SYMPOSIUM OF PAPERS CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS OF THE CIRCLE
(PART FOUR)

INTRODUCTION

by
Wor. Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679

President of the Circle

It is my privilege as President of the Circle to introduce to members the fourth
part of the excellent symposium of Papers contributed in response to the
invitation issued by the Governing Council, as follows: -


"SYMBOLS"

by

Bro. B.C. Portsmouth, Victoria Park Lodge, No. 48
Western Australia


"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF FREEMASONRY"
by

Bro. B.C. Portsmouth & W. Bro. W.C. Ginbey, Lodge of Research No. 277

Western Australia

I would once again 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 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.


"SYMBOLS"
by
Bro. B.C. Portsmouth, Victoria Park Lodge, No. 48, Western Australia.


Few people realise, amid the hurry and scurry of modern existence, how large a
part symbolism plays in the life of every person.

To give you a topical illustration, the solemn crowning of England's young Queen
means much, much more than the simple circling of her head with a glittering
crown. It is symbolic of greater things than ordinary citizens realise. Such
ceremonies date back long before recorded history, and even as each solemn act
has its own special meaning, understood by few, so has symbolism in general, and
Masonic symbolism in particular, a great unrealised background - and a world of
meaning often lies behind each simple act or movement.

So very many of our Masonic signs and symbols have come down to us through
almost uncounted generations, that it is quite understandable how sometimes the
symbol has been mistaken for the original fact. In the days when Egypt was
great in mind-power, the people of Egypt were divided into three kinds, divided
more by mental attainment and capacity than by possessions or lineage. First,
there were the "common" people - and I must point out that the meaning of this
word in modem understanding is somewhat different from its meaning in those far-
off days. By "common", we should mean vulgar or rough - in those days, the
"common" people were simply the thousands of normal, uneducated labourers. The
second division was the "educated" group - and as the priests were almost the
only people capable of giving instruction, education was almost wholly confined
to priest-families, and noble-families, or proteges of either. The third group,
very small in number, comprised those who sought inner meanings, and who
cultivated their mind-senses, thus taking education a step further.

Thus, the religion of those days could be viewed from three quite different
angles. The "common" man (even as today in many countries still) obeyed the
orders of his superiors, and was not expected to think for himself, indeed was
scarcely capable of so doing. He could neither read nor write nor figure and
his knowledge was practically always confined to the "tricks" of whatever trade
he was bound to, whether vine-growing, stone-masonry, household tasks, or
labouring on a noble's estate. The beliefs of the "common" man, therefore, had
to be inculcated entirely by spoken word or by picture - there is no alternative
where there is no education! Religious instruction, also, had to be by symbol.
Such a man could be taught, by the spoken word, that the Maker of All, the Great
Architect who planned and made the Sun and Moon, the Stars, the Wind and the
Rain, and all the other great forces of Nature, was the Great RA - but how, if
he knew not the arts of reading and writing, was it possible to express "Maker
of...." ......... in picture? The sun symbol, therefore, among the "common"
people, became the symbol of RA, the Lord of All - the Sacred Symbol.

In generations when knowledge was not disseminated to the common people, it can
readily be understood that the Sacred Symbol, the sign of RA, would become
distorted in meaning - and sun-worshippers could easily be the result (instead
of RA - worshippers, with the sun for their symbol).

The second section of people, those who sought, or were given, education by
right of birth, were taught more than were the common people. The ordinary
"Picture" language, which was all that the simple peasant could understand, was
interpreted and enlarged upon to the man who sought education. He was taught to
fashion the accepted symbols, and to express his thoughts in these and other
symbols. His mind began to function in a more orderly fashion, as he was taught
to count (in numbers far exceeding his own fingers and toes, which was the
ultimate accuracy of most ordinary men, to make calculations mentally (without
the aid of sticks and stones and counters), and to think originally! The people
who belonged to this section knew symbols for what they were. POINTERS TO
UNDERSTANDING - not the whole belief!

In the unenlightened ages, the common folk would not even know the meaning of
the symbols - living and procreating were almost their sole interests - while
the "educated" would retain simply the "surface" knowledge, learning, in their
childhood, to fashion the symbols and characters, but knowing, and caring,
little of their meanings.

Thus would the characters be handed down, generation after generation, with less
and less understanding, if the priesthood were darkened and uncaring to teach
and to know of the Light.

Then the third section, the higher ranks of the Priesthood. In the time when
the Light of RA burned brightly, the young men were diligently taught the
meanings and the import of the symbolic language. Their work was then to
instruct the common people, to bring to them a simple understanding of the God
who made the Sun and the Moon - and who also made them! The older Priests were
themselves learners in the School of Wisdom, which has, throughout all the ages,
entailed a voluntary search, and a mental understanding. As today, in Masonic
Lodges and ceremonies, some priests became expert in ritual and its punctilious
observance - others sought power through high office - while the few cared
nought for office or ceremonial, merely accepting it as a duty, but sought the
deeper meaning and the soul-unfoldment behind the Ritual and behind the Symbol.

So, in those far-off days when Egypt was mind-great, the Light shone brightly
and clearly for the few (in the knowledge and sincere seeking of years) - it was
disseminated in a golden glow to the younger men of the priesthood and the
nobility - and Egypt's thousands of peasant families knew the sign of the Sun to
be His symbol - the Sun was one of His creations, not the object to be
worshipped!

Even as today, the deeper meaning was only given to the few - and every man had
perforce to seek for himself. Instruction and knowledge were there, on the
higher levels, for those who were fitted to learn - but the way was hard! The
Teachers were trained to use their mental eyes and ears - their eyes searched
for the symbols of guidance - their ears listened for the word, and if it came
not, they knew that the seeker was not ready for further enlightenment. Every
Teacher knew the Light in his soul and innermost being, through a lifetime of
seeking and training - and he knew RA, the Most High, the Maker of Heaven and
Earth, the Great Architect of the Universe - and Holy was His Name. In our
ceremonies, a word is given to initiates, so that fellow-seekers may recognise
him as a Brother. Signs and tokens and symbols are revealed to him, as he
progresses along the Masonic path, but once these signs and symbols were
revealed mentally, and the ability to receive them mentally, showed the
candidate's readiness for advancement. It is so, even today, in certain sects
in America (not Masonic sects, but groups vowed to mental, spiritual and psychic
study). Our Masonic Ritual shows no signs of such a custom - we have only the
symbols left!

Symbols! - everyday life is full of symbols, and so many people never manage to
get past them. They gaze at the symbols as at the shining images in a sacred
building. Even today, in many churches of Christendom, the language of imagery
is largely used. Unobservant and ignorant people think that the worshippers
worship these sacred images - but the statues, large or tiny, are only symbols
for the Person, or Persons, they represent.

The most ancient races of whom there are any records, made these records almost
entirely in the language of symbolism. The early statuary of such lands as
Egypt and Assyria, was an attempt to give shape to the imaginations of the
potters - the sculptors of those and even earlier times were really "thinking
aloud". Only a strong imagination, in these modern days, can help us to
understand the symbolism which the sculpture of Ancient Egypt grew to be. The
sculptors created magnificent forms to represent the gods which their more
knowledgeable and racially - advanced leaders conceived as ruling the world, and
in the making and setting - up of those symbols, they sought to propitiate the
great God-Beings.

To guide them they built up, through the centuries, a definite and powerful
religion comprising simply the few primary ideas - the consciousness of Life -
the certainty and mystery of Death - the fear of the Unknown - and the inner
knowledge of the existence of some Great Person or Force. The set of rules or
symbols which became the governing code of their lives, helped them to face with
courage and calmness the inevitable "Death". and the unknown (or almost unknown)
Hereafter.

In later centuries, the statuary which is now described as "Egyptian Art" was
really born. Representation of long-dead heroes and kings, and their glorified
deeds, show, in their largeness of spirit, and their grandeur of symbolism, the
central idea of that long-dead race. ENDURINGNESS seems to be this idea -
hugeness - calmness - and enduringness! The calm, weather - worn features of the
Sphinx, seem to personify this idea - colossal symbols in stone of the
mysterious, all-powerful, all-pervading Architect of the Universe! The 150 ft.
long. 70 ft. high, portrayal of this man-headed-lion symbol, the mighty Sphinx
near the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, gazes out upon the "lone and level sands" with
unutterable calmness, the inscrutability, and the enduringness, of the Creator-
God.

Those who have studied Art through the centuries, say that Mind's expression
seems to show a definite trend from symbolism to realism - from allegory to
reality - and they say that this expression is making "full circle", in the
queer "realistic" and "futuristic" art of the present day. These Art-studiers,
who claim to understand this modern trend in decoration and design, say that it
is pure imagery - if that is so, then Art must surely be at the beginning of a
new cycle - the period of formless, unreal striving after expression - the
symbolism of our ancient forefathers. To return to everyday thought - the
average man hardly realises how much of modern life is symbolic!

The symbolism and imagery of the various Churches is simply reminding, by sight
instead of word, of Christ and His mission in life on earth.

We build great War Memorials, whether stone monuments or hospital buildings, as
a symbol that the dead are not forgotten! We say: "At the going down of the sun
... we will remember them", on Poppy Day, and at other times. Our marble-laden
cemeteries, and our Shrines of Remembrance, all carry on the same idea.

Does the bereaved father really imagine that the marble effigy in the churchyard
is his beloved child? Of course not.

Does he really imagine that the placing of that tombstone there will affect the
wee babe he lost? Of course he does not - but the symbolism is there - the
remembrance and the love of those who are left!

We use symbolism every day of our lives -every time we look at the calendar or
write the date at the head of a letter! Today's date - 1st August, 1955 - as we
write it, we are, in symbol, paying tribute to the memory of the Master Jesus,
born, we are taught, 1,955 years ago. The pound s. d. symbols are so much
second nature to most of us, that they are almost part of the language - the $
and the "?" - the inverted commas denoting speech - the + and the - of the
figure-world - the symbols of the phonetic alphabet the written language of
music (itself a series of symbols to represent vibrational sounds) - yes, when
you take time to consider, life today is full of symbols!

Similarly, the path of the Mason is full of symbols - signs, tokens, words,
gestures, knocks, tools, the furniture and accoutrements of a Lodge, the
clothing and adornments of a Mason - and every symbol has a meaning!

As with the things of Matter, so with the things of Mind, and so also with the
things of our beloved Craft - most things have a deeper meaning, but unless you
dig for it, you will never find it. May I leave with you this thought - DO NOT
BE CONTENT WITH LIFE'S SYMBOLS! Strive to get behind the allegory and the
parable and the emblem - delve into the deeper meanings - for he who is content
with the symbol, can never rise above it, and misses all the real beauty and
glory of Life.


"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF FREEMASONRY"
by
Bro. B.C. PORTSMOUTH & W. Bro. W.C. GINBEY,
Lodge of Research, No. 277, Western Australia.

INTRODUCTION


We live in perilous times. Even the most ignorant and godless among earth's
inhabitants, must surely realise that no race, no nation, no group or section of
humanity, no individual even, can know much of true security.

In the material world, it is impossible to forget the horrors of the war so
recently ended. Quite apart from the immense numbers of killed and wounded, of
all nations, in actual combat, there is the stark fact that nearly seventy
thousand people were killed, and almost as many more wounded and injured, when
one atom bomb was dropped over a single city. The researches of such groups as
the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (sponsored by America), have found that even
today, 12 years afterwards, the survivors of that terrible blast are still
suffering from such diseases as cataract of the eyes. Europe is still an armed
camp, her cities still partly in ruins, and a goodly proportion of her people
starving. Mentally, the nations of the earth seek desperately for guidance, and
for Light, and the divers creeds and religions seem unable to supply this
universal need.

It is public knowledge that in the mad race for armaments, and the lust for
power, ever deadly and more deadly means of extermination have been devised.
Across the horizon the shadow of the grim spectre of War still looms and those
individuals and nations who fain would live at peace with their neighbours, dare
not neglect the precautions against treachery which past experience has shown to
be necessary.

It becomes increasingly evident to the thinkers of every nation, that the lust
for power and the greed for wealth will eventually destroy this whole
civilisation, unless there is a re-assessment of values, and unless a
realisation of the deep mysteries of life and death becomes public knowledge.

Masonry today is sharing in this awakening. Wor. Bro. Harland, President of the
Dormer Masonic Study Circle, in London (of which Circle both Bro. Ginbey and
myself have the privilege of being members), says: "Freemasonry today is
awakening to the great value of its own peculiar treasure of thought and word.
On all sides there are signs that it is on the verge of entering into a Kingdom
of Research, of such breadth and fertility as it has perhaps never before known.
It is as though the Masonic world were undergoing a spiritual revitalisation,
spurring it on to experience a fuller measure of Brotherly Love, Relief and
Truth."

The state of the world, both mentally and materially, is such that Masonry
cannot stand aside. It is well expressed by Bro. A.H. Bentley, in his "Message
to the Craft", when he says: "In recent years there has been a considerable
increase in the membership of the Masonic Order. Every year many new Lodges are
consecrated, each new Lodge, under its Charter or Warrant of Constitution
granted by the United Grand Lodge of England, is empowered to make, pass, and
raise Freemasons according to the ancient custom of the Craft in all Ages, so
that each Lodge becomes a potential nucleus within the corporate body of the
Craft, helping numerically to increase by natural growth, what has now become an
elaborately organised Institution. Among so large a membership it cannot be
denied there are many Brethren who, having entered the Masonic Fraternity, and
in due time have passed through the established Degrees of the Order, are
generally left to their own resources to make any further advancement in Masonic
knowledge. Quite naturally they are at a complete loss to comprehend the deeper
symbolism of the ritual, or to interpret the allegory with which our ceremonies
are so heavily veiled, for the true meaning and purpose of Freemasonry is often
left entirely unexpounded in our lodges. The 'Royal Art' which Freemasonry was
designed to impart to its Initiates, remains quite unrealised by the majority of
its members, except a few who, having discerned beneath the surface of the
ritual the hidden verities that are concealed therein, have sought to make a
daily advancement by means of private study."

From the earliest times wise men have insisted upon the necessity for self-
knowledge as the prerequisite to Wisdom, and we are told that the Mystery-
Schools had inscribed over their portals, the exhortation, " Man - know
Thyself!"

The famous "Essay on Man", by Alexander Pope, contains these words: "Know then
thyself, presume not God to scan. The proper study of Mankind is - Man!"

So then, to love you, Brethren, the proper personal background to my lecture
tonight, I must confess that for the last 10 or 11 years, I, and others of my
friends of like mind, have been engaged on this study - the study of Man - to
each man the study of himself! Early in our researches, we became aware that
Mind formed a far greater part of Man's make-up than the ordinary individual
realises. We began to study Mind - our own individual minds - and the
possibilities of Mind - and soon this led to the startling realisation that our
minds were receptive. Being modern people, we studied this phenomenon in the
light of modern knowledge of radio, electronics, and frequencies - and then came
the certainty that Psychic Research would one day evolve into Psychic Science -
and become simply the study of Mind.

In our Ritual, the attention of every Brother is directed to "that most
interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself". And what could be
a better beginning to the study of the "hidden mysteries of nature and science",
than the understanding of Nature's most perfect mechanism, Man?

Thomas Carlyle, in his " Sartor Resartus ", says: "By Symbols is man guarded and
commanded, made happy, made wretched. He everywhere finds himself encompassed
with symbols, recognised as such, or not recognised. The universe is but one
vast symbol of God. Nay, if thou wilt have it, what is Man himself but a symbol
of God? Is not all that he does symbolical, a revelation to Sense of the mystic
God-given Force that is in him, a Gospel of Freedom which he, the Messiah of
Nature, preaches, as he can, by word and act? Not a Hut he builds, but is the
embodiment of a Thought - but bears visible record of invisible things; but is,
in the transcendental sense, symbolical as well as real."

So, in the following pages, I shall endeavour to point out to young and seeking
Masons, who strive to follow in the steps their knowledgeable Brothers have
trodden before them, the deep spiritual truth and psychic significance there is,
in our own little book of ritual. In the light of my years of research into
psychic matters (during which time it has been borne in upon me ever more
strongly the sometimes startling similarity between the findings of Psychic
Science and the inner teachings of Masonry) - I will try to point out the
possibilities of Thought - and how careful thinking, about those ceremonies and
those oft-repeated words of our own beloved Craft, will help to shed a new Light
and meaning on our symbolic teaching.

IN these modem times, the word "psychic" almost immediately conjures up
something to do with supernatural possibilities, with spiritualism, or with
spirits in general; yet, in truth, this simple word "psychic" has a far deeper,
more embracing meaning than any of these. It pertains to the soul or mind - and
although there are countess sections of Masonic teaching and Masonic literature
which all tend to make an ordinary man think, the psychic aspect of Freemasonry
is, in truth, the study of Man's power to think - that is, the study of his
mind.

From time immemorial, Man has felt within himself that spark of Divinity which
was ever urging, urging, and spurring him on to greater and greater achievement,
to wider and more careful research, with past achievements as a foundation and
starting point. Hand in hand with physical attainment, has always gone the
deeper searching, the mind's longing for fruition. In Ancient Egypt, for
instance, scholars and candidates for the priesthood learned the hieroglyphic
language, learned to inscribe it and to understand it. But to the very few, it
was given to understand the inner meanings of the pictorial script. This
knowledge was almost always taught by word of mouth; the records were contained
within the minds of the seekers. Thus was the deeper significance, the hidden
mystery, always safe from prying eyes - for naught was there to see, but the
symbols which were available to all who possessed enough patience to enable them
to master their intricacies.

Even so with Masonry - the small book of Ritual is available to every Master
Mason. Every man who is patient and painstaking enough can commit to memory the
responses and exhortations. Every man who is diligent in his study of Masonic
teaching, can learn of Masonry's beginnings, and the meaning of its various
signs and symbols. But to understand the true psychic aspect of Freemasonry,
you have to realise that Masonry is essentially a teaching of Mind - and to
study for a while this psychic aspect, is to study the whole integral structure,
its hidden, inner meaning, and the true, simple purpose behind the literal
interpretation of the Craft ritual.

I will not refer, in detail, to any of the various signs and symbols, for each
has its own special significance - and each its deeper meaning, known only to
those who seek in the time-honoured fashion; but I will ask you to follow with
me various quotations from our own little book of instruction, the Mason's
volume of guidance to deeper things.

First I would direct your thoughts to the very first page of instruction, where
we are bidden to open the V.S.L. at Psalm 133. "Behold how good and pleasant it
is for Brethren to dwell together in unity " ... ending with "even life for
evermore". I suggest that we scarcely realise the wonderful meaning behind these
words as we repeat them, time and again. Instead of thinking of the literal dew
of Hermon, and the literal mountains of Zion, where the Lord commanded the
blessing, "even life for evermore", Master Masons could with benefit realise
that to everyone there comes eventually the time of passing to that "Life for
Evermore" and those who seek an inner meaning could seek, in very truth, a way
in which those who have gone before are not cut off from the good and pleasant
meeting of friendship and brotherly love - the which friendship and brotherly
love we all can share in such meetings as these.

Our Chaplain's prayer, before a Lodge is declared open, invites the company to
invoke the blessing of T.G.A.O.T.U. on all our undertakings. The Lodge is
thereby put on a spiritual or psychic basis from the very beginning. In case
there should be a query in your minds whether these two words can have the same
meaning, I would remind you that the Standard Dictionary defines "Spiritual" as
"relating to the soul or spirit, or pertaining to religion", and "Psychic" as
"pertaining to the soul or spirit or mind, or to the spirit world". So the two
definitions are not so very different in essence. We all, whatever our
religious convictions, acknowledge T.G.A.O.T.U. as Spirit, dwelling in a world
of spirit - and in our opening invocation, therefore, we freely acknowledge the
G.A. as the Spiritual Head of All.

With each advance in Lodge procedure, from the opening of the Lodge in the First
Degree, especially noting the interrogation of the S.W. and the J.W. in the
opening in the Third Degree, many of the exhortations, and much of the ritual,
has an obvious spiritual meaning. When the Lodge is closed in the Third Degree
we hear the W.M. say: "Brethren, before the Lodge is closed in the Third Degree,
let us unite in humble acknowledgement of our dependence on the M.H., and when
this transitory life shall have passed away, may we be found worthy of a
dwelling place in his spiritual mansion, that house not made with hands, eternal
in the heavens." We reiterate, in these simple words, our belief in that "Life
Everlasting" which was named in the Psalm, as the "Blessing of the Lord".

Review, mentally, the questions which are asked of a candidate before raising.
Even as our antient brethren went to the m ... c ... of K.S.T. to receive their
wages, so must the spirit or soul of Man review the acts of his life on earth -
not according to standards of wealth and position, but according to whether he
has been a builder - or a destroyer. Even as a builder must seek to understand
both the work which is required of him, and the tools by which he is to
accomplish that work, even so should a M.M. seek to research into the hidden
mysteries of Nature and Science, for only so can he hope to build a Temple, fair
to the eye, and pleasing to T.G.A.O.T.U.

W.Bro. J.S.M. Ward, in his "Masonic Why and Wherefore", says: "The m ... c ...
is that secret recess within the soul, where lies hidden the Divine Spark. Our
wages are knowledge of God, an experience which each must discover for himself
and in himself, as every mystic has taught, and it is only when we have trampled
under foot and brought under control the sins of the senses, etc., that we can
hope to enter this hidden chamber of our heart, where dwells the Spirit of God."

Pass now to the Ceremony of Initiation. The Candidate enters the Lodge "in a
state of darkness, yet comes of his own freewill and accord, humbly soliciting
to be admitted". Man's mental state, before he starts to think, is darkness. No
man can be forced to think. Before a man can be helped in the mental path, he
must ask, having realised his lack of knowledge. "Relying on the sure support of
a belief in God, you may safely rise and accompany your conductor with a firm
but humble confidence, for where the name of God is invoked, we trust no danger
can ensue." Research in spiritual and psychic matters should never be
undertaken, unless the gathering be first committed to the care of T.G.A.O.T.U.
As happens in a Lodge, there may be happenings which you do not understand, but
trust in God will ensure your safety at all times of difficulty and danger

The Candidate is asked to declare that "avoiding fear on the one hand, and
rashness on the other" he will "steadily persevere", etc. To travel the mental
path, one must clearly understand that such research (like true Masonic
membership) should not be undertaken for the possible mercenary benefits which
may accrue. Fear is a barrier to mental progress, on the one hand, for one
cannot advance where one fears to take the next step forward. John Hetherington
expresses this well in his words: "Only when the human Spirit conquers fear, can
it be strong and dignified and free". Rashness is a barrier to progress, on the
other hand, for even if one does not fear the path, one should nevertheless test
each step carefully, for reckless, precipitate action could bring discredit on
one's teachers.

Still in the Initiation Ceremony, wherein the Candidate is first shown the Light
- so, in a spiritual sense, does every man search and long for the light of
knowledge, to illumine the dark places of his soul; the light of consciousness
to give meaning and purpose to his mind. After the Candidate is presented with
the Apron by the S.W., and is by him instructed in its significance and its
meaning, the W.M. further advises on the need for Love and Harmony between the
brethren in a Lodge. The purpose of meeting together in a Lodge, is to seek
instruction - in like manner there must be harmony among a group seeking
spiritual knowledge - both harmony of purpose, and harmony of vibrations.

The W.M. in his address, explains that from the foundation laid by the Candidate
in the Initiation Ceremony, he is adjured to "raise a superstructure perfect in
all its parts, and honourable to the builder". Even as the Candidate has found
the Light, and must now learn how to use it, so the building of character, and
the travelling of the mental path, can only be achieved by the individual. He
can be assisted to obtain the Light of knowledge - but he alone can decide in
what manner he will use that Light, and how he will build his individual Temple,
for build he must, while consciousness persists, his every thought being a
vibration, etched indelibly upon that vibration record, his memory.

The Candidate, while realising that the W.M.'s words apply to his bodily state
at time of entry for initiation, becomes increasingly aware that they have a
deeper meaning. The state of utter darkness, while apparently applying
literally to his entry, is symbolic also, as says the Ritual Book, of his being
in a state of utter darkness respecting the s ... s of Freemasonry, and to teach
him to keep others in a similar state of darkness until brought to L .... in the
same regular manner as he himself has been. The deeper student will realise
that Man's thinking can so be as utterly changed, when he is assisted by the
Light born Above - not only as a Freemason, but as a seeker after Truth. From a
state of mental darkness, he can gradually be brought to a realisation of the
wonder of human mental achievement - and the immenseness of the horizon which
opens out before him once the Light of Understanding has illumined the pathway.
The "general desire for knowledge" becomes, under the intensity of that Light
from Above, a passionate yearning for Truth, and a need to prove and verify each
separate step of the way.

Truly, "the mind must be made to conceive, before the eye can be permitted to
discover" - and unless the mind is capable of understanding, the mere physical
action of the eye can count for little. One could draw an analogy here, by
referring to a prayer which is, after all, a mental message to the G.A. from one
of His children. The secret signs and attitudes of the various religious
ceremonies are, after all, the prerogative of the officials who are members of
that certain religion. The secret sign, while apparently allowing the priest to
draw near to the M.H., is, in reality, useless if the man has not learned to
draw near, mentally, to the Sacred Presence. The mind of the earnest seeker can
gradually be guided to conceive of the reality of T.G.A.O.T.U., and then, and
only then, can visible symbols take on a true and vital meaning - as Mind speaks
to Mind - not as lip-service and outward show alone.

Again, in the Initiation, "the 24 hours of the day, part to be spent in prayer
to Almighty God, part in labour and refreshment, part in serving a friend or
brother in the of need". Literally, these words are undoubtedly true, and a more
literal carrying out of the simple command among the nations of the present day,
would indeed revolutionize the present moral standards. But, in the deeper or
psychic sense, all who travel the mental path must be careful to keep their
lives properly balanced. Labour and refreshment, both in the physical and the
mental sense are necessary-prayer and "linking up" should be performed every
day.

Service is the true reward of learning - to be able to help another, brings its
own reward in mental peace, for the mental striving. In olden days, and even
among some modern communities, this sense of balance was often lacking. Old-
time hermits withdrew from the temptations and demands of the world, and
persecuted the flesh. By so doing, they hoped to achieve mental advancement.
Some sects, even today, still teach mental progress by the mastery of body
processes. Others, again, almost ignore the mental side of things, and worship
bodily perfection and bodily attainment. A balanced advancement, ignoring
neither the unique opportunities for experience given by the senses, nor the
intensity of enjoyment that mental achievement can bestow - is, of course, the
ideal. And so would the 24-hour partition signify, part to bodily fulfilment,
part to mental satisfaction, and part to service and helping of others by the
knowledge and experience gained.

The Candidate is given an explanation of much that has perhaps seemed to him
strange, and he realises that most of the symbolic actions and words are fraught
with deeper meaning. But, even so, many Masons fail to realise that the
explanation itself may be twofold, one meaning being easily understandable, and
the deeper meaning only perceivable after diligent spiritual study. Such study
is, of course, commended in this same charge. "You are especially to study such
of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass of your
attainment" is surely clear enough! In no other way can the hidden mysteries of
Nature and Science be made clear to you - and foremost in the study of Nature is
the study of Man. The study of Man is the study of Mind and Matter - for Man is
simply a combination of the two.

Certain of the deeper sciences may not be within the compass of a Candidate's
attainment, due to lack of opportunity, means, or mental power - but every man,
however limited his means or opportunity, or however untried his mental ability,
can still learn of himself, and of the possibilities of Mind and Spirit. From
time immemorial our Institution has existed (as the Candidate is in various
places told), and as in earthly Brotherhoods, the secrets of building a solid
edifice, were propounded to those found worthy - so in the deeper significance,
Freemasonry provides a means whereby those found worthy may study the deeper
meanings, may advance by mental steps to a fuller knowledge, as a Candidate
advances across the tessellated pavement.

Consider for a few minutes the Lecture on the First Tracing Board. I will not
attempt to speak of this in entirety, but would, in pursuance of the theme of
tonight's discussion, point out several passages which bear out the special part
which the "spiritual" plays in Freemasonry. On the surface, most of the words
relate to the erection of an earthly building, but thinking more deeply, as in
the very first paragraph we are told the Egyptian philosophers did, we realise
that most phrases are capable of this hidden meaning - and the whole lecture may
be understood to represent the spiritual building of Man's Temple.

The Universe is the Temple of the Deity we serve - and Man builds his own
Temple, in spirit and in truth, from the very day of his birth. Beauty shines
through the whole of the Creation in symmetry and order - Man has freewill to
build the Temple of his character as he chooses, in Wisdom, Strength and Beauty,
as is the Greater Temple, or without the graces which should adorn his finished
edifice. We learn that we, as Freemasons, hope to ascend by the assistance of
Jacob's Ladder. "Belief strengthens our faith, and enables us to ascend the
first step. This faith naturally creates in us a hope of becoming partakers of
the blessed promises therein recorded, which hope enables us to ascend the
second step, but the third and last being charity, comprehends the whole, and
the Freemason who is possessed of this virtue in its most ample sense, may
justly be deemed to have attained the summit of his profession, figuratively
speaking, an ethereal mansion, veiled from mortal eyes by the starry firmament
....." We are taught to believe that the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood
of Man is a truth - God is a spirit, and we believe that those who have gone on
before, now live in the land of Spirit, in an ethereal mansion, not made with
hands. We have faith that when our time comes, we also shall become partakers
of this other life; we hope that we shall be found worthy to join that "great
band of witnesses, which compasses us round".

Endeavouring to live Charity, to give out thoughts of goodwill and goodness to
all men, as well as helping where possible with material benefits - is the
hallmark of a seeker after truth (which every true Mason should be). If you
read your V.S.L., you read there of the promises of T.G.A.O.T.U., that every
earthly son shall live with Him in the Eternal Mansions, where "in spirit and in
truth must He be worshipped". You read also of the Communion of Saints - and it
is our earnest hope, therefore, as we ascend the second step, that we may learn
to share in this communion. Once being assured of this true communion, and
having trodden the mental path sufficiently far to make it possible, it is our
delight to be able to comfort those who suffer bereavement and loss, not only
with money, but with positive assurance of reunion in that land of Spirit
"veiled from mortal eyes."

Later, in the First Tracing Board Lecture, there is mention of the Rough Ashlar,
and we are told that "The Rough Ashlar is a stone, rough and unhewn as taken
from the quarry, till by the industry and ingenuity of the workmen, it is
modelled, wrought into due form, and rendered fit for the intended building.
This represents the mind of man in his infant or primitive state, rough and
unpolished as that stone, till by the advantages of a liberal and virtuous
education, his mind becomes cultivated, and he is thereby rendered a fit member
of civilised society ".

Man is hereby exhorted and advised to realise that he has a mind, as well as a
body, and that just as a good education can correct errors of speech, etc., so,
in a deeper sense can mental instruction, and mental seeking, result in a
broadening and a deepening of spiritual knowledge and insight, making perfect
the tool, for the use of T.G.A.O.T.U.

It is noticeable that, in every ceremony, mention is always made of the
transience of this our earthly life; that we should so live as to be worthy of
that higher life - that a Freemason should "so conduct himself towards this
world" - should "make his passions and prejudices coincide with the just line of
his conduct, and in all his pursuits to have eternity in view". We are
continually reminded of "those eternal mansions, whence all goodness emanates" -
and also we are charged continually to "extend your researches into the hidden
mysteries of nature and science ".

We learn, in the Second Tracing Board, that "it was through Moses, who was
learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians including their antient mysteries,
that Freemasonry derived its origin directly from those mysteries of antient
Egypt ". The ancient Egyptians, without any doubt, knew of Man's glorious
heritage, the inheritance of those "Ethereal Mansions". Incorporated in their
mysteries were instructions for the understanding of Mind - for the training of
Mind - and for the certain communication between Mind and Mind, wherever Mind
should be found. Therefore, in enquiring with studious minds into the psychic
and spiritual side of Freemasonry, we are simply following the lead of our great
predecessor, Moses - for, many centuries later (we read in the V.S.L.) the same
Moses, together with the prophet Elisha, talked with the Master Jesus, upon a
mountain top. Undoubtedly - Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians".

The Exhortation after the Raising to the Third Degree, in particular, is full of
references to the spiritual and psychic nature of our Craft. The newly-made
Mason is reminded that in the earlier degrees he was shown how to live! In this
final admission, he is shown how to die! We learn that "nature prepares you by
contemplation, for the closing hour of your existence, and when by means of that
contemplation, she has conducted you through the intricate windings of this
mortal life, she finally instructs you how to die ".

Let me now beg of you to observe that the light of a M.M. is but darkness
visible, serving fitly to represent that mysterious veil of darkness which rests
upon the prospects of futurity, and which the eye of human reason cannot
penetrate unless assisted by that Light which cometh from above. Ward says of
this: "It (the Light) represents the Divine Spark within, and therefore cannot
be entirely extinguished, no matter how far we wander from the paths of
rectitude. Even when our body fails us at the hour of death, that spark will
remain with us to light us on our journey, as it were going before us like a
lamp to our feet". Therefore, by using the Light to guide our feet, we can
penetrate a little way, sometimes, into that "prospect of futurity" - not, as do
the fortune-tellers, to gain foreknowledge of a personal future on this earth,
but that by diligent study it is possible to "guide your thoughts to that most
interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself". We realise, in
this respect, that "in this frame dwells a vital and immortal principle" - that
this visible, atomic body of ours is but the temporary housing for a mind and
personality which lives for a time on the earth, but will live for eternity in
those "Ethereal Mansions". In the light of modern knowledge of radio and
electronics, it is now possible to understand how these things can be, how the
body of energy which is a separate thing from the body of clay can be at one
with Mind while still on the earth, and at one with the Greater Mind in that
Greater World of Spirit.

Those who today understand the simple law involved in the "tuning in" of a radio
to the frequency of the required broadcasting station, should not find much
difficulty in realising how the self-same laws can apply in the world of Mind -
and in the study of himself, therefore, Man, with his modern knowledge, can the
more easily understand how Mind, as well as body, can be the subject of
meditation. The whole ceremony, from the entry of the Candidate in the First
Degree, to the end of the Third, can be thought of as denoting the life of Man.
He comes in first blindfolded, in a state of utter darkness, and in the bonds of
ignorance, but assisted by his guide he is taught how to see the light, and is
instructed in knowledge. He is told to study, and given certain working tools
to carry on with. Then in the Second Degree he is given more working tools,
instructed further, and told to extend his researches, particularly into the
hidden mysteries. In the Third, the Lodge is made to represent the Valley of
the Shadow - but the whole time, except just at the actual death, he is attended
by his guides, and immediately he is raised they automatically join him again.
Even so is the mental and spiritual pilgrimage of Man. Vibrational harmony and
unison make possible mental kinship and guidance - and this mental and spiritual
closeness does not end with physical death. Beyond the grave, in the Kingdom of
Mind, are those waiting to receive us, who are our vibrational kin.


Arthur Edward Waite, P.M., P.Z., says: " He alone is a master mason who
understands in the light of other and greater mysteries what is implied by
figurative death, and being raised from the tomb of transgression."

Every M.M. is bidden to study the hidden mysteries. Charles E. Green, in his
"Keys of Freemasonry" says: "Having obtained an exoteric knowledge, there still
remains the esoteric knowledge, which as in all religions, is only for the few.
Some call it the secret doctrine, but put plainly it is that inner knowledge of
the divinity within us, which is, concerning most of us, so hard to discover.
We live by substituted secrets, yet the genuine ones are within us concealed,
and to be revealed when we have recovered on the centre ".

Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, in "The Builders", says that: "The more withdrawn
teaching has come to be known as the secret doctrine or the hidden wisdom. A
persistent tradition affirms that throughout the ages, in every land, behind the
system of faith accepted by the masses, an inner and deeper doctrine has been
held and taught by those able to grasp it. Qualification for the knowledge of
higher things is, and must be, a matter of personal fitness. Other
qualification there is none. For those who have that fitness, the secret
doctrine is clear as sunlight, and for those who have it not, the truth would
still be secret though shouted from the housetop". Masonic secrets are in
reality soul secrets, and Masonry itself a discipline in spiritual culture.

W.L. Wilmshurst, in his "Meaning of Masonry" says that: "It is not feasible, nor
is it within the law governing the process of spiritual evolution, for any who
have not experienced the stage of mystical death to have experience of that
which lies beyond that death."

And again, Wilmshurst says: "The psychical organism becomes detached from the
physical and the mind is free to become introverted and work exploratively upon
its own ground to search the contents of its own unplumbed depths, to probe
deeper and deeper into itself, eradicating defects and removing rubble, pushing
in and in by the energy of a persistent will, yet retaining contact the while
with the outer, physical nature by a subtle filament or lifeline which prevents
their entire separation. Thus we see at once something of the true, deep
significance of the ceremony".

And having, by diligent search and industrious study, learned some of those
secrets of Nature and Science, some of the inner and Spiritual side of
Freemasonry, what is a Mason to do with his knowledge, and with the re-alignment
of values which that knowledge brings? Surely, the answer is simple. Every
Mason is (or should be) a Builder. As Green says: "The real builder is he who
realises that this great structure of the centuries, antedating all religions
and all superstitions whose footing stones holding it true and secure for ever,
are brotherly love, relief and truth, whose pillars holding it four-square to
all the wickednesses, are those of wisdom, strength and beauty, had its
foundation stone laid in the dun and distant beginnings of man's history by the
great builder of builders, he who reigns supreme in the heavens, who was and is
and ever shall be. Puny man can never destroy it. On the other hand, every son
of the dust who believes and practises the doctrines of brotherly love, and who
acknowledges the fatherhood of God, can add to it".

With Froude we realise that "the knowledge which a man can use is the only real
knowledge the only knowledge which has life and growth in it, and converts
itself into practical power. The rest hangs like dust about the brain, or dries
like rain off the stones."

So brothers all, I commend to you the spiritual and psychic side of Freemasonry
- by diligent study of which, we may be enabled to live more fully and
completely during our pilgrimage on this earth, and to die, when our time comes,
knowing that the Ethereal Mansions are not just a figurative symbol, but a
living reality. May we all, who seek these spiritual realities, be assisted by
that "Light which cometh from above ", in whose mercy we trust. May we keep
always open the Dormer Window, the means by which the Divine Light penetrates
the deepest recesses of every man's nature.


CONCLUSION


In conclusion, may I present to you two short poems, the authors of which are
English Brothers who desire to remain anonymous.

First, "The Craftsman's Temple."

An ancient temple spread abroad its fame;
'Twas flanked by two Great Pillars at the porch,
For us today each has a secret name,
And what they mean doth serve us as a torch.

To practise virtue and to conquer fear,
Are tasks to which apprentices are pledged,
In virtue's strength their first column they rear,
And persevere till they be fully fledged.

Each Craftsman then must learn to use his mind,
And balance virtue with much knowledge new;
And if towards hidden mysteries he's inclined,
On stable base no danger can ensue.

Stablished in Strength his House will stand for ever,
Continuing so, must be his prime endeavour.

And secondly, "Secrets".


We seek for genuine secrets which were lost,
Which time or circumstance may yet restore;

While some there be prepared to count the cost,
Too few persist to reach the Central Core.

This Centre, which we seek, is whence we came,
Also the goal to which we turn our eyes,
By yearning towards the Sacred Mystic Name
In manner which is known to all the wise.

The Centre reached, the secrets too are found,
It is a point from which we cannot stray,
No need remains for us to look around,
Full near at hand it is, not far away.

Circumference nowhere, everywhere the Centre,
The door is there for all who will to enter.


Brothers, in these perilous times, when the insecurity of material things
becomes ever more apparent, it behooves us all, as men, and as Brothers, to seek
understanding, of ourselves, and of the greater world of the Great Architect's
creation. And having gained that understanding, aided by the Light which cometh
from above, we should seek wisdom to use that understanding, not only for
ourselves, but for every Brother in our Great Brotherhood, and to help and
uplift all Mankind.