Freemasonry and Spirituality ‘Going deeper into the hidden mysteries’
From Bro Carlos, Editor of “The Evolutionist” Newsletter of Lodge Evolution 931 UGLV
(Bro Carlos is the newsletter editor for Lodge Evolution 931 UGLV and a MM. I am the WM of that Lodge and Bro Carlos is doing a great job on the Lodge’s Newsletter. Comparing Devotion and Evolutions’ Newsletters, Devotion News tends to write more on management and approaches to Freemasonry – while “The Evolutionist” writes to the esoteric side of the Craft. Both naturally promote and report on their lodges. The below paper appeared in The Evolutionist a few months ago and was given at the Victorian Lodge of Research in June. Evolution meets on the 1st Saturday at 6:30 pm at the Collingwood Masonic Centre. To subscribe to The Evolutionist – email Carlos via zapara.cf AT gmail.com WBro Damien, Wm 931 & Ed, Devotion News)
‘A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols’; previously in “The Evolutionist”, we have talked about this definition of Freemasonry from the Blue Lodge rituals; but I would like to enquire now, what ‘veiled’ means exactly and how the symbols ‘illustrates’ those concepts? This can be considered as an instruction as to where to look for further meaning.
From the book; ‘It’s Hidden Meaning’ by George Steinmetz; he states that the analysis of the actual words in the quotation reveals a subtle significance not ordinarily attributed to them.
If we look for the specific meaning of these words:
MORALITY, the common use is ‘discrimination between right and wrong, chaste, just, and ethical’. This word of Latin origin literally means ‘custom’, but 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’.
Well, if we reconstruct the definition of Freemasonry in the light of the words in the previous definition, it will read:
‘Freemasonry is a 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 represent abstract ideas; the symbols are not used in the commonly accepted meaning; it is not by exact resemblance, though by suggestions or associations in thought’.
My next enquiry would be, who hid the Masonic doctrines and why? To answer this, we need to trace Freemasonry historically to a number of Operative Lodges in England in 1717; however one of the oldest documents containing a written record of Operative Masonry is the Regius or Halliwell MS., circa 1390. Now, Robert Hewitt Brown writes: ‘Long before the building of the Temple of King Solomon, masons were known as ‘son of light’. Masonry was practised by the ancients under the name of LUX (Light) or its equivalent, in various languages of antiquity.
It says that the word masonry derives directly from the Egyptian PHRE, the sun, and MAS, a child: PHRE MASSEN, the children of the sun, or the ‘Sons of Light’.
Therefore, Freemasonry teachings, philosophy and doctrines comes, as frequently it is mentioned in the rituals, from the Ancient times; from the Ancient Mysteries of the Egyptian civilization, which knowledge of spiritual aspects of life to the Great Truth of the Universe, was concealed from their people, most of whom were actually illiterate, and reserved for the priests and rulers hierarchy. They served the purpose of being the preservers of its mysteries and this has been translated to Freemasonry through the centuries. And it is still valid today to mention that not everyone is prepared to comprehend those mysteries, outlining the teachings of the ancient mysteries of Egypt: One Supreme Being, Immortality of the Soul and The Threefold Composition of Man, which is: Body, Mind and Soul. Three lanes of being dealt with in three ‘grades’ or levels of instruction.
This sort of knowledge is the essence of the esoteric part of Freemasonry, and, as we have mentioned in previous articles, it is recommended to the brethren, involucrate themselves on this research in the Craft Lodge and advance in the superior orders, because as stated, Freemasonry ‘makes good men, better’. Pythagoras said: ‘God formed two things in his own image: first the Universe itself, and second, man’. The VSL informs: ‘And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness’, and the ancients postulated the complete man as the triune man composed of body, mind and soul. As no ‘whole’ can be complete and perfect except its parts be complete and perfect, their instructions were divided into three parts, or grades into Freemasonry. The first dealing with the physical (Body), the second with the psychical (Mind), and the third with the spiritual (Soul).
In the Ancient Times, the body was considered the vehicle of the mind and the soul; and to make 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, a mind being the instrument of soul (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 was 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’. And applying this term, not only to this, but to the hierarchical aspect and metaphysical aspect as well.
Being Freemasonry the actual descendant or, if preferred the term, reincarnation of the Mysteries, we should be able to discover a similarity in its degrees with these ancient grades. The ceremony of initiation in each Craft 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 free will and accord’ earnestly attempts to pierce the veil of mystery.
Bro. Carlos MM.