Symposium of Papers Submitted by Members of the Circle - Part Nine

FOREWORD by W.Bro. B. C. Pottinger, LGR, President of the Circle

For many years the Governing Council of the Circle have been aware that very few of our Members have had the opportunity to read the Papers prepared by the founding nucleus of Dormer. They were Freemasons with a profound knowledge of and insight into the Ancient Mysteries, and dedicated to disseminating their understanding of the Craft Degrees to all who were capable of receiving their message.

It was not an easy task, for then, as now, new Members were attracted to the Circle through an intuitive perception of the veracity of the truths being propounded, but were unfamiliar with the terminology being used. For such a one not versed in the language of the Mysteries, it takes patience and assiduity to enable one to hear the word and rise to its meaning.

Our Founders wrought well, as many "new" Members absorbed sufficient understanding so as to be inspired to present Papers of their own in due time. The seal had been set on the work of our Circle, which has continued to attract dedicated Freemasons to continue to build on the foundation laid in 1938, and many Members have individually served the Ideals by which we are actuated by exercising their particular talents on our behalf whenever the opportunity presented itself. According to the records of the early days there were, quite naturally, differences of opinion. Some Members argued that the standard of Papers presented was of too high a level, and that the best interests of the Craft could be furthered by addressing the Papers to the level of comprehension enjoyed by the average Lodge Member a situation that is resolved by each author automatically expressing his own level of consciousness and understanding of the eternal verities (which, they will tell you, always falls short of the original intention!).

Another difference of opinion arose on the question of permitting the discussion of a Paper at its conclusion. Some Members held that time should be allowed for Members present to ask for clarification of certain points introduced in the Paper which had not been understood, or which apparently conflicted with ideas promulgated by a particular system being studied; others held that a Paper elevated the consciousness and it was therefore beneficial for Brethren to remain at that level for as long as possible, and therefore questions should not be permitted as they tended to bring the consciousness down to the mundane level when elements of personality were introduced.

One salient point did emerge from reading the records: Papers were limited to a one-hour duration at each meeting. With the passing of time Papers tended to become longer, but the reading was spread over several meetings with a brief synopsis to preserve continuity. This was, in part, due to the fact that the first 30 Transactions were duplicated typewriter copies on 13 x 8 paper, but, due to the increase of Membership, from then on were printed in the present format of 10 x 8 which, to make them a viable proposition, required a lengthier presentation.

The Governing Council of the Circle therefore commend to you:

TRANSACTION No. 158 (Reprint of Transactions Nos. 3 and 4)



FREEMASONRY: HOW, WHENCE AND WHITHER? by W.Bro. R. A. L. Harland, LGR (President 1939-65)

FREEMASONRY AND THE ANCIENT WISDOM By W.Bro. R. A. L. Harland, LGR (President 1939-65)


BY W.Bro. R. A. L. Harland LGR (President 1939 - 65)

Members of Masonic Study groups are naturally keen students of the origin and history of the Craft, and a number of serious minded enquirers frankly admit that a perusal of the available literature on the subject has left them confused and unconvinced. In this paper, therefore, it is proposed to trace a rough outline of a movement which is as old as humanity itself and the purpose and doctrine of which are still faithfully if very rudimentarily preserved in our Masonic system. By this means an endeavour will be made to answer the main questions asked by many students who are genuinely seeking for fuller enlightenment, such as; What was the nature of the Ancient Mysteries which modern Freemasonry is claimed to perpetuate? Can we justify the need for their perpetuation today? For what purpose was Initiation instituted? Did it at any time serve any real purpose or can it do so now? On a satisfactory solution of these problems depends, to a great extent, a comprehension of the aims and ideals of the Masonic Order.

Now one of the first things to impress itself upon any student of Masonic literature and comparative religion is the remarkable-presence of common factors, common beliefs, doctrines, practices and symbols, in the religions of all races alike, whether ancient or modern, civilised or barbarian, Christian or pagan. However separated from others by time or distance, however intellectualised or primitive, and however wide-their differences in important respects, each people is found to have employed and still to be employing certain ideas, symbols and practices in common with every other. A close examination of Masonic literature confirms and amplifies this impression, for the student will find that numerous authors connected with the Craft have demonstrated that there isa close correspondence to be found in the various apparently unrelated systems, and they have further emphasised how ancient and universal are the ideas, symbols and practices which are embodied in our modern system of Freemasonry. There is one thing, however, that the student invariably has great difficulty in determining, and this is the reason for the antiquity and universality so clearly in evidence according to the existing records. It is unfortunate that the majority of those who have written treaties on Masonic history and purpose have neglected to give an explanation on this point, and since it furnishes us with the essential clue to the entire problem of the genesis, the history, and the reason for the existence of Freemasonry, it is so important to clear up the matter before proceeding with the general outline of our subject.

If one perseveres with research and reflection, it will become apparent to the student that the universality and uniformity noted by historians are due to the fact that at one time, long back in the world's past, there was implanted in the minds of the whole human family - which was then, doubtless, much more concentrated than at present - a root- doctrine in regard to the nature and destiny of the soul of man and its relation to the Deity. In all Scriptures and cosmologies the tradition is universal of a "Golden Age", an age of comparative innocence, wisdom and spirituality, in which racial unity and individual happiness and enlightenment prevailed; in which there was that open vision for want of which it is recorded that a people perisheth, but in virtue of which man were once in conscious conversation with the unseen worlds and were shepherded, taught and guided by the "gods" or discarnate superintendents of the infant race, who imparted to them the sure principles upon which their spiritual welfare and evolution depended. The testimony concerning this "Golden Age" is found to be recorded in all languages, and it is unanimously stated to be the period of the early beginnings of the Human Race. In these early days we learn that the psychic and physical intellect in man was dormant, and we are told that it was on this account that infant humanity was guided and taught under the direct superintendence of divine Teachers and Instructors. It is of particular significance to Freemasons to find that tradition affirms that it was under the guidance of these Instructors that humanity was taught its first notions of all the arts and sciences, and that it was They who laid the foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations which so sorely puzzle our modern generation of scholars. This will account for the fact that no matter how far back into the night of time archaeological or other investigations are extended, high stages of civilisation are found, each having an elaborate numerical system; where, according to modern scientific theories, only the most primitive conditions might be expected. The presence of fully developed numerical systems in ancient civilisations proves that the science of numbers was not slowly evolved by primitive man learning to count on his fingers, as is popularly supposed, and confirms the tradition of a fully elaborated system of computation which was revealed to the priesthood of the early Races by the Spiritual Teachers of mankind.

We of today pride ourselves upon being wiser and more advanced than primitive humanity. We assume that our ancestors lived in moral benightedness out of which we have since gradually emerged into comparative light. All the evidence, however, negatives these suppositions. In fact it indicates that primitive man, notwithstanding his intellectual undevelopment according to modern standards, was spiritually conscious and psychically perceptive to a degree undreamed of in our day. It is therefore ourselves who, for all our cleverness and intellectual development in temporal mattes, are nevertheless plunged in darkness and ignorance about our own nature, the invisible world around us, and the eternal spiritual verities. We may, then, well enquire how it is that we have departed so far from our original state, and once again tradition comes to our assistance.

The tradition is also universal of the collective soul of the human race having sustained a "fall" a moral declension from its true path of life and evolution, which has had the effect of severing it almost entirely from its creative source, and which, as the ages advanced, has involved its sinking more and more deeply into physical conditions. This has resulted in its splitting up from a unity employing a single language into a diversity of conflicting races of different speeches and degrees of moral advancement, and has been accompanied by a progressive densification of the material body and a corresponding atrophy of the spiritual consciousness. This tradition of our extrusion of Fall, howsoever occasioned, from the more immediate precincts of Deity is so catholic a one that it must have been a canon of the root-doctrine or protoevangel which lies at the back of all the great religious systems of history. Antiquity and universality constitute; of course, inadequate evidence of its truth for modern rationalism, but for the genuine student testimony to it can be adduced from another quarter. This will be found in the voluble sacrementalism of Nature where it is perpetuated and registered in such a manner as will be readily discerned by the seeing eye and understanding mind. In our day, evolution, or the perpetual tendency of things upwards, has came to be generally accepted as a cosmic process. But does not the capacity for rising imply necessarily an antecedent failing? The logical value of the evolutionary hypothesis, as of every hypothesis can only be appraised by contrasting it with its antithesis, and the laws of human logic, as Freemasons should well know, are shadows of those of the LOGOS, the Divine Logician. The truth, then, of the Fall, has been perpetuated in our phenomenal world by the fact that to fall is the property of everything material Purified spirit alone is capable of ascension, of counteracting the law of gravitation, which, as shown in the allegory of the flaming sword of the Cherubim guarding Eden, rigidly excludes from ascending all that is unfit to inhabit a world more advanced than a physical one. Thus the initial act in the earthly existence of every seed, and germ, and egg, of every newborn animal and child, is to fall to the ground. At the very outset of its career it therefore rehearses in its own form or person the primal Fall of Cosmic Spirit into the plane of Nature, while its subsequent function is to rise and grow physically or morally according to its kind.

So far as it affects humanity, the doctrine of the Fall, portrayed in the Biblical legend of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Eden, was not due, as is popularly supposed, to the transgression of an individual, but was the result of a defect in the collective or group-soul of the Adamic Race, and was a process covering vast cycles of time. Such is the unanimous testimony of the Ancient Wisdom-tradition and despite its rejection by many in our day, it is my conviction that we cannot adequately apprehend the divine scheme unless we realise that the Fall was an incident thereof that was ordained by, and that existed primally in the prescience of, Deity; that the descent of spirit and its incarnation in the material world was a process as gradual as has been, and is, the rise, the emergence, of spiritual life from within its present physical limitations. The incarceration of spirit, therefore, in material conditions, involving, as it did and does still, the struggle for emancipation and the knowledge of evil, was, and is, essential and necessary to enable the spirit of man to become self-conscious of its own inherent perfection and divinity, by undergoing an experience which is the antithesis of its own birthright in a plane of existence which is the antipodes of its natural home. Hence it follows that Redemption is the necessary complement of Creation, and accordingly we find that tradition asserts that as a consequence of the Fall it was necessary and within the Divine Providence that humanity should be redeemed and restored to its former high estate, the restoration in turn requiring vast time cycles for its achievement. And it required something further; It required the application of an orderly and scientific method under skilled direction, and we may reasonably enquire; whence could come that skill and scientific knowledge if not from the Divine and now invisible world, from those "gods" and guardians of the erring race of whom all the ancient traditions and sacred writings tell? Would not that skilled method be properly described if it were termed, as in our modern Freemasonry it is termed, a "heavenly science" and a "noble science", and would it not be welcomed in the words that Freemasons in fact use, "Hail, Royal Art!" Those of our Brethren who here responsible for the inscription set out on the Foundation Stone of the first Freemason's Hall, which was consecrated on the 1st, May, 1775, clearly recognised this fact, because in declaring the authority under which the English Craft claims precedence and jurisdiction over the "whole body of Brethren throughout the world", they re-affirmed the "Ancient Landmark" concerning the origin of the Science in the significant words, "It comes down from Heaven".

To the spiritual guardians of primitive man, then, we must attribute the communication of that universal science of rebuilding the fallen temple of humanity, and to this source we must credit the distribution, in every land and among every people, of the same or equivalent symbols, practices and doctrines. This was the one holy Catholic Religion "throughout all the world", and it laid down the ancient and established "usages and customs" to be followed at all times by everyone willing to accept its discipline. It was the "Sacred Law" for the guidance of fallen humanity, a law valid from "time immemorial", or, in other words, from the dawn of time till its sunset, and of which it is written, "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end".

This universal science is related to have originated in the East, for the East, in every sense, geographically, astronomically, and spiritually, is ever the source of light "Ex Oriente Lux" (Out of the East Light) - and as humanity itself became diffused and distributed over the globe, to have gradually spread towards the West. The record of this truth is retained in our modern Instruction Lectures in the cryptic phrase, "Learning originated in the East and thence spread its benign influence towards the West" (Fourth Section, First Lecture). During the process of the distribution of humanity there came about that progressive densification of the material body and consequent atrophy of spiritual perception already mentioned, and on account of this the influence of the Wisdom-teaching became correspondingly diminished, although its principles remained as valid and effective. To follow the course of its progress in any detail would require a long treatise, and is therefore outside the scope of the present Paper, but it should be noted that despite human vagaries and conceptions the Light, like that of a Master Mason, has never been wholly extinguished, however dark the age, and according to tradition the present age is spiritually the darkest of the dark ages. It is truly declared that "God has never left himself without a living witness among men", and among the witnesses to the Ancient Wisdom is the system we know as Freemasonry; a faint and feeble flicker, perhaps, but nevertheless a true light and in the true line of succession of the primitive doctrine.

The earliest teaching of the Mysteries traceable within historic time was in the Orient and in the language known as Sanskrit - a name itself significant and appropriate, for it means Holy Writ or "Sanctum Scriptum"; and for the very great lights on the Ancient Wisdom one must still refer to the religious and philosophical scriptures of India, which was in its spiritual and temporal prime when modern Europe was frozen beneath an ice-cup. But races of men, like individuals, have their infancy, manhood and old age; they are but units, upon a larger scale than the individual, for furthering the general life-purpose. When a given race has served or failed in that purpose, the stewardship of the Mysteries passes on to other and more effectual hands. The next great torch-bearer of the Light of the world was Egypt, which after many centuries of spiritual supremacy, in turn became the arid desert it now is both spiritually and materially, leaving nevertheless a mass of structural and written relics still testifying to its possession of the Doctrine in the days of its glory. From Egypt, as civilisations developed in adjoining countries, minor centres for impacting the knowledge were instituted in Chaldea, Persia, Greece and Asia Minor, and a record of this diffusion is preserved in the V. of the S.L., for the EXODUS is, in one of its many allusions, a witness to the passing on of the catholic mysteries from Egypt to new and virgin regions for their enlightenment.

Of these various translations those that concern us chiefly are two; the one to Greece, the other to Palestine. We know from the V. of the S.L., that Moses was an initiate of the Egyptian Mysteries and became learned in all its wisdom, while the writings of the Alexandrian Philosopher Philo Judaeus, called Philo the Jew, inform us that in Egypt Moses became "skilled in Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, Hieroglyphics and the whole circle of the arts and sciences". In other words he became in a real sense a Master Mason and as such, qualified himself for his subsequent great task of leadership of the Hebrew people and the formulating of their religious system and rule of life as laid down in the Pentateuch. The Mosaic system continued, as we know, along the channel indicated in the books of the Old Testament, and then after many centuries, effloresced in the greatest of all expressions of the Mysteries, as disclosed in the Gospels of the New Testament, or New Witness, involving the enfoldment, comprehension, and in gathering of the religious past of the whole world, centralised under the Supreme Grand Mastership of Him who is called the Light of the World, and embodying all the characteristics, legends, and symbols hitherto appertaining to the central figures of preceding dispensations, proclaiming the unity of all human aspiration, and formulating in one grand system the doctrines of both the East and West.

Concurrently with the existence of the Hebrew Mysteries under the Mosaic dispensation, the great Greek school was developing, which originating in the Orphic religion, culminated and came to a focus at Delphi and generated the philosophic wisdom associated with Athens and the Periclean age. Greece was the spiritual descendant of both India and Egypt, and we know that the great Initiate who is accorded the title of Pythagoras journeyed to India before being received in Egypt to take his final initiation prior to founding the school at Crotona associated with him. Plato also tells us that aspirants for initiation visited Egypt before promoting spiritual advancement in Greece.

It will not be possible to deal adequately with all the Mystery-systems in this Paper, although for purposes of illustration in regard to our present subject a reference will be made to one of the most famous of them, the Eleusinian, which existed in Greece for several centuries. The word "Eleusis" means light, and therefore initiation into the Mysteries of Eleusis proclaimed the quest of the aspirant for light, in precisely the same sense as the Freemason today is made to declare that "Light" is the predominant wish" of his heart. In alternative terms, the candidate sought to be endued with "a competency of the Divine wisdom", and was prepared to voluntarily submit himself to a process whereby he became transformed from the natural state into a spiritual state. Initiation, therefore, meant the gearing of the consciousness of the candidate to a new and higher principle, the making of a new man in the sense of attaining a new method of life and a new outlook upon the universe. Speaking of this process St. Paul writes in his Epistle to the Ephesians. "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness". This process of "putting on the new man" spoken of by St. Paul in the 4th Chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians (verses 23 and 24) involves our comprehension of the esoteric or spiritual interpretation of an Immaculate Conception, or, in other words, the bringing to birth of the Divine Principle to function within the organism of the natural man. In Freemasonry this mystical birth is reproduced by the name "Lewis", which is traditionally associated with the Craft. The word "Lewis" is an excellent example of the cryptic language deliberately employed by the compilers of our Ritual, for on close examination it will be found to be a corruption of Eleusis and other Greek and Latin names indicating Light. Hence it is that in our Instruction Lectures "Lewis" is said to designate "the son of a Freemason", but assuredly this has no reference to human parentage and sonship. It refers to the mystical birth of the Divine Light, the Light of the World, in oneself; as a familiar Scriptural text has it, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given", truly an exalted parentage. The Instruction Lectures further describe a "Lewis" as something which "when dovetailed into a stone forms a clamp and enables the Mason to raise great weights to certain heights, while fixing them on their proper bases", all of which is a concealed way of expressing the fact that, when the Light of Divine Wisdom is brought forward from man's submerged depths and firmly grafted or dovetailed into his natural organism, he then becomes able easily to grapple with difficulties, problems and "weights" of all kinds which to the ordinary man are insuperable.

In the time that the Eleusinian Mysteries flourished as a public institution it was regarded as essential by the cultured to apply for initiation, on the grounds that the training and instruction were religiously conducive to the making of good men and good citizens, and it is worthy of mention that in our day substantially the same message has been convoyed to the popular world through the medium of the public press by the Aims and Relations Committee of the United Grand Lodge of England. In former times, however, the principles of the Initiation science were not communicated to candidates, merely by the discharge of certain ceremonial formalities, and educated men applied to enter the Mysteries in the same way that in our day students go into residence at a University and are required to graduate. The future development and value of the Masonic Order as a moral force in society will depend, therefore, upon a revival, in a form adapted to modern conditions, of the ancient Wisdom-teaching and also of the practice of those Mysteries which became prescribed fifteen centuries ago, but of which modern Freemasonry is the direct and representative descendant.

At the time when the Mysteries flourished, accepted candidates were graded according to their moral efficiency and their intellectual or spiritual stature. For a period of years they underwent disciplinary intellectual exercises and bodily asceticism, during which they were subjected to periodical tests in order to determine their fitness to proceed to the more solemn and serious processes of actual initiation. Initiation was administered only to those who were duly qualified, and the precise nature was of a secret and closely guarded character. An echo of this progress by regular stages is found in our present day ritual, in the information given to the candidate during the Ceremony of Initiation, stipulating that "their are several degrees in Freemasonry with peculiar secrets restricted to each" and the accompanying reminder that these are "not conferred upon candidates indiscriminately, but only according to merit and ability". The education of aspirants for Initiation was directed solely to the cultivation of the "four cardinal virtues", and this at once brings to mind the reference in our own Lectures wherein it is affirmed that "tradition informs us" that they "were constantly practised by the majority of our ancient Brethren". A further qualification prerequisite to a participation in the higher order of life was the study of the "seven liberal arts and sciences". The construction put upon these virtues and sciences was, however, a much more advanced one than the modern mind considers adequate; and it is interesting to note that although we have not departed from the essential curriculum in theory in the Craft today, in the matter of practice there is a wide difference. For instance, with our Ancient Brethren the virtue of TEMPERANCE involved the complete control of the passional nature; FORTITUDE, implied a courage which is undismayed by adversity, and which permits of no deflection from the goal in view; PRUDENCE, comprehended that deep insight leading to forward-seeing and producing the prophetic faculty of seer-ship; JUSTICE, demanded unswerving righteousness of thought, word and deed. The "arts and sciences" were also of a positive nature, and they were termed "liberal" because the educational curriculum was expressly designed to "liberate" the soul of the aspirant from the illusions incident to the natural state. Thus GRAMMAR, LOGIC and RHETORIC were treated as disciplines of the moral nature, by means of which irrational tendencies were eradicated and candidates trained to become living witnesses of the universal Logos and effectively speaking with the "tongue of good report". GEOMETRY and ARITHMETIC were sciences of transcendental space and numeration, the complete comprehension of which provided the key to both the Universe and man himself, for each expression of life was shown to have its number, rate of vibration or wave length, its form and particular place in the Grand Plan of T.G.A.O.T.U. The science of ASTRONOMY not only included the observation of the heavenly bodies, but was primarily directed to the study of metaphysics and the correct understanding of the distribution of the forces in, and determining the destiny of, individuals, nations and the race. Finally, MUSIC, was not confined to the study of vocal or instrumental works, but was concerned with the adjustment of the personal life into harmony with the Centre of All Life, God, by the living practice of philosophy.

The Eleusinian Mysteries, then, involved much more than a merely notional philosophy; they required also a philosophic method of living, and this method was divided into two main parts, which were known as the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries. In the Lesser Mysteries the elementary instruction was imparted, but the object of these was to enable candidates to proceed with the task of purifying and adapting their lives to the truths which were disclosed to them. The Greater Mysteries related to developments of consciousness within the soul itself, and were connected with the new and intensified life which was the direct result of fidelity to the prescribed disciplines. To draw a faint analogy, the Lesser Mysteries stood in the same relationship to the Greater as our present Craft degrees do to the Holy Royal Arch. Candidates who became proficient and properly prepared in accordance with the curriculum of the Lesser mysteries were eventually admitted to initiation in the Greater, while those who failed to qualify were not permitted to proceed. The decree restraining unqualified candidates from advancement to the Greater Mysteries was not arbitrary, but was absolutely necessary in the interests of candidates themselves because inward purity of heart and mind, coupled with the possession of the four cardinal virtues, was essential to the ordeals of actual initiation, which otherwise rendered the aspirant liable to insanity and obsessions. It was for this reason that the number of qualified candidates amounted to only a small percentage of those who entered the Mysteries, and this law remains valid in our day for we find the same truth restated in the V. of the S.L., which is the text book of our modern system, in the familiar words, "Many are called, but few are chosen".

One qualification above all was demanded from those who applied to enter the Mysteries, - humility, and it is for admission into important to note that the candidate for admission into Freemasonry is still required to come "humbly soliciting". The reason for this was, and still is today, that the wisdom into which the Mysteries and initiation admit a man is foolishness to the worldly minded. To attain it a candidate must therefore be prepared for a complete and voluntary renunciation of worldly wisdom and this may involve his finding negated everything he has previously held to be true, and which, furthermore, those among whom he ordinarily mingles will continue to believe, and insist, to be true. Speaking of this manner of approach to the comprehension of things spiritual, St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, declares, "Let no man deceive himself, if any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (1st. Corinthians; Chapter 3, verse 18). The candidate for the Christian Mysteries was instructed that he was to be content to "become a fool for the kingdom of heaven's sake", and was to be ready to suffer adversity and ridicule, should the necessity arise. This was one of the prime reasons for secrecy and one - though not the only one - of the origins of the Masonic injunction as to secrecy. In the public processions of the Lesser Mysteries of Eleusis, the sacramental vessels and elements were carried upon the back of an ass, to signify that for the reception of divine knowledge "humility is an essential virtue", while in the V. of the S.L., the same thing is symbolised by the Palm-Sunday ride into Jerusalem of popular conception, of which we read, "thy King cometh unto thee, just and having salvation; lowly and riding upon an ass". Apuleius, in the "Golden Ass", provides the explanation when he writes, "There is no creature so able to receive divinity as an ass; into which if ye be not turned, ye shall in no wise be able to carry the divine mysteries".

In addition to the practical instruction included in the curriculum of the Mysteries, another and greatly educative means employed was the expression by means of myths of truths of the Divine world and the entire spiritual history of man. The Greek mythologists were adepts at expressing cosmic and philosophic truths in the guise of fables which conveyed theosophic teaching to the discerning and veiled it from the profane. Myth-making was a science, and not, as many allege, an indulgence in irresponsible fiction, and by their presentation in dramatic form candidates were instructed in the fundamental verities of life. One of the best known of the Greek myths is that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, which was performed annually with great ceremony at the Eleusinia. It told how the maiden Persephone strayed away from Arcadia (heaven) and from her mother Demeter, to pluck flowers in the fields of Enna, and how the soil there opened and caused her to fall into the lower dark world of Hades ruled over by Pluto. The despair of the mother at the loss of her daughter reached Zeus, the chief of the Gods, with the result that he ordained that providing that the girl had not eaten of the fruit of Hades, she should forthwith be restored to her mother for ever, but that if she had so eaten she must abide a third of each year with Pluto and return to Demeter for the other two thirds. Enquiry proved that unfortunately Persephone had eaten a pomegranate in the lower world, so that her restoration to her mother could not be permanent, but only periodic. This myth is the story of the human soul and is of precisely the same nature as the Mosaic myth of Adam and Eve and the apple, and, as the parable of the Prodigal Son, neither of which have any physical reference. Persephone denotes the human soul, generated out of that primordial incorruptible mother-earth which the Greeks personified as Demeter, in the same way as the Mosaic narrative speaks of God forming man out of the dust of the ground. Her straying from her Arcadian home and heavenly mother in quest of flowers (flowers symbolising fresh experiences) in the fields of Enna, corresponds with the same promptings of desire that led to Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden and his fall thence to this outer world, The word "Enna" signifies "darkness and bitterness", which is the result of unruly desires, and a fuller explanation of the meaning will be found in the V. of the S.L., where it is translated from the original as GEHENNA. Pluto, is designated the "god of riches", meaning the riches of wisdom and experience, and it is into his kingdom that Persephone fell. The "eating of fruit" alludes to the inferior pleasures of this lower plane of existence, which, as the Pomegranate symbolises, is many-seeded with illusions and vanities. Until these false tendencies are eradicated until the desires of the heart are utterly weaned from external delights, there can be no permanent restoration of the soul to its source, but merely the periodic respite and refreshment that physical death brings when it withdraws the soul from Pluto's realm to the heaven-world, to be followed again and again by periodic descents into material limitations and re-ascents into discarnate, conditions, until it becomes fully perfected.

Freemasonry, as already indicated, being the lineal descendant of the ancient Wisdom- teaching, follows the traditional method of imparting instruction by means of myths, and its canon of teaching in the Craft degrees contains two such myths. The first is that of the building of King Solomon's Temple, and the second, the narrative of the death and burial of the Master Builder related in the traditional history. To the literal-minded, the building of the Temple at Jerusalem appears to be the history of an actual stone and mortar structure which was erected by three Asiatic notables, one of whom conceived the idea, another supplying the building material, whilst the third was the practical architect and chief of works. The two former are said to have been kings of adjacent small nations; the third was not a royalty, but was apparently a person of no social dignity and a widow's son. For the good of Freemasonry in general, let it be clearly stated in the words of St. Paul, "Which things are an allegory", for the Masonic Temple of Solomon is not one of common brick and stone. It is fashioned out of that "unhewn stone" or incorruptible raw material out of which the Creator formed the human organism. The Jerusalem in which this temple was built was obviously not the geographical one in Palestine, but refers to the eternal "city of peace" in the heavens, or, in other words, "that House not made with hands"; not, as St, Paul also affirms, "the Jerusalem which now is", but "the Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother of us all" (Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 4, verse 26), and thus corresponding to the Greek

Demeter. Neither were the builders of the Temple three human personages resident in the Levant, for their names are the personification of the Divine energy considered in its three constituent principles, which are otherwise spoken of in our Lectures as Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. These three principles of "Pillars" as they are also termed in the Instruction Lectures, are personified by S. K. of I., H.K. of T., and H.A., and an explanation of their concealed significance is necessary in order to properly interpret the myth. Solomon personifies the primordial Life-Essence or substantialised Divine Wisdom which is the basis of our being; this is described as "King of Israel" because Israel means "co-operating or ruling with God". To conjoin this transcendental Life-Essence to a vehicle which should give it fixity and form required the assistance of another "kingly" principle, personified as "King of Tyre", who therefore may correctly be said to have supplied the "building material". In Hebrew the name "Tyre" signifies "rock" and refers to strength or durability, and the conjunction of Solomon and Hiram of Tyre (Life-Essence and Mould or Matrix) therefore represents the groundwork of the soul, which is made functionally effective by the addition of the third principle described as the "widow's son", and personifying the active intellectual principle or Logos. Thus H. A. is the Christ-principle immanent in every soul; crucified, dead and buried in all who are not alive to its presence, but nevertheless resident in all as a saving force. Again to quote St. Paul, "Christ in you, the hope of glory". The description of this principle as "the widow's son reflects in our modern system a beautiful piece of the Gnostic symbolism, and refers to the widowed nature of the Divine Motherhood as the result of the defection from wisdom of her frail children. The true Gnosis informs us that only those children who are striving while in the flesh to rejoin their Mother are worthy to be known as "sons of the widow", and as our ceremonial rite clearly indicates, it is from these labouring at the task that the traditional petition is addressed to all those who have rejoined her, "Come to my help ye sons of the Widow, for I also am the Widow's son".

The Temple of the human soul, primordially constituted of the three principles exemplified in due balance and proportion and divinely pronounced to be "very good", has owing to the certain untoward incident, which is the subject of our central Masonic legend, been thrown down from its primitive eminence. Its fall has been effected by the disproportioned, unbalanced, and therefore, disorderly abuse of its inherent powers. Thus man is now, figuratively speaking, a ruined temple, over which it is written, "Ichabod", - "the glory has departed" for severed from conscious intercourse with his Vital and Immortal Principle, man is a prisoner in captivity to himself and his temporal nature; it remains for him to retrace his steps and rebuild his temple. Hence it is that the Masonic candidate is counselled to continue no longer in bondage to his self-made illusions and the attractions of "worldly possessions", but to become a free man and a mason, engaged in the work of shaping himself into a "living stone" for the cosmic temple of a regenerate Humanity. In the Craft to be installed in the "Chair of King Solomon" means, therefore, in the true sense; the re-attainment of "that which is lost", and this is rightly represented to be the aim of every Freemason. In fact if we do not re-attain the Divine Wisdom during our sojourn in this world, we miss the opportunity, since it is universally attested to that the after-death state is not one of labour, but of refreshment and rest, where no real progress is possible. Initiation, therefore, was instituted to impart the science of re-attainment, but we are reminded as the Ancient Mysteries taught, that the soul that never even begins this work in this world, will not be able to begin it in the hereafter, and will remain suspended in the more tenuous planes of this planet, until such time as it is again indrawn into the vortex of generation by the ever-turning wheel of life. It is for this reason that the Masonic candidate is admonished, "be careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day", the implication being that stated in the V, of the S.L., "Now is the time for salvation, for the night cometh when no man can work". The Masonic conception of the "Grand Lodge Above" is also in accord with the teaching contained in the V. of the S.L.concerning the post-mortem levels of existence, for we read that, "In my Father's house are many mansions", or, literally, resting places, and that they and their occupants are graduated in Hierarchical order according to their degree of spiritual eminence. "As Above, so Below", affirms the ancient axiom, but unfortunately the modern world has lost all sense of the principle of hierarchy, which, since it obtains in the higher world, ought to be reflected in this. Freemasonry, however, preserves the witness to this graduation in the symbolic distribution of its membership, for above the Craft Lodge there presides the Provincial Grand Lodge, while beyond that rules the Grand Lodge of the nation. Then theoretically higher than any of these is the Royal Arch Chapters with the Provincial and Grand Chapters at the summit. Also in the symbolic clothing worn by the members of each of these ranks, the observant student will perceive the intention to give appropriate expression to the truth which is thereby signified. Thus the pure white Masonic Apron is fringed with a pale blue in the case of junior brethren, a pale shade of that blue which, even in physical nature, is the colour of the heavens. In the case of the seniors of the Provincial and Grand Lodges the pale blue of the craft is intensified to the deepest degree, and the clothing is adorned with gold lace, thus emblematising that which is referred to by the Psalmist, "The King's daughter (the soul) is all glorious within, her clothing is wrought of gold". Proceeding to the Royal Arch it will be observed that the devotional blue of the craft is now indented with red, the colour of fire denoting spiritual arbour, and the blend of these results in purple which in both earth and heaven is always the prerogative of royalty. Thus it is, that by their clothing in the various grades, the members of the Masonic Order are emblematic on earth of the angels, archangels and all the company of Heaven.

And now, brethren, may I conclude this Paper, and close, as every Lodge is closed, in peace and concord with all my Brethren, and with the ancient prayer that the Order may be preserved of God, and its members cemented with every virtue. If, in what I have written, Freemasonry has been given a conception spiritualised beyond the measure of its common understanding, I have but followed the example of our Ancient Brethren, who lifting their eyes to the hills whence cometh strength, wrought their work upon the highest eminences of the mind and discerned the Mysteries, not with eyes of flesh, but with the vision and understanding of the spirit. It may be that few are prepared to ascend to those high hills today, in this more than usually troubled and dark age, but nevertheless some are ready and eager to do so despite the great trials and tribulations which are incident to world in upheaval, and for them I have especially compiled this record. At the moment, the World-spirit is dominant in all institutions. Wisdom is little apparent; for want of vision the people perish; and the quest for light has to be pursued under conditions of peculiar adversity. But, we are reminded that there is a mystery of darkness no less than one of Light; and, in the moulding hands of the Great Architect of the House of Life, the darkness and the light are both alike and serve as twin pillars, that, finally, will establish the House in strength. Those, then, who are not yet prepared to mount the higher path of understanding the things of the Craft, are nevertheless incorporated in our great Fraternity, for as we are reminded by the words of a familiar Masonic Ode, we are charged and required to extend:-

"A welcome sweet to all we meet Within our sacred walls; May God still grant that those we greet May haste when Duty calls."

Finally, it remains with the craft itself, whether it shall enter upon its own heritage as a lineal successor of the Ancient Mysteries and Wisdom-teaching, or whether by failing to do so, it will undergo the inevitable fate of everything that is but form, from which the spirit has departed.



BY W.Bro. R. A. L. Harland LGR (President 1939 - 65)

FREEMASONRY made its first appearance as a Society, i.e. as a distinct organisation, in the year 1717. Four Lodges then existing in London combined on St. John's Day of that year to form a Grand Lodge, "as a centre of concord and harmony", and within a very few years there had developed from this modest foundation an intellectual and spiritual movement of an extent that seems almost incredible.

The Grand Lodge of 1717 was certainly not the beginning of speculative Freemasonry, but nevertheless its inauguration clearly marks a re-beginning on a new foundation. When Masonic students learn today that the formation of the first Grand Lodge is accepted as the real starting-point of the history of the modern Order, they are inclined to take it for granted that there is nothing more likely to be beyond question than the circumstances under which Speculative Freemasonry originated. This view, however, is fallacious. To delve into so-called Masonic history is like trying to find one's way through a labyrinth, or, rather, through an innumerable succession of labyrinths; for although works on the subject are numerous, the theories propounded by some of the authors are frequently in direct contradiction to those of others. The reason for this is easily explained: the origin of Speculative Freemasonry is shrouded in mystery.

We know approximately what happened in 1717. We know what was then fundamentally decided, but we know nothing whatever of the men who assembled on that 24th day of June which has become so significant. Solely from the fact that the Founders of the first Grand Lodge were corporations or Lodges and not individuals, it is clear that something more or less in obscurity predeeded the organisation which made its fact pubic at the date in question.

But, in the course of more than two hundred years of research this "something" has never been properly determined.

The beginnings of Speculative Freemasonry are lost in obscurity, an obscurity that is all the greater because the Brethren of 1717 evidently made no attempt to throw even the faintest ray of light upon it. Quite the contrary is the case. The author of the first and fundamental Constitutions of 1723, Dr. James Anderson, who was also the first Masonic historian, has indeed bequeathed us an extensive history; but what he wrote can only be regarded as legend, dictated by the desire to make the newly created Society appear as venerable as possible. In the Book of Constitutions of 1723 Anderson made very few references to the events which took place in 1717 and the succeeding years. The only direct allusion occurs at the end of the historical portion, and is as follows:-

"And now the Freeborn British Nations, disentangled from foreign and civil Wars, and enjoying the good Fruits of Peace and Liberty, having of late much indulg'd their happy Genius for Masonry of every sort, and reviv'd the drooping Lodges of London, this fair Metropolis flourisheth, as well as other Parts, with several worthy particular Lodges, that have a quarterly Communication and an annual grand Assemble, wherein the Forms and Usages of the most ancient and worshipful Fraternity are wisely propagated, and the Royal Art duly cultivated, and the Cement of Brotherhood preserv'd; so that the whole Body resembles a well built Arch".

In the light of the foregoing it is quite in order to place on record that modern Speculative Freemasonry had a beginning in the early years of the eighteenth century, but this statement is only valid in the sense that in the year 1717 there originated that which afterwards developed into, and now subsists as, the English Masonic Constitution. Masonry itself, however, existed long before that time, and in two distinct forms:

(1)..EXOTERIC: In the Operative Building Guilds connected with the practical building trade.

(2)..ESOTERIC: In a variety of secret communities consisting of mystics and occultists, having no relation to the practical building trade, but using builder's terminology for symbolical purposes of their own.

The advent of modern Speculative Freemasonry proclaimed to the world that henceforth both these forms of Masonry were "cemented" in one "grand design", and their affinity for the purpose contemplated by the now organisation was demonstrated in "a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", when it became apparent that the Art and Craft of Masonry which was Operative in an old order of things had emerged Figurative in a new. How this transformation was effected, and under whose direction, are two problems which still remain to be solved to the satisfaction to of the large majority of Masonic students. There seems little doubt, however, that in the Middle Ages there existed in this country a school of philosophical thought which practised a form of the Ancient Mysteries suitable to those times and conditions. At the close of the 15th century a decision appears to have been come to by some of those far-seeing men to put forward the old mystical tradition in a simple form and to attempt to interest a small section of the public in it. Some of the members of this advanced school therefore became incorporated with surviving Lodges of the Guild and Fellowship of Operative Masonry, from whom we probably derive our First and Second Degrees, with their Operative symbols and moral instruction; thereby combining and preserving a form of the ancient moral dramas, of which our system is a mystical descendant and legitimate exponent. It is admitted that this suggestion is incapable of rigorous proof, and will not, perhaps, commend itself to the academic mind, but notwithstanding its rejection on these grounds, we find, about the year 1600 and onwards, the first small signs of a movement that has eventuated in the vast modern Masonic Craft.

The "Mary's Chapel" Lodge in Edinburgh preserves as its most valued treasure the oldest existing masonic minute book, the entries in which go back to the year 1598. As early as the "aucht day of Janij the zeir of 'God 1600 yeirs", the registration of the first non-operative - John Boswell, Laird of Auchinlook - took place. Operative Lodges were at that time becoming obsolete and defunct, and by 1620 we find that in London Operative Masonry had become entirely superseded by Speculative, the members of the former no longer working in Guilds but striving to keep alive their old form of fellowship. In the year 1641 Sir Robert Moray, Quartermaster-General of the Scottish Army, was initiated in Newcastle, i.e, on English soil, by the Edinburgh Lodge, at a meeting convened specially for his reception almost on the field of battle. This distinguished soldier and philosopher was a Founder and the first President of the Royal Society. Five years later one of the greatest scholars of the seventeenth century, the Rosicrucian philosopher Elias Ashmole (founder of the Ashmolean museum at Oxford) was "made a Freemason" at Warrington, on the 16th October, 1646. In 1665 Randle Holm (to whom we are indebted for a copy of the "Antient Charges", the so-called Harleian Manuscript), described himself as a Freemason. Accretions to the ranks of the Craft proceeded to be made, but were at first few and gradual, owing to disturbed political conditions. In 1717 four Old London Lodges were prompted to combine in order to constitute a new nucleus. From them the first Grand Lodge was formed and thus modern Speculative Freemasonry was born, at an inn, The Apple Tree Tavern, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, In 1721 Dr. Anderson was entrusted by Grand Lodge with the task of drawing up the Constitutions of the new community, and these were published in 1723 when the Society announced its existence to the popular world.

The purpose of this study so far has been to formulate briefly, for the benefit, for the benefit of students, certain facts that illustrate that both historical research and other considerations point to the conclusion that we owe the inception of Speculative Freemasonry to group of Initiates who devised and projected the general design in the 16th and 17th centuries to keep alive the universal tradition of the Divine Mysteries at the critical period when the modern mechanical and industrial age was about to set in. In the words of a leading Masonic authority (W.Bro. A. E. Waite), they "made an experiment upon the mind of the age" by restoring to the modern world the traditional mystic wisdom and science formerly taught in the Mysteries, but which during the sway of the Roman Empire, had been withdrawn from the knowledge of the public, although it had been perpetuated in secret. It was they who inspired the movement which has now grown into our vast Masonic system; they grafted the elementary principles of the secret science upon the organisations of the then decaying Building Guilds and left it heavily veiled and crypticised, with the sure knowledge that the seed planted therein would came to fruition in due season. All great movements towards human betterment - and we must certainly number Freemasonry among them - will be found to have come to birth in circumstances of obscurity, and to have been Founded by wise men who are usually unknown as historical personalities. Such movements also pass through an evolutionary progress, from a rudimentary, to an ultimately advanced condition, the extent of the advance being in proportion to the force and vitality of the truth looked up in them which serves as their motive power. Of this nature has been the evolutional history of the Craft hitherto, but its evolution is still far from complete. The dynamic energies implanted in the Craft by its Founders have now expanded into a vast framework. This process of expansion has been essential, because before the true spirit and inward content of Freemasonry could be appreciated upon a scale sufficiently wide to constitute the Order a real spiritual power in the social body, it has been necessary to build up a vigorous physical organisation as a vehicle in which that spirit may eventually manifest. The growth of an institution is a slow growth, proceeding from material apparently unpromising, and involving continual selection, before it becomes finally forged into an efficient instrument. So with the Masonic Order; as a physical vehicle, a material organisation, it is as complete, as elaborated and as efficiently controlled, as it can ever be expected to be. It now stands waiting illumination, and that illumination must come from within itself, even as the Divine Presence is represented as manifesting within the symbolic Temple of Solomon. The Order awaits the liberation and realisation of its own inner consciousness, hitherto dormant, and this fact is amply demonstrated in that no sooner is the deeper and true nature of the Masonic design revealed to the Brethren than they leap to the recognition of it and desire to realise it; and, for such, there can be no going back to the old ways and old outlooks. In this manner, then, will the Craft throughout the world become gradually regenerated in its understanding, so fulfilling the destiny planned for it by those who inspired its formation three centuries ago.

The coming change must, and will, disclose that the Masonic creed is essentially spiritual, and that all its articles relate to interior conditions, principle and processes. It will be found to be based upon experimental knowledge, not on authority, and its central figures are to be regarded in the light of attributes, qualities and sacraments (mysteries), not persons, nor events, however great or remarkable. For persons and events belong to time and to the phenomenal, while principles and processes are eternal and noumenal. Freemasons, therefore, are called upon to reflect that history and individual entities must ever be regarded as constituting the accidental, and not the essential element in a system which aims at repairing the errors of the past fifteen centuries, by reconstructing the Mysteries on a scientific and intelligent basis. Further, one important reparation must, and will, be made as the direct result of enlightenment. Today by a tacit and quite unwarranted convention members of the Craft avoid mention in Lodge of the Christian Master, and confine scriptural readings and references almost exclusively to the Old Testament, the motive being to observe the injunction as to refraining from religious discussion and to prevent offence on the part of Brethren who may not be of the Christian faith. This motive is an entirely misguided one and is, of course, negated by the fact that the "Greater Light" upon which every Candidate is obligated, and to which his earnest attention is recommended from the moment of his admission to the Order, is not only the Old Testament, but the Volume of the Sacred Law in its entirety. Freemasons will come to recognise that the New Testament is as essential as the Old, not merely on account of its moral teaching, but in virtue of its constituting the record of the Mysteries in their supreme form and historic culmination. It will be perceived that the Gospels, like the Masonic Degrees, are a record of preparation and illumination, leading up to the ordeal of death, followed by a raising from the dead and the attainment of Mastership, and they exhibit the process of initiation carried to the highest conceivable degree of attainment. Thus the Craft will learn that the Grand Master and Exemplar of Freemasonry, Hiram Abiff, is but a figure of the Great Master, and Saviour of the world, the divine Architect by whom all things were made, and without Whom is nothing that hath been made. Neither the Ancient Mysteries, nor Modern Freemasonry, their descendant, can be rightly viewed without reference to their relation to the Christian evangel, into which the pro-Christian schools became assumed. Hence we find that St. Augustine affirms (Retractationer, 1, 13, 3), "the identical thing that we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and has not been lacking from the beginnings of the human race." A study of Patristic literature makes it quite clear that the primitive method of the Christian Church was not the one which now obtains, under which the religious offices and teaching are administered to the whole public alike and in a manner implying a common level of doctrine for all and uniform power of comprehension by every member of the congregation. It was, on the contrary, a graduated method of instruction and identical with the Masonic system of Degrees conferred by reason of advancing merit and ability. Admission to the early Church was by three ceremonial degrees exactly corresponding with those of Freemasonry, as the following quotation from one of the most instructive of the early Christian treatises proves conclusively:

"The most holy initiation of the Mystic Rites has as its first Godly purpose the holy cleansing of the initiated; and as second, the enlightening instruction of the purified; and finally and as the completion of the former, the perfecting of those instructed in the science of their appropriate instructions". (Dionysius: On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy).

Originally, therefore, membership of the Christian Church involved a sequence of three initiatory rites, and the names give to those who had qualified in those Rites, together with their modern equivalents in the Craft today, are respectively:-




Their first degree signified re-birth and purification of the heart; the second was concerned with the illumination of the intelligence; and the third related to a total death unto sin (self-centred individuality) and a new birth unto righteousness, in which the Candidate died with Christ on the Cross, as in our modern Order he is made to imitate the death of Hiram, and was raised to that higher order of life (organic integration - resurrection in Christ, the Universal Manhood) which is Mastership. When Christianity became a state-religion and the Church a world-power, the materialisation of its doctrine proceeded apace and has only increased with the centuries. For this reason the science of regeneration has long been, and still is, outside the scope of orthodox religion. But despite inhibition on the part of official orthodoxy the wisdom and the traditional methods of the Mysteries have never been without living witnesses in the world, and since their suppression in the sixth century the tradition and teaching have been continued in secret and under various concealments; and to this continuation, our present Masonic system is due. Like the light of a Master Mason which never becomes wholly extinguished, so in the world's darkest days the light of the Mysteries never goes out entirely, and, if, in comparison with other witnesses, Freemasonry is shown to be but a glimmering ray, it is none the less a true ray from the world's central altar-flame. Hence, the attention of the modern Craft may be directed to the words of the well known hymn, "Lead Kindly Light", for indeed it is sufficient to lead us on amid the encircling gloom, until the now day shall dawn; Light is granted to us in proportion to the desire of our hearts, and have we not affirmed that, "Light is the predominant wish of our hearts"?

The Masonic system was devised at a time of general unrest and change when spiritual life was running extremely low and the modern intellectual, mechanical and industrial era was about to commence. In such circumstances something had to be done in order to preserve the universal mystical tradition, and this "something" had to be of such a nature that it would at the same time provide an introduction to the root principles and methods of the Secret Doctrine of Initiation for the benefit of any who could discern and profit by them during the period of spiritual obsouration. As we have seen, following upon the decision come to by certain Illuminates calling themselves members of the "Invisible Society," Speculative Freemasonry emerged in the year 1723 as a system of morality presented in the form of Ritual. From that time to the present the process of development has gone steadily forward, and however misunderstood and misapplied have been the rites and ceremonies, it at last may be affirmed that the soul and consciousness of every voluntary participant in them, stands imperishably impressed with the memory of them. The familiar axiom, "Once a Mason always a Mason" expresses an occult truth not realised by those who are unaware of the subjective value and persistence of deliberated actions. Let it therefore be clearly understood that the incorporation of each Candidate in the "body of Freemasonry" means also an addition to the aggregate volume of the group Masonic consciousness, and that following this incorporation reactions and consequences ensue of a nature too abstruse to dilate upon here. Meanwhile, tinctured and affected by this metaphysical influence from the subjective world, the work of the Craft proceeds within this bourne of time and place; beginning, as we have ample evidence to show, with tendencies of the natural order and following along the line of the law of orderly development as propounded in the dictum of St. Paul, recorded in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, verse 46, "Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual". Operative Masonry preceded and became spiritualised into Speculative, and the crude beginnings of the latter are now becoming sublimated into a more subtle conception and tending towards a scientific mysticism, at once theoretic and practical. We may, then with confidence, look forward to the gradual spiritualisation of the Craft and to its becoming - when time and circumstances permit - the porchway or entrance to a still more advanced expression of the Sacred Mysteries. But, at the same time we must never forget that the Craft will only become what its individual members make it, and if they continue to see in it only a ceremonial procedure, at such it will remain. Let us then strive, each one of us, to realize and make our own the living spirit and intention which lies behind the outward rites, and enter into the Mystical Quest for that "which is lost," when we ourselves find we shall be able to communicate to our fellow seekers, until the Craft is justified of all its Brethren and becomes - as it was intended to become - a great light in a dark world.

Finally, the future of the Order cannot be appraised without reference to the general social life surrounding it; for it is not something apart and detached from that life but an integral element of it, and between the two there is perpetual interaction and reaction. It follows, therefore, that in the fleeting glimpses of the revival of the Masonic philosophy which are even now discernable as taking place within the Craft, may be seen at once the token and the agent of the world's deliverance. For, Brethren of the Craft, it means the supersession of a period of obsouration by one of illumination, in which men can once more rise from the appreciation of the Form to that of the Substance, of the Letter to that of the Spirit, and thus discern the meaning of the Divine Word, whether written or enacted. This recognition of the ideal will signify the reconstruction of the religious life upon a scientific basis, and of science upon a religious basis. So long as Masonry continues to build upon the mere facts of phenomena and history, she builds upon a sandbank, on which the still advancing tide of scientific and academic criticism is ever encroaching, and which sooner or later must be swept away with all that is founded upon it. But, when She (Masonry - intuitional understanding) learns the secret of the HIRAMIC, that is the Esoteric interpretation, then, and then only, does She build upon a Rock or Foundation, which shall never be shaken. Such is the import of the name HIRAM (As the Spirit of Understanding, the name HIRAM or HERMES signifies both ROCK and INTERPRETER) the Foundation of the Masonic Temple, and it is on this Hermetic Rock of inward illumination and spiritual life, called the Mount of Regeneration, that the great Mystics of all time have ever taken their stand. Hereon were founded the Pythagorean and Neoplatonic Schools, the system of the Alexandrian Gnostics, and the various Lodges of semi-oriental philosophy of Egypt and Asia Minor in the centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. And in later days the self same illumination formulated itself by the lips of and pens of the Initiates of the thirteenth and following centuries - the epoch of St. Bernard, of Eckhart, Tauler, Ruysbroeck. In the early eighteenth century Speculative Freemasonry emerged, heavily veiled and crypticised, but proclaiming itself in the direct line of succession of the Ancient Wisdom. It is true that in our day, even as the Old Teacher declares, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding" (Proverbs 4, 7), and this counsel may well be commended to the Masonic Fraternity, which at present so little understands its own system. But, understanding depends upon the gift of the Supernal Light, and this gift in turn depends upon the ardour of our desire for it. If Wisdom today is widowed, lot us not forget that all Freemasons are actually or potentially the Widow's sons, and she will be justified of those of her children who labour for her and thus obey the injunction, "Exalt her, and she shall promote thee" (Proverbs 4, 8). Brethren of the Craft, "now is the time to perform our allotted task"!

"EST IN MERCURIO QUICQUID QUOERUNT SAPIENTES" (All is in the understanding that the wise seek). Hermetic Motto.