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.

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