism which are so essential for the proper functioning of the Master and the Wardens. This is vital in order to produce a real spiritual atmosphere which will descend and flood, not only the consciousness of a candidate but that of all and each of us. Such a force can really make an alteration in the vibratory rate of our several bodies, changing

(*) Ephesians vi, 12.

eventually our very constitution and effecting for the better the whole of our future life in growing but gradual measure. It is a question of the power of mind over matter.

None of us will deny, Mason or non-Mason, if he thinks at all, that there is a disconnection as it were between the Divine World and the World as we know it. The plan seems to have gone awry somehow; things are not what they ought to be by any means. We have lost touch with our Divine Centre. The Builder or Master is indeed smitten by conspirators or as the Christian scriptures put it: - "They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him." This has all to be made good somehow and the "Great Work" can only be done from Above - the wind blowing from East to West - provided we are willing to cooperate. Hence the need for regeneration. Between the Divine World and the Mundane World close contact needs to be re-established; a bridge must be built across from the one to the other. Freemasonry is a means of building that bridge. The old mystery systems, as I have said, had one aim - the regeneration of the individual from which would follow in the fulness of time the perfecting of all mankind. We have still a long, long way to go but the world problem is surely first the individual problem? We all know only too well that it is indeed "a long, long way to Tipperary," but as long as we can say (with curious mystical exactness), that our heart is right there, all will eventually be well. Even such a simple soldier's song can hide a wealth of wisdom and unsuspected truth! Possibly just because of this, the song has survived and will continue to survive.

We have gathered I hope then that the Hierophant cannot fully function without the support of his lesser brethren, firstly through the help of a Triad and secondly through the whole of the Nobles or Master Masons. To recapitulate, the Holy Assembly was in reality a reflection here below of that greater and infinitely more majestic and glorious hierarchy which we call the Grand Lodge Above and which the Christian Church refers to as the Communion of Saints. I maintain that a Masonic Lodge in session also represents just such another Holy Assembly, though naturally in a simpler and more limited way.

Much more then is required of a Worshipful Master than that which we usually connect with his supreme office. He is undoubtedly very great and very high; he holds a position as a Ruler in the Craft and has reached a stage where he is said to be "Worshipful," that is to say worthy of reverence and loyalty because of the link forged between himself and the rest of his Lodge. Normally, of course, he merely represents this advanced stage in a hypothetical sense only, much more rarely in any actual interior way though this is quite possible. "He is seated on the throne in the East, and in the place of the rising sun, and with two or three exceptions never moves from that station in the Temple. He does direct officers and others to move - he commands movement and activity. He acts on behalf of the "Overself" of which we too rarely become aware. Our interior self, Osiris glorified through trial and perfected by suffering, is represented by the Hierophant on the dais. Seldom then does our higher genius leave its palace of the stars except when voluntarily the lower-self open itself to the higher by an act of sincere aspiration or self-sacrifice which alone makes possible the descent of Light within the heart and mind." (*) These words which I have quoted are great thoughts, Brethren, and undoubtedly one of the very greatest moments is when the Worshipful Master comes down from his throne and goes to meet the blinded Candidate as he kneels. The Master's graciousness in taking those steps should thrill all of us if we but realise everything that is symbolised by this glorious piece of our ritual, as carried out today in some Lodges. It is like calling to like.

Yet notwithstanding his undoubted authority the Worshipful Master cannot act with that fulness of power which is his prerogative, unless and except, his lesser brethren give him of their help to the utmost of their several capacities. I do not use the word help here in any ordinary sense. Therefore it were well for us to bear in mind that when we take part in any Masonic ritual we are indeed carrying out a magical act in the highest possible interpretation of that adjective. We are indeed making of ourselves channels for divine inspiration, we are, as it were, creating a funnel reaching high into the world of Spirit down which (if we make it correctly), immense and ineffable loveliness can and will flow, in Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. Those of us who happen to hold no particular office are nevertheless needed almost as much as those that do. All must assist. No brother is just a spectator at an enacted drama or pageant each has his own particular quota of work to do, and force to give, and virtue to exemplify, in the building work involved. The Worshipful Master whilst able to do much of himself can do very much more if all the "Columns" cooperate. And not only cooperate willingly but what is still more vital and important, do so with understanding and with conscious direction both

(*)The Philosophers Stone.

of thought and will. Is it not true, for instance, that the Worshipful Master cannot even open his Lodge without such ordered assistance? Are not his very first words a command to us all to give him that support which he requires?

He needs then our prayers, our aspirations and our spiritual force so that in whatever measure be vouchsafed him, he can ascend the "Hill of the Lord," the "Mount of Blessing" and there receive as only he can, being our Arch-Magus and High Priest, the spiritual bread and wine. Thus, like Moses of old, when descending from such high planes of inspiration he will be enabled to give out something of that which he has received for the good of his Lodge, for the betterment of the Craft, even to all creatures: to give in so far as he is able (even if unconscious of the fact himself), something of the Vision Splendid which he has intuitively perceived. In this connection it is interesting to discover that the esoteric doctrine of the Northern Buddhist schools hold the same thoughts. In a book about Milarepa, one of Tibet's greatest Yogis, we read:- "As from the mighty broadcasting stations dynamically charged with thought-forces the Great Ones broadcast over the earth the Vital Spirituality which alone makes human evolution possible; as the sun sustains the physical man they sustain the psychic man and make possible mankind's escape from the net of (worldly) existence." (+)

Now, Brethren, of course we are not all practising mystics. Our environment and daily Western mode of life makes such a possibility, even if desirable, but a poor thing at best. I don't know why so many people appear to be afraid of being classified as mystical. It must arise from a misunderstanding of the term; for mysticism itself simply implies union with God and that in some form or another, is surely the highest to which human beings can attain? The word "Yoga" means the same thing. As Bro. F.V. Mataraly says in his book "The Masonic Way," "the word 'mystic' ultimately derives from the mysteries of antiquity. The Greek adjective 'mustikos' was used of something seen 'through a glass darkly' some knowledge purposely wrapped up in symbol." In the East conditions are so much more favourable for a closer walk with God. Here in twentieth century England the path is very hard, yet even if we are not mystically inclined in the true sense of the word, we, in this Circle, I firmly believe, are earnestly and reverently seeking for that which is

(+) "Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa." W.Y. Evans-Wentz: in the Circle Library.

lost: That in itself is a good beginning and if persisted in will lead to definite and tangible results. I am convinced that if we realise that we must each do something when in the Temple and not just be content to be passive spectators (although no doubt often temporarily impressed by an indefinable something), then we can by our united outpouring of spiritual force, literally raise the Worshipful Master in his inner being to greater heights of inspiration than he could ever achieve alone.

Never must we be content with an empty or mechanical exposition of ritual however perfectly it may, or may not, be rendered: that is not enough. It is for us to make of ourselves (as indeed it is for all Lodges if they but knew it), a living Holy Assembly, blessing thereby not only ourselves but others also with the fragrance of the perfect flower of the Spirit. Idle chatter and mundane affairs find no place in any Temple, where we turn from that which is without to that which is within, where we bow down in the Hidden Place which lies deep empowered in each one of us and there discover the body of Heaven as a clear sapphire.

In the Lodge of Living Stones we always decry the personality, that mask which we all wear, that vehicle through which we sound; which mask is never the real self but serves only to hide it? Individuals, per se count for nothing: as they say in Yorkshire they are "nowt's"; they are but parts, but fractions, never wholes. But when we combine with others of like mind and aspiration in order to create a new whole on a spiritual level this alone gives unity, power, and force, which in the inner worlds of far finer matter than the gross physical, actually does something; creates something; draws down Grace abounding from Above. "When that which is perfect (complete) is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (*)

Complete harmony is of course an essential if we are to succeed in the making of anything perfect, hence this virtue is so strongly stressed in Freemasonry. If even one single brother harbours thoughts out of tune, or in disharmony, with the others then that which we build, that which we collectively receive from on high, will have a weakness somewhere in its structure. I beg of you all to remember tills for we are but human after all. We practice a Divine Science, a Sacred Art, and when we present the proper conditions within ourselves then Deity will condescend. If we can know Jerusalem the golden, "who wants to go to Jerusalem the brazen!"

(*) I Cor. xiii, 10.

Finally, I suggest to you, that particularly during some portion of any period of silence that we may be called upon to observe together, we should try to pour out all the power and all the love of which we are capable towards the Worshipful Master whoever he may happen to be; that we should make a point of envisaging a spiritual atmosphere surrounding him. We can, I know, do so little, we are all such leaky sieves, such poor channels, such weak vessels; yet which of us will not confess to feeling, even physically, that atmosphere of peculiar and vibrant blessing in some Temple, and to the sensing of the power present in it, perchance even to hear interiorly the rustle and sound of hidden wings? Some of us may at times actually see something of this force with our physical eyes (I can testify that this is so), but even if the majority of us cannot see we must try greatly to augment this power which is so highly charged with untold beatitude; knowing that though we be blind, beside us stand the Immortals! Maybe we shall then touch the circumference of a higher consciousness, a vesper ecstasy, in which we sense the passing of Holy Presences who with benign faces enfold us in their radiance for a moment of time.

As a result of such continued, united, and sincere meditative effort on our part, the Worshipful Master should be able to sense in the stillness of his own heart, a strange peace: he should be able to glimpse, if only as a flash, something of the Divine Plan, so that for him and for us as well, that exquisite silence will be filled, like Caliban's isle, with "sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not," permeating us all with blessing and with grace. Indeed the clouds round about The Mount will open and show riches ready to drop upon us so that when we wake we cry to dream again.

And so I come to the conclusion of the matter and maybe you will be thinking, how can these things be? My answer is: - If we will have it so, it shall be!

For a long period of years Freemasonry has busied herself laying out foundations and bringing rude matter into due form. This external form has now reached a high state of perfection and the time has come for it to be filled increasingly with the lofty and supernal purposes of the Spirit. Then will the whole great Temple of our Order be transfigured; Freemasonry will at long last remove her veil and uncover the shining beauty of her flawless face, dazzling us with the unearthly loveliness of her divine fire which will flame up and haunt our hearts for ever. Now is the time of re-birth: We have passed out of the Kindergarten stage and are pressing on towards the standards of a Divine Matriculation which are the understanding of the mysteries of our own being and the deeper knowledge of mankind and of the Cosmos.

I believe that the Lodge of Living Stones, and all others working along similar lines, are destined humbly to be a means by which the Craft will be justified of all its children and become- "as it was always intended to become - a great Light in a dark world"; so that as in Solomon's Temple, the glory of the Lord "will fill the whole house" and "your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions."

S.M.I.B.

BIBLIOGRAPH

The Masonic Initiation ---- W.L. Wilmshurst

The Meaning of Masonry ---- W.L. Wilmshurst

The Mysteries of Mithra ----- G.R.S. Mead (Echoes of the Gnosis Series)

The Secret Wisdom of the Quabalah - J.F.C. Fuller

Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa -- W.Y. Evans-Wentz

Christianity as a Mystical Fact --- Rudolf Steiner

APPENDIX

The particular Totem in my possession is a representation of the crest of the Raven Clan of Red Indians and represents Tootooch, the Thunder Bird. These totems may vary in design but generally there is a human form, which represents the Soul, held in bondage by Chet-Woot, the Bear, who stands for the Body and our lower animal natures. But above, with outstretched wings is Tootooch, the Soaring Spirit, or "Over-self," with its promise of freedom and resurrection, "rising with healing in its wings." Tootooch is said to be one of the forms of the Creator God and his office as Totem of the Clan is one of Protection and Preservation.

This Totem, consists of three creatures, or three levels as it were - physical - psychic and spiritual. Note the Spirit is portrayed with eagle's wings and strangely the whole Totem is in the form of a cross, though probably not so intended, yet at the same time stressing the universality of that wonderful and age-old symbol.

The Red Indians have their jealously guarded mystery systems too, which I am told are of much deeper import than are those of our Craft today. The feathered head-dress of a chief, is also symbolic, representing as it does, the halo round the head, the halo of true spirituality. Remember Totems are not Idols, they are deeply philosophical and mystical symbols and act much in the same way as a Tracing Board does in our own Lodges.