(excerpt: Twilight Language )
It seems a strange coincidence that on the day – 3.22.16 – when the Mormon vote in Utah would be in the background, four Mormons (one French, three Americans) happened to be at the Brussels airport during the explosion on 3.22. Mormons are understood to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
(For more about the Belgian events, see here.)
One of the four, 19-year-old (Elder) Mason Wells, who was injured in the blast, has been spotlighted by the media. Why?
Richard Norby, Mason Wells, Joseph Empey, and Fanny Rachel Clain, left to right.
Four Mormon missionaries were injured by a blast at the airport, their church said, three seriously. One, Mason Wells, 19, was reportedly only one block away from the Boston bombing in 2013, and was in Paris during terror attacks there in November.
Two other missionaries, Richard Norby, 66 and Joseph Empey, 20 from Utah were seriously injured, officials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said. A fourth, Fanny Clain, suffered minor injuries. Source.
The coincidences of Wells’ location during three terrorist attacks is being noted frequently. Mason Wells was in Paris during the attacks of November 13, 2015, and watching the Boston Marathon (ofApril 15, 2013) because his mother was running in the race during that bombing. The Marathon bombing is tied to a Masonic location on a significant date.
I’m not talking here of such spooky tongue-twisters as H.P. Lovecraft’s Yog-Sothoth or Arthur Machen’s Ishakshar, but of quite ordinary names like Bell, Beall and variants, Crowley, Francis, Grafton, Grubb, Magee/McGee, Mason, McKinney, Montpelier, Parsons, Pike, Shelby, Vernon, Watson/Watt, Williams/Williamson. ~ Jim Brandon,The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit, 1983.
The influence of such names as Mason, Pike, Warren, and Lafayette, for example, issues, in some cryptopolitical and occult way, from their ties to the Masonic tradition. ~ Loren Coleman, Mysterious America, 1983, new edition 2007.
As the airport location of the bombings in Brussels becomes more known, it appears that that attack was set to target three USA airlines and the associated Americans.
Two blasts detonated near the American Airlines, United, and Delta check-in desks at Brussels Airport at 8 am (7 am GMT) during the first suicide bombing on March 22, 2016. And Starbucks?
The Starbucks logo is a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren.
The names and nationalities of those who have died in the Brussels attack are not completely known, yet. See here for more on those people.
Another Mason in the news on 3.22.
Governor Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason
On March 22, 2016, the Governor of Alabama was in full spin mode over his alleged affair with Rebekah Mason.
The former Secretary of Alabama Law Enforcement said [on 3.22.16] that Gov. Robert Bentley owes the people of Alabama an explanation.
Spencer Collier, who was fired Tuesday, has come forward with claims that he knew of the governor’s improper personal relationship with political adviser Rebekah Mason, and that Bentley refused to end the relationship even though it cost him his marriage to Diane Bentley. Source.
Which Have Influenced Modern Masonic Symbolism
WHEN confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning faculties, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question. Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed. While the former may be qualified to solve the riddle of their own destiny, the latter must be led like a flock of sheep and taught in simple language. They depend almost entirely upon the ministrations of the shepherd. The Apostle Paul said that these little ones must be fed with milk, but that meat is the food of strong men. Thoughtlessness is almost synonymous with childishness, while thoughtfulness is symbolic of maturity.
There are, however, but few mature minds in the world; and thus it was that the philosophic-religious doctrines of the pagans were divided to meet the needs of these two fundamental groups of human intellect–one philosophic, the other incapable of appreciating the deeper mysteries of life. To the discerning few were revealed the esoteric, or spiritual, teachings, while the unqualified many received only the literal, or exoteric, interpretations. In order to make simple the great truths of Nature and the abstract principles of natural law, the vital forces of the universe were personified, becoming the gods and goddesses of the ancient mythologies. While the ignorant multitudes brought their offerings to the altars of Priapus and Pan (deities representing the procreative energies), the wise recognized in these marble statues only symbolic concretions of great abstract truths.
In all cities of the ancient world were temples for public worship and offering. In every community also were philosophers and mystics, deeply versed in Nature’s lore. These individuals were usually banded together, forming seclusive philosophic and religious schools. The more important of these groups were known as theMysteries. Many of the great minds of antiquity were initiated into these secret fraternities by strange and mysterious rites, some of which were extremely cruel. Alexander Wilder defines the Mysteries as “Sacred dramas performed at stated periods. The most celebrated were those of Isis, Sabazius, Cybele, and Eleusis.” After being admitted, the initiates were instructed in the secret wisdom which had been preserved for ages. Plato, an initiate of one of these sacred orders, was severely criticized because in his writings he revealed to the public many of the secret philosophic principles of the Mysteries.
Every pagan nation had (and has) not only its state religion, but another into which the philosophic elect alone have gained entrance. Many of these ancient cults vanished from the earth without revealing their secrets, but a few have survived the test of ages and their mysterious symbols are still preserved. Much of the ritualism of Freemasonry is based on the trials to which candidates were subjected by the ancient hierophants before the keys of wisdom were entrusted to them.
Few realize the extent to which the ancient secret schools influenced contemporary intellects and, through those minds, posterity. Robert Macoy, 33°, in hisGeneral History of Freemasonry, pays a magnificent tribute to the part played by the ancient Mysteries in the rearing of the edifice of human culture. He says, in part: “It appears that all the perfection of civilization, and all the advancement made in philosophy, science, and art among the ancients are due to those institutions which, under the veil of mystery, sought to illustrate the sublimest truths of religion, morality, and virtue, and impress them on the hearts of their disciples.* * * Their chief object was to teach the doctrine of one God, the resurrection of man to eternal life, the dignity of the human soul, and to lead the people to see the shadow of the deity, in the beauty, magnificence, and splendor of the universe.”
With the decline of virtue, which has preceded the destruction of every nation of history, the Mysteries became perverted. Sorcery took the place of the divine magic. Indescribable practices (such as the Bacchanalia) were introduced, and perversion ruled supreme; for no institution can be any better than the members of which it is composed. In despair, the few who were true sought to preserve the secret doctrines from oblivion. In some cases they succeeded, but more often the arcanum was lost and only the empty shell of the Mysteries remained.
Thomas Taylor has written, “Man is naturally a religious animal.” From the earliest dawning of his consciousness, man has worshiped and revered things as symbolic of the invisible, omnipresent, indescribable Thing, concerning which he could discover practically nothing. The pagan Mysteries opposed the Christians during the early centuries of their church, declaring that the new faith (Christianity) did not demand virtue and integrity as requisites for salvation. Celsus expressed himself on the subject in the following caustic terms:
“That I do not, however, accuse the Christians more bitterly than truth compels, may be conjectured from hence, that the cryers who call men to other mysteries proclaim as follows: ‘Let him approach whose hands are pure, and whose words are wise.’ And again, others proclaim: ‘Let him approach who is pure from all wickedness, whose soul is not conscious of any evil, and who leads a just and upright life.’ And these things are proclaimed by those who promise a purification from error. Let us now hear who those are that are called to the Christian mysteries: Whoever is a sinner, whoever is unwise, whoever is a fool, and whoever, in short, is miserable, him the kingdom of God will receive. Do you not, therefore, call a sinner, an unjust man, a thief, a housebreaker, a wizard, one who is sacrilegious, and a robber of sepulchres? What other persons would the cryer nominate, who should call robbers together?”
It was not the true faith of the early Christian mystics that Celsus attacked, but the false forms that were creeping in even during his day. The ideals of early Christianity were based upon the high moral standards of the pagan Mysteries, and the first Christians who met under the city of Rome used as their places of worship the subterranean temples of Mithras, from whose cult has been borrowed much of the sacerdotalism of the modem church.
The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have a fundamental knowledge of Nature and her laws. Before man can obey, he must understand, and the Mysteries were devoted to instructing man concerning the operation of divine law in the terrestrial sphere. Few of the early cults actually worshiped anthropomorphic deities, although their symbolism might lead one to believe they did. They were moralistic rather than religionistic; philosophic rather than theologic. They taught man to use his faculties more intelligently, to be patient in the face of adversity, to be courageous when confronted by danger, to be true in the midst of temptation, and, most of all, to view a worthy life as the most acceptable sacrifice to God, and his body as an altar sacred to the Deity.
Sun worship played an important part in nearly all the early pagan Mysteries. This indicates the probability of their Atlantean origin, for the people of Atlantis were sun worshipers. The Solar Deity was usually personified as a beautiful youth, with long golden hair to symbolize the rays of the sun. This golden Sun God was slain by wicked ruffians, who personified the evil principle of the universe. By means of certain rituals and ceremonies, symbolic of purification and regeneration, this wonderful God of Good was brought back to life and became the Savior of His people. The secret processes whereby He was resurrected symbolized those cultures by means of which man is able to overcome his lower nature, master his appetites, and give expression to the higher side of himself. The Mysteries were organized for the purpose of assisting the struggling human creature to reawaken the spiritual powers which, surrounded by the flaming
A FEMALE HIEROPHANT OF THE MYSTERIES.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
This illustration shows Cybele, here called the Syrian Goddess, in the robes of a hierophant. Montfaucon describes the figure as follows: “Upon her head is an episcopal mitre, adorned on the lower part with towers and pinnacles; over the gate of the city is a crescent, and beneath the circuit of the walls a crown of rays. The Goddess wears a sort of surplice, exactly like the surplice of a priest or bishop; and upon the surplice a tunic, which falls down to the legs; and over all an episcopal cope, with the twelve signs of the Zodiac wrought on the borders. The figure hath a lion on each side, and holds in its left hand a Tympanum, a Sistrum, a Distaff, a Caduceus, and another instrument. In her right hand she holds with her middle finger a thunderbolt, and upon the same am animals, insects, and, as far as we may guess, flowers, fruit, a bow, a quiver, a torch, and a scythe.” The whereabouts of the statue is unknown, the copy reproduced by Montfaucon being from drawings by Pirro Ligorio.
ring of lust and degeneracy, lay asleep within his soul. In other words, man was offered a way by which he could regain his lost estate. (See Wagner’s Siegfried.)
In the ancient world, nearly all the secret societies were philosophic and religious. During the mediæval centuries, they were chiefly religious and political, although a few philosophic schools remained. In modern times, secret societies, in the Occidental countries, are largely political or fraternal, although in a few of them, as in Masonry, the ancient religious and philosophic principles still survive.
Space prohibits a detailed discussion of the secret schools. There were literally scores of these ancient cults, with branches in all parts of the Eastern and Western worlds. Some, such as those of Pythagoras and the Hermetists, show a decided Oriental influence, while the Rosicrucians, according to their own proclamations, gained much of their wisdom from Arabian mystics. Although the Mystery schools are usually associated with civilization, there is evidence that the most uncivilized peoples of prehistoric times had a knowledge of them. Natives of distant islands, many in the lowest forms of savagery, have mystic rituals and secret practices which, although primitive, are of a decided Masonic tinge.
THE DRUIDIC MYSTERIES OF BRITAIN AND GAUL
“The original and primitive inhabitants of Britain, at some remote period, revived and reformed their national institutes. Their priest, or instructor, had hitherto been simply named Gwydd, but it was considered to have become necessary to divide this office between the national, or superior, priest and another whose influence [would] be more limited. From henceforth the former became Der-Wydd (Druid), or superior instructor, and [the latter] Go-Wydd, or O-Vydd (Ovate), subordinate instructor; and both went by the general name of Beirdd (Bards), or teachers of wisdom. As the system matured and augmented, the Bardic Order consisted of three classes, the Druids, Beirdd Braint, or privileged Bards, and Ovates.” (See Samuel Meyrick and Charles Smith, The Costume of The Original Inhabitants of The British Islands.)
The origin of the word Druid is under dispute. Max Müller believes that, like the Irish word Drui, it means “the men of the oak trees.” He further draws attention to the fact that the forest gods and tree deities of the Greeks were called dryades. Some believe the word to be of Teutonic origin; others ascribe it to the Welsh. A few trace it to the Gaelic druidh, which means “a wise man” or “a sorcerer.” In Sanskrit the word dru means “timber.”
At the time of the Roman conquest, the Druids were thoroughly ensconced in Britain and Gaul. Their power over the people was unquestioned, and there were instances in which armies, about to attack each other, sheathed their swords when ordered to do so by the white-robed Druids. No undertaking of great importance was scatted without the assistance of these patriarchs, who stood as mediators between the gods and men. The Druidic Order is deservedly credited with having had a deep understanding of Nature and her laws. The Encyclopædia Britannica states that geography, physical science, natural theology, and astrology were their favorite studies. The Druids had a fundamental knowledge of medicine, especially the use of herbs and simples. Crude surgical instruments also have been found in England and Ireland. An odd treatise on early British medicine states that every practitioner was expected to have a garden or back yard for the growing of certain herbs necessary to his profession. Eliphas Levi, the celebrated transcendentalist, makes the following significant statement:
“The Druids were priests and physicians, curing by magnetism and charging amylets with their fluidic influence. Their universal remedies were mistletoe and serpents’ eggs, because these substances attract the astral light in a special manner. The solemnity with which mistletoe was cut down drew upon this plant the popular confidence and rendered it powerfully magnetic. * * * The progress of magnetism will some day reveal to us the absorbing properties of mistletoe. We shall then understand the secret of those spongy growths which drew the unused virtues of plants and become surcharged with tinctures and savors. Mushrooms, truffles, gall on trees, and the different kinds of mistletoe will be employed with understanding by a medical science, which will be new because it is old * * * but one must not move quicker than science, which recedes that it may advance the further. ” (See The History of Magic.)
Not only was the mistletoe sacred as symbolic of the universal medicine, or panacea, but also because of the fact that it grew upon the oak tree. Through the symbol of the oak, the Druids worshiped the Supreme Deity; therefore, anything growing upon that tree was sacred to Him. At certain seasons, according to the positions of the sun, moon, and stars, the Arch-Druid climbed the oak tree and cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle consecrated for that service. The parasitic growth was caught in white cloths provided for the purpose, lest it touch the earth and be polluted by terrestrial vibrations. Usually a sacrifice of a white bull was made under the tree.
The Druids were initiates of a secret school that existed in their midst. This school, which closely resembled the Bacchic and Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece or the Egyptian rites of Isis and Osiris, is justly designated the Druidic Mysteries. There has been much speculation concerning the secret wisdom that the Druids claimed to possess. Their secret teachings were never written, but were communicated orally to specially prepared candidates. Robert Brown, 32°, is of the opinion that the British priests secured their information from Tyrian and Phœnician navigators who, thousands of years before the Christian Era, established colonies in Britain and Gaul while searching for tin. Thomas Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, discourses at length on Phœnician, Carthaginian, and Greek expeditions to the British Isles for the purpose of procuring tin. Others are of the opinion that the Mysteries as celebrated by the Druids were of Oriental origin, possibly Buddhistic.
The proximity of the British Isles to the lost Atlantis may account for the sun worship which plays an important part in the rituals of Druidism. According to Artemidorus, Ceres and Persephone were worshiped on an island close to Britain with rites and ceremonies similar to those of Samothrace. There is no doubt that the Druidic Pantheon includes a large number of Greek and Roman deities. This greatly amazed Cæsar during his conquest of Britain and Gaul, and caused him to affirm that these tribes adored Mercury, Apollo, Mars, and Jupiter, in a manner similar to that of the Latin countries. It is almost certain that the Druidic Mysteries were not indigenous to Britain or Gaul, but migrated from one of the more ancient civilizations.
The school of the Druids was divided into three distinct parts, and the secret teachings embodied therein are practically the same as the mysteries concealed under the allegories of Blue Lodge Masonry. The lowest of the three divisions was that of Ovate (Ovydd). This was an honorary degree, requiring no special purification or preparation. The Ovates dressed in green, the Druidic color of learning, and were expected to know something about medicine, astronomy, poetry if possible, and sometimes music. An Ovate was an individual admitted to the Druidic Order because of his general excellence and superior knowledge concerning the problems of life.
The second division was that of Bard (Beirdd). Its members were robed in sky-blue, to represent harmony and truth, and to them was assigned the labor of memorizing, at least in part, the twenty thousand verses of Druidic sacred poetry. They were often pictured with the primitive British or Irish harp–an instrument strung with human hair, and having as many strings as there were ribs on one side of the human body. These Bards were often chosen as teachers of candidates seeking entrance into the Druidic Mysteries. Neophytes wore striped robes of blue, green, and white, these being the three sacred colors of the Druidic Order.
The third division was that of Druid (Derwyddon). Its particular labor was to minister to the religious needs of the people. To reach this dignity, the candidate must first become a Bard Braint. The Druids always dressed in white–symbolic of their purity, and the color used by them to symbolize the sun.
In order to reach the exalted position of Arch-Druid, or spiritual head of the organization, it was necessary for a priest to pass through the six successive degrees of the Druidic Order. (The members of the different degrees were differentiated by the colors of their sashes, for all of them wore robes of white.) Some writers are of the opinion that the title of Arch-Druid was hereditary, descending from father to son, but it is more probable that the honor was conferred by ballot election. Its recipient was chosen for his virtues and
THE ARCH-DRUID IN HIS CEREMONIAL ROBES.
From Wellcome’s Ancient Cymric Medicine.
The most striking adornment of the Arch-Druid was the iodhan moran, or breastplate of judgment, which possessed the mysterious Power of strangling any who made an untrue statement while wearing it. Godfrey Higgins states that this breastplate was put on the necks of witnesses to test the veracity of their evidence. The Druidic tiara, or anguinum, its front embossed with a number of points to represent the sun’s rays, indicated that the priest was a personification of the rising sun. On the front of his belt the Arch-Druid wore the liath meisicith–a magic brooch, or buckle in the center of which was a large white stone. To this was attributed the power of drawing the fire of the gods down from heaven at the priest’s command This specially cut stone was a burning glass, by which the sun’s rays were concentrated to light the altar fires. The Druids also had other symbolic implements, such as the peculiarly shaped golden sickle with which they cut the mistletoe from the oak, and the cornan, or scepter, in the form of a crescent, symbolic of the sixth day of the increasing moon and also of the Ark of Noah. An early initiate of the Druidic Mysteries related that admission to their midnight ceremony was gained by means of a glass boat, called Cwrwg Gwydrin. This boat symbolized the moon, which, floating upon the waters of eternity, preserved the seeds of living creatures within its boatlike crescent.
integrity from the most learned members of the higher Druidic degrees.
According to James Gardner, there were usually two Arch-Druids in Britain, one residing on the Isle of Anglesea and the other on the Isle of Man. Presumably there were others in Gaul. These dignitaries generally carried golden scepters and were crowned with wreaths of oak leaves, symbolic of their authority. The younger members of the Druidic Order were clean-shaven and modestly dressed, but the more aged had long gray beards and wore magnificent golden ornaments. The educational system of the Druids in Britain was superior to that of their colleagues on the Continent, and consequently many of the Gallic youths were sent to the Druidic colleges in Britain for their philosophical instruction and training.
Eliphas Levi states that the Druids lived in strict abstinence, studied the natural sciences, preserved the deepest secrecy, and admitted new members only after long probationary periods. Many of the priests of the order lived in buildings not unlike the monasteries of the modern world. They were associated in groups like ascetics of the Far East. Although celibacy was not demanded of them, few married. Many of the Druids retired from the world and lived as recluses in caves, in rough-stone houses, or in little shacks built in the depths of a forest. Here they prayed and medicated, emerging only to perform their religious duties.
James Freeman Clarke, in his Ten Great Religions, describes the beliefs of the Druids as follows: “The Druids believed in three worlds and in transmigration from one to the other: In a world above this, in which happiness predominated; a world below, of misery; and this present state. This transmigration was to punish and reward and also to purify the soul. In the present world, said they, Good and Evil are so exactly balanced that man has the utmost freedom and is able to choose or reject either. The Welsh Triads tell us there are three objects of metempsychosis: to collect into the soul the properties of all being, to acquire a knowledge of all things, and to get power to conquer evil. There are also, they say, three kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the nature of each thing, of its cause, and its influence. There are three things which continually grow less: darkness, falsehood, and death. There are three which constantly increase: light, life, and truth.”
Like nearly all schools of the Mysteries, the teachings of the Druids were divided into two distinct sections. The simpler, a moral code, was taught to all the people, while the deeper, esoteric doctrine was given only to initiated priests. To be admitted to the order, a candidate was required to be of good family and of high moral character. No important secrets were intrusted to him until he had been tempted in many ways and his strength of character severely tried. The Druids taught the people of Britain and Gaul concerning the immortality of the soul. They believed in transmigration and apparently in reincarnation. They borrowed in one life, promising to pay back in the next. They believed in a purgatorial type of hell where they would be purged of their sins, afterward passing on to the happiness of unity with the gods. The Druids taught that all men would be saved, but that some must return to earth many times to learn the lessons of human life and to overcome the inherent evil of their own natures.
Before a candidate was intrusted with the secret doctrines of the Druids, he was bound with a vow of secrecy. These doctrines were imparted only in the depths of forests and in the darkness of caves. In these places, far from the haunts of men, the neophyte was instructed concerning the creation of the universe, the personalities of the gods, the laws of Nature, the secrets of occult medicine, the mysteries of the celestial bodies, and the rudiments of magic and sorcery. The Druids had a great number of feast days. The new and full moon and the sixth day of the moon were sacred periods. It is believed that initiations took place only at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. At dawn of the 25th day of December, the birth of the Sun God was celebrated.
The secret teachings of the Druids are said by some to be tinctured with Pythagorean philosophy. The Druids had a Madonna, or Virgin Mother, with a Child in her arms, who was sacred to their Mysteries; and their Sun God was resurrected at the time of the year corresponding to that at which modern Christians celebrate Easter.
Both the cross and the serpent were sacred to the Druids, who made the former by cutting off all the branches of an oak tree and fastening one of them to the main trunk in the form of the letter T. This oaken cross became symbolic of their superior Deity. They also worshiped the sun, moon, and stars. The moon received their special veneration. Caesar stated that Mercury was one of the chief deities of the Gauls. The Druids are believed to have worshiped Mercury under the similitude of a stone cube. They also had great veneration for the Nature spirits (fairies, gnomes, and undines), little creatures of the forests and rivers to whom many offerings were made. Describing the temples of the Druids, Charles Heckethorn, in The Secret Societies of All Ages & Countries, says:
“Their temples wherein the sacred fire was preserved were generally situate on eminences and in dense groves of oak, and assumed various forms–circular, because a circle was the emblem of the universe; oval, in allusion to the mundane egg, from which issued, according to the traditions of many nations, the universe, or, according to others, our first parents; serpentine, because a serpent was the symbol of Hu, the Druidic Osiris; cruciform, because a cross is an emblem of regeneration; or winged, to represent the motion of the Divine Spirit. * * * Their chief deities were reducible to two–a male and a female, the great father and mother–Hu and Ceridwen, distinguished by the same characteristics as belong to Osiris and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or any other supreme god and goddess representing the two principles of all Being.”
Godfrey Higgins states that Hu, the Mighty, regarded as the first settler of Britain, came from a place which the Welsh Triads call the Summer Country, the present site of Constantinople. Albert Pike says that the Lost Word of Masonry is concealed in the name of the Druid god Hu. The meager information extant concerning the secret initiations of the Druids indicates a decided similarity between their Mystery school and the schools of Greece and Egypt. Hu, the Sun God, was murdered and, after a number of strange ordeals and mystic rituals, was restored to life.
There were three degrees of the Druidic Mysteries, but few successfully passed them all. The candidate was buried in a coffin, as symbolic of the death of the Sun God. The supreme test, however, was being sent out to sea in an open boat. While undergoing this ordeal, many lost their lives. Taliesin, an ancient scholar, who passed through the Mysteries, describes the initiation of the open boat in Faber’s Pagan Idolatry. The few who passed this third degree were said to have been “born again,” and were instructed in the secret and hidden truths which the Druid priests had preserved from antiquity. From these initiates were chosen many of the dignitaries of the British religious and political world. (For further details, see Faber’s Pagan Idolatry, Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, and Godfrey Higgins’Celtic Druids.)
THE RITES OF MITHRAS
When the Persian Mysteries immigrated into Southern Europe, they were quickly assimilated by the Latin mind. The cult grew rapidly, especially among the Roman soldiery, and during the Roman wars of conquest the teachings were carried by the legionaries to nearly all parts of Europe. So powerful did the cult of Mithras become that at least one Roman Emperor was initiated into the order, which met in caverns under the city of Rome. Concerning the spread of this Mystery school through different parts of Europe, C. W. King, in his Gnostics and Their Remains, says:
“Mithraic bas-reliefs cut on the faces of rocks or on stone tablets still abound in the countries formerly the western provinces of the Roman Empire; many exist in Germany, still more in France, and in this island (Britain) they have often been discovered on the line of the Picts’ Wall and the noted one at Bath.”
Alexander Wilder, in his Philosophy and Ethics of the Zoroasters, states that Mithras is the Zend title for the sun, and he is supposed to dwell within that shining orb. Mithras has a male and a female aspect, though not himself androgynous. As Mithras, he is the ford of the sun, powerful and radiant, and most magnificent of the Yazatas (Izads, or Genii, of the sun). As Mithra, this deity represents the feminine principle; the mundane universe is recognized as her symbol. She represents Nature as receptive and terrestrial, and as fruitful only when bathed in the glory of the solar orb. The Mithraic cult is a simplification of the more elaborate teachings of Zarathustra (Zoroaster), the Persian fire magician.
THE GROUND PLAN OF STONEHENGE.
From Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
The Druid temples of places of religious worship were not patterned after those of other nations. Most of their ceremonies were performed at night, either in thick groves of oak trees or around open-air altars built of great uncut stones. How these masses of rock were moved ahs not been satisfactorily explained. The most famous of their altars, a great stone ring of rocks, is Stonehenge, in Southwestern England. This structure, laid out on an astronomical basis, still stands, a wonder of antiquity.
According to the Persians, there coexisted in eternity two principles. The first of these, Ahura-Mazda, or Ormuzd, was the Spirit of Good. From Ormuzd came forth a number of hierarchies of good and beautiful spirits (angels and archangels). The second of these eternally existing principles was called Ahriman. He was also a pure and beautiful spirit, but he later rebelled against Ormuzd, being jealous of his power. This did not occur, however, until after Ormuzd had created light, for previously Ahriman had not been conscious of the existence of Ormuzd. Because of his jealousy and rebellion, Ahriman became the Spirit of Evil. From himself he individualized a host of destructive creatures to injure Ormuzd.
When Ormuzd created the earth, Ahriman entered into its grosser elements. Whenever Ormuzd did a good deed, Ahriman placed the principle of evil within it. At last when Ormuzd created the human race, Ahriman became incarnate in the lower nature of man so that in each personality the Spirit of Good and the Spirit of Evil struggle for control. For 3,000 years Ormuzd ruled the celestial worlds with light and goodness. Then he created man. For another 3,000 years he ruled man with wisdom, and integrity. Then the power of Ahriman began, and the struggle for the soul of man continues through the next period of 3,000 years. During the fourth period of 3,000 years, the power of Ahriman will be destroyed. Good will return to the world again, evil and death will be vanquished, and at last the Spirit of Evil will bow humbly before the throne of Ormuzd. While Ormuzd and Ahriman are struggling for control of the human soul and for supremacy in Nature, Mithras, God of Intelligence, stands as mediator between the two. Many authors have noted the similarity between mercury and Mithras. As the chemical mercury acts as a solvent (according to alchemists), so Mithras seeks to harmonize the two celestial opposites.
There are many points of resemblance between Christianity and the cult of Mithras. One of the reasons for this probably is that the Persian mystics invaded Italy during the first century after Christ and the early history of both cults was closely interwoven. The Encyclopædia Britannica makes the following statement concerning the Mithraic and Christian Mysteries:
“The fraternal and democratic spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with light and the sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration, the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot, the drawing of water from the rock; the use of bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and of the 25th of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis placed on abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating from the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, the resurrection of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe–[these] are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity,”
The rites of Mithras were performed in caves. Porphyry, in his Cave of the Nymphs, states that Zarathustra (Zoroaster) was the first to consecrate a cave to the worship of God, because a cavern was symbolic of the earth, or the lower world of darkness. John P. Lundy, in his Monumental Christianity, describes the cave of Mithras as follows:
“But this cave was adorned with the signs of the zodiac, Cancer and Capricorn. The summer and winter solstices were chiefly conspicuous, as the gates of souls descending into this life, or passing out of it in their ascent to the Gods; Cancer being the gate of descent, and Capricorn of ascent. These are the two avenues of the immortals passing up and down from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth.”
The so-called chair of St. Peter, in Rome, was believed to have been used in one of the pagan Mysteries, possibly that of Mithras, in whose subterranean grottoes the votaries of the Christian Mysteries met in the early days of their faith. In Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins writes that in 1662, while cleaning this sacred chair of Bar-Jonas, the Twelve Labors of Hercules were discovered upon it, and that later the French discovered upon the same chair the Mohammedan confession of faith, written in Arabic.
Initiation into the rites of Mithras, like initiation into many other ancient schools of philosophy, apparently consisted of three important degrees. Preparation for these degrees consisted of self-purification, the building up of the intellectual powers, and the control of the animal nature. In the first degree the candidate was given a crown upon the point of a sword and instructed in the mysteries of Mithras’ hidden power. Probably he was taught that the golden crown represented his own spiritual nature, which must be objectified and unfolded before he could truly glorify Mithras; for Mithras was his own soul, standing as mediator between Ormuzd, his spirit, and Ahriman, his animal nature. In the second degree he was given the armor of intelligence and purity and sent into the darkness of subterranean pits to fight the beasts of lust, passion, and degeneracy. In the third degree he was given a cape, upon which were drawn or woven the signs of the zodiac and other astronomical symbols. After his initiations were over, he was hailed as one who had risen from the dead, was instructed in the secret teachings of the Persian mystics, and became a full-fledged member of the order. Candidates who successfully passed the Mithraic initiations were called Lions and were marked upon their foreheads with the Egyptian cross. Mithras himself is often pictured with the head of a lion and two pairs of wings. Throughout the entire ritual were repeated references to the birth of Mithras as the Sun God, his sacrifice for man, his death that men might have eternal life, and lastly, his resurrection and the saving of all humanity by his intercession before the throne of Ormuzd. (See Heckethorn.)
While the cult of Mithras did not reach the philosophic heights attained by Zarathustra, its effect upon the civilization of the Western world was far-reaching, for at one time nearly all Europe was converted to its doctrines. Rome, in her intercourse with other nations, inoculated them with her religious principles; and many later institutions have exhibited Mithraic culture. The reference to the “Lion” and the “Grip of the Lion’s Paw” in the Master Mason’s degree have a strong Mithraic tinge and may easily have originated from this cult. A ladder of seven rungs appears in the Mithraic initiation. Faber is of the opinion that this ladder was originally a pyramid of seven steps. It is possible that the Masonic ladder with seven rungs had its origin in this Mithraic symbol. Women were never permitted to enter the Mithraic Order, but children of the male sex were initiates long before they reached maturity. The refusal to permit women to join the Masonic Order may be based on the esoteric reason given in the secret instructions of the Mithraics. This cult is another excellent example of those secret societies whose legends are largely symbolic representations of the sun and his journey through the houses of the heavens. Mithras, rising from a stone, is merely the sun rising over the horizon, or, as the ancients supposed, out of the horizon, at the vernal equinox.
John O’Neill disputes the theory that Mithras was intended as a solar deity. In The Night of the Gods he writes: “The Avestan Mithra, the yazata of light, has ‘10,000 eyes, high, with full knowledge (perethuvaedayana), strong, sleepless and ever awake (jaghaurvaunghem).’The supreme god Ahura Mazda also has one Eye, or else it is said that ‘with his eyes, the sun, moon and stars, he sees everything.’ The theory that Mithra was originally a title of the supreme heavens-god–putting the sun out of court–is the only one that answers all requirements. It will be evident that here we have origins in abundance for the Freemason’s Eye and ‘its nunquam dormio.'” The reader must nor confuse the Persian Mithra with the Vedic Mitra. According to Alexander Wilder, “The Mithraic rites superseded the Mysteries of Bacchus, and became the foundation of the Gnostic system, which for many centuries prevailed in Asia, Egypt, and even the remote West.”
MITHRAS SLAYING THE BULL.
From Lundy’s Monumental Christianity.
The most famous sculpturings and reliefs of this prototokos show Mithras kneeling upon the recumbent form of a great bull, into whose throat he is driving a sword. The slaying of the bull signifies that the rays of the sun, symbolized by the sword, release at the vernal equinox the vital essences of the earth–the blood of the bull–which, pouring from the wound made by the Sun God, fertilize the seeds of living things. Dogs were held sacred to the cult of Mithras, being symbolic of sincerity and trustworthiness. The Mithraics used the serpent a an emblem of Ahriman, the Spirit of Evil, and water rats were held sacred to him. The bull is esoterically the Constellation of Taurus; the serpent, its opposite in the zodiac, Scorpio; the sun, Mithras, entering into the side of the bull, slays the celestial creature and nourishes the universe with its blood.
THE BIRTH OF MITHRAS.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities
Mithras was born out of a rock, which, breaking open, permitted him to emerge. This occurred in the darkness of a subterranean chamber. The Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem confirms the theory that Jesus was born in a grotto, or cave. According to Dupuis, Mithras was put to death by crucifixion and rose again on the third day.
The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies
THE entire history of Christian and pagan Gnosticism is shrouded in the deepest mystery and obscurity; for, while the Gnostics were undoubtedly prolific writers, little of their literature has survived. They brought down upon themselves the animosity of the early Christian Church, and when this institution reached its position of world power it destroyed all available records of the Gnostic cultus. The name Gnostic means wisdom, or knowledge, and is derived from the Greek Gnosis. The members of the order claimed to be familiar with the secret doctrines of early Christianity. They interpreted the Christian Mysteries according to pagan symbolism. Their secret information and philosophic tenets they concealed from the profane and taught to a small group only of especially initiated persons.
Simon Magus, the magician of New Testament fame, is often supposed to have been the founder of Gnosticism. If this be true, the sect was formed during the century after Christ and is probably the first of the many branches which have sprung from the main trunk of Christianity. Everything with which the enthusiasts of the early Christian Church might not agree they declared to be inspired by the Devil. That Simon Magus had mysterious and supernatural powers is conceded even by his enemies, but they maintained that these powers were lent to him by the infernal spirits and furies which they asserted were his ever present companions. Undoubtedly the most interesting legend concerning Simon is that which tells of his theosophic contests with the Apostle Peter while the two were promulgating their differing doctrines in Rome. According to the story that the Church Fathers have preserved, Simon was to prove his spiritual superiority by ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire. He was actually picked up and carried many feet into the air by invisible powers. When St. Peter saw this, he cried out in a loud voice, ordering the demons (spirits of the air) to release their hold upon the magician. The evil spirits, when so ordered by the great saint, were forced to obey. Simon fell a great distance and was killed, which decisively proved the superiority of the Christian powers. This story is undoubtedly manufactured out of whole cloth, as it is only one out of many accounts concerning his death, few of which agree. As more and more evidence is being amassed to the effect that St, Peter was never in Rome, its last possible vestige of authenticity is rapidly being dissipated.
That Simon was a philosopher there is no doubt, for wherever his exact words are preserved his synthetic and transcending thoughts are beautifully expressed. The principles of Gnosticism are well described in the following verbatim statement by him, supposed to have been preserved by Hippolytus: “To you, therefore, I say what I say, and write what I write. And the writing is this. Of the universal Æons [periods, planes, or cycles of creative and created life in substance and space, celestial creatures] there are two shoots, without beginning or end, springing from one Root, which is the power invisible, inapprehensible silence [Bythos]. Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, [is manifested] from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things. Hence pairing with each other, they unite and manifest the Middle Distance, incomprehensible Air, without beginning or end. In this is the Father Who sustains all things, and nourishes those things which have a beginning and end.” (See Simon Magus, by G. R. S. Mead.) By this we are to understand that manifestation is the result of a positive and a negative principle, one acting upon the other, and it takes place in the middle plane, or point of equilibrium, called the pleroma. This pleroma is a peculiar substance produced out of the blending of the spiritual and material æons. Out of the pleroma was individualized the Demiurgus, the immortal mortal, to whom we are responsible for our physical existence and the suffering we must go through in connection with it. In the Gnostic system, three pairs of opposites, called Syzygies, emanated from the Eternal One. These, with Himself, make the total of seven. The six (three pairs) Æons (living, divine principles) were described by Simon in the Philosophumena in the following manner: The first two were Mind (Nous) and Thought(Epinoia). Then came Voice (Phone) and its opposite, Name (Onoma), and lastly, Reason (Logismos) and Reflection (Enthumesis). From these primordial six, united with the Eternal Flame, came forth the Æons (Angels) who formed the lower worlds through the direction of the Demiurgus. (See the works of H. P. Blavatsky.) How this first Gnosticism of Simon Magus and Menander, his disciple, was amplified, and frequently distorted, by later adherents to the cult must now be considered.
The School of Gnosticism was divided into two major parts, commonly called the Syrian Cult and the Alexandrian Cult. These schools agreed in essentials, but the latter division was more inclined to be pantheistic, while the former was dualistic. While the Syrian cult was largely Simonian, the Alexandrian School was the outgrowth of the philosophical deductions of a clever Egyptian Christian, Basilides by name, who claimed to have received his instructions from the Apostle Matthew. Like Simon Magus, he was an emanationist, with Neo-Platonic inclinations. In fact, the entire Gnostic Mystery is based upon the hypothesis of emanations as being the logical connection between the irreconcilable opposites Absolute Spirit and Absolute Substance, which the Gnostics believed to have been coexistent in Eternity. Some assert that Basilides was the true founder of Gnosticism, but there is much evidence to the effect that Simon Magus laid down its fundamental principles in the preceding century.
The Alexandrian Basilides inculcated Egyptian Hermeticism, Oriental occultism, Chaldean astrology, and Persian philosophy in his followers, and in his doctrines sought to unite the schools of early Christianity with the ancient pagan Mysteries. To him is attributed the formulation of that peculiar concept of the Deity which carries the name of Abraxas. In discussing the original meaning of this word, Godfrey Higgins, in his Celtic Druids, has demonstrated that the numerological powers of the letters forming the word Abraxas when added together result in the sum of 365. The same author also notes that the name Mithras when treated in a similar manner has the same numerical value. Basilides caught that the
THE DEATH OF SIMON THE MAGICIAN.
From the Nuremberg Chronicle.
Simon Magus, having called upon the Spirits of the Air, is here shown being picked up by the demons. St. Peter demands that the evil genii release their hold upon the magician. The demons are forced to comply and Simon Magus is killed by the fall.
powers of the universe were divided into 365 Æons, or spiritual cycles, and that the sum of all these together was the Supreme Father, and to Him he gave the Qabbalistical appellation Abraxas, as being symbolical, numerologically, of His divine powers, attributes, and emanations. Abraxas is usually symbolized as a composite creature, with the body of a human being and the head of a rooster, and with each of his legs ending in a serpent. C. W. King, in his Gnostics and Their Remains, gives the following concise description of the Gnostic philosophy of Basilides, quoting from the writings of the early Christian bishop and martyr, St. Irenæus: “He asserted that God, the uncreated, eternal Father, had first brought forth Nous, or Mind; this the Logos, Word; this again Phronesis, Intelligence; from Phronesis sprung Sophia, Wisdom, and Dynamis, Strength.”
In describing Abraxas, C. W. King says:
“Bellermann considers the composite image, inscribed with the actual name Abraxas, to be a Gnostic Pantheos, representing the Supreme Being, with the Five Emanations marked out by appropriate symbols. From the human body, the usual form assigned to the Deity, spring the two supporters, Nous and Logos, expressed in the serpents, symbols of the inner senses, and the quickening understanding; on which account the Greeks had made the serpent the attribute of Pallas. His head–that of a cock–represents Phronesis, that bird being the emblem of foresight and of vigilance. His two arms hold the symbols of Sophia and Dynamis: the shield of Wisdom and the whip of Power.”
The Gnostics were divided in their opinions concerning the Demiurgus, or creator of the lower worlds. He established the terrestrial universe with the aid of six sons, or emanations (possibly the planetary Angels) which He formed out of, and yet within, Himself. As stated before, the Demiurgus was individualized as the lowest creation out of the substance called pleroma. One group of the Gnostics was of the opinion that the Demiurgus was the cause of all misery and was an evil creature, who by building this lower world had separated the souls of men from truth by encasing them in mortal vehicles. The other sect viewed the Demiurgus as being divinely inspired and merely fulfilling the dictates of the invisible Lord. Some Gnostics were of the opinion that the Jewish God, Jehovah, was the Demiurgus. This concept, under a slightly different name, apparently influenced mediæval Rosicrucianism, which viewed Jehovah as the Lord of the material universe rather than as the Supreme Deity. Mythology abounds with the stories of gods who partook of both celestial and terrestrial natures. Odin, of Scandinavia, is a good example of a deity subject to mortality, bowing before the laws of Nature and yet being, in certain senses at least, a Supreme Deity.
The Gnostic viewpoint concerning the Christ is well worthy of consideration. This order claimed to be the only sect to have actual pictures of the Divine Syrian. While these were, in all probability, idealistic conceptions of the Savior based upon existing sculpturings and paintings of the pagan sun gods, they were all Christianity had. To the Gnostics, the Christ was the personification of Nous, the Divine Mind, and emanated from the higher spiritual Æons. He descended into the body of Jesus at the baptism and left it again before the crucifixion. The Gnostics declared that the Christ was not crucified, as this Divine Nous could not suffer death, but that Simon, the Cyrenian, offered his life instead and that the Nous, by means of its power, caused Simon to resemble Jesus. Irenæus makes the following statement concerning the cosmic sacrifice of the Christ:
“When the uncreated, unnamed Father saw the corruption of mankind, He sent His firstborn, Nous, into the world, in the form of Christ, for the redemption of all who believe in Him, out of the power of those that have fabricated the world (the Demiurgus, and his six sons, the planetary genii). He appeared amongst men as the Man Jesus, and wrought miracles.” (See King’s Gnostics and Their Remains.)
The Gnostics divided humanity into three parts: those who, as savages, worshiped only the visible Nature; those who, like the Jews, worshiped the Demiurgus; and lastly, themselves, or others of a similar cult, including certain sects of Christians, who worshiped Nous (Christ) and the true spiritual light of the higher Æons.
After the death of Basilides, Valentinus became the leading inspiration of the Gnostic movement. He still further complicated the system of Gnostic philosophy by adding infinitely to the details. He increased the number of emanations from the Great One (the Abyss) to fifteen pairs and also laid much emphasis on the Virgin Sophia, or Wisdom. In the Books of the Savior, parts of which are commonly known as the Pistis Sophia, may be found much material concerning this strange doctrine of Æons and their strange inhabitants. James Freeman Clarke, in speaking of the doctrines of the Gnostics, says: “These doctrines, strange as they seem to us, had a wide influence in the Christian Church.” Many of the theories of the ancient Gnostics, especially those concerning scientific subjects, have been substantiated by modern research. Several sects branched off from the main stem of Gnosticism, such as the Valentinians, the Ophites (serpent worshipers), and the Adamites. After the third century their power waned, and the Gnostics practically vanished from the philosophic world. An effort was made during the Middle Ages to resurrect the principles of Gnosticism, but owing to the destruction of their records the material necessary was not available. Even today there are evidences of Gnostic philosophy in the modern world, but they bear other names and their true origin is not suspected. Many of the Gnostic concepts have actually been incorporated into the dogmas of the Christian Church, and our newer interpretations of Christianity are often along the lines of Gnostic emanationism.
THE MYSTERIES OF, ASAR-HAPI
The identity of the Greco-Egyptian Serapis (known to the Greeks as Serapis and the Egyptians as Asar-Hapi) is shrouded by an impenetrable veil of mystery. While this deity was a familiar figure among the symbols of the secret Egyptian initiatory rites, his arcane nature was revealed only to those who had fulfilled the requirements of the Serapic cultus. Therefore, in all probability, excepting the initiated priests, the Egyptians themselves were ignorant of his true character. So far as known, there exists no authentic account of the rites of Serapis, but an analysis of the deity and his accompanying symbols reveals their salient points. In an oracle delivered to the King of Cyprus, Serapis described himself thus:
”A god I am such as I show to thee,
The Starry Heavens are my head, my trunk the sea,
Earth forms my feet, mine ears the air supplies,
The Sun’s far-darting, brilliant rays, mine eyes.”
Several unsatisfactory attempts have been made to etymologize the word Serapis. Godfrey Higgins notes that Soros was the name given by the Egyptians to a stone coffin, and Apis was Osiris incarnate in the sacred bull. These two words combined result in Soros-Apis or Sor-Apis, “the tomb of the bull.” But it is improbable that the Egyptians would worship a coffin in the form of a man.
Several ancient authors, including Macrobius, have affirmed that Serapis was a name for the Sun, because his image so often had a halo of light about its head. In his Oration Upon the Sovereign Sun, Julian speaks of the deity in these words: “One Jove, one Pluto, one Sun is Serapis.” In Hebrew, Serapis is Saraph, meaning “to blaze out” or “to blaze up.” For this reason the Jews designated one of their hierarchies of spiritual beings, Seraphim.
The most common theory, however, regarding the origin of the name Serapis is that which traces its derivation from the compound Osiris-Apis. At one time the Egyptians believed that the dead were absorbed into the nature of Osiris, the god of the dead. While marked similarity exists between Osiris-Apis and Serapis, the theory advanced by Egyptologists that Serapis is merely a name given to the dead Apis, or sacred bull of Egypt, is untenable in view of the transcendent wisdom possessed by the Egyptian priestcraft, who, in all probability, used the god to symbolize the soul of the world (anima mundi). The material body of Nature was called Apis; the soul which escaped from the body at death but was enmeshed with the form during physical life was designated Serapis.
- W. King believes Serapis to be a deity of Brahmanic extraction, his name being the Grecianized form of Ser-adah or Sri-pa, two titles ascribed to Yama, the Hindu god of death. This appears reasonable, especially since there is a legend to the effect that Serapis, in the form of a bull, was driven by Bacchus from India to Egypt. The priority of the Hindu Mysteries would further substantiate such a theory.
Among other meanings suggested for the word Serapis are: “The Sacred Bull,” “The Sun in Taurus,” “The Soul of Osiris,” “The Sacred Serpent,” and “The Retiring of the Bull.” The last appellation has reference to the ceremony of drowning the sacred Apis in the waters of the Nile every twenty-five years.
THE LION-FACED LIGHT-POWER.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
This Gnostic gem represents by its serpentine body the pathway of the Sun and by its lion head the exaltation of the solar in the constellation of Leo.
A SYMBOLIC LABYRINTH.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
Labyrinths and mazes were favored places of initiation among many ancient cults. Remains of these mystic mazes have been found among the American Indians, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. Some of these mazes are merely involved pathways lined with stones; others are literally miles of gloomy caverns under temples or hollowed from the sides of mountains. The famous labyrinth of Crete, in which roamed the bull-headed Minotaur, was unquestionably a place of initiation into the Cretan Mysteries.
There is considerable evidence that the famous statue of Serapis in the Serapeum at Alexandria was originally worshiped under another name at Sinope, from which it was brought to Alexandria. There is also a legend which tells that Serapis was a very early king of the Egyptians, to whom they owed the foundation of their philosophical and scientific power. After his death this king was elevated to the estate of a god. Phylarchus declared that the word Serapis means “the power that disposed the universe into its present beautiful order.”
In his Isis and Osiris, Plutarch gives the following account of the origin of the magnificent statue of Serapis which stood in the Serapeum at Alexandria:
While he was Pharaoh of Egypt, Ptolemy Soter had a strange dream in which he beheld a tremendous statue, which came to life and ordered the Pharaoh to bring it to Alexandria with all possible speed. Ptolemy Soter, not knowing the whereabouts of the statue, was sorely perplexed as to how he could discover it. While the Pharaoh was relating his dream, a great traveler by the name of Sosibius, coming forward, declared that he had seen such an image at Sinope. The Pharaoh immediately dispatched Soteles and Dionysius to negotiate for the removal of the figure to Alexandria. Three years elapsed before the image was finally obtained, the representatives of the Pharaoh finally stealing it and concealing the theft by spreading a story that the statue had come to life and, walking down the street leading from its temple, had boarded the ship prepared for its transportation to Alexandria. Upon its arrival in Egypt, the figure was brought into the presence of two Egyptian Initiates–the Eumolpid Timotheus and Manetho the Sebennite–who, immediately pronounced it to be Serapis. The priests then declared that it was equipollent to Pluto. This was a masterly stroke, for in Serapis the Greeks and Egyptians found a deity in common and thus religious unity was consummated between the two nations.
Several figures of Serapis that stood in his various temples in Egypt and Rome have been described by early authors. Nearly all these showed Grecian rather than Egyptian influence. In some the body of the god was encircled by the coils of a great serpent. Others showed him as a composite of Osiris and Apis.
A description of the god that in all probability is reasonably accurate is that which represents him as a tall, powerful figure, conveying the twofold impression of manly strength and womanly grace. His face portrayed a deeply pensive mood, the expression inclining toward sadness. His hair was long and arranged in a somewhat feminine manner, resting in curls upon his breast and shoulders. The face, save for its heavy beard, was also decidedly feminine. The figure of Serapis was usually robed from head to foot in heavy draperies, believed by initiates to conceal the fact that his body was androgynous.
Various substances were used in making the statues of Serapis. Some undoubtedly were carved from stone or marble by skilled craftsmen; others may have been cast from base or precious metals. One colossus of Serapis was composed of plates of various metals fitted together. In a labyrinth sacred to Serapis stood a thirteen-foot statue of him reputed to have been made from a single emerald. Modern writers, discussing this image, state that it was made of green glass poured into a mold. According to the Egyptians, however, it withstood all the tests of an actual emerald.
Clement of Alexandria describes a figure of Serapis compounded from the following elements: First, filings of gold, silver, lead, and tin; second, all manner of Egyptian stones, including sapphires, hematites, emeralds, and topazes; all these being ground down and mixed together with the coloring matter left over from the funeral of Osiris and Apis. The result was a rare and curious figure, indigo in color. Some of the statues of Serapis must have been formed of extremely hard substances, for when a Christian soldier, carrying out the edict of Theodosius, struck the Alexandrian Serapis with his ax, that instrument was shattered into fragments and sparks flew from it. It is also quite probable that Serapis was worshiped in the form of a serpent, in common with many of the higher deities of the Egyptian and Greek pantheons.
Serapis was called Theon Heptagrammaton, or the god with the name of seven letters. The name Serapis (like Abraxas and Mithras) contains seven letters. In their hymns to Serapis the priests chanted the seven vowels. Occasionally Serapis is depicted with horns or a coronet of seven rays. These evidently represented the seven divine intelligences manifesting through the solar light. The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that the earliest authentic mention of Serapis is in connection with the death of Alexander. Such was the prestige of Serapis that he alone of the gods was consulted in behalf of the dying king.
The Egyptian secret school of philosophy was divided into the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries, the former being sacred to Isis and the latter to Serapis and Osiris. Wilkinson is of the opinion that only the priests were permitted to enter the Greater Mysteries. Even the heir to the throne was not eligible until he had been crowned Pharaoh, when, by virtue of his kingly office, he automatically became a priest and the temporal head of the state religion. (See Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of the Egyptians.) A limited number were admitted into the Greater Mysteries: these preserved their secrets inviolate.
Much of the information concerning the rituals of the higher degrees of the Egyptian Mysteries has been gleaned from an examination of the chambers and passageways in which the initiations were given. Under the temple of Serapis destroyed by Theodosius were found strange mechanical contrivances constructed by the priests in the subterranean crypts and caverns where the nocturnal initiatory rites were celebrated. These machines indicate the severe tests of moral and physical courage undergone by the candidates. After passing through these tortuous ways, the neophytes who Survived the ordeals were ushered into the presence of Serapis, a noble and awe-inspiring figure illumined by unseen lights.
Labyrinths were also a striking feature in connection with the Rice of Serapis, and E. A. Wallis Budge, in his Gods of the Egyptians, depicts Serapis(Minotaur-like) with the body of a man and the head of a bull. Labyrinths were symbolic of the involvements and illusions of the lower world through which wanders the soul of man in its search for truth. In the labyrinth dwells the lower animal man with the head of the bull, who seeks to destroy the soul entangled in the maze of worldly ignorance. In this relation Serapis becomes the Tryer or Adversary who tests the souls of those seeking union with the Immortals. The maze was also doubtless used to represent the solar system, the Bull-Man representing the sun dwelling in the mystic maze of its planets, moons, and asteroids.
The Gnostic Mysteries were acquainted with the arcane meaning of Serapis, and through the medium of Gnosticism this god became inextricably associated with early Christianity. In fact, the Emperor Hadrian, while traveling in Egypt in A.D. 24, declared in a letter to Servianus that the worshipers of Serapis were Christians and that the Bishops of the church also worshiped at his shrine. He even declared that the Patriarch himself, when in Egypt, was forced to adore Serapis as well as Christ. (See Parsons’ New Light on the Great Pyramid.)
The little-suspected importance of Serapis as a prototype of Christ can be best appreciated after a consideration of the following extract from C. W. King’s Gnostics and Their Remains: “There can be no doubt that the head of Serapis, marked as the face is by a grave and pensive majesty, supplied the first idea for the conventional portraits of the Saviour. The Jewish prejudices of the first converts were so powerful that we may be sure no attempt was made to depict His countenance until some generations after all that had beheld it on earth had passed away.”
Serapis gradually usurped the positions previously occupied by the other Egyptian and Greek gods, and became the supreme deity of both religions. His power continued until the fourth century of
THE ALEXANDRIAN SERAPIS.
From Mosaize Historie der Hebreeuwse Kerke.
Serapis is often shown standing on the back of the sacred crocodile, carrying in his left hand a rule with which to measure the inundations of the Nile, and balancing with his right hand a curious emblem consisting of an animal with the heads. The first head–that of a lion–signified the present; the second head–that of a wolf–the past; and the third head–that of a dog–the future. The body with its three heads was enveloped by the twisted coils of a serpent. Figures of Serapis are occasionally accompanied by Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Pluto, and–like Jupiter–carry baskets of grain upon their heads.
the Christian Era. In A.D. 385, Theodosius, that would-be exterminator of pagan philosophy, issued his memorable edict De Idolo Serapidis Diruendo. When the Christian soldiers, in obedience to this order, entered the Serapeum at Alexandria to destroy the image of Serapis which had stood there for centuries, so great was their veneration for the god that they dared not touch the image lest the ground should open at their feet and engulf them. At length, overcoming their fear, they demolished the statue, sacked the building, and finally as a fitting climax to their offense burned the magnificent library which was housed within the lofty apartments of the Serapeum. Several writers have recorded the remarkable fact that Christian symbols were found in the ruined foundations of this pagan temple. Socrates, a church historian of the fifth century, declared that after the pious Christians had razed the Serapeum at Alexandria and scattered the demons who dwelt there under the guise of gods, beneath the foundations was found the monogram of Christ!
Two quotations will further establish the relationship existing between the Mysteries of Serapis and those of other ancient peoples. The first is from Richard Payne Knight’s Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology:
“Hence Varro [in De Lingua Latina] says that Cœlum and Terra, that is universal mind and productive body, were the Great Gods of the Samothracian Mysteries; and the same as the Serapis and Isis of the later Ægyptians: the Taautos and Astarte of the Phœnicians, and the Saturn and Ops of the Latins.” The second quotation is from Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma: “‘Thee,’ says Martianus Capella, in his hymn to the Sun, ‘dwellers on the Nile adore as Serapis, and Memphis worships as Osiris: in the sacred rites of Persia thou art Mithras, in Phrygia, Atys, and Libya bows down to thee as Ammon, and Phœnician Byblos as Adonis; thus the whole world adores thee under different names.'”
THE ODINIC MYSTERIES
The date of the founding of the Odinic Mysteries is uncertain, some writers declaring that they were established in the first century before Christ; others, the first century after Christ. Robert Macoy, 33°, gives the following description of their origin: “It appears from the northern chronicles that in the first century of the Christian Era, Sigge, the chief of the Aser, an Asiatic tribe, emigrated from the Caspian sea and the Caucasus into northern Europe. He directed his course northwesterly from the Black sea to Russia, over which, according to tradition, he placed one of his sons as a ruler, as he is said to have done over the Saxons and the Franks. He then advanced through Cimbria to Denmark, which acknowledged his fifth son Skiold as its sovereign, and passed over to Sweden, where Gylf, who did homage to the wonderful stranger, and was initiated into his mysteries, then ruled. He soon made himself master here, built Sigtuna as the capital of his empire, and promulgated a new code of laws, and established the sacred mysteries. He, himself, assumed the name of Odin, founded the priesthood of the twelve Drottars (Druids?) who conducted the secret worship, and the administration of justice, and, as prophets, revealed the future. The secret rites of these mysteries celebrated the death of Balder, the beautiful and lovely, and represented the grief of Gods and men at his death, and his restoration to life.” (General History of Freemasonry.)
After his death, the historical Odin was apotheosized, his identity being merged into that of the mythological Odin, god of wisdom, whose cult he had promulgated. Odinism then supplanted the worship of Thor, the thunderer, the supreme deity of the ancient Scandinavian pantheon. The mound where, according to legend, King Odin was buried is still to be seen near the site of his great temple at Upsala.
The twelve Drottars who presided over the Odinic Mysteries evidently personified the twelve holy and ineffable names of Odin. The rituals of the Odinic Mysteries were very similar to those of the Greeks, Persians, and Brahmins, after which they were patterned. The Drottars, who symbolized the signs of the zodiac, were the custodians of the arts and sciences, which they revealed to those who passed successfully the ordeals of initiation. Like many other pagan cults, the Odinic Mysteries, as an institution, were destroyed by Christianity, but the underlying cause of their fall was the corruption of the priesthood.
Mythology is nearly always the ritual and the symbolism of a Mystery school. Briefly stated, the sacred drama which formed the basis of the Odinic Mysteries was as follows:
The Supreme, invisible Creator of all things was called All-Father. His regent in Nature was Odin, the one-eyed god. Like Quetzalcoatl, Odin was elevated to the dignity of the Supreme Deity. According to the Drottars, the universe was fashioned from the body of Ymir, the hoarfrost giant. Ymir was formed from the clouds of mist that rose from Ginnungagap, the great cleft in chaos into which the primordial frost giants and flame giants had hurled snow and fire. The three gods–Odin, Vili, and Ve–slew Ymir and from him formed the world. From Ymir’s various members the different parts of Nature were fashioned.
After Odin had established order, he caused a wonderful palace, called Asgard, to be built on the top of a mountain, and here the twelve Æsir (gods) dwelt together, far above the limitations of mortal men. On this mountain also was Valhalla, the palace of the slain, where those who had heroically died fought and feasted day after day. Each night their wounds were healed and the boar whose flesh they ate renewed itself as rapidly as it was consumed.
Balder the Beautiful–the Scandinavian Christ–was the beloved son of Odin. Balder was not warlike; his kindly and beautiful spirit brought peace and joy to the hearts of the gods, and they all loved him save one. As Jesus had a Judas among His twelve disciples, so one of the twelve gods was false–Loki, the personification of evil. Loki caused Höthr, the blind god of fate, to shoot Balder with a mistletoe arrow. With the death of Balder, light and joy vanished from the lives of the other deities. Heartbroken, the gods gathered to find a method whereby they could resurrect this spirit of eternal life and youth. The result was the establishment of the Mysteries.
The Odinic Mysteries were given in underground crypts or caves, the chambers, nine in number, representing the Nine Worlds of the Mysteries. The candidate seeking admission was assigned the task of raising Balder from the dead. Although he did not realize it, he himself played the part of Balder. He called himself a wanderer; the caverns through which he passed were symbolic of the worlds and spheres of Nature. The priests who initiated him were emblematic of the sun, the moon, and the stars. The three supreme initiators–the Sublime, the Equal to the Sublime, and the Highest–were analogous to the Worshipful Master and the junior and Senior Wardens of a Masonic lodge.
After wandering for hours through the intricate passageways, the candidate was ushered into the presence of a statue of Balder the Beautiful, the prototype of all initiates into the Mysteries. This figure stood in the center of a great apartment roofed with shields. In the midst of the chamber stood a plant with seven blossoms, emblematic of the planers. In this room, which symbolized the house of the Æsir, or Wisdom, the neophyte took his oath of secrecy and piety upon the naked blade of a sword. He drank the sanctified mead from a bowl made of a human skull and, having passed successfully through all the tortures and trials designed to divert him from the course of wisdom, he was finally permitted to unveil the mystery of Odin–the personification of wisdom. He was presented, in the name of Balder, with the sacred ring of the order; he was hailed as a man reborn; and it was said of him that he had died and had been raised again without passing through the gates of death.
Richard Wagner’s immortal composition, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is based upon the Mystery rituals of the Odinic cult. While the great composer took many liberties with the original story, the Ring Operas, declared to be the grandest tetralogy of music dramas the world possesses, have caught and preserved in a remarkable manner the majesty and power of the original sagas. Beginning with Das Rheingold, the action proceeds through Die Walküre and Siegfried to an awe-inspiring climax in Götterdämmerung, “The Twilight of the Gods.”
THE NINE WORLDS OF THE ODINIC MYSTERIES.
The Nordic Mysteries were given in nine chambers, or caverns, the candidate advancing through them in sequential order. These chambers of initiation represented the nine spheres into which the Drottars divided the universe:
(1) Asgard, the Heaven World of the Gods;
(2) Alf-heim, the World of the light and beautiful Elves, or Spirits;
(3) Nifl-heim, the World of Cold and Darkness, which is located in the North;
(4) Jotun-heim, the World of the Giants, which is located in the East;
(5) Midgard, the Earth World of human beings, which is located in the midst, or middle place;
(6) Vana-heim, the World of the Vanes, which is located in the West;
(7) Muspells-heim, the World of Fire, which is located in the South;
(8) Svart-alfa-heim, the World of the dark and treacherous Elves, which is under the earth; and
(9) Hel-heim, the World of cold and the abode of the dead, which is located at the very lowest point of the universe.
It is to be understood that all of these worlds are invisible to the senses, except Midgard, the home of human creatures, but during the process of initiation the soul of the candidate–liberated from its earthly sheath by the secret power of the priests–wanders amidst the inhabitants of these various spheres. There is undoubtedly a relationship between the nine worlds of the Scandinavians and the nine spheres, or planes, through which initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries passed in their ritual
The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies
THE most famous of the ancient religious Mysteries were the Eleusinian, whose rites were celebrated every five years in the city of Eleusis to honor Ceres (Demeter, Rhea, or Isis) and her daughter, Persephone. The initiates of the Eleusinian School were famous throughout Greece for the beauty of their philosophic concepts and the high standards of morality which they demonstrated in their daily lives. Because of their excellence, these Mysteries spread to Rome and Britain, and later the initiations were given in both these countries. The Eleusinian Mysteries, named for the community in Attica where the sacred dramas were first presented, are generally believed to have been founded by Eumolpos about fourteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, and through the Platonic system of philosophy their principles have been preserved to modern times.
The rites of Eleusis, with their Mystic interpretations of Nature’s most precious secrets, overshadowed the civilizations of their time and gradually absorbed many smaller schools, incorporating into their own system whatever valuable information these lesser institutions possessed. Heckethorn sees in the Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus a metamorphosis of the rites of Isis and Osiris, and there is every reason to believe that all so-called secret schools of the ancient world were branches from one philosophic tree which, with its root in heaven and its branches on the earth, is–like the spirit of man–an invisible but ever-present cause of the objectified vehicles that give it expression. The Mysteries were the channels through which this one philosophic light was disseminated, and their initiates, resplendent with intellectual and spiritual understanding, were the perfect fruitage of the divine tree, bearing witness before the material world of the recondite source of all Light and Truth.
The rites of Eleusis were divided into what were called the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries. According to James Gardner, the Lesser Mysteries were celebrated in the spring (probably at the time of the vernal equinox) in the town of Agræ, and the Greater, in the fall (the time of the autumnal equinox) at Eleusis or Athens. It is supposed that the former were given annually and the latter every five years. The rituals of the Eleusinians were highly involved, and to understand them required a deep study of Greek mythology, which they interpreted in its esoteric light with the aid of their secret keys.
The Lesser Mysteries were dedicated to Persephone. In his Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, Thomas Taylor sums up their purpose as follows: “The Lesser Mysteries were designed by the ancient theologists, their founders, to signify occultly the condition of the unpurified soul invested with an earthy body, and enveloped in a material and physical nature.”
The legend used in the Lesser rites is that of the abduction of the goddess Persephone, the daughter of Ceres, by Pluto, the lord of the underworld, or Hades. While Persephone is picking flowers in a beautiful meadow, the earth suddenly opens and the gloomy lord of death, riding in a magnificent chariot, emerges from its somber depths and, grasping her in his arms, carries the screaming and struggling goddess to his subterranean palace, where he forces her to become his queen.
It is doubtful whether many of the initiates themselves understood the mystic meaning of this allegory, for most of them apparently believed that it referred solely to the succession of the seasons. It is difficult to obtain satisfactory information concerning the Mysteries, for the candidates were bound by inviolable oaths never to reveal their inner secrets to the profane. At the beginning of the ceremony of initiation, the candidate stood upon the skins of animals sacrificed for the purpose, and vowed that death should seal his lips before he would divulge the sacred truths which were about to be communicated to him. Through indirect channels, however, some of their secrets have been preserved. The teachings given to the neophytes were substantially as follows:
The soul of man–often called Psyche, and in the Eleusinian Mysteries symbolized by Persephone–is essentially a spiritual thing. Its true home is in the higher worlds, where, free from the bondage of material form and material concepts, it is said to be truly alive and self-expressive. The human, or physical, nature of man, according to this doctrine, is a tomb, a quagmire, a false and impermanent thing, the source of all sorrow and suffering. Plato describes the body as the sepulcher of the soul; and by this he means not only the human form but also the human nature.
The gloom and depression of the Lesser Mysteries represented the agony of the spiritual soul unable to express itself because it has accepted the limitations and illusions of the human environment. The crux of the Eleusinian argument was that man is neither better nor wiser after death than during life. If he does not rise above ignorance during his sojourn here, man goes at death into eternity to wander about forever, making the same mistakes which he made here. If he does not outgrow the desire for material possessions here, he will carry it with him into the invisible world, where, because he can never gratify the desire, he will continue in endless agony. Dante’s Inferno is symbolically descriptive of the sufferings of those who never freed their spiritual natures from the cravings, habits, viewpoints, and limitations of their Plutonic personalities. Those who made no endeavor to improve themselves (whose souls have slept) during their physical lives, passed at death into Hades, where, lying in rows, they slept through all eternity as they had slept through life.
To the Eleusinian philosophers, birch into the physical world was death in the fullest sense of the word, and the only true birth was that of the spiritual soul of man rising out of the womb of his own fleshly nature. “The soul is dead that slumbers,” says Longfellow, and in this he strikes the keynote of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Just as Narcissus, gazing at himself in the water (the ancients used this mobile element to symbolize the transitory, illusionary, material universe) lost his life trying to embrace a reflection, so man, gazing into the mirror of Nature and accepting as his real self the senseless clay that he sees reflected, loses the opportunity afforded by physical life to unfold his immortal, invisible Self.
An ancient initiate once said that the living are ruled by the dead. Only those conversant with the Eleusinian concept of life could understand that statement. It means that the majority of people are not ruled by their living spirits but by their senseless (hence dead) animal personalities. Transmigration and reincarnation were taught in these Mysteries, but in a somewhat unusual manner. It was believed that at midnight the invisible worlds were closest to the Terrestrial sphere and that souls coming into material existence slipped in during the midnight hour. For this reason many of the Eleusinian
THE RAPE OF PERSEPHONE.
From Thomassin’s Recucil des Figures, Groupes, Themes, Fontaines, Vases et autres Ornements.
Pluto, the lord of the underworld, represents the body intelligence of man; and the rape of Persephone is symbolic of the divine nature assaulted and defiled by the animal soul and dragged downward into the somber darkness of Hades, which is here used as a synonym for the material, or objective, sphere of consciousness.
In his Disquisitions upon the Painted Greek Vases, James Christie presents Meursius’ version of the occurrences taking place during the nine days required for the enactment of the Greater Eleusinian Rites. The first day was that of general meeting, during which those to be initiated were questioned concerning their several qualifications. The second day was spent in a procession to the sea, possibly for the submerging of a image of the presiding goddess. The third day was opened by the sacrifice of a mullet. On the fourth day the mystic basket containing certain sacred symbols was brought to Eleusis, accompanied by a number of female devotees carrying smaller baskets. On the evening of the fifth day there was a torch race, on the sixth a procession led by a statue of Iacchus, and on the seventh an athletic contest. The eighth day was devoted to a repetition of the ceremonial for the benefit of any who might have been prevented from coming sooner. The ninth and last day was devoted to the deepest philosophical issues of the Eleusinia, during which an urn or jar–the symbol of Bacchus–was exhibited as an emblem of supreme importance.
ceremonies were performed at midnight. Some of those sleeping spirits who had failed to awaken their higher natures during the earth life and who now floated around in the invisible worlds, surrounded by a darkness of their own making, occasionally slipped through at this hour and assumed the forms of various creatures.
The mystics of Eleusis also laid stress upon the evil of suicide, explaining that there was a profound mystery concerning this crime of which they could not speak, but warning their disciples that a great sorrow comes to all who take their own lives. This, in substance, constitutes the esoteric doctrine given to the initiates of the Lesser Mysteries. As the degree dealt largely with the miseries of those who failed to make the best use of their philosophic opportunities, the chambers of initiation were subterranean and the horrors of Hades were vividly depicted in a complicated ritualistic drama. After passing successfully through the tortuous passageways, with their trials and dangers, the candidate received the honorary title of Mystes. This meant one who saw through a veil or had a clouded vision. It also signified that the candidate had been brought up to the veil, which would be torn away in the higher degree. The modern word mystic, as referring to a seeker after truth according to the dictates of the heart along the path of faith, is probably derived from this ancient word, for faith is belief in the reality of things unseen or veiled.
The Greater Mysteries (into which the candidate was admitted only after he had successfully passed through the ordeals of the Lesser, and not always then) were sacred to Ceres, the mother of Persephone, and represent her as wandering through the world in quest of her abducted daughter. Ceres carried two torches, intuition and reason, to aid her in the search for her lost child (the soul). At last she found Persephone not far from Eleusis, and out of gratitude taught the people there to cultivate corn, which is sacred to her. She also founded the Mysteries. Ceres appeared before Pluto, god of the souls of the dead, and pleaded with him to allow Persephone to return to her home. This the god at first refused to do, because Persephone had eaten of the pomegranate, the fruit of mortality. At last, however, he compromised and agreed to permit Persephone to live in the upper world half of the year if she would stay with him in the darkness of Hades for the remaining half.
The Greeks believed that Persephone was a manifestation of the solar energy, which in the winter months lived under the earth with Pluto, but in the summer returned again with the goddess of productiveness. There is a legend that the flowers loved Persephone and that every year when she left for the dark realms of Pluto, the plants and shrubs would die of grief. While the profane and uninitiated had their own opinions on these subjects, the truths of the Greek allegories remained safely concealed by the priests, who alone recognized the sublimity of these great philosophic and religious parables.
Thomas Taylor epitomizes the doctrines of the Greater Mysteries in the following statement: “The Greater (Mysteries) obscurely intimated, by mystic and splendid visions, the felicity of the soul both here and hereafter when purified from the defilement of a material nature, and constantly elevated to the realities of intellectual (spiritual) vision.”
Just as the Lesser Mysteries discussed the prenatal epoch of man when the consciousness in its nine days (embryologically, months) was descending into the realm of illusion and assuming the veil of unreality, so the Greater Mysteries discussed the principles of spiritual regeneration and revealed to initiates not only the simplest but also the most direct and complete method of liberating their higher natures from the bondage of material ignorance. Like Prometheus chained to the top of Mount Caucasus, man’s higher nature is chained to his inadequate personality. The nine days of initiation were also symbolic of the nine spheres through which the human soul descends during the process of assuming a terrestrial form. The secret exercises for spiritual unfoldment given to disciples of the higher degrees are unknown, but there is every reason to believe that they were similar to the Brahmanic Mysteries, since it is known that the Eleusinian ceremonies were closed with the Sanskrit words “Konx Om Pax.”
That part of the allegory referring to the two six-month periods during one of which Persephone must remain with Pluto, while during the other she may revisit the upper world, offers material for deep consideration. It is probable that the Eleusinians realized that the soul left the body during steep, or at least was made capable of leaving by the special training which undoubtedly they were in a position to give. Thus Persephone would remain as the queen of Pluto’s realm during the waking hours, but would ascend to the spiritual worlds during the periods of sleep. The initiate was taught how to intercede with Pluto to permit Persephone (the initiate’s soul) to ascend from the darkness of his material nature into the light of understanding. When thus freed from the shackles of clay and crystallized concepts, the initiate was liberated not only for the period of his life but for all eternity, for never thereafter was he divested of those soul qualities which after death were his vehicles for manifestation and expression in the so-called heaven world.
In contrast to the idea of Hades as a state of darkness below, the gods were said to inhabit the tops of mountains, a well-known example being Mount Olympus, where the twelve deities of the Greek pantheon were said to dwell together. In his initiatory wanderings the neophyte therefore entered chambers of ever-increasing brilliancy to portray the ascent of the spirit from the lower worlds into the realms of bliss. As the climax to such wanderings he entered a great vaulted room, in the center of which stood a brilliantly illumined statue of the goddess Ceres. Here, in the presence of the hierophant and surrounded by priests in magnificent robes, he was instructed in the highest of the secret mysteries of the Eleusis. At the conclusion of this ceremony he was hailed as an Epoptes, which means one who has beheld or seen directly. For this reason also initiation was termed autopsy. The Epoptes was then given certain sacred books, probably written in cipher, together with tablets of stone on which secret instructions were engraved.
In The Obelisk in Freemasonry, John A. Weisse describes the officiating personages of the Eleusinian Mysteries as consisting of a male and a female hierophant who directed the initiations; a male and a female torchbearer; a male herald; and a male and a female altar attendant. There were also numerous minor officials. He states that, according to Porphyry, the hierophant represents Plato’s Demiurgus, or Creator of the world; the torch bearer, the Sun; the altar man, the Moon; the herald, Hermes, or Mercury; and the other officials, minor stars.
From the records available, a number of strange and apparently supernatural phenomena accompanied the rituals. Many initiates claim to have actually seen the living gods themselves. Whether this was the result of religious ecstasy or the actual cooperation of invisible powers with the visible priests must remain a mystery. In The Metamorphosis, or Golden Ass, Apuleius thus describes what in all probability is his initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries:
“I approached to the confines of death, and having trod on the threshold of Proserpine I, returned from it, being carried through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light; and I manifestly drew near to, the gods beneath, and the gods above, and proximately adored them.”
Women and children were admitted to the Eleusinian Mysteries, and at one time there were literally thousands of initiates. Because this vast host was not prepared for the highest spiritual and mystical doctrines, a division necessarily took place within the society itself. The higher teachings were given to only a limited number of initiates who, because of superior mentality, showed a comprehensive grasp of their underlying philosophical concepts. Socrates refused to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, for knowing its principles without being a member of the order he realized that membership would seal his tongue. That the Mysteries of Eleusis were based upon great and eternal truths is attested by the veneration in which they were held by the great minds of the ancient world. M. Ouvaroff asks, “Would Pindar, Plato, Cicero, Epictetus, have spoken of them with such admiration, if the hierophant had satisfied himself with loudly proclaiming his own opinions, or those of his order?”
The garments in which candidates were initiated were preserved for many years and were believed to possess almost sacred properties. Just as the soul can have no covering save wisdom and virtue, so the candidates–being as yet without true knowledge–were presented to the Mysteries unclothed, being first: given the skin of an animal and later a consecrated robe to symbolize the philosophical teachings received by the initiate. During the course of initiation the candidate
CERES, THE PATRON OF THE MYSTERIES.
From a mural painting in Pompeii.
Ceres, or Demeter, was the daughter of Kronos and Rhea, and by Zeus the mother of Persephone. Some believe her to be the goddess of the earth, but more correctly she is the deity protecting agriculture in general and corn in particular. The Poppy is sacred to Ceres and she is often shown carrying or ornamented by a garland of these flowers. In the Mysteries, Ceres represented riding in a chariot drawn by winged serpents.
THE PROCESSIONAL OF THE BACCHIC RITES.
From Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
In the initiation, of the Bacchic Mysteries, the rôle of Bacchus is played by the candidate who, set upon by priests in the guise of the Titans, is slain and finally restored to life amidst great rejoicing. The Bacchic Mysteries were given every three years, and like the Eleusinian Mysteries, were divided into two degrees. The initiates were crowned with myrtle and ivy, plants which were sacred to Bacchus.
In the Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins conclusively establishes Bacchus (Dionysos) as one of the early pagan forms of the Christos myth, “The birthplace of Bacchus, called Sabazius or Sabaoth, was claimed by several places in Greece; but on Mount Zelmisus, in Thrace, his worship seems to have been chiefly celebrated. He was born of a virgin on the 25th of December; he performed great miracles for the good of mankind; particularly one in which he changed water into wine; he rode in a triumphal procession on an ass; he was put to death by the Titans, and rose again from the dead on the 25th of March: he was always called the Saviour. In his mysteries, he was shown to the people, as an infant is by the Christians at this day, on Christmas Day morning in Rome.”
While Apollo most generally represents the sun, Bacchus is also a form of solar energy, for his resurrection was accomplished with the assistance of Apollo. The resurrection of Bacchus signifies merely the extraction or disentanglement of the various Parts of the Bacchic constitution from the Titanic constitution of the world. This is symbolized by the smoke or soot rising from the burned bodies of the Titans. The soul is symbolized by smoke because it is extracted by the fire of the Mysteries. Smoke signifies the ascension of the soul, far evolution is the process of the soul rising, like smoke, from the divinely consumed material mass. At me time the Bacchic Rites were of a high order, but later they became much degraded . The Bacchanalia, or orgies of Bacchus, are famous in literature.
passed through two gates. The first led downward into the lower worlds and symbolized his birth into ignorance. The second led upward into a room brilliantly lighted by unseen lamps, in which was the statue of Ceres and which symbolized the upper world, or the abode of Light and Truth. Strabo states that the great temple of Eleusis would hold between twenty and thirty thousand people. The caves dedicated by Zarathustra also had these two doors, symbolizing the avenues of birth and death.
The following paragraph from Porphyry gives a fairly adequate conception of Eleusinian symbolism: “God being a luminous principle, residing in the midst of the most subtile fire, he remains for ever invisible to the eyes of those who do not elevate themselves above material life: on this account, the sight of transparent bodies, such as crystal, Parian marble, and even ivory, recalls the idea of divine light; as the sight of gold excites an idea of its purity, for gold cannot he sullied. Some have thought by a black stone was signified the invisibility of the divine essence. To express supreme reason, the Divinity was represented under the human form–and beautiful, for God is the source of beauty; of different ages, and in various attitudes, sitting or upright; of one or the other sex, as a virgin or a young man, a husband or a bride, that all the shades and gradations might be marked. Every thing luminous was subsequently attributed to the gods; the sphere, and all that is spherical, to the universe, to the sun and the moon–sometimes to Fortune and to Hope. The circle, and all circular figures, to eternity–to the celestial movements; to the circles and zones of the heavens. The section of circles, to the phases of the moon; and pyramids and obelisks, to the igneous principle, and through that to the gods of Heaven. A cone expresses the sun, a cylinder the earth; the phallus and triangle (a symbol of the matrix) designate generation.” (From Essay on the Mysteries of Eleusis by M. Ouvaroff.)
The Eleusinian Mysteries, according to Heckethorn, survived all others and did not cease to exist as an institution until nearly four hundred years after Christ, when they were finally suppressed by Theodosius (styled the Great), who cruelly destroyed all who did not accept the Christian faith. Of this greatest of all philosophical institutions Cicero said that it taught men not only how to live but also how to die.
THE ORPHIC MYSTERIES
Orpheus, the Thracian bard, the great initiator of the Greeks, ceased to be known as a man and was celebrated as a divinity several centuries before the Christian Era. “As to Orpheus himself * * *, ” writes Thomas Taylor, “scarcely a vestige of his life is to be found amongst the immense ruins of time. For who has ever been able to affirm any thing with certainty of his origin, his age, his country, and condition? This alone may be depended on, from general assent, that there formerly lived a person named Orpheus, who was the founder of theology among the Greeks; the institutor of their lives and morals; the first of prophets, and the prince of poets; himself the offspring of a Muse; who taught the Greeks their sacred rites and mysteries, and from whose wisdom, as from a perennial and abundant fountain, the divine muse of Homer and the sublime theology of Pythagoras and Plato flowed.” (See The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus.)
Orpheus was founder of the Grecian mythological system which he used as the medium for the promulgation of his philosophical doctrines. The origin of his philosophy is uncertain. He may have got it from the Brahmins, there being legends to the effect that he got it was a Hindu, his name possibly being derived from ὀρφανῖος, meaning “dark.” Orpheus was initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries, from which he secured extensive knowledge of magic, astrology, sorcery, and medicine. The Mysteries of the Cabiri at Samothrace were also conferred upon him, and these undoubtedly contributed to his knowledge of medicine and music.
The romance of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the tragic episodes of Greek mythology and apparently constitutes the outstanding feature of the Orphic Rite. Eurydice, in her attempt to escape from a villain seeking to seduce her, died from the venom of a poisonous serpent which stung her in the heel. Orpheus, penetrating to the very heart of the underworld, so charmed Pluto and Persephone with the beauty of his music that they agreed to permit Eurydice to return to life if Orpheus could lead her back to the sphere of the living without once looking round to see if she were following. So great was his fear, however, that she would stray from him that he turned his head, and Eurydice with a heartbroken cry was swept back into the land of death.
Orpheus wandered the earth for a while disconsolate, and there are several conflicting accounts of the manner of his death. Some declare that he was slain by a bolt of lightning; others, that failing to save his beloved Eurydice, he committed suicide. The generally accepted version of his death, however, is that he was torn to pieces by Ciconian women whose advances he had spurned. In the tenth book of Plato’s Republic it is declared that, because of his sad fate at the hands of women, the soul that had once been Orpheus, upon being destined to live again in the physical world, chose rather to return in the body of a swan than be born of woman. The head of Orpheus, after being torn from his body, was cast with his lyre into the river Hebrus, down which it floated to the sea, where, wedging in a cleft in a rock, it gave oracles for many years. The lyre, after being stolen from its shrine and working the destruction of the thief, was picked up by the gods and fashioned into a constellation.
Orpheus has long been sung as the patron of music. On his seven-stringed lyre he played such perfect harmonies that the gods themselves were moved to acclaim his power. When he touched the strings of his instrument the birds and beasts gathered about him, and as he wandered through the forests his enchanting melodies caused even the ancient trees with mighty effort to draw their gnarled roots from out the earth and follow him. Orpheus is one of the many Immortals who have sacrificed themselves that mankind might have the wisdom of the gods. By the symbolism of his music he communicated the divine secrets to humanity, and several authors have declared that the gods, though loving him, feared that he would overthrow their kingdom and therefore reluctantly encompassed his destruction.
As time passed on the historical Orpheus became hopelessly confounded with the doctrine he represented and eventually became the symbol of the Greek school of the ancient wisdom. Thus Orpheus was declared to be the son of Apollo, the divine and perfect truth, and Calliope, the Muse of harmony and rhythm. In other words, Orpheus is the secret doctrine (Apollo) revealed through music (Calliope). Eurydice is humanity dead from the sting of the serpent of false knowledge and imprisoned in the underworld of ignorance. In this allegory Orpheus signifies theology, which wins her from the king of the dead but fails to accomplish her resurrection because it falsely estimates and mistrusts the innate understanding within the human soul. The Ciconian women who tore Orpheus limb from limb symbolize the various contending theological factions which destroy the body of Truth. They cannot accomplish this, however, until their discordant cries drown out the harmony drawn by Orpheus from his magic lyre. The head of Orpheus signifies the esoteric doctrines of his cult. These doctrines continue to live and speak even after his body (the cult) has been destroyed. The lyre is the secret teaching of Orpheus; the seven strings are the seven divine truths which are the keys to universal knowledge. The differing accounts of his death represent the various means used to destroy the secret teachings: wisdom can die in many ways at the same time. The allegory of Orpheus incarnating in the white swan merely signifies that the spiritual truths he promulgated will continue and will be taught by the illumined initiates of all future ages. The swan is the symbol of the initiates of the Mysteries; it is a symbol also of the divine power which is the progenitor of the world.
THE BACCHIC AND DIONYSIAC RITES
The Bacchic Rite centers around the allegory of the youthful Bacchus (Dionysos or Zagreus) being torn to pieces by the Titans. These giants accomplished the destruction of Bacchus by causing him to become fascinated by his own image in a mirror. After dismembering him, the Titans first boiled the pieces in water and afterwards roasted them. Pallas rescued the heart of the murdered god, and by this precaution Bacchus (Dionysos) was enabled to spring forth again in all his former glory. Jupiter, the Demiurgus, beholding the crime of the Titans, hurled his thunderbolts and slew them, burning their bodies to ashes with heavenly fire. Our of the ashes of the Titans–which also contained a portion of the flesh of Bacchus, whose body they had partly devoured–the human race was created. Thus the mundane life of every man was said to contain a portion of the Bacchic life.
For this reason the Greek Mysteries warned against suicide. He who attempts to destroy himself raises his hand against the nature of Bacchus within him, since man’s body is indirectly the tomb of this god and consequently must be preserved with the greatest care.
Bacchus (Dionysos) represents the rational soul of the inferior world. He is the chief of the Titans–the artificers of the mundane spheres. The Pythagoreans called him the Titanic monad. Thus Bacchus is the all-inclusive idea of the Titanic sphere and the Titans–or gods of the fragments–the active agencies by means of which universal substance is fashioned into the pattern of this idea. The Bacchic state signifies the unity of the rational soul in a state of self-knowledge, and the Titanic state the diversity of the rational soul which, being scattered throughout creation, loses the consciousness of its own essential one-ness. The mirror into which Bacchus gazes and which is the cause of his fall is the great sea of illusion–the lower world fashioned by the Titans. Bacchus (the mundane rational soul), seeing his image before him, accepts the image as a likeness of himself and ensouls the likeness; that is, the rational idea ensouls its reflection–the irrational universe. By ensouling the irrational image it implants in it the urge to become like its source, the rational image. Therefore the ancients said that man does not know the gods by logic or by reason but rather by realizing the presence of the gods within himself.
After Bacchus gazed into the mirror and followed his own reflection into matter, the rational soul of the world was broken up and distributed by the Titans throughout the mundane sphere of which it is the essential nature, but the heart, or source, of it they could not: scatter. The Titans took the dismembered body of Bacchus and boiled it in water–symbol of immersion in the material universe–which represents the incorporation of the Bacchic principle in form. The pieces were afterwards roasted to signify the subsequent ascension of the spiritual nature out of form.
When Jupiter, the father of Bacchus and the Demiurgus of the universe, saw that the Titans were hopelessly involving the rational or divine idea by scattering its members through the constituent parts of the lower world, he slew the Titans in order that the divine idea might not be entirely lost. From the ashes of the Titans he formed mankind, whose purpose of existence was to preserve and eventually to release the Bacchic idea, or rational soul, from the Titanic fabrication. Jupiter, being the Demiurgus and fabricator of the material universe, is the third person of the Creative Triad, consequently the Lord of Death, for death exists only in the lower sphere of being over which he presides. Disintegration takes place so that reintegration may follow upon a higher level of form or intelligence. The thunderbolts of Jupiter are emblematic of his disintegrative power; they reveal the purpose of death, which is to rescue the rational soul from the devouring power of the irrational nature.
Man is a composite creature, his lower nature consisting of the fragments of the Titans and his higher nature the sacred, immortal flesh (life) of Bacchus. Therefore man is capable of either a Titanic (irrational) or a Bacchic (rational) existence. The Titans of Hesiod, who were twelve in number, are probably analogous to the celestial zodiac, whereas the Titans who murdered and dismembered Bacchus represent the zodiacal powers distorted by their involvement in the material world. Thus Bacchus represents the sun who is dismembered by the signs of the zodiac and from whose body the universe is formed. When the terrestrial forms were created from the various parts of his body the sense of wholeness was lost and the sense of separateness established. The heart of Bacchus, which was saved by Pallas, or Minerva, was lifted out of the four elements symbolized by his dismembered body and placed in the ether. The heart of Bacchus is the immortal center of the rational soul.
After the rational soul had been distributed throughout creation and the nature of man, the Bacchic Mysteries were instituted for the purpose of disentangling it from the irrational Titanic nature. This disentanglement was the process of lifting the soul out of the state of separateness into that of unity. The various parts and members of Bacchus were collected from the different corners of the earth. When all the rational parts are gathered Bacchus is resurrected.
The Rites of Dionysos were very similar to those of Bacchus, and by many these two gods are considered as one. Statues of Dionysos were carried in the Eleusinian Mysteries, especially the lesser degrees. Bacchus, representing the soul of the mundane sphere, was capable of an infinite multiplicity of form and designations. Dionysos apparently was his solar aspect.
The Dionysiac Architects constituted an ancient secret society, in principles and doctrines much like the modern Freemasonic Order. They were an organization of builders bound together by their secret knowledge of the relationship between the earthly and the divine sciences of architectonics. They were supposedly employed by King Solomon in the building of his Temple, although they were not Jews, nor did they worship the God of the Jews, being followers of Bacchus and Dionysos. The Dionysiac Architects erected many of the great monuments of antiquity. They possessed a secret language and a system of marking their stones. They had annual convocations and sacred feasts. The exact nature of their doctrines is unknown. It is believed that CHiram Abiff was an initiate of this society.
IN several early Masonic manuscripts–for example, the Harleian, Sloane, Lansdowne, and Edinburgh-Kilwinning–it is stated that the craft of initiated builders existed before the Deluge, and that its members were employed in the building of the Tower of Babel. A Masonic Constitution dated 1701 gives the following naive account of the origin of the sciences, arts, and crafts from which the major part of Masonic symbolism is derived:
“How this worthy Science was first begunne, I shall tell. Before Noah’s Flood, there was a man called Lameck as it is written in the 4 Chap. of Gen.: and this Lameck had two Wives. The one was called Adah, and the other Zillah; by the first wife Adah he gott two Sons, the one called Jaball, and the other Juball, and by the other wife Zillah he got a Son and Daughter, and the four children found the beginning of all Crafts in the world. This Jaball was the elder Son, and he found the Craft of Geometric, and he parted flocks, as of Sheep and Lambs in the fields, and first wrought Houses of Stone and Tree, as it is noted in the Chap, aforesaid, and his Brother Juball found the crafte of Musick, of Songs, Organs and Harp. The Third Brother [Tubal-cain] found out Smith’s craft to work Iron and steel, and their sister Naamah found out the art of Weaving. These children did know thatt God would take Vengeance for Sinne, either by fire or water, wherefor they wrote these Sciences which they had found in Two Pillars of stone, thatt they might be found after the Flood. The one stone was called Marbell–cannott burn with Fire, and the other was called Laturus [brass?], thatt cannott drown in the Water.”
The author of this Constitution there upon declares that one of these pillars was later discovered by Hermes, who communicated to mankind the secrets thereon inscribed.
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes that Adam had forewarned his descendants that sinful humanity would be destroyed by a deluge. In order to preserve their science and philosophy, the children of Seth there fore raised two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which were inscribed the keys to their knowledge. The Patriarch Enoch–whose name means the Initiator–is evidently a personification of the sun, since he lived 365 years. He also constructed an underground temple consisting of nine vaults, one beneath the other, placing in the deepest vault a triangular tablet of gold bearing upon it the absolute and ineffable Name of Deity. According to some accounts, Enoch made two golden deltas. The larger he placed upon the white cubical altar in the lowest vault and the smaller he gave into the keeping of his son, Methuseleh, who did the actual construction work of the brick chambers according to the pattern revealed to his father by the Most High. In the form and arrangement of these vaults Enoch epitomized the nine spheres of the ancient Mysteries and the nine sacred strata of the earth through which the initiate must pass to reach the flaming Spirit dwelling in its central core.
According to Freemasonic symbolism, Enoch, fearing that all knowledge of the sacred Mysteries would be lost at the time of the Deluge, erected the two columns mentioned in the quotation. Upon the metal column in appropriate allegorical symbols he engraved the secret reaching and upon the marble column placed an inscription stating that a short distance away a priceless treasure would be discovered in a subterranean vault. After having thus faithfully completed his labors, Enoch was translated from the brow Of Mount Moriah. In time the location of the secret vaults was lost, but after the lapse of ages there came another builder–an initiate after the order of Enoch–and he, while laying the foundations for another temple to the Great Architect of the Universe, discovered the long-lost vaults and the secrets contained within.
John Leylande was appointed by King Henry VIII to go through the archives of the various religious institutions dissolved by the king and remove for preservation any books or manuscripts of an important character. Among the documents copied by Leylande was a series of questions and answers concerning the mystery of Masonry written by King Henry VI. In answer to the question, “How came Masonry into England?” the document States that Peter Gower, a Grecian, traveled for knowledge in Egypt, Syria, and every land where the Phœnicians had planted Masonry; winning entrance in all lodges of Masons, he learned much, and returning, dwelt in Greater Greece. He became renowned for his wisdom, formed a great lodge at Groton, and made many Masons, some of whom journeyed in France, spreading Masonry there; from France in the course of time the order passed into England.
To even the superficial student of the subject it must be evident that the name of Peter Gower, the Grecian, is merely an Anglicized form of Pythagoras; consequently Groton, where he formed his lodge, is easily identified with Crotona. A link is thus established between the philosophic Mysteries of Greece and mediæval Freemasonry. In his notes on King Henry’s questions and answers, William Preston enlarges upon the vow of secrecy as it was practiced by the ancient initiates. On the authority of Pliny he describes how Anaxarchus, having been imprisoned in order to extort from him some of the secrets with which he had been entrusted, bit out his own tongue and threw it in the face of Nicocreon, the tyrant of Cyprus. Preston adds that the Athenians revered a brazen statue that was represented without a tongue to denote the sanctity with which they regarded their oath-bound secrets. It is also noteworthy that, according to King Henry’s manuscript, Masonry had its origin in the East and was the carrier of the arts and sciences of civilization to the primitive humanity of the western nations.
Conspicuous among the symbols of Freemasonry are the seven liberal arts and sciences. By grammar man is taught to express in noble and adequate language his innermost thoughts and ideals; by rhetoric he is enabled to conceal his ideals under the protecting cover of ambiguous language and figures of speech; by logiche is trained
THE MYSTERY OF THE MACROCOSM.
Redrawn from Cesariano’s Edition of Vitruvius.
Summarizing the relationship between the human body and the theory of architectonics, Vitruvius writes:
“Since nature has designed the human body so that its members are duly proportioned to the frame as a whole, it appears that the ancients had good reason for their rule, that in perfect building the different members must be in exact symmetrical relations to the whole general scheme. Hence, while transmitting to us the proper arrangements for buildings of all kinds, they were particularly careful to do so in the case of temples of the gods, buildings in which merits and faults usually last forever. * * * Therefore, if it is agreed that number was found out from the human fingers, and that there is a symmetrical correspondent between the members separately and the entire form of the body, in accordance with a certain part selected as standard, we can have nothing but respect for those who, in constructing temples of the immortal gods, have so arranged the members of the works that both the separate parts and the whole design may harmonize in their proportions and symmetry.” (See The Ten Books on Architecture)
By some it is believed that St. Paul was initiated into the Dionysiac Mysteries, for in the tenth verse of the third chapter of First Corinthians he calls himself a “master-builder” or adept: “According to the grace of God which is given into me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. ” As survivals of the ancient Dionysiac rites, the two diagrams of Cesariano, accompanying this chapter are of incalculable value to the modern mystic architect.
in the organization of the intellectual faculties with which he has been endowed; by arithmetic he not only is instructed in the mystery of universal order but also gains the key to multitude, magnitude, and proportion; by geometry he is inducted into the mathematics of form, the harmony and rhythm of angles, and the philosophy of organization; by music he is reminded that the universe is founded upon the laws of celestial harmonics and that harmony and rhythm are all-pervading; by astronomy he gains an understanding of the immensities of time and space, of the proper relationship between himself and the universe, and of the awesomeness of that Unknown Power which is driving the countless stars of the firmament through illimitable space. Equipped with the knowledge conferred by familiarity with the liberal arts and sciences, the studious Freemason therefore finds himself confronted by few problems with which he cannot cope.
THE DIONYSIAC ARCHITECTS
The most celebrated of the ancient fraternities of artisans was that of the Dionysiac Architects. This organization was composed exclusively of initiates of the Bacchus-Dionysos cult and was peculiarly consecrated to the science of building and the art of decoration. Acclaimed as being the custodians of a secret and sacred knowledge of architectonics, its members were entrusted with the design and erection of public buildings and monuments. The superlative excellence of their handiwork elevated the members of the guild to a position of surpassing dignity; they were regarded as the master craftsmen of the earth. Because of the first dances held in honor of Dionysos, he was considered the founder and patron of the theater, and the Dionysians specialized in the construction of buildings adapted for the presentation of dramatic performances. In the circular or semicircular orchestra they invariably erected an altar to Æschylus, the famous Greek poet, that while appearing in one of his own plays he was suspected by a mob of angry spectators of revealing one of the profound secrets of the Mysteries and was forced to seek refuge at the altar of Dionysos.
So carefully did the Dionysiac Architects safeguard the secrets of their craft that only fragmentary records exist of their esoteric teachings. John A. Weisse thus sums up the meager data available concerning the order:
“They made their appearance certainly not later than 1000 B.C., and appear to have enjoyed particular privileges and immunities. They also possessed secret means of recognition, and were bound together by special ties only known to themselves. The richer of this fraternity were bound to provide for their poorer brethren. They were divided into communities, governed by a Master and Wardens, and called γυνοικιαι (connected houses). They held a grand festival annually, and were held in high esteem. Their ceremonials were regarded as sacred. It has been claimed that Solomon, at the instance of Hiram, King of Tyre, employed them at his temple and palaces. They were also employed at the construction of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. They had means of intercommunication all over the then known world, and from them, doubtless, sprang the guilds of the Traveling Masons known in the Middle Ages.” (See The Obelisk and Freemasonry.)
The fraternity of the Dionysiac Architects spread throughout all of Asia Minor, even reaching Egypt and India. They established themselves in nearly all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, and with the rise of the Roman Empire found their way into Central Europe and even into England. The most stately and enduring buildings in Constantinople, Rhodes, Athens, and Rome were erected by these inspired craftsmen. One of the most illustrious of their number was Vitruvius, the great architect, renowned as the author of De Architectura Libri Decem. In the various sections of his book Vitruvius gives several hints as to the philosophy underlying the Dionysiac concept of the principle of symmetry applied to the science of architecture, as derived from a consideration of the proportions established by Nature between the parts and members of the human body. The following extract from Vitruvius on the subject of symmetry is representative:
“The design of a temple depends on symmetry, the principles of which must be most carefully observed by the architect. They are due to proportion, in ἀναλογία. Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this result the principles of symmetry. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members, as in the case of those of a well shaped man. For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the crown is a fourth. If we take the height of the face itself, the distance from the bottom of the chin to the under side of the nostrils [and from that point] to a line between the eyebrows is the same; from there to the lowest roots of the hair is also a third, comprising the forehead. The length of the foot is one sixth of the height of the body; of the forearm, one fourth; and the breadth of the breast is also one fourth. The other members, too, have their own symmetrical proportions, and it was by employing them that the famous painters and sculptors of antiquity attained to great and endless renown.”
The edifices raised by the Dionysiac Builders were indeed “sermons in stone.” Though unable to comprehend fully the cosmic principles thus embodied in these masterpieces of human ingenuity and industry, even the uninitiated were invariably overwhelmed by the sense of majesty and symmetry resulting from the perfect coordination of pillars, spans, arches, and domes. By variations in the details of size, material, type, arrangement, ornamentation, and color, these inspired builders believed it possible to provoke in the nature of the onlooker certain distinct mental or emotional reactions. Vitruvius, for example, describes the disposition of bronze vases about a room so as to produce certain definite changes in the tone and quality of the human voice. In like manner, each chamber in the Mysteries through which the candidate passed had its own peculiar acoustics. Thus in one chamber the voice of the priest was amplified until his words caused the very room to vibrate, while in another the voice was diminished and softened to such a degree that it sounded like the distant tinkling of silver bells. Again, in some of the underground passageways the candidate was apparently bereft of the power of speech, for though he shouted at the top of his voice not even a whisper was audible to his ears. After progressing a few feet, however, he would discover that his softest sigh would be reechoed a hundred times.
The supreme ambition of the Dionysiac Architects was the construction of buildings which would create distinct impressions consistent with the purpose for which the structure itself was designed. In common with the Pythagoreans, they believed it possible by combinations of straight lines and curves to induce any desired mental attitude or emotion. They labored, therefore, to the end of producing a building perfectly harmonious with the structure of the universe itself. They may have even believed that an edifice so constructed because it was in no respect at variance with any existing reality would not be subject to dissolution but would endure throughout the span of mortal time. As a logical deduction from their philosophic trend of thought, such a building–en rapport with Cosmos–would also have become an oracle. Certain early works on magical philosophy hint that the Ark of the Covenant was oracular in character because of specially prepared chambers in its interior. These by their shape and arrangement were so attuned to the vibrations of the invisible world that they caught and amplified the voices of the ages imprinted upon and eternally existent in the substance of the astral light.
Unskilled in these ancient subtleties of their profession, modern architects often create architectural absurdities which would cause their creators to blush with shame did they comprehend their actual symbolic import. Thus, phallic emblems are strewn in profusion among the adornments of banks, office buildings, and department stores. Christian churches also may be surmounted with Brahmin or Mohammedan domes or be designed in a style suitable for a Jewish synagogue or a Greek temple to Pluto. These incongruities may be considered trivial in importance by the modern designer, but to the trained psychologist the purpose for which a building was erected is frustrated in large measure by the presence of such architectural discordances. Vitruvius thus defines the principle of propriety as conceived and applied by the Dionysians:
“Propriety is that: perfection of style which comes when a work is authoritatively constructed on approved principles. It arises from prescription (Greek θεματισμῷ), from usage, or from nature. From prescription, in the case of hypæthral edifices, open to the sky, in honour of Jupiter Lightning, the Heaven, the Sun, or the Moon: for these are gods whose semblances and manifestations we behold before our very eyes in the sky when it is cloudless and bright. The temples of Minerva, Mars, and Hercules will be Doric, since the virile strength of these gods makes daintiness entirely inappropriate to their houses. In temples to Venus, Flora, Proserpine, Spring-Water, and the Nymphs, the Corinthian order will be found to have peculiar significance, because these are delicate divinities and so its rather slender outlines, its flowers, leaves, and ornamental volutes will lend propriety where it is due. The construction of temples of the Ionic order to Juno, Diana, Father Bacchus, and the other gods of that kind, will be in keeping with the middle position which they hold; for the building of such will be an appropriate combination of the severity of the Doric and the delicacy of the Corinthian.”
In describing the societies of Ionian artificers, Joseph Da Costa declares the Dionysiac rites to have been founded upon the science of astronomy, which by the initiates of this order was correlated to the builder’s art. In various documents dealing with the origin of architecture are found hints to the effect that the great buildings erected by these initiated craftsmen were based upon geometrical patterns derived from the constellations. Thus, a temple might be planned according to the constellation of Pegasus or a court of judgment modeled after the constellation of the Scales. The Dionysians evolved a peculiar code by which they were able to communicate with one another in the dark and both the symbols and the terminology of their guild were derived, in the main, from the elements of architecture.
While stigmatized as pagans by reason of their philosophic principles, it is noteworthy that these Dionysiac craftsmen were almost universally employed in the erection of early Christian abbeys and cathedrals, whose stones even to this very day bear distinguishing marks and symbols cut into their surfaces by these illustrious builders. Among the ornate carvings upon the fronts of great churches of the Old World are frequently found representations of compasses, squares, rules, mallets, and clusters of builders’ tools skillfully incorporated into mural decorations and even placed in the hands of the effigies of saints and prophets standing in exalted niches. A great mystery was contained in the ancient portals of the Cathedral Of Notre Dame which were destroyed during the French Revolution, for among their carvings were numerous Rosicrucian and Masonic emblems; and according to the records preserved by alchemists who studied their bas-reliefs, the secret processes for metallic transmutation were set forth in their grotesque yet most significant figures.
The checkerboard floor upon which the modern Freemasonic lodge stands is the old tracing board of the Dionysiac Architects, and while the modern organization is no longer limited to workmen’s guilds it still preserves in its symbols the metaphysical doctrines of the ancient society of which it is presumably the outgrowth. The investigator of the origin of Freemasonic symbolism who desires to trace the development of the order through the ages will find a practical suggestion in the following statement of Charles W. Heckethorn:
“But considering that Freemasonry is a tree the roots of which spread through so many soils, it follows that traces thereof must be found in its fruit; that its language and ritual should retain much of the various sects and institutions it has passed through before arriving at their present state, and in Masonry we meet with Indian, Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian ideas, terms therefrom the supreme ambition of their craft and symbols.” (See The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries.)
The Roman Collegia of skilled architects were apparently a subdivision of the greater Ionian body, their principles and organization being practically identical with the older Ionian institution. It has been suspected that the Dionysians also profoundly influenced early Islamic culture, for part of their symbolism found its way into the Mysteries of the dervishes. At one time the Dionysians referred to themselves as Sons of Solomon, and one of the most important of their symbols was the Seal of Solomon–two interlaced triangles. This motif is frequently seen in conspicuous parts of Mohammedan mosques. The Knights Templars–who were suspected of anything and everything–are believed to have contacted these Dionysiac artificers and to have introduced many of their symbols and doctrines into mediæval Europe. But Freemasonry most of all owes to the Dionysiac cult the great mass of its symbols and rituals which are related to the science of architecture. From these ancient and illustrious artisans it also received the legacy of the unfinished Temple of Civilization-that vast, invisible structure upon which these initiated builders have labored continuously since the inception of their fraternity. This mighty edifice, which has fallen and been rebuilt time after time but whose foundations remain unmoved, is the true Everlasting House of which the temple on the brow of Mount Moriah was but an impermanent symbol.
Aside from the operative aspect of their order, the Dionysiac Architects had a speculative philosophic code. Human society they considered as a rough and untrued ashlar but lately chiseled from the quarry of elemental Nature. This crude block was the true object upon which these skilled craftsmen labored–polishing it, squaring it, and with the aid of fine carvings transforming it into a miracle of beauty. While mystics released their souls from the bondage of matter by meditation and philosophers found their keenest joy in the profundities of thought, these master workmen achieved liberation from the Wheel of Life and Death by learning to swing their hammers with the same rhythm that moves the swirling forces of Cosmos. They venerated the Deity under the guise of a Great Architect and Master Craftsman who was ever gouging rough ashlars from the fields of space and truing them into universes. The Dionysians affirmed constructiveness to be the supreme expression of the soul, and attuning themselves with the ever-visible constructive natural processes going on around them, believed immortality could be achieved by thus becoming a part of the creative agencies of Nature.
SOLOMON, THE PERSONIFICATION OF UNIVERSAL WISDOM
The name Solomon may be divided into three syllables, SOL-OM-ON, symbolizing light, glory, and truth collectively and respectively. The Temple of Solomon is, therefore, first of all “the House of Everlasting Light,” its earthly symbol being the temple of stone on the brow of Mount Moriah. According to the Mystery teachings, there are three Temples of Solomon–as there are three Grand Masters, three Witnesses, and three Tabernacles of the Transfiguration. The first temple is the Grand House of the Universe, in the midst of which sits the sun (SOL) upon his golden throne. The twelve signs of the zodiac as Fellow-Craftsmen gather around their shining lord. Three lights–the stellar, the solar, and the lunar–illuminate this Cosmic Temple. Accompanied by his retinue of planets, moons, and asteroids, this Divine King (SOLomon), whose glory no earthly monarch shall ever equal, passes in stately pomp down the avenues of space. Whereas CHiramrepresents the active physical light of the sun, SOLomon signifies its invisible but all-powerful, spiritual and intellectual effulgency.
The second symbolic temple is the human body-the Little House made in the image of the Great Universal House. “Know ye not,” asked the Apostle Paul, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Freemasonry within a temple of stone cannot be other than speculative, but Freemasonry within the living temple of the body is operative. The third symbolic temple is the Soular House, an invisible structure, the comprehension of which is a supreme Freemasonic arcanum. The mystery of this intangible edifice is concealed under the allegory of the Soma Psuchicon, or Wedding Garment described by St. Paul, the Robes of Glory of the High Priest of Israel, the Yellow Robe of the Buddhist monk, and the Robe of Blue and Gold to which Albert Pike refers in his Symbolism. The soul, constructed from an invisible fiery substance, a flaming golden metal, is cast by the Master Workman, CHiram Abiff, into the mold of clay (the physical body) and is called the Molten Sea. The temple of the human soul is built by three Master Masons personifying Wisdom, Love, and Service, and when constructed according to the Law of Life the spirit of God dwells in the Holy Place thereof. The Soular Temple is the true Everlasting House, and he who can raise
THE MYSTERY OF THE MICROCOSM.
Redrawn from Cesariano’s Edition of Vitruvius.
Herein is depicted the mysterious Word of Plato which was crucified in space before the foundation of the world. The anonymous author of The Canon writes:
“The Logos or soul of the world, according to Plato, the Greek Hermes, and the Christ, according to the Christian Gnostics, are all one and the same as the Hebrew Adam Kadmon, who is the second person of the cabalistic triad. The Cyllenian Hermes, described by Hippolytus, so exactly resembles the lesser man found in Cesariano’s edition of Vitruvius, that they may be justifiably considered to be identical.”
After relating the figure to Dionysus because of the vine leaves wound in the hair, the same writer concludes: “Here we have clearly and distinctly a curious survival of the cosmic deity of Greece, copied and disfigured by the crude draughtsmen of the Middle Ages, but faithfully preserved, and recognizable to the last.” Similar figures are to be found in Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia. Like Cesariano’s diagrams, however, the key given for their interpretation is most inadequate. Agrippa declares that, being a type of the lesser world, man contains in himself all numbers, measures, weights, motions, and elements. The secret doctrine of Freemasonry, like that of the Dionysiac Architects, is concerned primarily with the effort to measure or estimate philosophically the parts and proportions of the microcosm, so that by the knowledge derived therefrom the supreme ambition of their craft might be realized–the creation of a perfect man.
or cast it is a Master Mason indeed! The best-informed Masonic writers have realized that Solomon’s Temple is a representation in miniature of the Universal Temple. Concerning this point, A. E. Waite, in A New Encyclopædia of Freemasonry, writes: “It is macrocosmic in character, so that the Temple is a symbol of the universe, a type of manifestation itself.”
Solomon, the Spirit of Universal Illumination–mental, spiritual, moral, and physical–is personified in the king of an earthly nation. While a great ruler by that name may have built a temple, he who considers the story solely from its historical angle will never clear away the rubbish that covers the secret vaults. The rubbish is interpolated matter in the form of superficial symbols, allegories, and degrees which have no legitimate part in the original Freemasonic Mysteries. Concerning the loss of the true esoteric key to Masonic secrets, Albert Pike writes:
“No one journeys now ‘from the high place of Cabaon to the threshing floor of Oman the Yebusite,’ nor has seen, ‘his Master, clothed in blue and gold;’ nor are apprentices and Fellow-crafts any longer paid at their respective Columns; nor is the Master’s working tool the Tracing Board, nor does he use in his work ‘Chalk, Charcoal, and an Earthen Vessel,’ nor does the Apprentice, becoming a Fellow Craft, pass from the square to the compass; for the meanings of these phrases as symbols have long been lost.”
According to the ancient Rabbins, Solomon was an initiate of the Mystery schools and the temple which he built was actually a house of initiation containing amass of pagan philosophic and phallic emblems. The pomegranates, the palm-headed columns, the Pillars before the door, the Babylonian cherubim, and the arrangement of the chambers and draperies all indicate the temple to have been patterned after the sanctuaries of Egypt and Atlantis. Isaac Myer, in The Qabbalah, makes the following observation:
“The pseudo-Clement of Rome, writes: ‘God made man male and female. The male is Christ: the female, the Church.’ The Qabbalists called the Holy Spirit, the mother, and the Church of Israel, the Daughter. Solomon engraved on the walls of his Temple, likenesses of the male and female principles, to adumbrate this mystery; such, it is said, were the figures of the cherubim. This was, however, not in obedience to the words of the Thorah. They were symbolical of the Upper, the spiritual, the former or maker, positive or male, and the Lower, the passive, the negative or female, formed or made by the first.”
Masonry came to Northern Africa and Asia Minor from the lost continent of Atlantis, not under its present name but rather under the general designation Sun and Fire Worship. The ancient Mysteries did not cease to exist when Christianity became the world’s most powerful religion. Great Pan did not die! Freemasonry is the proof of his survival. The pre-Christian Mysteries simply assumed the symbolism of the new faith, perpetuating through its emblems and allegories the same truths which had been the property of the wise since the beginning of the world. There is no true explanation, therefore, for Christian symbols save that which is concealed within pagan philosophy. Without the mysterious keys carried by the hierophants of the Egyptian, Brahmin, and Persian cults the gates of Wisdom cannot be opened. Consider with reverent spirit, therefore, the sublime allegory of the Temple and its Builders, realizing that beneath its literal interpretation lies hidden a Royal Secret.
According to the Talmudic legends, Solomon understood the mysteries of the Qabbalah. He was also an alchemist and a necromancer, being able to control the dæmons, and from them and other inhabitants of the invisible worlds he secured much of his wisdom. In his translation of Clavicula Salomonis, or The Key of Solomon the King, a work presumably setting forth the magical secrets gathered by Solomon and used by him in the conjuration of spirits and which, according to Frank C. Higgins, contains many sidelights on Masonic initiatory rituals, S. L. MacGregor-Mathers recognizes the probability that King Solomon was a magician in the fullest sense of that word. “I see no reason to doubt,” he affirms, “the tradition which assigns the authorship of the ‘Key’ to King Solomon, for among others Josephus, the Jewish historian, especially mentions the magical works attributed to that monarch; this is confirmed by many Eastern traditions, and his magical skill is frequently mentioned in the Arabian Nights.”
Concerning Solomon’s supernatural powers, Josephus writes in his Eighth Book of the Antiquities of the Jews:
“Now the sagacity and wisdom which God had bestowed on Solomon was so great that he exceeded the ancients, in so much that he was no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are said to have been beyond all men in understanding; * * * God also enabled him to learn that skill which expelled demons, which is a science useful and sanative to him. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day.”
The mediæval alchemists were convinced that King Solomon understood the secret processes of Hermes by means of which it was possible to multiply metals. Dr. Bacstrom writes that the Universal Spirit (CHiram) assisted King Solomon to build his temple, because Solomon being wise in the wisdom of alchemy knew how to control this incorporeal essence and, setting it to work for him, caused the invisible universe to supply him with vast amounts of gold and silver which most people believed were mined by natural methods.
The mysteries of the Islamic faith are now in the keeping of the dervishes–men who, renouncing worldliness, have withstood the test of a thousand and one days of temptation. Jelal-ud-din, the great Persian Sufic poet and philosopher, is accredited with having founded the Order of Mevlevi, or the “dancing dervishes,” whose movements exoterically signify the motions of the celestial bodies and esoterically result in the establishment of a rhythm which stimulates the centers of spiritual consciousness within the dancer’s body.
“According to the mystical canon, there are always on earth a certain number of holy men who are admitted to intimate communion with the Deity. The one who occupies the highest position among his contemporaries is called the ‘Axis’ (Qūtb) or ‘Pole’ of his time. * * * Subordinate to the Qūtb are two holy beings who bear the title of ‘The Faithful Ones,’ and are assigned places on his right and left respectively. Below these is a quartette of ‘Intermediate Ones’ (Evtād); and on successively lower planes ate five ‘Lights’ (Envār), and seven ‘Very Good’ (Akhyār). The next rank is filled by forty ‘Absent Ones’ (Rijal-i-ghaib), also termed ‘Martyrs’ (Shuheda). When an ‘Axis’ quits this earthly existence, he is succeeded by the ‘Faithful One’ who has occupied the place at his right hand. * * * For to these holy men, who also bear the collective titles of ‘Lords of Souls,’ and ‘Directors,’ is committed a spiritual supremacy over mankind far exceeding the temporal authority of earthly rulers.” (See Mysticism and Magic in Turkey, by L. M. J. Garnett.)
The Axis is a mysterious individual who, unknown and unsuspected, mingles with mankind and who, according to tradition, has his favorite seat upon the roof of the Caaba. J. P. Brown, in The Dervishes, gives a description of these “Master Souls.”
FREEMASONRY’S PRICELESS HERITAGE
The sanctum sanctorum of Freemasonry is ornamented with the gnostic jewels of a thousand ages; its rituals ring with the divinely inspired words of seers and sages. A hundred religious have brought their gifts of wisdom to its altar; arts and sciences unnumbered have contributed to its symbolism. Freemasonry is a world-wide university, teaching the liberal arts and sciences of the soul to all who will hearken to its words. Its chairs are seats of learning and its pillars uphold an arch of universal education. Its trestleboards are inscribed with the eternal verities of all ages and upon those who comprehend its sacred depths has dawned the realization that within the Freemasonic Mysteries lie hidden the long-lost arcana sought by all peoples since the genesis of human reason.
The philosophic power of Freemasonry lies in its symbols–its priceless heritage from the Mystery schools of antiquity. In a letter to Robert Freke Gould, Albert Pike writes:
“It began to shape itself to my intellectual vision into something more imposing and majestic, solemnly mysterious and grand. It seemed to me like the Pyramids in their loneliness, in whose yet undiscovered chambers may be hidden, for the enlightenment of coming generations, the sacred books of the Egyptians, so long lost to the world; like the Sphynx half buried in the desert. In its symbolism, which and its spirit of brotherhood are its essence, Freemasonry is more ancient than any of the world’s living religions. It has the symbols and doctrines which, older than himself, Zarathustra inculcated; and ii seemed to me a spectacle sublime, yet pitiful–the ancient Faith of our ancestors holding out to the world its symbols once so eloquent, and mutely and in vain asking for an interpreter. And so I came at last to see that the true greatness and majesty of Freemasonry consist in its proprietorship of these and its other symbols; and that its symbolism is its soul.”
Though the temples of Thebes and Karnak be now but majestic heaps of broken and time-battered stone, the spirit: of Egyptian philosophy still marches triumphant through the centuries. Though the rock-hewn sanctuaries of the ancient Brahmins be now deserted and their carvings crumbled into dust, still the wisdom of the Vedas endures. Though the oracles be silenced and the House of the Mysteries be now but rows of ghostly columns, still shines the spiritual glory of Hellas with luster undiminished. Though Zoroaster, Hermes, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle are now but dim memories in a world once rocked by the transcendency of their intellectual genius, still in the mystic temple of Freemasonry these god-men live again in their words and symbols; and the candidate, passing through the initiations, feels himself face to face with these illumined hierophants of days long past.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Freemasons” redirects here. For other uses, see Freemasons (disambiguation).
“Masonic” redirects here. For the ghost town in California, see Masonic, California.
The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the lodge. The lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, world-wide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry. Each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of masons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry, its gradal system, retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. These are the degrees offered by craft, or blue lodge Freemasonry. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are now administered by different bodies than the craft degrees.
Organisation, structure and beliefs
Main article: Masonic Lodge
The Masonic Lodge is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. The lodge meets regularly to conduct the usual formal business of any small organisation (pay bills, organize social and charitable events, elect new members, etc.). In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree or receive a lecture, which is usually on some aspect of Masonic history or ritual. At the conclusion of the meeting, the lodge might adjourn for a formal dinner, or festive board, sometimes involving toasting and song.
The bulk of Masonic ritual consists of degree ceremonies. Candidates for Freemasonry are progressively initiated into Freemasonry, first in the degree of Entered Apprentice. Some time later, in a separate ceremony, they will be passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and finally they will be raised to the degree of Master Mason. In all of these ceremonies, the candidate is entrusted with passwords, signs and grips peculiar to his new rank. Another ceremony is the annual installation of the Master and officers of the lodge. In some jurisdictions Installed Master is valued as a separate rank, with its own secrets to distinguish its members. In other jurisdictions, the grade is not recognised, and no inner ceremony conveys new secrets during the installation of a new Master of the lodge.
Most lodges have some sort of social calendar, allowing Masons and their partners to meet in a less ritualised environment. Often coupled with these events is the obligation placed on every Mason to contribute to charity. This occurs at both lodge and Grand Lodge level. Masonic charities contribute to many fields from education to disaster relief.
These private local lodges form the backbone of Freemasonry, and a Freemason will necessarily have been initiated into one of these. There also exist specialist lodges where Masons meet to celebrate anything from sport to Masonic research. The rank of Master Mason also entitles a Freemason to explore Masonry further through other degrees, administered separately from the craft, or “blue lodge” degrees described here, but having a similar format to their meetings.
There is very little consistency in Freemasonry. Because each Masonic Jurisdiction is independent, each sets its own procedures. The wording of the ritual, the number of officers present, the layout of the meeting room, etc. varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The officers of the lodge are elected or appointed annually. Every Masonic Lodge has a Master, two Wardens, a secretary and a treasurer. There is also a Tyler, or outer guard, who is always present outside the door of a working lodge. Other offices vary between jurisdictions.
Each Masonic lodge exists and operates according to a set of ancient principles known as the Landmarks of Freemasonry. These principles have thus far eluded any universally accepted definition.
Ritual and symbolism
Main article: Masonic ritual and symbolism
Freemasonry describes itself as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the manual tools of stonemasons – the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, among others. A moral lesson is attached to each of these tools, although the assignment is by no means consistent. The meaning of the symbolism is taught and explored through ritual.
All Freemasons begin their journey in the “craft” by being progressively initiated, passed and raised into the three degrees of craft, or blue lodge Masonry. During these three rituals, the candidate is progressively taught the meanings of the lodge symbols, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other Masons that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegory and part lecture, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of his chief architect, Hiram Abiff. The degrees are those of Entered apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. While many different versions of these rituals exist, with two different lodge layouts and versions of the Hiram myth, each version is recognisable to any Freemason from any jurisdiction.
In some jurisdictions the main themes of each degree are illustrated by tracing boards. These painted depictions of Masonic themes are exhibited in the lodge according to which degree is being worked, and are explained to the candidate to illustrate the legend and symbolism of each degree.
The idea of Masonic brotherhood probably descends from a 16th-century legal definition of a brother as one who has taken an oath of mutual support to another. Accordingly, Masons swear at each degree to keep the contents of that degree secret, and to support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law. In most lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition). In Progressive continental Freemasonry, books other than scripture are permissible, a cause of rupture between Grand lodges.
Organisations of lodges
Main article: Grand Lodge
Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are independent and sovereign bodies that govern Masonry in a given country, state, or geographical area (termed a jurisdiction). There is no single overarching governing body that presides over worldwide Freemasonry; connections between different jurisdictions depend solely on mutual recognition.
Freemasonry, as it exists in various forms all over the world, has a membership estimated by the United Grand Lodge of England at around six million worldwide. The fraternity is administratively organised into independent Grand Lodges (or sometimes Grand Orients), each of which governs its own Masonic jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. The largest single jurisdiction, in terms of membership, is the United Grand Lodge of England (with a membership estimated at around a quarter million). The Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland (taken together) have approximately 150,000 members. In the United States total membership is just under two million.
Recognition, amity and regularity
Relations between Grand Lodges are determined by the concept of Recognition. Each Grand Lodge maintains a list of other Grand Lodges which it recognises. When two Grand Lodges recognise and are in Masonic communication with each other, they are said to be in amity, and the brethren of each may visit each other’s lodges and interact Masonically. When two Grand Lodges are not in amity, inter-visitation is not allowed. There are many reasons why one Grand Lodge will withhold or withdraw recognition from another, but the two most common are Exclusive Jurisdiction and Regularity.
Exclusive Jurisdiction is a concept whereby only one Grand Lodge will be recognized in any geographical area. If two Grand Lodges claim jurisdiction over the same area, the other Grand Lodges will have to choose between them, and they may not all decide to recognize the same one. (In 1849, for example, the Grand Lodge of New York split into two rival factions, each claiming to be the legitimate Grand Lodge. Other Grand Lodges had to choose between them until the schism was healed.) Exclusive Jurisdiction can be waived when the two over-lapping Grand Lodges are themselves in Amity and agree to share jurisdiction (for example, since the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is in Amity with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut, the principle of Exclusive Jurisdiction does not apply, and other Grand Lodges may recognise both).
Regularity is a concept based on adherence to Masonic Landmarks, the basic membership requirements, tenets and rituals of the craft. Each Grand Lodge sets its own definition of what these landmarks are, and thus what is Regular and what is Irregular (and the definitions do not necessarily agree between Grand Lodges). Essentially, every Grand Lodge will hold that its landmarks (its requirements, tenets and rituals) are Regular, and judge other Grand Lodges based on those. If the differences are significant, one Grand Lodge may declare the other “Irregular” and withdraw or withhold recognition.
The most commonly shared rules for Recognition (based on Regularity) are those given by the United Grand Lodge of England in 1929:
- The Grand Lodge should be established by an existing regular Grand Lodge, or by at least three regular lodges.
- A belief in a supreme being and scripture is a condition of membership.
- Initiates should take their vows on that scripture.
- Only men can be admitted, and no relationship exists with mixed lodges.
- The Grand Lodge has complete control over the first three degrees, and is not subject to another body.
- All lodges shall display a volume of scripture with the square and compasses while in session.
- There is no discussion of politics or religion.
- “Antient landmarks, customs and usages” observed.
Other degrees, orders and bodies
Main article: Masonic appendant bodies
Blue lodge Freemasonry offers only three traditional degrees, and in most jurisdictions, the rank of past or installed master. Master Masons are also able to extend their Masonic experience by taking further degrees, in appendant bodies approved by their own Grand Lodge.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a system of 33 degrees (including the three blue lodge degrees) administered by a local or national Supreme Council. This system is popular in North America and in Continental Europe. The York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry and Knights Templar.
In Britain, separate bodies administer each order. Freemasons are encouraged to join the Holy Royal Arch, which is linked to Mark Masonry in Scotland and Ireland, but separate in England. Templar and Cryptic Masonry also exist.
Joining a lodge
Candidates for Freemasonry will have met most active members of the lodge they are joining before they are initiated. The process varies between jurisdictions, but the candidate will typically have been introduced by a friend at a lodge social function, or at some form of open evening in the lodge. In modern times, interested people often track down a local lodge through the Internet. The onus is on candidates to ask to join; while candidates may be encouraged to ask, they are never invited. Once the initial inquiry is made, an interview usually follows to determine the candidate’s suitability. If the candidate decides to proceed from here, the lodge is balloted before he or she can be accepted.
The absolute minimum requirement of any body of Freemasons is that the candidate must be free, and considered to be of good character. There is usually an age requirement, varying greatly between Grand Lodges, and capable of being overridden by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge. The underlying assumption is that the candidate should be a mature adult.
In addition, most Grand Lodges require the candidate to declare a belief in a Supreme Being. In a few cases, the candidate may be required to be of a specific religion. The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians. At the other end of the spectrum, “Liberal” or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in any deity, and accepts atheists (a cause of discord with the rest of Freemasonry).
During the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is expected to swear (usually on a volume of sacred text appropriate to his personal religious faith) to fulfil certain obligations as a Mason. In the course of three degrees, new masons will promise to keep the secrets of their degree from lower degrees and outsiders, and to support a fellow Mason in distress (as far as practicality and the law permit).There is instruction as to the duties of a Freemason, but on the whole, Freemasons are left to explore the craft in the manner they find most satisfying. Some will further explore the ritual and symbolism of the craft, others will focus their involvement on the social side of the lodge, while still others will concentrate on the charitable functions of the lodge.
Main article: History of Freemasonry
Since the middle of the 19th century, Masonic historians have sought the origins of the movement in a series of similar documents known as the Old Charges, dating from the Regius Poem in about 1425 to the beginning of the 18th century. Alluding to the membership of a lodge of operative masons, they relate a mythologised history of the craft, the duties of its grades, and the manner in which oaths of fidelity are to be taken on joining. The fifteenth century also sees the first evidence of ceremonial regalia.
There is no clear mechanism by which these local trade organisations became today’s Masonic lodges, but the earliest rituals and passwords known, from operative lodges around the turn of the 17th-18th centuries, show continuity with the rituals developed in the later 18th century by accepted or speculative Masons, as those members who did not practice the physical craft came to be known.The minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No.1 in Scotland show a continuity from an operative lodge in 1598 to a modern speculative lodge. It is reputed to be the oldest Masonic lodge in the world.
The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster (later called the Grand Lodge of England (GLE)), was founded on 24 June 1717, when four existing London lodges met for a joint dinner. Many English Lodges joined the new regulatory body, which itself entered a period of self-publicity and expansion. However, many lodges could not endorse changes which some lodges of the GLE made to the ritual (they came to be known as the Moderns), and a few of these formed a rival Grand Lodge on 17 July 1751, which is now known as the “Antient Grand Lodge of England.” These two Grand Lodges vied for supremacy until the Moderns promised to return to the ancient ritual. They united on 25 November 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
The Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Grand Lodge of Scotland were formed in 1725 and 1736 respectively, although neither persuaded all of the existing lodges in their countries to join for many years.
The earliest known American lodges were in Pennsylvania. The Collector for the port of Pennsylvania, John Moore, wrote of attending lodges there in 1715, two years before the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London. The Premier Grand Lodge of England appointed a Provincial Grand Master for North America in 1731, based in Pennsylvania. Other lodges in the colony obtained authorisations from the later Antient Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which was particularly well represented in the travelling lodges of the British Army. Many lodges came into existence with no warrant from any Grand Lodge, applying and paying for their authorisation only after they were confident of their own survival.
After the American Revolution, independent U.S. Grand Lodges formed themselves within each state. Some thought was briefly given to organising an overarching “Grand Lodge of the United States,” with George Washington (who was a member of a Virginian lodge) as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived. The various state Grand Lodges did not wish to diminish their own authority by agreeing to such a body.
Prince Hall Freemasonry
Main article: Prince Hall Freemasonry
Prince Hall Freemasonry exists because of the refusal of early American lodges to admit African-Americans. In 1775, an African-American named Prince Hall, along with fourteen other African-Americans, was initiated into a British military lodge with a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, having failed to obtain admission from the other lodges in Boston. When the military Lodge left North America, those fifteen men were given the authority to meet as a Lodge, but not to initiate Masons. In 1784, these individuals obtained a Warrant from the Premier Grand Lodge of England (GLE) and formed African Lodge, Number 459. When the UGLE was formed in 1813, all U.S.-based Lodges were stricken from their rolls – due largely to the War of 1812. Thus, separated from both UGLE and any concordantly recognised U.S. Grand Lodge, African Lodge re-titled itself as the African Lodge, Number 1 – and became a de facto “Grand Lodge” (this Lodge is not to be confused with the various Grand Lodges on the Continent of Africa). As with the rest of U.S. Freemasonry, Prince Hall Freemasonry soon grew and organised on a Grand Lodge system for each state.
Widespread segregation in 19th- and early 20th-century North America made it difficult for African-Americans to join Lodges outside of Prince Hall jurisdictions – and impossible for inter-jurisdiction recognition between the parallel U.S. Masonic authorities. By the 1980s such discrimination was a thing of the past, and today most U.S. Grand Lodges recognize their Prince Hall counterparts, and the authorities of both traditions are working towards full recognition. The United Grand Lodge of England has no problem with recognising Prince Hall Grand Lodges. While celebrating their heritage as lodges of black Americans, Prince Hall is open to all men regardless of race or religion.
Emergence of Continental Freemasonry
English Freemasonry spread to France in the 1720s, first as lodges of expatriates and exiled Jacobites, and then as distinctively French lodges which still follow the ritual of the Moderns. From France and England, Freemasonry spread to most of Continental Europe during the course of the 18th century. The Grand Loge de France formed under the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Clermont, who exercised only nominal authority. His successor, the Duke of Orléans, reconstituted the central body as the Grand Orient de France in 1773. Briefly eclipsed during the French Revolution, French Freemasonry continued to grow in the next century.
The ritual form on which the Grand Orient of France was based was abolished in England in the events leading to the formation of theUnited Grand Lodge of England in 1813. However the two jurisdictions continued in amity (mutual recognition) until events of the 1860s and 1870s drove a seemingly permanent wedge between them. In 1868 the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the State of Louisiana appeared in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, recognised by the Grand Orient de France, but regarded by the older body as an invasion of their jurisdiction. The new Scottish rite body admitted blacks, and the resolution of the Grand Orient the following year that neither colour, race, nor religion could disqualify a man from Masonry prompted the Grand Lodge to withdraw recognition, and it persuaded other American Grand Lodges to do the same.
A dispute during the Lausanne Congress of Supreme Councils of 1875 prompted the Grand Orient de France to commission a report by a Protestant pastor which concluded that, as Freemasonry was not a religion, it should not require a religious belief. The new constitutions read, “Its principles are absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity”, the existence of God and the immortality of the soul being struck out. It is possible that the immediate objections of the United Grand Lodge of England were at least partly motivated by the political tension between France and Britain at the time. The result was the withdrawal of recognition of the Grand Orient of France by the United Grand Lodge of England, a situation that continues today.
Not all French lodges agreed with the new wording. In 1894, lodges favouring the compulsory recognition of the Great Architect of the Universe formed the Grande Loge de France. In 1913, the United Grand Lodge of England recognised a new Grand Lodge of Regular Freemasons, a Grand Lodge that follows a similar rite to Anglo-American Freemasonry with a mandatory belief in a deity.
There are now three strands of Freemasonry in France, which extend into the rest of Continental Europe:-
- Liberal (also adogmatic or progressive) – Principles of liberty of conscience, and laicity, particularly the separation of the Church and State.
- Traditional – Old French ritual with a requirement for a belief in a supreme being. (This strand is typified by the Grande Loge de France).
- Regular – Standard Anglo-American ritual, mandatory belief in Supreme being.
The term Continental Freemasonry was used in Mackey’s 1873 Encyclopedia of Freemasonry to “designate the Lodges on the Continent of Europe which retain many usages which have either been abandoned by, or never were observed in, the Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, as well as the United States of America”. Today, it is frequently used to refer to only the Liberal jurisdictions typified by the Grand Orient de France.
The majority of Freemasonry considers the Liberal (Continental) strand to be Irregular, and thus withhold recognition. For the Continental lodges, however, having a different approach to Freemasonry was not a reason for severing masonic ties. In 1961, an umbrella organisation, Centre de Liaison et d’Information des Puissances maçonniques Signataires de l’Appel de Strasbourg (CLIPSAS) was set up, which today provides a forum for most of these Grand Lodges and Grand Orients worldwide. Included in the list of over 70 Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are representatives of all three of the above categories, including mixed and women’s organisations. The United Grand Lodge of England does not communicate with any of these jurisdictions, and expects its allies to follow suit. This creates the distinction between Anglo-American and Continental Freemasonry.
Freemasonry and women
The status of women in the old guilds and corporations of mediaeval masons remains uncertain. The principle of “femme sole” allowed a widow to continue the trade of her husband, but its application had wide local variations, ranging from full membership of a trade body to limited trade by deputation to approved members of that body. In masonry, the small available evidence points to the less empowered end of the scale.
At the dawn of the Grand Lodge era, during the 1720s, James Anderson composed the first printed constitutions for Freemasons, the basis for most subsequent constitutions, which specifically excluded women from Freemasonry. As Freemasonry spread, continental masons began to include their ladies in Lodges of Adoption, which worked three degrees with the same names as the men’s but different content. The French officially abandoned the experiment in the early 19th century. Later organisations with a similar aim emerged in the United States, but distinguished the names of the degrees from those of male masonry.
Maria Deraismes was initiated into Freemasonry in 1882, then resigned to allow her lodge to rejoin their Grand Lodge. Having failed to achieve acceptance from any masonic governing body, she and Georges Martin started a mixed masonic lodge that actually worked masonic ritual. Annie Besant spread the phenomenon to the English speaking world. Disagreements over ritual led to the formation of exclusively female bodies of Freemasons in England, which spread to other countries. Meanwhile, the French had re-invented Adoption as an all-female lodge in 1901, only to cast it aside again in 1935. The lodges, however, continued to meet, which gave rise, in 1959, to a body of women practising continental Freemasonry.
In general, Continental Freemasonry is sympathetic to Freemasonry amongst women, dating from the 1890s when French lodges assisted the emergent co-masonic movement by promoting enough of their members to the 33rd degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to allow them, in 1899, to form their own grand council, recognised by the other Continental Grand Councils of that Rite. The United Grand Lodge of England issued a statement in 1999 recognising the two women’s grand lodges there to be regular in all but the participants. While they were not, therefore, recognised as regular, they were part of Freemasonry “in general”. The attitude of most regular Anglo-American grand lodges remains that women Freemasons are not legitimate Masons.
Main article: Anti-Masonry
See also: Masonic conspiracy theories
Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) has been defined as “opposition to Freemasonry”, but there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of widely differing criticisms from diverse (and often incompatible) groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form. Critics have included religious groups, political groups, and conspiracy theorists.
There have been many disclosures and exposés dating as far back as the 18th century. These often lack context, may be outdated for various reasons, or could be outright hoaxes on the part of the author, as in the case of the Taxil hoax.
These hoaxes and exposés have often become the basis for criticism of Masonry, often religious or political in nature (usually by totalitarian dictatorial regimes, but also arising in the historical Anti-Masonic Party in the United States), or are based on suspicion of corrupt conspiracy of some form. The political opposition that arose after the “Morgan Affair” in 1826 gave rise to the term “Anti-Masonry,” which is still in use today, both by Masons in referring to their critics and as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves.
Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the fraternity itself, and has long been the target of conspiracy theories, which assert Freemasonry to be an occult and evil power.
Christianity and Freemasonry
Main article: Opposition to Freemasonry within Christianity
The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Roman Catholic Church. The objections raised by the Roman Catholic Church are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine. A number of Papal pronouncements have been issued against Freemasonry. The first was Pope Clement XII’s In Eminenti, 28 April 1738; the most recent was Pope Leo XIII’s Ab Apostolici, 15 October 1890. The 1917 Code of Canon Lawexplicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication, and banned books favouring Freemasonry.
In 1983, the Church issued a new Code of Canon Law. Unlike its predecessor, it did not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies it condemns. It states: “A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.” This named omission of Masonic orders caused both Catholics and Freemasons to believe that the ban on Catholics becoming Freemasons may have been lifted, especially after the perceived liberalisation of Vatican II. However, the matter was clarified when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which states: “… the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” Thus, from a Catholic perspective, there is still a ban on Catholics joining Masonic Lodges. For its part, Freemasonry has never objected to Catholics joining their fraternity. Those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE deny the Church’s claims. The UGLE now states that “Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it.”
In contrast to Catholic allegations of rationalism and naturalism, Protestant objections are more likely to be based on allegations of mysticism, occultism, and even Satanism.Masonic scholar Albert Pike is often quoted (in some cases misquoted) by Protestant anti-Masons as an authority for the position of Masonry on these issues. However, Pike, although undoubtedly learned, was not a spokesman for Freemasonry and was also controversial among Freemasons in general. His writings represented his personal opinion only, and furthermore an opinion grounded in the attitudes and understandings of late 19th century Southern Freemasonry of the USA. Notably, his book carries in the preface a form of disclaimer from his own Grand Lodge. No one voice has ever spoken for the whole of Freemasonry.
Free Methodist Church founder B.T. Roberts was a vocal opponent of Freemasonry in the mid 19th century. Roberts opposed the society on moral grounds and stated, “The god of the lodge is not the God of the Bible.” Roberts believed Freemasonry was a “mystery” or “alternate” religion and encouraged his church not to support ministers who were Freemasons. Freedom from secret societies is one of the “frees” the Free Methodist Church was founded upon.
Since the founding of Freemasonry, many Bishops of the Church of England have been Freemasons, such as Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher. In the past, few members of the Church of England would have seen any incongruity in concurrently adhering to Anglican Christianity and practicing Freemasonry. In recent decades, however, reservations about Freemasonry have increased within Anglicanism, perhaps due to the increasing prominence of the evangelical wing of the church. The former Archbishop of Canterbury,Dr Rowan Williams, appeared to harbour some reservations about Masonic ritual, whilst being anxious to avoid causing offence to Freemasons inside and outside the Church of England. In 2003 he felt it necessary to apologise to British Freemasons after he said that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and that he had barred the appointment of Freemasons to senior posts in his diocese when he was Bishop of Monmouth.
In 1933, the Orthodox Church of Greece officially declared that being a Freemason constitutes an act of apostasy and thus, until he repents, the person involved with Freemasonry cannot partake of the Eucharist. This has been generally affirmed throughout the whole Orthodox Church. The Orthodox critique of Freemasonry agrees with both the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions: “Freemasonry cannot be at all compatible with Christianity as far as it is a secret organization, acting and teaching in mystery and secret and deifying rationalism.”
Regular Freemasonry has traditionally not responded to these claims, beyond the often repeated statement that those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE explicitly adhere to the principle that “Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. There is no separate ‘Masonic deity,’ and there is no separate proper name for a deity in Freemasonry.”
Islam and Freemasonry
Many Islamic anti-Masonic arguments are closely tied to both antisemitism and Anti-Zionism, though other criticisms are made such as linking Freemasonry to al-Masih ad-Dajjal(the false Messiah). Some Muslim anti-Masons argue that Freemasonry promotes the interests of the Jews around the world and that one of its aims is to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. In article 28 of its Covenant, Hamas states that Freemasonry, Rotary, and other similar groups “work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions …”
Many countries with a significant Muslim population do not allow Masonic establishments within their jurisdictions. However, countries such as Turkey and Morocco have established Grand Lodges, while in countries such as Malaysia and Lebanon there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge.
Masonic lodges existed in Iraq as early as 1917, when the first lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) was opened. Nine lodges under UGLE existed by the 1950s, and a Scottish lodge was formed in 1923. However the position changed following the revolution, and all lodges were forced to close in 1965. This position was later reinforced under Saddam Hussein; the death penalty was “prescribed” for those who “promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organisations.”
In 1799 English Freemasonry almost came to a halt due to Parliamentary proclamation. In the wake of the French Revolution, the Unlawful Societies Act, 1799 banned any meetings of groups that required their members to take an oath or obligation. The Grand Masters of both the Moderns and the Antients Grand Lodges called on Prime Minister William Pitt (who was not a Freemason) and explained to him that Freemasonry was a supporter of the law and lawfully constituted authority and was much involved in charitable work. As a result Freemasonry was specifically exempted from the terms of the Act, provided that each private lodge’s Secretary placed with the local “Clerk of the Peace” a list of the members of his lodge once a year. This continued until 1967 when the obligation of the provision was rescinded by Parliament.
Freemasonry in the United States faced political pressure following the 1826 kidnapping of William Morgan by Freemasons and subsequent disappearance. Reports of the “Morgan Affair”, together with opposition to Jacksonian democracy (Andrew Jackson was a prominent Mason) helped fuel an Anti-Masonic movement, culminating in the formation of a short lived Anti-Masonic Party which fielded candidates for the Presidential elections of 1828 and 1832.
In Italy, Freemasonry has become linked to a scandal concerning the Propaganda Due lodge (aka P2). This lodge was chartered by theGrande Oriente d’Italia in 1877, as a lodge for visiting Masons unable to attend their own lodges. Under Licio Gelli’s leadership, in the late 1970s, P2 became involved in the financial scandals that nearly bankrupted the Vatican Bank. However, by this time the lodge was operating independently and irregularly, as the Grand Orient had revoked its charter and expelled Gelli in 1976.
Conspiracy theorists have long associated Freemasonry with the New World Order and the Illuminati, and state that Freemasonry as an organisation is either bent on world domination or already secretly in control of world politics. Historically, Freemasonry has attracted criticism—and suppression—from both the politically extreme right (e.g., Nazi Germany) and the extreme left (e.g. the formerCommunist states in Eastern Europe).
Even in modern democracies, Freemasonry is sometimes viewed with distrust. In the UK, Masons working in the justice system, such as judges and police officers, were from 1999 to 2009 required to disclose their membership. While a parliamentary inquiry found that there has been no evidence of wrongdoing, it was felt that any potential loyalties Masons might have, based on their vows to support fellow Masons, should be transparent to the public. The policy of requiring a declaration of masonic membership of applicants for judicial office (judges and magistrates) was ended in 2009 by Justice Secretary Jack Straw (who had initiated the requirement in the 1990s). Straw stated that the rule was considered disproportionate, since no impropriety or malpractice had been shown as a result of judges being Freemasons.
Freemasonry is both successful and controversial in France; membership is rising, but reporting in the popular media is often negative.
In some countries anti-Masonry is often related to antisemitism and anti-Zionism. For example, In 1980, the Iraqi legal and penal code was changed by Saddam Hussein‘s rulingBa’ath Party, making it a felony to “promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including Freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organisations”. Professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Sheffield writes: “Since at least the time of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, antisemitism has gone hand in hand with anti-masonry, so it is not surprising that allegations that 11 September was a Zionist plot have been accompanied by suggestions that the attacks were inspired by a masonic world order”.
Main article: The Holocaust
See also: Liberté chérie (Freemasonry)
The preserved records of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (the Reich Security Main Office) show the persecution of Freemasons.RSHA Amt VII (Written Records) was overseen by Professor Franz Six and was responsible for “ideological” tasks, by which was meant the creation of antisemitic and anti-Masonic propaganda. While the number is not accurately known, it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were killed under the Nazi regime. Masonic concentration camp inmates were graded as political prisoners and wore an inverted red triangle.
The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in 1926, as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen, Germany. In 1938 a forget-me-not badge—made by the same factory as the Masonic badge—was chosen for the annual Nazi Party Winterhilfswerk, the annual charity drive of the National Socialist People’s Welfare, the welfare branch of the Nazi party. This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of membership.
After World War II, the forget-me-not flower was again used as a Masonic emblem at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 1948. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all who suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the fraternal order. For the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, see Jacques de Molay.
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DeMolay International (also known as the Order of DeMolay), founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1919, is an internationalorganization for young men ages 12 to 21. DeMolay derives its name from Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. DeMolay was incorporated in the 1990s and is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization holding a group exemption letter.
DeMolay is open for membership to young men between the ages of 12 to 21 of good character who acknowledge a higher power. Currently about 15,000 active members are in the United States and Canada and additional members have active chapters in Italy, Germany, Romania, Peru, the Philippines, Australia, Aruba, Bolivia, Serbia, Japan, and Brazil. At present Brazilian DeMolay has more active members than even the United States, making Portuguese the most commonly used language in DeMolay Chapters.
DeMolay is modeled after Freemasonry. With the sponsorship of a Masonic body, a DeMolay chapter often meets in a Lodge room or, if not in a Lodge room, in some other appropriate room within the same building. Although not a “Masonic organization” as such, DeMolay is considered to be part of the general “family” of Masonic and associated organizations, along with other youth groups such as Job’s Daughters and Rainbow. As with Rainbow, a family connection to Masonry is not a prerequisite for membership into DeMolay.
The Order of DeMolay originally had nine members. The crown appearing in the self-adopted heraldic arms (the emblem) of the order contains 10 rubies, each of which represents one of the original nine and the organization’s founder, Frank S. Land. Originally, the crown of the arms contained pearls, not rubies. When a member of the group died, the pearl representing him was changed to a ruby. Today, all of the original founders have died and all pearls are rubies.
Original Ten Members
- Ivan M. Bentley: He lived in Louis Lower’s neighborhood. Created a Chevalier in 1920. Died in an accident in 1921. His death made him the first ruby in the emblem.
- Louis G. Lower: The first DeMolay and the first Active DeMolay Legionnaire (LOH). Created a Chevalier in 1920. He was gunned down by an intoxicated security guard on July 18, 1943. He was the second of the original nine to die, became the second ruby.
- Frank Land: The third ruby on the DeMolay crown was for Frank Land himself. Doctors diagnosed his disease as scleroderma. Doctors advised Land to slow down, but he continued to work at his frenetic pace, telling them, “My work must go on. DeMolay must go on.” Although he had begun to show signs of fading, Frank Land’s death on November 8, 1959 came as a shock, especially to his beloved organization. The fraternity successfully made the transition to new leadership, but mourns his passing to this day. Every DeMolay around the world honors the memory of Frank S. Land every year on November 8.
- Edmund Marshall: He lived next door to Elmer Dorsey. Created Chevalier in 1920. Graduated from University of Missouri. President of the Kansas City Board of Trade. He died on November 8, 1966 and became the fourth ruby.
- Clyde C. Stream: Cousin of Gorman McBride. He was a technical engineer with the Sagano Electric Company. Retired to Bradenton, Florida. He died on May 3, 1971 and became the fifth ruby.
- Gorman A. McBride: He lived in the neighborhood with Louis Lower. Second Obligated DeMolay. First Master Councilor of Mother Chapter. Created a Chevalier in 1920. Became an Active Member of the International Supreme Council. Received the Founder’s Cross from Land, the only one of the original nine to do so. He was a lawyer by profession and was Director of Activities at ISC Headquarters in the 1960s. He died on November 10, 1973 and became the sixth ruby.
- Ralph Sewell: He lived in the home of Louis Lower and became the credit manager for H. D. Lee Mercantile Company, makers of Lee jeans. Mr. Sewell was a skilled pianist and organist. He died in July 1976 and became the seventh ruby.
- Elmer V. Dorsey: He lived just behind Louis Lower. He became a successful businessman and moved to Texas and became an Advisor to Richardson Chapter. He died in November 1979 and became the eighth ruby.
- William W. Steinhilber: He lived in the neighborhood with Louis Lower. Mr. Steinhilber became a successful stock and bond broker. He was captain of the first DeMolay baseball team. He died on October 28, 1992 and became the ninth ruby.
- Jerome Jacobson: He lived one block from Louis Lower. Mr. Jacobson graduated from University of Kansas, was admitted to the Missouri Bar as a lawyer, and had an outstanding career in law and finance. He lived in Kansas City all his life. He died in May, 2002 and became the tenth and final ruby.
DeMolay has seven Cardinal Virtues, which constitute the basic ideals and essential teachings of the organization. They are:
- Filial love (love between a parent and child)
- Reverence for sacred things
A local DeMolay body is known as a Chapter and is headed by the Master Councilor. The Master Councilor is elected by members of his Chapter and is usually among the older members of the group. The Master Councilor is assisted in his duties by a Senior Councilor and a Junior Councilor. The Senior Councilor is usually considered to be next in line as Master Councilor and Junior Councilor to follow, though two people can run against each other. The remaining officers of a Chapter are appointed by the Master Councilor, except for the Scribe, who is appointed by the Chapter’s Advisory Council.
Senior DeMolays (former members now 21 or older), Masons, or other adult mentors supervise the Chapter and are usually referred to by the moniker “Dad,” a term harkening back to one of the first members, who thought of founder Frank Land as the father he never knew and called him “Dad Land”. In recent years, women have also served as “advisors” [sic] for the group and are referred to as “Mom”.
In addition to the individual Chapter, the DeMolay organization has an officer structure at the state, provincial, or other large regional level lead by a State Master Councilor,Provincial Master Councilor, or Jurisdictional Master Councilor. In some countries, DeMolay may have a national level organization headed by a “National Master Councilor”. There are also other state, provincial, or jurisdictional positions, based on the officers of a chapter, which vary for each jurisdiction. The lead advisor (always a Master Mason and a member of the Supreme Council) in a state, jurisdiction, or country, is called an Executive Officer and the lead advisor (always a Master Mason) internationally is known as a Grand Master who governs the International Supreme Council. There are also Active DeMolay officers at an international level as well; the International Master Councilor andInternational Congress Secretary are the heads of the International DeMolay Congress and serve on the Board of Directors. These officers are always past State Master Councilors.
In some countries outside of the United States, the International Supreme Council of DeMolay has ceded control to an independent Supreme Council created to govern DeMolay in that country. Such a Supreme Council has its own Grand Master and officers. (Examples are Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines.)
DeMolay functions through a set of officers. Some are elected; some are appointed. The Master Councilor, Senior Councilor, Junior Councilor and Treasurer are always elected. All officers except where noted are appointed by the Master Councilor. The officers of a DeMolay Chapter are as follows:
|Master Councilor||Elected||Sits as chair for meetings, official representative of chapter to outside persons and organizations.|
|Senior Councilor||Elected||Many times oversees degree, ceremony work and fund raising. Assists Master Councilor and takes charge in absence of Master Councilor|
|Junior Councilor||Elected||Many times oversees membership, contacts members about events, assists other councilors and takes charge in absence of both Master and Senior Councilors|
|Scribe||Appointed by Advisory Council or elected by chapter.||Records minutes at meetings, files necessary paper work, sends and receives communications.|
|Treasurer||Elected||Manages chapter account; in many chapters the office is symbolic and only adults handle chapter funds|
|Senior Deacon||Appointed||Conducts candidates in initiation, assists councilors, sometimes proceeds to Junior Councilor|
|Junior Deacon||Appointed||Communicates with Sentinel, assists Senior Deacon|
|Senior Steward||Appointed||Keeps facilities clean and in order.|
|Junior Steward||Appointed||Assists Senior Steward|
|Orator||Appointed||Presents ceremonies, makes necessary announcements|
|Sentinel||Appointed||Verifies persons entering meetings, keeps disturbances away|
|Marshal||Appointed||Conducts necessary movement in meetings|
|Standard Bearer||Appointed||Oversees flags and proper presentation of such|
|Almoner||Appointed||Collects alms for charities, and those sick or distressed|
|Seven Preceptors||All Appointed||Represent the seven Cardinal Virtues of DeMolay|
|Organist (Optional)||Appointed||Provides Music|
Female Youth Leaders
Some DeMolay Chapters elect young ladies to positions of leadership, who act as support members and their activities.
DeMolay Chapters may elect a “Chapter Sweetheart” to serve as the female representative of the Chapter, although she is NOT an officer of the Chapter. Her duties may include attending Chapter functions and acting as an ambassador of DeMolay. The “Sweetheart” must meet the age requirements of a particular jurisdiction or Chapter (often 14 to 21.) She may be member of a neighboring Job’s Daughters Bethel, Rainbow Assembly, Triangle, or Constellation, but that is not a set requirement.
Not nearly as widespread as the use of Sweethearts, a Chapter may also elect a Chapter Princess. The program generally uses the same requirements as set forth for the Sweetheart. Her duties generally include attending Chapter functions and acting as an ambassador of DeMolay while assisting the Sweetheart in her duties.
Each state or jurisdiction holds an annual (or biennial, in some) event known as a Conclave or Convention. At this event, the members of the state or jurisdiction may vote on the State Master Councilor (or, in some cases the Provincial Master Councilor / Jurisdictional Master Councilor) and other elected positions. Some jurisdictions may elect a Deputy State Master Councilor, and / or various other positions. In same cases, these officers are appointed by the Executive Officer of jurisdiction.
During the International Congress, two delegates appointed by the Executive Officer from each state or jurisdiction meet in conjunction with the International Supreme Council. The delegates elect the International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary. Additionally, delegates discuss and vote on legislative issues. The International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary are voting members of the Board of Directors for DeMolay International. In 2008 the Congress Officers established the DeMolay International Congress Cabinet which has eight regionally-elected members. These members are charged with carrying out action items as directed by the Congress and are to assist the International Officers throughout the year.
International Congress Officers
|James C. Hawkings||48th International Master Councilor||James C. Hawkings of Georgia was installed as the 48th International Master Councilor of DeMolay at the 47th DeMolay Congress in Kansas City, MO. on June 21st, 2014.|
|Stephen C. Mattox||48th International Congress Secretary||Stephen C. Mattox of Wisconsin was installed as the 48th International Congress Secretary of DeMolay at the 47th DeMolay Congress in Kansas City, MO. on June 21st, 2014.|
|James Cavanaugh||Region 1 Cabinet Member|
|Derrick Sanders||Region 2 Cabinet Member|
|David Hasting||Region 3 Cabinet Member|
|Nick Capes||Region 4 Cabinet Member|
|Adam Medley||Region 5 Cabinet Member|
|Joey McAteer||Region 6 Cabinet Member|
|Chandler Gordon||Region 7 Cabinet Member|
|Gabriel Jones-Gallardo||Region 8 Cabinet Member|
|Region 9 Cabinet Member|
|Prisacariu Mihai||Region 10 Cabinet Member|
Each chapter must be sponsored by a local masonic body or some other group composed exclusively of masons. The sponsoring body is responsible for providing the chapter with adult advisors and a place to meet. Members of the sponsoring body form the chapter’s initial “advisory council”. The advisory council selects one of its members to be its chairman, and he is the official liaison between the chapter and the sponsoring body. Another member of the advisory council is designated the “chapter advisor,” and he is the official liaison between the advisory council and the chapter. The chapter’s advisory council is responsible for supervising the chapter and its activities.
DeMolays participate in a wide range of activities that may include: camping, holding dances with members of Rainbow and Job’s Daughters, playing basketball, football, baseball, soccer, tennis, paintball, or billiards, going canoeing and kayaking, and taking long distance trips. Both Chapters and individual DeMolays participate in competitions for the best performance of the various Ceremonies of the Order. Winners of local competitions, in ritual and sports, may compete for State Championships, and sometimes State winners compete at even higher levels. The Chapter collectively decides what events they enjoy, then plans them, and in many cases holds fund raisers to finance them.
DeMolays are required, unless extenuating circumstances, to participate in what are referred to as “Obligatory Days”, where a chapter usually holds some sort of program in observance of such. The seven Obligatory Days are:
Patriot’s Day: A day in which chapters commemorate the country, founding fathers, and past and current military in recognition of patriotism, the last of the DeMolay Precepts. Such programs may include the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” or playing of “Taps“, the Flag folding Ceremony, visiting a historical site or monument, hosting a program honoring veterans, or having a speaker elaborate on Patriotism. Occurs sometime in February.
Devotional Day: A day to recognize the importance of God in our lives. Although DeMolay teaches no religious creed, members are encouraged to frequent places of worship. Chapters usually attend a church, synagogue, or temple together as a chapter, hold a Bible study, or honor a pastor, deacon, or member of the clergy with gratitude. This is in respect to the second DeMolay Precept, Reverence for Sacred Things, to which a DeMolay learns tolerance of others’ beliefs and things which they may hold sacred, as well as appreciating their own religious opinions. Occurs on or closest to March 18.
Parent’s Day: A day to honor Parents and the daily care and sacrifices they make for their son’s well being. Events may be dinner where DeMolays cook and serve the parents, or the presentation of the Flower Talk, a heart-felt ceremony that points out how important mothers are. Occurs on a day between May 1 and June 21, usually around Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
My Government Day: A day to explain the government of the country, state, province or community in which the Chapter is located. Usual events may include having a congressman come and speak at a chapter, participate in an Independence Day activity, meeting with the Mayor or Governor, or visiting the capitol building. For example in the Texas jurisdiction, DeMolays gather at the capitol building in Austin, TX, and participate in mock legislature in the House and Senate Chambers. Occurs in July.
Educational Day: A day to stop and appreciate the foundation of America’s greatness, the public schools, and all education. Activities could include reading to Elementary aged kids on a special night, collecting books for a local Library, or having a teacher give a message in recessed chapter. Occurs any time during the year.
Frank S. Land Memorial Day: A day to recognize and pay tribute to Frank Land and all the work he did for the founding of DeMolay. Chapters are encouraged to raise funds and donate them to a DeMolay Charity. Visiting Land’s grave site, presenting a copy of “Hi Dad!” to someone, or presenting the Dad Land Talk to the Chapter and guests, are common ways to observe this day. Occurs on or near November 8, the day Land died.
Day of Comfort: A day where every member of DeMolay should make an effort to visit the sick and carry words of comfort to those who are confined. The Almoner should be responsible for planning this observance. Events include collecting and donating items in a food drive, visiting a nursing home or hospital, or holding a seniors day, where DeMolays prepare a meal for the elderly. This day occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Honors and Awards
The Degree of Chevalier is the highest honor an active DeMolay can receive. It may also be granted to a Senior DeMolay. The degree is granted for outstanding DeMolay service and activity. To receive the honor, a DeMolay must be at least 17 years old on January 15 of the year nominated, have been a member for at least two years as of that date, be nominated by his chapter’s Advisory Council, and have the approval of the Executive Officer of his jurisdiction, and of the Supreme Council.
The Legion of Honor is the highest honor conferred by the DeMolay Supreme Council. The award was approved in 1925 and first conferred upon Louis Lower. With amendment of the Supreme Council’s statutes in 1985, the minimum age for nominees for the Legion of Honor was dropped from 30 to 25 as of January 15. The Supreme Council may confer the Legion of Honor upon a Senior DeMolay for outstanding leadership in some field of endeavor, for service to humanity, or for success in fraternal life, including adult service to the Order of DeMolay. The Supreme Council may also confer it upon a Freemason who was not a DeMolay, but who has performed unusual and meritorious service in behalf of the Order of DeMolay, or who has evidenced a spirit of cooperation and appreciation for the Order of DeMolay.
The Cross of Honor is given by the DeMolay Supreme Council for many years of adult service to the Order of DeMolay, and is the only Honor given exclusively for adult DeMolay Service.
The Representative DeMolay Award is the highest self-achievement award active and Senior DeMolays can earn. It’s a self-assessment program where the member progresses toward goals set for him by himself. The member completes a detailed survey of his interests, achievements, general knowledge, and habits. Land said it was his dream that every DeMolay should be a Representative DeMolay. The “RD” program was first established in 1924, and for many years was a competition to select outstanding DeMolays. In 1935, the program was redesigned to fill a growing need for self-evaluation by every DeMolay. Although it is available to every Active DeMolay who chooses to do the required work, the total number of “RD” recipients in the history of DeMolay is only slightly more than one-half the number of Chevalier Degree holders.
Order of Knighthood
The Order of Knighthood is an appended organization of older DeMolays. The Knighthood program is for active DeMolays from ages 17 to 21 years of age. A Knighthood Priory has its own ritual and officers, separate from the chapter system.
The official name of the Order is The Chivalric Knights of the Holy Order of the Fellow Soldiers of Jacques DeMolay. Knighthood is not an honorary degree or award, but a working body whose purpose is to extend fellowship and serve the Order of DeMolay.
The Order of Knighthood made its debut in 1946, when Land wrote the Knighthood ritual. This ritual was not exemplified before the Grand Council, now known as DeMolay International’s Supreme Council, until 1947, as Land held off on its implementation.
Through the years, the Knights’ activities have consisted of social and educational programs geared to older DeMolays, with a special emphasis on career planning and coed activities.
The main functions of a Priory are to:
- Extend and assist the Order of DeMolay and its Chapters.
- Maintain the active interest of older DeMolays.
- Provide an interesting program for the Priory members.
- Above all to provide and maintain a proper example for all DeMolays.
DeMolay International Hall of Fame
Over the years, DeMolay has had many alumni who have gone on to achieve wide recognition outside of the organization. Some of them have been elected to the DeMolay Hall of Fame. However, not all DeMolays who have received recognition have been inducted into the Hall of Fame; some can be found on other lists.
The following is a partial list of the members of the DeMolay Hall of Fame. The full list is available on the DeMolay International Web site.
|Carl B. Albert||1908–2000||Politician||Speaker of the House (1971–1977)|
|Cecil D. Andrus||b. 1931||Politician||Governor of Idaho (1971–1977, 1987–1995), U.S. Secretary of the Interior(1977–1981)|
|Reubin O’Donovan Askew||b. 1928||Politician||37th Governor of Florida (1971–1979)|
|Walter “Red” Barber||1908–1992||Sports Broadcaster||Recipient of Ford C. Frick Award fromNational Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Mel Blanc||1908–1989||Cartoon Voice Actor||“Man of a Thousand Voices”|
|Frank Borman||b. 1928||Astronaut||Commander of Apollo 8, CEO of Eastern Airlines (1975–1986), recipient ofCongressional Space Medal of Honor|
|Vance D. Brand||b. 1931||Astronaut||Flew on Apollo-Soyuz, as well as threeSpace Shuttle missions|
|Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.||1940–2005||Politician||Governor of South Carolina (1987–1995)|
|Curtis L. Carlson||1914–1999||Entrepreneur, Philanthropist||Founded The Carlson Companies in 1938 as The Gold Bond Trading Company|
|Mel Carnahan||1934–2000||Politician||Governor of Missouri (1991–2000)|
|Bill Clinton||b. 1946||Politician||42nd President of the United States|
|Gary Collins||b. 1938||Actor||Best known for Airport (1970)|
|Walt Disney||1901–1966||Cartoonist and entrepreneur||Creator of Mickey Mouse, Co-Founder ofThe Walt Disney Company|
|Lee S. Dreyfus||b. 1926||Educator and politician||Governor of Wisconsin (1979–1983)|
|Buddy Ebsen||1908–2003||Actor, singer, dancer||Star of Barnaby Jones and The Beverly Hillbillies|
|David Goodnow||b. 1940||Broadcast Journalist||Former Anchor of CNN Headline News|
|Paul Harvey||1918–2009||ABC Radio broadcaster||Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom|
|Mark Hatfield||1922-2011||Politician||Governor of Oregon (1959–1967), U.S. Senator (1967–1997)|
|Burl Ives||1909–1995||Folk singer and actor||Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, narrator ofRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Henry M. Jackson||1912–1983||Politician||U.S. Senator (1953–1983)|
|Brereton C. Jones||b. 1939||Politician||Governor of Kentucky (1991–1995)|
|Harmon Killebrew||1936-2011||Former professional baseball player and businessman||Member of National Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Richard King||b. 1938||Former President of Rotary International|
|Elmer Lower||1913–2011||Journalist, Media Executive||Former President of ABC News|
|Bob Mathias||b. 1930||Olympic Athlete, Politician||Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, U.S. Representative from California (1967–1975)|
|Edgar D. Mitchell||b. 1930||Astronaut||6th Man to Walk on the Moon on Apollo 14|
|Tom Osborne||b. 1937||Athlete, Coach, Politician||Former Head Coach at University of Nebraska, Member of College Football Hall of Fame|
|Walter C. Ploeser||1907–1993||Businessman, Politician||U.S. Representative from Missouri (1941–1949) U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay (1957–1959), U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica (1970–1972)|
|Pete Rose||b. 1941||Baseball player||All-Time Major League Baseball Leader in hits with 4,256.|
|James Nicholas Rowe||1938–1989||United States Army Colonel||Vietnam POW, Author of Five Years to Freedom|
|Edward T. Schafer||b. 1946||Politician||29th United States Secretary of Agriculture, Governor of North Dakota1992 – 2000|
|Harold Schafer||1912–2001||Philanthropist and businessman||Founder of Gold Seal Company|
|Lance P. Sijan||1942–1968||United States Air Force Captain||Recipient of the Medal of Honor|
|Alex Spanos||b. 1923||Owner of the San Diego Chargers|
|John Steinbeck||1902–1968||Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Nobel laureate||Wrote The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men|
|John Cameron Swayze||1906–1995||Newscaster|
|Fran Tarkenton||b. 1940||Professional Football Player, Businessman, Entrepreneur||Member, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Member, College Football Hall of Fame|
|John Wayne||1907–1979||Actor||Won Academy Award for Best Actor forTrue Grit in 1969|
|James C. Wright, Jr.||b. 1922||Politician||Speaker of the House (1987–1989)|
Order of the Eastern Star
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Order of the Eastern Star is a Freemasonry-related fraternal organization open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 by lawyer and educator Rob Morris, a noted Freemason. The order is based on teachings from the Bible, but is open to people of all religious beliefs. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.
ContentsMembers of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Originally, a woman would have to be the daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a master Mason, but the Order now allows other relatives as well as allowing Job’s Daughters, Rainbow Girls, Members of the Organization of Triangle (NY only) and members of the Constellation of Junior Stars (NY only) to become members when of age.
The Order was created by Rob Morris in 1850 when he was teaching at the Eureka Masonic College in Richland, Mississippi. While confined by illness, he set down the principles of the order in his Rosary of the Eastern Star. By 1855, he had organized a “Supreme Constellation” in New York, which chartered chapters throughout the United States.
In 1866, Dr. Morris started working with Robert Macoy, and handed the Order over to him while Morris was traveling in the Holy Land. Macoy organized the current system of Chapters, and modified Dr. Morris’ Rosary into a Ritual.
On December 1, 1874, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1 became the first Prince Hall Affiliate chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star when it was established in Washington, D.C. by Thornton Andrew Jackson.
The “General Grand Chapter” was formed in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 6, 1876. Committees formed at that time created the Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star in more or less its current form.
Emblem and heroines
The emblem of the Order is a five-pointed star with the white ray of the star pointing downwards towards the manger. In the Chapter room, the downward-pointing white ray points to the West. The character-building lessons taught in the Order are stories inspired by Biblical figures:
- Adah (Jephthah‘s daughter, from the Book of Judges)
- Ruth, the widow from the Book of Ruth
- Esther, the wife from the Book of Esther
- Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus, from the Gospel of John
- Electa (the “elect lady” from II John), the mother
There are 18 main officers in a full chapter:
- Worthy Matron – presiding officer
- Worthy Patron – a Master Mason who provides general supervision
- Associate Matron – assumes the duties of the Worthy Matron in the absence of that officer
- Associate Patron – assumes the duties of the Worthy Patron in the absence of that officer
- Secretary– takes care of all correspondence and minutes
- Treasurer– takes care of monies of the Chapter
- Conductress – Leads visitors and initiations.
- Associate Conductress – Assists with introductions and handles ballot box.
- Chaplain – leads the Chapter in prayer
- Marshal – presents the Flag and leads in all ceremonies
- Organist– provides music for the meetings
- Adah – Shares the lesson of Duty of Obedience to the will of God
- Ruth – Shares the lesson of Honor and Justice
- Esther – Shares the lesson of Loyalty to Family and Friends
- Martha – Shares the lesson of Faith and Trust in God and Everlasting Life
- Electa – Shares the lesson of Charity and Hospitality
- Warder – Sits next to the door inside the meeting room, to make sure those that enter the chapter room are members of the Order.
- Sentinel – Sits next to the door outside the chapter room, to make sure those that wish to enter are members of the Order.
Traditionally, a woman who is elected Associate Conductress will the following year be elected to Conductress, then the next year Associate Matron, and the next year Worthy Matron. A man elected Associate Patron will usually the next year be elected Worthy Patron. Usually the woman who is elected to become Associate Matron will let it be known who she wishes to be her Associate Patron, so the next year they will both go to the East together as Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron. There is no male counterpart to the Conductress and Associate Conductress. Only women are allowed to be Matrons, Conductresses, and the Star Points (Adah, Ruth, etc.) and only men can be Patrons.
Main article: International Temple
The General Grand Chapter headquarters, the International Temple, is located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the former Perry Belmont Mansion. The mansion was built in 1909 for the purpose of entertaining the guests of Perry Belmont. This included Britain’s Prince of Wales in 1919. General Grand Chapter purchased the building in 1935. The secretary of General Grand Chapter lives there while serving his or her term of office. The mansion features works of art from around the world, most of which were given as gifts from various international Eastern Star chapters.
The Order has a charitable foundation and from 1986-2001 contributed $513,147 to Alzheimer’s disease research, juvenile diabetesresearch, and juvenile asthma research. It also provides bursaries to students of theology and religious music, as well as other scholarships that differ by jurisdiction. In 2000 over $83,000 was donated. Many jurisdictions support a Masonic and/or Eastern Star retirement center or nursing home for older members; some homes are also open to the public. The Elizabeth Bentley OES Scholarship Fund was started in 1947.
- Clara Barton
- J. Howell Flournoy
- Eva McGown
- James Peyton Smith
- Lee Emmett Thomas
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. In England and some other countries, while the Scottish Rite is not accorded official recognition by the Grand Lodge, there is no prohibition against a Freemason electing to join it. In the United States, however, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the craft lodge, or Blue Lodge, through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the United States often omits the and, while the English Constitution in the United Kingdom omits the Scottish), commonly known as simply the Scottish Rite, is one of severalRites of Freemasonry. A Rite is a progressive series of degrees conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. In the Scottish Rite the central authority is called a Supreme Council.
The thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite are conferred by several controlling bodies. The first of these is the Craft Lodge which confers the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. Craft lodges operate under the authority of Grand Lodges, not the Scottish Rite. Although most lodges throughout the English-speaking world do not confer the Scottish Rite versions of the first three degrees, there are a handful of lodges in New Orleans and in several other major cities that have traditionally conferred the Scottish Rite version of these degrees.
There are records of lodges conferring the degree of “Scots Master” or “Scotch Master” as early as 1733. A lodge at Temple Bar in London is the earliest such lodge on record. Other lodges include a lodge at Bath in 1735, and the French lodge, St. George de l’Observance No. 49 at Covent Garden in 1736. The references to these few occasions indicate that these were special meetings held for the purpose of performing unusual ceremonies, probably by visiting Freemasons. The Copiale cipher, dating from the 1730s, says, “The rank of a Scottish master is an entirely new invention…”
Legend of Jacobite Origins
The seed of the myth of Stuart Jacobite influence on the higher degrees may have been a careless and unsubstantiated remark made by John Noorthouk in the 1784 Book of Constitutions of the Premier Grand Lodge of London. It was stated, without support, that King Charles II(older brother and predecessor to James II) was made a Freemason in the Netherlands during the years of his exile (1649–60). However, there were no documented lodges of Freemasons on the continent during those years. The statement may have been made to flatter the fraternity by claiming membership for a previous monarch. This folly was then embellished by John Robison (1739–1805), a professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, in an anti-Masonic work published in 1797. The lack of scholarship exhibited by Robison in that work caused the Encyclopædia Britannica to denounce it.
A German bookseller and Freemason, living in Paris, working under the assumed name of C. Lenning, embellished the story further in a manuscript titled “Encyclopedia of Freemasonry” probably written between 1822 and 1828 at Leipzig. This manuscript was later revised and published by another German Freemason named Friedrich Mossdorf (1757–1830). Lenning stated that King James II of England, after his flight to France in 1688, resided at the Jesuit College of Clermont, where his followers fabricated certain degrees for the purpose of carrying out their political ends.
By the mid-19th century, the story had gained currency. The well-known English Masonic writer, Dr. George Oliver (1782–1867), in his Historical Landmarks, 1846, carried the story forward and even claimed that King Charles II was active in his attendance at meetings—an obvious invention, for if it had been true, it would not have escaped the notice of the historians of the time. The story was then repeated by the French writers Jean-Baptiste Ragon (1771–1862) and Emmanuel Rebold, in their Masonic histories. Rebold’s claim that the high degrees were created and practiced in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning at Edinburgh are entirely false.
James II died in 1701 at the Palace of St. Germain en Laye, and was succeeded in his claims to the British throne by his son, James Francis Edward Stuart (1699–1766), the Chevalier St. George, better known as “the Old Pretender”, but recognized as James III by the French King Louis XIV. He was succeeded in his claim by Charles Edward Stuart(“Bonnie Prince Charles”), also known as “the Young Pretender”, whose ultimate defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 effectively put an end to any serious hopes of the Stuarts regaining the British crowns.
The natural confusion between the names of the Jesuit College of Clermont, and the short-lived Masonic Chapter of Clermont, a Masonic body that controlled a few high degrees during its brief existence, only served to add fuel to the myth of Stuart Jacobite influence in Freemasonry’s high degrees. However, the College and the Chapter had nothing to do with each other. The Jesuit College was located at Clermont, whereas the Masonic Chapter was not. Rather, it was named “Clermont” in honor of the French Grand Master, the Comte de Clermont (Louis de Bourbon, Comte de Clermont) (1709–1771), and not because of any connection with the Jesuit College of Clermont.
Estienne Morin and his Rite of 25 degrees
A French trader, by the name of Estienne Morin, had been involved in high degree Masonry in Bordeaux since 1744 and, in 1747, founded an “Ecossais” lodge (Scots Masters Lodge) in the city of Le Cap Français, on the north coast of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Over the next decade, high degree Freemasonry continued to spread to the Western hemisphere as the high degree lodge at Bordeaux warranted or recognized seven Ecossais lodges there. In Paris in the year 1761, a patent was issued to Estienne Morin, dated 27 August, creating him “Grand Inspector for all parts of the New World”. This Patent was signed by officials of the Grand Lodge at Paris and appears to have originally granted him power over the craft lodges only, and not over the high, or “Ecossais”, degree lodges. Later copies of this Patent appear to have been embellished, probably by Morin, to improve his position over the high degree lodges in the West Indies.
Early writers long believed that a “Rite of Perfection” consisting of 25 degrees, the highest being the “Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret”, and being the predecessor of the Scottish Rite, had been formed in Paris by a high degree council calling itself “The Council of Emperors of the East and West”. The title “Rite of Perfection” first appeared in the Preface to the “Grand Constitutions of 1786”, the authority for which is now known to be faulty. It is now generally accepted that this Rite of twenty-five degrees was compiled by Estienne Morin and is more properly called “The Rite of the Royal Secret”, or “Morin’s Rite”. However, it was known as “The Order of Prince of the Royal Secret” by the founders of the Scottish Rite, who mentioned it in their “Circular throughout the two Hemispheres” or “Manifesto”, issued on December 4, 1802.
Morin returned to the West Indies in 1762 or 1763, to Saint-Domingue, where, armed with his new Patent, he assumed powers to constitute lodges of all degrees, spreading the high degrees throughout the West Indies and North America. Morin stayed in Saint-Domingue until 1766 when he moved to Jamaica. At Kingston, Jamaica, in 1770, Morin created a “Grand Chapter” of his new Rite (the Grand Council of Jamaica). Morin died in 1771 and was buried in Kingston.
Henry Andrew Francken and his manuscripts
The one man who was most important in assisting Morin in spreading the degrees in the New World was a naturalized French subject of Dutch origin named Henry Andrew Francken. Morin appointed him Deputy Grand Inspector General as one of his first acts after returning to the West Indies. Francken worked closely with Morin and, in 1771, produced a manuscript book giving the rituals for the 15th through the 25th degrees. Francken produced at least two more similar manuscripts, one in 1783 and another about 1786. The second and third of these manuscripts included all the degrees from the 4th through the 25th.
A Loge de Parfaits d’ Écosse was formed on 12 April 1764 at New Orleans, becoming the first high degree lodge on the North American continent. Its life, however, was short, as the Treaty of Paris (1763) ceded New Orleans to Spain, and the Catholic Spanish crown had been historically hostile to Freemasonry. Documented Masonic activity ceased for a time and did not return to New Orleans until the 1790s.
Francken traveled to New York in 1767 where he granted a Patent, dated 26 December 1767, for the formation of a Lodge of Perfection at Albany, which was called “Ineffable Lodge of Perfection”. This marked the first time the Degrees of Perfection (the 4th through the 14th) were conferred in one of the thirteen British colonies. This Patent, and the early minutes of the Lodge, are still extant and are in the archives of Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction. (The minutes of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection reveal that it ceased activity on December 5, 1774. It was revived by Giles Fonda Yates about 1820 or 1821, and came under authority of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction until 1827, when it was transferred to the Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction.)
While in New York, Francken also communicated the degrees to Moses Michael Hays, a Jewish businessman, and appointed him a Deputy Inspector General. In 1781, Hays made eight Deputy Inspectors General, four of whom were later important in the establishment of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in South Carolina:
◊_ Isaac Da Costa Sr., D.I.G. for South Carolina;
◊_ Abraham Forst, D.I.G. for Virginia;
◊_ Joseph M. Myers, D.I.G. for Maryland;
◊_ and Barend M. Spitzer, D.I.G. for Georgia. Da Costa returned to Charleston, S.C., and established the “Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection” in February 1783. After Da Costa’s death in November 1783, Hays appointed Myers as Da Costa’s successor. Joined by Forst and Spitzer, Myers created additional high degree bodies in Charleston and, by 1801, the Charleston bodies were the only extant bodies of the Rite in North America.
Birth of the Scottish Rite
Although most of the thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite existed in parts of previous degree systems, the Scottish Rite did not come into being until the formation of the Mother Supreme Council at Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1801. The Founding Fathers of the Scottish Rite who attended became known as “The Eleven Gentlemen of Charleston”.
- John Mitchell – Received a patent April 2, 1795, from Barend Moses Spitzer granting him authority as Deputy Inspector General to create a Lodge of Perfection and several Councils and Chapters wherever such Lodges or Chapters were needed. Born in Ireland in 1741, he came to America at an early age, was Deputy Quartermaster General in the Continental Army, and the first Grand Commander of the Supreme Council.
- Frederick Dalcho – A physician. He served in the Army and for a while was stationed at Fort Johnson. He formed a partnership with Dr. Isaac Auld, another of the original members, in 1801. He was an outstanding orator and author. In 1807 he published the 1st Edition of Ahiman Rezon. He became an editor of the Charleston Courier, was a lay reader and deacon in the Episcopal Church and in 1818 was ordained a Priest.
- Alexander Francois Auguste de Grasse Tilly – A son of a French Admiral, and perhaps the most famously connected of all the original eleven. He was the youngest of the members and was named to become the Grand Commander of the West Indian Islands. He later moved to France and established the Supreme Council of France.
- Jean Baptiste Marie de La Hogue – He was a native of Paris and was a member of La Candeur Lodge in Charleston.
- Thomas Bartholemew Bowen – Was the first Grand Master of Ceremonies of the new Supreme Council. He was a Major in the Continental Army and a printer by trade.
- Abraham Alexander – Was one of the first Sovereign Grand Inspectors General. He was born in London in 1743, immigrated to Charleston in 1771. He was a very prominent Jew and had been described as “a Calligraphist of the first order”, which may account for his election as the first Grand Secretary General.
- Emanuel de la Motta – A Sovereign Grand Inspector General. He was by trade a merchant and auctioneer. He was a member of Friendship Lodge and was reported to be quite devoted to the study of Jewish Literature and Masonic Study.
- Isaac Auld – An eminent physician, associated in medical practice with Dr. Dalcho. He was a rigid Congregationalist.
- Israel de Lieben – A Sovereign Grand Inspector General and the first Grand Treasurer General. He was born in Prague and emigrated to America upon reaching Majority age. He was known as “the liberal-headed Jew”, who was “tolerant in his religious opinions and was considered to be intelligent, enterprising, liberal and generous.
- Moses Clava Levy – Was born in Krakow, Poland. He was a prosperous merchant, was generous and helpful to the unfortunate and devoted to his adopted city and country.
- James Moultrie – Was the only native South Carolinian among the original members. He was a Doctor of Medicine, and according to Albert Pike, “was one of the foremost Citizens of South Carolina”.
- Isaac De Costa, one of the deputies commissioned to establish Morin’s Rite of the Royal Secret in other countries, formed constituent bodies of the Rite in South Carolina in 1783, which eventually became, in 1801, The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. All regular Scottish Rite bodies today derive their heritage from this body.
Subsequently, other Supreme Councils were formed in Saint-Domingue in 1802, in France in 1804, in Italy in 1805, and in Spain in 1811.
On May 1, 1813, an officer from the Supreme Council at Charleston initiated several New York Masons into the Thirty-third Degree and organized a Supreme Council for the “Northern Masonic District and Jurisdiction”. On May 21, 1814 this Supreme Council reopened and proceeded to “nominate, elect, appoint, install and proclaim in due, legal and ample form” the elected officers “as forming the second Grand and Supreme Council…”. Finally, the charter of this organization (written January 7, 1815) added, “We think theRatification ought to be dated 21st day May 5815.”
Officially, the Supreme Council, 33°, N.M.J. dates itself from May 15, 1867. This was the date of the “Union of 1867”, when it merged with the competing Cerneau “Supreme Council” in New York. The current Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, was thus formed.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 29, 1809, Albert Pike is asserted within the Southern Jurisdiction as the man most responsible for the growth and success of the Scottish Rite from an obscure Masonic Rite in the mid-19th century to the international fraternity that it became. Pike received the 4th through the 32nd Degrees in March 1853 from Dr. Albert G. Mackey, in Charleston, S.C., and was appointed Deputy Inspector for Arkansas that same year.
At this point, the degrees were in a rudimentary form, and often only included a brief history and legend of each degree as well as other brief details which usually lacked a workable ritual for their conferral. In 1855, the Supreme Council appointed a committee to prepare and compile rituals for the 4th through the 32nd Degrees. That committee was composed of Albert G. Mackey, John H. Honour, William S. Rockwell, Claude P. Samory, and Albert Pike. Of these five committee members, Pike did all the work of the committee.
In 1857 Pike completed his first revision of the 4°-32° ritual, and printed 100 copies. This revision, which Mackey dubbed the “Magnum Opus” was never adopted by the Supreme Council. According to Arturo de Hoyos, 33°, the Scottish Rite’s Grand Historian, the Magnum Opus became the basis for future ritual revisions.
In March 1858, Pike was elected a member of the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, and in January 1859 he became its Grand Commander. The American Civil War interrupted his work on the Scottish Rite rituals. About 1870 he, and the Supreme Council, moved to Washington, DC, and in 1884 his revision of the rituals was complete.
Scottish Rite Grand Archivist and Grand Historian de Hoyos created the following chart of Pike’s ritual revisions:
|4-14°||1861, 1870, 1883|
|15-16°||1861, 1870, 1882|
|19-30°||1867, 1879, 1883|
|31-32°||1867, 1879, 1883|
|33°||1857, 1867, 1868, 1880(manuscripts only)|
Pike also wrote lectures for all the degrees which were published in 1871 under the title Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
Revisions after Pike
In 2000 the Southern Jurisdiction revised its ritual. The current ritual is based upon Pike’s, but with some significant differences.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in each country is governed by a Supreme Council. There is no international governing body — each Supreme Council in each country is sovereign unto itself in its own jurisdiction.
In the United States of America there are two Supreme Councils: one in Washington, D.C. (which controls the Southern Jurisdiction), and one in Lexington, Massachusetts (which controls the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction). They each have particular characteristics that make them different.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Southern Jurisdiction (often referred to as the “Mother Supreme Council of the World”) was founded in Charleston, South Carolina in 1801. It oversees the Scottish Rite in 35 states, which are referred to as Orients, and local bodies, which are called Valleys.
In the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, the Supreme Council consists of no more than 33 members, and is presided over by a Grand Commander. Other members of the Supreme Council are called “Sovereign Grand Inspectors General” (S.G.I.G.), and each is the head of the Rite in his respective Orient (or state). Other heads of the various Orients who are not members of the Supreme Council are called “Deputies of the Supreme Council.” The Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction meets every odd year during the month of August at the House of the Temple, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters, in Washington, DC. During this conference, closed meetings between the Grand Commander and the S.G.I.G.’s are held, and many members of the fraternity from all over the world attend the open ceremony on the 5th of 6 council meeting days.
Northern Masonic Jurisdiction
The Lexington, Massachusetts-based Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, formed in 1813, oversees the bodies in fifteen states: Connecticut,Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Vermont. The Northern Jurisdiction is only divided into Valleys, not Orients. Each Valley has up to four Scottish Rite bodies, and each body confers a set of degrees.
In the Northern Jurisdiction, the Supreme Council consists of no more than 66 members. All members of the Supreme Council are designated Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, but the head of the Rite in each Valley of the Northern Jurisdiction is called a “Deputy of the Supreme Council.” The Northern Council meets yearly.
Degree Structure in the United States and Canada
Attainment of the third Masonic degree, that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. They represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement, and are degrees of instruction rather than rank.
In 2000, the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction completed a revision of its ritual scripts. In 2004, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction rewrote and reorganized its degrees. Further changes have occurred in 2006. The current titles of the degrees and their arrangement in the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States remains substantially unchanged from the beginning. The list of degrees for the Supreme Councils of Australia, England and Wales, and most other jurisdictions agrees with that of the Southern Jurisdiction of the U.S. However, the list of degrees for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States is now somewhat different and is given in the table below. The list of degrees of the Supreme Council of Canada reflects a mixture of the two, with some unique titles as well:
|Degree||Southern Jurisdiction||Northern Jurisdiction||Canada|
|4°||Secret Master||Master Traveler||Secret Master|
|6°||Intimate Secretary||Master of the Brazen Serpent||Intimate Secretary|
|7°||Provost and Judge|
|8°||Intendant of the Building|
|9°||Elu of the Nine||Master of the Temple||Elect of the Nine|
|10°||Elu of the Fifteen||Master Elect||Elect of the Fifteen|
|11°||Elu of the Twelve||Sublime Master Elected||Elect of the Twelve|
|12°||Master Architect||Grand Master Architect|
|13°||Royal Arch of Solomon||Master of the Ninth Arch||Royal Arch of Solomon|
|14°||Perfect Elu||Grand Elect Mason||Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Mason|
|15°||Knight of the East, or
Knight of the Sword, or
Knight of the Eagle
|Knight of the East, or
Knight of the Sword
|16°||Prince of Jerusalem|
|17°||Knight of the East and West|
|18°||Knight Rose Croix||Knight of the Rose Croix de Heredom||Knight Rose Croix|
|19°||Grand Pontiff||Brother of the Trail||Grand Pontiff|
|20°||Master of the Symbolic Lodge||Master ad Vitam|
|22°||Knight of the Royal Axe, or
Prince of Libanus
|Prince of Libanus|
|23°||Chief of the Tabernacle|
|24°||Prince of the Tabernacle||Brother of the Forest||Prince of the Tabernacle|
|25°||Knight of the Brazen Serpent||Master of Achievement||Knight of the Brazen Serpent|
|26°||Prince of Mercy, or
|Friend and Brother Eternal||Prince of Mercy|
|27°||Knight of the Sun, or
|Knight of Jerusalem||Commander of the Temple|
|28°||Knight Commander of the Temple||Knight of the Sun, or
|Knight of the Sun|
|29°||Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew||Knight of Saint Andrew|
|30°||Knight Kadosh, or
Knight of the White and Black Eagle
|Grand Inspector||Knight Kadosh|
|31°||Inspector Inquisitor||Knight Aspirant||Inspector Inquisitor Commander|
|32°||Master of the Royal Secret or
of the Court of Honour
|Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret|
In the United States, members of the Scottish Rite can be elected to receive the 33° by the Supreme Council. It is conferred on members who have made major contributions to society or to Masonry in general. In the Southern Jurisdiction, a member who has been a 32° Scottish Rite Mason for 46 months or more is eligible to be elected to receive the “rank and decoration” of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (K.C.C.H.) in recognition of outstanding service. After 46 months as a K.C.C.H. he is then eligible to be elected to the 33rd degree, upon approval of the Supreme Council and Grand Commander. In the Northern Jurisdiction, there is only one 46-month requirement for eligibility to receive the 33rd degree, and while there is a Meritorious Service Award (as well as a Distinguished Service Award), they are not required intermediate steps towards the 33°. A recipient of the 33rd Degree is an honorary member of the Supreme Council and is therefore called an “Inspector General Honorary.” However, those who are appointed Deputies of the Supreme Council that are later elected to membership on the Supreme Council are then designated “Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.” In the Northern Jurisdiction a recipient of the 33rd Degree is an honorary member of the Supreme Council, and all members are referred to as a “Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.”
Scottish Rite outside of the United States
In England and Wales, whose Supreme Council was warranted by that of the Northern Jurisdiction of the USA (in 1845), the Rite is known colloquially as the “Rose Croix” or more formally as “The Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas” (continental European jurisdictions retain the “Écossais”). The only local bodies are Rose Croix Chapters; many degrees are conferred in name only, and degrees beyond the 18° are conferred only by the Supreme Council itself.
In England, the candidate is perfected in the 18th degree with the preceding degrees awarded in name only. Continuing to the 30th degree is restricted to those who have served in the chair of the Chapter. Elevation beyond the 30th degree is as in Scotland.
In Scotland, candidates are perfected in the 18th degree, with the preceding degrees awarded in name only. A minimum of a two-year interval is required before continuing to the 30th degree, again with the intervening degrees awarded by name only. Elevation beyond that is by invitation only, and numbers are severely restricted.
The Grand Orient of France signed a treaty of union in December 1804 with the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree in France; the treaty declared that “the Grand Orient united to itself” the Supreme Council in France. This accord was applied in fact until 1814. Thanks to this treaty, the Grand Orient of France took ownership, as it were, of the Scottish Rite.
From 1805 to 1814, the Grand Orient of France administered the first 18 degrees of the Rite, leaving the Supreme Council of France to administer the last 15. In 1815, five of the leaders of the Supreme Council founded the Suprême Conseil des Rites within the Grand Orient of France. The original Supreme Council of France fell dormant from 1815 to 1821.
The Suprême Conseil des Isles d’Amérique (founded in 1802 by Grasse-Tilly and revived around 1810 by Delahogue) breathed new life into the Supreme Council for the 33rd Degree in France, and they merged into a single organization: the Supreme Council of France. This grew into an independent and sovereign Masonic power. It created symbolic lodges (those composed of the first three degrees, which otherwise would be federated around a Grand Lodge or a Grand Orient).
In 1894, the Supreme Council of France created the Grand Lodge of France, which became fully independent in 1904 when the Supreme Council of France ceased chartering new lodges. The Supreme Council of France still considers itself the overseer of all 33 degrees of the Rite, and relations between the two structures remain close, as witnessed by the two joint meetings that they organize each year.
In 1964, the Sovereign Grand Commander Charles Riandey along with 400 to 500 members left the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council of France and joined the Grande Loge Nationale Française, considering that thanks to his resignation and despite the fact that the Supreme Council of France had continued to work without him, there was no longer a Supreme Council of France. Riandey then reinitiated the 33 degrees of the rite in Amsterdam; with the support of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, he founded a new Supreme Council, called the Suprême Conseil pour la France, the sole to be recognized by the Supreme Councils of the United States after it was designated as the sole authority of the Scottish Rite for France by the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction (the oldest Supreme Council in the world) at theBarranquilla conference in 1970.
France thus finds itself in the unusual situation of having three different and arguably legitimate Supreme Councils:
- The Suprême Conseil Grand Collège du Rite écossais ancien accepté (emerging from the Supreme Council of 1804 and constituted in 1815), affiliated with the Grand Orient de France.
- The Suprême Conseil de France (emerging from the Supreme Council of 1804 and then restored in 1821 by the Supreme Council of the Isles d’Amérique founded in 1802 inSaint-Domingue, the modern Haiti), affiliated with the Grand Lodge of France.
- The Suprême Conseil pour la France (emerging from the Supreme Council of the Netherlands, constituted in 1965), affiliated with the Grande Loge Nationale Française
In Canada, whose Supreme Council was warranted in 1874 by that of England and Wales, the Rite is known as Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The council is called “Supreme Council 33° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of Canada”. Canada’s Supreme Council office is located at 4 Queen Street South in Hamilton, Ontario. There are 45 local units or “Valleys” across Canada.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008)|
Shriners International, previously known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) and also commonly known as Shriners, was established in 1870, and is an appendant body to Freemasonry.
The name change from the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, as well as Shriners North America, to Shriners International was facilitated in 2010 across North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. The organization is best known for the Shriners Hospitals for Children it administers, and the red fezzes that members wear. The organization is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Shriners International describes itself as a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 340,000 members from 195 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Europe and Australia.
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In 1870, there were several thousand Masons in Manhattan, many of whom lunched at the Knickerbocker Cottage at a special table on the second floor. There, the idea of a new fraternity for Masons stressing fun and fellowship was discussed. Walter M. Fleming, M.D., and William J. Florence took the idea seriously enough to act upon it.
Florence, a world-renowned actor, while on tour in Marseille, was invited to a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The entertainment was something in the nature of an elaborately staged musical comedy. At its conclusion, the guests became members of a secret society. Florence took copious notes and drawings at his initial viewing and on two other occasions, once in Algiers and once inCairo. When he returned to New York in 1870, he showed his material to Fleming.
Fleming took the ideas supplied by Florence and converted them into what would become the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.)”. Fleming created the ritual, emblem and costumes. Florence and Fleming were initiated August 13, 1870, and initiated 11 other men on June 16, 1871.
The group adopted a Middle Eastern theme and soon established Temples (though the term Temple has now generally been replaced by Shrine Auditorium or Shrine Center). The first Temple established was Mecca Temple (now known as Mecca Shriners), established at the New York City Masonic Hall on September 26, 1872. Fleming was the first Potentate.
In 1875, there were only 43 Shriners in the organization. In an effort to spur membership, at the June 6, 1876 meeting of Mecca Temple, the Imperial Grand Council of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America was created. Fleming was elected the first Imperial Potentate. After some other reworking, by 1878 there were 425 members in 13 temples in eight states, and by 1888, there were 7,210 members in 48 temples in the United States and Canada. By the Imperial Session held in Washington, D.C. in 1900, there were 55,000 members and 82 Temples. By 1938 there were about 340,000 members in the United States. That year Life published photographs of its rites for the first time. It described the Shriners as “among secret lodges the No. 1 in prestige, wealth and show”, and stated that “[i]n the typical city, especially in the Middle West, the Shriners will include most of the prominent citizens.”
Shriners often participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: miniature vehicles in themes (all sports cars; all miniature 18-wheeler trucks; all fire engines, and so on), an “Oriental Band” dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress; pipe bands, drummers, motorcycle units, Drum and Bugle Corps, and even traditional brass bands.
Abdullah Shrine Oriental Band fez
Despite its theme, the Shrine is not connected to Arab culture or Islam. It is a men’s fraternity rather than a religion or religious group. Its only religious requirement is indirect: all Shriners must be Masons, and petitioners to Freemasonry must profess a belief in a Supreme Being. To further minimize confusion with religion, the use of the words “temple” and “mosque” to describe Shriners’ buildings has been replaced by “Shrine Center”, although individual local chapters are still called temples.
Shriners count among their ranks presidents, senators, local business leaders, professional golfers, country music stars, astronauts and racecar drivers.
While there are plenty of activities for Shriners and their wives, there are two organizations tied to the Shrine that are for women only: The Ladies’ Oriental Shrine and Daughters of the Nile. They both support the Shriners Hospitals and promote sociability, and membership in either organization is open to any woman 18 years of age and older who is related to a Shriner or Master Mason by birth, marriage, or adoption. The Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America was founded in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1903, and Daughters of the Nile was founded in 1913 in Seattle, Washington. That latter organization has locals called “Temples”. There were ten of these in 1922. Among the famous members of the Daughters of the Nile was First Lady Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding.
Some of the earliest Shrine Centers often chose a Moorish Revival style for their Temples. Architecturally notable Shriners Temples include the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, New York City Center, now used as a concert hall, Newark Symphony Hall, the Landmark Theater (formerly The Mosque) in Richmond, Virginia, the Tripoli Shrine Temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Helena Civic Center (Montana) (formerly the Algeria Shrine Temple), and the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) which was jointly built between the Atlanta Shriners and William Fox.
Shriners Hospitals for Children
Main article: Shriners Hospitals for Children
The Shrine’s charitable arm is the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of twenty-two hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. In June 1920, the Imperial Council Session voted to establish a “Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children.” The goal of this hospital was to treat orthopedic injuries, diseases, and birth defects in children. After lots of research and debate, the committee chosen to determine the site of the hospital decided there should be not just one hospital but a network of hospitals spread across North America. The first hospital was opened in 1922 in Shreveport, LA and by the end of the decade thirteen more hospitals were in operation. They now deal with orthopedic care, burn treatment, cleft lip and palate care and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. The rules for all of the Shriners Hospitals are simple and to the point: Any child can be admitted to the hospital if, in the opinion of the surgeons, the child can be treated and is under the age of 18. Until June 2012, all treatment offered at Shriner’s Hospitals for Children was offered without any financial obligation to patients and their families. At that time, because the size of their endowment had decreased due to losses in the stock market, the Shriners started billing patients’ insurance companies, but still offered free care to those that didn’t have insurance. There is no requirement for religion, race, or relationship to a Shriner. Patients must be under the age of eighteen and treatable.
In 2008, Shriners Hospitals had a total budget of $826 million and in 2007 they approved 39,454 new patient applications, attended to the needs of 125,125 patients.
Most Shrine Temples support several parade units. These units are responsible for promoting a positive Shriner image to the public by participating in local parades. The parade units often include miniature cars powered by lawn mower engines.
An example of a Shrine parade unit is the Heart Shrine Clubs’ Original Fire Patrol of Effingham, Illinois. This unit operates miniature fire engines in honor of a hospital fire that took place in the 1940s in Effingham. They participate in most parades in a 100 mile radius of Effingham. Shriners in Dallas, Texasparticipate annually in the Twilight Parade at the Texas State Fair. Shriners in St. Louis have several parade motor units, including miniature cars styled after 1932 Ford coupes and 1970s-era Jeep CJ models, and a unit of miniature Indianapolis-styled race cars. Some of these are outfitted with high-performance, alcohol-fueled engines. The drivers’ skills are demonstrated during parades with high-speed spinouts.
|This section requires expansion.(July 2008)|
The Shriners are committed to community service and have been instrumental in countless public projects throughout their domain.
The Shriners originally hosted a golf tournament in concert with singer/actor Justin Timberlake, titled the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, a PGA Golf Tour golf tournament held in Las Vegas, NV. The relationship between Timberlake and the Shriners ended in 2012, due to the lack of previously agreed participation on Timberlake’s part. In July 2012, The PGA TOUR and Shriners Hospitals for Children announced a five-year title sponsorship extension, carrying the commitment to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open through 2017, now titled The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and is still held in Las Vegas, NV.
Once a year, the fraternity meets for the Imperial Council Session in a major North American city. It is not uncommon for these conventions to have 20,000 participants or more, which generates significant revenue for the local economy.
Many Shrine Centers also hold a yearly Shrine Circus as a fundraiser.
- “Fun With Purpose” Shriners International. Retrieved on August 7, 2011.
- Home page. Shriners International. Retrieved on March 12, 2010.
- Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. pp. 3–4.
- Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p.5.
- Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p. 6.
- Shriners of North America. A Short History: Shriners of North America and Shriners Hospitals. September 2004 edition. p. 8.
- “The Shriners / “Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles” Reveals its Pageantry”. Life. 1938-05-16. p. 50. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- “Abd El Kader’s Masonic Friends” (PDF). The New York Times. 1883-06-07. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- “Be A Shriner Now”. Shriners International. Accessed March 12, 2010.
- “Values – Leadership”. Shriners International. Accessed August 7, 2011.
- Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America. Accessed 6 November 2011.
- “About Us”. Accessed 6 November 2011.
- Preuss, Arthur A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924; republished Detroit: Gale Reference Company 1966; p.106
- International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.69. St. James Press, 2005.
- “Shriners Hospitals for Children About Us”. Shriners Hospitals. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
- “Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open” | Sunday, September 25, 2011 – Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Las Vegas, NV 89134″.] Shriners International. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
-  | Justin Timberlake and Shriners break charity golf ties 5:55p.m. EDT October 2, 2012
-  | Shriners Hospitals for Children Extends Tournament Sponsorship – Monday, July 2, 2012
-  | 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Retrieved January 2, 2013
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shriners.|
- Shriners International – Official homepage
- Shriners Hospitals for Children – Official Homepage
- Be A Shriner Now
- Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
- Shriners Australia[dead link] (English)
- Shriners of British Columbia & Yukon
- Shriners Fantasy Show Canada (English)
- Shriners Club Excelsior zu Wien (German & English)