The Arcana of Freemasonry: A History of Masonic Symbolism (Dover Occult)

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And still cameras? Apparently, the flash bulbs cause epileptic seizures in some patrons, so they have been forbidden from the Chapel, too. The incredible waves of tourists visiting the Chapel in the wake of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code have brought great piles of loot to the treasury of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, yet there have been recent visits by Trust officials to Masonic organizations, seeking donations. A growing number of Scottish Masons have taken issue with the long-standing legends of any connection between Rosslyn Chapel and speculative Freemasonry, and several have urged healthy skepticism on the subject.

Evidence suggests that Brother Washington was not born and raised in a humble log cabin as is sometimes presented in fanciful 18th century illustrations, but in a fairly comfortable 2-story house, with 8 rooms. Pretty posh digs for the period and area, apparently. The stone foundation has been. No hatchets have been found, for Parson Weems fans. A few hoe blades, but no cherry tree-felling equipment. The most intriguing item uncovered, for Freemasons anyway, was a clay pipe bowl, decorated with Masonic symbols on four sides.

Washington joined the lodge in Fredericksburg in while living at Ferry Farm. The Foundation plans eventually to recreate the Washington home on the site. Masonic News much heated debate and discussion throughout the Masonic blogosphere. There is no requirement for a personal belief in a Supreme Being, and no volume of sacred law is.


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In addition, a delegation from Alpha Lodge No. The occasion landed only two days before the thirty-third anniversary of the chartering of Allied Lodge. The idea of recognition is not to have only grand officers visit each other, he explained, but to have brethren cross the jurisdictional divide to sit in lodge together. Getting more into the history of this Unity Meeting tradition, it was noted how Boyer Lodge was the first lodge of African-Americans in New York; that originally Shakespeare Lodge was the first lodge of caucasian Masons under the Prince Hall Grand Lodge; and that Allied was the first lodge in New York with an integrated membership from its.

Hosting privileges for the Unity Meeting rotate yearly. There were many expressions of spiritual oneness throughout the program, bringing together families as well as Masons. RW Bro. Samuel H. Williams, the first candidate to petition Allied Lodge, was introduced. Emerson Ally, elder brother of Worshipful Master Wesley Ally, performed as a one-man jazz combo, wielding his Stratocaster and a MacBook to play several standards throughout the night.

Albert Churchward: List of Books by Author Albert Churchward

A new exhibit opened in May, explaining the story of American Freemasonry, and providing a long-needed source of information to non-Masonic visitors. The exhibit is divided into three main sections, chronologically representing the s, s, and s, with each section represented by a prominent American Freemason of that century: Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Harry S Truman.

The new exhibit is part of a major reworking and much needed modernizing of the Memorial's exhibit spaces, as it counts down to the th anniversary of the foundation of the Memorial Foundation in Next up are changes to the Grotto exhibit and the addition of other appendant bodies. Please fill out this form and mail it with payment check or money order drawn in US Dollars for the appropriate amount to: The Masonic Society; Membership; W.

Worse, over the last five years, its Masonic tenants have fled—both the Shrine and the Scottish Rite abandoned their dedicated, specially designed sections of the Temple for lesser buildings in the suburbs, leaving a handful of lodges to fend for themselves. In spite of its setbacks, the Temple has remained a strong part of the Detroit community, with Broadway road shows regularly appearing in its 4, seat auditorium. And its vast collection of lodge rooms, ball rooms, dining areas, and three theatres play host to weddings, plays, receptions, business meetings, and even the local roller derby team.

The Masonic Book Club has, since , issued a book each year, in many cases reprinting what might otherwise have been a lost treasure from the past. The books are printed as a limited edition, and each one is numbered. The book is Dr. Longtime members, please note their new address.

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For more information, check their new web site at www. It can only be hoped that the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction follows their lead. However, one finds fascinating things when one studies Craft degree rituals from other sources. Here, I will briefly discuss the Ceremony of St.

John the Baptist and the Circle of Swords. Note, however, that this is not a complete list. Porch and the Middle Chamber: Book of the Lodge is such a work. Apparently, Pike mercilessly expanded upon the language of the degrees, embellishing them with many elements of his esoteric knowledge. He wrote this material as an instructional tool only; a work meant to be studied thoroughly before a candidate presented himself for investiture with the Fourth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

With this knowledge, the reader is encouraged to study this work, as it is most erudite and enlightening. Let us now fast forward to the portion within the Entered Apprentice degree where one will find these elements. He is then brought back into the lodge room, west of the altar, blindfolded. Upon being brought from. His life and death provide a remarkable example of fidelity to honor and truth. John the Baptist, where he finds on the floor a headless body with a severed head nearby.

The following is the story of John the Baptist according to the Pike ritual. John the Baptist, who was an Essenian preacher, preached reform in the desert country near the Jordan River. He advocated that the civil authorities should not be permitted to over-assess and collect taxes from the people over and above what the law required.

This revengeful woman sought the death of John the Baptist. However, Herod instead had him imprisoned without the benefit of a trial for no offense that violated any law. This ceremony demonstrates the very essence of despotism and tyranny where one is imprisoned without the benefit of trial for that which is not a crime defined by law. The character of John the Baptist was a forerunner of the teachings of Fraternity, Equality, and Liberty — all qualities of character admired by all Freemasons.

He is informed that should he violate his solemn obligation, these shining blades aimed at his heart, along with the severed head of John the Baptist on the table before him, typify what will happen to him as punishment and revenge for his transgressions. John the Baptist. Now they are not directed against thee. On the contrary, they are drawn to defend thee until the death, because.

John the Baptist, and the circle of swords, taking place in that order, following the obligation. The Master tells the candidate that it may seem peculiar to him that he was presented with the severe penalties for violating the obligation. He then invites the candidate to look upon the brothers for the first time. The Junior Warden briefly removes the blindfold and the candidate sees a room illuminated by one weak light of a flame burning in a single vessel containing wine spirits.

Before him, he sees all of the Brethren standing there with their swords drawn and directed at him. The Master then informs the candidate that should he prove to be a traitor, none present would rest until they avenged such an act with his blood. The candidate is again blindfolded. Next, the lights in the room are illuminated to their brightest point. The Master then informs the candidate that, just as he was to view the vengeance being horrible to the traitor, he is also to view the joyousness of the light by which he now sees the righteous man.

He then sees the same Brethren standing erect with their swords pointing upward. The Master then tells him that these same brothers will stand ready to defend him and are ready to sacrifice their blood and lives to do so. The lesson taught by this ceremony is that the grandeur of the world passes away just like the smoke he saw after the flash of light when the blindfold was removed.

In Ireland, after the candidate is brought from darkness to light after the obligation, he views some brothers holding swords or daggers pointed at him and some brothers extending their right hands towards him. The lessons here are equivalent to those mentioned above. The Master, believing the candidate to be true and trusty, asks the brothers holding the weapons to lay them aside and extend their right hands to welcome him into the fraternity.

He then explains the lesson to be learned from the circle of swords ceremony, which again is equivalent to what has been previously presented here. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the candidate is then conducted to the Northeast corner of the Lodge for instruction in the working tools. When he returns fully clothed, it is with a blindfold. This is called the Chain of Union. There is a space left for the candidate to join this circle in the west. Immediately behind him stand his proposer and seconder. The author possesses copies of all three Craft degree rituals currently in use by the Regular Grand Lodge of England.

Albert Pike. Porch and the Middle Chamber, Supra. Also see Art deHoyos, ed. Schneidau Lodge No. This work was published privately in New Orleans in , and revised in , for the exclusive use of certain lodges in Louisiana. Introduction to the Rituals of the Rite of Strict Observance. Heredom, Vol. In this work, The Rite of Strict Observance is dealt with in a very thorough manner by these two authors.

In appendix 2, which begins on p. Charles E. Kessinger Publishing, undated p. New York: Macoy, , p. Note: this work was re-published as an undated paperback reproduction by Kessenger Publishing and is commercially available, although the quality of the printing is poor. He is also a member of Internet Lodge No , E. Both stories are actually myths used by Freemasonry to convey important truths. But because the story of the Lost Word is so closely associated with secret material in several Masonic degrees, discussion of the story by Masonic writers is less common than discussion of the story of Hiram Abiff.

In this sense, it is a myth—and I would suggest that it is a very powerful one that needs to be better understood as such by Freemasons. The author Joseph Campbell made the study of myths his lifelong passion. The interviews by Bill Moyers also resulted in a book of the same name, first published the same year, and using material which did not make its way into the public television series.

Campbell was well aware of the connection between Freemasonry and mythology.

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These were, after all, learned men. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment was a world of learned gentlemen. MOYERS: What explains the relationship between these symbols and the Masons, and the fact that so many of these founding fathers belonged to the Masonic order? Is the Masonic order an expression somehow of mythological thinking? This [i. These founding fathers who were Masons actually studied what they could of Egyptian lore.

In Egypt, the pyramid represents the primordial hillock. After the annual flood of the Nile begins to sink down, the first hillock is symbolic of the reborn world. Campbell believed that myths performed important functions in all religions and in all societies. And a core myth in Freemasonry is the Myth of the Lost Word. The myth is a simple one on its surface. It begins with a supposedly non-mythical figure, Solomon, King of Israel, who wants to build a magnificent temple in his capital city of Jerusalem to the God of Israel who, up to this time, apparently had no fixed abode, or at least not one worthy of him.

Solomon then forms an alliance with Hiram, the king of the city-state of Tyre on the coast of Lebanon, to furnish wood for the interior of the temple the building itself was to be made of stone , and who also put King Solomon onto a man who could be the architect of the building. This story is enshrined in the Legend of Hiram Abiff, and while it is not the same as the Myth of the Lost Word, the Hiramic Legend became attached to it at some date.

The Myth of the Lost Word then says that King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff made an agreement amongst themselves that when the temple was completed, the workmen building it would be released from their obligations and sent to other countries to find work. The three further agreed amongst themselves that they would not give out this password to anyone unless and until the temple was completed, and then only when the three of them were physically present to do so.

Then tragedy strikes. Hiram Abiff is murdered by three Fellow Crafts who are consumed by greed to get the password before the temple is finished—presumably because they want to leave the job early and get on with earning money in foreign lands. But once the deed was done, there was no going back. The password which would have been given to everyone when the temple was completed could not now be given because of the pact the three had made.

Myths are self-contained stories. They have an inner logic, but the application of an external logic to them often destroys the meaning of the myth. In the case of the Myth of the Lost Word external logic makes the story rather absurd.

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And if they did, and if the first password was lost through some accident, why was a new password worth less than the original? Or is there. Is there some symbolic or metaphorical significance to this strange myth? Clearly there is, or the myth would have disappeared long ago. Students of Freemasonry have long sought other meanings in this myth besides the surface meaning of the story. Degrees of Freemasonry beyond that of the Third Degree focus on the content and meaning of the Word that was lost.

That may be all well and good in the context of these additional degrees, but it does not fit the primary Myth of the Lost Word in the Third Degree very well. If Solomon, and his colleagues, intended to give the workmen the True Name of God as a password when the temple was completed, why would this have been a better password than the substitute? Does that mean that the myth has no meaning and should be discarded?

Joseph Campbell makes this observation:. All the messages of myth ….. Finally, the message is right there, in this very thing that seems to be blocking you because it is taken literally instead of metaphorically. Then, especially as all the different horizons within which myth has grown up are broken, we realize that, since we are all together on one planet, we must begin to read our own mythology as something that refers not just to us, but, as in conjunction with all mythologies expressed through metaphor, to everyone.

Taken in this light, the Myth of the Lost Word can have a meaning wholly to itself without the need to bring in meanings from additional degrees beyond the Craft. And since a myth does not have to have a single meaning, it is possible to posit a meaning which applies to the level of the Third Degree of Masonry without denigrating other possible meanings.

I would therefore suggest that there is a meaning in the Myth of the Lost Word to be found in the Third Degree of Masonry alone, and that it has to do with a metaphorical understanding. If the Myth of the Lost Word is recast into a different context, this meaning becomes more clear. They would build the most magnificent building to the glory of God that the world had ever seen. Not only would it be perfect in design and execution, but it would result in the permanent prosperity of those engaged on the project.

To this end they made an agreement—an agreement not only with themselves, but metaphorically with all those who would build this splendid structure. When the temple was completed—if found worthy—each and every one who helped build it would share in this glory by being given the means of proving that they were the most skilled of builders the world had ever seen. They would be given the means of identification as the builders of this temple, so that they could travel elsewhere and spread the knowledge and skills that they had learned in building the Jerusalem temple.

Three Fellow Crafts decided that they did not want to play by the rules. The Myth of the Lost Word then goes on to say that this deed destroyed the original plan which had been so carefully crafted by King Solomon and his two colleagues. The original plan could not be carried out because greed had destroyed the possibility of carrying out that plan.

And so, with the death of Hiram Abiff, a new architect had to be chosen, and a new plan substituted for the promised reward for the faithful craftsmen. Why was this so? The myth itself does not say, but if it is a metaphor for the experience of life itself, then the message becomes clear. Once something is broken it often cannot be fixed. History is filled with decisions that are made which result in disastrous consequences for humanity. And once a decision is made, it cannot be undone.

World War I was started when the two great alliances in Europe each believed that the other would back down when challenged. World War II may have been triggered when political leaders believed that Hitler could be talked out of his aggression - only to learn too late the consequences of his rearmament policy. And so it goes. The Myth of the Lost Word can still speak to us across the centuries.

It tells us that the best of plans may never come to fruition, not because of lack of intention, but because of some unforeseen consequence that was never anticipated. And it tells us that once some things are destroyed, the original cannot be restored. They metaphorically designed a plan for the building of the temple which did not take human failing into account. But derailment is not the same thing as extinction. The temple was still built, and the workmen still received the reward of their labors. That, too, is a valuable lesson to learn.

The Myth of the Lost Word is not a story of hopelessness, but rather one of pragmatism and of hope that grows out of a clearer understanding of human frailty.

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We may not achieve what we originally intended, but in a real sense, we do achieve the end result anyway. The temple was still completed. The world still remembers its magnificence. And the workmen still received their wages. John L. It draws its symbolism from various esoteric sources, from Alchemy and Cabbala, from Gnosis and Rose-Croix. In my opinion, the AASR Initiation is a complex three-stage process, encompassing the entire sequence of all three ceremonies of Initiation, Increasing Wages Passing , and Exaltation Raising which represent the Purification, Maturation and Sublimation of the candidate, respectively.

However, when speaking of Initiation in this paper, the reference will be to the ceremony of the first degree only. This paper intends to describe and explain the main elements composing the first stage of personal evolution, which in the AASR, as in all other Masonic Rites, is known as the Initiation of the candidate.


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  • This initiatory ceremony is the one which differs the most from the English tradition. Although the ceremonies of the second and third Degree are also different, their main symbolism and their structure are very similar and a comparative study would yield few new insights, as the Initiation ceremony does.

    The terminology used in AASR lodges is somewhat different from that of lodges working in other Rites. There are Experts instead of Deacons, an Orator in the place of the Chaplain, and his duties are quite different, but there is no need to go into these matters in this paper. The description and analysis of the ceremony presented here represent only one version.

    The AASR is not a monolithic institution. In the course of centuries, every Grand Lodge has elaborated its own version of the ceremonies which, although fundamentally similar, do differ in details. Grand Lodge, the officers of the lodge include only one Expert. In most others, there are two. In some rituals the Candidate is asked at a certain point to allow some of his blood to be drawn. In others, he is told that a mark will be branded on his breast. In both instances, the threat is not carried out, of course, and an explanation is provided instead to the Candidate.

    This paper, then, must not be taken as representing a normative version of the ceremony, but simply one version among others. The candidate for Initiation is met at the entrance of the lodge building by a member of the lodge, preferably one known to him. Since the CHOR is usually located at a distance from the entrance, all the brethren that the conductor and his ward meet on their way are careful not to make any noise, to speak, and of course, to never touch the candidate.

    Inside the CHOR, the conductor removes the blindfold, tells the candidate to take a seat, observe and reflect on all the signs and objects he finds around him, and then write his Philosophical Testament. The CHOR, which represents a cavern, consists of a small room entirely painted black, or with black curtains all around. It contains numerous symbolic elements which will be described below.

    The only furniture in the CHOR is a small table and a chair; on the table are placed a candlestick 1 or 3 candles , small dishes with sulfur and salt, sometimes a vial of mercury, a skull, sometimes a jug of water, glass, and a morsel of bread, the Philosophical Testament, pen or pencil. Also on the wall hangs the image of a cock, hourglass and scythe. The cock was sacred to the god Mercury Hermes and mercury, together with sulfur and salt, are the three alchemical principles. Mem water-mercury and Shin fire-sulfur.

    A separate sign displays a single word, or rather an acronym: V. Vitriol is an old name for metallic salts of sulfuric acid. The place of stone in Masonic philosophy and rituals cannot be overstated. The CHOR, as stated above, represents a cave, a place inside the earth, with all that it symbolizes: entry into the earth, the subterranean kingdom of the dead, as well as a symbol of the uterus, so that coming out of the cave and returning to the world is a symbolic birth. The CHOR is also likened to the athanor, the alchemical furnace, hermetically closed, where the dross is removed from the candidate to allow him to receive the light.

    What memory would you like to leave of your life on this earth? The candidate is instructed to write very brief answers, and to be perfectly honest in his replies. While the candidate spends about half an hour in the CHOR, the lodge is opened in regular form, and all the usual preliminaries are completed: reading and approving the minutes of the last meeting, correspondence, welcoming visitors. At the proper time, the Director of Ceremonies,. He pierces it with his sword, returns to the lodge and presents it to the Orator to be read. No comments are made. He also arranges the clothing of the candidate as indicated in the ritual, which on this point is similar in all rituals.

    A few steps inside, he feels a sharp instrument touching his naked breast, and he is told that this represents the remorse he will feel if he ever breaks the promises he will make during the ceremony. Following a long dialog of questions and answers between WM and Candidate, mainly dealing with principles of morality, he is taken out of the lodge room and made to walk aimlessly for a while before returning. This is a symbolic journey representing his life in the profane world where, lacking the Masonic light, he has no spiritual direction, but now he will enter a new stage in his life where his steps will be straight and directed to the Orient, the source of light and life.

    When returning to the lodge, he is made to bend down, as if entering through a small opening.

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    In ancient times, initiations took place in caverns, and this procedure reflects that tradition. This concept also finds expression in the checkered pavement of the lodge, where one cannot decide whether there is a white pavement with black squares, or a black pavement with white squares. The candidate is also requested to make a donation to charity. A brother, generally the Almoner, approaches the candidate holding the charity bag, and asks him confidentially to contribute something for the assistance of widows and orphans. Of course, if the preparation was well done, the Candidate has no valuables left.

    Should the candidate spring some money from a hidden pocket, the ceremony must be started again from the beginning. This is also a tradition from Alchemy, because the metals could interfere with the alchemical process of transmutation that the candidate must go through. In Islam, too, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Haj, is an obligation to be fulfilled at least once in a lifetime.

    The candidate is at the same time the symbolic Hero who must travel in order to fulfill his mission. The symbolic journey is also a reminder of our passing through life, a transit between birth and death. In the first the Initiation he makes three circumambulations, which will be described below, at the start facing the terrors and obstacles in his path, being blind and powerless. Then he hears the clash of swords and fears for his life, being unarmed. This is the preparatory stage, to teach him humility and at the same time to purify him for. Having this confidence, the WM assures him, he should have no fear of what will come next.

    He is led to a chair and left sitting for a few moments, while the lodge maintains complete silence. The candidate is warned again that he is going to pass through severe tests, and that he is free to retire now, should he wish to do so. Travel, exploration and discovery are key elements of fable and legend. Whether for Jason, Ulysses, Abraham or Jacob, their journeys are an indispensable factor in their individual development.

    The Hebrew people, collectively, had to travel for forty years before they could enter the Promised Land. Pilgrimage, the travel to a specific shrine, is an important component of most religions. The pilgrimage to Jerusalem, three times a year, was an indispensable part of Judaism when the Temple was in existence. The labyrinth existing in many medieval churches allowed the faithful to make a symbolic journey to Jerusalem by following the winding course of the labyrinth to its center.

    During the journeys in the second degree he holds various building tools. The last journey, of course, that of the third degree ceremony, ends at the grave, from which he emerges a new man, a Master Mason. During the first circumambulation, the candidate stumbles over obstacles while the brethren make a wild cacophony stomping their feet, striking the floor with their swords, etc.

    The noises and obstacles represent the profane world, the clash of interests, war, hatred, the constant struggles of the world. This journey represents purification by air. Air is associated with breath, with life, creation. By Marian Green. By David Spangler. By Andrew Jackson Davis. By Tom Jacobs. By Eric E. By Samael Aun Weor. By Inc. Games Systems. By Zodiac Books. By Katrina Emoto.

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