Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning
"The archetypal image of the wise man, the saviour or redeemer, lies buried and dormant in man's unconscious since the dawn of culture; it is awakened whenever the times are out of joint and a human society is committed to a serious error" 
In the present era, when indeed, "the times are of joint," Freemasonry should eagerly embrace the sacred opportunity of awakening the torpid consciousness of the leaders of the masses to the real truths of Masonic Wisdom. This is my prayer and my hope; and this desire has inspired me to present in this treatise the illucidation of those Masonic truths as I have been given the light to see them.
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"A younger Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the material, for want of judgement, and for increasing and continuing of Brotherly Love."
A good man and true makes known to a friend his desire to become a Mason. He is given a petition for the degrees of Masonry, which he fills out and presents to the Lodge. It is received; a committee of investigation is appointed and functions, efficiently or otherwise, and if elected, the degrees are conferred in due course. The newly-made Master Mason sits among the brethren, is present at the conferring of a few degrees, becomes wearied of the same routine repeated over and over again and soon fails to attend Lodge, except, perhaps, on some special occasion such as a Past Master's night, a banquet, or possibly not at all.
Over twenty-five years of experience in Masonry has forced the conclusion that this lack of interest of Masons in Masonry is largely due to failure on the part of the Lodge to teach the science and philosophy of Masonry, especially to the younger members, at the time when their curiosity is aroused and their interest is flaming. Masonry has been defined as a "system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." The ritual nowhere adequately explains these symbols and allegories, and not only conceals the true explanations but also often actually misleads. To transform rough ashlars into perfect ashlars, reading, study and instruction are required. It should not be forgotten that only stones capable of being fashioned should be admitted to our Venerable Institution, and that the internal qualifications should be carefully scrutinized.
Masters of Lodges, officers and coaches are continually being asked questions by those of inquiring minds which they are all too often unable to answer. The necessary information can be obtained only from the continual and persistent study of the writings of those Masonic students who have placed their thoughts and researches upon the written page, thus conforming to the admonition to the "well informed brethren" to impart knowledge to the lesser informed.
In this book Brother Steinmetz has created an elementary textbook and guide for the study and understanding of the esoteric meanings of Masonry. He is enanently well qualified to undertake this task, being well versed in the Mysteries, a student of Hebrew, a clear, logical thinker, realizing the necessity for continued Masonic education. Since it is intended for the use of the beginner rather than for the advanced Masonic Scholar there are many quotations from the monitorial work to facilitate its use. S ome students of Masonry may not agree entirely with the interpretations herein set forth. Even these, however, will benefit as they will need arrive logically at a better explanation, and in so doing advance themselves.
A careful study of this book will implement the student with proper and plausible explanations of many of the symbols and allegories contained in the three degrees, and will stimulate him further to pursue the study of the deeper esoteric meanings of our exceedingly rich ritual. It must not be forgotten that although the Grand Lodge system dates from the year 1717, Masonry or the thing called "Masonry" has existed from the beginning of man.
This instructive, thought-provoking book should be in the hands of every English speaking Mason. The study and possession of the knowledge contained in it will bring about greater understanding, fellowship and brotherhood among those who are privileged to be members of this Honourable Institution.
— Herbert H. Schultz M.D., P.M., 32°
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"Most holy and glorious Lord God, the Great Architect of the Universe, giver of all good gifts and graces; in Thy name we have assembled, and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant that the sublime principles of Masonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, so harmonize and enrich our hearts with Thine own love and goodness, that the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign for ever before Thy throne."
— Masonic Manual of Missouri
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By Way of Introduction
"Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door wherein I went."
This quotation from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is "veiled in allegory," as is Freemasonry, and is an excellent description of my mental state, when first I started meditating upon the deeper aspects of life.
The quotation appealed to me, for, as the Poet, I too had eagerly frequented both "Doctor and Saint." Doctor, learned in things material; Saint, supposedly learned in spiritual matters. Like Khayyam, I "came out by the same door wherein I went" — not satisfied nor enlightened by the answers given me.
It is inherent in man to seek a religious belief to which he can subscribe with wholehearted faith. I was seeking such faith and was sincere in my desire to find a religious belief. But intellect demanded it be consistent with such knowledge as I possessed of natural history and material science.
In this search I studied every religion with which I came in contact. As a singer in various churches, I was afforded opportunities to hear the creeds of the principal faiths expounded. I did not exclude Roman Catholicism or Buddhism. Both contain much to commend, particularly the latter in its esoteric form. The study was far from time wasted.
None of these creeds provided a satisfying meaning of life; the answer to "Why Am I Here?" which, at some time, every individual asks from the depth of his being. The answer, to my entire satisfaction, finally came with a fuller understanding of Freemasonry.
Most of the truly great Masonic writers have deplored the lack of esoteric Masonic knowledge among the craft in general. Mackey speaks of the "Parrot Mason," describing him as: "One who commits to memory questions and answers of the catechetical lectures, and the formulas of the ritual, but pays no attention to the history and philosophy of the institution; called a Parrot Mason because he repeats what he has learned without any conception of its true meaning." He also ironically describes as "Bright Masons" those who are letter-perfect in the ritual and continues: "but the progress of Masonry as a science now requires something more than a mere knowledge of the lectures to constitute a Masonic Scholar."
Long ago J. D. Buck stated: "In its ritualism and monitorial lessons Masonry teaches nothing in morals, in science, in religion, or in any other department of human knowledge or human interest, not taught elsewhere in current forms of thought, or by the sages of the past. In these directions it has no secrets of any kind. It is in the ancient symbols of Freemasonry that its real secrets lie concealed, and these are as densely veiled to the Mason as to any other, unless he has studied the science of symbolism in general, and Masonic symbols in particular. ...The most profound secrets of Masonry are not revealed in the lodge at all. They belong only to the few."
Buck also made the statement, which is as true today as when he first uttered it, years ago: "There was never a greater need than at the present time; never so great an opportunity as now for Masonry to assume its true place among the institutions of man and force recognition by the simple power of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, based upon philosophy, as nowhere else exists outside of its ancient symbols. If the majority of Masons do not realize the true significance and value of their possessions ther e is all the more need for those who do to speak out, in the face of discouragement and detraction, and do their utmost to demonstrate the truth."
Albert Pike writes in Morals and Dogma: "A few rudimentary lessons in architecture; a few universally admitted maxims of morality; a few unimportant traditions whose real meaning is unknown or misunderstood, will no longer satisfy the earnest inquirer after Masonic truth."
In Pike's Legend 4° to 14° Scottish Rite, he states: "In the United States, the Blue Degrees teach morality only, refuse to intermeddle with questions political or religious, and require only a belief in God, and, faintly, in the immortality of the soul; except so far as they declare the Holy Bible to be the rule and guide of man's conduct, and the inspired word of God; which, if it were not evaded in practice, by the admission of Hebrews, would make the Masonry of the United States a strictly Christian association. In the early part of the 18th century, Freemasonry was, for many of its initiates, the teaching of the Hermetic philosophy."
In one of his most vehement bursts of sarcasm, of which Pike was a master when he deemed the occasion demanded, he refers to the Blue Lodge lectures in these words: "It has been objected to us, that in our lectures we undervalue that which is absurdly called 'Symbolic Masonry,' as if any Masonry could be not symbolic. It is quite true that we should not value it, if we saw nothing in the symbols of the Blue Lodge beyond the imbecile pretences of interpretation of them contained in the ordinary sterile instruction which we owe to Webb and his predecessors."
There is truth in all these charges. The average Mason is lamentably ignorant of the real meaning of Masonic Symbology and knows as little of its esoteric teaching. On the other hand one must admit the existence of mitigating circumstances. This is a busy world and few are blessed with the time, even though they have the inclination, to acquire such knowledge. There is no one source where a general knowledge may be acquired, as most writers deal with specific phases of Masonry. Frankly speaking, Pike, Mackey and even Waite, are too recondite for the average Mason to gain much enlightenment from their writing. Unless he approaches their work with a considerable background of metaphysical and philosophical knowledge, they will profit him little.
It is to place as much of this teaching as is seemingly advisable in a more accessible form that this book has been undertaken. The writer has earnestly endeavoured to write as simply as the profundity of the subject itself permits. The reader is asked to be mindful of the fact that in a work of this nature there is included the no small handicap of being forced to allude but vaguely, at times, to those things which cannot be committed to writing. I have taken the various printed manuals as my precedent assuring no objection can be offered for printing herein such ritual as the Grand Lodges have authorized to be printed in these manuals. Where it seems advantageous I have therefore taken the liberty of quoting freely therefrom.
The only motive for this book is the fulfilment of the writer's obligations, both moral and Masonic, to assist others to such light as he has been so generously allowed to attain. The reader is asked to approach the subject matter with the words of Herbert Spencer as his guide: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation before investigation."
When I petitioned the Masonic Order I believed in a Supreme Being, therefore my application was not a misrepresentation insofar as claiming a belief in a "one living and true God." My principal reason for seeking admission was that many of my associates were members of the Order; observation satisfied me that most of the better class of business men I contacted were Masons, and my superior in the organization with which I was connected, and whom I greatly admitted, was "high in the Order."
These, I confess, are not the most worthy of motives, but are probably on a level with those of most persons seeking membership in the Masonic Lodge.
In retrospection I realize that at first I obtained very little benefit from Freemasonry; nor does one become a swimmer after the first few times in the water. It takes constant practice to attain proficiency in either art. Later I was requested to organize a lodge quartet and as a member thereof I was called upon to attend and assist in initiations. Hearing the degrees repeatedly conferred, many of the beautiful phrases of the ritual impressed themselves on my mind. It was but natural that I should ponder over their meaning.
Because of an inquisitive disposition I attained whatever progress I have made in Masonry. The first serious thinking I recall devoting to Masonry was stimulated by the instructions to the candidate at a certain time to pray for himself, coupled with the reminder that previously the Lodge had prayed for him. This appeared to be significant, as it was the first time the candidate was not prompted to give a specific reply, or told precisely what to do.
The obvious answer occurring to one is that if prayer is to be most effective one should pray for oneself, but that seemed too apparent and not entirely satisfying. The answer to this question is the raison d'être of Masonry. However, like all of Masonry's secret lessons the reason is so concealed that only he who sincerely seeks will ever discover it.
When the truth of this lesson has been realized one discovers the most important facts of existence itself; then, too, he learns that Masonry is religion as well.
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Masonry — Religion
"Religion must be as graduated as evolution else it fails in its object. ... If a religion does not reach and master the intelligence, if it does not purify and inspire the emotions, it has failed in its object, so far as the person addressed is concerned."
— Annie Besant
The order has at all times been careful to explain that Masonry is not a religion. It has denied the fact over and over again, and insisted that it was a lodge or brotherhood, and in no way did, nor was it intended to, take the place of the church in a man's life. It is claimed that Masonry is universal, its tenets such that they can be subscribed to by Christian, Jew, Mohammedan and Buddhist alike, and all may meet in brotherhood at its altars.
Has Masonry been too careful in its explanations? Too vehement in its denials? Has it so loudly proclaimed it is not a religion that its followers have been misled into thinking it is not religious? Has it been fearful of inadvertently stepping on the figurative toes of some creed, mistaking a creed for religion?
A creed is defined as: "a formally phrased confession of faith; a brief authoritative summarizing statement of religious belief." As such, certainly Masonry is not a "creed," but also a "creed" is not "religion." What is religion? The dictionary defines it as: "The recognition of man's relation to a divine superhuman power to whom obedience and reverence are due; the outward acts and practices of life by which men indicate their recognition of such relationship; conformity to the teachings of the Bible, effort of man to attain the goodness of God."
What is Freemasonry? The Masonic Manual of Missouri contains this definition: "Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Its tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth. Its Cardinal Virtues are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. Its religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the one living and true God."
In Morals and Dogma Pike offers the following definition: "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual struggle, effort and warfare of the spiritual against the material and sensual. That victory, when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear his well-earned laurels, is the true Holy Empire."
The time has arrived for Masonry to make its position clear, to not only admit, but rather to declare, that it is religious, even though it may well explain it is not a religion in the commonly accepted misuse of the word "religion." An attitude to the contrary may have been excusable in the past, as the vast majority of Masons, ignorant of the esoteric teachings, were equally ignorant of the fact that those teachings constitute religion. This has never been true of the Great Masonic Scholars of the past, all of whose writings show their recognition of the religion in Masonry.
What is religion? "Religion is the recognition of man's relation to a divine superhuman power to whom obedience and reverence are due." The Masonic Manual states: "Freemasonry's religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the one living and true God." The definition of religion continues: "The outward acts and practices of life by which men indicate their recognition of such relationship." Paralleling this the Masonic Manual continues: "[Freemasonry's] tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth." How more can one's "outward acts and practices" indicate recognition of the Supreme Architect of the Universe and the relationship to Him, than by the practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth? Recognition of Him as Father of all necessitates the recognition of every fellow man as a brother, demanding brotherly love which encompasses relief when needed, and above all else, truth.
"Conformity to the teaching of the Bible." Is there ever a time in the Masonic Lodge when the Bible is ignored? Is it not constantly open on the altars of Freemasonry? Is not the attention of the newest Apprentice immediately directed to it? Is he not told: "The Holy Bible is given us as the rule and guide of our faith and practice"? Scripture is quoted in each degree, and the closing prayer is: "and with reverence study and obey the laws which Thou hast given us in Thy Holy Word." If "conformity to the teachings of the Bible" is the criterion on which to decide whether or not Masonry is religion, the case is already settled in the affirmative.
What of the last portion of the definition of religion: "Effort of man to attain the goodness of God."? "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." "Effort of man to attain the goodness of God." Who knows the "goodness of God"? How can it be measured by finite mind? It has been said, "man makes God in his own image." This is the utterance of the cynic, but strangely, in a different sense than the original remark was intended, it is true. The Book we are admonished to study "with reverence" informs us that man is made in God's image. That likewise is true. God first made man in His image and ever since, man has been making God in his own image. If one sits between two mirrors he sees his image reflected in the one glass while the other reflects the image of the image. Here the material analog must cease, for as man continues to "make God in his own image," and grows spiritually to that first likeness to which he aspires, his conception broadens and he immediately makes God in the image of himself at his newly attained spiritual level, and so on ad infinitum. At each step the "goodness of God" comes closer of attainment. Eventually man makes God in his image, and the image is indistinguishable from the object. Which has made which? What matters? Only that the ultimate has been reached.
The Master, Jesus, was once asked a question intended to put him in an embarrassing position with the Roman Authorities. "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? ... Shew me the tribute money. And they brought him a penny. And he saith unto them, whose image and superscription is this? They say unto him Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." At the time it was the answer of a shrewd psychologist putting his questioner "on the spot" intended for himself, but like all his answers, it not only settled the question at the time but has come down through the ages, settling the questions of future generations.
What is the significance of this incident to our problem? Call the material things of life "Caesar," and the spiritual "God." Turn back to the definition of Masonry and read: "Its Cardinal Virtues are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence And Justice." Jesus did not advise to disregard Caesar, or the material, but to render unto it its just due, being careful to render unto God or the spiritual its due as well.
"TEMPERANCE" — temperateness, not prohibition of material things, but judicious use of them, restraint from over-indulgence. "Be ye temperate in all things." Temperate in what you eat, as well as what you drink. Temperate in your remarks and speech. Temperate in your judgment of your fellow man, that "due restraint upon our appetites and passions which render the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vices." Again quoting from Morals and Dogma, temperance is the "conquest of the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." It is also the circumscribing of our desires and the keeping of our passions within due bounds, not with a brother Mason alone, but with all mankind.
"FORTITUDE" — is an attitude of soul. According to the dictionary it is "spiritual strength to endure suffering and adversity with courage." But could one endure adversity without faith? The only reason man manifests fortitude is his intuitive knowledge that fortitude is compensated on the spiritual side of life.
"PRUDENCE" — "Teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictates of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge and discreetly determine on all things relative to our present as well as future happiness."
"JUSTICE" — is the principle of dealing uprightly and fairly with others, regardless of the material relationship which exists between us. Justice renders unto each man his due, regardless of his station in life, without fear or favour. The just man is a righteous man, he cannot be otherwise. The more he "prudently" envisages what real justice is, the better will be his actions. The just man will be he to whom Buddha referred when he said: "He is the noble man who is himself what he believes other men should be." It is the ultimate of justice not to expect anything of others we are not willing to do or be ourselves.
By giving the material due consideration, and in justice rendering unto it the things which are the material's but giving it no more, by properly keeping our desires and passions between the extended points of the compasses, we have automatically rendered unto the spiritual the things which are the spiritual's. Man is not a "division" but a "unity" — Body, Soul and Spirit — and when we render its due to any undivided part we have served the whole. Is this not religion as described as "an effort to attain the goodness of God"?
Neither official denial nor confirmation can change facts. It is of small consequence whether or not Masonry is acknowledged to be religion. The important thing is how it is practised. Draw aside the veil of allegory from the "beautiful system of morals," thereby discovering the deeper spiritual truths of its meaning, while at the same time following the material admonitions.
"Illustrated by symbols" — each symbol points a moral lesson and is used as an example for the material life, but there are always other interpretations which have reference to the spiritual. Until one "seeks and finds that deeper meaning and applies it spiritually Masonry is NOT religion. It becomes religion only to him who finds religion in it, to others it remains but ritual, and at best a system of morals. Yet there remains the promise contained in the "rule and guide of our faith and practice" — "Seek, and ye shall find."
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"Be specific, be definite in your mental work. You are dealing with Intelligence, so deal with It intelligently."
— Ernest Holmes
MENTAL SCIENCE asks no one to accept any statements made in its behalf that cannot be proven. We should attempt to prove each statement as we build our premise, exactly as the investigator in any other science would proceed to prove his findings.
While all Freemasons necessarily profess a belief in a "one living and true God," else they could not be members of the Order, for the sake of consistency a scientific reason should be established for that belief.
This seemingly is a world of opposites. Negatives at first glance appear to be truths, but on analysis are not. Darkness, of itself, does not exist. It is merely the absence of light. Ignoring the negative side of the question but turning to the affirmative, let us build up a rational belief in a Supreme Being.
We exist. The Universe exists. We are conscious of both our own existence and our surroundings. Consciousness is a degree of intelligence. That same intelligence which makes us aware of our own existence and the existence of the world in which we live forces us to admit the prior existence of some creative force which caused both the universe and ourselves.
This is not an attempt to advance an argument to the individual who says "we just happened." In fact he will not be reading these lines. Such a view is so inconsistent with nature that it requires no answer from the thinking person. Nothing in nature "just happens." There is always a reason for natural action if we but find it, and we cannot malign the Omni-present because the human mind cannot grasp the reason for some particular thing and say "there is no reason, no cause." We must ultimately come to the conclusion that we and the Universe are the result of definite, intelligent planning; in other words — thought.
The next step in an attempt to find a logical basis for belief is to ascertain how we were created. Man the finite cannot comprehend the infinite and, therefore, unaided, realize infinity, yet he must needs attempt that very thing. Fortunately, there is in every man that which impels him to seek the infinite, and by means of it apprehend sufficient of the concept of infinity to pursue the proper train of thought.
The universe is distinctly material and, being material, there must have been a time when it did not exist. Hence the Biblical statement: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This provides a good starting place, and, by applying the theory of negatives, can be restated; "until created the earth was not." The Bible carefully states "created, not "built." To "build" is to construct or rearrange out of existing material. To "create" is to materialize something out of apparent nothing.
There is some question. as to the correctness of the translation of the foregoing passage, the Hebrew word "rosh" being involved. It is true that "rosh" may be translated "beginning" but the best Hebrew authorities seem to prefer "the head." Thus we are told that "rosh hashana" means "the head of the year." It is not phrased: "the beginning of the year." In connection with this distinction of meaning it should be noted that "the head" carries the inference of knowledge or wisdom. It is the seat of wisdom. Thus this passage may well be translated: "In wisdom God created the heavens and the earth."
Returning to the Bible we read: "In the beginning the earth was without form, and void." That statement seems contradictory, for regardless of the shape of a thing it cannot be without form. If it exists as material, whether round, flat or square, that is its form. From this one can only conclude that the earth did not exist as matter. How then did it exist, if in the beginning it was without form and void? Only as thought, an idea, without (material) form, in the Universal Mind.
The suggested translation lends itself to this line of reasoning. If we say "in wisdom" rather than "in the beginning," we immediately predicate a "mental creation" preceding the material manifestation in form and space. In another passage we read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, etc." "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." Again we change not the sense, but give it actually more specific meaning if we translate: "In wisdom was the word, etc."
Earth then, came into existence through the wisdom of God and by the word of God. What is a word, but the vocalization of a thought? A "word" must be "thought" before it can be spoken. (We seek a "word," and the reason for our quest is that we, too, may create by means of this word.) A "word" being a spoken thought, we may now change the initial statement of the Bible to read: "In wisdom God thought the world into being."
Everything in nature indicates the absolute consistency of the Great Universal Mind, hence we reason when we see the operation of physical laws, that spiritual laws work on the same basis. The Infinite Intelligence can arrive only at a perfect plan of operation, and that plan is absolute.
In studying nature's laws as a starting point in the "seen" we can conclude that the operation of spiritual laws in the "unseen" is similar. Hence the conclusion can readily be reached that there is but one set of laws, or one great universal law. It can be likened to that portion of a spar seen above the water, because of which we know the portion under the water of necessity exists.
Wheat planted in the ground produces wheat, and wheat only. Cattle bred produce cattle, and cattle of the same type and breed. Man produces an offspring of like form and intellect. If the absolute immutability of this law could not be depended upon there could be no assurance of our own continued existence, or of the continuance of the universe.
If, in the wisdom of Universal Intelligence, the operation of this law in the material world is satisfactory, why not apply the same to the spiritual world? This is the dictate of reason, and we may strengthen our conclusion by the precept of the Bible, which the Mason is admonished to use as "the rule and guide of his faith and practice."
The Great Teacher suggests the law of like producing like by several questions he asks, as well as by directly stating it to be so. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Also - "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Again we are specifically told: "And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our likeness." We have definitely concluded God is not material, but spirit — Mind. He could not have referred to man's physical body when he said "in our own image and likeness," so this can only mean spiritual likeness.
The Bible contains two separate and distinct accounts of the creation of man. One which may be called the birth of the idea, or ideal, of man in the Infinite Mind; the real spiritual "thought creation" as dearied in the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses of the first chapter of Genesis. In the second chapter of Genesis, seventh verse, is found the description of the physical creation, the actual making of the material body.
William James, writing on the theory of the secondary or subliminal consciousness, says: "In certain persons, at least, the total possible consciousness may be split into parts which coexist, but mutually ignore each other." F. W. H. Myers suggests that the stream of consciousness in which we habitually live is not our only one. According to Bramwell, from whose book, Hypnotism, its History, Practice and Theory, we are here quoting, Myers termed the "self below the threshold of ordinary consciousness the s ubliminal consciousness, and the empirical self of common experience the supraliminal."
Psychology teaches that we have two minds, or one mind capable of two distinct functions. It is immaterial for our present purpose which view we accept, but for the sake of clarity we will henceforth speak of two minds: the objective, or Myers' supraliminal, and the subjective, which he describes as the subliminal consciousness. The objective mind of man is the manifestation of the Universal Mind, which is subjective upon the objective plane.
The objective mind of man, with its ability to reason inductively, make choices of its own and distinguish between good and evil, is the highest work of all creation (in a material body) up to the present time. By culminating in man, with his objective mind, evolution has at last produced something which can go on of its own accord and volition.
While throughout the animal kingdom there is evidence of ability to reason, and particularly in the higher animals does this approach more nearly what man terms reasoning, it is man alone who has attained to the eminence of being a free moral agent; free to make his own decisions, draw his own conclusions and have cognition of the existence of the very Universal Law which underlies the attainment of this stage of his development
With the objective mind man makes his conscious decisions. It is the seat of the ability to choose. He has the power of choice. It is the objective mind which recognizes the fact and says: "I AM!"
The subjective mind is described as being impersonal, passive, directed by the objective mind and having no will of its own. It faithfully follows the dictates of the objective mind. It is proven beyond argument that it is also the controller of bodily functions, as may be recognized when it is realized that we do not consciously, objectively, direct the heart beat or respiration. These other functions are not material to the present study, so we particularly note the impersonal quality of the subjective mind for the present.
In a study of the characteristics of the subjective mind, its impersonal nature may be better understood by observing its action in hypnotism. Hypnotism is the displacement of the subject's objective mind by the objective mind of the hypnotist, in order that the hypnotist may directly make suggestions to the subjective mind of the subject.
Mental science teaches that the, subjective mind is impersonal, and this is readily proven by hypnotism. In Bramwell's book, previously quoted, he states relative to changes in personality: "Here the subject [while under hypnotism] assumes the role suggested [by the hypnotist], and speaks and acts in accordance with his conception of the part."
Another fact demonstrated through hypnotism is that the subjective mind reasons entirely deductively, and is incapable of reasoning inductively. In inductive reasoning conclusions are drawn from a number of known facts, whereas deductive reasoning assumes two or more facts to be true, without actual verification; but, if correct, then further conclusions must of necessity be true.
Given the initial suggestion by the hypnotist, the subject will follow through, deductively even to the most minute detail, arriving at the correct conclusion with a display of intelligence at times far superior to the known ability of the objective mind of the individual. However, the hypnotized subject will neither show any tendency, nor evince any ability, to establish inductively the correctness of the original assumptions, no matter how false, or even ridiculous, they may appear to the objective mind of an observer.
Mental Science informs us that this subjective mind is the individual's undivided part of the great subjective mind of the universe, that creative force which brought us into being, and therefore we are like our Creator. Science thus establishes that we are as our creator, and enlightens us as to the real meaning of the Biblical statement that man is made in the image and likeness of God.
So much for the present of Mental Science. However we hope to subsequently establish the fact that Freemasonry and Mental Science are synonymous. Through its careful and secret teaching Freemasonry has preserved knowledge of Mental Science through the dark ages of ignorance, so that in our more enlightened day, when a man has the right to think for himself and express those thoughts openly, the great storehouse of knowledge is found stocked with the fundamental ideas.
However, due to the necessity of secrecy in the past, this knowledge was concealed in allegory and illustrated only by symbols. The full import was unknown, even to some of those who zealously guarded it and were instrumental in its preservation. For this reason, even today, it is not an "open book" which may be read with ease. The knowledge is all there, but it is still "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," and is useless until laboriously dug out and exposed to the view of the intellect.
This knowledge is ours for the asking. All we need do is knock at the door of this storehouse of wisdom and "it will be opened unto us," but the door is not equipped with an electric eye which will swing it open as we pass. It takes a "distinct knock," and patience to gain this important privilege. It demands a well formed personal desire to give the knock and patiently await a due time. We have encountered in the spiritual world the law of the material world, and are dealing with personal desire. We mu st first "form a favourable opinion" of this knowledge we seek, then request admission. That request must be "unbiased by the improper solicitations of friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives." It must be for a far more noble and glorious reason: "a desire for knowledge and a sincere desire of being serviceable to your fellow creatures." Finally, we must be able to truthfully answer: "it is," when asked: "Is this of your own free will and accord?"
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"Our starting point is that of a divinely ordained security from which we may quietly grow into that higher evolution which is the fulfilment of the law of our own being."
— Thomas Troward
WE ARE told that Masonry was originated by King Solomon at the building of his Temple. However, it is a well established fact that Masonry is an ancient esoteric philosophy of life, ancient even in King Solomon's day.
This philosophy has been traced back to the "Lost Continent of Atlantis." The Great Masters, the "Noahs," of the time, warned of the impending doom of the continent, assembled the "worthy and well qualified" of their followers and migrated to Africa. They took with them the truths of that philosophy and re-established it in their new dwelling place. There we find their ruined temples which, compared with our lodge rooms, have similar floor plans, the same "dark north," and many of the same emblems.
In this connection the following quotation from James Churchward in Children of Mu may prove very enlightening. "Many Egyptologists find enigmas concerning the two Egyptian religious cults. These apparent enigmas are brushed aside when it is known in what way Egypt was first peopled and by whom. ... Egypt was first colonized by two sets of people, commencing at two separate and distinct parts. One set coming to lower Egypt from the west, the other set coming to upper Egypt from the east. ... Eventual ly the upper Egyptians met the lower Egyptians on the valley of the Nile. ... A tablet found in Maycarne, Crete, by Schliemann says: 'The Egyptians descended from Misar. Misar was the child of Thoth, the God of history. Thoth was the emigrated son of a priest of Atlantis. He built the first temple at Sais and there taught the wisdom of his native land'."
Also, in South and Central America have been found ruins of Masonic significance. Churchward advances some strong, if unusual, arguments to support his claims that all these civilizations emigrated from the continent of Mu in the Pacific Ocean. 
Modern archaeology has accomplished much in rediscovering the ruins of the ancient temples, but as yet has not succeeded in bringing to light the philosophy of the Incas and Mayans to the point where it can speak with authority. In Egypt more has been learned from the temple ruins and hieroglyphics found on other monuments and on the walls of tombs.
That knowledge has brought to light more Masonic allegory and symbolism, as evidenced in their beliefs and practices. Unquestionably our third degree derives from the Mysteries of Osiris, or from the still more ancient legend from which the Osirian myth itself originated. This notwithstanding that some Masons see in the third degree the "enactment of a tragedy" which occurred at a later date in history. It is of interest to note that some modern psychologists claim all these "tragedy" legends stem from t he same ancient source. Historically true or false, it is a psychological necessity, and had there been no Osiris, no Hiram, no Christ, man's mind would have been compelled to fashion one.
He who does not wish to accept the "Atlantean" account will find himself on the threshold of an even more wonderful exhibition of the universality of Freemasonry if he will analyze the facts. He must seek elsewhere for an explanation: that at different places in the world temples of similar plan, undoubtedly used for similar rites and decorated with similar and, in some instances, identical emblems, were constructed. Why should these widely separated peoples, with no means of communication, arrive at the same conclusions regarding their origin and status in the universe? The only logical answer is contained in the teaching of Mental Science of an All Intelligent Universal Subjective Mind to which all human minds have access. From it they received the truth, and there being only one truth, necessarily, they arrived at the same conclusions.
To quote Francis Grant: "If miracles exist — does not one lie in this, that men far removed, at times simultaneously, should pronounce the same doctrine of Truth and the same path of human liberation? Apparently all men — whatever their race or creed — may pluck the same flowers in the Plane of High Heaven." 
This digression from the statement that Masonry is even older than Masonic tradition claims is for the purpose of establishing more firmly in your minds the age and universality of its great philosophy. Masonry contains within its teaching the whole purpose of man's existence, and the method of attaining the end of Creative Spirit in personalizing Itself through man.
Man being created in the "Image of God" possesses within himself the potential possibilities of infinite progress and evolution. Harmonizing the Biblical story of creation with the findings of modern science, evolution, when carefully considered, is not in any way contradictory to the Bible. Evolution strengthens our faith in the Bible's prophetic utterances as to man's glorious possibilities. Man's primitive beginnings, when compared with his present attainment, give us renewed faith in the Divine purpose of the Creator for man to attain even higher levels than he has already reached, by the attainment of mastership!
Man is a complex being consisting of material, psychical, and spiritual nature, and material science alone does not completely satisfy our investigation. Therefore we must direct our attention to that element within him we call "spiritual," and it is found that man's "spiritual" nature makes for his highest attainment. The quality whereby he attains that high evolution is the power of choice!
The creative law of being, implanted in man by Divine Intelligence, gives man the "freedom of choice," whether to spiritually retrograde or progress. The choice, however, lies between these two; there is no standing still in this universe of motion. Natural evolution betters the entire race without regard for the individual. Spiritual evolution betters the individual through his own efforts. The statement that: "previously the Lodge prayed for you" is, in effect, advising that: "before the law of evolution advanced you; "now, You must (pray for) advance yourself!"
In bringing the candidate to that part in the initiation where he must pray for himself, the Lodge has brought him to the same point as all others who have gone the way before him. From this point (level) individual desire is necessary to make further progress. It is a personal problem of "asking" — "seeking" "knocking." This not only applies to that particular moment in the Lodge room but to any further progress in Masonry. In fact it is not too inclusive to add — any progress in life itself!
Our quest is for the re-discovery of something lost. It is the knowledge of the two-fold principle in nature and specifically, knowledge of the modus operandi of the Constructive Principle. The loss of the knowledge of the Constructive Principle in nature brought into man's existence its opposite, the Destructive Principle.
Light is the symbol of knowledge, and knowledge properly used leads to wisdom and power. Therefore the Ancient High-Priest's breastplate had engraven thereon the two words: "Urim and Thummim"
LIGHTS AND PERFECTIONS!
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The Secret Doctrine
"FREEMASONRY is a beautiful system of morals veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Its tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Its Cardinal Virtues are TEMPERANCE, FORTITUDE, PRUDENCE, and JUSTICE.
"Its religion, if religion it may be called, is an unfeigned belief in the one living and true GOD."
— Masonic Manual of Missouri
IN ADDITION to the definition of Freemasonry on the opposite page we repeat Pike's definition: "Freemasonry is the subjugation of the human that is in man by the Divine; the conquest of the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual. That victory, when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear his well-earned laurels, is the true Holy Empire."
These two definitions of Freemasonry are apparently similar, yet there is a difference. The latter informs us what Freemasonry is, and to a limited extent advises how to become a Master Mason through "the conquest of the appetites and the passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason." However, it contains thoughts different from those in the former definition and is more definite as to the "morals."
The definition from the Blue Lodge Manual very distinctly states that "this system of morals" is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." This statement will bear further investigation. If it is correct, it may be assumed there is something underlying the explanations given in the various lectures of the degrees. "Something" which is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." This can be considered as an instruction where to look for further meaning. It is obvious that the "veil" must be pa rted and the hidden meaning of the "allegory" discovered. It is equally obvious that the usually accepted meaning of the symbols is not enough for our purpose, for then their meaning would be immediately apparent and such is not the case. This "system" which they "illustrate" then must be "illustrated" by a more recondite interpretation of their meaning than is apparent on the surface to the casual observer.
Analysis of the actual words in the quotation reveal a subtle significance not ordinarily attributed to them.
MORALS — The common use is: "discrimination between right and wrong, chaste, just, ethical." This word of Latin origin literally means "custom," but a shaded meaning states: "verified by reason, logic or probability."
ALLEGORY — "Description of one thing under the image of another. A narrative in which a teaching is conveyed symbolically. Presents a truth under the guise of fictitious narrative or description."
SYMBOL — "Something that stands for, represents, or recalls something else, not by exact resemblance, but by suggestion or associations in thought; especially an object that represents something abstract, as an idea, quality or condition."
If the definition of Freemasonry is reconstructed in the light of the words used in the previous definition it will read: "Freemasonry is a beautiful system of customs, or method of living, which, if followed, results in one's discriminating between right and wrong, being chaste, just and ethical. This custom is verified by reason and logic. However, it presents a truth under the guise of fictitious narrative, and is in reality describing one thing under the image of another, using actual objects to repre sent abstract ideas — "not by exact resemblance — but by suggestions or associations in thought!" There is the answer. The symbols are not used in the commonly accepted meaning. It is "not by exact resemblance"; there is a more recondite interpretation, as we suspected; it is one of "suggestions or associations in thought."
There is a SECRET DOCTRINE in Freemasonry. That secret doctrine is concealed, rather than revealed, by the very lectures which, we are told, offer a "rational explanation" of the ceremonies of initiation. If we were to accept these "rational explanations" as final, and seek no further, Freemasonry would be a farce. We should find ourselves on a "dead-end" street from which it would be impossible to make any progress.
Here it is necessary to digress that we may lay the foundation for our super-structure (as any Operative Mason would do) by inquiring into some of the actual history of Freemasonry, to discover its beginning and evolution.
Historically, we trace Freemasonry to a number of Operative Lodges in England. Extant records indicate that in the year 1717 four lodges in London established themselves under the denomination of a Grand Lodge which they constituted at that time. One of the oldest documents containing a written record of Operative Masonry is the Regius or Halliwell MS., circa 1390.
Many books have been written proposing various theories as to the origin of Freemasonry. The generally accepted theory is that our present lodges are the outgrowth of the Operative Lodges, or Guilds, of the Middle Ages. There is no inclination to question the fact that our modern lodge as an organization, owes its origin to these Operative Lodges, but what of its esoteric teaching?
Are we to believe that these craftsmen of the medieval guilds, most of whom were actually illiterate, conceived an entire philosophy such as Freemasonry, and then, with consummate cunning, concealed it beneath a complicated system of symbolism and allegory? For the rank and file, the symbols were used, if at all, for ethical analogies, and they were as ignorant of the underlying meanings, as are most Freemasons of today. They but served the purpose of being the preservers of its mysteries. As the reincarnating soul is said to choose the body and environment best suited for its growth and evolution, so may it be that these Operative Lodges were chosen to form the "body" for the spiritual teachings of the secret doctrine.
Let us investigate the term "free" as used in relation with "Mason." Some authorities advance the theory that in ancient times "bonds-men" could not join the Operative Guilds, hence a Mason was a "free man" and, perforce, a "Free Mason." Others attach significance to the word "free" in connection with the request for admission, it being of the applicant's "free" will and accord. Both theories find some support in the rituals of various Grand jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions the candidate recites his qualifications, at the door of the lodge room, as being of "lawful age, free-born etc." Here is predicated the theory of being a "free" man. All ritual supports the theory of its being of the candidate's "free-will" and accord. Enough theories have been advanced to fill volumes on the specific subject. Herein it is not possible to even comment on all of them. One of the more interesting is cited for the benefit of the reader, as it also contains the thought of the antiquity of Masonry.
Robert Hewitt Brown writes: "Long before the building of the Temple of King Solomon, masons were known as 'sons of light.' Masonry was practised by the ancients under the name of Lux (light) or its equivalent, in various languages of antiquity. ... We are informed by several distinguished writers that it (the word masonry) is a corruption of the Greek word 'mesouraneo' which signifies 'I am in the midst of heaven,' alluding to the sun, which, 'being in the midst of heaven,' is the great source of light. Others derive it directly from the ancient Egyptian 'phre,' the sun, and 'mas', a child: 'phre massen' — the children of the sun, or Sons of Light."
Regardless of the origin of the modern lodge, or of the name "Freemasons" we can, after freeing the symbolism of modern adaptations, discern in Freemasonry the outline of the teachings of the ancient mysteries of Egypt. One Supreme Being — Immortality of the Soul — The Threefold Composition of Man, that is: body, soul, and spirit (more correctly expressed as physical, psychical, and spiritual). Three planes of being dealt with in three "grades" or levels of instruction.
Pythagoras said: "God formed two things in his own image: first the Universe itself, and second, man." The Bible informs: "and God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness." The ancients postulated the complete man as the triune man composed of body, soul, and spirit. He was symbolized by the right angle triangle. The horizontal represents the physical or material, the perpendicular represents the psychical or mental, and the hypotenuse the spiritual. (The complete man symbolized by the right angle triangle should not be confused with the perfect or spiritual man, whose emblem is the equilateral triangle.)
The purpose of the mysteries was to teach the candidate the secret of making of himself the perfect man. Symbolically, it is the secret of progressing the right angle triangle to an equilateral triangle. As no "whole" can be complete and perfect except its parts be complete and perfect, their instructions were divided into three parts, or grades. The first dealt with the physical, the second with the psychical, and the third with the spiritual.
The body is the vehicle of the mind and the spirit; and to make it a fit habitation for them the Mysteries began their instruction with the purely physical aspect of man and his material relation to the Universe. This teaching was that a strong and obedient body was requisite for the development of a strong mind and, mind being the instrument of spirit, a strong and well developed mind was essential to spiritual development. Theirs was a rigorous and dangerous initiation, and a strong body was indispensable to the candidate if he were to survive the physical ordeals entailed by the actual initiation as well as the arduous studies necessary for his mental development. This occurred before he was even introduced to the spiritual. Also, it was necessary to understand the operation of material laws, for they subscribed to the ancient theory that the material laws are but the extension into the manifest universe of the spiritual laws. "As above, so below ."
The candidate was obliged to spend years, if necessary, in each of the grades preceding, before he was permitted to proceed in spiritual instruction. Under such a system it is obvious that it was highly essential to "make the necessary proficiency in the preceding (degrees) grades," before he could be admitted to the next higher.
If Freemasonry is the actual descendant or, if one prefers the term, reincarnation of the Mysteries, back of its "veil of allegory," then must be concealed a deeper truth than expounded in the various lectures of the degrees. Therefore, we should be able to discover a similarity in its degrees with these ancient grades. The first degree should concern itself with the physical or material; the second should deal with the psychical or mental; the third degree wholly with the spiritual. The ceremony of initiation in each degree should reveal a more recondite teaching than that which appears on the surface. It should be discovered that its symbology and allegory is as useful to conceal that teaching from those who do not seek it out as to reveal it to him who, "of his own free will and accord," earnestly and prayerfully attempts to pierce the veil of mystery.
If the symbols can be consistently interpreted in this manner, throughout the three degrees, we have confirmed Freemasonry to be the reincarnation of the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt; we have rediscovered some part of the ancient teaching and have removed the veil of allegory from the Great Truth of the Universe.
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"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments;
"As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever more
— Psalm 133
WHAT is the meaning of these words? It is not in a pedantic sense that I frequently refer to the dictionary for exact word definition, but in the interest of that harmony of mind so necessary between author and reader. Often, there is a subtle meaning in relation to some specific use which gives an entirely different conception of the word from the commonly accepted meaning.
"ENTER": "to go into, as a room; to join, or become a member of; to begin or take up, as a business; to gain admission for, as, to enter a pupil in a school; to make a beginning."
"APPRENTICE": "One bound by agreement to serve another a certain number of years in return for instruction in a trade or craft; a novice or one slightly versed in anything; one put under the care of a master for instruction in a trade or craft."
An "ENTERED APPRENTICE," more clearly understood, is "one who has just been admitted to the order; who is making a beginning, and is bound to the lodge by an obligation to perform certain duties, in return for which he is put under the care of a master (the master?) for instruction in Freemasonry."
Every psychical phenomenon has a physical basis, therefore, the first degree of necessity must deal with the physical.
"Freemasonry regards no man for his worldly wealth or honours ... it is the internal and not the external qualifications of a man which recommend him to Freemasons." This statement in the ritual is idealistic. I fear it is like St. Paul's definition of faith: "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not [yet] seen." In actual practice the man with no "material" standing in the community would discover as much difficulty in obtaining admission into a Masonic Lodge as we are informed a "rich man" encounters gaining admission into heaven. Unfortunately for the welfare of the order, far more concern is shown for the "external qualifications" than the "internal." Masonry was never intended for the multitudes; it is not enough that an applicant be a "good man," he should also possess the necessary, intellectual capacity to grasp more than the ethical lessons of the craft. He should be capable of understanding its underlying philosophy.
The ritual intends to convey the thought that regardless of material station in life, social, business or financial, all enter the Lodge on an equal basis. The quotation from the ritual is a spiritual explanation of what is meant by being "worthy and well qualified." What then is the spiritual meaning symbolized by the manner of being prepared? Even though "duly and truly prepared," none enter on an equal basis, for some are blessed by nature with better physiques than others. The inner man, however, is not distinguished by raiment or body. All are Sons of God and equal, potentially. Here is the true explanation.
We are told to have patience for a far more important reason than the one offered at the time. The real reason is to teach the method of operation of creative thought. Thought is creative. Nothing has ever been created in the universe except by thought. God is not material; He creates by thought; and man, in his image, must also create by thought. "The end of a work is in the thought in the beginning." A great book, a beautiful composition of music, a lovely painting — all are created in the mind of the artist by thought, and thought alone. Man, within certain limitations, creates conditions in the material world by his thinking. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." This truth holds good whether man thinks good or evil; he is "as he thinketh."
Are not evil actions the culmination of evil thoughts? Likewise, it is necessary to "think" good deeds, acts of charity, kind services, ere they are effected; and thus it follows that, noting a man's good deeds we call him good. The evil man is called vile because of his evil actions. In each case is not the man then recognized to be what he thought himself to be? This is direct working of impersonal law. The choice is entirely with man; the Law works out the results — "as a man thinketh" — CAUSE — "so is he" — resultant condition or EFFECT.
Let us further examine this statement that "as a man thinketh, so is he." It appears that in one respect we have no choice; we cannot change the Law of Creative Thought, but we can definitely control what we shall be, for the answer to that is also in the statement. We shall be what we think ourselves. Here we have the power of choice; we can choose what we think ourselves to be, and by so doing control what we shall be, even though we cannot control the law. You do not change the law, you change the app lication. It is the same in the material world. The iron ship floats by the same law by which the piece of iron sinks. Again it is application.
It is not the universal law of mind that an individual may at once become "as he thinketh." Spiritually, the effect is immediate, for on the spiritual plane there is no "time," and we are immediately what we think ourselves to be; but even after thinking the proper creative thought we have not complied with all the requirements. These are the same on the spiritual plane as on the material plane; if they were not, our material lessons would be useless to us.
These requirements are, first: "it must be of our own free will and accord." We must have the desire. That desire must be "unbiased by the improper solicitations of friends, " and it must be "uninfluenced by mercenary motives." The only motive which will admit us is a "desire for knowledge," and even that must be "unselfish." But all this is not sufficient. We discover we must be "duly and truly prepared" as well as "worthy and well qualified." And we must ourselves give the "knock." This is not done for us. Even when the knock is heard and the door mat opened we are not immediately admitted. Other formalities are necessary within the lodge, and we are forced to wait a time.
Here is where patience is essential. Patience is part of the preparation. Even those with pure motives, "worthy and well qualified," must acquire patience as a virtue. Should the candidate at the door of the lodge become impatient and refuse to wait until the proper action takes place within the lodge, of which he has no knowledge, he would never gain admission. Just so in the spiritual realm. When we desire to materialize our thoughts into definite, specific action and become impatient for its manifest ation in our material life it never happens. We have turned away from the door before the affirmative answer has been returned. The analogy is exact, for the candidate never fails to gain admission when the law, of the lodge is complied with. The same is true on the spiritual plane. Comply with the law of Creative Thought and it will never fail to respond in the affirmative.
There is a Universal Law of which we shall learn more as we advance, for Masonry is a progressive science. This law is founded on universal principles, among which is a negative as well as a positive result, not by action but rather by application. As an example, we have transmission gears in an automobile. To reverse the car we do not change the direction of the engine's rotation, but by applying the reverse gear we move the car backward with the same engine rotation with which we propel it forward. Universal Law is the same. It moves in only one direction, affirmatively. But, by mis-application, we do obtain negative results. This lesson may be learned from a sharp instrument. It has the potentiality of becoming an instrument of torture if so applied, but of itself it is impersonal, desiring neither to do good nor harm. The final result is dependent on the reaction to it of the person whom it confronts.
The teaching that one's faith is well founded when his trust is in God is not new, but it is one of the greatest lessons encountered in Masonry. And if the meaning is correctly understood, it gives a firm foundation on which to build the spiritual explanation of the entire ceremony of initiation. That theory can be applied without inconsistency to the entire Masonic structure. Thus interpreted, Freemasonry is Mental Science, demonstrating that God, the Infinite, is in all, through all, and is all. This is the God in whom the Mason places his trust, the God to whom he kneels and prays.
When one arises from a kneeling position he raises his body to a higher level. When the arising is spiritual, or mental, he attains a higher level of consciousness. When this is applied to the mental process, with a real trust in God, he rises to a higher level of awareness, and his "conductor," conscience, or "that still small voice," becomes a guide on whom he can truly rely "with confidence." The higher the reach of this awareness, the more nearly in tune with the Infinite does that inner guidance beco me. Therefore, with a well founded faith, a conductor upon whom he can rely and who is able to "see man needs fear nothing. His consciousness is far above the material plane where any acts of man can harm. The candidate is not kept in this condition for long, neither is the individual whom he typifies. For when man attains the attitude of soul where he can declare his trust is in God — can arise, spiritually, and follow his conductor — he is quickly led from darkness into everlasting light.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." This Divine Fiat does not refer to the physical light of the heavenly bodies. In the story of creation it is definitely stated that they were created at a later time. This light, commanded to be, was the Great Light of which the ancients taught that the Sun was but a representation and a reflection.
On the physical plane it is light through the reflection of the Sun; on the intellectual plane it is enlightenment. Thus the candidate is first given material light in the ancient form practised in the Lodge, then intellectual light by the interpretation of the symbols which he is enabled to behold by the physical light given him. And as the Divine Fiat was the beginning of life in the Universe — the Great Lodge — so the Master's command is the beginning of life for the candidate in the earthly Lodge.
Just as the candidate's attention is directed to one group of lights which he is able to see with the aid of the "representatives" of another group, we will here direct attention to the fact that, while there will be subsequent changes in the position of two of those of the first group, there will be no change in the Holy Bible. Comment on the significance of these two sets of lights will be reserved until later, when other subject matter better lends itself to their explanation. For the present no space need be given to discussing the spiritual aspect of the Bible. While it is far richer in its spiritual instruction, it also contains invaluable information for the living of a successful life on the material plane. The Entered Apprentice degree being material, it is these material admonitions which are of most interest to the Apprentice Mason.
Our next concern should be an investigation of the symbology of the Square and Compasses and an understanding of the meaning of the Square being placed above the Compasses. There is definite reason for this position.
We must not look with contempt upon the learning of the ancient world. The enlightened individual of those times apparently knew as much, or more, about the universe as do we. The popular conception, however was that the earth was flat and square, and the heavens enclosed it, extending above in a mighty dome.
A Square is an instrument whereby planes and surfaces are measured; the Compasses is an instrument for the measuring of spheres. Symbolically, the Square represents the earth, and the Compasses the heavens. The next logical step was to use the Square to symbolize all material things and, as the "heavens" and "spiritual" came to be used synonymously, it was but natural the Compasses was used generally to symbolize whatever pertained to the spiritual.
The "cube" was emblematic of man because, when unfolded, it becomes a cross, representing the physical body of man, standing erect with arms outstretched to the sides. As a "cube" viewed from one side appears a square, and, as a square was the symbol of the material or physical, it at times was also used to symbolize material man. The Compasses, symbolizing the spiritual, was used to represent spiritual man, differentiated from the material man. 
With this explanation is the materiality of the first degree demonstrated. The Square is emphasized by being placed above the Compasses, and the explanation of the use of the Square is offered before that of the Compasses, despite the fact that Masonically the Compasses is recognized as the more important symbol.
Both the Square and Compasses are symbolical of man. The Square, the material man, the Compasses, the spiritual man. And, as the Square is placed above the Compasses, we are to understand that in this degree the material dominates the spiritual. This could not be otherwise, for the candidate as yet knows nothing of the Truth of Freemasonry, and has not learned to circumscribe his desires and practice those virtues which will eventually enable the spiritual man to control the life of the individual. Because of ignorance and false thinking, man has travelled far from the spiritual, his starting point, and the material man has taken full possession. This is where we now discover him, kneeling at the altar, admitting he is in the darkness of ignorance, supplicating for guidance toward the light. He must retrace his steps from the material to the spiritual. He is but starting to do so; he is an ENTERED APPRENTICE.
Just as do we, the ancients postulated an Infinite Creator. Being the "first" complete figure which can geometrically be drawn — the triangle. We have come to regard the ancients as polytheists, and this is correct as applied to the masses, but the learned were monotheists. They believed in one Supreme Being with three aspects. As stated, a triangle was the logical symbol for such a deity, it being the first geometrical figure which can be formed, thereby indicating "First Cause." It is endless as a design, thereby signifying "that which has no beginning nor, ending" the Eternal. It is composed of three sides, and in the equilateral triangle each is of equal length, thus symbolizing the three equal attributes of God: The Creator, the Preserver, the Destroyer — Brahma, Vishnu, Siva of the Hindu; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, or Great Three in One of Orthodox Christianity.
Some confusion may develop in the mind of the reader unfamiliar with symbology, and this may be an opportune time to offer a clarifying explanation before we enter more fully into the subject. One great difficulty in the beginning of the study of symbology is our expectation of discovering immutable meaning. Such is not the case. The meaning of symbols, like words, is largely predicated by the specific use and association. If one says: "The Scotch are a thrifty race," the word "race" is used in an entirely different sense than if he asks: "Which horse won the race?"
A right angle triangle is usually symbolic of the complete man (as referred to in the Bible, composed of Body, Soul and Spirit). It may also have almost any spiritual reference desired, dependent strictly on how used. An equilateral triangle with an angle pointing upward always symbolizes the perfect (spiritual) man, not to be confused with the complete man. The same equilateral triangle with an angle pointing downward is never symbolical of anything but Deity. With this explanation we may continue with a clearer concept of meanings.
On page 64, in connection with the pillar of that name, is found an explanation of the meaning of Boaz. In view of that explanation it is discovered that the word was not chosen at random, but has a fitting and peculiar meaning. As used in this degree, it has reference to the strength of the physical, in relation to the wisdom of the psychical and the beauty of the spiritual (this being the material degree of Masonry). It likewise should be a reminder to the Apprentice that his start in Freemasonry was strictly of his own personal choice.
All things in symbolism have meaning if we but discover the key. The best assurance of being on the right track is that our interpretations be separately reasonable and collectively consistent. Again, referring to the meaning of the names of the two columns, and applying that interpretation to a physical position well known to the Apprentice, we discover "Boaz," the column on the left, typifies "personal choice." "Jachin," the column on the right, signifies "Law." Thus it is disclosed that by "personal choice" certain "symbols" are "supported," and are maintained in that position by "Universal Law." To be more explicit would be a Masonic indiscretion. It is hoped the reader is familiar enough with the ceremony of initiation to benefit by this explanation, vague as it necessarily must be. A more material explanation is that one may grasp the great "enlightenments" which, for the first time, are offered. Thereafter it is a reminder to one that he grasped the essentials of Freemasonry, for these three particular symbols are the very essentials of all Masonic teaching.
The flap of an apron turned up appears as a triangle surmounting a square, the square being the lower portion of the apron. In this position it symbolizes the "two" men separated. The square below is the material man with no spiritual part. The triangle above represents the spiritual, hovering over, but not yet having entered the material. In evolution it depicts the "brute-man" before the advent of the spiritual, which we term the dawn of conscience. The ancients' axiom: "As above, so below" is recalled. What is the counterpart "above" of this symbology? It is the story of creation. The triangle, or flap, is the Spirit of God, hovering above the waters (the material) from which He is about to manifest the material universe.
The working tools of an Entered Apprentice are: "The Twenty-Four Inch Gauge and the Common Gavel. They are thus used: The Twenty-Four Inch Gauge is an instrument made use of by operative masons to measure and lay out their work; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. Being divided into twenty-four equal parts, it is emblematic of the twenty-four hours of the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts; whereby are found eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy brother, eight for our usual vocations and eight for refreshment and sleep." The first two services are coupled, and the inference is plain that in assisting a worthy distressed brother we are serving God. This is in complete harmony with the teaching of the Bible: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me."
Another third of our time is to be devoted to "our usual vocations," while the remaining third is "for refreshment and sleep." This is rendering unto Caesar, or the material, the things which are Caesar's, and unto God, the spiritual, the things which are God's. We are to serve God and the worthy brother, but we are also to "render" the proper time to our vocations or means of livelihood, and "render" to the body its just due by attending to its needs, "refreshment and deep." On careful analysis it is discovered that to do the last two we also serve God, for again we are reminded that one cannot benefit an undivided portion of a thing without promoting the interests of the "whole."
Despite the beauty of this ethical teaching there is a greater underlying spiritual truth. Grasping the Twenty-Four Inch Gauge by the centre portion we see it to be a horizontal, symbol of the material or physical. Turn the left-hand third upward, thereby forming a ninety degree angle, and we have not only formed a square but we have raised a perpendicular, symbol of the psychical, the soul with its intuitive "upward" aspirations. Move this third slightly to the right, bringing the right hand third up to meet it, and an equilateral triangle has been formed with an angle pointing upward, symbol of the Perfect or Divine Man. which the Apprentice aspires to become — in fact, the symbol of the only goal he should have had in view if his original declarations were sincere. Here in this one instrument is the entire teaching of Masonry: the progress from the material man to the Perfect Divine Man, made in God's own image. Also, the method of achieving success is symbolized: give equal attention to each level of existence, the physical, psychical and spiritual, for each being one third, we are taught that each is,equally important to form the complete whole.
"The Common Gavel is an instrument made use of by operative masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
This explanation involves a significant fact of mental science. We divest our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, but we do not fit them (our hearts and consciences), to become anything. It is the mind that we are told is being fitted to become a living stone, because the mind is the image of God. The body's only claim to consideration is the fact that for the time being it is the house the mind inhabits, while fitting itself for its greater destiny. Masonry has but one mission — to teach the truth of our being, which will fit the mind for its destined place in the Universe.
Here is a bold and unreserved statement of fact — the symbolical illustration is evident. There is no concealment behind a veil of allegory. Freed of poetic phrasing and expressed in every-day English, it informs us that "our minds" are all the "we" that exists. They are to be transformed into stones of a building "not made with hands," hence not material. Separate stones in any building retain their individuality even after being combined into one solid mass. Thus, the simile, carried to its logical conclusion, indicates the need of the Great Architect of the Universe for certain stones for specific places in the finished Temple. It also draws aside the veil for a fleeting moment and hints at the continuing self-consciousness of the individual ego.
That the mind takes its place in a "Temple eternal in the heavens" implies that it is eternally evolving toward abiding perfection. Infinity is not composed of past or future, but only an everlasting present; it is an Eternal Now!
Here is a real "being brought from darkness to light" — the discovery: "What we are," "Why we are," "What we are to be." This discovery presents to doubting minds an intellectual foundation for hope. It reveals a reason to our "finite intelligence" for "Infinite Intelligence" to have quarried us, as individuals, out of the unknown quarry of infinity. It furnishes a motive for the present shaping of our lives.
A "material lesson" is exemplified by a certain request made of the candidate, which is explained to him on that occasion. At one time it is said to have been the usage, after initiation in the first degree, to ask the candidate to write all he remembered of what had occurred "that it might be laid up in the archives of the Lodge, etc." If the candidate started to write the pen was struck from his hand. This dramatization was the basis for a lecture on the proneness of man to lightly regard his "solemn ob ligations." The incident was used to warn him that he must be constantly on guard if he hoped to accomplish that "subjugation of the human" which is the objective of every Mason.
Each of these rites of initiation springs from the ancient Mysteries, but are confusions of the original. The ancient philosophy taught four classifications of data:
"THINGS WE KNOW." These are only things known to us through personal experience. We know we exist. We know other people exist. We know steel is hard. We know glass is brittle and will break.
"THINGS WE ASSUME TO KNOW." The everyday facts we assume to know, and by them guide our actions. We assume to know that a certain man is our father, a certain woman is our mother, but we cannot know, in terms of personal knowledge. We assume to know the earth is round, that it rotates on its axis, and revolves about the Sun, but few have demonstrated this so they may state they know from personal experience.
"THINGS WE BELIEVE." There are many things we believe, which we neither know nor even assume to know. Followers of certain religions have believed in a god or gods. Christians believe in Jesus Christ. It is claimed by many that they are inspired to believe, but none can claim to know from personal experience, nor can they assume to know because of the experience of others.
"THINGS OF WHICH WE ADMIT OUR IGNORANCE." These things we do not know, assume to know, or profess to believe. Of the stars, we know of their existence, we admit our ignorance of the number of stars in the heavens. We would not even speculate on the number of grains of sand on the sea shores, or where space begins and ends.
This is said to have been explained to the candidate in the Mysteries, and he was then requested to write those things of which he could say "I know." In those ancient days only the few were learned, knew of the Mysteries, and were "prompted to solicit the privileges of the order by a favourable opinion conceived of the institution." When a man who rightfully considered himself far above the average intelligence, in knowledge, was brought face to face with the actual fact of how little he really knew, he le arned a valuable lesson. The vast disparity between what he really knew and the tremendous store of knowledge yet to be acquired by him revealed to him "his destitute condition."
If ever he entertained intellectual egotism, it turned to a deep sense of humility. If he were "worthy and well qualified" a great and sincere desire was born for "more light," and thus, in humbleness and truth, he took up his quest. It also taught him that should he ever meet a brother in like destitute condition he should administer to his needs. We too often envision lack of worldly possessions when we think of destitution. There is far worse poverty in which man finds himself; it is that destitution of mind and spirit — ignorance. What more lasting benefaction can one confer upon a fellow man, "worthy and distressed" than en-light-enment?
It is the intention to discuss only those questions of the proficiency examination as will illuminate the Secret Doctrine. Being mindful of the fact that many allusions to these questions and answers must of themselves be veiled, the reader may gain more satisfaction from the following explanations if he refreshes his mind on the examination before proceeding further.
Consider the first question asked the Entered Apprentice. The Bible describes man as made in the image of God. Before his "temptation and fall," allegorically narrated in the story of the Garden of Eden, he was perfect. It is to this original state of perfection the candidate alludes. It is obvious the answer is not literal, so it can only be allegorical. To understand the allegory it is necessary to understand the terminology used. The Bible refers to two "Jerusalems": one the material city of that name, the other the symbolic "Holy City." The meaning of the Hebrew word "Jerusalem," as generally translated, is given as a "place or city of perfect peace." But the last syllables, "shalom," do not convey their true Hebrew meaning when translated "peace." They imply far more: "wholeness" — "completeness in all parts" — "complete, inferring perfection"; thus, "completeness of being."
"John" from the Hebrew "Jochonan" or "Yochonan," means "favored of God, or "favored by God." "Lodge" is a very elastic word of many inferences. There is the "Masonic Lodge," embracing all Masonry; the specific "Lodge," meaning a room; also the specific "Lodge," meaning a constituted membership, irrespective of where they may be; "the Lodge on High," which refers, not to a place, but to a state of existence. A "Lodge of Jerusalem," then, would be a "state of existence, in completeness of being, favored of God." No reason is given why anyone should leave such a state of existence. For that answer one must refer to the story of the Garden of Eden. Suffice for our purposes that the answer indicates the candidate's familiarity with all these facts, and also a knowledge of the means of remedying his condition. Psychically, he desires to learn. From a material viewpoint, he wishes to subdue his passions. Spiritually, he desires to improve himself in Freemasonry. What then is this Freemasonry in which he desires to improve himself? Elsewhere it has been defined as the "subjugation of the human that is in man by the Divine." It is through this subjugation that he eventually regains his lost estate, his Divinity.
Subtly, it is brought out in the next question and answer that he has not yet regained his Divinity, even though he has attained to the degree of Entered Apprentice. In the question, which is in the form of an inquisitive statement, the word "presume" is prominent. The candidate replies with no categorical statement, his answer concurs in the presumption.
Previously it was stated that the first degree dealt with the material, and this fact is emphasized by the manner in which an Apprentice claims he may be known. The Fellow-craft lecture states: "The five human senses are Hearing, Seeing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting; the first three of which are deemed peculiarly essential among Freemasons." Added to these material means are the perfect points of entrance.
"Perfect" is defined as: "Without defect, lacking nothing. Fully skilled and accomplished." Therefore the "perfect," or "fully skilled and accomplished," entrance into Freemasonry is illustrated by the four cardinal virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. Here is the instruction that the true mason may be known by his conduct. This is also one of the reasons why the statement is later made to the candidate that it is not known if he will ever become a Mason. On serious consideration the reasonableness of this statement becomes apparent. How can it be known if any individual will ever became a Master Mason, in fact? It cannot be known whether he will guide his life by the constructive principles outlined in Masonic teaching, and so conduct himself that he will reach his goal.
What makes a man a Mason? Is it the mere promise to "do certain things" and "refrain from doing certain other things" which we term an "obligation"? More correctly, this but binds him to the Fraternity, makes him a member of the material organization we call a "Lodge"; but it in nowise makes him a Mason. That which makes him a Mason is "that obligation" each individual owes to Deity.
Here we discover that all the truths of Freemasonry are not elucidated in exact chronological order, but are found scattered and hidden throughout the ritual and actual workings of the Lodge. In an unexpected place we discover more light on the nature of the "obligation." It is contained in the prayer offered in the regular closing of the Lodge. The pertinent portion of that prayer is as follows: "Pardon, we beseech Thee, whatever Thou hast seen amiss in us since we have been together, and continue to us Thy presence, protection and blessing. Make us sensible of the renewed obligations we are under to love Thee; and as we are about to separate and return to our respective places of abode, wilt Thou be pleased so to influence our hearts and minds that we may, each one of us, practice out of the lodge those great moral duties which are inculcated in it, and with reverence study and obey the laws which Thou hast given us in Thy Holy Word."
Here is the "obligation" which makes a man a Mason: The "obligation we are under to love thee"; the "obligation" to practice out of the lodge those great moral duties inculcated in it"; the "obligation" to "improve oneself in Freemasonry"; to grow from the potential to the Ideal Man. This development may be attained by the practice of the cardinal virtues and by conforming one's life to the plans of the Supreme Architect as it is given to understand them. Thus the candidate discovers that, in a sense, his "obligation" has made him a Mason, not of itself, but through his recognition of his obligation.
A desire originating in the heart, in contradistinction to the cold logic of the objective mind, is an intuitive desire for spiritual advancement. The real desire to become a Mason is a "desire for knowledge," an unselfish desire, and it cannot be actuated by any other motives. When the applicant sincerely subscribes to the lofty sentiment of his original declaration he may truthfully claim the desire originates in his heart.
The fact that this degree is material has been pointed out in a number of instances, and there remains further evidence of this thesis. One need but visualize the position of the candidate described as that "due form," together with the symbolic import of the "square." A custom of Operative Masonry will also substantiate this assertion.
In Operative Masonry it is customary to lay the cornerstone of a structure in the north-east corner. A corner-stone laying is generally made an occasion of ceremony, and is symbolical of the nominal starting point of the building. Thus, this custom of placing it in the north-east corner indicates that at that particular point the first step toward the actual construction of the edifice was commenced.
When thus placed, it is then and there that spiritual evolution begins; and that evolution is just as definitely in harmony with Universal Law as is material evolution. Material evolution advances the race to a relative level. ALL are placed in the north-east corner, upon the first step; all are given an equal opportunity. Thenceforward the individual must do for himself what evolution (the Lodge) previously did for him, and his further advancement is strictly his individual, personal responsibility.
* * *
Entered Apprentice Lecture
"There is no special law for anybody, but anybody can specialize the law by using it with a fuller understanding of how much can be got out of it."
— Thomas Troward
THE third section of the first degree treats of a Lodge, its Form, Supports, Covering, Furniture, Ornaments, Lights and jewels: How situated and to whom dedicated." These are the introductory words of the Lecturer to the Candidate, following the explanation of the rite of initiation whereby he has just been inducted into the Lodge. As this lecture is usually printed in full in manuals of almost all jurisdictions the writer considers that fact sufficient criterion for him to quote as freely therefrom as seems desirable.
"A Lodge is a certain number of Freemasons, duly assembled, with the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, and a Charter from a Grand Lodge authorizing them to meet and work."
To "meet and work" means to assemble and "operate" in Masonry. But as we are informed that the Holy Bible is the "Great Light" of Masonry and is given us "as the rule and guide of our faith and practice," it is apparent that it is a necessity in any regular lodge. The "Square and Compasses" are emblematic of the dominion of the spiritual over the material, the achievement of which is the only true purpose of "meeting and working." While comparatively of modern origin, the "Charter from a Grand Lodge" is essential for the "material" subordinate Lodge to operate "lawfully." A Lodge can be formed without a charter from a Grand Lodge, but it would be clandestine and not "recognized" by "regular Masons," and it will not prosper because it operates "illegally." From this we learn a lesson in the spiritual operation of Universal Law. Just as a "clandestine lodge" can be formed, having all the outward appearances of a "regular Lodge," so certain spiritual and psychic forces may be invoked, having the appearance of the genuine, but not being in conformity with the Constructive Principle in nature, will react to the detriment of the individual. One need but turn to some of the more recent findings of modern psychology to verify this lesson.
"The form of a Lodge is ... from east to west, between north and south, from the centre to the circumference, and from earth to heaven." This is "said to denote the universality of Freemasonry and that a Freemason's charity should know no bounds." This is only the "rational explanation." This description of a Lodge is not that of the material Lodge but of the Universe itself. It extends from east to west, from north to south, from the centre to the circumference and from earth to heaven. Figuratively, it extends from "earth to heaven." Scientifically, it extends or encompasses earth (material) and heaven (spiritual).
The spiritual man is a member of this Lodge, meeting and working in that Great Lodge, the Universe. There he is to practice "those great moral virtues" which are inculcated in the (material) Lodge, and which will assist the Great Architect in the building of "that Temple" which He has planned and over which He presides as Master.
"The supports of a Lodge are three, denominated, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty; because there should be Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support and Beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings." This allegory, like many another, has two distinct meanings which may be more readily appreciated in the statement of Pythagoras that "God made two things in His image — the Universe itself, and man." It is a mathematical axiom "that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other." If both the Universe and Man are made in the image of God, Man is also in the image of the Universe; he is the Universe in miniature.
As symbolical of the Universe, these three columns represent the Wisdom of Universal Mind, the Strength of that Great Power, and the resultant Beauty and harmony which Infinite Wisdom, working through Infinite Power, has produced. As emblematic of man, we find the three sides of the triangle: the Wisdom of the psychical, supported by the Strength of the physical, resulting in the Beauty of the spiritual. Again in a different form, under different allegorical treatment, we are taught the same lesson of Masonry: Man is triune, and no man is perfect, nor can he attain to perfection without giving due consideration to each plane of being; all three must be blended in the perfect harmony, which is the Perfect Man.
"The covering of a Lodge is no less than the clouded canopy or star-decked heavens ..." The "heavens" typifies the spiritual as "above the material" and is so used here. "Heaven" is not a place but a state of being. "We hope to at last arrive by the aid of that theological ladder which Jacob, in his vision, saw extending from earth to heaven ..." The statement that this ladder had "three principal rounds" is not in conformity with ancient teaching, which attributes seven rounds to the ladder. The exp lanation of the seven rounds is occult and, as the lecture refers to three rounds, our explanation will attempt to cover the lecture rather than raise the question as to the correctness of its statements. If the reader will refer to page 120 where the "seven liberal arts and sciences" are discussed, further light on the "seven" is revealed, and it is directly in connection with these rounds of the ladder, although the ritual does not call attention to the connection.
That theological ladder which Jacob saw in his vision had "three principal rounds which are denominated Faith, Hope and Charity; which admonishes us to have Faith in God, Hope in Immortality and Charity to all mankind." "The greatest of these is Charity; for Faith may be lost in sight; Hope end in fruition; but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity." It is no coincidence that it is possible to substitute for "Faith, Hope and Charity," in the same sequence: Physical, Psychical and Spiritual. This passage will then read: "the greatest of these is spiritual; for the Physical may be lost in sight (death of the body); the Psychical end in fruition (the intellect may perceive the ultimate and have no more to learn); but the spiritual extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity." Thus the means of attaining "heaven" or perfection is pointed out to us. Again, the candidate bas been told of man's trinity of being, and another symbol is made use of to light the way.
"The ornaments of a Lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel and the Blazing Star. The Mosaic Pavement is emblematic of human life, checkered with good and evil. That is the least that it typifies. Its real purpose is to furnish an insight into the working of the Great Universal Law of compensation. It is a repeated reminder that there is "darkness" as well as "light," an "ebb tide" as well as "flow." It also contains a more subtle lesson. The "Mosaic Pavement" of Solomon's Temple was the floor across which the ancient Jew walked toward the Holy of Holies; thus, to arrive at that sacred place he must use the black squares as well as the white to walk upon. He learned that, as he progressed through life toward perfection, he should profit from the so-called "evil experiences," the ills and misfortunes, encountered along the way, equally with the "good." From this the ancient Jew was to formulate that philosophy which grew to be the dominant factor in his life, and which no doubt is largely res ponsible for his preservation to this day. He discovered that, while one may not be able to change conditions and has little control over them, he can control his own attitude toward those conditions. He might not be able to escape stepping upon the black squares in the pavement, but he could use them as stepping stones to further his progress toward his desired goal!
Mackey gives a lengthy description in his Masonic Encyclopedia of the Indented Tessel, recites the varied names by which it has been called and supplies an exoteric explanation of its symbology. He neither gives, nor does he infer, any esoteric significance. The writer has been unable to discover any ancient symbology with which it may be connected. Pike disposes of it as having no symbolical meaning, "and if any is attached to it, it is fanciful and arbitrary."
The "Blazing Star" consists of two equilateral triangles — the shield of David, also sometimes known as the Seal of Solomon. The equilateral triangle with an apex pointing downward is emblematical of the Creator, the apex pointing toward the Universe, the Created. The equilateral triangle with an apex pointing upward is the symbol of the perfect man, made in His image, the apex pointing to God, the Creator. When intertwined as a six-pointed star they form a single figure, symbol of the final unity of God and the perfect Divine Man. This is the symbol of at-one-ment. Likewise it is the symbol of the Buddhist's Nirvana, the misunderstood and, therefore, much maligned "absorption into the Universal" of the individual. Here within the symbol itself is the refutation that this "absorption" is annihilation, as ineptly interpreted by the Western Religionist. Study the six-pointed star produced by combining these two triangles. Note carefully that thus intertwined they form a single figure, yet each retains its own identity and the outline is clearly discernible. The star is emblematic of the complete harmonic relation between the positive and receptive forces of nature. It depicts the "action and reaction" of Oriental religions. To the Mason it may well demonstrate the Perfect Ashlar, placed in "that proper position," in "that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
The "Rough Ashlar" is a stone as taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state. "The Perfect Ashlar" is a stone made ready by the hands of the workmen, to be adjusted by the working tools of the Fellow-craft. ... By the Rough Ashlar we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state by nature; by the Perfect Ashlar of the state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by a virtuous education, our own endeavours, and the blessing of God."
The first thing that occurs to one in contemplating the Ashlars is the incorrect symbology in most of our modern Lodge rooms, where a Rough Ashlar and a Perfect Ashlar are exhibited, consisting of a rough stone and a polished stone. These stones are invariably oblong in shape. To carry out, properly, the intended symbology they should be perfect cubes.
"By the Rough Ashlar we are reminded of our rude and imperfect state by nature." This statement is a direct contradiction to the claim made by the Apprentice in answer to the first question asked him in his proficiency examination. Therein he claimed his "state by nature" was "one favored of God, in Completeness of being," far from being "rude and imperfect." It is also at variance with Sacred Scripture, which informs us that man's original state "by nature" was perfect, prior to man's fall from that high estate as depicted in the story of the Garden of Eden. As encountered in our daily lives, man's state is admittedly "rude and imperfect." By erroneous thinking, man applies the Universal Destructive Principle and brings himself to a state which may be correctly so described.
It is a universal truth that the negative is but the absence of the positive, and man's present state is evidence of this fact. It is also illuminating proof of the creative power of mind. Man's tendency to think limitations, illness, war and poverty, has created for him the things he visualizes, in strict accordance with law, and brought him to his present "rude and imperfect state."
The Perfect Ashlar is the same stone, "after it has been made ready for the builder by the hands of the workmen." The meaning is thinly veiled in allegory. Apparently the design was not to make this lesson too difficult of discernment. The "workman" is the subjective mind, breaking off the "rough corners" at the prompting of the objective mind, "the better to fit us for the builder's use."
According to the quotation, three things are essential. First, acquire a "virtuous education"; second, it is "only by our own endeavours" and lastly, "by the blessing of God." Again the "Ask, Seek, and Knock" is evident. We alone must do the "educating." We must do the "striving." We cannot expect Universal Law to do for us that which, by its very nature, it can only do through us. Only after we have done our part, and of our own volition have helped ourselves, may we expect the "blessing of God" — the working of Universal Law. It must be of our own free will and accord!
"A Lodge is situated due East and West .... " Peoples who worshipped the Sun faced the East, where the physical light first appeared each morning. This is the "rational explanation" of the Master rising in the East. However, the esoteric significance of this custom has its origin in occult philosophy. This philosophy is of the Great Masters of India, who are said to have first discerned and promulgated it. It teaches the essential truth of man's being, and this knowledge of the East travelled westward with man's migration to the West. Therefore the ancients "looked to the East" as the source of intellectual and spiritual light, just as we look to the East or to the Master of the Lodge for Masonic enLIGHTenment. In passing, the writer cannot resist the opportunity to remark what glorious progress Freemasonry could enjoy if the Masters of our Lodges understood Masonic symbology, and fitted themselves to be in fact one of the "lesser lights" of the Lodge over which each presides. The Craft might not then look to them in vain for enlightenment.
"Freemasons of the present day dedicate theirs [Lodges] to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, the two eminent patrons of Masonry; and since their time there is represented in every regular and well governed Lodge a certain point within a circle embordered by two perpendicular lines, representing these two saints; and upon the vertex of the circle rests the Holy Bible. The point represents the individual brother; the circle the boundary line of his duty, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices, or interests to betray him. In going around this circle we necessarily touch upon these two lines, as well as upon the Holy Bible; and while a Freemason keeps himself circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he should materially err."
The point within a circle is an ancient Egyptian sign for the sun and Osiris. It originally had no connection with the two perpendicular lines, and most certainly not with the Holy Bible upon the vertex. Neither was the point in anyway connected with an "individual." On some ancient monuments a point within a circle is shown between two upright serpents, which were at times conventionalized into two straight lines; however, the ascribing of these lines to the Saints John is too far-fetched to be tenable. The sign is astrological; possibly the three points which are encountered in "going around the circle" have reference to the three positions of the sun described in the opening of a Lodge by the three principal officers. This is purely speculation on the part of the writer and I have no data to substantiate it.
Pike, commenting upon the symbology in Morals and Dogma, states: "It is said by some, with a nearer approach to interpretation, that the point within the circle represents God in the centre of the Universe. ... In the Kaballah the point is Yod, the creative energy, of God, irradiating with light the circular space which God, the universal light, left vacant, wherein to create the worlds, by withdrawing His substance of light back on all sides from one point."
As the point is interpreted in some instances to represent Deity in the midst of His Universe, so may it symbolize His "image and likeness," man, in the centre of his universe, the vast expanse of which is the only "boundary" or "limitation" placed upon him. From this man may learn that the possibilities of human evolution are as boundless as infinity, the Universe itself. If we must account for the two parallel lines on either side of the circle, let them remind us that man's evolution must be between the two columns, Boaz and Jachin. This evolution, this progress, must be of personal choice and it must conform to universal law.
This explanation purposely excludes the Holy Bible and the Saints John, separating them from a symbolism of which they have no part. The original introduction of the Saints John into Masonic symbology was astrological. Exactly how interpreted and how used has been obscured by time, lack of written records and ignorance of astrology on the part of those who have handed down the symbology. St. John's Day, celebrated December 27th, is near the winter solstice (December 22nd). Undoubtedly this has some conne ction with the material phenomenon of the sun at the furthermost southern point, and the shortest day of the year.
A peculiar feature of Saint John's the Baptist Day is that it is claimed to be his actual birthday. Usually the "Saint's Day" of other saints is the day of their death, looked upon as the "day of birth" into a better life. It is most unlikely that any evidence exists for this date, and it appears as arbitrary. Such being the case, it cannot be termed coincidence that it is named as June 24th, or within two days of the summer solstice June 22nd. Attention is also directed to the fact that from that date ( in the northern hemisphere) the length of the day decreases. In John 3:30, John the Baptist is quoted as saying: "He must increase but I must decrease." Again the reader is reminded of the three positions of the sun described by the officers of the Lodge in the opening ceremonies. If taken in conjunction with the four (apparent) orbital positions of the sun a vast field of speculation is opened up. This, however, is beyond the province of the pr esent work, and must be left to such further thought as the r eader cares to devote to it.
Prior to the sixteenth century Saint John the Baptist was the only patron saint of Freemasonry, Saint John the Evangelist being introduced subsequent to that time. Dr. Dalcho says: "The stern integrity of Saint John the Baptist, which induced him to forego every minor consideration in discharging the obligations he owed to God; the unshaken firmness with which he met martyrdom rather than betray his duty to his Master; his steady reproval of vice, and continued preaching of repentance ;ind virtue, make him a fit patron of the Masonic institution." Mackey says of Saint John the Evangelist: "His constant admonition, in his epistles, to the cultivation of brotherly love, and the mystical nature of his Apocalyptic visions, have been, perhaps, the principal reasons for the veneration paid him by the craft."
The closing paragraphs of this lecture: "Mother Earth alone of all the elements having never proved unfriendly to man," deals with the material man and material conditions. It is appropriate that in the lecture of the material degree of Freemasonry the most material of the four elements is stressed. The earth is spoken of as the "kindly provider" and "sustainer" and finally, "when at last he is called to pass through the 'dark valley of the shadow of death,' she once more receives him, and piously covers his remains within her bosom. This admonishes us that from Earth we came, and to Earth we must shortly return."
This is a dissonant note, contributed by some "inexpert player" in the great orchestra which is Masonic Philosophy. It is entirely out of harmony with the profound teaching of the Mysteries, the true parent of Freemasonry. The Mysteries and, correctly interpreted, Freemasonry, teach the candidate concerning the physical and material, not with the view of impressing upon him "that from Earth he came and to Earth he must shortly return." The object in teaching him of the material is that he shall make his body into a fitting habitation for the soul, that the material may serve as a solid foundation for his psychical and spiritual development.
According to the teaching of the Mysteries, insofar as we know them, physical death was but an incident in man's experience, no more important than any other physical incident. Alan's present attitude toward death is but further evidence of how far he has shayed bona the truth regarding himself. The Mysteries' only interest in death of the physical body was to teach man that it was inevitable, and not to be feared. The profound lesson of the Mysteries was how man might live his immortal life, of which this life is a definite part, in conformity with the Constructive Principle of his own being.
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"Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more."
— Amos VII; 7-8
AS IN the preceding degree, we should continue to carefully analyze words whereby we may arrive at the exact meaning intended. "FELLOW" — "Companion or associate; one of the same kind, or in the same position with others-an equal. "CRAFT" — in the sense used — is a contraction of "CRAFTSMAN," who is defined as "one who practices a certain trade, especially a skilled and artistically inclined worker."
In the light of the foregoing, a "FELLOWCRAFT" may be defined as "a companion or associate of others in the same position, practising a certain trade, and being especially skilled and artistically inclined."
One who has not learned the spiritual meaning of the degree of Entered Apprentice, and applied the knowledge in his daily life, has not attained to a level of spiritual consciousness where he may comprehend the lesson of the degree of "Fellow-craft" and benefit therefrom. In the language of the Lodge, he has "not made suitable proficiency in the preceding degree."
In commenting on the Mysteries is discussed the emphasis which was placed on the necessity of "making suitable proficiency in the preceding degree" before the neophyte could advance. Here a similarity is discovered. In addition to the questions asked in the preceding degree, the interrogator demands to know if the candidate has made the necessary progress. In early times, when all business was transacted in the Entered Apprentice Lodge and Apprentices might attend those meetings, an Apprentice might remain in that degree for a year before being "passed." Thus he learned the workings of the Lodge, became acquainted with its peculiar language and such of the symbology as he could understand. He truly made "suitable proficiency." Our modern Lodge might well return to such practice. It is true that such procedure might result in less "members" but, inversely, the order might thereby make" more "masons," which is the avowed intent.
The Scripture quoted in this degree was not taken from the Bible merely by chance because it mentions a plumb-line, one of the working tools of a Fellow-craft. As in all things Masonic, there is a definite reason for this particular passage of Scripture. It may be more understandable if we quote from another translation, rather than the King James version which is used in the Lodge.
In 1853 Rabbi Isaac Leeser, feeling the need for a direct translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew to English, for the benefit of the many Jews who no longer could read Hebrew, completed such a work. This passage is hereafter quoted from his translation, together with his comments on the meaning of the passage. "Thus he shewed me: and behold the Lord was standing upon a wall (made) by a plumb-line, and in his hand was a plumb-line. And the Lord said unto me, what dost thou see, Amos? And I said a plumb-line. Then said the Lord, behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not farther indulge them anymore."
Leeser's comments: "Meaning as a builder erects his wall straight by the plummet, so shall Israel be dealt with after the strict line of justice, with no longer indulgence for their crimes. No farther indulge them, more specific than pass by them anymore, or overlook their transgressions."
The Entered Apprentice degree is material. Instructions on the psychical plane not having as yet been received, the Apprentice cannot be held wholly accountable for his conduct. He is granted a, certain amount of "indulgence," and some of his errors of both commission and omission are "passed by" or overlooked. Now a definite change is to take place. He is given additional instruction and information, intellectual reasons which his mind can weigh and either accept or reject. He will be personally accountable for his future actions in the light of his newly acquired knowledge. Therefore he will be dealt with by the "strict line of justice." His sins will not be overlooked. "I will not again pass by them anymore."
Even the preparation of the second degree is symbolical. While the first degree pertains to the development of the physical man, the second deals with a different side of his nature, the psychical. The candidate enters this degree, as far as the inner man is concerned, in the "same condition" as in the preceding degree. Not satisfied with the light, or knowledge, he has so far obtained, "of his own free will and accord," he gives the "knock" which will cause the door to be opened for him to begin his journey for "further light" in Freemasonry. We have agreed that "Masonry is religion." We have learned that religion is "the recognition of man's relation to a divine superhuman power to whom obedience and reverence is due," as well as "effort of man to attain the goodness of God." By emphasizing this definition of religion we impress our minds with what we are actually requesting when we say we wish "light."
The candidate is received, as stated in the ritual, to symbolize the complete union of the physical with the psychical. The physical is typified by the "horizontal line" of the still incomplete triangle, whereas the psychical is symbolized by the "perpendicular." When the horizontal is perfectly "level" and the perpendicular is "plumb," the resultant meeting is a true "right-angle." They meet upon the square.
Whenever one observes the "square and compasses" and discovers that one point of the compasses is elevated above the square, he should remember that Masonry is a progressive science. more is implied than is told. This position of the compasses indicates not so much the negative fact told the candidate as the positive fact that he has recovered partial light and the spiritual is actually coming to the fore, that he no longer is wholly concerned with the material.
The candidate is asked a question at a certain point in the initiation, and a specific reply is given for him. The real answer, concealed within that answer, is a desire to go from the material things pertaining to the Entered Apprentice to those things psychical to be learned in the degree of Fellow-craft.
As we are told in the Bible, Jachin is one of the pillars of the Temple of Solomon. It denotes Universal Law. No progress can be made on any plane of existence except it be in accordance with the Universal Law. The candidate is "entering the Temple." As an Entered Apprentice he gained admission by "personal choice"; now he is confronted with the fact that "personal choice" is not enough, it must also be in conformity to law. It must be regular.
In the twelfth chapter of judges is related an historical happening which is also highly allegorical, and the word Shibboleth plays a prominent part in that allegory. In a deeper sense it is so used in this degree, but that explanation would entail Biblical interpretation and we are not here attempting such a pretentious work.
We have a modern expression used to indicate the utter lack of harmony between oneself and another when our thinking is so far apart that there is no common meeting ground. We say, "We do not speak the same language." So it is with "Shibboleth." It is more than a word; it is in one word the expression of an existing condition. One not a "Fellow-craft," in the fullest meaning of the term, can immediately be detected for he "cannot frame to pronounce it aright." His thinking is so foreign that, to emphasize our meaning with the modern expression, "he does not speak the same language."
The ancient Hebrew Priest in conferring the blessing, extended his right hand, palm downward, over the heads of the congregation. He held his left hand partially aloft. The left hand aloft signified he was receiving the blessing from God, the right hand outstretched that he was passing the blessing on to the congregation. It must be taken into consideration that the Hebrew Priest, unlike the Roman Catholic Priest, was never claimed to be the representative of god on earth. He was only the intermediary b etween God and the Children of Israel, the "go-between." When the locale of the Fellow-craft degree is recalled, it may be helpful to our explanation if we refer to the Priest as the middle-man.
This is the psychic degree. The ancients taught that mind was the result of the entrance of the spiritual into the material. The Scripture used in the Entered Apprentice degree states: "There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for ever more." This blessing was symbolically received by the one hand and conferred with the other. To have "life for ever more" necessitates knowledge, and the duty of the intellect is to gather and assay that knowledge.
Attention is especially directed to the consistency with which the candidate's position, the Square and Compasses, the apron and the working tools, all harmoniously reveal the one great Truth in this degree. The Square is of the utmost importance to the Fellow-craft and, in any manner made use of whatever, it signifies the same perfect union of the physical and psychical later discussed in connection with the working tools.
No longer "a bearer of burdens," the Fellow-craft need not wear his apron to protect his clothing. He has departed from the material; he no longer need bear burdens. The candidate represents man rising, in the process of evolution, from the level where he was dependent on the brute-force of his physical body, to the use of his mind. Mind being creative, he may now, to the extent of his knowledge, create his own conditions. He wears his apron in a manner to symbolize this fact.
All aprons seen in Lodges are not properly made — some are slightly oblong. The correct specifications would call for a perfect square of approximately fourteen inches, surmounted by a triangle whose base is the exact length of one side of the apron and whose apex forms a ninety degree angle. When the flap is turned down it should appear as a triangle within a square. This symbolizes the spiritual within the material. Hereby man begins the evolution which will eventually end in his assuming the likeness of his Creator. Thus the symbology of the apron repeats and verifies that of the Square and Compasses.
Modern educators stress the fact that in teaching in the classroom the results are largely dependent upon "the approach to the subject." They explain that different subjects must be approached in different manners. This is equally true in Masonry. The Apprentice degree is material, that of the Fellow-craft is mental. It is logical that the subjects should be approached differently. One does not approach the psychical in the same manner as he approaches the material; they are on two separate planes of ex istence. As we have seen, "one does not even speak the same language" on these two planes. Furthermore, just as the ancients claimed the left side of man was the weaker and the right side the stronger and more important, so is the material of less import to man's life than his psychical existence.
Now for "a more noble and glorious" explanation of the working tools than is given in the "rational explanation": Man is a triune being composed of Body, Soul and Spirit. The plumb typifies the Soul, and is used to "erect perpendiculars." So it symbolizes the upward aspirations of the Soul toward God. The body is that "level" which "stretches along the level of time." In the perfect man we are building the soul, or plumb, must be joined to the body, or level, by a right angle triangle, for the juncture of the two lines must form a "perfect square."
Another emphasis regarding the working tools of a Fellow-craft in contradistinction to those of the Apprentice is that the latter are preparatory tools. The twenty-four inch gauge and the common gavel are used by "operative masons" at the quarries to prepare stones. "The Rough Ashlar is a stone as taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state. The Perfect Ashlar is a stone made ready by the hands of the workman to be adjusted by the working tools of the fellowcraft." The "Rough Ashlar" is measured with the "twenty-four inch gauge"; its rough corners are broken off with blows from the "common gavel"; and as the "Perfect Ashlar" it is sent from the quarries to the building site of the Temple where the "Fellow-craft, with his tools, the "plumb, the square and the level, adjusts it into the structure.
Reviewing the discussion of the Apprentice's tools, we find the "common gavel" is used to "divest our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living stones ...." Thus is seen the "Rough Ashlar" in transition to the "Perfect Ashlar" — not two stones but one, and that stone is the individual.
In the proficiency examination the Fellow-craft is not asked if he is a Mason. This question is differently phrased, and his answer is significant. A square is an angle of ninety degrees or a "perfect angle," and it is consistent that a Fellow-craft should refer to it. Since the second degree deals with the psychical, and as it is the purpose of the Fellow-craft to unite the physical with the psychical in the perfect union, the degree of his attainment may be measured, or he "may be tried," by the perfect right angle. Hence the square is not only one of the principal working tools of his profession but is the logical instrument whereby to measure his progress.
As viewed from a material standpoint the symbology is exact. A ninety degree angle may be obtained by using a square. It may also be made with the two other tools of the Fellow-craft. Using the "level" to lay a horizontal, and the "plumb" to erect a perpendicular, a perfect angle is formed. Phenomena that are true can be demonstrated by trial and error; and the necessary tools to test and prove his findings are furnished the Fellow-craft in the "level" and the "plumb." He may use them to demonstrate the truth of the "square."
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Middle Chamber Lecture
"We are always dealing with creative mind power. With infallible precision it becomes the shape of our mental patterns and the form of our habit-systems, and then, Oh most wonderful of all, it becomes character, conduct and experience on the visible plane of our practical lives. ... I created my past; I create my today; I can read and I will create my tomorrow with the tools of my mind as I work today in the workshop of creation which is within me."
— Harvey Hardman
The second section of this degree (Fellow-craft) has reference to the origin of the institution, and views Masonry under two denominations — operative and speculative. By Operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength and beauty.... It demonstrates that a fund of science and industry is implanted in man for the best, most salutary and beneficent purposes. ... By Speculative Masonry we learn to subdue the passions, ac t upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy and practice charity. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay rational homage to the Deity which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. ... We work in Speculative Masonry, but our ancient brethren wrought in both Operative and Speculative." The foregoing quotation from the lecture is the "rational explanation" of the difference between Oper ative and Speculative. Reference to "our ancient brethren" usually is construed to apply to those "ancient brethren" of the time of King Solomon. More correctly it refers to the early Lodge of England. There, history informs us that, for various reasons, Operative Lodges or guilds began the practice of admitting certain "Gentlemen" who were not craftsmen. These members were termed speculative in contradistinction to the craftsmen members who actually worked at their trade. Undoubtedly it is to these Speculative Masons we are indebted for the development of the ethical analogies of the working tools, as well as the introduction of the deeper philosophy of Freemasonry.
Webster defines "operate": "To perform a work of labour; to produce an effect." "speculate": "To contemplate, to see mentally; to ponder a subject in its different aspects and relations; mediate; especially to theorize without sufficient evidence." Within the definition of these two words are contained both the exoteric and the esoteric explanations.
The "rational explanation" given in the lecture is the exoteric explanation. Namely, the Operative Mason "performs a work or labour." The Speculative Mason "contemplates, sees mentally; ponders the subject in its different aspects and relations."
Seemingly of purpose the ritual conceals the real difference. This is consistent with the practices of the ancient Mysteries, for the Mysteries established the concept that "knowledge is power," and they veiled their wisdom in allegory and symbolism so power might not be acquired by those not "worthy and well qualified." Freemasonry adopts this procedure in presenting its truths. They are carefully concealed behind a "veil of allegory" and are "illustrated by symbols." They are not only veiled from the "cowan," the outsider, but are so obscured from the Mason who is content to be a Mason by virtue of membership rather than a Mason "in fact," by virtue of his knowledge.
The esoteric distinction is that Modern Masonry "speculates" on the great truths and, because of lack of knowledge of the secret doctrine, "theorizes from conjectures without sufficient evidence." (The apron lecture of the first degree contains evidence of as much). To "operate" in Masonry one must know its philosophy and put it into practice. To "operate" is to "produce an effect," and until he produces a recognized effect he remains but a "Speculative Mason."
We are informed in the Bible that at the entrance to Solomon's Temple were two columns. The one on the right named "Jachin"; the one on the left, "Boaz." "Jachin" is said to mean: "He shall establish," presumably alluding to God's promise to David to establish his kingdom. "Boaz" is interpreted: "strength in it." Coupled, they are: "in strength shall He establish." This is but a perfunctory explanation.
Thomas Troward, in Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning, presents a more illuminating explanation of the meaning of these two Hebrew words. "The English 'J' often stands for the Oriental 'Y.' The name 'Jachin' is therefore 'Yahkin,' which is an intensified form of the word 'Yak' or 'one'; thus signifying first the principle of unity as the foundation of all things, and then the mathematical element throughout the universe, since all numbers are evolved from the ONE, and under certain methods of treatment will al ways resolve themselves again into it. But the mathematical element is the element of measurement, proportion, and relation. It is not the Living Life, but only the recognition of the proportional adjustments which the Life gives rise to. To balance the mathematical element we require the Vital element, and this element finds its most perfect expression in that wonderful complex of Thought, Feeling and Volition, which we call Personality. The pillar 'Jachin' is therefore balanced by the pillar 'Boaz,' a name connected with the root of the word 'awaz' or 'Voice.' ... Speech is the distinguishing characteristic of Personality." Judge Troward points out that "One," or the "mathematical element," is Law, while "Boaz" typifies "Personality" or "personal choice." Hence the two columns symbolize the Great Universal Law and Personal Choice.
These columns at the entrance of the Temple were not necessary, for any material support, but presented a symbolical truth. The Temple of Solomon was the house of God, and the only reason for entering that House was to come into His presence. It is discovered that the only way to enter the Temple is to pass between these two columns, the one "Jachin" — "law," the other "Boaz" "personal choice." This is the truth the columns symbolize to the Fellowcraft. To enter the presence of God, it is not enough to rec ognize His existence; one must desire to be in His presence, he must come of "his own free will and accord." Even this is not sufficient. When the objective mind realizes the urge to be in God's presence one is faced with the existence of the other column "Jachin," the constant reminder that it must be in conformity with universal law!
Pike, in Morals and Dogma states: "It is customary, in lodges of the York Rite, to see a celestial globe on one [column] and a terrestrial globe on the other; but these are not warranted, if the object be to imitate the original two columns of the Temple." In the light of judge Troward's explanation of the two columns, it is more than ever evident these globes have no place in the symbology of this degree.
The ritual mentions "three steps." It claims they symbolize the three degrees. There is also an explanation that the three steps refer to the three officers of the Lodge. There are many other "threes" prominent in Masonry: "three words of three syllables"; "Three Grand Masters;" "three raps"; two groups of lights, each containing "Three lights"; "Three gates to the Temple"; "Three sides of a triangle." All of these have peculiar significance in some specific applications, but all stem from the fundamental symbology of the three aspects of Deity, or the three planes of human existence: Physical, Psychical and Spiritual; and, regardless of their specific symbology in a given instance, can be traced back to these original trinities: the one "above," the other "below."
The "five steps" represent the five orders of architecture and the five human senses. Note how the ritual stresses the fact that in each instance "three" are most important. Of the orders of architecture it is said: "The first three alone, however, show invention and particular character, and essentially differ from each other; the two others having nothing but what is borrowed, and differ only accidentally." After naming the five human senses it continues: "The first three of which are deemed peculiarly essential among Freemasons ...." Again, we have the three component parts of the complete man, the physical, psychical and spiritual, represented by the "three columns, which were the principal supports of the Temple, as they are likewise the support of man. "Wisdom, Strength and Beauty": "Wisdom to contrive" (the mental); "Strength to support" (the physical); "Beauty to adorn" (the spiritual).
Ascending the "five steps" is "getting above" the five human senses, attaining the level beyond the material. When "our trust is in God, our faith is well founded"; we have spiritual guidance and need not rely on the material guidance of the five senses. With the three especially emphasized we may recognize a brother, but the true Fellow-craft has attained a level where he may dispense with these material assurances, and has discovered other means of recognition.
When we have surmounted these five steps "we are duly and truly prepared" to start the ascent of the remaining "seven steps." The ritual alludes to them as symbolical of the "Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences." Also the "seven steps" have a deep occult meaning which we will merely mention here. They are the vibrations producing colour and sound. There are seven colours in the spectrum, of which "three" are called "primary." There are seven notes in the musical scale, "three" of which compose the principal chord of the key. The musical scale completely bears out the creative process of evolution. When a scale is played we ascend to another higher scale, at a higher rate of vibration, and repeat (continue to do that which has been done). Herein may be hidden the significance for the lecture urging a "study of music."
The "SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES," in the order mentioned in the ritual (and that order itself is important), are: "Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, Astronomy.)" These fall into two natural divisions of "Three" and "Four." When analyzed in the order given they appear to be "progressive." A knowledge of grammar is necessary before we can even think intelligently. Rhetoric is essential if we wish to convey our thoughts to others, and, lastly, by logic, we present our thoughts in reas oned and systematic classification.
In the group of "four" we find, first, arithmetic as the basis of the other three, and the progression is evident when it is realized arithmetic is necessary to an understanding of geometry, and geometry is essential to any understanding of astronomy, Arithmetic is also the foundation of Rhythm, and rhythm, as applied to music, is regularity or flow of movement. The "notes" of written music are nothing but hieroglyphs indicating rate and duration of vibration. Therefore, without arithmetic the perpetuation of the great music of the world, by committing it to writing, would have been impossible.
The liberal arts and sciences as so designated in the ritual are modern and therefore misleading. Arithmetic and astronomy bring to mind specific sciences, and we are agreed on their definition, but they were not so defined by the ancients, and therefore their modern definitions will give the wrong impression. We must view them in the same light as the ancients if we hope to arrive at their intended symbolical meaning.
Ancient Greek is referred to as a "dead language," yet it is modern compared to the age of the Secret Doctrine. As "arithmetic" is a Greek word, this particular science, obviously, could not have been known by that name to those unfamiliar with the language. Webster defines arithmetic as: "the science of reckoning, the science of numbers, the art of computing or reckoning by figures."
It is as "the science of numbers" that it holds Masonic significance. Before numbers were used, letters of the various alphabets of antiquity served the purpose. (Do not confuse numerical value of a letter with its numerical position in the alphabet.) As an example: with our Arabic numerals we write 311; by changing the position of the numerals we can write 113 or 131. In Hebrew, Aleph is 1; Yod is 10; Shin is 300. If the Jew wished to write 311 he could not do so for he had no 11. He wrote Aleph-Yod-Shin which literally translated is "one" and "ten" and "three hundred." (Hebrew is read from right to left.) Regardless of how transposed, these three letters always total three hundred eleven (311), for the value of each letter remains constant. The Hebrew numerical system must be kept in mind in any study of Masonic numerology. It also holds true of Biblical numerology, and accounts for the translation of numbers such as "three thousand and three hundred overseers of the work on the Temple" rather than thirty-three hundred, as it would be written in modern phraseology.
"ASTRONOMY" and "ASTROLOGY" were not differentiated by the ancients; they were one great science. The word "astronomy" is fairly modern and came into use about the fifteenth century. Thenceforth it has designated the science which treats of the celestial bodies, their magnitudes, motions and relationships one with another. "Astronomy" connotes none of the implications of the word "Astrology." As we today understand the meaning of "Astrology" it is the science by which the effect of the celestial bodies up on human affairs is determined. Obviously it is "Astrology" and not "Astronomy" which is recommended to the Mason as a subject of study. I say "obviously" because ancient secret doctrine, which is concealed in Masonic allegory and symbolism, teaches evolution as surely as Darwin ever taught it; reincarnation and the law of necessity or karma, which are included in, and are a part of, the teaching of scientific astrology. Neither need the Chr istian Mason shudder on being told Masonry embraces such teaching . If he feels any repugnance at the thought it is because those who today profess those teachings, such as the Buddhist and the Hindu, have distorted these Divine truths as greatly as Christianity has the sublime teaching of the Master Jesus.
There is no new religion. There is but one religion. The ancient Hebrew believed in evolution, reincarnation and karma, as well as astrology. That book we call the "Holy Bible" is still full of references to all three, in spite of the fact that much has been expurgated. Had it not suited the purposes of the Roman Church centuries ago to disregard that portion of the teaching of the Bible, the Christian religion today would doubtless teach these fundamentals; and, instead of being at variance with material science, the two would go forward hand in hand for the greater glory of God and the enlightenment of the human race. It was but to preserve these truths for "future generations" that Masonry itself was perpetuated. Here again, however, one is faced with the difficulties of the English language as a vehicle for the expression of the desired thought, for the word "Astrology" is in bad repute. It is immediately associated in mind with "fortune tel ling" and is discredited as a science by that association. Bef ore turning from the subject with disdain, however, one should be mindful of the ancient saying: "Fools deride, philosophers investigate."
There are actually seven interpretations of Masonic symbolism, or more correctly, seven means of interpretation. They are based on the two divisions of "three" and "four," and all fall into one of the three classifications: physical, psychical or spiritual. By the use of the first three of the "Liberal Arts and Sciences" the teaching can be conveyed verbally or in writing.
- By the actual words of the ritual and lectures.
- By nomenclature, inasmuch as all words, passwords and names used in the ritual conceal hidden meaning. By the use of the last four mentioned sciences the doctrine is demonstrated.
- By arithmetic, that is by "numbers," which we may define as Masonic numerology.
- By geometry, that is by "signs," which are described as right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars. By designs, the floor work, which if actually drawn upon a trestle-board will exhibit some very interesting facts.
- By music, or more correctly, the science of vibration and harmony. Mozart exemplifies the three degrees in the opera The Magic Flute, and reputedly wrote the opera's score after having been a Mason for years. The setting is Egyptian, but the well-informed Mason cannot fail to recognize the Masonic implications.
- By astronomy, or more correctly "Astrology." Its great importance to Masonry is inferred when the form of a Lodge is discussed. The ritual recites: "It is said to be of so vast dimensions to denote that a Freemason's charity should know no bounds." Note, that as usual, the wording is indefinite, the phrase "it is said to be" is used; it does not state, "it is." The ancients believed that everything on the material plane was a counterpart of something on the spiritual plane, therefore they stated: "As above so below." The Lodge below is like the Lodge above. This, too, has double meaning. There is the Spiritual Lodge spoken of as "the "Lodge on High," but it also has reference to the actual physical heavens, as the geometry of the Lodge is that of the Astronomer. Only six methods of interpretation have been enumerated, and close observation reveals they are either physical or psychical. What of the seventh? All that has been recounted is but additional "rational explanation," even though it may be more e xplicit and delve more deeply than the lectures of the Lodge room. These preliminary explanations are a "sort of" phrenic placing oneself "in that proper position" to perceive the seventh and Spiritual exposition of Freemasonry.
The Bible states: "In six days God created the heavens and the earth and rested on the seventh day." The literal translation of the Hebrew text is "in six days God created the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day continued to do the work He had done." In other words, "creation" is a continuous process of evolution.
The Biblical statement gives us evidence of the creative power of mind. The "three steps" are the material, mental and spiritual. We have seen that the five steps are the five human senses, which are of use only on the material plane. As we mount these "five steps" we ascend above the material to the mental plane, from which vantage point we begin the ascent of the remaining "seven steps." These "seven steps" typify the creative process,  the six days of labour and the seventh when God continued to do th at which He had done, which are abidingly continuous. Thought is God's creative process, hence man must create by that same power.
We have now arrived at a representation of the "Middle Chamber of King Solomon's Temple." We have also arrived at the most interesting and widely discussed feature of the entire Masonic structure, excepting only the allegorical story contained in the second section of the third degree. I term it the most interesting, with the one exception, because, like the story of the Ancient Master, it departs entirely from recorded historic fact and has no scriptural authority to substantiate it; most discussed, because it has been one of the subjects which has intrigued Masonic authorities of the past, and about which much has been written.
The winding stairs and the middle chamber are described in 1 Kings VI: 5, 6, 8. "And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: the nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. ... The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber." This is the sum total of the Biblical light which can be directed on the "middle chamber."
In his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Mackey quotes this same Biblical passage and adds: "These chambers, after the Temple was completed, served for the accommodation of the Priests, when upon duty; in them they deposited their vestments and the sacred vessels. But the knowledge of the purpose to which the middle chamber was appropriated while the Temple was in the course of construction is only preserved in Masonic tradition. This tradition is, however, altogether mythical and symbolical in its character, ... "
In conjunction with his explanation of the "winding stairs" he states: "If we attempt to adopt it as a historical fact the absurdity of its details stare us in the face, and wise men will wonder at our credulity. Its inventors had no desire thus to impose upon our folly, but offered it to us as a great philosophical myth; they did not for a moment suppose that we would pass over its sublime moral teachings to accept the allegorical as a historical narrative without meaning, and wholly irreconcilable with the records of scripture, and opposed by all the principles of probability. To suppose that eighty thousand craftsmen were weekly paid in the narrow precincts of the Temple chambers is simply to suppose an absurdity."
The origin of this allegory is obscured behind the veil of our ignorance of early Masonic history. As it stands it obviously is not handed down to us from the Mysteries, yet the symbolism it employs is the symbolism of the Mysteries. Apparently its authors, familiar with the meaning of the symbols, realizing the incompleteness of the Masonic teaching without these symbols, arbitrarily added the myth to the actual Biblical account of the building of the Temple as the only logical means of bringing into pla y these symbols of reward.
Again quoting from Mackey relative to the winding stairs which was the means of gaining entrance to the middle chamber: "As a Fellow-craft, he has advanced another step, and as the degree is emblematic of youth, so it is here that the intellectual education of the candidate begins." This is not inconsistent with our contention that the second degree is psychical, but rather, strongly corroborates that claim, for Mackey emphasizes that "it is here that the intellectual education of the candidate begins."
Continuing Mackey: "And therefore, at the very spot which separates the porch from the sanctuary, where childhood ends and manhood begins, he finds stretching out before him a winding stair which invites him, as it were, to ascend, and which, as the symbol of discipline and instruction, teaches him that here must commence Masonic labour — here be must enter upon those glorious though difficult researches, the end of which is to be the possession of divine truth. The winding stairs begin after the candidate has passed within the porch and between the pillars of strength and establishment [we have also discovered them to be "personal choice" and "law," which but adds strength to Mackey's exposition], as a significant symbol to teach him that as soon as he has passed beyond the years of irrational childhood, and commenced his entrance upon manly life, the laborious task of self-improvement is the first duty that is placed before him. He cannot stand still if he would be worthy of his vocation; his destiny as an immortal being requires him to ascend, step by step, until the summit, where the treasures of knowledge await him."
The "material" is the "outer door." The "psychical" is the "inner door" which admits to the mental plane of being — the "middle chamber." The mind is the controller of the body, the physical; it is also the instrument of spirit. Thus it is seen to be the intermediary between the physical and the spiritual; it is truly the "middle chamber."
As much as is known of the Egyptian Mysteries indicates that their primary initiation, or "first degree," dealt with the physical. Only those proven worthy attained to the second degree, there being enroled and actually accepted as neophytes. The reason for this appears to be that many became discouraged during the long and arduous physical ordeal of preparation and voluntarily resigned; others, unable to "make the necessary proficiency," were thereby debarred from the higher degrees. This was of no serious consequence, as none had as yet received any secret instruction whereby any of the real secrets of the Mysteries had been revealed. They were in a comparable position to an individual who might drop out of Masonry after receiving the first degree. True, he has some knowledge of Freemasonry, but he can enlighten the profane world very little as to the real secrets of Freemasonry. It is from such as these that the little information we have of the Mysteries has come down to us, coupled with veiled remarks of known Initiates such as Jesus, Saint Paul, Plato and Pythagoras.
Having once been accepted, the neophyte was "bound to the organization by a two-fold tie" and thenceforth received "wages" in the form of his actual sustenance and the "knowledge" imparted to him of a psychical and spiritual nature. These "wages" were referred to as "corn, wine and oil," and some knowledge of symbology is essential to an understanding of their subtle significance.
"CORN, WINE and OIL are the Masonic elements of consecration," states Mackey, in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, and as he explains: "The adoption of these symbols is supported by the highest antiquity. Corn, wine and oil were the most important productions of Eastern countries; they constituted the wealth of the people, and were esteemed as the supports of life and the means of refreshment. David enumerates them as among the great blessings that we enjoy, and speaks of them as 'wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.' — Psalm CIV: 14."
In that beautiful twenty-third Psalm, David again refers to corn, or nourishment, oil and wine: "Thou preparest a table before me in the midst of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over." To state that these three symbols denote "plenty," "health," and "peace" is the crassest kind of material explanation. In fact it might be considered misleading were we not accustomed to the Masonic fact that "within the Lodge" the Great Truths are not revealed, and that we must seek elsewhere for such light as is not therein revealed.
The ancients who worshipped the Sun as a god, or as a symbol of God, considered all things yellow, golden colour, of the sun, as pertaining to it; hence gold, brass and corn or grain, because of their colour, were deemed sacred. Corn was one of the principal foods; it was, to the devout, actually "nourishment from God," a reward for obedience to His laws. In Oriental Philosophy Francis Grant refers to the ancient symbolical reference to wine, thus: "God was at once the Wine of life and the Wine Bearer." Of the Great Sufi poet, Omar Khayyam, he says: "But few westerners have ever glimmered that Omar's wine was not the wine of men, but the ecstatic inflow of a religious mystic experience." While the time of which Grant writes is a much later date than here discussed, the Sufi poets borrowed their symbology from the earlier times.
In the ancient ceremony of crowning a king, his head was anointed with oil by the officiating priest. This oil was contained in a flask, fashioned from the horn of a bull or ram, and carried in the priest's girdle. The Jew, of course, considered the one so anointed as ordained by Jehovah; the Pagan priest ordained in the name of Taurus or Aries, depending on the horn from which the oil was poured.
Here, then, is the true wage of the Fellow-craft: the corn which nourishes his physical body, provided by the all-wise beneficence of his Creator, truly a "gift from God"; oil, the refresher of his physical body, that which "makes his face to shine." More mystically interpreted, the ointment which sets him apart from others, which makes him the "appointed" of God. And finally, wine, which, as Grant says, is "not the wine of men, but the ecstatic inflow of a religious mystic experience" the summation of his labours, the award for the arduous ascent of the three five and seven steps of the winding stairs.
The letter "G" is a modern adaptation. Its meaning is frequently confused with the "All-seeing eye" and "the point within a circle." It does not represent the "initial letter of geometry," for the obvious reason that the silence was so named by the Greeks. Mackey states he would regret the use of the letter "G" were it not for the fact that the letters G, O and D, are the initials of the Hebrew words, "gomer," "oz," "dabar." He points out that "it must be considered more than a coincidence that Gomer is 'Beauty,' Oz is 'Strength' and Dabar is 'wisdom'." Even with such an explanation the use of "G" is inconsistent with Masonic claims of universality. "G" is not the initial letter of "Deity" in French, Spanish or Italian, not to mention the Oriental languages, neither is it "interchangeable with the initial of geometry" in these languages. The Hebrew letter "Yod" is the only symbol which can consistently be used universally, and then not merely because it is the initial of Deity (Yavah) but for a far more recondite reason.
"Yod" is the number ten, and the Kabbalah says: "Ten is the most perfect number because it includes unity, which created everything, and zero, symbol of matter and chaos, whence everything emerged. In its figures it comprehends the created and the uncreated, the commencement and the end, power and force, life and annihilation. By the study of this number we find the relations of all things, the power of the Creator, the faculties of the creature, the Alpha and Omega of divine knowledge."
Following the advice to "study this number" perhaps a reason can be discovered for its suspension in the East. The number ten is composed of 3 plus 3 plus 4. "Three," the triangle, symbol of Deity — "three," the triangle, symbol of man (that is the perfect man made in the image of his Creator). "Four," the square, symbol of material things in general, and in this instance, specifically, symbol of material man.
Likewise ten is composed Of 7 plus 3. "Seven" symbolizes the creative cycle; "three" denotes Deity. Thus ten is the symbol of Divine Creation. The ancient wise man expounded: "as above, so below." Below, "seven," still represents the creative cycle; "three," the triangle, symbol of the perfect man. Thus, we have the creative power of man depicted. When "Yod" is restored to its proper place in the East instead of the "substitute" which is now there suspended, even the "rational explanation" of the lecture will convey meaningful lessons and will give the candidate both the "clue" and the "desire" to search "out of the Lodge" for that further light he has been informed cannot be conferred upon him therein.
Again in the charge to the candidate it is stressed that: "The internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man are what Freemasonry regards." It is to enhance those "internal qualifications" that the degree of Fellow-craft has been conferred upon him. It is to point the way to his "improving himself in Freemasonry" that the "study of the liberal arts and sciences is earnestly recommended to your consideration."
"Especially is the science of Geometry recommended, which is established as the basis of our art. Geometry, or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge; while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the most important truths of morality." Change "morality" to "spirituality" and the true reason for the study of geometry is discovered. "It is enriched with the most useful knowledge; while it proves the wonderfu l properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of spirituality!"
* * *
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
— Ecclesiastes XII: 1, 7
The Entered Apprentice degree, dealing with the material, is preparatory; that of Fellowcraft is psychical, away from the material, toward the spiritual. The degree of Master Mason (if the assumption that Masonry stems from the Mysteries is correct) is the summit, wholly spiritual.
Interrogation as to personal desire, preparation and worthiness is repeated. For a second time the necessity for proficiency in the preceding degree is emphasized: Patience is still a virtue.
The spiritual is not forced upon any individual. One must reach a level where he is cognizant of it and, of his own volition, seek it. In the third degree the Candidate approaches the spiritual. He is to make of himself the complete man, the master. He includes the physical, the psychical and the spiritual. The process is symbolized by the preparation which includes that of both preceding degrees.
Demanding proficiency in the preceding degrees is not an arbitrary ruling of the Lodge. It is for the Candidate's personal benefit. He who has not learned the lessons of the physical and psychical degrees has not attained a level where he can hope to achieve understanding of the spiritual.
Knowing the true symbology of the compasses, a "more noble and glorious" explication than the "rational explanation" given in the Lodge is apparent. The compasses are emblematic of the spiritual; therefore on his first admission into a Lodge of Master Masons the Candidate is confronted with the fact that he has entered upon the spiritual degree of Freemasonry.
The Rite of Circumambulation is most ancient. It is the "Rite of purification" of him who is about to be initiated. The direction taken is to comply with the ancient saying: "if you would do reverence to the gods, you must turn on the right hand." Masonically, there is additional significance: the "right is the stronger side of man"; it symbolizes the psychical side of his nature, also Universal Law — Jachin. Thus in reverencing the gods, the right hand and the right side are kept toward the altar. This custom in turn has its origin in ancient Solar Worship, and exemplifies: "As the sun in his course moves round the world by way of the south, so do I follow that luminary, to obtain the benefit arising from a journey round the earth by way of the south."
Rabbinical commentaries on the Scripture quoted (Ecclesiastes 12: 1-7) during the perambulation are of interest to all Masons. A literal translation from the Hebrew by Isaac Leeser better lends itself to this explanation; it is therefore quoted in full:
"But remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youthful vigour, while the evil days are not yet come, nor those years draw nigh of which thou wilt say, I have no pleasure in them. While the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars are not yet darkened, and the clouds not return again after the rain. On the day when the watchmen of the house will tremble, and the men of might will bend themselves, and the grinders stand idle because they are become few, and those be darkened that look through the windows. And when the two doors on the streets will be locked, while the sound of the mill becometh dull, and man riseth up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low. Also when men will be afraid of every elevation, and are terrified on every way, and the almond tree will flourish and the locust will drag itself slowly along, and the desire will gainsay compliance. Because man goeth to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets. While the silver cord is not yet torn loose, and the golden bowl is not crushed, and the pitcher is not broken at the fountain, and the wheel is not crushed at the cistern. When the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."
"Remember thy Creator" turn to God in thy "youthful vigour" before the calamities enumerated overtake thee — "while the evil days are not yet come." Wait not until those years "draw nigh" when, having no more pleasure in life, one waits for but death; when failing sight makes all the luminaries of heaven appear "darkened." The "watchman who tremble" are likened to the shaking hands of an old man, the "men of might who bend themselves," the legs weakened by age. The "grinders," the teeth, and those "who look through the windows," the dimming eyes. The "two doors" are the lips; the "mill" by some is interpreted to be the mouth, but Rashi attributes the reference to the stomach. "And man riseth up at the voice of the bird" — the voice of the old man rises to shrillness like the voice of a bird. The "daughters of song," Rashi interprets to mean "when the song of the singers appears dull in the ears." Philippson prefers: "when the several notes become unintelligible." "Afraid of every elevation, and terrified on every way" — the terrors and forebodings of the aged. "And the almond tree will flourish — "will blossom" man's head will turn white like the almond tree covered with blossoms. "The Locust" is emblematic of the ease with which the strong man labours; whereas in age activity becomes less and less, as though the locust, otherwise so nimble, had to drag its light weight as a burden. By some Hebrew scholars the "loosening of the silver cord, crushing of the bowl etc." is a description of the general dissolution of the body. Others suppose the silver cord to be the spinal marrow. The latter has support in occult teaching, where the "silver cord" is described as the connection between the spiritual and material bodies which is severed at death.
It was discovered the "approach" of the Entered Apprentice was material. The "approach" of the Fellow-craft, being psychical, was necessarily different. Herein it is reiterated that the spiritual combines the other two, for the "approach" of the Master Mason includes them both. Likewise does that "due form" in this degree partake of elements of the previous degrees.
A study herein of the obligation would be Masonically improper. However, it pertains strictly to those duties assumed toward the Order, and because of them, to a brother.
"What is the length of a cable-tow?" The answer to the oft-voiced query is contained in the remarks of the Master. The cable-tow is symbolic of the ties to the Fraternity. How "far" the individual Mason is "bound" by his obligation (beyond the recognized minimum) rest solely with his own conscience; that alone is the determining factor of its length. Some cable-tows will scarcely reach out of the Lodge room; some, belonging to those Masons truly imbued with brotherly love, seemingly reach around the world.
Attention is directed to the "three Great Lights" and the "representatives" of the "three Lesser Lights." These latter are the "Sun, Moon, and Worshipful Master, ... and are thus explained: as the Sun rules the day and the Moon governs the night, so should the Worshipful Master rule and govern his Lodge with equal regularity and justice." This is an extremely poor analogy. The only thing "regular" about the Sun and Moon is their "irregularity," for they rise and set at a different time each day. Neither do they, in the sense used here, "rule" or "govern" with "justice." "For He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good."
The three Lesser Lights are a group of symbols of two distinct meanings. In the ritual, however, these two meanings are confusingly combined into one explanation which lends itself to misinterpretation. The error is caused by comparing the Worshipful Master to the Sun and Moon.
Pythagoras was previously quoted as saying: "God formed two things in his own image; first the universe itself, and second man." We conceive of a macrocosm and a microcosm. The underlying idea is a "Great Lodge" — the Universe, and a "Lesser Lodge" — the human institution.
The Lesser Lights are the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens. This is clearly exemplified in the English Lodge, where one light is placed at each officer's station, rather than grouping them as in most American Lodges.
The Candidate is informed that three inanimate objects, giving no material light, are the "Great Lights." Reference is made to "representatives" of the Lesser Lights, but there are no "representatives" of the Great Lights. These are categorically stated to be the "Holy Bible, Square and Compasses."
The search for light is a search for knowledge. It is not light but en-LIGHT-enment that is desired. This great illumination that the Candidate may obtain by aid of "representatives of the three Lesser Lights" (the Master and Wardens) is that enlightenment to which these three officers may assist him, when they themselves are informed in Masonry.
Of the two meanings which have been combined, the deeper spiritual lesson intends to teach of the unity of the universe and God. In the "Great Lodge," the universe, the Lesser Lights are the Sun, Moon and Stars. By their aid we are enabled to behold the "Three Great Lights of the Universe." With the physical eye we behold the earth. In the seeing thereof we view God manifested, as He, the Great Light, materialized Himself in the world by means of the second Great Light, the "Word" or Universal Law. Thus, in viewing the world, we see also God and Law by which He created it, and actually behold the "Three Great Lights of the Universe."
In the second degree the Candidate is informed that certain symbology teaches that "ours is a progressive science." The progression continues in this degree, and he now observes a further change in these symbols. Accepting the material explanation, and provided that was "but partial light," he has every right to assume that he has now received all the light, but is informed that such is not the case. He has received only such light as can be conferred in a lodge.
In seeking the spiritual explanation illustrated by the square and compasses, the latter, emblematic of the spiritual, are observed elevated above the square, (typical of the material), which now serves only as a background for the spiritual. The true significance of the changing positions of these two Great Lights is thereby revealed. First the square dominated the compasses, progress was made, and they were next seen to be intertwined. Finally in the great exposition of the spiritual the compasses have c ome to the fore, they now predominate. Thus is symbolized "the subjugation of the human that is in man by the divine."
By the process of deductive reasoning it is evident that the position of the square and compasses, as now viewed, is not the logical conclusion of their progression, and that "something" is missing. Lost, in the sense that it has not yet been found. This reasoning is correct. There is another position of the square and compasses, but it will not be found on the altar. It is on the floor of the Lodge.
At some time in the past the blazing star was shorn of one of its points and changed into a five-pointed star. Apparently some ritualists, not familiar with the ancient significance of the six-pointed star, associated it with the "five points of fellowship" (with which it has no connection) and decided it should have five points. In my own studies I have failed to discover a place in Masonic Symbology for a five-pointed star, and while some few authorities place it among the Masonic symbols, by so doing they deny its Masonic implication, for in its use they attribute a Christian reference, which immediately detracts from both the antiquity and universality of Freemasonry.
The compasses are always open to sixty degrees, and if a cross piece be placed from one to the same distance from the apex, on the other, an equilateral triangle is formed. All that can be produced by the same procedure with the square is a right-angle triangle, which is the symbol of the complete man.
Envisage the square on a quadrant. If it is progressed thirty degrees (which is one twelfth of a circle and a complete sign of the zodiac) to sixty degrees, then joined by a cross piece, an equilateral triangle is formed. The ancient symbol of Deity is an equilateral triangle with an angle pointing downward toward His creation. The perfect man is symbolized by an equilateral triangle with an angle pointing upward toward his Creator. Here is the symbol of man, "in the image and likeness" of the symbol of his Creator. When these two triangles are intertwined they form a six-pointed star, the shield of David, or seal of Solomon, as it is likewise known, which for ages has been the Grand Symbol of the perfect union of the Supreme Being with the Divine Man.
This is logically depicted by the blazing star in the centre of the floor. It is properly placed in the floor rather than on the altar, for the Candidate, having assumed all his obligations, will not again kneel at the altar.
In ancient times the Hebrew Priest appeared before the congregation with the tallith (praying shawl) over his head, which he held uplifted from his face with both raised hands. His index fingers touched each other and the thumbs, extended below, likewise touched each other, thereby forming a triangle. The fingers of each hand divided into two by two, forming the Hebrew letter "Shin," initial letter of "Shaddai", meaning "hovering over"; and carrying the inference that it was "Divine Presence" which was "ho vering over." In this manner the Priest uttered the "three-fold benediction," repeating three times:
"May the Lord bless thee and keep thee. May the Lord let His countenance shine Upon thee and be gracious unto thee. May the Lord lift up His countenance Upon thee and give thee peace."
This beautiful benediction suffers through translation; the English word "peace" does not convey the fullness of meaning of the Hebrew word "Shalom," which means "completeness of being."
A certain sign is given the candidate, who is told to what it alludes. This explanation is entirely consistent with the meanings attributed to signs given him on two former occasions, under similar circumstances. However, in addition to the "rational explanation" given, the other two signs, as has been recounted, had definitely more recondite applications. The sign in question can have no other interpretation, if it is correctly given in the ritual. Further it is inconsistent with a statement made later, when a certain word is declared lost, and it is inferred the sign likewise is lost. Later in the ceremony it is stated that in a certain manner both the substitute word and sign would be indicated. Subsequently the allegory narrates that the hands were placed in a described position, and offers a logical and quite natural reason for such a position being assumed. This then should logically be the sign, having a double "rational" meaning, and susceptible of an esoteric explanation as well. It is the writer's understanding that the G.H.S., as used in most American jurisdictions, is unknown in English Masonry where the sign just discussed answers the purpose.
It is highly possible that long usage and carelessness on the part of those using these signs throughout the centuries have corrupted them. Originally both signs were probably one, that is the hands were held in the same relationship to each other, but in the two different positions related to the body. They obviously bore some relationship (which the informed Mason will immediately discern) to the manner in which the Hebrew Priest conferred the benediction. Assuming a connection exists, what symbolism is conveyed by the position? The triangle, formed by the thumbs and fingers, symbolizes the spiritual. The letter "Shin," formed by the fingers, typifies "Divine Presence hovering over." The position of the hands has immemorially been associated with the three-fold benediction, bespeaking "completeness of being." Therefore we have "illustrated by symbols" the truth that the spiritual is completeness of being, which is attained through recognition of Divine Pres ence which is constantly hovering over.
Further evidence of the spirituality of this degree is amply at hand. The Biblical character Tubalcain is mentioned, but in some rituals proper emphasis on the esoteric meaning of this name is lacking. Therein it is merely stated that he was a "brother of Jubal, the eighth man from Adam, and the first known artificer in metals." The Bible, however, is more specific. Genesis 4:22. "And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron."
This may seem to raise a sharp distinction but, if we are to understand the meaning of ancient symbols, sharp distinctions must be the rule rather than the exception. It is not sufficiently enlightening to know he worked "in metals," the specific metals must be known. Later on is discussed the meaning of Hiram Abiff as "cunning in all works of brass." The exact symbology applies in this instance in addition to which we are informed Tubalcain was likewise proficient in iron.
The reference to iron is better understood by referring to The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, by Max Heindel. — "Iron is in reality the basis of separate existence. Without iron the red, heat-giving blood would be an impossibility, and the Ego could have no hold in the body. When red blood developed — in the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch — the body became upright and the time had come when the Ego could begin to dwell within the body and control it." Hence it is apparent that "iron" symbolizes the physical.
That Tubalcain was an "instructor" of every artificer implies greater skill and knowledge than that of a mere artificer." Recognizing this emphatic distinction, we discern that Tubalcain was a highly skilled worker on both the spiritual and the material plane, capable of instructing others. The lofty aim of the Master Mason is to attain like proficiency, hence Tubalcain may well be held up as a fitting reminder to the Master Mason of his own goal.
The manner of wearing the apron in the preceding degrees is recapitulated. A certain manner is both described and demonstrated, and the Candidate is then informed that it is "obsolete" because of certain reasons, and that the apron should be worn as a Fellow-craft.
An apron folded diagonally not only does not form a square (as stated in several jurisdictions in America) but loses all resemblance thereto — it becomes a triangle. It is the emblem of the spiritual, and concurs in the symbology of the compasses elevated above the square. For the sake of consistency, in view of the fact that the apron and the square and compasses have repeated the same progressing symbology thus far, it may be asked if a further change in the apron is indicated. It is impossible to fold an apron, evenly, into an equilateral triangle; it therefore will not change to concur with the symbology of the six-pointed star. The apron is worn by the evolving man, up to and including his attainment of "completeness." But the apron is a material thing, regardless of what it may symbolize; obviously it cannot be worn by the perfected man, who is a spiritual being, hence logically the progression of the apron ceases.
The working tools of a Master Mason are "all the implements of Masonry indiscriminately, especially the trowel." A survey of "All the implements" reveals but six. This is inconsistent with the numerology of the Lodge. It is symbolically necessary they total seven, and if the setting-maul is included the total is seven. Masonically it is regarded as an instrument of violent death. For that reason it possibly was removed from the working tools by some early ritualists who did not realize its symbolical significance. It should be reinstated for the same logical reasons which suggest it was originally included. Anyone who has watched a brickmason at work has noticed how he uses the handle of his trowel to tap the brick into proper position. A stone-mason performs the same task with a setting maul, as a stone is too massive to respond to the taps of a trowel handle. Thus the setting-maul is an essential tool of the operative mason.
The tools of the Apprentice are preparatory tools; those of the Fellow-craft, strictly speaking, are not "tools." They are "instruments" with which to measure, to bring into manifestation in the material building those concepts, formed in the mind of the architect, of "plumb" uprights, "level" footings and "square" joinings. Again it is repeated and emphasized that the spiritual encompasses the other two planes of existence; they are necessary to it, yet it extends away and beyond the material and psychical, for in addition to employing the "tools" of the other planes it has "tools" peculiar to its own plane. True "brotherly love" is a spiritual attribute, and it is only the trowel which can spread the "cement of brotherly love and affection."
The other implements of Masonry are all right angles, horizontals, and perpendiculars. The trowel cannot be so described, for its point forms an acute angle. While operative trowels are varied in shape to adapt them to different purposes, the symbolic trowel of Masonry should be made with an angle of sixty degrees, wherein is discovered an equilateral triangle. Thus it is discovered the "working tool" peculiar to the Master Mason is the emblem of the spiritual. This is to demonstrate that, as an "overseer of the work, he must be proficient in the use of all the implements indiscriminately," else he could not supervise others; but he must progress beyond the ability of those under his direction. He must also, and especially, work spiritually.
The symbology of the trowel points to further evidence favouring the inclusion of the setting-maul. With its rounded base and sides tapering up to the handle, it discloses sixty degree angles and, coinciding with the trowel, diverges from those tools described as right-angles, horizontals and perpendiculars. Ready at hand, too, is an ethical lesson.
A setting-maul is an instrument made use of by operative masons to coerce the unwieldy stone into its proper position in the building; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of impelling ourselves into our proper positions in that building of which we are to form a part. A more recondite exposition is seen in the Constructive and Destructive actions of Universal Law. In the hands of the ignorant and unskilled workman it becomes an instrumen t of death and destruction, but in the hands of the enlightened and skilful craftsman it becomes a Constructive instrument with which the recalcitrant stone is forced into its proper position.
The proficiency examination of this degree is practically a recapitulation of the ceremony of initiation, and only two questions and answers shed any further light on the esoteric doctrine. Of all the material creation man alone can declare "I AM." But those words are far more than a declaration of a material fact. To so declare is recognition of consciousness — a statement of recognized individuality. An affirmation of divinity — for only God, and man, made in His image, can declare "I am." Not in the mere statement, but rather in the complete realization of its implications, is the power we seek, for it is an affirmation of immortality.
There is more than one kind of foreign country. To reach those shown on the map, one must transport the physical body, but those foreign countries of the mental realm may be instantaneously reached by the mind. Those foreign countries are fields of thought "foreign" to our present mode of thinking, and when we travel in them we receive Master's wages in the bountiful rewards such thinking brings into our lives. The entire object of Freemasonry is to inculcate such thinking, for when followed to its logical conclusion it is discovered that Freemasonry is not a lodge, not a ritual, but a plan for the living of a life.
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The Great Moral Lesson
"In that deep force, the last fact behind which analyst cannot go, all things find their common origin. For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceeds. ... We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth, and organs of its activity."
Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." The "illustration by symbols" is that portion of the ceremony which has preceded. The definition of allegory which reads: "presents a truth under the guise of fictitious narrative or description" is an exact description of what is done in this portion of this degree.
A story, is told, complete in itself, and if one desires to seek no further he has received a valuable lesson portraying the life and action of a man of high morality and integrity. This lesson, however, is incomparable to the spiritual truth presented. It is to prepare the Candidate for the acceptance of this truth that he is initiated and instructed in the preceding degrees.
The first time one takes a particular journey he instinctively notes certain landmarks along the way — a tree, a hill, or a stream. On a second occasion he judges his progress toward his journey's end by these landmarks. If necessity takes him that way again, for a third time, the landmarks have become old friends, beckoning him on with assurances that he is nearing his destination. Presuming he has completed his journey, his surprise and possible consternation may well be imagined when he is informed th at such is not the case. If under these circumstances he is told that further journeying is necessary ere his goal is reached, and that the journey may be rough and rugged and even beset with perils, the devout man will pray for Divine protection and assistance. He will turn to no earthly power, nor will he beseech others to pray for him.
Every man, except he is an atheist, has some image of God before his mind's eye. To some the image is dim and indistinct of outline, a mere philosophical necessity. To others it is a clear concept, an abiding faith. Placed in a position of dire peril, where material assistance is of no avail, each man's trust in his God is put to the supreme test.
Before the Lodge prayed for the Candidate. The Lodge initiated him, held before him the symbols, gave him instruction and brought him to the same place as all who had gone that way before him. Its work was accomplished. Evolution raises the race to the level where the individual recognizes there is a law and, learning to cooperate with it, he works out his further destiny. Here the Candidate is in that exact position. Further progress depends on his own efforts, hence he is informed that his goal has n ot been reached, and correct ritual will add that it is not known if he will ever achieve it.
It has been suggested that Masonry is Mental Science, the science of controlling one's life and destiny through the creative power of thought. In this connection the thesis of the objective and subjective mind proves helpful. The process of creative thought is to visualize with the objective mind the desired condition, and implant this picture in the subjective mind. The latter then creates that which the objective mind desires. This process is continuous, therefore negative, destructive thoughts transm itted to the subjective have the same effect as positive, constructive thoughts. Even though the individual be ignorant of this law it is still the law. Job illustrates the negative action when he laments: "The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." Both the positive and the negative action is suggested in the statement: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." It is the creative power of thought that accounts for life's every condition. It is the purpose of Masonry to so inform its initiates that they may actively use the Constructive principle for good and, knowing of the Destructive principle, refrain from those mental attitudes which are causations of evil.
The requisite of constructive creative thought is faith. "Therefore I say unto you, what things whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive, and ye shall receive." Particularly note the two tenses. First: "believe ye receive," present tense, "and ye shall receive," future tense.
This portion of the degree allegorically depicts this power of thought. The narrator, breaking into the middle of a story, informs the Candidate he represents a certain person. Of what has gone before the Candidate is not told; if he is curious he may turn to the Bible and been the tale. A Temple is under construction and partially completed. Three Grand Masters are in charge of the construction. Who are these three, and what is their symbolical significance? We too, may turn to the Bible for our answer.
Relative to Hiram King of Tyre: "And Hiram sent to Solomon saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for; and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir." Here related is the agreement to furnish the material for the Temple, and it is indicative of the importance attached to the material or physical. Symbolically Hiram of Tyre is the "Material."
"In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said ... I am but a child; I know not how to go out or come in. ... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad." Solomon symbolizes the psychical. It was the acquisition of wisdom which enabled Solomon to visualize or create the Temple in his mind, that it might be materialized on the chosen building site. A further less on in Mental Science is to be gained from this scriptural passage. Solomon asked for wisdom, not from selfish motives but that he might guide his people. This so pleased God, we are told, that He added riches and long life. This is the operation of Universal Law. With wisdom one need not ask for riches or health, for wisdom dictates that the Constructive Principle in nature be followed and when that Great Law is obeyed "all these things shall be added unto you."
"And King Solomon went and fetched Hiram out of Tyre, he was a widow's son ... and he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works of brass. And he came to King Solomon and he wrought all his works."
To understand the foregoing passage we must know the symbology employed in the Bible. The masses of the ancients regarded the sun as a god, the more enlightened as a symbol of God. Gold, because of its color, was the symbol of the sun. Likewise brass, being more plentiful and of similar color, was often substituted for gold. In the process of mental evolution the sun, because of its position in the "above," assumed an ethical aspect of the spiritual, and likewise those materials which symbolized the sun. In this sense the Biblical statement that "Hiram was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works of brass" actually informs us that he was cunning, or skilled, to "work all works" spiritual. Thus he clearly symbolizes the spiritual. Together with the other two we have the Spiritual, Psychical and Physical. Man alone is composed of these three components, thus the symbolical meaning of the Temple is clear.
The "Sanctum Sanctorum" of each individual is the secret chamber of the soul into which one should "habitually" retire. This individual Holy of Holies is unfinished, for few have attained those spiritual heights which are the finished work. The Grand Master is typical of the objective mind which retires to the secret closet of its own innermost being — withdrawing from the material world, there to "draw designs upon the trestle-board" — the receptive subjective mind, which but waits for the imprint of tho se "designs for living." The "craft" is Universal Mind which develops the plans drawn. The process of building the Temple is the development of character, the evolving of the real individual.
After the process of drawing designs upon the trestle-board the Grand Master offered up devotion to Deity. True devotion to Deity is obedience to Universal Law. Man's ideal of God forms his character, and his life work is the individual's contribution to the attainment of God's plans.
The Grand Master also "meditated upon the wonders of the Universe." Such meditation brings a realization of the Infinite Wisdom which planned this world whereon we abide. Through that meditation the Infinite Power of creation is dimly realized. Thus it dawns upon our consciousness that we were created by that same Universal Wisdom and Power. When we contemplate the physical body of man we realize it is as wonderful as the universe itself. Continued meditation brings the further realization that, wonderful as the body may be, the mind is even more marvelous. Thus we arrive at the true meaning of being in the image and likeness of our Creator. The mind, the likeness of God, is endowed with the power to create the microcosm, as God manifested in the creation of the macrocosm.
It should be remembered that this retirement into the Sanctum Sanctorum was a "custom." We have only to make the comparison between the material Temple and the Human Temple, to realize the need of habitual retirement to the Holy of Holies. Had the Grand Master's retirement been irregular, had he drawn plans for several days and then neglected to do so for a period, the "craft" could not have maintained their labors. There would have been times when "no plans were on the trestle-board," and the craft idle. So with the individual; unless he daily "draws designs upon his trestle-board," makes thereof a "custom," his craft will remain idle and his Temple unfinished.
Upon one occasion the Grand Master encountered opposition, and it is his conduct under the circumstances which is the basis for the Great Moral Lesson. We rightly emphasize his devotion to duty, his integrity, but in so doing the equally important lesson illustrated by the "opposition" should not be lost.
Names are given "things" for the purpose of identification. They are also given individuals for the same reason. Names originally were descriptive. Any attempt to an understanding of the Bible or Freemasonry is useless without a knowledge of the nomenclature. Similar names obviously derive from the same country or tribe. Identical names usually denote family relationship.
Each of the cities of Canaan had some one god it revered above all other gods. Baal was the local nature god of Tyre, thus "Baal" or "Bal" appearing in a name identifies the bearer as a "man of Tyre." An identical prefix would indicate family connection, while the dissimilar suffixes denote the individuals. Incidentally, such ritual as refers to the "peculiarity" of these names is incorrect. They were not "peculiar" and may well have been as common as the English "Smith." "Similarity" is the correct expr ession.
Depicting them as "brethren" and "men of Tyre" is for definite symbolic purpose. As brothers they spring from the same parentage (source). As "men of Tyre" they are shown to be worshipers of Baal, the nature or material god, which establishes a distinction between them and "men of Israel," who are worshipers of Jehovah, the spiritual God. It is inoperative to the consistency of the allegory that these Tyrians perpetrate the deed. A symbolic impossibility for "men of Israel." This is emphasized by the "roll-call"; all Hebrew names answering present, while the only Tyrians called are the absent ones under discussion. (It is hoped the reader gathers the subtle distinction — it is impossible to be more explicit.)
The "First" typifies material desires, greed, avarice and covetousness, which prompt the attempt to gain selfish benefits regardless of the rights of others. True to Masonic symbology he strikes with the one working tool which above all others symbolizes the material or physical, and it is likewise noteworthy that it is a working tool of the degree we have discovered to be the material degree.
The "Second" symbolizes the psychical. He incites those attitudes of mind rather than material desires. He it is who is responsible for intolerance, bigotry, hatred and envy. It is he who is conquered when we "keep our passions within due bounds." Again the symbology of the weapon used is in conformity. It is the emblem of the psychical and the principal working tool of the psychical degree.
Vicious and malevolent as are the first two, it is the "Third" who is deadly, and he strikes with a setting-maul! Here is yet another outstanding example of the beautiful consistency of our symbology. This is the instrument which by all logic must have at some time been numbered among the working tools of the Craft. Its deeply significant symbology in this instance strengthens that presumption, and adds conviction that it was a working tool of the third degree — the spiritual degree of Masonry.
The individual retires to his Holy of Holies and plans his life in thoughtful solitude. Primarily man realizes intuitively a first cause. Then his intellect formulates for him a Supreme Being, thus intuition and intellect form a basis for faith. That faith embodies the realization that he is as his Creator. But in order to attain this lofty vision he must wait, patiently, until his Temple is completed. Only then, if found worthy, shall he receive that which he seeks. However, on his return to the "mat erial world" of every day affairs, he is accosted by "doubt" — "If I am like my Creator, why cannot I create conditions in accordance with my desires?" He does not recognize the fact that the Temple is not yet completed, that he has not proven his worthiness, that his wisdom is not commensurate with the power he seeks; "doubt" strikes down "faith," which alone can give him his desire. Then indeed is there confusion in the Temple of that individual.
According to Mental Science there is sound reason for the Biblical admonition that we shall be held accountable for "every idle word." We indulge in many thoughts, in themselves not necessarily detrimental to our spiritual welfare, but useless, wasting mental power which might be put to better purpose. This thought is conveyed by the action of other craftsmen. These, when properly directed by King Solomon, proved their worth. Three of these who "repented" accomplished their mission. Thus is illustrated the truth that, changing the process of thought from the destructive to the constructive, the negative can be mastered and we build where formerly we destroyed.
This portion of the allegory is taken from the Solar Myth of the murder of the sun by three of the signs of the zodiac, and the search for him by the other nine signs. It is quite obvious that no search would be undertaken in the "north," for that was the region of darkness. (Masonic ritual reveals full knowledge of this fact in the arrangement of the three principal officers' stations.) Therefore the ritual is in error in reciting: "we twelve with three others, etc." It would be more consistent with both the facts in the case and other portions of the ceremonies if it stated: "we nine with three others, etc." Later the instructions are given to "divide into bands of three, travel, etc." These instructions should exclude the "north."
In the attempt of the fugitives to leave the country is contained a further allegorical lesson. Only in one way can the human mind leave its present plane of existence, the "country" in which it now abides. That way is in conformity with Universal Law. The inability to "leave the country without Solomon's passport" which in this case is authority, or law, is analogous.
Lacking that authority and unable to depart they turn back into the country (i.e., continue on the same plane) and hide in a cave. A "cave" being definitely a material place, we are allegorically informed they took refuge in the material. Recalling what then transpired we see in its enactment the continued repetition of the lesson reiterated throughout the degrees of Masonry. Not mere punishment of crime but the inevitable results of invoking the Destructive principle, the law of cause and effect.
The remaining Grand Masters express the fear that the "word" is lost. If the word is lost to the extent that it cannot be given, inferentially, the sign intended to symbolize the word is likewise lost. This being the case it is apparent that the true and loyal workmen cannot be rewarded as promised. This is consistent with Universal Law, but it is beyond the intent of this book to develop minute detail. This inference, like others which have been made, must be left to the inclination of the individual reader to develop if he is so minded. Suffice it to state there is an inference that future generations will discover the right.
How is this to be accomplished? By all the veiled hints which may be discovered in the ritual it is clear that it must be through personal, individual effort. Reasonable presumption indicates it was thus acquited, originally, by the Grand Masters. There is a difference, however; the workman is to be given a substitute which we may correctly assume contains a clue to the right. The method of choosing a substitute was announced, and should be kept in mind, as it has a bearing on what is later brought out in connection with the meaning of the substitute.
In the effort to raise the body, the first means tried was ineffectual, because in conformity with scientific truth no effect can be greater than its cause. The grip of an Entered Apprentice is of the material, and the material cannot "cause" itself.
A second effort was likewise impotent. Mind alone cannot cause life, hence the use of psychical means, symbolized by the grip of the Fellow-craft, cannot bring back life. In this extremity it was natural to ask Divine guidance. Being inspired to use means which we have seen to be emblematic of the spiritual, a natural law is invoked — that "like attracts like" spirit responds to spiritual means.
In Mackey's Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry he comments on "Marrow of the Bone" as follows: "An absurd corruption of a Jewish word, and still more absurdly said to be its translation. It has no appropriate signification in the place to which it is applied, but was once religiously believed in by many Masons who, being ignorant of the Hebrew language, accepted it as a true interpretation. It is now universally rejected by the intelligent portion of the craft."
The word in question is incorrectly pronounced, which is quite understandable under the circumstances surrounding its transmission to us. Fortunately the pronunciation has not been so badly mutilated as to be no longer recognizable. Therefore the meaning is not lost to us. This is actually two Hebrew words. The first is the Hebrew interrogative pronoun "what." Dependent on its use it might also signify "why" or "how." Coupled as it is in this instance, "how" is preferable. It can correctly be interpreted: "what a great master" — "what, a great master" or "how great a master." As uttered by King Solomon, if the circumstances are brought to mind, it is apparently addressed to The Supreme Being, and can therefore as easily be construed to mean; "How great is Thy might."
On mention of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Christian immediately traces the lineage of Jesus, and interprets such reference as pertaining to him. No criticism is intended of these views, no particular interpretation is ever forced upon the Mason, nor is Masonry dogmatic in the sense that any specific interpretation of its mysteries is insisted upon as being the one and only true meaning of its allegories and symbology. No Mason should ever be intolerant of the views of others, and he should conside r any intelligent interpretation offered by another, for it is through diversity that the harmony of unity is eventually attained, be it in the Universe or in the Lodge.
According to tradition, Jesus was a widow's son when he began his ministration. He was subjected to three temptations, which he withstood. Some maintain the Masonic allegory re-enacts the temptations and death of Jesus. There are indeed parallels present but, upon the theory that Masonry had its origin at the building of King Solomon's Temple, a date is established approximately one thousand years prior to the lifetime of Jesus.
Some two thousand years before the building of Solomon's Temple, history reveals a similar event. We refer to the Egyptian legend of Osiris. How much further into prehistoric time it extends we have no means of knowing. There are extant paintings on the walls of Egyptian tombs of a priest with the head and claws of a lion covering his own head and hands, raising an individual clothed in white robes, presumably the candidate of the Mysteries, from a reclining position in an open sarcophagus.
The essential substance of all these allegories is that there is one Infinite Power, an Omnipotent Creator and Sustainer of the Universe — that man is created in the image and likeness of that Creator. He is not material but spiritual, hence man in His likeness partakes of that spirituality. Man, through the misuse of his freedom of choice, lost the knowledge of the use of his spiritual power. He misused that freedom of choice to choose the material rather than the spiritual. The intent of all these all egories is to bring man to the realization of his spiritual nature, that he may "find that which is lost." Only as man thinks of himself in terms of a spiritual being can he regain his lost estate, for: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
Freemasonry is taught by degrees only. Just as surely can it be said it is only learned "by degrees" gradually — as the result of sincere desire and effort on the part of the seeker after its light. There is no "substitute" for these two requirements, "sincere desire and effort," but there is guidance in the search. A clue is found — in the closing prayer of the Lodge. "Wilt Thou be pleased so to influence our hearts and minds that we may, each one of us, practice out of the lodge those great moral duti es which are inculcated in it, and with reverence study and obey the laws which Thou hast given us in thy Holy Word."
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Master Mason Lecture
"Only those are truly Masons who enter their Temple in reverence, who seek not the ephemeral things of life but the treasures which are eternal, whose sole desire is to know the true mystery of the Craft that they may join as honest workmen those who have gone before as builders of the Universal Temple."
Manly P. Hall
The Bible relates that the Temple was seven years in building. Its chief supports were three columns denominated "Wisdom, Strength and Beauty." Further data is given regarding the number of columns and pilasters, the number of Grand Masters, Masters, Fellow-craft and Apprentices employed in the work.
These data refer to the human body, of which the Temple of Solomon is symbolical. Some authorities are of the opinion that the numerology of the Temple refers to the number of bones, nerves, muscles and organs of the body according to some ancient theory of anatomy. Others believe the numerology is Kabalistic. The latter would be impossible of modern application. There is no translation of the Kaballah in English which accounts for its numerical values and, due to the nature of the Hebrew method of combining letters and numbers, such translation would be an impossibility. The first mentioned theory is not in agreement with modern anatomy. Either or both may be correct.
The fact that the Grand Masters so obviously represent the three planes of existence, Physical, Psychical and Spiritual, together with the last portion of the lecture, strongly supports the anatomical theory. The lecture states: "All these were so classified and arranged by the wisdom of Solomon that neither envy, discord nor confusion was suffered to disturb the peace and good-fellowship which prevailed among the workmen." The affirmation of Mental Science that the subjective mind is the controller of bodi ly functions affords a logical and consistent interpretation. When subjective mind, or "Solomon," is in charge of the planning and arranging it so organizes the various organs of the body (the workmen on the Temple), that there is "neither discord nor confusion," and perfect harmony prevails, resulting in health and well-being for the physical man.
Of the emblems of this degree some are ancient and have occult meaning. Others appear to be modern additions, made by those who had little understanding of the symbology of the ancients. These modern additions bave no spiritual meaning; in fact, in some instances, they distort the truth the other emblems are intended to convey. These "modern additions" are: "The Book of Constitutions - "The Hour Glass" — "The Scythe" — "The Coffin" — "The Anchor."
Books of constitutions were unknown to the ancients. The hour glass is obviously "modern." If this were an "ancient" emblem it would be a sun-dial and not an hour glass. The Scythe, as an emblem of "time and the grim reaper," is of recent adoption, as the ancients made no such use of the symbol. The coffin is such a "modern" touch that it scarcely is worthy of comment. The anchor in connection with the ark is an absurd contradiction of the very meaning of the ark, as will be seen when the symbolism of the ark is later explained.
It is true that most of these additions have been made to teach some material lesson to the candidate, but they detract from the spiritual meanings of the truly ancient emblems. They merely suggest the brevity of material life and, as the lecture states, "close the explanation upon the solemn thought of death." The object of Freemasonry, however, is not to "dwell upon the solemn thought of death." Its whole teaching is the joyous thought of life! These emblems serve to remind the candidate of the necessity of experiencing physical death before he can know spiritual life. The secret the Master Mason is striving to learn is to attain spiritual life before experiencing physical death.
Of the truly ancient emblems the first is the "pot of incense." The pot is emblematic of the human body, the material. The incense typifies the psychical within" the body. The flaming spark is the spiritual. The spark refines the psychical man, just as the common gavel "divests the heart and conscience of all the vices and superfluities of life." The "pot of incense" is another method of illustrating that "preparing the mind" to be a "living stone in that house not made with hands." With the gavel the "rough corners" are broken off; with the "spark" of the incense pot, the dross and impurities are "burned," leaving the psychical nature the brighter for its purification by fire. It is not strange that a philosophy which originates in the dim past from Solar Religious teaching should borrow the analogy of purification by fire. More difficult of understanding is the fact that more of the ancient analogies have not been introduced.
In Morals and Dogma, Pike states: "To understand literally the symbols and allegories of oriental books as to ante-historical matters, is willfully to close our eyes against the light. To translate the symbols into the trivial and commonplace, is the blundering of mediocrity."
In the lecture, explanation of the "bee hive" approaches dangerously near the "blundering of mediocrity." This is a most complex symbol which may be used as a complete analogy of every aspect of life, yet only a material lesson of industry is drawn therefrom. Attention is directed to the helplessness of man in his infancy and the fact that "he who will not endeavor to add to the common stock of knowledge may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society and unworthy of our protection as Freemasons."
It is true that the bee hive is an excellent example of industry. The analogy of dependence of the individual on society is patent, also the admonition that each must do his part for the benefit of the whole. These, however, are material lessons which might be conveyed by dozens of other symbols. What are the spiritual, the deeper lessons taught, peculiar to this particular emblem?
The Queen Bee lays but one kind of egg. Whether the egg shall eventually produce a worker, a drone or a queen is determined by the type of cell in which the egg is laid and the food furnished the larvae. This symbolizes that all come from the same primordial substance, that all are potentially equal. It directs attention to the role played by environment in the development of the latent potentialities of each individual. It admonishes that one exercise the greatest care in the choice of environment for h imself and others. This environment is not only the physical conditions with which the individual surrounds himself but is likewise his associations, and above all his mode of thought. Thus the bee hive is illustrative of that great truth: "As a man thinketh — so is he."
The impression that the queen rules the hive is erroneous. She, as a fully developed female, lays the eggs. Apiarists, writing on bee culture, refer to the "spirit of the hive." It is this "spirit of the hive" which rules the bees. And this "spirit" is instinctive knowledge of Universal Law. The bee obeys the law, therefore "peace and harmony prevail" within the hive. When man as unerringly conforms to that same Universal Law he too finds that "peace and harmony prevail" in his life.
In that marvelous chemical laboratory, the bee, the law of "like producing like" also rules. Honey made from the nectar of the orange blossom has the aroma and flavor of that blossom; when made of nectar of the clover blossom it is clover honey. Nothing can change this law. Nature has given man the analogy that he may apply it to the action of his thoughts. Just as surely will his constructive thinking produce beneficial results, of like "aroma and flavor" as the source from which he obtains those thoug hts.
In search of nectar the bee flies far afield, yet instinctively returns to the hive. Similarly knowledge which, in man, we name intuition has impelled him throughout the ages to seek his proper place in the universe.
Man is a triune being, physical, psychical and spiritual. The bee hive is also a "one" composed of three component parts: the queen, the workers and the drones. Man, while operating on the physical plane, has need of all three of his component parts. At that transition which we call death he lays aside his physical body and continues in the psychical and spiritual. During the summer the drones are needed to fertilize the new queen bee. When they have fulfilled their purpose they are discarded. Through out the winter the hive functions with "two parts," the queen and the workers.
The Masonic symbols repeatedly reiterate the verity of Universal Law and the absolute necessity of conforming to that Law. To develop the body man must adhere to nature's physical laws. The development of his mentality depends upon obedience to the law of mind. So, too, spiritual progress may be attained only through compliance with spiritual law. This profound lesson is especially conveyed by the "sword pointing to a naked heart." Although too frequently interpreted as a symbol of revenge, "it demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us." It implies neither punishment nor revenge. These are negative qualities of the human mind. The "heart and sword" is an exposition of the law of karma, of the absolute justice in the laws of the universe — the symbol of cause and effect, that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The ancient teaching is unity and causation, and the symbols used typify that all phenomena spring from a single "First Cause," hence the ancient philosophers believed in a "one living and true God." The mind of man, ever evolving, has not changed fundamentally, and the ancients had the same difficulty as we have in conceiving an Omnipresent Deity. Therefore, to convey the idea of omnipresence more palpably, they typified that abstract idea by a human eye. An eye which sees all is ever conscious of the en tire universe. Thus the Universal Intelligence, of which the eye is the manifest presence, is omnipresent. The "all seeing-eye" is emblematic of God's ever-presence. The use of the emblem in the Lodge is sometimes misconstrued as a symbol for God, rather than His attribute, omnipresence.
An ark has for ages been used as a symbol of a vehicle for the transmission of the life principle from an old order to a new order. This symbology was not exclusive with the Jew but was employed by other nations of antiquity — notably the Egyptians, from whom, doubtless, the Jew obtained it, as used in the Bible. The ark of Noah was such a vehicle of transmission. It carried the patriarch and his family from the antediluvian world of wickedness to that new world into which they disembarked after the floo d. The Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of the "passing over" of the children of Israel from the life of bondage in Egypt to that new order of life in the Promised Land.
The lecture of this degree implies the same symbology when it states: "It (the ark) is emblematic of that Divine Ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles ..." However, this analogy makes use of but one portion of the symbology, and chooses the weakest lesson which can be drawn therefrom. It deals only with the destructive principle, life's "tempestuous sea of troubles." The Masonic philosophy never intended to dilate on troubles, death and disease. Our present understanding of Mas onry is inept when we embody in our prayer to God such sentiment as: "And support us under the trials and afflictions we are destined to endure while traveling through this vale of tears." By what authority may it be claimed man is destined to endure "trials and afflictions"? Who but a misanthrope would call this life a "vale of tears"?
The purpose of Masonry is to impart to its initiates knowledge of Universal Law; to teach of its action and reaction throughout nature as two Great Principles — the Constructive and the Destructive. Only when man learns of these two principles of law and lives in conformity with the Constructive does he avoid these imaginary calamities, for these are not God's visitations, but rather the effects of man's own misdoings. We should therefore seek a more beneficial analogy from the symbology of the ark.
The Ark is that "vehicle" which "safely wafts us" from an old order to a new order of life. It is appropriately an emblem of the third degree. It is emblematic of the Candidate being "raised" — "wafted over" from the degree of Fellow-craft, the psychical plane, to that of Master Mason, the spiritual plane. Therein, indeed, is he in a "New Order of Life."
The "Forty-seventh problem of Euclid" is the key to Masonic symbology. It opens the door to the truth for which we are in search. If we must use a modern analogy, perhaps it had best be likened to a "combination" known only to a few; a "key" is too obvious. The horizontal line represents the physical body, the perpendicular line, the psyche. joining at a right angle they form a perfect square (the intellectual man, composed of mind and body). The hypotenuse typifies the spiritual, and its addition completes the figure. The "three" sides form "one" figure — the complete man.
The sum of the squares of the perpendicular and horizontal lines equals the square of the hypotenuse. The sum of the three angles is constant. When applied to man — irrespective of the length of the horizontal, the material; regardless of the height of the perpendicular, the psychical "the sum of their squares equals the square of the hypotenuse," the spiritual. In other words, as taught in the Mysteries, Man's spiritual evolution is effected by, and dependent upon, his physical and mental development and attainment, but the spiritual always predominates in the complete man.
When one begins a quest which ends in the acquisition of a substitute for that of which he is in search, it cannot be claimed he has reached his goal. Logically the search was foredoomed to failure. The warning is constantly present, and repeatedly given, that such will be the case. The Entered Apprentice is told: "Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock and it shall be opened unto you." Later he is informed: "you there stand as a just and upright, etc."; but he is not told: "you there stand A, etc." He is "as" or "like" — no definite statement that he is.
In the second degree he is advised he has received light but partially, which is the negative statement that he has received partial light. It is assumed to apply at the specific time, but could as truthfully be said upon completion of the third degree.
The third degree is replete with these veiled hints. The Candidate is told that the practice of operating in Masonry has become "obsolete," and "we now wear our aprons as Fellow-craft." An outright admission that we do not "operate" on the spiritual plane of a Master Mason. Again he is informed he is "about to receive all the light which can be conferred upon him in a lodge." Later the statement is made that, no matter what he presumes, he has not reached his goal; and in the ritual of many of the older jurisdictions, which have not suffered the changes to which some of the younger jurisdictions have subjected their rituals (in spite of obligations to respect ancient landmarks), the frank admission is added that "It is not known if he will ever accomplish his purpose." Finally he is told the Lodge will no longer pray for him, and that he must perform that duty for himself.
Modern Masons, in fact, are only Fellow-craft. They are not Master Masons! The "True Word," reputedly, was introduced into the Royal Arch in the late eighteenth century by Dunckerley. At approximately that time he is said to have, either personally or associated with others, revised the "Blue" Lodge ritual, and to have taken the "True Word" therefrom. Technically, this would confine the Master Mason grade to those who have been exalted to the Royal Arch. In reality, the Royal Arch does not possess the "Word." It is intellectually, logically provable that the "word," so claimed to be by the Royal Arch, cannot be the lost word of a master mason.
No degree of Freemasonry can give the candidate the "True Word," for none possess it, and if they did they could not communicate it. that is an impossibility! The "True Word," by its inherent nature, an only be discovered by the individual, himself. Previously the lodge prayed for him, but now he must pray for himself.
There have been a few exceptions, forerunners of that Great Human Race which is to come, who have possessed the "True Word"; but humanity in general has not advanced to that stage in evolution where it can comply with the necessary requirements. As with the "substitute," it can only be acquired when one has "placed himself in proper position to receive it"; and that "proper position" is no posture of the physical body — It is an attitude of soul!
Previously, a psychical exposition of "traveling in foreign countries" was advanced. The "Foreign Country" therein discussed was the mental realm — "foreign," it is true, to him who has previously confined his thinking to the material world of everyday affairs. Yet this is but a substitute "foreign country," and is all that one can hope to enter, being possessed of but a "substitute pass."
To him who in actuality has "passed" to the degree of Fellow-craft — who, within himself, has been raised to the sublime degree of a master mason — comes that wisdom and ability to recognize the true meaning of "traveling." He discovers that the country in which he seeks to travel is but a "foreign country" to the "material" man; that it is the true home-land of the spiritual man — that it is the spiritual realm!
- C. G. Jung Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Harcourt, Brace & Co. ↩
- Those interested in an exhaustive study are referred to the Mu trilogy by Churchward: The Lost Continent of Mu, The Children of Mu, The Sacred Symbols of Mu. ↩
- Francis Grant in The Introduction to Oriental Philosophy. ↩
- For a more extensive explanation of the symbology of the Square and Compasses see The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning, pages 86 and 122. ↩
- For another interpretation of the "Seven Steps" see The Royal Arch — Its Hidden Meaning, page 86. ↩