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.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Riding The Goat
It is my pleasure to introduce you to the “Goat”, the much maligned mythical God that symbolically once stood for something greater, only to find himself used to strike fear in the ignorant and used as comic relief in solemn initiate ceremonies by individuals that understand little of it's symbolic significance.
If truth be told, this symbol the “Goat” is not a goat at all, its actually a veiled symbol for a philosophy known as Pantheism.
Before you continue please understand that I am not preaching the philosophy of Pantheism, yet I do believe those on the initiate path should consider its principal teaching when unlocking meaning of esoteric symbols.
If we undertake to trace the original meaning of the word "Pantheism," we shall have to go back to Greek mythology. There we find that the ancient Greek shepherds used to believe in a god, whom they worshipped, and whom they called Pan.
They believed that that god Pan was the god of the flocks and the shepherds; that he was the guardian of the fishermen and of the bee-keepers; he was the patron of all persons occupied in hunting and in fishing. This god Pan has been described poetically as having the head and trunk of a man, with horns and goat's beard, pug-nose, pointed ears, and tail, and with goat's feet. He was very fond of music. He was the inventor of the shepherd's flute, which he used to play upon. This poetic description of the god Pan is nothing but the crude, imperfect symbolization of the conception of God which the shepherds of those days had. The picture is a symbol of the spirit of nature which exists in man, in beasts, in fishes, in birds, in insects, in plants. The shepherds thus understood the kinship which exists among all living creatures and things. Gradually this idea was changed, was extended. The god Pan became the god of the hills, mountains, rivers, etc., and afterwards he came to be identified with every personified object of nature.
Pan means all, and theism means belief in a god. Pantheism in its rudest forms was universal godism. It asserts the consubstantiation of God with nature.
In 1600 Giordano Bruno was burned at Rome for his Pantheistic opinions. When he was asked what he believed in, he said that he did not believe in creation, but he believed in the world as an emanation of the Infinite Mind. He said: "To realize God everywhere, to see God everywhere, and to realize that He alone Is, and all else is perishable phenomena and passing illusion; that there is one intelligence existing in God, in man, in beast, and in all that we call matter; this would be the aim of true philosophy."
Am I asserting that Pantheism is the path of the hoodwinked?
No, I tend to see our progression towards a more idealistic monistic philosophy, one described beautifully by physisist Amit Goswami, “Pantheism is very limited. When Westerners started going to India, they thought it was pantheistic because it has many, many gods. Indian philosophy tends to see God in nature—they worship rocks sometimes, that kind of thing—so Westerners thought it was pantheistic, and only later did they realize that it has a transcendent dimension. In fact, the transcendent dimension is developed extremely well in Indian philosophy, whereas in the West, it is hidden in a very few esoteric systems, such as those of Gnostics and of a few great masters like Meister Eckhart. In Jesus' teachings, you can see it in the Gospel according to Thomas. But you have to really dig deep to find that thread in the West. In India, in the Upanishads, the Vedanta, and the Bhagavad Gita, it is very explicit.
Now, pantheism sounds very good, but it's only part of the story. It's a good way to worship; it's a good way to bring spirituality into your daily life because it is good to acknowledge that there is spirit in everything. But if we just see the diversity, if we just see the God in everything, but don't see the God which is beyond every particular thing, then we are not realizing our potential. We are not realizing our Self. And so, truly, Self- realization involves seeing this pantheistic aspect of reality, but also seeing the transcendent aspect of reality.”