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.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The symbol of the pyramid has always been linked to Freemasonry, and for good reason. “To all members of the Masonic fraternity the Great Pyramid is a structure of profound significance, as it establishes “ the true principles of all that is plumb, level and square." Masonic lodges are planned after it, and it symbolizes some of the most important esoteric truths of the Order. The lesser lights of the Blue Lodge are arranged in triangular form about the altar, and in Royal Arch Masonry the triangle is the symbol of " I Am that I Am," and in the communication of the “Ineffable Name," a royal arch or pyramid is raised.”...Brother Harry Evans
By looking carefully at the design of the Masonic lodge room we should be able to expand the our understanding of the symbolism of the pyramid.
Allow me to introduce you to the pyramidal structure of the Masonic Temple. Just like the pyramid we have been discussing to this point we need to change our perspective to see the pyramid symbolized as the Masonic Temple. We need to view the lodge room of the temple from above.
When viewed from above the Masonic lodge room is in fact a mandala, a fact I realized the very first moment I entered through what is called the western gate. For those unfamiliar with the mandala, pronounced mahn-DAH-la, meaning 'house' or 'palace', the mandala represents a divine place of residence.
As I am writing this all over the world are traveling Buddhist monks creating and sharing these wonderful two dimensional sand mandalas as a way to hopefully bring more compassion into the world by sharing the wisdom of the mandala.
What may appear as a type of colorful blueprint too most esoterically the mandala serves as a tool for guiding individuals along the path to enlightenment, just as the Masonic lodge room if understood correctly does.
In the case of Buddhism monks meditate upon the mandala, imagining it as a three-dimensional palace. Just like looking at a blueprint, where you envision a three dimensional structure, the case of Buddhism it may be a palace, and in Freemasonry it may be the cosmos, or what you may see is a seven story pyramid, or even yourself.
As you will see the mandala's and the Masonic lodge room's symbolic purpose if understood correctly is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones.
Look carefully at this definition of the mandala and picture the layout of the Masonic lodge room;
Maṇḍala: (मण्डल) is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point.
If we were able to look down upon the Masonic lodge room from above we would ideally see an oblong floor; its length from east to west, at least one third greater than its breadth from north to south, for symbolic reasons.
I believe the reason may be found in one of the symbols bored by the Masonic tradition, the 47th Problem of Euclid, 3 squared plus 4 squared equals 5 squared. The oblong square, which is two 3, 4, 5 triangles sharing a common diagonal, may express a reflective relationship between the celestial and the earthly, such as that embodied in the Hermetic theosophy that the earthly plane is a reflection of the Divine. "That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above." is a extremely popular phrase in early Freemasonry, and if understood correctly a perfect teaching of the mandala.
In many Masonic Temples the lodge room floor is also black and white checkered, some in the center in the form of a square, and others the whole floor. Sadly today many of the lodge room are not, a removable of a very important symbol.
The black and white symbolism is easily seen as representative as Spirit and Matter, a seeming dualistic principle that states that over and beyond the physical reality there is a psychic or spiritual reality, and that our beings are not limited to the body alone. But before you rush off to judgment an think we're heading down the road of Descartes, I assure you the mandala of Freemasonry may just be heading in the opposite.
Now that we have discussed the floor of the Masonic Temple, and some of its symbolic significance lets go back to a little more of comparison to the mandala, a sacred circle or circular diagram, also occasionally oblong as in Japan, having mystical significance. Although we have started with the oblong shaped floor, symbolic of Matter, after all it the earth we stand on, most eastern mandalas begin with the circle, symbolic of Spirit. Yet if we look towards the western book we find in Isaiah 40:22 ”He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,”...some might say the “square circle”.
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth”...Proverbs 8:27
If you have a hard time looking at the bible for references to the circle, think heavenly canopy. If you were to stand upon the highest point you could access and look skyward, what would you see stretching out as far as you could see all around you 360 degrees? The circle of heaven, a boundless circle reaching out to what we call infinity. Here we find the symbolic Spirit now respresented as the circle. The circle of Spirit above, the square of Matter below, a common theme you'll see played over and over again in the symbols of Freemasonry. So important the most widely recognised combined symbol of the order, the compass and square, if understood correctly the compass is symbolic of Spirit and and the square symbolic of Matter.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Know ye that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”...Corinthians 3:16
I have now quoted the bible twice, do not think because I have used verses from a book, a very symbolic book, that I am pontificating or putting forth a certain belief system that many attribute to this book, that would be wrong. I am old enough and wise enough to see the highly symbolic nature of what is written in this book is the story of a Temple built historically, allegorically, and symbolically. To take this book literally would be a mistake, a mistake that has already caused way to much suffering.
The Temple builders of old spoke in a language that resonated with other builders, architects that thought outside the collective, the language of symbols.
Temple building symbols could and would be spoken and interpreted universally, culturally, and personally, and sometimes veiled from the ignorant for the obvious reasons, ignorance and superstition.
“Freely” these Temple Builders would consider the work, blueprints, designs, and temples of others, while ever so thoughtfully constructing their own.It should always be remembered that no two Temples occupy the same space nor face the sun at the same longitude and latitude.
In the history of temple building many looked towards the heavens, the Grand Design and attempted to copy the order and harmony here on earth. Just as there are many vistas to look above at the Grand Design, the creator has been given many names, the Temple I belong to happens to use “The Great Architect of the Universe”, the perfect title for a Temple Builder.
"God, Who is the first principle of all things, may be compared to things created as the architect is to things designed (ut artifex ad artificiata)." ...Saint Thomas Aquinas
“God the Father, the supreme Architect, had already built this cosmic home we behold, the most sacred temple of His Godhead, by the laws of His mysterious wisdom.”... Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Temple Builders have their own vocabulary, created to protect much of their wisdom from the ears and the eyes of the ignorant, Matthew summed it up when he said “cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
I assure you there are many types of Temples. The first I would like to discuss is the physical, and in doing so I hope to introduce you to the vocabulary and symbolism often used by the Temple Builder.
I pray the symbols I am about to introduce you to will open up your mind to new levels of understanding and thus allow you to become a Temple Builder yourself.
There are many physical temples that have been the subject of great debates, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the massive temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the gigantic complex of Borobudur in the jungle of Java, and the mysterious Mayan temple ruins deep within the Yucatan, to name a few.
All geometrically designed, all highly symbolic, much of their meaning found in the heavens above.
As a Temple Builder of a certain school of thought, known by some as “Solomon's Builders”, I have been privy to the cipher of the often veiled language of the Temple Builder.
Allow me to share some facts; Temple Builders speak in a language that is veiled in symbols, symbols that can and usually do have many levels of interpretation. Each and every symbol must be looked at universally, culturally, and personally, and all the various possible combinations, not an easy task if your unfamiliar with the symbols, but not impossible.
Consider a map, a reduced representation of the real world, where map symbols are used to represent real objects. Without symbols, we wouldn't have maps.
Both shapes and colors can be used for symbols on maps. A small circle may mean a point of interest, with a brown circle meaning recreation, red circle meaning services, and green circle meaning rest stop. Colors may cover larger areas of a map, such as green representing forested land and blue representing waterways. To ensure that a person can correctly read a map, a Map Legend is a key to all the symbols used on a map. It is like a dictionary so you can understand the meaning of what the map represents. The Temple I belong to uses the “Map Legend”, or symbolic language attributed to Pythagoras, an old Greek philosopher that taught numbers had a numerical and symbolic meaning, and taught what is now call “Sacred Geometry”, a metaphysical science he is rumored to have studied in Egypt.
Allow me to share with you a break down of the symbolism of a Temple I am very sure you are familiar with, The Great Pyramid of Giza, a highly symbolic Temple that can and has been interpreted on many levels.
As a Temple Builder we have been taught not to necessarily take things at face value, we tend to look behind the veil. Now lets try a mental experiment; each and every American is familiar with the pyramid pictured on the dollar bill of Masonic origin, and all its nonsensical allusions. On the top of the 13 story pyramid is the “Eye of Providence”, similar to the Eye of Horus. Now picture this symbol in your mind from above, what do you see?
What you should be imagining is a square, made up of four triangles with their apexes meeting in the center where the eye would now be. Now we come to a how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go moment, since we are entering the world of symbolism here we go!
The square in Temple building is universally symbolic of Matter, or form. Without getting to cryptic, each side of the square is representative of earth, fire, water, and air, or spring, summer, fall and winter, all things that can only be experienced when one is present in the world of matter. The floor of most temples is square, Matter, but not all, take for instance the circular Templar Churches, which we will approach in due time.
Returning to the pyramid as viewed from above, the square made up of four triangles, as we have seen “four” is symbolic of Matter, the four directions, the four elements, the four rivers of Eden, etc. Temple builders of old themselves wore a square apron symbolizing the medium they worked with, Matter. If you refer to the illustration below you can see that if the pyramid is unfolded so that the four triangular faces are swung outward, round the apex as a pivot, a Maltese Cross is formed, and when the cube, consisting of six squares, is opened up along its edges and unfolded, a Latin Cross is formed. The Maltese Cross is the expression of the Higher World, the Latin Cross of the Lower World. The intuitive Temple Builder, especially those initiated in the Masonic Tradition should be able to see these symbols alluded to in the aprons worn by the temple workmen, the triangle symbolic of Spirit, the square symbolic of Matter.
In Freemasonry the Temple Builders wear their aprons, known as lambskins, three different ways. These aprons consist of a square, and a triangle flap at the top. In the level of the Entered Apprentice the initiate wears his apron with the triangle of Spirit up, symbolically separate from Matter. Here we have a Temple Builder identifying with the world of Matter, Spirit and Matter are separate.
In the level of the Fellowcrarft, the second degree of Freemasonry, the initiate still wears his triangle of Spirit up, still symbolic of Spirit separate of Matter, but now at this level the initiate is to wear his apron with one corner of the square of Matter with one corner tucked up, symbolic of Matter looking towards Spirit, the journey has seriously begun.
The Master Mason wears his apron symbolic of his level, the triangle of Spirit drops into the square of Matter, symbolic of “Spiritualized Matter”. If you look closely at the apron of the Master Mason you'll notice the same amount of points as the pyramid, five, the true meaning to the five points of fellowship in which all Master Masons are raised.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I am a “Temple Builder”, as are you. The only difference between me and you is I know I'm a Temple Builder but sadly you don't, no judgment intended.
In fact I live in a Temple, much my own creation, much not. Most live in a Temple created by others, of poor design, and built on a foundation that won't hold.
I socialize at a Temple with others I call brothers, labeled a Lodge, other Temple builders in their own right.
This so called Lodge, the group of brothers, that meet in a Temple are the builders of the Temple in which they meet, an on going process.
It is not my purpose to come off cryptic, if truth be told I'd love to shake you gently and tell you the truth but I fear your probably stuck in the Temple of another's creation, a Temple of nonsense.
I have a truth I would like to share, as a Temple Builder I have taken an oath, an oath that not all Temple Builders take, and that is to protect a certain group of Temple Builders from others that would choose to bring harm to those that see the teachings of a certain architect as the cornerstone of their Temples, a sad situation that is usually caused by ignorance, hatred, and delusion, the three poisons.
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” ...John 14:2
If you think for a minute that your Temple, or your way, is the only way, you might just want to look around. Just like our physical appearances not all Temples are the same, that's the beauty of it, if you think we should all look like you we might have an ego problem in the making.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Are you ready, now that I assume you've been baptized by water, and possibly given your your blood, are you now ready for your Baptism of Fire?
If by any chance you hold the position that Baptism by Water is the only requirement for one's entrance into mythical heaven, you just might want to stop reading now.
If your going to continue on what you are going to encounter here is a symbolic study, albeit a minor one, into the symbolism of the Baptism of Fire, a symbolically necessary state of mind in order to understand John, one of the patron saints of Freemasonry, when he says; 'I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
Gold refined by “fire”?
Two distinct questions arrive, what is the “Gold”, and what of the fire?
Lets look to another great teacher and see of the “fire” he talks about and see if there is a connection and may just aid us in understanding Baptism of Fire, probably a phrase he wouldn't use, but you'd never know.
Since I'm a big believer in the merging philosophies of East and West, her's one of my favorite teachers; Then said the Exalted One to his disciples: 'Everything, O disciples, is in flames. And what Everything, O disciples, is in flames? The eye, O disciples, is in flames, the visible is in flames, the knowledge of the visible is in flames, the contact with the visible is in flames, the feeling which arises from contact with the visible is in flames, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain, this also is in flames. By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled: thus I say. The ear is in flames, the audible is in flames, the knowledge of the audible is in flames, the contact with the audible is in flames, the feeling which arises from contact with the audible is in flames, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain, this also is in flames. By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled; thus I say. The sense of smell is in flames, and then follows for the third time the same series of propositions; the tongue is in flames; the body is in flames; the mind is in flames.
Knowing this, O disciples, a wise, noble, hearer of the word becomes wearied of the eye, he becomes wearied of the visible, he becomes wearied of the knowledge of the visible, he becomes wearied of contact with the visible, he becomes wearied of the feeling which arises from contact with the visible, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain. He becomes wearied of the ear', and then follows one after the other the whole series of ideas as above.
While he becomes wearied thereof, he becomes free from desire; free from desire, he becomes delivered; in the delivered arises the knowledge: I am delivered; rebirth is at an end, perfected is holiness, duty done; there is no more returning to this world; he knows this."...The Buddha
In case you had a hard time following the Buddha, and what he is talking about when he says “Everything, O disciples, is in flames”, ego. In away he is describing “Baptism of Fire”, the divine spark within fueled by “ the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled”. In the philosophy of the Buddha craving, hatred, and ignorance, caused by the illusion of separateness, ego, were the hub of cyclical existence, he also realized the first Noble Truth; birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering. Once one realizes the truth of the three poisons of craving, hatred, and ignorance and begins to look at the first Noble Truth, and if one then applies themselves to the path towards realization, “Baptism of Fire” should be the end result, death of the ego and its separateness.
I'll leave it up to the reader. if interested, to look into the philosophies of the Buddha and the other three Noble Truths, they might just ring a bell.
Now let us look at a little Christianity, here we find the famous clergyman William Dell discussing the Baptism of Fire (also known as Baptism of Spirit), the comparison to Buddhist philosophy is uncanny: “Now the other baptism I am to speak of is Christ's which is Spirit or Fire Baptism, and this is the one and only baptism of the New Testament, as we find Paul affirming, Eph. iv. (i, where he saith that in Christ's kingdom, where is but one body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, and one Lord, and one faith, there is also but one baptism; and this is the Baptism of the Spirit, as the apostle elsewhere shows, saying, "For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. xii. 13).
When the ego, or illusionary separateness is burned up, only then will we experience the interconnectedness of reality, one body or reality, in Christianity we could call this Christ Consciousness.
“The true baptism is the Baptism of Fire, the growth into the spirit of wisdom, the victory of the spirit over the animal nature of man."...Franz Hartmann, Freemason and Theosophist
“This Fire is the true Spirit of life, the living Word, which inflames the soul of man, and gives it that force by which it can conquer the kingdoms of the lower world, and, crossing the ocean of births and deaths, can finally land itself on the further shore, a holy, purified " Son of God," a Saviour of Worlds to come. Thus runs the Legend of the Holy Grail.”...,Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Mediæval Mysticism, Isabel Cooper-Oakley
I remember hearing this wonderful Gnostic creation myth many years, in the story the Demiurge, think lesser God, decides to create humans from mud and water (matter), but the Demiurge can't give his creation life, for this he needed the big guy.
The big guy, because of his all encompassing love, agrees, he breaths the divine spark into the Demiurge's creation, knowing full well creation will eventually seek the divine spark within them and hopefully fan the flame (until creation finally unites in with the divine, Baptism of Fire).
Personal opinion: The Demiurge, the lesser God created good and evil, duality, the Big Guy, although surely not a dude, is beyond duality. Not until the subject object dichotomy, ego, is totally burnt out will “enlightenment” occur. Eradiction of ego does not come by the simple laying on of hands!
One last paragraph of thought, from a Roscrucian perspective: “Degrees of soul-force depend on the rapidity of the vibrations of the flame uniting the three powers which constitute the human ego. This trinity of Intelligence, Will, and Love is a manifestation of the Divine Trinity in Unity, making of man a microcosmic God.
The soul is a glowing spark in an Infinite Flame.
The vibrations of these triune forces develop heat, which is generally diffused throughout the body as a gentle warmth. This heat may be powerfully increased and drawn to a center in the breast, where it burns with a pure and conscious flame.
This is the Baptism with Fire with fire and the Holy Ghost (Geist, Spirit) and is typified by the fire kept burning on the altars of the ancient temples. It is also the transmuting fire of the Rosicrucians, which certain of the old alchemists misunderstood and materialized to mean the transmutation of the baser metals into Gold.
Referring to this flame the great Persian sage, Zoroaster, says, "When you see the fire, listen for the voice of the fire.”