There is an old occult maxim which declares that—" Nothing is concealed from him who knows." No Mason is bound to conceal that which he has never learned in the Lodge. All else he receives as he learns any thing, places his own estimate upon its value, and becomes individually responsible for its use. It must be a matter of conscience, and be weighed in the balance of duty, and every one must abide by the result. If Masonry has lost the Royal Secret, or if it never possessed it, or if it was wrenched away in the very name of Religion little more than a century ago, all the same, it belongs to the Craft as the Heir-apparent of the Old Wisdom. But the time has come when no cable-tow can bind it. It now belongs to Humanity equally with the Mason. To this end has it been preserved throughout the centuries.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Coming Soon "A Night of Masonic Light"

It seems like forever since I posted a blog entry, apologies to my brothers and readers. For the last few months I have been actively putting together my thoughts and interpretations on rarely discussed Masonic symbols, which I hope to publish in book form, with a little help from my son, some time this year. Just for a little update my Masonic journey has taken me deeper into the Kabbalah and alchemical thought, two traditions that mainstream Freemasonry rarely discusses, and if truth be told would probably prefer we didn't. Don't believe me, look at this taken from a Grand Lodge website, fortunately from another country north of mine: "Those who claim Kabbalistic roots for Freemasonry are of two, widely different, perspectives. The first group are generally religious fundamentalists who, a priori, condemn Freemasonry, Judaism, and the Kabbalah as being anti-Christian and often equate the whole with satanism, and the second group is composed of freemasons and kabbalists who promote the theory of Freemasonry’s link to the Kabbalah. They are entitled to their opinions, but it must be stressed that they do not speak for Freemasonry. They are only expressing their opinions. They view the study of both as enhancing their relationship with God and have come to some personal conclusions about what they perceive as similarities. Whatever intellectual or spiritual similarities there may be between Freemasonry and the Kabbalah, any historical links are strictly conjectural and unsupported." I certainly don't belong to the first group, being a Freemason myself, and totally disagree that the second group is "conjectural and unsupported", just because the author of the article can't see the connections doesn't mean the connections don't exist, when in truth once one seriously researches the symbolic design of the lodge room and looks deep into Masonic symbolism, beyond the obvious, one can't but see the Kabbalah and alchemical connections. As to why I address this age old esoteric vs. exoteric battle for the hearts and souls in Freemasonry, it appears once again intrenchment has reared its ugly head, fortunately not here in my state, but nevertheless in another state out west. No I'm not picking on the west, I just didn't want to name the state because I kind of feel bad for the naive Grand Secretary that penned the letter addressed to other Grand Secretaries, which by the way has since been removed from the web . It appears the Grand Secretary of this state believes that the Masonic Restoration Foundation may be at its core a branch of Martinism. He even went on recommending others look up the Golden Dawn, Hermeticism, and alchemy, as if these were all dangerous elements that threatened today's Freemasonry, all subjects discussed within the lectures given by the MRF. I am very familiar with the work of the MRF, having read most, if not all, of the many articles the brothers involved have written. I have also read just about every book some of these brothers have carefully penned without finding any boggy man in the mix. Do the research yourself, you might just find that here again we have that age old battle where the old is afraid of the new. But in a weird twist of fate we see the new is really the old, and the old that reared its head is really outdated. Allow me to explain. First and foremost I am not a member of the MRF, although after writing this I may be. Much, if not all, of the the MRF's work revolves around "Restoration", bringing back a deeper initiate experience, encouraging education, fostering pride in our temples, and the return to true brotherhood, all laudable pursuits that have sadly been missing from many of our lodges for years. I guess you could say they in their own humble way is trying to fix something many have found broken. Of you don't know what I mean, look at the sidelines. To date I haven't read of any member of the MRF trying to change one word of ritual, so what is it this unnamed Grand Secretary fears? Could it be the inclusion of education, with its introductions into philosophies and sciences once discussed and written of by brothers in the past, but now forgotten by most, babies thrown out with the bath water? Noting that in his letter he directly mentions Hermeticism and alchemy, he should be reminded that at the inception of modern Freemasonry, 1717, these were both subjects of particular interest to our founding brothers, theologians, natural philosophers, and alchemists who I believe were heavily influenced by and hid that influence deep inside the symbolism of Freemasonry, you just have to remove your hoodwink to see it. As for the Martinism conspiracy put forth by the Grand Secretary, I don"t see it. I think just because one of the members of the MRF is a Martinist it does not mean there is a conspiracy to turn Freemasonry into Martinism. For many years I sat beside a Druid in my lodge, and guess what because he was a Druid Freemasonry didn't become Druidism. On a side note do a little research on Druidism & Freemasonry, I think, you'll be surprised at what you find. The fact is Freemasonry is a progressive science, and fortunately Freemasonry is progressing, and sadly some are fearful of change. Enough critiquing, now on to little gratitude. Over the past couple years the lodge I proudly belong to has embraced Masonic education, even going so far as appointing a Masonic Education Officer, a brother the third of the age of most of the brethren. Although it's still just a few brothers that are willing speak, we are bound and determined to bring back open discussions on history, symbolism, and comparative philosophies, all subjects I believe we would of heard addressed in the lodges of our great great great grandfathers, something that has been missing for years. As of late I am organizing a night of Masonic "Light" for my brothers. It is my hope to fill the sidelines with brothers that are seeking that which has become lost, although a little clique in the ruins of the temple. It's sadly been years since our sidelines have been full and now I have taken on this challenge willingly in hope of "restoring" a little of that has been lost. To date we have contacted Brother Ryan J. Flynn, Masonic Artist, the Phoenix Lodge, New Hampshire's first Traditional Lodge of Onservation, under the guidance of Worshipful Pat O'Sullivan, and fellow Sir Knight & Brother Anthony Mongelli, Masonic author, speaker, and lecturer, all of which have agreed to speak and present a night of Masonic Light for the brethren. I will most certainly post more information on this very special night planned for June 14th 2014 at Humane 21,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Freemasonry As a Progressive Science

I almost always find myself lost for words when asked what Freemasonry is.
Sure I know the quick little one liners we all have been taught, but they seem to simple.
What of instead of saying "we make good men better men" we said "a progressive science with its roots in ancient religious thought and philosophy"? Which one would entice the better candidate or attract the most curious, or share the most amount of light?
Many today don't even realize Freemasonry is considered a science, and a progressive one at that.

"Our Freemasonry is undoubtedly a progressive science,"
~Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

I find the quote above written by Brother MacKey rather informative and yet vague at the same time. First let us look at the two key words contained within that short paragraph, two words that may shed a little light on the deeper purpose of Freemasonry.
The first keyword being 'progressive', meaning; happening or developing gradually or in stages; proceeding step by step.
Synonyms: continuing, continuous, increasing, growing, developing, ongoing, accelerating, escalating, and then 'science', meaning; the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
At first glance it would be very easy to assume what Brother Mackey is referring to is the degree structure in Freemasonry where the initiate advances through in Freemasonry, yet when we add the keyword 'science' to this progression we find the degree system is probably not what our learned brother is talking about. Sure we are gradually exposed to more and more symbolism on our progression through the degrees but we still haven't been introduced to what science we are suppose to be immersing our self in. 
One might also assume that Brother MacKey was talking about our progression to become a better individual morally, " a good man a better man". I tend to see this as one of the reasons you gained admission into Freemasonry in the first place, you were vetted by three and voted in, you were already deemed a good man.
If we look further to brother MacKey's definition of Freemasonry as a 'progressive science' we find him giving the following examples: 
"Freemasons are now expected to be more learned than formerly in all that relates to the 'science' of the Order. Its origin, its history, its objects, are now considered worthy of the attentive consideration of its disciples. The rational explanation of its ceremonies and symbols, and their connection with ancient systems of religion and philosophy, are now considered as necessary topics of inquiry for all who desire to distinguish themselves as proficient in Masonic science."
Now that's some heady topics to be addressed, the origin of our Order, it's history, the various symbols and their connection to ancient comparative religious thought, and last but not least philosophy. In other words the Masonic journey is not just about dinner and business meetings, it has to be researched, studied, and in some esoteric cases implemented.
Let's look at each of those topics and see what we are up against and what may help us on our journey.
First the origin of the Order. This can actually be a fun ride through myth, pseudo fiction, and pure speculation. Part of the problem we have here is that we borrowed the title mason from operating masons that worked building temples in England. 
Are we a byproduct of these hard working temple builders of old? No two historians seem to agree. Of course we borrowed many of their tools and projected meaning on them, and maybe we borrowed their technique for identifying as masons to prospective employers, but other than that everything else is the creation of very well researched minds.
What we do know for a fact is Freemasonry outed itself in the early seventeen hundreds during what has been called the Age of the Enlightenment. We also know for a fact that many of our early brothers during this time were very learned men, many belonging to the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.
If I were to begin my Masonic journey of understanding I would begin at this time, look to see what was happening historically in the world of science, philosophy, and religious thought.
It should also be mentioned that the rituals were created by Dr. James Anderson and John Desaguliers, both members of the Royal Society. It would probably be a mistake to assume the rituals developed by these two gentleman had any similarities with the rituals used by operative masons.
Returning to MacKey's suggestion to look towards the 'science of our Order' with a "rational explanation of its ceremonies and symbols, and their connection with ancient systems of religion and philosophy" 
The 'Rational Scientific Method' is how intelligent beings can objectively and rationally explain phenomena and arrive at rational conclusions about reality. Using this method is how we can achieve an understanding of the world around us. This fits perfectly into the shift of thinking that occurred during the Enlightenment. The thinkers of the Enlightenment, influenced by the scientific revolutions of the previous century, believed in shedding the light of science and reason on the world, and in order to question traditional ideas and religious dogma.
"The characteristic Enlightenment suspicion of all allegedly authoritative claims the validity of which is obscure, which is directed first of all against religious dogmas, extends to the claims of metaphysics as well."...Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
During this time in history, in England, it was not uncommon for the natural philosophers to be theologians also, case in point Isaac Newton and his assist John Desaguliers. Over the years many have made note of Isaac Newton's devotion to biblical study, but few mention his anti-trinitarian position, his refusal to receive holy orders and his refusal, on his death bed, to receive the sacrament.
So what ever Brother MacKey was referred the brothers to the "ancient systems of religion and philosophy" it would have to able to be proven and superstition free and fit within the criteria of 'reason'.
Clues to what I believe what Brother MacKey is referring to when he says "ancient systems of religion and philosophy" are actually  imbedded in the symbols, the language of the rituals, and in the layout of the lodge room. 
The first place I would look is to an old Greek philosopher named Pythagoras and his divine harmony, the layout of the lodge room is a good example of Pythagorean harmony. 
There also happens to be a very old, what some would call a religious tradition that had captured the attention of the many learned individuals of the Enlightenment, including Newton, Leibniz, Locke. Known as the Kabbalah we find essentially a Neoplatonic philosophy that parallels well the harmony of Pythagoras. 
Neoplatonist's believe that the phenomenal world and the human soul were produced by a process of emanation from the highest level of Reality, the First Hypostasis, otherwise known as "The One'". This belief system includes practical techniques designed to enable an individual soul to retrace the path of emanation in reverse, literally an ascent, or return back to the original condition of being. Emanation is an ancient way of explaining how our physical world, which contains a chaotic diversity of entities, can have an underlying order and a connection with a single, unified source of all being, the 'point within the circle'.
Time for me to progress through the philosophy of Pythagoras and take a closer look at the Kabalah. 

For now on if anybody asks me what Freemasonry is I'm going to reply by say "it is a progressive science".

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Alchemist View of the Personified God - My Opinion

All is Tao
All things arise from Tao.
By Virtue they are nurtured.
Ch 51, Tao Te Ching

The news coming out of the Middle East isn't good, political unrest always seems to turn into religious fueled violence in that area of the world, pitting one's belief system against another's. It never made much sense to me, bigotry and hatred. 
The question I often find myself asking when I see or read these stories of my god verses your god "why do most limit their God and confine him to the image of man, with all the negative attributes that seem to come with that gender, jealousy, vengeance, retribution, etc.."? 
This seems to be what individuals do when they personify their gods, they create a fearful rulers hellbent on destroying anyone that disagrees with their laws.
What makes many of these religious confrontations even weirder is that both sides believe in the same god, the god of Abraham. I do understand that Christians hold Jesus equal to God, where the Muslims and Jews wouldn't, but does that slight difference give one freedom to commit atrocities and even murder against another human being? Apparently so. But that's a different subject for a different time, for now let's look into this personification of deity.  
There is no doubt I hold a difference of opinion when it comes to the definition of God, one that doesn't tend to pigeonhole God into a limited role of a manlike creator judge, a premise I find if looked at closely is somewhat absurd. 
My personal belief system leans heavily towards Buddhism, with the only caveat I believe in a non-personified god, something I think many western Buddhists would agree with when understood correctly. Certainly not all, but some.
I think much of this erroneous projection and personification of deity comes from a verse most likely misunderstood in the bible "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness' ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.", Genesis 1:26-27. 
From this verse I believe many project human like qualities on their perception of deity, and in strange twist of fact most picture 'him' gender specific.
If we are to take this passage literally we might have a problem, one need only turn on the evening news to see that if we are created like God he may have issues, jealousy, hatred, alcoholism, etc.. Or maybe, just maybe, our perception of God is wrong and the passage has a deeper meaning, one that may pose a problem for organized religions who love their gender specific gods.
If we look again at the quoted passage a question I have is who is the "us" and "our", the plural, this passage refers to? 
If we were to take the passage literal it appears God has peers, something I bet they never taught you in catechism classes. 
As I researched the passage I found that many believe the "us" or the "our" to be angels, some believe he's referring to Jesus, and some even believe he's speaking of the Holy Spirit, yet the fact is all of this is just presumption, we'll never really know the writers intent, but I have an idea, one I'll reveal in due time.
I believe it would be prudent of me to give this disclaimer, although this blog tends to explore Masonic themes and symbolism it does not mean the opinions expressed are those of the tradition the author so proudly belongs. If you continue on know that what you read is the opinion and thought of the author alone and is not necessarily Masonic in nature, although the writer himself does believe Freemasonry is a philosophical tradition created to look into these topics. 

"In sexual reproduction, organisms inherit half of their nuclear DNA from the male parent and half from the female parent."...National Human Genome Research Institute 

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness' ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.", Genesis 1:26-27

The truth is not all bible readers take the bible literally, with many seeing it as mix of allegory, myth, and moral law. Case in point, many alchemists found the language of the bible contained a highly symbolic inner path that would lead the individual towards what they call in the east enlightenment.
And why you may ask do I mention alchemists?
The simple fact is many of our early brothers, the very same brothers that created the rituals in Freemasonry, were very familiar with alchemy and its often confusing and symbolic language.  
It's a known fact that Isaac Newton was a practicing alchemist, and who was his trusted laboratory assistant? None other than John Theophilus Desaguliers the third Grand Master of Freemasonry the creator of the rituals still in use to this day, with a few modifications.  And you don't think he was influenced by the genius of Isaac Newton? Of course he was, he spent years lecturing on Newton's discovers and demonstrating Newton's experiments. 
With a little research you'll find many of our early brothers were either influenced by or considered to be alchemists themselves.
The alchemy were are talking about is not necessarily the physical act of changing lead to gold, although some certainly tried, but the inner transformation of consciousness. 
It has always been my contention that Freemasonry at its core is alchemical and Cabalistic, two arcane sciences that can lead to higher states of consciousness if understood correctly. Which in itself poses a problem to many in Freemasonry today, two sciences rarely discussed in lodges and foreign to those that haven't done their homework.
For instance let's see if the passage from Genesis 1:26-27 makes more sense if seen through the eyes of an alchemist and how we may see this played in the esoteric symbolism of Freemasonry.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

If your fortunate enough to belong to a lodge with a black and white checkered floor you may have already been exposed to the male and female symbolic relationship, the black square representing the female aspect, the white male. 
Pretty easy so far, right?
Now imagine a rather large circle drawn upon the black and white floor, symbolized when the candidate circumambulates around the altar. If you we're able to view this circle from above it would be very easy to see the similarities with the ever familiar yin and yang symbol from the east, the circle divided equally of black and white. The only difference is in Freemasonry we us squares, the taoist splits the circle equally, half black half white. As we circumambulate during ritual around the altar at any given point we are either stepping on a black or white square, duality unified by the circle.
And you thought Freemasonry was all about dinner.
As to what this symbolized, the circle is the symbol of wholeness or oneness, the black and white within the circle symbolize the first creation or first cause. We see this symbolism played out in the myth of Adam and Eve. 
In the myth of Adam he is alone in the garden, where one of his ribs is removed to create Eve. Adam is symbolic of oneness creating twoness Eve and himself. Oneness, the circle, divided into two equal parts half black (Eve) and half white (Adam). Here we find equality in duality, black and white as companions, co-creators.
Here's where to many get it wrong, there is no judgment here, right or wrong, good vs. evil, these seemingly opposites combine to create power, energy. Think of a car battery, one positive pole, one negative pole, when we turn the key the two poles combine to create enough power to start the engine, in Freemasonry we would call this win win relationship, harmony.
Let us once again look at the passage "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
The alchemists themselves saw matter, which are plants, minerals, and metals as having masculine and feminine qualities, and projected the transformations of these in their retorts into their inner space in order to explore their own masculine and feminine natures. In many old alchemical illustrations we see this depicted as males and females copulating, our inner being uniting together to create a new unity, a new energy. 
In other illustrations we find symbols of the Sun, masculine, white, and the Moon, feminine, black, being assisted by Mercury the hermaphrodite, the combination of both energies. Symbolized in Freemasonry by the 47th theorem, 3 squared is the male, 4 squared is the female, and 5 squared is the progeny, the mixture of both, the new energy.

"Spiritual power begins by directing animal power to other than egoistic ends."...Brother John Ruskin

The case could easily be made that this inner alchemy was the precursor to today's Jungian psychology. Jung, whose paternal grandfather just so happened to be a Masonic Grand Master, postulates that each individual has both masculine and feminine components of the psyche, named the anima and the animus. In the male this feminine aspect is the animus.
The fact is our human biological and psychological development is this mixture of masculine and feminine energies.
Yes Alice, we are going down the rabbit hole.
It's very easy to imagine alchemists of old as crazy chemists working long hours over a fire breathing furnace attempting to turn lead into gold, when the truth may just be that many were quite inquiring souls attempting to follow the advice of Socrates, "Know Thyself."
The alchemists realized each of us has both male and feminine energies within us. In Freemasonry you may find this symbolized by the black and white floor, Jachin and Boaz, and many other symbols that illustrate that duality. The goal of the alchemists was to harmonize these seemingly opposite energies.
Just like the alchemists Eastern philosophies realized this concept of yin (feminine/receptive) and yang (masculine/active) realizing that everything in the universe is made of these two energies. 
In the taoist system Yang energy is masculine in nature and is described as light, dry, directed, focused, logical, and action oriented. Yin energy is feminine and described as dark, moist, diffuse, vague, intuitive, and receptive. In regard to psychological functioning, men are predominately yang but contain a yin aspect. Women, while predominately yin, contain an element of yang. 
Human beings are psychologically androgynous with latent inner masculine and feminine energies awaiting development.
Now that you have been introduced to the male/female dichotomy read the following passage from Proverbs 3:13-20 and see if you can figure out why the alchemist would be attracted to such insight.
"Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 
for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew."

"Q. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and silver?
A. By no means; vulgar silver and gold are dead, while those of the Philosophers are full of life."...Théodore Henri de Tschudi, Alchemical Catechism, 1766
Now, lets advance further down the rabbit hole Alice.
Time to take a closer look brothers at your apron. Although the apron may seem to be one piece of material it is actually two united into one, a triangle, and a square.
The Square represents the four elements of nature, or matter. In alchemy it is asserted that the metals are composed of the four elements, which the ancient philosophers called fire, water, air, and earth. Easy enough.
Now lets take a look at the triangular flap.
The triangle is often used by the alchemist to convey inner psychological conditions. For instance the upward pointing triangle (E.A. flap up) is the alchemical symbol for fire. One of the four classical elements, fire has the properties of heat and dryness, and symbolizes the “fiery” emotions- love, hate, passion, compassion, empathy, anger, etc., as well as spiritual aspiration- those actions of intent which bring us closer to the divine. Fire is represented in numerous cultures as the triangle, symbolizing rising force. It's in this fiery condition we enter Freemasonry, which we will attempt to harmonize and temper with the assistance our watery aspect. 
The alchemical symbol for water is an inverted triangle, symbolizing downward flow. The downward pointing triangle is an alchemical symbol of femininity.  As one of the four alchemical elements, water has the properties cold and moist, and symbolizes intuition, the unconscious mind, and the enclosing, generating forces of the womb. We find this symbolized by the Master Mason's apron with its triangular flap pointing down.
Dorothy, your not in Kansas anymore!
Most today refer to alchemy as a bygone precursor to chemistry, or a parlor trick used by unscrupulous individuals to deceive people into buying their fake gold, when in fact it is an integral science harmonizing our inner nature while seeking the divine within, the God within all of us, the philosopher's stone, the grail, name it what you will.
"The oldest wisdom in the world tells us we can consciously unite with the divine while in this body; for this man is really born. If he misses his destiny, Nature is not in a hurry; she will catch him up someday, and compel him to fulfill her secret purpose."...Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (president of India, 1962 - 67)
When I started off this paper I began by referencing Genesis 1:26-27, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness' ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.", I hope I have made clear how many alchemists of old saw this as a psychological fact and saw the necessity of harmonizing the feminine and masculine energies within us, resulting in androgyne of sorts, a Spirit energy.
As to how I tend to define God, it is that Spirit Energy that pervades and permeates all of creation.  This all-encompassing original source Energy containing both aspects, in perfect harmony.  
I also made reference to the plural referencing God made when he said "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness", I tend to think he was talking about us, not Jesus, not a Holy Spirit, and not angels, but a disembodied our consciousness that existed before taking on life in the world of experience, matter.
In days of old I would certainly of been charged with heresy when I say I believe each and every one of us to be divine, but most forgot, freewill can be a bitch. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Deism & Freemasonry - Something To Ponder

Are We Stuck in a Medieval World?

"Are we stuck in a medieval world?" may seem like a foolish question at first, but upon close inspection the question may be valid. 
Granted we have made great advancements in sciences, technologies, food production, water sanitation, and various fields which allow most of us live a much more comfortable life than our medieval ancestors, but have our belief systems progressed?
With all this advancement has our idea of God advanced beyond the confines of the medieval or middle age mind? 
In most cases I tend to think not, all you need to do is turn on Sunday morning television, or even the news to see people speaking of a medieval god.
BEFORE YOU READ BEYOND THIS POINT even though I consider 'Purposely Hoodwinked' primarily a Masonic blog, what follows is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the tradition to which I belong. 
The reason for the disclaimer is the sensitive nature of certain individual's belief systems, something few are willing to examine, often fearing some imagined retribution either from above, or below, call it what you may but that's medieval thinking!
Lets journey back a bit, back to the medieval period in Europe where we find Christianity was the major religion and religion was everything. 
Although most citizens had surely had seen a bible few could actually read one, relying on the monks and priests to interpret what the book contained, that's providing they themselves were literate. The fact was the majority of the population couldn’t read at all, considering that during this time bible itself was written in Latin the only way to be ‘literate’ was if a person could read Latin.  Literacy in other languages didn’t count.
In Medieval England, birthplace of Freemasonry, the Church dominated every body's life. No matter your status in the pecking order, surfs, townspeople, or royalty, all believed in the catholic envisioned omnipotent judgmental God, Heaven, Hell, and sin. The only way to heaven was through the church, if not you we eternally dammed to a fiery pit. Admit openly to question the church's position or beliefs would guarantee an agonizing existence in Hell. 
The Church had total control over your thoughts and actions, many we forced to labor for free for the Church while still maintaining their own land, gardens, and livestock, all the time tithing ten percent of everything they earned to the church.
Even if you didn't work you were going to pay up, farmers almost always had to pay in seeds, harvested grain, animals etc. This usually caused a peasant a lot of hardship as seeds, for example, would be needed to feed a family the following year. 
What the Church got in tithes was kept in huge tithe barns and not shared with the serfs. A failure to pay tithes, the peasants were told by the Church, would lead to their souls going to Hell. 
If that wasn't bad enough, for every church service you required you were going to pay, pay for baptisms, a required ritual in order to avoid Hell, pray for marriage, because fornication outside marriage was sinful in the eyes of God, and pay for burial, especially if you were buried on holy ground which assured you safe passage to heaven.
As history tells us for those educated individuals that dared question or deviate from the dogma, penalties varied, and as time went they became more and more barbaric, beheading, torture, burning at the stake, all punishments handed out by servants of all powerful God that couldn't seem to keep his flock in check.
Now don't think this suppression was just a short period of time, in fact this went on for centuries in various counties across so called civilized Europe. That is until 1621 when a new word is uttered, deism.
In the 17th century arose the so-called deism of England, under the leadership of Herbert of Cherbury and Thomas Hobbes, contemporaneously with Descartes on the Continent and Spinoza  with his destructive criticism and with his pantheistic philosophy. 
This deism compounded with the dawning of the Age of Enlightenment would create great pains for Christianity. The deistic unbelievers not only professed to believe in one God, but also sought to show that no special revelation is necessary to man, but that he can learn both God and duty from the light of nature. 
Ouch, no revelation, no miracles, what was a church to do?
The English deism passed over into France and Germany, and, coming in aid of the movement in philosophy and criticism led by Descartes and Spinoza, gave origin there to the movement which finally culminated in the so-called Rationalism, Naturalism, and Positivism. You could safely say the deists were ridding themselves of the medieval concept of God.

"I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho' some of the Dogmas of the Persuasion, such as the Eternal Decrees of God, Election, Reprobation, &c. appear'd to me unintelligible, others doubtful, & I early absented myself from the Public Assemblies of the Sect, Sunday being my Studying-Day, I never was without some religious Principles; I never doubted, for instance, the Existence of the Deity, that he made the World, & govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable Service of God was the doing of Good to Man; that our Souls are immortal; and that all Crime will be punished & Virtue rewarded either here or hereafter; these I esteem'd the Essentials of every Religion, and being found in all the Religions we had in our Country I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of Respect as I found them more or less mix'd with other Articles which without any Tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm Morality, serv'd principally to divide us & make us unfriendly to one another.".. Brother Ben Franklin

Before we continue allow me to share a few definitions for those that find this territory unfamiliar.
Deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge. Many early deists were actually intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in one god, but found fault with organized religion and did not believe in supernatural events such as miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures, or the Trinity. Lets not forget many of these early deists knew the history of the church and the atrocities committed in the name of God, and many of these individuals were Freemasons.
Rationalism is the philosophy that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience.
In theological rationalism human reason is unaided by divine revelation and is an adequate or the sole guide to all attainable religious truth.
Naturalism is the idea or belief that only natural as opposed to supernatural or spiritual laws and forces operate in the world. It is the belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.
Positivism is philosophy that posits that theology and metaphysics are earlier imperfect modes of knowledge and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by the empirical sciences
As you can see all for of these philosophies would be problematic for those that believed in an intervening anthropomorphic god.
As to why I brought up these various modes of thought, I find history slowly rewriting itself to suit the individual, and often time certain groups. Such is the case of Brother George Washington, many claim him to be a deist, which I tend to agree, and others claiming him to be a Christian. Who's right depends on the historian telling his story, he very rarely spoke openly of religion or philosophy, he very rarely attended Sunday service, didn't partake in the sacrament, and did not request a minister on his death bed.
Try making the case that many of our founding fathers were actually deists and the wrath of angry medieval thinkers will surely follow.
Take for instance Thomas Jefferson, since Jefferson openly discussed his beliefs, and even even compiled a reformed version of the gospels to rescue the philosophy of Jesus and the "pure principles which he taught," from the "corruptions and artificial vestments" which were established as "instruments of riches and power" for church patriarchs.
Jefferson concluded that Jesus never claimed to be God, and he regarded much of the New Testament as corrupted with "palpable interpolations and falsifications." In other words, Jefferson separated ethical and true teachings from the religious doctrine and dogma and other fictional supernatural elements that were intermixed in the gospels between the mid-first century and the fourth century when the Christian Bible was compiled and edited. Jefferson called his book "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels." He didn’t publish it, because he regarded religious beliefs as a private matter. But now people know it as The Jefferson Bible. Yet even though Jefferson tells it like it is others still claim him to be a Christian, a history slowly changing.
In the case of Freemasonry many of our early brothers were deists, in fact you would be surprised at the amount. It's no wonder many at one time believed Freemasonry to be a deist organization and thus an enemy to the dogmatic church and its medieval belief system.
I found this paragraph from Wikipedia interesting: "One of the persistent Catholic criticisms of Freemasonry is that it advocates a deist or naturalist view of creation. Freemasonry in fact requires of its members no specific view of a supreme being, as Deism would do, but rather a simple belief in a supreme being."
My response to that statement is that in fact Freemasonry does not require its members to specify their view of God. I'm not asserting that Freemasonry is deist in nature but since the deist believes in a non-intervening god his entrance should not be challenged. As for the naturalist view of creation, it may be hidden in the rituals of Freemasonry but that is for the individual brother to ascertain himself, I'm not saying either way.
As the paragraph continues on; "Whilst it is recognized that Masonry is not atheistic, UGLE aligned Masons are asked if they believe in God before joining, its use of the expression, "Supreme Architect of the Universe", a term attributed to the Protestant theologian John Calvin—is seen by some Christian critics as indicating Deism, although Calvin was not a Deist."
My response to the above paragraph; it wouldn't be unusual to find a deist title like 'Supreme Architect of the Universe' considering this could easily apply to a creator god, a 'watch maker' of sorts, that creates the universe and peopled it with thinking human beings, and then dissociated himself from his creation. It should also be noted that Anderson's Constitutions of 1723, which every brother should be familiar with, was penned by a Presbyterian   minister who would of been very familiar with the words of John Calvin. Reverend Anderson himself saw Freemasonry as universal in nature not confined to one belief system. In the Constitutions of 1723 we find a very revealing charge:
"A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine." Within that brief passage we find the heart and soul of Freemasonry. First we find a charge to 'obey the moral law', and how is that moral law defined? According the Merriam-Webster dictionary the 'moral law' is defined as: a general rule of right living; esp: such a rule or group of rules conceived as universal and unchanging and as having the sanction of God's will, of conscience, of man's moral nature, or of natural justice as revealed to human reason, the basic protection of rights is the moral law based on man's dignity.
Notice in the definition of moral law 'natural justice' and 'reason' being referred to, both principles found in deism where the individual is guided by natural God given reason as to what is right and what is wrong, laws are revealed through reason not revelation.
If we look once again at the passage: "A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine.", what may we ask is the "Art" Dr. Anderson is referring to?
This I believe refers to the esoteric aspect of Freemasonry, the truths as revealed through the rituals and symbolism of the degrees. For many these truths remain veiled even to those in Freemasonry, not purposely but because they are not sought out by the brothers themselves. I also believe the genius of Freemasonry included symbols which can interpreted morally as well as esoterically. 
The paragraph continues: "But although in ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was,". Personally I take this to mean its better to blend in than to stand out, many of us are on our own personal search for truth. As history has shown it wasn't always wise to question or go against the grain, and in many countries this may still be the case. Just from that small charge you can see why some people confuse the belief systems of deist brothers who attended Christian services during the founding of America.
As Dr. Anderson's charge ends we find a push towards reconciliation between differing religions and a push towards a universal approach. We also see a statement of fact, religious  proselytizing is discouraged and the moral path is something that should be the cornerstone of our life. "tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the Centre of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remained at a perpetual Distance."
Those familiar with my writing know I believe Freemasonry to be a creation of Isaac Newton's inner circle, heavily influenced by Brother John Theophilus Desaguliers, the experimental assistant to Isaac himself.
"The history of the organization that has relevance for the Enlightenment begins in 1717, when four London Masonic lodges united to create the Grand Lodge of London. Its early leaders were drawn from the ranks of philosophers and pastors committed to spreading the ideas of Isaac Newton, of mechanical philosophy, and of deism. The Grand Lodge quickly established power over English lodges, but the Scottish and Irish lodges refused to recognize its claims to dominance.
One of the earliest grand masters (highest leaders) of the London lodge was John Theophilus Desaguliers, the experimental scientist who was curator and demonstrator for the Royal Society of London. With J. Anderson, Desaguliers drafted the first constitution of the Freemasons, published in 1723 as The Constitutions of the Free-Masons containing the History, Charges, Regulations, etc., of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity, For the Use of the Lodges.
The Constitutions of the Free-Masons provides a mythologized history of the organization that traces it back to the first man, Adam, and to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. This "history" illustrates the strong links between Freemasonry and deism, especially in the vision of God as the architect of the universe."...Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (Facts on File Library of World History Series)
The fact is Newton was an ardent anti-trinitarian;  "Isaac Newton was no Christian in any orthodox sense, and his heretical views could have cost him dearly. During his Cambridge University years, Newton denied the divinity of the Trinity and the co-equal status of Jesus with God the Father. Newton kept quiet about his growing commitment to this Arian heresy, but even so it nearly lost him his job. . . ."...Thomas Levenson, Isaac Newton in his time, and Ours, Boston Globe Op-Ed July 28, 2007
It didn't take long before Isaac Newton began to indirectly support Lord Herbert's deism.
The physical world, according to Newton, was explicable in terms of “insurmountable and uniform natural laws” that could be discovered by observation and formulated mathematically. By mastering these laws human reason could explain cosmic events that had previously been ascribed to divine intervention. The beauty and variety of the system, Newton believed, was irrefutable evidence that it had been designed and produced by an intelligent and powerful Creator. Close though he was to deism, Newton differed from the strict deists insofar as he invoked God as a special physical cause to keep the planets in stable orbits. He believed in biblical prophecies, but rejected the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation as irrational.
"The last and most decisive element which helped to bring about the change of Masonry was the intellectual movement which is known by the name of English Deism, a tendency which boldly discarded the theory of Revelation and all dogma, and carried everything before it under the victorious banner of reason and criticism. It cannot be denied that there is some connection between this movement and the later league of Freemasonry."...Findel, Geschichte dcr Freimaurerd (Third Edition), p. 135. 
The question then becomes, is Freemasonry at its core promoting a deist philosophy? Only the brother willing to delve in will find out, I'm not saying yes or no.
One last note, although deism seemed to disappear over the years as of late deism is raising its head again, especially in scientific circles. One could make the case that the chief reason for this stems primarily from the arguments of Intelligent Design, the virtually impossible-to-believe statistical likelihood the the intricacies, complexity, and interrelationships that exist at all levels of nature from the subatomic to the astrophysical are the product of random happenings governed by nothing more than mere  chance. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Luciferian Doctrine and Freemasonry

The Luciferian Doctrine.

I love reading the works of Brother Albert Pike, a true researcher of Masonic thought and philosophy. 
Sadly brother Pike has become the whipping boy for every conspiracy nut out there, individuals that know little of what they write about. The case could easily be made that many of these individuals are stuck in medieval and middle age thinking.
Take for instance this quote which is attributed to Brother Albert Pike and bantered about on hundreds of conspiratorial websites: "That which we must say to the crowd is: we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees - the Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian doctrine." 
This quote actually comes from an anti-Masonic writer named Leo Taxil who in 1897 publicly confessed it to be a hoax. Yet even after his confession and the outing of his anti-masonic intent some people still use the quote to hammer Freemasonry as some sort of devil worshiping cult.
As a point of interest and even though there is no proof what soever that Pike actually made that statement lets look at Luciferianism for a moment, maybe Taxil was on to something, something that his collective subconscious may have stumbled on. You be the judge. 
First lets get this fact right, 
Luciferianism has nothing to do with what pops into the mind of uneducated middle age thinkers, that mythical Satan. Taken from Wikipedia: "Luciferianism is a belief system that includes both theistic and secular denominations, and is therefore heavily influenced by personal perspectives and experiences. Considered by many to be a religion and by all to be a philosophy or way of life, Luciferianism as a whole has no specific dogma to which its “followers” adhere. Rather, it is a deeply personal outlook with numerous variations ranging from the veneration of a literal deity and the practice of occultism to a secular set of principles, using mythological references as a form of symbolism and cultural tradition." 
Anyone who has read brother Pike's Morals and Dogma could easily see much of what makes up the definition of Luciferianism could easily be found within his writings or even Freemasonry when understood correctly.  Notice how in the defination of Luciferianism the word occultism pops up, a word that has sadly lost its true meaning and has need denigrated to a foolish premise, much like Luciferianism. Once defined as hidden wisdom it is now used by present day middle age thinkers to denote nefarious intent. Maybe Ronald Reagan was right, America is dumbing down. 
As for the references of religion and philosophy, Freemasonry has been accused of being a religion since its inception, and it may be to some, yet I see it as a philosophy, a philosophy that appeals to the moral side of the individual in most cases and the metaphysical side in others. Just like Luciferianism Freemasonry utilizes mythological references and symbolism to convey deep abstract ideas. Maybe Taxil was on to something and he didn't know it. 
Lets continue on: "Although sometimes mistakenly associated with Satanism due to the Christian interpretation of the fallen angel, Luciferianism is a wholly different and unrelated belief system and does not revere the Devil figure or most characteristics typically affixed to Satan. Rather, Lucifer in this context is seen as one of many Morning Star, a symbol of enlightenment, independence and human progression, and is often used interchangeably with similar figures from a range of ancient beliefs, such as the Greek titan Prometheus or the Jewish figure Lilith." 
The symbol of the Morning Star should jump out to every brother, in many lodge rooms you'll find one symbolized on the mosaic floor. Interchangeable in its symbolism the Morning Star is symbolic of Venus, love, or Sirius, two important symbols in Freemasonry. As with Luciferianism those following the esoteric path of Freemasonry are very familiar with the goal of 'enlightenment'.
In concluding the definition of Luciferianism read carefully the following paragraph and look at how much actually could apply to Freemasonry, you might be surprised.
"Contrary to popular misconceptions, Luciferianism does not support violence or amoral practices. Luciferians strongly believe in equality, moral excellence, honesty and integrity. They support the moral and intellectual development of children in particular, and the protection of the natural world. Both the arts and sciences are crucial to human development, and artistic creativity is cherished and encouraged as much as scientific inquiry. Rather than focusing on "what comes next", Luciferians feel that humans should be focused on this life and how to make the most of it every single day. The ability to recognize both good and evil, to accept that all actions have consequences, both positive and negative, and to actively influence one's environment, is a key factor.
For Luciferians, enlightenment is the ultimate goal. They prize the wonders of nature and seek to connect with the natural world and the universe that humans inhabit, in order to move humankind forward through both physical and social evolution. Luciferian principles highlight truth and freedom of will, worshipping the inner self and one’s ultimate potential as opposed to bowing to the rules of a supernatural entity. Traditional dogma is shunned as a basis for morality on the grounds that humans should not need deities or fear of eternal punishment to distinguish right from wrong and to do good. Instead, they believe that humans should accept who and what they are, the good and the flaws alike, and should seek first and foremost to better themselves and to expand knowledge and understanding, both on a personal level and on a worldwide scale. All ideas should be tested before being accepted, and even then one should remain skeptical because knowledge and understanding are fluid. The ongoing search for truth is paramount. In whatever incarnation Lucifer is viewed, whether theistic or atheistic, whether thought of as Prometheus defying the gods to bring fire to mankind, or Satan giving Eve the apple, allowing humans to think for themselves and to move beyond their childlike beginnings, he is a representation of ultimate knowledge and exploration: humanity’s savior and a champion for continuing personal growth."
Maybe Taxil was on to something, if he only knew what he was writing about. Instead he was attempting to reach the middle age thinkers that feared devils, fallen angels, and an angry and jealous God.
With a little research I was able to find that the title Luciferian actually came from Lucifer Calaritanus, bishop of Sardinia, who in the Nicene council was a zealous defender of the catholic faith against the Arians. How they became associated with 'Luther' the mythical devil is another one of those tales of bending the truth, considering the Luciferians broke of from the 'mother church' we can only imagine the attacks to their credibility that would arise and in what form. History tells us "the Luciferians, who, if they imbibed the spirit of the man from whom they took their name, must have‘ been firm and sincere in the love of the truth. In the year 374, the emperor ordered all who held unlawful assemblies to be banished a hundred miles from Rome. In prosecution of this edict, Damascus seems to have caused a Luciferian presbyter to
be apprehended, who held a congregation by night in a private house; and he and some of the same class were banished. Notwithstanding this severity, Damasus could not prevent the Luciferians from having a bishop of their own at Rome, called Aurelius, who was succeeded by Euphesus, who also kept his station at Rome, notwithstanding the endeavours of Damasus to remove him. Gregory of Elvira in Spain was another of their bishops, a man whose firmness was extolled by Eusebius of Vercellaa."...The History of the Church of Christ, Previous to the Reformation ..., Volume 2
For those interested in the distain the Catholics had for the Luciferians look towards St. Augustine and see what he says, it's not nice.
I hope I have made my case, Luciferianism has nothing what so ever to do with the mythical devil of middle age thinking. If you choose to buy into it I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. Do I believe Leo Taxil, of coarse not, nor should you, he played into the ignorance of people and evidently it's still working on many middle age thinkers. Do I believe that today's definition of Luciferianism is the same as it was 374 A.D., no. I think today's Luciferian is much closer to deism than Catholicism, much closer to Freemasonry than Taxil realized.