SYMPOSIUM OF PAPERS CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS OF THE CIRCLE

(PART THREE)

INTRODUCTION

by Wor. Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679, President of the Circle

It is once again my privilege as President of the Circle to introduce to members the third part of the excellent symposium of Papers contributed in response to the invitation issued by the Governing Council. They are as follows: -

"THE BADGE AND MYSTIC SIGN" by Bro. Rev. R. Gledhill, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge No. 3397

"SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE IMMOVABLE JEWELS" by Bro. A. Garlick, Lodge Bahrain St. Andrew 1431 S.C.

"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF THE FIRST DEGREE" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth & W.Bro. W.C. Ginbey, Lodge of Research No. 277 Western Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity of conveying to the authors of these Papers my personal thanks for the high standard of the work submitted, and I trust that their example will encourage others to write suitable short Papers to be read before the Circle. Manuscripts should be addressed to the Secretary direct, and it is the intention of the Governing Council to print regular contributions from Brethren resident both at home and overseas.

"THE BADGE AND MYSTIC SIGN" by Bro. Rev. R. Gledhill, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge No. 3397

Before we were Passed to the Second Degree, the W.M. asked us to name the grand principles on which Freemasonry is founded; and, in reply, we named three -brotherly love, relief, and truth. Most Masons know a great deal about the first two. We enjoy in our Lodges comradeship, and brotherly love. We know how Masonry cares for the widows and orphans, we all contribute to the Masonic Charities that bring relief to others. Brotherly love we know; relief we know; but what about the third grand principle on which our Order is founded-Truth? How many seek to advance in Masonic knowledge, to search into the meaning of our ceremonies, to try and lift the veil of allegory, and understand the "truth" that Masonry presents?

Among a great variety of peoples in different lands, and in different ages, attempts have been made to guard "truth" and hand it on to others. Those who discovered this "truth" often chose means of protecting it and preserving it. One common way was to surround it with secrecy. You may ask, Why? Why not reveal the "truth" to everyone? Partly because it is so precious! What is easily told is as easily forgotten. Their knowledge, their discovery, their "truth" was not something superficial - it was a sacred trust, and must be zealously guarded and preserved. Another reason for secrecy was that the "truth" was to be handed on only to worthy people. Today it is generally the custom to make information open to all; but we do know that certain knowledge (in the wrong hands) can be misused. The details of atomic fission could be misused with catastrophic results. In olden days the highest knowledge was given only to those who had proved their moral worth.

A second way of presenting and preserving "truth" is to set it in a symbolical form. The outward form - like our Masonic ceremonies - is often colourful and attractive. But behind the outward form is the "truth", concealed from the casual and the indifferent, but available to those who will persevere in the search into its mysteries.

In order to illuminate some of the inner meaning of the Second Degree, I now ask you to come with me to Greece and Egypt, and see how the beliefs of the ancient people are related to Masonry.

From about 600 B.C., for the space of a thousand years, the temple at Eleusis was a centre to which the scholars, the thinkers, the writers, the world-conquering Roman emperors came to be initiated. To Eleusis went the great Roman orator Cicero; to Eleusis went the greatest of the Greek thinkers, Plato ... all seeking to be initiated into the mysteries. Many of those who were initiated refer to the Mysteries of Eleusis in their writings.

They say that the truth they learned there surpassed all other knowledge, and without it their world could not have continued. But not one of them revealed this truth! It was given to them in secret; it was handed on to worthy men; and (as I hope to show), the truth has been incorporated into Freemasonry. The guide who took me over the ruins at Eleusis would point to various carvings saying, as he waved his hand: "Only Masons understand this".

The secrets of Eleusis were handed on to worthy men, and to worthy men alone. This means that sometimes a candidate who applied for initiation was rejected. One person who was turned down was the Emperor Nero. The priests at Eleusis were quite definite. They said that Nero was a murderer, and one who had no respect for human life could not be initiated into the true meaning of life. This refusal shows the value and the importance of the mysteries of Eleusis. Emperor Nero could have summoned 30 Legions and razed the temple at Eleusis to the ground, have had all the priests massacred, but all this would not have given him this secret knowledge, this "truth", this wisdom, which only those fit to receive were able to understand.

Next, I want to say a word about the ritual at Eleusis. It is based on a Greek legend about a girl called Persephone. This Persephone was the daughter of a goddess, a divine being. One day, as the girl played in the fields picking flowers, she was seized and carried off by Pluto, the ruler of the Underworld. The girl's mother, Ceres, began to look for her missing daughter, and after a prolonged search found she was married to Pluto. After much effort, Jupiter, the most powerful of all the ancient gods, allowed her to return to her mother for six months in every year.

Some people interpret this curious myth as being an explanation of corn growing. The lost girl's mother is called Ceres - which is our word for cereal; she represents a corn deity. The seed of corn must be buried in the underworld before it can rise to a richer life.

But do you really think that leaders, and thinkers and scholars, and emperors came to Eleusis just to take part in ritual concerned with corn growing? No! I suggest, that like all initiates, we begin by metaphorically taking off our shoes, for the place on which we stand is Holy ground.

Persephone, of divine parentage, represents the soul. The soul descends to earth and is married to this world. Does this mean the death of the soul? The secret of Eleusis was to reveal how the soul can cease to be earth-bound, and can rise to a richer, fuller life.

May I, here, insert a few words about the Masonic apron? At our initiation we were clothed with this apron, which is one of the Masonic symbols. With its flap raised it is five-sided - thus representing human nature with five senses. The apron consists of a four (square) and a three (triangle). Four is the number of earth, i.e., the four corners of the earth; three is the number of heaven (many religions, including the Xian faith, have a trinity in the Godhead). So four plus three means heaven and earth, or the human plus the divine. Four, plus three, give us the perfection symbolised by the number seven.

At our initiation the raised flap of the apron shows the human and the divine side by side - but as we progress and pass to the Second Degree (as we make our Masonic journey into understanding) the flap is lowered; the divine is entering into the human; and two rosettes, the ancient hieroglyphics of light, appear on the apron to symbolise the opening of the inward eye which perceives new truths.

To return to the ceremony of Eleusis. The candidate had first of all to assemble at a certain gate of the hill-top at Athens, some four and a half miles from the sea. Each candidate was then given a pig which he had to drive through the fields and streets for that distance. When they finally reached the sea the pig was killed, and the blood sprinkled on the candidate.

Each year thousands of onlookers must have watched, and mocked, candidates as they tried to drive their pig over that long distance. What was the purpose of it all? Quite clearly to prepare the candidate. It was intended to pictorialise his preparation for initiation. The candidate had first of all to strive, to make the effort, to accept the ridicule of onlookers, as he drove all the piggishness out of his own character. Only worthy men were to be given new truth. So first, all that is unclean must be driven away - washed, as the pig was washed in the sea; all that is unworthy must die, as the pig died - and the new, cleansed life, symbolised by the blood, was placed on the candidate.

The Herald at Eleusis then greeted the candidate with these words:

Come, all those who are clean of body and pure of mind Come, those whose lives show righteousness and justice Come, those whose speech is reasonable and intelligible Stand back, stand back, all who are profane and unholy.

All initiations into higher truth are concerned with the true self, and not with the self, the mark, the clothes, the appearance you reveal to the world. And so at Eleusis, as in a Masonic Lodge, when a candidate is prepared for initiation all the outward forms are taken away. M-s and M-1 s-s are also removed because the things that they can purchase have here on meaning. We are concerned with the true self, with the real you; and to impress this indelibly on your mind all the outward things are taken away.

At Eleusis the candidate was next blindfolded (to remind him that he is in a state of darkness, and blind to the truth). He is led round and round a great hall. This tells him he is making a long journey. This is no easy quest. He must continue, and persevere, if he is to arrive at a new understanding. At length the blindfold is removed, and the candidate is given an ear of corn and a jar of water. He is told to pour some of the water on the ground. (Perhaps you are reminded of the words "an ear of corn near to a fall of water".) Finally, the candidate was told that the corn seed was a sacred symbol; like the soul, it does not die, but can rise to a richer, fuller life.

Among the ruins of Eleusis there are some carvings which depict some ears of corn alongside a rosette. The rosette - like those on our aprons can symbolise the eye which sees the real truth about human beings.

In this Second Degree we use "S-h" as a password. This Hebrew word is explained in Young Concordance as meaning "a stream and an ear of corn". And in the explanation of the Second Tracing Board we are told that K.S. caused this word to be adopted as a password to prevent any unqualified person ascending the winding staircase into the middle chamber, i.e., that we shall never climb up into the centre, into the true meaning of life, unless we begin with the right key, or password, that man is an immortal being. The stream (or fall) of water stresses activity. Water is essential to life, and the ear of corn tells that it is possible to rise to this richer, fuller life.

At Eleusis the candidate drank a soup made from corn and water. They wanted to make sure that he fully understood that he was not just taking part in some ritual - this was something about his inner self - about his character. He must imbibe this knowledge into his system, take it into himself, make it an essential part of himself. Only so could he know the truth.

Next I want to say a word about Egypt. The explanation of the First Tracing Board begins: "The usages and customs among Freemasons have ever borne a near affinity to those of the ancient Egyptians........."

I begin my comments by referring to an account by Herodotus, the so-called "Father of History", writing about 450 B.C., and telling what he learned from his visit to Egypt. Egypt had declined in power and prestige ever since the truths taught by the mystery religions were ignored or forgotten. But he has recorded some details of an inifiation. The candidate was the King, and he returned from the darkness wearing an apron he had received from the gods. I have already said something of what the apron can symbolise, and it is repeated in this record - the human king is now enriched with a godlike gift, there is the human plus the divine.

Herodotus says that the king was led blindfolded into the temple, but he gives no details of the initiation ceremony. And so for details of the ceremony I would ask you to study the picture of an Egyptian initiation dated 1333 B.C. The master is seated. Before him stands the candidate, and behind the candidate are men kneeling and making a sign . . . so for 3,000 years this sign has been used.

I should like to end by saying a word about the badge and mystic sign:

(1) The H-g sign. Saluting the Master, who sits in the East where the sun rises, whence the fight comes. I hail, I acclaim, I acknowledge this light, this wisdom, this understanding, which shows me the truth about men, which reveals his spiritual nature, and says that a fuller, nobler life is possible, when - as in this apron, the divine enters the human.

(2) The sign of F-y. To this new understanding, this truth, I vow and swear fidelity. To live and act and think in the light of this knowledge.

Or to set it in a few lines of poetry:

Isn't it strange that princes and kings And clowns that caper in circus rings And common folk like you and me Are builders to eternity?

To each is given the working tools, An unformed mass, a book of rules. And each must leave, ere life be flown, A worthless lump, or a polished stone.

"SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE IMMOVABLE JEWELS" by Bro. A. Garlick, Lodge Bahrain St. Andrew 1431 S.C.

When one studies the Tracing Board of the First Degree, one is struck by the fact that everything depicted is carefully described and explained; or so it appears on the surface.

Much even I reiterated in the lectures on the Working Tools in the three Craft degrees, so that this First Degree Tracing Board lecture appears so straight-forward, so entirely free from hidden meaning, that it is fatally easy to imagine that there is no hidden meaning; until one comes to the statement: "These are called Movable Jewels, because they are left open in the Lodge for the Brethren to moralize upon ...", and at once one is forced to realize that here again, as in every other part of the Ritual, we are faced with mystery and the language of Symbolism.

How difficult it is to put into ordinary everyday English a series of thoughts and ideas which have been, by deliberate intent, veiled in mystery and allegory. And yet, for the instruction and guidance of my fellow Craftsmen, I feel impelled to make the attempt.

We are told that the three Immovable Jewels are the Tracing Board and the Rough and Perfect Ashlars, that the Tracing Board is for the Master to lay lines and draw designs on, that the Rough Ashlar is for the E.A. to work, mark and indent upon, and that the Perfect Ashlar is for the more expert Craftsman to try and set his Jewels on.

It strikes me most forcibly that this explanation is very meagre, especially in view of the apparently full explanations which have gone before.

These bald statements about the Tracing Board and the Ashlars seem to cry out for amplification, yet nothing more is said.

In the lecture on the Working Tools of the Third Degree, we are told that with the p ..... the skilful artist delineates the building in a draft or plan for the instruction and guidance of the Workmen, and that it is to remind us that the building up of our lives and characters must be according to the perfect example and plan provided by the A.A.

It appears that these statements from the lecture on the Third Degree Working Tools bear a direct relationship to the explanation of the hidden meaning of the Tracing Board called "The Immovable Jewel". In any case, by coupling the two, we have a clue given to us.

We are instructed to model our spiritual lives on the perfect system of morality and truth which dwells within us all, for are we not told in the V.S.L. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you", and are we not instructed to erect a superstructure, perfect in all its parts and honourable to the builder?

Are we not then the Craftsmen, building the beautiful Temple of the Spirit within us, who are or who should be working by the blueprint provided by the Chief Architect?

If this is true, which I most humbly and sincerely believe, then surely the Tracing Board represents the Spiritual Nature of Mankind, upon which the Master has impressed His Plan for our guidance and instruction, and if we fail to follow the instructions given us, how can we expect to build aright?

We all know when we have failed to follow the Divine Plan. That still small voice within, nags at us, and how often we ignore it. And by refusing to listen to its counsel, we are deliberately hindering our own spiritual progress.

We are emulating the three ruffians who rendered themselves unworthy to receive that which they most desired to receive.

Time and patience will restore that which was lost through our own unworthiness. But we must prepare ourselves and prove that we are indeed ready to receive the Great Mysteries.

It is a hard and lonely road of no return that we must follow, but as we are told in the V.S.L., he who has once put his hand to the plough cannot turn back. Let us therefore strive to follow the Plan of the Most High, and in doing so turn ourselves from "a shapeless mass of stone to a Rough Ashlar".

To give the rough stone of our untutored spiritual being that fine polish which will eventually convert it to the Perfect Ashlar, we are told that continual effort and indefatigable exertion are required.

Truly we have to work, mark and indent upon our spiritual characters to bring them into due form.

How is this to be done? Firstly by striving to follow the recommendations laid down in the charge of the First Degree which is a very wonderfully worded amplification of our duty to God and our duty to our neighbour, but in addition our duty to ourselves. If we can say truthfully that we are, in some manner, succeeding in living up to this code, we can be said to be in readiness for the next step, which is in learning to turn our thoughts "inward".

By this, I do not mean become self-centred. I mean to learn to centre our thoughts on the Tracing Board "so that we may learn to estimate aright the wonderful manifestations of the Great Architect's Plan".

However, never forget the warning that these very attributes of Uprightness of Conduct, Humanity of Disposition and Energy of Purpose can deaden and even kill the spiritual principles within us if applied to no greater use than selfish or ambitious ends, and are not raised to a higher plane and given a new meaning by the impetus of true fraternity.

Gradually then, by following out these recommendations and by contemplation, we will be guided through the intricate windings of this mortal life and be prepared for the great adventure beyond.

But we may rest assured that though we are but very rough Ashlars when this earthly course is finished, we shall continue to work out our destiny or karma, so that when we return to this sublunary abode, it will be with the added experience, and we shall be able to continue to strive to reach the Perfect Ashlar stage.

In this stage, we shall have attained true Mastership, and have sublimated our passions and prejudices to an exact line of duty.

We shall have come to a complete realization of the Great Architect's Plan, which as yet we but dimly perceive and "try and adjust the Jewels" of our Spiritual nature on it.

It is indeed "a rough and rugged road" that we must follow, but we may take comfort in the knowledge that we need not be utterly alone in our search for the True Light.

If we feel the need for a Spiritual Teacher, and we in all sincerity implore the Most High to provide one, a Teacher will in all certainty be provided for us. It may well be that he will be the last person we would expect to have been provided to fulfil the role, yet one will never fall to recognize the Teacher who has been provided.

He will be able to resolve our Spiritual problems, more often than not by an apparently "chance" remark or sentence, which will open up to our mind a new vista, a new course of study or a new subject for contemplation or meditation.

I say "apparently chance remark", but nothing ever happens by chance, and those remarks or conversations will surely have been inspired by the Most High to resolve those very problems which impelled us to seek Spiritual aid.

Ever remember the words in the V.S.L. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you, ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find".

Knock at the door of the Spiritual Temple within you, and it will open and give you a glimpse of the beautiful structure within; ask for assistance and guidance from on High, and it will surely be given you. Seek the True Light, and in the end you will End it

So mote it be.

"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF THE FIRST DEGREE" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth & W. Bro. W. C. Ginbey, Lodge of Research No. 277 Western Australia.

We who are Masons, have a sacred duty to perform, a sacred obligation to those who seek admission to our ranks ... we must know what Masonry has to offer ... we must ourselves thoroughly understand how our beloved Craft can truly benefit a man.

We must be able, of our own knowledge and understanding, to answer the questions an ordinary, newly-admitted Entered Apprentice is likely to ask.

There are many things a new Mason will not understand, much of the deeper significance and the symbolism which he cannot possibly comprehend, certainly not at his own Initiation; but as he watches other men being initiated as he was, he will follow the ceremony, and he cannot help but wonder about the real meanings of the phrases he hears so confidently.

If he is a thinker, he will ponder on the meanings attached to the picturesque symbolism ... he will notice differences in dress between himself and older Masons ... he will, if he is sufficiently interested (and most young Masons are, at the beginning), ask questions as opportunity arises.

We who have been Masons for years, are likely at any time to become aware of our responsibilities in this direction. Ask yourself, each one who reads or hears these words - could you, if asked by a newly-admitted Brother, explain to him just what his Entered Apprentice degree is supposed to mean, simply, in such a manner as to start him thinking correctly about the Craft?

He will not be worried about the separate, individual meaning of each gesture and action, so much, as that all these things have a meaning, that it is not all just pageantry and mystical ceremony.

Some few Lodges hold classes of instruction for their new members - some few hold the J.W. responsible for the teaching of their E.A.'s and the S.W. responsible for the teaching of their F.C.'s - but in Lodges where this is not done, how does a thinking E.A. fare? Could you instruct him understandably about the ceremony of Initiation and about his duty as a young Mason?

He is told that every Mason is to seek "that which was lost" and that the answer to be given to the first of the questions he will be required to learn before passing, is "In my heart".

But is the average young Mason taught that he is to search for anything deeper than the "secrets" which he expects to have revealed to him as he passes through each Degree?

Could you tell him why his first place of preparation must needs be in the heart, that his predominant wish and heart-hunger must be for that Light which, when attained, is omniscience coming to consciousness in him?

Perhaps these words may make you feel uncomfortable, as you realise that although, for years maybe, you have watched and shared in the same ceremonies, have repeated the well-known phrases, and performed the well-known actions - yet, in all the years, you may never have sought any deeper meanings to the ceremonial movements.

You may have delved into the historical beginnings of Masonry - you may have spent much time comparing the postures and signs carved on ancient Egyptian relics with present-day gestures - you may have a word-perfect knowledge of charges and customs - but it is still possible that the deeper, spiritual, psychic significance of the ceremonies and words you know so well, may never have occurred to you.

We do not propose, in this Paper, to cover the same ground so ably covered by many knowledgeable writers and lecturers in many lands, we shall not deal in detail with aprons, jewels or tools, but we shall endeavour to point out the underlying, undeviating spiritual significance of all these things.

We shall try to show new Masons that the Craft holds untold beauty of meaning behind the Ritual; and perhaps a few older Masons may discover unsuspected depths to their much-loved phrases. There may even be a few who have never found any depth to Masonry, and have, for that reason, discontinued their attendances.

If we can show a little depth of meaning to these surface-thinkers, and these unsatisfied wanderers: if we can point the way to a few new Brothers, who have a whole lifetime of Masonic work ahead of them - then we are amply repaid.

Masonry, as a whole, provides a series of graduated teachings, each degree with its unfoldment, proving to be the means whereby a man can carry out that very ancient commandment, "Man, know thyself!"

The First Degree is designed to introduce the Candidate to the first stage of that system of knowledge and self-discipline. Every single item in the preparation; every single portion in the ceremony itself; has each its own peculiar significance, and though, at the time the Candidate may be mystified and bewildered, as, in later ceremonies, he see others undergo the same initiation, he should gradually understand and comprehend the real and deeper meanings attached to each word and each time- honoured gesture.

Cast your mind back to the night of your own Initiation. Recall the mystifying preparations, each (you know now), symbolical and necessary.

You were firstly divested of all metals and valuables, signifying, in the simple understanding, that you were entering a different world, where earthly rank and material possession matter nothing - where spiritual values are the only currency.

Each one of us, sooner or later, must arrive at the Cross Roads, must pass from this world where possessions are power, to the Land of Spirit where soul-values are the only ones which register. But as the Mason begins to learn of the Temple he is to build, and that no metals are to be used in its construction, that very first symbolic act of preparation begins to have for him a deeper meaning.

What kind of Temple is the Mason to build?

To when will the Temple belong?

If it is not, in truth, a temple of clay, could it then be a Temple of Mind?

And if the "superstructure, perfect in all its parts," which the new Mason is told he is to build, is a structure of Mind, it follows that the Entered Apprentice is joining a fraternity who are skilled and Masters in the art of building with Mind!

It is usually understood that when an Apprentice enters a trade or a profession, the man to whom he is indentured is already himself a qualified master and teacher.

So then, every Master Mason should himself have been taught as much of the inner meanings of Masonry as he seeks to know, and every officer of every Lodge should be capable of answering correctly any question about his preparation and Initiation that an E.A. may ask. For this to be possible, every M.M. should understand that the very first act of a Candidate's preparation signifies his willingness to commence to build with Mind's currency - he leaves behind him the currency of Matter!

And every Mason, therefore, from the time he is initiated, should begin to study Mind. He must understand the commodity with which he is to build, and the tools with which he is to fashion his edifice, else will his superstructure be faulty and insecure, and the finished Temple will not be honourable to the builder.

So, even in these, the first ceremonies of preparation the Unseen is greater than the Seen - the spiritual and psychic meaning of the forms and gestures, are more wonderful than the mere punctilious observance of rite and sign.

Before we go on to speak of other parts of the preparation, and the ceremony, suppose we talk briefly of the modern understanding of this building commodity the E.A. is supposed to learn to use - this material called Mind!

Every man uses his mind to some extent, varying greatly in his inherent ability, in his education, the opportunities of his daily life, his physical health, and in his personal application to his needs and problems, but every normal being has this duality, this daily linking of Mind with Matter.

Every Mason is taught to conceive of the Great Architect as the Centre of all Being. Early races who used signs to denote known facts, long before they evolved a written language, used a symbol familiar to you all (the dot within the circle) to denote the Great One, the Maker of the Sun and the Moon, the Earth, and everything greater than were they themselves.

Down through uncounted centuries that sign has survived, and today, in pagan rites and Christian ceremonies, as well as in Masonic Lodges, the Most High is acknowledged to be the Centre of His universe.

The signs and symbols and ceremonies of Masonry are simple and obvious, but behind these, the things of Matter (the Seen), lie intimations of great truths, the whole immense world of the Unseen. For the Great Architect is the centre of His great universe ... the mighty kingdoms of Spirit, as well as the visible kingdom of Matter. So, no matter where our interests may lie, in the realms of Nature and Science, whether of the Seen or the Unseen we still can never get away from the great Centre of Being. The deeper we delve, the higher we climb, we everywhere find Him, the Great Builder.

Science teaches us that the visible world of Matter is made up of countless numbers of minute atoms, each with its central nucleus and its related electrons. Later research has proved these atoms to be in truth, little more than electrical charges and the realisation of that truth is making possible the rapid development of atomic knowledge.

Modern psychic research has revealed that mind also is an electrical condition, containing a point within a circle, the point being the nucleus, the place from which power or energy emanates, providing the electrical area referred to.

It has been found that thought can be transferred through Space from one of these vibrating electrical areas to another, without the aid of mechanical means. The recent demonstrations by two young Australians, have revealed to the general public, that this ancient Egyptian art is not dead, but that it can still be practised even in these modern times, and quite apart from any specific psychic knowledge.

Mind, which every Mason should understand, at least simply, (as it is in the Kingdom of Mind that he will commence to build his superstructure), is thus revealed as an area packed tightly with electrical charges and every man, every waking moment of every day, sends forth waves of thought on to this "sea" of Mind - much as the Announcer's words are broadcast from the Radio Station.

Now, to return to the preparation of the Candidate, who, by presenting himself for Initiation, has signified his readiness to learn to use this new commodity, Mind.

The Candidate is h .... d, signifying that he is in a state of darkness. Superficially, of course, he is in a state of darkness, or ignorance, regarding the secrets of Freemasonry, but in the deeper significance, he enters the world of Mind, ignorant of its possibilities, its dangers, and its delights and of the Light of spiritual consciousness which can be raised far beyond, and which can exist independently from the perceptions of the natural senses.

Cosmically, all human life begins its quest of Light and Truth in a state of darkness as to our nature, our purpose and our ultimate destiny and only experience dispels that darkness!

All great mystery-religions have required of their apprentices, a ceremony, or a period of preparation.

The Christian Church, for example, requires a period of preparation and instruction before a seeker is ready for Confirmation. "Prepare ye the way of the Lord", said John the Baptist, nearly two thousand years ago and, if one is sufficiently interested, there are countless instances in the V.S.L., showing the prevalence of this ancient practice.

The Candidate, as he sheds his normal clothing, signifies also his mental unclothing, his willingness to modify or change his thinking if wider knowledge should make this necessary. Above all, as he meekly follows his guide, he declares himself a novice, with self-abandonment, humility and quietness symbolising that he is as a child, teachable, and intelligently ready for instruction for his spiritual good.

In addition to the preparation of the Candidate for admission, the assembled Brethren who are awaiting his coming, should spiritually prepare themselves, by reflecting on the nature of the work in hand, by linking with each other in thought, so that the psychic effect of the coming ceremony on the Candidate, may be an awakening of his mentality to new and spiritual perceptions.

This preparation of the Lodge, in readiness for the Candidate's coming, is easily understood when one recalls my few words about Mind ... the united, concentrated thoughts of the assembled Brethren, should create a distinct spiritual "atmosphere", perceivable by the awakening spiritual sense of the Candidate on his entrance.

The Lodge preparation, too, holds much that is significant of spiritual meaning, in addition to the generally-understood surface implications.

The first care of every Freemason, even before the Lodge is opened, is to see that the Lodge is close tyled.

The shallow thinker will simply understand the custom of placing an outer and an inner guard, as a carry-on from the days when an armed guard was physically necessary, whenever an important secret meeting was held, to safeguard the persons of the members from intrusion, and even from sudden death.

But, picturesque as such a custom may be in these days, its meaning, when such ceremonies were first devised, was symbolic as well as practical. In the general sense, the protection of the Most High is sought as we ask the blessing of the Great Architect on all our undertakings, and we dedicate to His service the work we are about to undertake in the Lodge. Individually, we should all "tyle" our minds, remembering the modern electrical understanding of thought as Einstein has so aptly demonstrated it.

By means of electrodes strapped on his temples, forehead and eardrums, and the recording unit of the electro-encephalograph connected with them, he proved beyond all doubt that the human brain is an electrical device, the emanations from which are definite and recordable. So these emanations, your thoughts, are intrusions into a quiet mind. To learn, in the deeper sense, to "tyle your own lodge", you must learn to still the unwanted, shallow thoughts, and even as there is but one entrance to the Lodge, securely guarded, so must you, if you aspire to be Master in your own thought-domain, begin the necessary training (often referred to as the Mental Path), by deliberately shutting off all unwanted thought-emanations, and allowing entrance to your mind only by one securely-guarded door.

Modern men will understand this tyling of one's lodge, in the deeper psychic sense, by comparing one's ordinary uncensored thinking process with that of broadcast radio - where the electrical vibrations, cast on to the carrier wave of the Station, are broadcast in all directions.

The tyling of one's mental lodge, is comparable to the system of "Beam" wireless, where the modulations are sent direct to some special place, by some certain prescribed channel and are not receivable by ordinary apparatus.

The Candidate, at the door of the Lodge, is barred from entering by the Tyler. It could be well considered by those who seek for soul-meanings, that in every man who determines to seek for soul- advancement, there must first be overcome some obstructive element in himself, some instinctive mental barrier to spiritual advancement, Ask ... seek ... knock ... the V.S.L. commands, and as in the physical world persistent vibrations in a given direction will eventually break down whatever is opposed to them; so in the mental world vibrant faith will figuratively remove mountains, and a true spiritual aspiration will eventually gain admission to higher worlds of thought.

The Candidate, as he is at length admitted through the guarded door into the Lodge, is practically demonstrating that under the protection of the Most High and with wisdom and fortitude, any thinking man of mature age and sound judgment, may safely embark on the journey into the realm of Mind.

He will encounter unknown dangers, and experience perplexing tribulations, but "where the name of God is invoked, we trust no danger can ensue".

Just as a radio set can be carefully "tuned" to bring in the required "stations", so can the mind of the E.A. be gradually trained to receive the mental vibrations necessary for advancement along the mental way (this journey he is undertaking into the Kingdom of Mind).

As the drawn sword of the Tyler bars entrance to the Lodge, so does the modern man fit an "earth" to his radio set, to prevent the accumulation and entrance of harmful influences, and to safeguard the set. So, too, in the psychic understanding, must a seeker learn to himself be the guard to his own soul's development. He must gradually attain the Wisdom to present the drawn sword of Strength, against all unworthy thoughts, in order that his soul may progress on the path of Knowledge and Beauty.

One last point before we pass on to the actual ceremony of the Initiation. The Candidate is instructed to knock on the door for admission ... symbolical, of course, of the deep need for each soul to himself realise his spiritual poverty.

No man can think for another. No man can learn for another. Each must arrive for himself at the mental state when he knows he stands in need of teaching.

The prophet of old said :

"And an highway there shall be, and a Way, And it shall be called the Way of holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those, The wayfaring men though fools, shall not err therein ... "

It is a Way that leads from the things which lie without, to that which dwells within. It reveals, step by step, the hidden life which every form and symbol hides and veils; and the Candidate, as he seeks admission to the Earthly Lodge, signifies his inner need for admittance to "The Way".

Some unknown poet has beautifully expressed this realisation :

"When thou canst see, beneath the outer seeming, The causes which to all effects give birth, When thou canst feel, in warmth of sunlight streaming, The love of God, encircling all the Earth . . . Then know thyself initiate in the Mysteries, The Wise Men ever deemed of greatest worth."

The Candidate now is guided by the Deacons, one on either side, and shepherded carefully through the symbolic actions and the impressive replies scheduled by the book of Ritual.

He retains, spiritually, the same attitude on his mental journey, when the basis of his faith is tested.

The late W. Bro. J.R. Cleland states that "his Emotional or Desire faculty, grown to full strength, takes charge, and leads him onwards! "

Describing the mental journey, this period is the "Kindergarten" stage, when he first is given the simple principles of living, and is then taught to apply Reason to relate them to his own private life.

The Candidate in the Lodge is now ready to meet his Brethren, and although he still cannot see nor contact them directly, he gains the knowledge that they are there around him in his time of trial, to help him and to guard him from all dangers.

It can easily be seen how closely this symbolism approaches the actual experience of those who faithfully follow the spiritual path. We ask the G.A.'s blessing on our journeyings, but long before we reach the stage of Light where we are aware of the actual realisation of His presence, we feel the guidance and the nearness of unseen helpers - we feel the loving care and the watching interest of those who have already passed through the portal of the Grand Lodge above. Some call this awareness "intuition", but it is a much deeper experience than the mere synchronising of vibrational notes on earth. This is better known as telepathy, and has recently been perfectly demonstrated by the young Australian couple, who, under many tests and conditions, privately and in public, have successfully shown that one mind can send to, and receive from, another mind, without mechanical linking of any kind, and without any fraud or trickery.

But this deeper experience, of which the Candidate's hoodwinked realisation is but a symbol, is an extension of this earthly telepathy, it is a realisation of the living presence of those other "elder brothers", who, though not seen, can be increasingly perceived by the growing inner faculties.

Then finally, after lengthy symbolical perambulating of the Lodge, the Candidate is shown the Light.

After the Darkness of Ignorance, and the groping searchings of the Kindergarten period, the psychic seeker suddenly becomes aware of that Inner Light - his soul-link with Infinity is quickened - and his awakening and gradual realisation of spiritual truths can commence.

W.Bro. W.L. Wilmshurst, talking of this portion of the E.A. Degree says ... "It is a ceremony provided to give an answer to what the Candidate professes to be the predominant wish of his heart ... a wish well expressed by probably the oldest prayer in the world, which is still used by millions of our fellowmen in the East.

From the Unreal lead me to the Real, From Darkness lead me to Light, From the Mortal bring me to Immortality."

The Light, which can, as the Christian Church service says, "Illumine our hearts and minds to a knowledge and love of Thy gracious presence!"

The "regular steps" in Freemasonry, and the particular symbolical posture in which he is required to repeat the solemn Obligation, are too frequently dealt with in detail elsewhere, in the various Lodge lectures, to need further remarks on our part, but we would say, in passing, that it is significant that the first objects the Candidate sees, on his restoration to Light, are the Three Great E.L.'s in Freemasonry ... the V.S.L., the S .... and the C....

The Candidate is charged to consider the words of the V.S.L., as a standard of truth, and to regulate his actions by the Divine precepts they contain, instruction on the important duties he owes to God, to his neighbour, and to himself.

He should never mention the Holy Name except with that reverence which we should ever feel towards the Great Architect of the Universe, and he should express his duty to the Great Architect, by showing tolerance towards all His children, while living up to the highest pinnacle of the Light which is vouchsafed to each man individually.

He should always act to his neighbour on the S ...., by assisting him in every way which justice and mercy may dictate.

And his duty to himself, he should show by a prudent and well-regulated course of discipline, enabling him to both live his physical life to its fullest, with benefit to himself and his fellowmen and to so advance in his mental life that he may fulfil the purpose for which he was created ... to be a true Son of the Great Architect!

Every religion teaches that the Great Architect is a Spirit; and we, made in His image, are therefore Spirit also.

The path which every E.A. sets out to tread, is the pathway which leads him to a knowledge and understanding of that unseen world of spirit, the domain of the Great One who reigns there.

The whole of the investiture ceremony, and of the explanation of the Working Tools, has a deeper spiritual significance than would appear on the surface.

The Apron is the distinguishing badge of a Freemason, more ancient than the Roman Eagle or the Golden Fleece and by its material, and its associations, is emblematic of innocence, purity, and the bond of friendship.

In the deeper sense, the donning of the apron implies the putting away of all unworthy acts, the subduing of the lower emotions, the reaching out of the spiritual man for his birthright.

Psychically, when a man researches into the realm of Mind, he soon realises that Mind is a UNIVERSAL POSSESSION, and that thoughts of greed, of vainglory and self-aggrandisement, of sex, and of the grossness of the lower physical desires, have no place in spiritual advancement. He learns to value such things as money and possessions at their true value, and to subdue his earthly passions and desires until they assume their proper proportion, and until he can live a truly balanced life.

In like manner, the working tools can be regarded as symbols, and can be invested with a spiritual and moral significance, each calculated to assist the E.A. in his searchings for Truth. Knowledge, supplemented by Perseverance and Labour, will finally overcome all difficulties, will disperse the darkness and despair of Ignorance, and will establish the truths of Nature and Science, as Man reaches out with his enquiring mind into the greater world of Mind and Spirit.

As he advances along his path, he obtains a clearer realisation of the necessity of leading a balanced life.

Consider the battery of a car. Once it is fully charged, to keep it in good condition, there should be a constant movement of power - the action of the lights, horn, etc. - compensated by "charging" when the engine is running.

Once a man begins to think and learn and live, he needs service to his fellowmen to create the FLOW of POWER, he needs physical labour and material interest, to balance his spiritual research and he needs constant, regular, faithful study into the hidden mysteries, so that his ultimate stature may be that of an evolved Son of the Divine Father, able (as Ward says) to "perceive his own personal faculties at the circumference, in the light and presence of that bright Star which blazes at his own Centre".

Symbols, we realise, are compendiums of many ideas in one, and accordingly express to the mind far more than can be conveyed by words. Symbols are enduring, and, like music, symbolism is a form of universal speech which reaches the minds of people of all languages, races and creeds.

"The interpretation of these symbols is a profitable mental exercise", Wilmshurst says, "And a great stimulus to reflective thought". Certainly, a mighty library of explanatory matter has been built up around these ritualistic formulas, the form and setting of which vary with the personalities of the researchers responsible. But with them all, there is one fundamental - they all strive to carry out that age-old command with which this talk began ... "Man, know thyself!"

We must comprehend in what respect we have sustained a loss, before we can understand what it is we hope to find. The E.A. must be taught the nature of the journey he proposes to take before he can be expected to pay more than lip-service to his Craft. He must be taught that his mind is selfing out to explore the Realm of Mind, and that while there are certain broad paths he will be wise to accustom himself to travel, he will be free to explore in any direction he pleases, once he knows the risks any explorer necessarily takes.

There is an inmost centre in ourselves, Where Truth abides in fullness, and to know Rather consists in finding out a Way Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape Than by effecting entrance for a Light Supposed to be without . . ."

Finally, to quote W.Bro. Wilmshurst once more, from a Transaction of the Lodge of Living Stones: -

"In being initiated, a Candidate is being vouch-safed an initial glimpse into supra-natural Light, but only a first glimpse: it rests with himself to prove worthy of it, and to enlarge that temporary glimpse into wider and permanent vision. He is taught by that Light to see that the substratum of all things is Divine Law . . . and because Love is the fulfilling of the Law, he is enjoined to cultivate that boundless charity and compassion towards all things, which bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things, because it understands the operation of that Law, and sees clearly the End to which it is shaping us."

So, to every Entered Apprentice, this should be a charge ..." Let Freemasonry be to you a living thing, and no mere collection of empty forms; so shall you be worthy to take your part in the building of the Mystic Temple, and be, what every Mason should be, the guide and helper of the ignorant."

And to make this possible every Mason who has passed through his Sublime Degree, should know enough to at least help the Candidate to understand that Freemasonry is much more than it mere Friendly Society and Social Fraternity.

The Science of which Masonry treats, is the Science of Ourselves - and each and every M.M. (No matter to what rank he may have attained), should know enough of this basic Science of Man, to realise that each man possesses a Mind, and that Masonry, in symbolism, teach Man first, how to master his own mind. Secondly, how to use his own mind. And finally, how to link his mind with other minds, and with the Great Architect of the Universe, in whose mighty Mind we all live.