Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Masonic Education








Masonic Education
Address given by Bro. J. A. Evans, M.D., P .M., P. Z.
Before the Toronto Society for Masonic Study
and Research, September 20th, 1930.

Progress is a necessary result of natural law. It has been well said, "that he who stands still goes backward", and this saying long antedates Einstein and his law of Relativity. However, it is true in a relative sense only for it can quite easily be imagined that, under some circumstances to stand still would be to advance relatively, provided that all the others fell back. In the main, the statement remains unaltered and can be accepted. However, in accepting it there is a danger that must be kept in mind. Progress means to go forward, and while it is generally understood that this forward movement is towards a goal that will bring beneficial results upon its attainment, nevertheless, circumstances may prove later that the results are distinctly disastrous. Movement is not always progress in the general acceptance of the term. Progress, like efficiency, has become an obsession of the present age.

The world flatters itself that it has improved greatly over past generations, and gives numerous examples to prove the contention. It may be true. It undoubtedly is true in some cases. But it may not be in all. In this connection, we know that every well-managed business concern, at stated periods, usually once a year, stops its operations for a brief period to do a little inward searching. This process is called "stock-taking" and it would prove of inestimable value if every person, institution and even the world itself, if such were possible, were to "take stock."

The Craft is no exception. Freemasonry of to-day is not exactly what it was two centuries ago. This no person can deny. Has the change been a true advance or has it been a retrograde movement? Masonry should "take stock" and make an honest attempt to answer this question fairly and frankly, and then be guided accordingly. But before this Herculean task can be undertaken, there are certain factors and conditions that must be given due consideration.

There is evident, in all quarters, a psychology, a ruling psychology, one could actually say, of the effervescent political type. Catch words and expressions become slogans and as such direct men's actions, while at the same time meaning nothing, or worse still, being capable of interpretations of meaning within wide limits. The world to-day is dealing largely with superficialities and unimportant details. Man, in general, has neither the time nor the inclination to dig beneath the surface and unearth the basic laws. So if this "stock-taking" in Masonry is to take place, who is going, to do it? In other words, what are the qualifications necessary in those who are to undertake it?

Efficiency experts can be dismissed before even entertaining their application for the job. No man can gain an adequate knowledge of any business unless he has spent years of patient study and consideration of the basic principles and details of that business. Efficiency experts will energize anything from farming to high finance, from preaching to "bootlegging," all by the same rule of thumb.

Then we have the specialists. These are the men who by dint of application have obtained a more intimate knowledge of details than is possible to a man of wider experience. Moreover, this increased knowledge is gained, not infrequently, at the expense of the perspective. Specialists are useful, but by virtue of their very training, they must not be permitted to lead; their activities must be directed and controlled by a governing hand. Specialism is rife to-day. We have specialists for this and specialists for that, specialists who were unknown a decade ago, and specialists who will be unknown when science changes the diurnal habits of the human race. We have specialists in name and specialists in fact, specialists who have graduated from their own school and those who have graduated from the schools of other specialists, and so the dance of specialization goes merrily on and the world, at large, signs of the dotted line and pays. Specialism is the direct result of the superficial mental attitude of the day, or is it a cause? Unbridled specialization is a curse, though it may prove of untold value when properly directed.

So let us beware how we handle the specialists whom we engage to assist in this study, and not let them get out of control. Specialists are like fire, good servants but poor masters. How then can we approach this subject of "stock-taking" of Masonry? First, it must be definitely determined just what Freemasonry is to-day, its basic principles, its many and varied aspects. Second, it must be equally determined what Masonry was two centuries ago, at the time of the "revival" and the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Third, an honest endeavor must be made to ascertain the antecedents of Masonry, so that we may know the fundamental principles that it was intended to perpetuate in the new organization.

The man who can fulfill these requirements must, first of all, be a Masonic student. But he must be more. He must be endowed by nature with the analytical and judicial faculties. He must have a broad viewpoint and a wide experience in life to prevent him from being led astray by details. He must be able to separate the wheat from the chaff and be capable of directing his mind, uninfluenced by his emotions, his personal attractions or his antipathies. If not so endowed and trained, his conclusions will be tainted by his own feelings and opinions, as history so conclusively proves.

It is not within the power of the Craft to present any man with these desired natural qualities. But Masonry can give to her votaries an experience with men. Masonry can give, to a still greater degree, instruction, and it must be admitted frankly and fearlessly that in the one thing in which it is possible for Masonry to excel, it has failed, and failed dismally at that. This is not a pleasant thought but there is no use in playing ostrich, when there is work to be done.

The whole argument boils down to one basic truth, Masonry, to fulfill her mission, must educate her members. We hear it said, on all sides, that the Craft is clamoring for instruction. Actual experience proves this to be scarcely in accordance with the facts. [ In the not distant past, a special invitation was sent to the Master of each lodge in and around the city, to attend an instructive address to be given at this Society. Of the eighty Masters invited, a reply was received from but one, and he expressing his regrets at being unable to attend. ] Masonry has succumbed to this baneful influence of the age and has become the servant of the times, instead of being, as it should, the master, or at least, a beacon to guide the traveler on his path.

Masons are no more clamoring for instruction than is the average healthy schoolboy on a perfect summer's day when the fields, the old "swimmin' hole," and the ball games are irresistibly calling him. Most Masons, as far as instruction is concerned, must be treated in much the same manner as the schoolboy, taken by the ear and spoon-fed with knowledge. Those who have no mental appetite or whose mental stomachs rebel against this nourishment are in the wrong place and would be better out, for Masonry can do little for them. From this it is easily seen from where the leadership and instruction should come, and this automatically brings us to the first step to be taken in the "stock-taking." Every office should carry responsibilities, as well as honor, and if those responsibilities are discharged honestly and efficiently, the officer becomes honorable, if not, the office is belittled, and besmirched.

Masons are not clamoring for instruction, but the necessity for instruction is being shouted from the housetops and he must indeed be deaf who does not hear it. The time has come when the term "officer" should really mean a man capable and willing to give instruction; the higher the office, the greater should be that capability and willingness. Officers should be chosen for their mental qualifications and not their "glad hand" facility. Popularity does not mean ability and herein lies the fundamental weakness of democracy and Masonry is a democracy.

Now what is that necessary capability, that instruction? In other words, what constitutes Masonic education? Let us pause briefly and "take stock." There are many words which, during the passing of time, change their meanings, so that in time they come to mean something quite different from the original purpose. Such a word is "education. This word comes to the English language from the Latin, rather from two Latin words, "educere," meaning "to lead out," and therefore meant "to lead out the individual from his personal or selfish contemplation to knowledge of his environment, family, clan, country, race; and as the process developed, to a knowledge of the universe."

Consequently the more facts outside of himself with which man became acquainted and conversant, the better educated he was. It makes no difference how these facts were acquired, whether in an organized teaching institution or in the "university of personal experience." Merely passing the required examinations in a school, college or university does not constitute real education.

Many a man has been well educated who never attended more than the lowest grades of school, and in a few cases, none at all, but by making the most of his opportunities has developed himself to a truly astonishing degree, and conversely there are those who have had excellent opportunities but leave college with the same narrow outlook and undeveloped mind with which they entered.

They have wasted energy, and worse, for such always cast a stigma upon true education. Education, no matter what kind, should breed in the student a love of knowledge. Any system of instruction which does not engender this desire, fails utterly. How often we see the young man or woman leaving college, graduated, finished, with a distaste for study and a firm intention to never again open a text book. Such certainly has not proceeded far along the "leading out" path. It may be the system that is at fault, it may be the student, it may be the teacher, the result is the same in all cases -- calamity.

Education should be a series of intellectual gymnastics by which the mind develops and grows stronger and bigger, so that with the training, the mind becomes capable of dealing with bigger and more difficult problems, in a more efficient manner. Father's millions and mother's social status can never give the conceited fop mental development. Personal effort is indeed necessary. "Work and each tomorrow find us further than to-day." Masonry teaches this great truth. The entire Masonic system is based upon it. Work is the duty of the Mason; he is presented with the working tools and he must use them. No one else can do it for him. And it depends upon how conscientiously he uses those implements, how perfectly he will shape his ashlar.

The rough ashlar will forever remain a rough ashlar, if the Mason sits idly by and does not use those tools in the manner in which they are intended to be used. By no other means than by work can the Mason prepare his stone for the building. The most elaborate implements are used without labor, and moreover, that labor must be prompted by perseverance. Knowledge, labor, perseverance, there is no symbolism in that. It is hard, cold, cruel fact. To take these tools symbolically is to be a Mason symbolically, and that is a travesty on the name which nothing can remove, be it rank or money, no, nor even morality.

The great Sir William Osler, than whom none greater has ever existed in his chosen profession, said, in speaking of education, "The master word is work"; his life exemplified it, and his success proved the truth of it. Listen to that mind noted for its beautiful thoughts, Robert Louis Stevenson, who says,

"Contend my soul, for moments and for hours,
Each is with service pregnant, each reclaimed
Is like a Kingdom conquered where to reign."

Masons must work, not merely symbolically but actually and in fact, if they are to be real Masons and not merely of the symbolic type. Candidates must be made to undergo real initiation not merely symbolic initiation as so many do, and which accounts for the long and growing list of suspensions and demits seen each year. The governing bodies are worried over this growing number of demissions, and well they might because it shows unequivocally the failure of initiation as practiced. The cause is clear, the solution as definite, failure to accept and act accordingly will simply mean a continuance of the disease which is eating at the very vitals of the Fraternity. Banquets and song, platitudinous speeches and hurrahs never made anything, and cannot make Masonry. Work, and lots of it, work properly directed, work along educational lines, educate the membership, make Masonry really mean something and a new day will dawn.

But to educate the members, educators must be found. Education, like charity, must begin at home, the uneducated officer cannot instruct the new initiate. There is an apt though trite saying, "To train a dog it is necessary to know more than the dog." And do not forget the old Latin proverb: "Ex nihilo, nihil fit."

There is another type of lost Mason about whom I wish to interject a few words at this point. His name is found generally amongst the demitted class, seldom amongst the suspensions. This type is usually a man of no mean parts, of some intellectual attainments, has had considerable experience in the world of men and who has given some consideration to the problems of life. He realizes the value of education and is willing to devote more or less energy to the search after knowledge and in the quest of wisdom. He is not expecting any magical gift of wisdom because he knows much better. Such a man comes to Masonry rightfully anticipating that he will find some assistance within the Craft, some direction to his researches. He comes up for initiation and is met by some ill-advised brother who tries to be witty by making some inane remark about what is going to take place in the approaching ceremony. This type of wag should he guillotined and quartered as he has done more to ruin candidates than almost any other.

One of two things may now happen, or worse still, both. The ceremonies may be run through by officers whose elocution is, to say the least, faulty to an extreme, and as expressionless. The ceremonies, through pressure of time, are not given "in extenso," for the banquet waits. There are speeches to be made, toasts to be honored and music, oh! shades of Epicurus and Demosthenes! what speeches; what music'. Our brother is attracted in spite of it all, and realizes dimly how beautiful it could be.

On the other hand, the rendition may be excellent. The candidate is unquestionably impressed and he feels that there is a reasonable hope of his finding that of which he is in search. He gets up his work and is given the remainder of the degrees, usually rushed through at an emergency meeting. Still hope leads him on, he is willing to work. There is much work to be done that night, the sublime degree is rushed through and he is finished, graduated, a full fledged Master Mason, able to look after himself and left to his own devices, no instruction, no advice, no help given.

He flounders, he becomes discouraged, feels disillusioned and fails to attend the meetings. But at some later date we find this same brother a very active member of some other organization, devoting those same energies he would so gladly have devoted to Masonry. He should never have been lost, the fault is with the lodge. Many dozens are lost annually in this manner, the best types of men, the very men Masonry cannot afford to lose. These must be saved or else the Craft will slip still further down the broad highway with ever increasing speed. Bring the character of the lodge meeting up to his level and he will stick, .incidentally raising the tone of the lodge still higher. A little Masonic education given right at this time would act almost as a specific for this malady. Back slapping won't cure it.

There is one thing else needed, a little beside the point, but badly needed, and education will only partially help to supply the want, that is frankness, admittedly an archaic virtue that has no place in the twentieth century. We are living in an age of sham, intensive advertising and high pressure salesmanship; things are not what they seem, or rather what they are represented to be; extravagant speech, extravagant clothes, extravagant motor cars, and worse still, extravagant morals, any of which taken at one-tenth of their expressed value would mean to be defrauded. What the world needs, and Masonry is not exempted, is frankness, honesty and sincerity. But some say it does not pay to be frank, to be honest. Yes, it does; cast aside all pretensions, stand on your own worth. To do this will lessen the show to the world and you will have to increase your value by development, by education, and this is exactly what you should do.

It certainly does pay to be honest, frank and sincere, that is, if you are conscientiously striving to fulfill your highest destiny of self development in the pursuit of the ideal. You will often be misunderstood and criticized by the undiscerning and even maligned by those actuated by selfish motives, but there need be no occasion for worry on this account as you are in excellent company, the very best possible. Galileo was persecuted by organized Christianity for displaying these virtues. On the other hand, it, does not pay if you are merely seeking popularity for personal aggrandizement, for such necessitates pandering to the weaknesses of human nature, whether it be of the oligarchy or the populace. Herod chose the body of Salome and the head of John the Baptist.

It should be interesting to Masons, more than to all others, to see that education implies, in addition to the purely intellectual development, a moral growth, a lesser consideration of self with a greater consideration of others. This is what is meant by a liberal education. It would be more correct to say a liberating education, because it enables a man to "lead out" from the narrow confines of his own soul and to free himself sufficiently so that he can bask in the radiance of the universal spirit. Masonry realizes this great truth, and to the unfolding processes taught in the Craft there is added moral instruction. In fact, to so great an extent does Masonry appreciate this, that moral admonition is given prior to the more intellectual instruction of the Fellowcraft and Master. He who sees this accompaniment or preparation only and thereby makes the Craft a system of morality and nothing more has missed the true spirit and central purpose of the Fraternity, no matter how beautiful that morality may be.

Moreover, there is a great danger to this restricted, and therefore incorrect conception of Masonry, a danger from which the Craft has suffered in no small measure, for no sooner is Masonry made merely a system of morality than it becomes an appendage, not to religion, but to any intolerant and bigoted sect whose members may unfortunately gain admission into Masonry. We have seen numerous examples of such. True morality is invaluable, but not that sickening, sob-sister type which is the outgrowth of ignorance and selfishness. Every religious [ term used in ordinary acceptance and not the true, original sense ] man should be moral but we know only too well that such is not the case. Every truly moral man is religious. [ Term used in original sense ] .

This statement will be met with vociferous contradiction, so let us examine it briefly. The word "moral" comes from the Latin word "mos" meaning "a custom, fashion, u se or law. " In the plural form "mores" it means "character, or behavior." The character or behavior may be either good or bad, but the word has come to be generally accepted in the sense of good behavior, so that rather than say such a man has bad morals, the expression "no morals" is more frequently heard.

Accepted in this sense, a moral man is one who lives in such a manner as to avoid injury to his fellows, that is unselfishly, and this is the very essence of true religion, irrespective of what the peculiar faith may consist. There are other more restricted meanings to this word but they are so obviously separated from the present subject as to require no consideration at this time. With this, the moral aspect of the question will be laid aside to take up the main issues and to which morality is but an accompaniment and a preparation, important though it may be.

What then is Masonic education? First of all, it should be a leading out process, an unfolding, a development; secondly, that development should be along lines indicated by the Craft teachings. The most cursory examination will disclose t he fact that Masonry is basically founded upon just such an idea, because it is divided into stages or degrees, each stage being [ or supposed to be ] indicative of some developmental phase through which the neophyte is required to pass or attain. There is no royal road to learning, knowledge is absolutely valueless to the individual until he has made it his personal property.

To do this means hard, consistent labor, and in the absence of this labor, the acquisition of knowledge is an absolute impossibility. Many Masons appreciate the value of knowledge but lack the necessary energy to knuckle down to the hard work necessary to acquire it. These rush through degree after degree, hoping that by some magical means, supreme knowledge will be given to them as a gift from the Divine s, and thus enable them to reap the full benefits of knowledge without having to subject themselves to exertion of any kind. But the receiving of degrees does not necessarily mean development.

True, a man must be mentally poverty stricken if he does not receive some benefit from witnessing the beauty of the various degrees found in Masonry, but that is not real education because there is not sufficient effort put forth by him to give rise to any development. Such persons are mentally lazy. No man can become a champion boxer from merely reading a book on the gentle art. Personal effort is necessary, and that is just where people fail by the thousands, that is where the leadership has failed. Masons must be compelled to put forth a personal effort and any Mason who is unwilling to make this effort can never obtain any development.

This compulsion must come from the governing bodies. They will become very unpopular, at least temporarily, but if any governing body is going to evade its duties on the plea of unpopularity, then that organization can immediately proceed to the Mortician and make arrangements for its own interment. The danger to Masonry is from within, a dry rot, not from outside source . These latter need not cause us one moment's trepidation, but. the former is a very real source of apprehension to every intelligent Mason. The results are already becoming unquestionably manifest.

To consider the question more in detail, the education which every Mason should acquire need not be purely Masonic, it is better not, but it is the Masonic branch that concerns us more particularly here. Our ceremonies tell us along what lines the Mason should direct his education, along what lines he should develop himself as a Mason. Morality, this has already been dealt with but there is another aspect that is worthy of consideration. Whilst repeated admonitions to practice morality are not only advisable but necessary, nevertheless, it must be granted that there is no moral instruction given in a Masonic lodge that cannot be obtained elsewhere. It would even be safe to say that there is no moral instruction given to any candidate in this jurisdiction, but what has been given to him under more ideal circumstances, and at a more impressionable age, that at his mother's knee. To make Masonry merely a school of moral teaching, is to make the Craft absolutely a superfluity.

Imagine a group of grown men dressing themselves up in fancy regalia, observing meticulously elaborate ceremonies merely to tell the candidate that he must obey the moral law. Such information he already has. Imagine it; did I say grown men? What a horrible waste of time, money and energy to pander to the vanity of those who wish for personal elevation over their fellows. No; ten thousand times no. Masonry has a greater value for the true initiate. But morality is necessary, because if the knowledge that it is possible to obtain in Masonry, were to be used for ulterior and selfish purposes, great harm would result. Knowledge is power and power must be given only to those who will use it aright. How much better the world would have been if the expert chemical knowledge had never fallen into the hands of the war lords; how many lives, how much human suffering would have been saved. By all means practice morality. This is the first step in Masonic development.

Having proved himself worthy by the practice of morality, the Mason is now permitted to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science. This is where the true intellectual education should begin. The Mason must unfold himself, lead himself out and acquire a knowledge of the universe, its phenomena, its laws. Any chosen path may be followed, but a general knowledge is first advisable before specialization, otherwise the general relationships will be disturbed and details given undue importance, thus spoiling the concept and leading to narrow-mindedness, intolerance and bigotry. In this connection, the Mason should devote a certain amount of labor to the study of purely Masonic subjects, Masonic history in general as well as that of his own Grand Lodge and Lodge. History is a most valuable study, if undertaken properly. To know how men acted under certain circumstances in the past is to know pretty well how they will act under the same circumstances in the future. Herein lies the practical value of history.

Symbolism, that wonderfully rich field of thought, there is no limit to the possibilities of this study and the many absorbingly interesting bypaths into which the student is led. . No better commencement can be made in symbolism than a careful and detailed study of our ceremonies. The possibilities here are unlimited and the pleasure untold. But the Mason should not confine his attention to purely Masonic subjects. He should endeavor to gain as much information regarding human activities in other walks of life as is possible. This will increase his general store of knowledge, his mind will develop; his viewpoint will become broader, and in direct ratio, the danger of his falling into those destructive vices of intolerance and bigotry lessen. In order to discharge his Masonic duties properly, he should know something of law in general, our Constitution in particular. He should have a skeletal knowledge of the principles of government and governmental institutions so that he can become an intelligent citizen.

Then having, through the practice of morality, justified his possession of knowledge, and by labor having acquired such knowledge, the Mason is now in a position to enter upon the greatest study of man, philosophy, that science which deals with the ultimate and first cause. This field is difficult, years of preparation are necessary, honest hard labor alone will qualify a man to enter upon this rich but treacherous study. But if the Mason has followed the lessons given him in the practice of morality, and has conscientiously made his researches in the hidden mysteries of nature and science, then he can approach t he final instruct ion without the least misgiving. If he has failed to live up to the requirements of the preceding stages, then he had better go no further, the fruits are not for such as he.

Nor, even now, is the reward handed out freely, only the road is indicated, the labors must continue. He who labors for reward never gets it. The reward, that is the development, resides in the labor itself, so the mentally lazy who chases after magic words, open sesames and superhuman wisdom, finds nothing but ashes in the Sanctum Sanctorum. This is his own fault, nature cannot be defrauded of her due.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Masonry and the Restoration of the Mysteries


From the website of the Honourable Institution of Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries.
I found it very interesting


Masonry and the Restoration of the Mysteries

It has been said that Masonry is an earthly symbol of a Heavenly archetype; that it is the custodian of Law; the home of the Mysteries and the seat of Initiation. It holds in its symbolism the ritual of Deity, and the way of salvation is pictorially preserved in its work. The methods of Deity are demonstrated in its Temples, and under the All-Seeing Eye the work can go forward. In its ceremonies lies hid the wielding of the forces connected with the growth of life of the kingdoms of nature and the unfoldment of the divine aspects of man. In the comprehension of its symbolism will come the power to cooperate with the divine plan.
However, it is realised everywhere that new life must be poured in and great changes wrought in the awareness and in the training of those who work through and in this media of truth. These changes must be carried out by those with a new vision and a new approach to life experience, for there is no question that the work to be done in familiarising the general public with the nature of the Mysteries is of paramount importance at this time. One of the media through which these Mysteries are intended to be restored to outer service is the Masonic Fraternity, for it was established as a seed of future effort.
These needed alterations and revitalisation can and must be done. An experiment is being tried to see just what the response may be by the members of the Craft to a revitalised Masonry, built upon the blueprints of its intended seed idea and architectural design. One such Masonic Body accepting responsibility for the presented opportunity is the Masonic Order, Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries—A.U.M.—which welcomes to its doors and admits to its privileges worthy men and women of all creeds and of every race, but it insists that all shall stand upon the recognition of an exact equality of divine origin.

The Prophetic Symbol of Masonry

It is to be noted that there has never been a time, in the long history of humanity, when such dramatic episodes as the symbolic happening of any Masonic initiation have not been present in some form or another, the evidences of which can be traced here and there in the ceremonials and symbolisms of the ancient rites of the race. The Golden thread of the Masonic teaching and tradition can be seen running through the Mysteries of past ages, through the symbolism of the world Scriptures, and through the many mystical and occult expressions of truth. That modern Masonry, however, is the child of the past and that it has inherited the secret tradition, whereby the Master Craftsmen of the world have trained the Builders of the Temple, and which, by many names, has led the seekers of past ages, is also significantly true.
We must ever bear in mind that Masonry, as we know it today, is an outer and visible sign of an inner and spiritual reality, and for those who can see with the inner vision it bears the signature of truth.
To portray adequately the wonder and the destiny of the human kingdom lies beyond the powers of any human pen, for it is the custodian of the hidden mystery, the veritable Treasure-House of God—and this is the Great Masonic Secret. Only in the human kingdom are the three divine qualities found in their full potentiality and together. In man, is hidden the secret of life; in man is secreted the treasures of Wisdom and Love; in man is implanted the mystery of manifestation. Humanity, and humanity alone, can reveal the nature of eternal life and divine consciousness, and portray what has lain hidden in the Mind of God. This Mind must dwell in us and reveal itself in the human race in ever greater fullness. To man is given the task of raising matter up into heaven, and of glorifying rightly the form side of life through his conscious manifestation of divine powers.
The goal before humanity at this time is the attaining of the cooperative, or group spirit. This must indicate the part which the unit plays within the whole, and the interaction of the part in the greater structure. Nowhere can this be more soundly and effectively learned than in Masonry.
The hour has now come when the manifestation of this reality can, for the first time and in truth, manifest itself on the physical plane in an organised group form. This is the coming glory, and the next revelation in the evolutionary cycle, of which Masonry is a prophetic symbol and seed of future effort.
Thus, we are faced with the true work of Masonry in the coming cycle, which is to link that which is within with that which is without, and to bridge the world of the tangible and known with that of the intangible and invisible realities.
It will thus be seen that the work of the Masonic Fraternity is not an arbitrary and senseless system of symbolic procedures and ceremonial rituals, but that it is an allegorical portrayal of a great and divine process whereby the will of Deity works out in relation to humanity, and the Strength, Wisdom and Beauty of divine Creative Power through Its medium of expression stands revealed. Under the symbolic rehearsals the plan is revealed for those who have the clue to the meaning of the symbols, the numbers and the ritual. Masonry thus depicts the steady progress of a human being from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, and from death to immortality, and in the degrees of its Lodge work we have an accurate picture of the progress of the human soul— from the time that that soul appears in human form until the time when the great work is accomplished, and the candidate for illumination and worker in the Temple of the Lord ends his career as a risen Master. Thus, must be studied the pattern of truth which underlies the outer forms of Masonry, and which incurs two major lines of thought:

1. The unfoldment of the Plan of Deity, revealed through the symbolism of the degrees of
the Lodge work.
2. The unfoldment of the individual as he progresses from degree to degree, mastering
step by step the work of the Craft till he finally takes his place as a Master.

Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries

A.U.M. is the continuity of an effort conducted from 1935 to 1942 by an earlier Masonic group, but whose aspirations and efforts proved a little premature for the contemporary Masons and minds of the day. It was subsequently temporarily disbanded and its generative impulse was patiently held within the aura of the inner Lodge until such a time—which was foreseen and planned for by the principal Officers of the earlier group—it could receive a fresh impulse and re-emerge. This new subjective impulse was registered and followed through in 1977 by a young Mason, and a ten year period of training and preparation began which culminated in the establishing of a Masonic seed group upon the physical plane during the Wesak Festival of 1988. This group trained together for a further three years, before emerging exoterically to establish A.U.M. before the attention of the interested public in 1992. It has subsequently continued to grow nationwide, and admit a steady stream of new members.
Whilst preserving the Ancient Landmarks familiar to the Craft, A.U.M. presents a revitalised form of Masonry in all applications of the Masonic edifice, including the recomposition of its rituals, its Constitution, its Declaration of Masonic purposes, the training of Masons, and the admission of both men and women on an equal basis. Its objective is to reestablish Masonry along certain hitherto neglected lines—not withstanding nor belittling its very real and potent service rendered to humanity over the past few hundred years, and its very broad charitable contributions for the upliftment and relief of the downtrodden and oppressed, the record of which is its own testimony—but that it is also required of Masonry that its Temples become established and recognised within the program of human living as "Academies of Higher Learning" in the spiritual arts and sciences according to the principles and practices of the ritualistic forms of the Temple Builders under T.G.A.O.T.U. Thus, to this service is A.U.M. dedicated, and its program therefore includes an inner training in meditation and study allied to the various Degree work and exoteric forms.
It should be pointed out that A.U.M. does not seek to impose any interpretation of occult truth upon its members, but simply seeks to direct their studies and suggest various lines of thought, thereby training its members to form their own conclusions in the light of their own experience and application in the Lodge work. Nevertheless, it is also realised that there is a real need for Masons to work together with spiritual understanding, and because true Masonic work is group work and can only progress under group inspiration and cooperation, the complementary inner training program and studies are designed in an effort to produce unity of thought along certain desirable lines in order to conform to the requirements of the inner spiritual Lodge. Thus, the actual service of the ritual work in the Lodges at Labour is conducted more consciously and effectively—creating a conscious relationship for the reception and distribution of energies between the Grand Lodge on High, and the Lodges at Labour on earth. The Lodges on earth have to be raised up into Heaven, and the Lodge on High has to be materialised on earth, and only thus by this fusing and blending of that which is below with that which is above can the true Temple of Initiation emerge.
Because the keynote of the work of A.U.M. is one of service, and we are only interested in those who are likewise motivated to train and discipline themselves to be conscious, working servants of humanity, the standard of its Labours and studies, both at admission level and that to be maintained and desired, is perhaps higher than the average. Prior experience in meditation is therefore required, together with previous studies in the fundamentals of the esoteric doctrines, mystery Teachings, or Ageless Wisdom in some aspect or other as a foundation. Not lightly are applicants admitted to the Craft in A.U.M. Those seeking quick results, therefore, need not apply, for it is our experience that the Path is a long and arduous one, and that a necessary discipline of the life should accompany all true spiritual aspiration. We are endeavouring to rule out all selfish incentives to the study of the occult sciences, and our Temple doors are not open to those who are only interested in self-development for the satisfaction of it, or from curiosity or ambition. Our Temple doors are open, however, to all who are in earnest over spiritual matters, and who are thus willing to work steadily and sincerely to fit themselves to serve their fellow human beings.
It should also be pointed out, that in A.U.M., no pledges or oaths are exacted from any of its members in any Degree that can be interpreted as pledges to a personality or as limiting them to any specific form of teaching. The oaths communicated concern the attitudes which should exist towards the Higher Self, and the esoteric truths revealed through the symbolism of Masonry can only be interpreted in the light of the inner developing wisdom.
The form of government in A.U.M. proceeds under the symbolism of a Hierarchical Democracy, and thus the pattern of the ideal is held before its members. We do not issue invitations to join A.U.M., nor do we solicit or recruit members. Each interested person must seek us out and apply of his or her own free will and accord. Every applicant must be vouched for and sponsored by two Masons; an investigation conducted into his or her background and character; and elected by unanimous ballot.
A.U.M. extends its recognitions universally to all legitimate Masonic Orders, recognising that they are all essentially part of one universal Masonic movement under dispensation from the Grand Lodge on High. Its three grand principles are Brotherly Love, Relief of Suffering, and the Cultivation of Truth, and thus it must be understood that the building of the Temple of Humanity is the one uniform objective to which all else is subordinated, and that only through the practice of its principles will be found that which lies at the heart of all true religion.

http://www.grandlodgeaum.org/MRM.htm

Monday, November 26, 2007

Of Revolutions & Reforms





FOUND THIS ON THE WEB AND COULD NOT RESIST IN POSTING IT!
ENJOY




Of Revolutions & Reforms
.Wor. Frederic L. Milliken

I have been thinking about the subject we have been discussing here, and that is how best to be effective in bringing about new life, new growth, new vitality to our Lodges and most of all reforms and a new course for our Grand Lodges. How can we as individuals best influence the course that our Lodges and Grand Lodges pursue?

The remedy has been proposed that we need to work harder, get involved, run for a Grand Lodge office, rise to some prominence and power and then work to change the system from within. If you are not in the system you can't change it and if you don't work hard to change it you shouldn't complain or expect it to change "no work, no effort no gain".

I would like to amplify what has been said to more fully explain why I think this won't work. Let's explore some finer points and expand on the concepts and see if there are other ramifications and possibilities. First of all for most men Masonry is a pleasurable part time past time, a hobby or interest but not a full time occupation. Nor can most men make it a full time concern. They may work long hours at a demanding job; they may have children who need their time and guidance; their wives may work and therefore they have to contribute to the management of the household and the care of their family including things like grocery shopping, cooking some meals, washing some clothes and driving the kids where they need to go. They may have responsibilities at their house of worship. They may have an aging parent who either lives with them and needs constant care and attention or who lives apart in quarters where they need to be checked up on constantly.

I say all this because what gets in the way of Masonry is life. Quite frankly many men may enjoy coming to Lodge and participating in some of the activities and rituals of the Lodge, but that does not mean they have the time or inclination to spend enormous amounts of time and effort to reform a system that has lost its way and needs a complete overhaul.

I can remember when I first entered Masonry they told me it was only going to be one night a week. Then I joined an Appendant Body and that added another night, then I became an officer and that added another night, then I became a Warden and then a Master and it became almost every night. That 'just one night a week' became a lot more than that. But what are you asking of a man who just wants to enjoy his Masonry? Are you expecting him to devote 20-40 hours per week for the Craft? Lets be realistic here, let's be practical.

If I were to start worshiping at a new church and its management were to come to me and say we have only one Pastor who is overworked and we need more people to help with the liturgy and worship service, and we don't have enough Sunday school teachers and we could use more, and we don't have anybody to clean the church and no money to pay anybody to do that job, and our Secretary is quitting because she says her salary is too low and we sure could use some help with mowing our lawns and do you cook at all sir? Now I am going to say, 'Hey wait a minute, I have come to your church to worship God, not to toil away for hours without compensation.' And the reply would come back, 'If you can't help the church be a great church by donating time, treasure and talent, then there just won't be any church here for you to worship in.'

See where we are here? That's where we are in Masonry right now. We expect too much from men who have job and family obligations. We ask for too much for nothing expecting our membership to give and give and give. And as our numbers dwindle there is a greater burden placed on those who remain. I have seen too many Masters under too much stress. And our Grand Lodges still commit us to huge Institutionalized Charity projects.

Our number one cause of our drop in membership is no longer the cause of death. We are now losing more Brothers because they are quitting, packing up and leaving. We now have a retention problem. And the more burdens we place on those remaining, and the more we expect from those left to pick up the slack, the more members will continue to leave. Quite frankly the large bulk of membership does not want to live Masonry 24/7. And they resent being constantly asked to devote much time and energy to fund raisers and charitable programs for the general public when their main reason for joining was to practice Masonry. So asking men to step up to the plate, run for Grand Lodge Office, work every night and on weekends for the Craft is totally unrealistic. And if you stand there and say 'well if you don't like the way Masonry is being run and you don't like what you see why don't you get more active and work to change things is just so much unrealistic, impractical and uncaring hot air. This way of thinking takes away from the responsibility local Lodge and Grand Lodge officers now have to the Brethren to run a good ship and choose the right course. And it will not make Masonry grow because it will lose more members than it brings in.

Why are we in this fix? What has gotten us into such a tailspin? What can we do to get out?

When we took in large numbers of members after WWII we took in men who were not interested in the character building side of Freemasonry which involved research, study and education 'learning about the symbolism and ethics of Masonry and the meaning and applications for every day life. They wanted to continue the camaraderie they got to experience in fighting a war. Nothing brings you closer to understanding the concept of brotherhood than your life being dependent on your buddy, on you unit. So what we got was good time Charlie social Masonry. Now normally there will be a shift in emphasis with a leadership change which comes about when the next generation joins the Craft. But the Vietnam War destroyed all that. Dropping out and doing what feels good killed the interest of the next generation in joining Freemasonry. Actually it killed the interest in joining almost anything. So the same generation, the same leaders stayed in power twice as long as they normally would. They worked a double shift.

This had two disastrous effects. First it created a tremendous double generation gap. You had young men coming into the Craft looking at a Lodge ruled and governed and populated by men old enough to be their grandfathers. If you think there is a generation gap between father and son you ought to see how great it is between grandfather and grandson. Out of sight. Camaraderie was not the same. And fifty years of unquestioned power and governing inbred into the psyche of these WWII Masons that they had the only way of doing things. Thus 'we always did it this way' became a reality because it truly was done that way for such an extended period of time. As previously stated, normally every 25 years there would be a turnover in leadership with a new generation taking over and imprinting their generational vision on Masonry. But that did not happen around 1975 when it should have occurred.

Finally as Masonry bleedingly limped into the 21st century younger Brothers were forced to take the reins of leadership because most of the WWII Masons had passed to the Celestial Lodge above. But since all these new Brothers were trained by the WWII Masons, they too practiced good time Charlie social Masonry except that by this time Grand Lodges in a stage of absolute panic had turned Masonry into a giant Service Club with Institutionalized Charity as the new savior of Masonry. So what ever Masonic education and study there was now was totally destroyed with the majority of time, effort and money going to 'Masonic Awareness' and the marketing of Freemasonry.

Which leads us to point number two. The only grandeur left in Freemasonry was in political maneuvering. Masonic politics became the new way to gain preeminence in the Fraternity. No longer were Masonic men of letters, its writers, researchers and speakers held in high esteem. For too many years the study and practice of the mysteries of Freemasonry had been neglected. Now with social Masonry evolving into Service Club Masonry we were entering our third generation of Masons who knew very little about the organization to which they belonged. They didn't study, research, read books, write or hold any kind of Masonic education programs in their Lodges. Men now held Grand Lodge office that can't even read Pike or Wilsmhurst or Pound never mind speak intelligently about any philosophical underpinnings of the Craft.

So if you didn't have to know anything about Masonry to rise to preeminence in the Fraternity, how then did you get to be Grand Master? By all the means used to become President of the United States. Our Grand Masters became glib, fast talking, charismatic Masons who ruthlessly wielded the scepter of political power. They constantly sought to increase the power of Grand Lodge by demanding of their chartered Lodges that they do this and do that and submit this report and that report and hold this event and that event. Today the local Masonic Lodge is scourged of all its individuality and its ability to be creative on its own. It is in the hip pocket of the Grand Master and the oligarchy that rules from on high. This centralization of power closely mirrors the increase in power of Washington in our civil government.

It cannot be overemphasized that this means that we are now in a system where it's not what you know but who you know. And the rise to Masonic power is gained by the means our civil politicians use building personal relationships, networking and trading favors and other means which can be more devious but will not be listed. It then becomes a process whereby what is good for Freemasonry and what would truly bring it into the 21st century vibrant and growing means nothing to those in the Grand Lodge system. THEY CARE NOTHING ABOUT PROGRAMS THAT FURTHER THE CRAFT. They, like every other politician in life, care about getting, maintaining and wielding power. To accomplish these ends it matters not where you stand but how others feel about things and what kind of coalition can be put together and how a commitment to any issue will affect your standing in the ability to step up onto the next rung of the ladder.

Faced with these realities you can, outside the inner circle, but within the system work very hard to reform Freemasonry and return it to its former grandeur but all that work will yield little result when most of those in the system with power to implement are only concerned in putting a feather in their own cap. In other words you are beating your head against the wall. And when you do all this work and spend all the time necessary and end up with nothing, believe me what ensues is utter frustration and chances are you become another retention statistic because you have left. So this is why I say extending the effort is fruitless.

So nothing can be done? No I am not saying that. What I am saying is that if you desire to make change you need to channel your efforts in another manner. The only thing that power respects is other power. And the only thing that politicians fear is losing power and being booted out of office. You don't make the change you seek by convincing other members in the system the righteousness of your argument. They don't care how right you are. You don't spend all your tine and effort into implementing a certain agenda because that is butting your head against the wall. You don't get anywhere by being a good little boy, kissing ass, keeping your mouth shut and trying to climb the ladder without upsetting the applecart. You don't make change by working inside a system where you have to toe the line and work hard to further programs that are the exact opposite of what you want to do, - in order to get ahead. You can't further the programs of a Grand Lodge which you know are destroying Freemasonry in order to stay in the system and eventually get enough power to change it. By the time you get the power, you have worked so hard to destroy it, that you have actually destroyed it. You can't work against what you believe in to get ahead. If the present system is corrupt and you are absolutely convinced that the direction it is going in is self-defeating then helping those in power to do more of the same is stupid.

In order to change things you are going to have to play hardball, because once again the only thing those who worship power alone respect is the power of others and what they could or might do to them. Now you may stay in the system but that does not mean you are going to work to further it. And that does not mean you are going to enter the corporate Masonic ladder. What you are going to do at every opportunity you get is to point out the folly of the present course of action. You are not going to enter into personal attacks but rather intellectual debates challenging the power structure to change course. If you are a writer you will write articles explaining how destructive present policies are and what would work much better. If you are a speaker you will do the same. If your Grand Lodge runs opinion forums you will show up and ask the tough questions that need to be asked. You will write letters and E-Mails explaining your reforms to any and all. You might form a group of like-minded reform Brothers and meet on a regular basis 'a reform club. You will probably launch a Masonic website and from that form a power base where you constantly point out the destructive path Grand Lodge is on. Yes you are going to be in their face and they are not going to like it. But if you stick to ideas and not personalities you are still on the high road. But you can't change them you can only defeat them.

Will this course of action jeopardize your membership? Could be. Depends on what you would rather do, remain on a sinking ship or stay afloat in a lifeboat. If you are the only one doing this then obviously you are in some trouble. But what if 300 Brothers all felt the same way and were all participating with you and were doing some of the same things? Power respects power. Power does not respect ideas. Ideas cannot defeat power only ideas with power behind them.

My path personally led me to leave mainstream Masonry and join Prince Hall. I won't go into the reasons why I made that decision nor recommend it to others. Some have said that now that I am on the outside looking in I can no longer influence change. Poppycock! I didn't leave Freemasonry. I'm still in the legitimate, non clandestine practice of Masonry. I can speak at other Lodges, I can write articles, I can blog and in every way still call attention to failed practices. As time goes by I will be able to visit the Communication of any mainstream Lodge and in casual conversation whether over coffee or a pint I can have my say and influence the thinking of others who in turn will carry the torch of reform into their Grand Sessions. Who knows what the future holds in store for the intermingling of Prince Hall & mainstream Masonry. That future might mean the allowance of dual membership.

And finally what is the way out of this Masonic political power trip? How do we get politics out of Masonry and get leaders who are concerned with the quality of the Craft not their own well being? The reason we got into this mess in the first place is that we stopped researching, studying and teaching the mysteries of Freemasonry and venerating our writers, researchers and speakers. If we return now to correcting that and making the philosophy of Freemasonry and the practice of its virtues the focal point of our existence then it will become what you know not who you know which is important. Our Lodges and Grand Lodges will no longer be populated by a bunch of know nothing Masons. The way that politics gains a stranglehold of Freemasonry is to have no other standard of preeminence available. Only then does power become the standard.

Also a system that encourages the study of itself and exalts the education of it members places knowledge on a pedestal not raw political power without knowledge. So when and if we choose to replace the system we have now with a one that reveres Masonic knowledge and that requires its leaders to be well versed in the meaning of Masonry, the symbolism of Masonry, the virtues of Masonry and the importance of passing on that knowledge then we no longer will be riding on the roller coaster ride of political gamesmanship. Right now we are like a church with a Pastor who has no knowledge of scripture. Right now we are no more advanced than any other organization out there. To be the noble, grand organization that stands heads and tails above any other we have to again learn and teach that Freemasonry is a philosophy of life, a way of life, and an answer to what is the meaning of life.

In order to get to that point we need to force the issue. Those in our Grand Lodges so concerned with numbers and dollars and staying in power will not change and reform of their own free will and accord. Helping them and working with them only hastens the destruction of Freemasonry. They will not step down quietly but will go kicking and screaming, but go they must.

The only thing left to say is that this doesn't apply to everyone, but if the shoe fits.

Wor. Frederic L. Milliken

Monday, November 05, 2007

BRUBAKER THE MOVIE: A MASONIC ALLEGORY?








I do not know how many have seen the movie “Brubaker”, starring Robert Redford, but I witnessed a similarity between Freemasonry and the tone of the movie. Robert Redford infiltrates a southern prison, to eventually become the warden. He wanted to enter the system as a prisoner, see how it functioned, then reveal that he is the new warden and try to reform it. Now, Brubaker is the name of Redford’s character, and the obstacles he has to face to try and reform the prison is similar to what I and others have experienced in the Lodge and Masonry in general.

There is a situation where a roof caves in and injures multiple inmates, Brubaker checks the insurance policy, but the roof is not covered. They are covered against a Chinese invasion, volcano destruction and earthquakes, but no roof coverage. He starts to find many more dirty deeds that have been transpiring for decades. A local lumber man tries to bribe Brubaker to get in on the scam of this prison system, milking it for labor and funds. When this lumber man realizes that Brubaker is not interested in being a part of this scam, or any other, this southern gentleman reminds Brubaker, quote: ”Don’t F with tradition, boy!”

Now, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that statement in my Masonic travels, maybe not as harsh, but the same message. “We have always done it this way, or that way”. Just because a Lodge, a prison or Government has “done something” a certain way for a very long time, does not make it RIGHT. The town’s and state’s elders had no problem doing things that were wrong, even passing that system onto their future generations, to continue these traditions unimpeded.

Brubaker, an educated man with morals and principles, ran into a group of people who had acted questionable for generations, and the first time an outsider comes into the mix, and will not partake in the this corrupt system, gets threatened and met with obstacles by people who would rather continue on a morally corrupt path (tradition) than recognizing the wrong of what they are doing, and changing to do right. Traditions do not necessarily mean right. If educated men perceive traditions to be that, traditions and not “LAW”, they should be able to question them and attempt to change these traditions if they are wrong. Just because you’re great grandfather and his father had always done it that way, it does not make it right.

I would like to suggest that anyone who has not seen Brubaker to see it, and see for yourself if a Masonic allegory his hidden within the movie. Does the prison represent the Lodge, and the resistance to change by the towns elders, represent the entrenched, possessive mason? See how many of the characters in the movie remind you of males you have met within the craft. With their zealous defense of traditions and positions passed down by daddy and his cronies, no matter how they affect “outsiders” and other innocents. Brubaker symbolized all aspiring freemasons who have entered the portals of the Temple, expecting high minded, elevated freethinkers to be able to work with, who would be pro active in making a difference and challenging the minds of all who seek to learn, not unenlightened staunch Christians, bullying age old traditions down your throat without any recourse.

The best line of the movie again by the big mover and shaker of the town was, “Don’t F with tradition, boy!” , a popular mantra of masonry,


Brubaker
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brubaker is an American 1980 film about a prison in distress. Robert Redford plays the eponymous lead role of Warden Henry Brubaker.

Plot

In the film, the Brubaker character finds rampant abuse and corruption during the short period he impersonates an inmate. Examples include a prison doctor that charges inmates for care, torture of inmates, procurement fraud (such as purchase of substandard food contaminated with weevils and worms), fraudulent insurance, and many more examples.

When the disguise comes off, he does what he must to make things right, and inflames the corrupt officials who have profited from their graft for decades.

Background

The film is a fact-based biopic about a prison warden who starts his job by disguising himself as one of his own prison inmates to find out what the prison is really like. It is based on a 1969 book by Tom Murton, a warden at the Cummins Prison in Arkansas, and co-author Joe Hyams, Accomplices To The Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal.

Murton also served as technical advisor during filming.

Filmed in New Lexington, Ohio & The Junction City Prison Farm in Junction City, Ohio.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Masonic Code of Life























A MASONIC CODE OF LIFE
Salutem Punctis Trianguli!

1) In the morning, before rising, thank the God of your Heart for the new day that you are privileged to live on the earthly plane, and ask God to inspire you throughout the day. Then, standing facing east, take seven deep breaths as you focus on the vitality that is awakening in you. Afterwards, drink a glass of water and then begin your daily activities.


2) Despite the trials and tribulations of life, always consider life the most precious gift the Cosmic ever granted human beings, because it is the medium of our spiritual evolution and the source of the happiness we seek. Furthermore, regard your body as the temple of your soul, and take great care of it.


3) If you can, reserve a place in your home dedicated to prayer, meditation, and the study of the Masonic teachings. Make it your own oratory, your sanctum, and keep it free from any profane concern or activity.


4) Before every meal, give thanks to your God for being fortunate enough to have something to eat, and think of all those who do not have the privilege of eating their fill. If you are alone or together with other members of the Order, place your hands above your food, palms down, and say mentally or aloud this symbolic invocation: May this food be purified and magnetized by the vibrations radiating from my hands so to provide for my body and soul’s need. May all those who are hungry be associated with this meal and be given a spiritual share of its benefits. So Mote It Be!


5) You know that the aim of all human beings is to perfect themselves; to become better persons. Therefore, constantly endeavor to awaken and express the virtues of the soul that animates you. In doing so, you will contribute to your evolution and serve the cause of humanity.


6) Isolate yourself for a moment every day, preferably in your Sanctum, and send thoughts of love, harmony, and health towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards all those who suffer physically or mentally. Also ask your God to assist them on all planes and to preserve them as much as possible from the ordeals of life.


7) Behave in such a way that all those who share your existence or live in contact with you regard you as an example and feel the desire to be like you. Guided by the voice of your conscience, may your ethics be as pure as possible and may your first preoccupation always be to think well, speak well, and act well.


8) Be tolerant and defend the right to be different. Never use the faculty of judgment to blame or condemn anyone, for you cannot read the hearts and souls of others. Look at them benevolently and leniently, and see what is best in them.


9) Be generous towards those who are in need or less favored than you. Arrange things every day so that you do at least one good deed for someone else. Whatever your good deed, do not boast, but thank God for enabling you to contribute to the well-being of others.


10) Be moderate in your behavior and avoid extremes in all things. Be temperate, and follow the middle way in all circumstances.


11) If you hold a position of power, do not be overly proud about it and do not become intoxicated by the power you may wield. Never use your position to force others to do anything that they disapprove of or that is unfair, illegal, or immoral. Hold your office with humility and make it serve the common good.


12) Be attuned to others and speak with care. If you ever criticize, make sure that it is done constructively. If someone asks you for advice on a subject you do not know well, humbly admit your ignorance. Never stoop to telling lies, backbiting, or slander. If you hear malicious gossip about someone, do not support it by lending a willing ear.


13) Respect the laws of your country and endeavor to be a good citizen. Always remember, the key to human progress lies in the evolution of consciousnesses.


14) Be humanistic. Regard all humanity as your family. Beyond race, culture, and belief, all human beings are brothers and sisters. Consequently, they all deserve the same respect and consideration.


15) Consider Nature as being the most beautiful sanctuary and expression of Divine Perfection on earth. Respect life in all its forms, and look upon animals as conscious and sensitive beings—and not as mere living things.


16) Be and remain a free thinker. Think for yourself and not according to what other people think. Likewise, let everyone think freely; do not impose your ideas on others and always remember that your ideas are also evolving.


17) Respect all religious or philosophical beliefs, as long as they do not strike a blow at human dignity. Do not support fanaticism or fundamentalism, in any shape or form. As you live your faith, make sure that you are neither dogmatic nor sectarian.

18) Be faithful to your promises and commitments. When you give your word of honor, consider it to be a sacred pledge that binds you. If you must take an oath, think of the Square and Compasses, the symbol of your ethical ideal, while doing so, and remember that any lie you might tell will have karmic consequences for you. Although it is possible to deceive others, no one can escape Divine Justice.


19) If you can afford and wish to do so, support the Order materially, so as to promote its activities and contribute to its continuity.


20) The purpose of the Order is to contribute to the raising of consciousnesses, and the transmission of its centuries-old teachings. Therefore, make yourself available to present its ideals and philosophy to those who seek Knowledge, but without ever trying to coerce them.


21) Never cause anyone to believe that members of the Order are sages who are in full possession of the Truth. To those who may ask, present yourself as a philosophical person who is seeking Wisdom. Never pretend you are a Master Mason, but say you are a perfecting Freemason.


22) In the evening before going to sleep, summarize the day that is ending, and see in what ways it has been constructive or otherwise. In your soul and mind, weigh up what you have thought, said, and done throughout the day. From this draw useful lessons for your spiritual evolution and make firm resolutions. When this is done, send positive thoughts to the whole of humanity and entrust your soul to your God before going to sleep.

So Mote It Be!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

THE COMPASSES AND SQUARE







THE COMPASSES AND SQUARE~

What is there in these implements that entitle them to be regarded with reverence as two of the three Great Lights of the Lodge? What do they really mean? And what is the meaning of the different relative positions of the points of the compasses and the square in the three Degrees? Are these meanings in any way connected with the saying that “the principal tenets of Freemasonry are included between the two points of the compasses?”
The earnest inquirer after truth, the student of Masonic symbolism, does not want ingenious explanations, worked out by the intellect of anyone. What he wants to know is whether these two symbols had any definite and fixed meaning when they became part of the inheritance of Freemasonry; and if they had what their real meanings were. He wants certainty, and not guessing, conjectures or speculations.
I inquired, some years since, of an eminent English Masonic scholar and antiquarian, Bro :. William James Hughan, whether the compasses and square were used on the altar in the same positions, in England, as among us, and since what time had they been so used; desiring to be sure that their use was not a novelty introduced in this Country.
He replied, “I cannot say how long it has been the custom as to the points of the square and compasses in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degrees. I am inclined to consider it an old one, as it is general”.
In a Lodge of the French Rite, when the Senior Warden is asked, “Are you a Master Mason?” his answer is, “I am; I have passed from the square to the compasses’.
The square is an instrument that can he applied to level surfaces and rectilinear angles only. The earth anciently was supposed to be a level, with occasional inequalities of hills and valleys. For many practical purposes it is regarded as level now. In the ordinary operations of surveying it is so treated, its spherical shape not being regarded. The surveys of the public lands of the United States are so made; and consequently the lines of adjoining surveys never coincide.
The compasses are used to describe circles, and in spherical trigonometry in which the square cannot be used. They are therefore a fit symbol of the sky, the heavens, which form as it were, the roof of a ha1f~sphere, in crossing which the heavenly bodies appear to describe arcs of circles; and the square is a fit symbol of the Earth.
In the copy of an engraving which is upon the first page of this essay these two symbols appear. It is taken from a Hermetic work in Latin by Basilius Valentinus, published in 1613. In it you see a naked human body with two heads, one male and the other female, one with the right and the other with the left arm extended. Over the male head is the astronomical sign that denotes the sun, and over the female that which denotes the moon, and between and above these signs is that which denotes the planet Mercury. In the hand which is on the male side is a pair of compasses; and in the hand on the female side is the square. These symbols, as you see, were engraved and published over
a hundred years before what is called the “revival” of Masonry, in I717, and they had been in use and had a settled meaning for hundreds of years before Valentinus published them.
We know with absolute certainty what their signification was to the Hermetic philosophers who used them. It is not a matter of conjecture or speculation but of absolute certainty of knowledge. The figure with one body and two heads represented the generative or creative power of the Deity and the productive capacity of nature. The generative power had its abiding place in the sky. Light is the great generative agent. The productive power is in the flat earth.
Every human being is of a compound and double nature, animal and material in part; and in part intellectual and spiritual His body is said to have been formed of the dust of the earth: his soul, spirit, intellect are of another nature. One is earthly, the other heavenly, one material, the other spiritual.
The compasses, which are a fit symbol of the heavens, are also a fit symbol of all that is heavenly and spiritual; the square which is a fit symbol of the earth is also a fit symbol of all that is earthly and material, in nature and man.
In every human being that lives, there are four forces, each always acting, and two of them apparently antagonistic to the other two. Two of these belong to the animal, earthly, material nature of man, the animal or sensual appetites and the passions. Both of these, man has in common with the animals; and so far as these rule him, he is but an animal. The other two belong to his intellectual and spiritual nature. One of them is the Moral Sense, whose conclusions are as absolute and infallible as those of the mathematics; by means of which Moral Sense, given in a greater or less degree to every man, he knows what is right and what is wrong for him to do. How little so ever of any moral code may control the conduct of an Indian wholly uncivilized, his Moral Sense teaches him something, at least this, that if a thing is placed in his hands to deliver to another, and he promises to deliver it, it is not right but wrong to fail to deliver it and appropriate it to his own use.
The other is the Reason, which reaches man what is the wisest and best for him to do for his own good, and this also belongs in a greater or less degree to every man.
These do not result from the combination of the atoms of matter in our bodies, It is a sufficient argument with which to refute those who think they believe that there is no God, that it is simply impossible, that the Moral Sense could originate in or be produced by any combination of material atoms, or by the action and counter action of any conceivable forces of matter. To create a moral law or a single tenet of it, there must be a superior Will to enact it; and that Will must enact it in obedience to the unerring conclusions of an infinite wisdom.
It is the Reason, by the analogies perceived and formulated whereby we attain by observation of phenomena, a knowledge of causes; and so have precisely the same kind of knowledge of the Infinite Will, Wisdom, Power and Beneficence, which reveals Itself to us in nature and in ourselves, as we have of electricity; of which in its essence we know nothing; but from its effects we attain such knowledge as is attainable by us, of what is.
The Moral Sense and the Reason come to us, as it was anciently said, “from above”; the sensual appetites and animal passions, anger, revenge, hate, jealousy, envy and the like, “from below". But they are not, as was once believed, implanted in us by the devil. They also are gifts and endowments which we receive from the Infinite Wisdom. For to them, are in a great measure, owing the heroism and endurance of human nature. They are the springs of human action and of human exertion, and without them no man could be great. It is by the potent action and counteraction of these opposite forces, the appetites and passions always acting in striving to overcome, but controlled by an undue subordination to the other forces, that true greatness is achieved. They are not evil and devilish, to be extirpated and mortified; for most of the great deeds which men have done in the world have owed their doing to these springs of action. Harmony everywhere consists in equilibrium, and equilibrium is the result of the alternating preponderance of opposing forces. The astronomers have been forced to suppose a centripetal and a centrifugal force, each the opposite and antagonist of the other, one drawing the planet towards the sun, and the other causing it to strive to dart away from it, the line of action of both be in one straight line in opposite directions, to explain the movement of the planet round the sun in its elliptical orbit.
When the candidate is prepared to be initiated, he represents man in the state of barbarism, ignorance and subjugation. He is neither naked nor clothed, barefoot nor shod; meaning that his faculties are but half developed, and that the Moral Sense and reason, though they exist in him are in a dormant condition, He is hoodwinked, and so deprived of light, symbol of his supposed deprivation of the light of knowledge and the obscuration of his intellect; and he is further symbolically deprived of the light of reason and knowledge of himself, of nature and of God, by being deprived of all articles made of the precious metals, gold and silver.
For gold was among all the old nations, the metal of the sun, and silver that of the moon. The same words meant ‘gold and ‘sunlight” because the sun in rising flooded the east with gold; and the same words in more than One language meant “silver’ and the moon’ The light of the sun symbolized the direct light of revelation coming from The Deity into the soul and enlightening it. The light of the moon, which is the reflected light of the sun, symbolized the shining into one soul of the light from another, the light of revelation reflected from one intellect into another and illuminating and enlightening it.
And his preparation was completed in the cable-tow around his neck.
We may compare him in this condition to, and consider him, representation of the vast masses of the common people of the ancient ages, say of the Egyptian toilers, a huge hoard of slaves, under the pharaohs, with no knowledge of nature or the causes of things, except what they gained through the senses, with not even a glimmering idea of one God or a divine providence, of a hereafter, or of anything for themselves after the end of their poor miserable life; denied knowledge by the priests, because the possession of it by them would make them dangerous; worshiping the sacred bull, the ibis, the scarabaeus, idols grotesque and hideous; slaves of’ their kings, to whom their lies were no more than the lives of insects; their reason dormant, their Moral Sense inactive; and in their appetites and passions, mere animals.
We may regard him as of a somewhat higher nature, a Saxon like Gurth born-thrall of Cedric the Saxon, or one of the peasantry of France in the days of Henry the Fourth; for he represents every man and every people in which the sensual appetites and animal passions have ruled with a dominion uncontrolled by the Moral Sense and the Reason.
When he is brought to light his attention is directed to the compasses and the square on the altar, and he is made to note that both points of the compasses are under the square. He is about to begin his journey from the west to the east in search of light, which is to "make progress in Masonry,” and he is to labor three years as an Apprentice before he can become a Fellow of the Craft.
The two points of the compasses symbolize his Moral Sense and Reason, and the two arms 0f the square, essential appetites and animal passions: and the two points of the compasses are under the square because in him as a candidate for initiation and deprived of light, the Moral Sense and Reason are supposed to be overpowered and subjugated by his appetites and passions, which belong to his animal nature. He is now to begin to “make progress in Masonry.”
When he becomes a Fellowcraft, he sees one point of the compasses above the square and one below it: which is to teach him that he is supposed, by zealous endeavors to attain the Lights to have attained at that moral and intellectual condition, in which his appetites and passions no longer have the entire habitual mastery over his Moral Sense and Reason, but these have become so strengthened and developed by his labors as an Apprentice as to be enabled sometimes and in some degree to hold their ground against the former and even overcome and control them.
And when he becomes a Master Mason, he sees both points of the compasses above the square; which is to teach him that he is supposed to have attained that condition in which the moral, intellectual and spiritual forces of his nature have become superior to its material and animal forces and energies, his Moral Sense and Reason have the habitual mastery over his appetites and passions, the divine in him transcends the human, and there is in him that equilibrium of the forces of his nature which constitutes excellence and entitles him to honor.
The habitual mastery-not never-failing, never-interrupted mastery, of his appetites and passions; for that is the condition to which no man attains or can attain in this life.
He is at last a “Master Mason,” because, and only because, he has become Master of himself. If he is not so, he deceives his fellows; for by permitting himself to be supposed such, and by having accepted the compasses and square, lying upon the holy hook of his faith on the holy alter, illuminated by the three lights that symbolize the Deity —the compasses and the square which are the symbols of God the Creator, and of nature, of which God is the soul and whose forces are His varied actions- as a true symbol of his moral and intellectual condition, he in the most solemn manner pledges his faith and soul and honor to all his Brethren and the whole Order, that he is and will continue to be in all things such as he so represents himself.
And if, ever afterwards, when present in the Master’s Lodge, he feels and knows that the compasses and square, as they lie there, are not a true symbol of himself, but false, because these are not so, he is a living lie, and should turn his back upon the symbol and upon his Brethren and go mournfully away.
Thus the question, by what right are the compasses and square made two of the Great Lights of the Lodge, fit be counted as such with the Holy Book of one's faith, is, it seems to me, satisfactorily answered; and I know no other way in which it can be.
And we may now, perhaps, learn what is the meaning of the phrase, that, “the principal tenets of Masonry are included between the two points of the compasses.” You may perhaps see it now: but I think if I had at the beginning, asked you who read this to stop and reflect upon the phrase, and see if it had any meaning to you, you would, after repeating it to yourself again and again, have been compelled to admit that it is one of those phrases which sound well and seem to mean something, but which when examined, are found to consists only of so many words arranged in a sentence which has no meaning at all.
But "the principal tenets of Masonry” are the whole moral law, and that moral law wholly consists of the dictates of the Moral Sense and the conclusions of Reason; and as these are symbolized by the compasses, it follows that the principals of that law or the tenets of Freemasonry, are included between the two points of the compasses.
You may now also understand why a Master Mason has “passed from the square to the compasses” and from the high place of Gibeon, where the ark of the covenant rested, to the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, the site of the temple in which it was finally deposited.
The three lesser lights, it is said, are the sun, the moon and the Master of the Lodge. How long is the Lodge, how broad, how high and how deep? The Universe is the Lodge by Masonry’s own definition.
The sun and moon, to the ancient Egyptians, represented Osiris and Isis; one said to be the Deity and the other nature. But we get little knowledge as to what the Egyptian Deities really meant, from the monumental inscriptions cut in stone by command of the old monarchs of Egypt. I believe that Osiris was the Deity as Will and Power, and Isis, the Divine Wisdom in the Deity. Thoth was the Divine Word, the utterance in Humanity of the Divine Wisdom. The Greeks called him Hermes, and represented him as the giver of all knowledge to men. He was the Logos; of whom St. John afterwards said that He was in the beginning with God and was God.
In the old Hermetic engraving copied at the beginning of this lesson, the sign of the planet Mercury is above those of the sun and moon, midway between them; and the Greeks called this planet also Hermes. He is the nearest to the sun of all the planets; and consequently is seldom seen; for if he rises before the sun, his rise is so little a while before the sun’s; and if he sets after the sun, his setting is so little a while after that of the sun, that he is almost always in the golden glow of light of sunrise or sunset so that one’s eyes cannot discern him, I, being nearsighted, have never seen him, when another who was with me has; and Copernicus, the great Danish astronomer it is said, died lamenting that he had never seen him in all his life.
To the Egyptian Hermes, Thoth, is ascribed the promulgation of the philosophy distinguished by his name as the Hermetic: and various writings in Greek, by unknown authors, have been ascribed to him, some of which are still extant. Into the possession of the Hermetic philosophy came the symbols used by Pythagoras with his secret explanations of them, and his doctrines in regard to numbers; the knowledge of all which was always confined to a few adepts, and so became almost universally misunderstood. In the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Hermeticism became connected with Alchemy; and by what seemed mere jargon and an unmeaning babble of words, the meanings of its symbols and their true explanations were carefully concealed from the multitudes, and as carefully from the Priesthood, who would have pronounced the doctrines heretical and burned at the stake those who taught them.
We find in Freemasonry the principal symbols of the religious doctrines of the Zend Avesta, the book of the faith of the ancestors of Medians and Persians, and of their priests, styled the magi, "The wise men of the east,” who possessed the doctrines when Cyrus, of Median descent, became Master of the great city of Babylon. These doctrines Pythagoras learned; and as he could not have learned them elsewhere, the presumption is that the tradition is a true one, that he visited Babylon and was a pupil of the magi, as he had been of the Egyptian priests. He made these doctrines known to his disciples among the Greeks and invented symbols, especially the right-angled triangle and the lesser and the greater tetractys, to perpetuate the knowledge of them among the adepts and conceal it from all the rest of the world; in which he was so successful that, as Plutarch, ascribing the use of the right-angled triangle to the Egyptians, interpreted it in a manner altogether incorrect, so Yamblichus, writing of the life of Pythagoras, showed a profound ignorance of the meaning of his symbols; and the meaning of what the great philosopher said as to the virtues of numbers unconnected with things, as totally unknown yet.
Hermes, the Egyptian Thoth, the Divine Word, bearing the same name as the planet Mercury, was "The Master" of the Hermetic philosophers, the ”Master” of the Universe, the Divine Presence in it, the Master of Light and Life, and the mode of concealment of things in Masonry is strikingly shown by questions and answers, “Have you seen your Master today,” etc., given above. For Hermes, the planet, while in the blue ground of the sky is also always in the golden glory of the sun; and by these questions it was ascertained whether the person to whom they were put was a Mason, acquainted with the secret doctrines of the Hermetic philosophy.
By this and many other proofs we know that the symbols of Freemasonry were introduced into it by the Hermetic philosophers in England, one of whom at least was a Mason-E1jas Ashmole.
The “Master of the Lodge” was Hermes, the Divine Word: and the phrase, “The sun, the moon and the Master of the Lodge:’ finds its exact symbols and representation in the Hermetic engraving given at the beginning of this lesson.
The sun represents the Deity: the moon the Divine Wisdom and to these three the various triads of the Lodge allude.
Hermes said that the universe was the second god, and man the third, why and how, he did not clearly explain. The books bearing his name were given by those who did not intend to make known to the whole world the meanings of their symbols. It would have been better if Masonic writers of books had imitated, their caution and reticence; for with Mackey’s and Oliver’s works on one side and our Monitors on the other, any Profane may know all that the mass of Masons know about Masonry.
Fortunately these writers could not disclose what they did not know, and the real meanings of our symbols are still our own, notwithstanding our itching for notoriety so prevalent now in the Order, and the irrepressible desire of Masonic journalists and others to print and publish everything.
The universe is the idea of the Divine Wisdom, realized, as the making under the direction of the inventor, perhaps without his own hands touching it, of the machine of wood and metal, is but the expression in these of the model in the mind of the inventor. It is in the universe that we see all of the Divine Wisdom that it has disclosed or will in this life disclose to us. In it alone we attain unto any knowledge of that Wisdom. It is the Soul of the Universe; and therefore the universe, its body is said to be the second god.
In Man is the Divine Word, the Voice and utterance of the Divine Wisdom, Every human intellect has in it something of the Divine nature.
It is a ray from that in the Deity which is something higher than our Reason and Intelligence, but of which these are effects, as light is an effluence from the flame of the fire. These are the doctrines of Hermetic Philosophy.

Albert Pike

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ten Master Masons



Ten Master Masons

Ten Master Masons, happy, doing fine;
One listened to a rumor, then there were nine.

Nine Master Masons, faithful, never late;
One didn't like the "Master," then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, on their way to heaven;
One joined too many clubs, then there were seven.

Seven Master Masons, life dealt some hard licks;
One grew discouraged, then there were six.

Six Master Masons, all very much alive;
One lost his interest, then there were five.

Five Master Masons, wishing there were more;
Got into a great dispute, then there were four.

Four Master Masons, busy as could be;
One didn't like the programs, then there were three.

Three Master Masons, was one of them you?
One grew tired of all the work, then there were two.

Two Master Masons with so much to be done;
One said "What's the use," then there was one.

One Master Mason, found a brother -- true!
Brought him to the Lodge, then there were two.

Two Master Masons didn't find work a bore;
Each brought another, then there were four.

Four Master Masons saved their Lodge's fate;
By showing others kindness, then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, loving their Lodges bright sheen;
Talked so much about it, they soon counted sixteen.

Sixteen Master Masons, to their obligations true;
Were pleased when their number went to thirty-two.

So we can't put our troubles at the Lodge's door;
It's our fault for harming the Lodge we adore.

Don't fuss about the programs or the "Master" in the East;
Keep your obligation by serving even the very least.

Author Unknown

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Albert Pike's Address to the Brethren

















My Brethren, there are many fields of Masonic labor, and every one must work in that wherein it seems to him that he can do the most good. But, whatever else we may be, we are all Master Masons, and we all owe to the Masonry of the Blue Degrees our first and paramount allegiance. No man is without offence, whom makes these Degrees mere stepping-stones by which to ascend to what he deems a higher level. If he does so, he is not worthy to wear the decorations of the Degrees to which he supposes himself to have ascended. These are higher than those of the Blue Lodge, in only the single sense, that they are built upon it, as the upper stories and attic of a house are built above the
Ground-floor, to which are in no sense superior to more honorable, unless they are intrinsically so by virtue of a higher instruction, a profounder philosophy taught by them, a purer morality inculcated, a truer and better illustration and explanation of the symbols. If really of a higher nature by virtue of these, they would be equally so, if the numeration of the Degrees began at the top, and that bearing the highest number were at the bottom..,.
If our labors and writings in other Degrees and Bodies tend to elevate the Symbolic Masonry, to illustrate its symbols and invest them with a higher significance and a more solemnly religious meaning, to apply and expound and comment upon and make more forcible the moral law of the Blue Degrees, ‘the principle tenets of Free-Masonry; ‘included between the two points of the compasses to communicate to the zealous Masonic student more exalted ideas of the God in whom Masons put their trust, and strengthen him with more convincing proofs of the existence of the soul after this life ends, then those who work and write there are the efficient Apostles of the Free-Masonry of the Blue Degrees, true fellow-workmen in the field of Masonic labor,,..
Let us, therefore, my dear Brethren, always remember, that first of all and above all, we are Master Masons; and wherever we work and labor, calling ourselves Masons, let us work and labor to elevate and dignify Blue Masonry; for we owe to it all that we are in the Order; and whatever we may be elsewhere, we are always amenable to its law and its tribunals, and always concerned to maintain and magnify its honor and glory.

Brother Albert Pike