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.
Monday, December 10, 2012
It is the author's personal belief that the Freemasonry we have today may be a byproduct of the events we are about to explore, with much of its esoteric symbolism borrowed from the ideas of the cast and characters you are about to encounter, names that time is beginning to forget.
I assure you that what you are about to read is nonfiction, facts that any individual should be able to validate with a little research. Although many of the individuals you are about to meet are rarely discussed in today's history classes, just a few centuries ago these individuals were giants.
Now the story.
Christian Knorr von Rosenroth's intentions may have been honorable but those in power would see to it that what was contained within the book would be suppressed, even if those that were doing the suppressing knew nothing of the subject. All they knew was that the content of the book were rumored to be dangerous, an affront against commonly held christian beliefs.
Although the wrath of the Parliament would leave the translator unscathed, the circle of thinkers that assisted and advised him in his work would not escape the closed minds of a State that was still controlled by a ignorant religious majority.
Little did Parliament foresee that because of the actions they were about to set in motion ramifications would ripple through the very fabric of time, one of these waves surfacing a century later causing the Masonic Founding Fathers across the pond in America to make sure State did not have to answer to religion, ever, while respecting the religion of one's choice, not something the Church of England or the Mother church at the time of this story would of even considered.
A more immediate result of Parliament's action I believe would be the creation of the largest secret society the world was to ever see, a tradition your neighbor is possibly a member of, but because of a strange twist of that very same fabric of time has no idea it's hidden purpose or message.
It's purpose will be revealed, but first we need to look back to a time when a rare minority dared to venture into the mystery.
Meet Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, born July 15,1636, a German Hebraist, a specialist in Hebrew and Hebraic studies, a specialty that would assist him in translating the mysterious text that he was about to introduce to the West, with the help of some of the biggest names of the Enlightenment.
He was born at Alt-Raudten, today Stara Rudna, a village in the administrative district of Gmina Rudna, in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland, not an area most today would be familiar with.
Christian was the son of a protestant minister, Abraham Benedikt von Rosenroth, a gentleman who raised his family in the German speaking section of Poland, also the home of Jakob Böhme, the mystic who would deeply influence much of the path Christian would take and subsequently influence everything you are about to read.
Although Knorr's father had never intended his son pursue a path into the what some would labeled the mysteries, but he did.
Yet before the spiritual bug bit, Christian, with the encouragement of his father entered the Latin school in Fraustadt in 1648 and in 1652 enrolled in the Paedagogium at Stettin where he studied theology, law, history, philosophy and both classical and modern languages, all subjects that would guarantee him a position in the court as his father wished.
In continuance of his education he enrolled at the University of Leipzig where he earned a baccalaureate in 1659 and a Masters degree in 1660, presenting his thesis on ancient numismatics. The same year he became a member of the Collegium Anthologicum, a learned society formed from the three higher faculties, which explored theology, philosophy, antiquities, history and science. It was during this time Christian would discover the highly esoteric work of Jakob Böhme, the mystic shoemaker of Görlitz.
As for what he would learn about Jakob Böhme and how it would influence Christian's path; it was rumored that Böhme had a series of mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 that he claimed to have received through a beam of light. Two of these mystical experiences were described in depth by a visionary two and a half centuries later, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke(1), the first occurring in Böhme"s twenty fifth year:
"Sitting one day in his room his eyes fell upon a burnished pewter dish, which reflected the sunshine with such marvellous splendor that he fell into an inward ecstasy, and it seemed to him as if he could now look into the principles and deepest foundations of things. He believed that it was only a fancy, and in order to banish it from his mind he went out upon the green. But here he remarked that he gazed into the very heart of things, the very herbs and grass, and that actual nature harmonized with what he had inwardly seen. He said nothing of this to anyone, but praised and thanked God in silence."
He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between good and evil, an issue that he would eventually address in future writings. "For it cannot be said of God that He is this or that, evil or good, or that He has distinctions in Himself. For He has no tendency to anything, for there is nothing before Him to which He could tend, neither evil nor good. ... There is no quality or pain in Him ... [He] is a single will in which the world and the whole creation lies. ... He is neither light nor darkness, neither love nor wrath, but the Eternal One." You can only sense the ire the all controlling church would of felt of Böhme's definition of God.
Here we find in Böhme's description of God a type of Pantheism(2) where God is an eternal unity; an eternal nothing; an abyss without time or space. He needs no habitation, for he is without and within the world equally alike; eternal nature the All of the universe. He fills all things, and is in all things. 'The being of God is like a wheel in which many wheels are made one in another, upwards, downwards, crossways, and yet continually all of them turn together.' The whole of nature; heaven, earth and above the heavens is the body of God. The powers of the stars are the fountain veins in this natural body, which is the world or universe. Böhme's description of God very much parallels descriptions used by Eastern philosophers, minus the word God or gender references.
Surely Böhme knew better than to speak aloud such thoughts on deity remembering the burning of Giordano Bruno because of his unorthodox beliefs, including the idea that the universe was infinite.
For the time being, he chose not to not speak of this experience.
Ten years later Böhme has his second experience, one that causes Böhme to rethink his silence:
"The gate was opened to me that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at a university...For I saw and knew the being of all beings...I saw in myself all the three worlds, namely the divine...the dark...and the external and visible world..And I saw and knew the whole working essence, in the evil and the good and the original and the existence of each of them..."
It was after this mystical experience Böhme began writing his first treatise, Aurora.
Aurora was circulated in manuscript form until a copy fell into the hands of Gregorious Richter, the chief pastor of Görlitz, an ill mannered, intolerant and jealous Soul. He despised Böhme on one hand and feared the shoemaker on the other.
The manuscript being circulated ruffled him into a self-righteous passion, and hurrying to the City Council he demanded that Böhme be banished. The Council was afraid to refuse, Böhme the humble shoemaker was exiled from his native town.
With a guilty conscious the Council reconvened the next day, what a difference a night shame can make, it's members realizing they had banished a citizen of such good report, and one, who regularly attended church, recalled him at once on condition that he should write no more.
The attention thrown in the direction of Böhme was not without consequence, in the following year he changed his occupation, the attention of his controversial writings caused his business to decline, having sold the shop he journeyed to the larger cities selling woolen gloves.
But after a while it was no longer possible for him to disobey the inner command that he should give to men his revelations, and in the last ten years of his life he willfully disobeyed the old Council's censorship.
In this short period, Böhme produced an enormous amount of writing, including his major works De Signatura Rerum, The Signature of All Things, and Misterium Magnum (Latin for The Great Mystery).
Allow me to share a little paragraph taken from The Signature of All Things, a paragraph that should resonate with the initiates of the mysteries school spoken of earlier, which Böhme himself may of had an indirect influence in its creation; "There was a poor soul that had wandered out of paradise, and come into the kingdom of this world; where the devil met with it, and said to it, "Whither dost thou go, thou soul that art half blind?" Initiates are routinely blindfolded, symbolic of our condition of ignorance.
It was during this time Böhme attracted a following throughout Europe, where his followers were known as Behmenists. One of Jacob's close associates was a traveling doctor named Balthasar Walther, a Paracelsian(3), Kabbalist, Weigelian(4), religious heretic, and distributor of magical manuscripts, whose personal networks extended across Europe and beyond. There can no doubt Walther influenced some of Böhme's Christianized Kabbalah. In 1598-1599, Walther undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in order to learn about the intricacies of the Kabbalah from groups in Safed(5), surely Dr. Walther spoke of his findings to Böhme.
With the publication of Böhme's first printed book, "Way to Christ", caused another scandal.
The chief concern of Böhme's writing was the nature of sin, evil, and redemption. Böhme preached that humanity had fallen from a state of divine grace to a state of sin and suffering, that the forces of evil included fallen angels who had rebelled against God, and that God's goal was to restore the world to a state of grace.
Where Böhme appeared to depart from accepted theology was in his description of the Fall as a necessary stage in the evolution of the universe.
It should come as no surprise that Böhme's writing contains both alchemical and Kabbalistic concepts, considering his close relationship with Balthasar Walther.
Böhme describes the absolute nature of God as the abyss, the nothing and the all, the primordial depths from which the creative will struggles forth to find manifestation and self-consciousness. The Father, who is groundless Will (In the Kabbalah - Keter the first principle is identified with Will), issues forth the Son, who is Love.
In Böhme's cosmology, it was necessary for humanity to depart from God in order for creation to evolve to a new state of redeemed harmony that would be more perfect than the original state of innocence, allowing God to achieve a new self-awareness by interacting with a creation that was both part of, and distinct from, Himself. Thus, free will was the most important gift God gave humanity, allowing us to seek divine grace as a deliberate choice while still allowing us to remain individuals. Böhme saw the incarnation of Christ not as a sacrificial offering to cancel out human sins, but as an offering of love for humanity, showing God's willingness to bear the suffering that had been a necessary aspect of creation. He also believed the incarnation of Christ conveyed the message that a new state of harmony is possible. This was somewhat at odds with the dogma of the Christian church, and his suggestion that God would have been somehow incomplete without the Creation was even more controversial, as was his emphasis on faith and self-awareness rather than strict adherence to dogma or scripture.
Böhme's writing shows the influence of Neoplatonist and alchemical writers such as Paracelsus, while remaining firmly within a Christian tradition.
Böhme spent the last year of his life in exile in Dresden, returning to Görlitz only to die. In a strange twist of fate the son of Böhme's chief antagonist, the pastor primarius of Görlitz Gregorius Richter, edited a collection of extracts from his writings, which were afterwards published complete at Amsterdam in the year 1682. Böhme's full works were first printed in 1730.
Gregorius Richter, driven by jealous conviction would haunt Böhme till the end of his life, eventually he was denounced from the pulpit. "Will ye have the words of Jesus Christ or the words of a shoemaker?", the disgraced prelate asked those that removed him from authority, only to hear from Böhme the humble shoemaker, "Not I, the I that I am, knows these things, but God knows them in me."
Böhme and Richter both died in 1624. No doubt Richter died as he had lived, angry and bitter, especially knowing that his son had become an adherent of Böhme.
The seed had been planted, sadly Christian would not be entering the court system as his father had hoped, his interests lay elsewhere, the esoteric, the often unspoken world of the mystic.
After his time in the Collegium Knorr's interests turned more toward the sciences, alchemy, hermetic literature and the Kabbalah, all subjects Böhme would of felt right at home with.
In 1663 he undertook a three year academic pilgrimage to study in the Netherlands, France and England.
While in Amsterdam he was engaged as an interpreter for an Armenian prince, Christian August, who shared his mystical interests, and at the same time became interested in oriental languages. In Holland he also met Francis Mercury van Helmont, a Flemish alchemist, and Kabbalist, a gentleman that would guide Christian's sojourn to England where he would begin his work under the tutelage of the Cambridge philosopher and theologian Henry More.
Time to Introduce the Book.
In October 1670 Henry More was visited at Cambridge by Francis Mercury van Helmont, an avid student of Jewish Kabbalah. While visiting Henry More asked van Helmont, a doctor, if we would visit fellow philosopher and friend Lady Anne Conway, in hope that he attempt to treat the incessant debilitating headache which had troubled her for many years, and which had defeated every other medical practitioner. As a result of meeting Anne, van Helmont became her resident physician and mentor.
At the same time we find Christian Knorr von Rosenroth begining to translate the mystical book of the Jews, known as the Zohar, the Book of the Concealed Mystery, into Latin, no easy task and one that would require the assistance More, the Viscountess Anne Conway, van Helmont, and their close associates.
As for what was the history of this mysterious text?
History tells us it was in the Tannaic period,100 BCE to 200 CE, that the Zohar, the most famous text of Kabbalah, was committed to writing by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
The rabbi lived in a perilous time, a time when the Roman government was executing all the great Torah teachers. Because of this he himself had to flee Roman persecution and hid in a cave with his son, Rabbi Elazar, for thirteen years. During this time, he was said to receive Divine Inspiration and merited the revelation of Elijah the Prophet and composed the sacred Zohar.
To protect the secrets of the universe that were revealed to him, Rav Shimon called upon one student, Rav Abba, to commit his teachings to written word. Rav Abba had an extraordinary gift for writing in the abstract language of metaphor and parable. Thus, the secrets would be safe, deftly concealed inside abstruse stories, making it difficult for the wicked and unworthy to grasp and misuse this ancient power and the Zohar (the intuitive Freemason should be able to see the similarities, in Freemasonry it's esoteric philosophy is concealed within allegory and symbolism).
By a weird twist of fate the Zohar disappeared for centuries when in the year 1270 C.E. the Zohar reappeared, discovered by Rav Moses Deleon in Spain. Moses De Leon is credited as making Zohar booklets for distribution for certain circles.
As for the Kabbalist writer who penned the manuscripts Christian was about to translate, meet Rav Isaac Luria, the most influential Kabbalist in history.
Rav Isaac Luria was considered a brilliant scholar by age 13, he was called "The Ari," which means "The Holy Lion." The Ari had the gift to explore the innermost depths of the Zohar, which he did living as a hermit for 13 years, probing into its mysteries.
History has it that was not unusual for the Ari to meditate upon one verse of the Zohar for many months, until the hidden meaning was revealed to him.
It was the followers of Rav Isaac Luria that informed and instructed Balthasar Walther in the mystical tradition of the Zohar.
It didn't take long for a circle of the curious to form around Christian and his copy of the Zohar. The circle now consisted of Henry More the philosopher, Viscountess Anne Conway the philosopher, Francis Mercury van Helmont the alchemist, John Locke the philosopher and Freemason, Hon. Robert Boyle philosopher and chemist, and none other than the great Sir Isaac Newton himself.
Yet the Pre-Enlightenment attempt to bring Kabbalism out of its primarily Jewish domain was about to end with disaster.
The Viscountess Conway so excited with the revelations put forth in the book she penned a treatise, "Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy", which is saturated with Kabbalistic ideas.
It is essentially a monistic system in which all things are made of "spirit", and she criticizes during the course of it not only the materialism of Hobbes and Spinoza, but also the dualism of Descartes, the dominant and accepted philosophy of the time. According to Conway, there is only one substance in created reality. This substance contains both matter and spirit. A purely material or spiritual substance is, she argues, an impossibility.
Parliament wasn't happy, and it made it's displeasure known.
Conway's treatise was branded heresy by the college that “claimed” her, Cambridge, and effectively condemned her work "Indexed as Prohibited". The philosophical career of Viscountess Conway was for all intent and purpose over.
The Viscountess was not about to go down easy, Van Helmont who had become interested in Quakerism introduced Anne to a number of leading Quakers, including George Fox, Robert Barclay, George Keith, and William Penn (Freemason). Evidently the Quakers favoured the Kabbalah and Anne. The Viscountess in a bold and very public move converted to Quakerism. In England at that time the Quakers were generally disliked and feared, and suffered persecution and even imprisonment. Conway's decision to convert, to make her house a centre for Quaker activity, and to proselytize actively was thus particularly bold and courageous.
Fueled by fear the Parliament summoned Locke and Newton to appear before them and charged two of the giants of the Enlightenment with heresy, largely because they refused to take Christian vows, but also because of their known association with Viscountess Conway, who's heretical Kabbalist treatise was published in London the previous year.
The issue in front of Parliament became Newton and Locke's non-trinitarianism, which rejects the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, namely, the teaching that God is three distinct apostasies or persons and yet co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united in one essence.
Locke escaped punishment by penning "The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures”, yet what was strangely missing from this text was any reference to the Holy Trinity, one of the hotbed issues that also brought Locke and Newton in front of Parliament.
Newton was embarrassed by the charges on him, abdicated his Lucasian Chair at Cambridge as well as resigning his position as accountant to Parliament, also in order to protect his reputation among scholars. The heresy charges on Newton were dropped about the time of Conway's formal prohibition, which made one of the key pieces of evidence against him inadmissible in court. Clearly, the world outside Judaism was not ready for Kabbalism in the 17th century, or maybe it would be better pursued in secrecy, away from the prying eyes religiously controlled government.
What better way to one up 'big brother' than to create a mystery school exposing a select few to a centuries old philosophy free from imposed dogma and ignorance, with its truths hidden within allegory and symbolism.
Did Christian Knorr von Rosenroth's translation of the Zohar, named Kabbala Denudata, influence the design of Freemasonry? That can only be answered once one delves into the esoteric symbolism contained within Freemasonry.
It is the author's contention that many of the modern Freemasons of the early seventeen hundreds were members of Newton's inner circle, individuals that refused to bow to a church with a judgmental God that made no sense.
Many suspect that Newton was so strongly influenced by Kabbalism that his theory of the mutual property of gravitation may well have been derived from Zohar. He spent the last three decades of his life in relative seclusion in order to try to solve hidden codes and messages in the Bible, suggested by his reading of von Rosenroth's translation.
The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke. According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution. Could it be because of Parliaments action against him and Newton that Locke envisioned a state separate from church? I believe so.
Even the great mathematician and philosopher Leibniz, who invented calculus and, in turn, those tiresome math classes we endured in high school and college, was profoundly influenced by Kabbalah.
Maybe, just maybe, of one looks closely the Kabbalah of Freemasonry may reveal itself.
As for Henry More...we rarely here his name.
(1) Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, , Chapter 10, Jacob Behmen (called The Teutonic Theosopher).
(2) Pantheism is a word derived from the Greek roots pan (meaning "all") and theos (meaning "God"). It is the belief that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God, or that the Universe (or Nature) is identical with divinity.
(3) A movement that followed the works of Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim, immortalized as "Paracelsus," was born in 1493. He was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and occultist.
(4) Weigelians were a small group of individuals that promoted the ideas of Valentin Weigel (1553-1588), a mystical writer who drew upon Paracelsus and his alchemical ideas. His ideas influenced Jacob Boehme, and other German Protestant mystics of the 17th century. Most of his writings were published after his death, when a small group of Weigelians promoted his ideas, and some texts were issued in his name, pseudonymously.
(5) Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Safed has been considered one of Judaism's Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias, and since that time, the city has remained a center of Kabbalah.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I'm not sure if its age or plain old paranoia, but as of late I have become increasingly uneasy with the power of dogma, the official systems of belief held by the three primary religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and it's ever growing influence (and oppression). It should be noted I don't feel the same way about the mystical side of these traditions, the sides rarely explored or discussed, Esoteric Christianity, Kabbalah, or Sufism.
So lets get this straight, on November 28th Brother Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master of Florida’s Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, issued a ruling stating that Paganism, Wicca, Odinism, and Gnosticism were not compatible with Freemasonry.
Is this individual serious? Talk about a gentleman that never did his homework, and to make matters worse he represents thousands of brothers, many who now have to hide there beliefs because they don't fit with the established dogma of this Grand Master, something Freemasonry was created to rise above.
For many this may seem a small problem, it's not. I assure you my definition of God would certainly be different than this individual, does that mean I should be placed on trial to see if my views satisfy a panel? Sounds a little like what happened to Jacques de Molay, and we all know how that ended, an ignorant pope and a power hungry king brought down a mighty Order.
Defining God is, and should always be, a man's (or woman's) personal search for light. One need only turn on the nightly news to see the dangers of communal belief and dogma, and it should be noted that rarely are those individuals making the news Pagans, Wiccians, or Gnostics.
Monday, November 26, 2012
And so why is that important? All of that will certainly effect the tincture I am about to create, something alchemists of old realized.
Today I have been practicing a little of what I call Masonic 'kitchen alchemy', cooking up a concoction that is surely influenced by the sun, moon, and on this day the constellation of Aries, that will hopefully aid me in harmonizing my body (mind and soul).
For those that enjoy the mystery lets enter the rabbit hole (Freemasonry), and my kitchen (my real kitchen).
First lets take a look at alchemy, a science understood by few who enter Freemasonry, but in fact a forgotten science that just may be the key to understanding its underlying secret (trust me, there is one).
As to why I call this 'Masonic Alchemy', read carefully and a couple secrets may present themselves (yes, I will provide a little help).
First things first, a little clarification, alchemy got a bad rap. Many believe that alchemy was all about the pursuit of gold through the transmutation of metals, and for many charlatans it was. But for many this precursor to chemistry was actually a spiritual science, hidden under the disguise of early chemistry? (not something the suppressive and dogmatic church wanted you to study).
"The purpose of alchemy was not to make something out of nothing but rather to fertilize and nurture that which was already present. Its processes did not actually create gold but rather make the ever-present seed of gold grow and flourish. Everything which exists has a spirit, the seed of Divinity within itself and regeneration is not the process of attempting to place something where it previously had not existed. Regeneration actually means the unfoldment of the omnipresent Divinity in man, that this Divinity may shine forth as a sun and illumine all with whom it comes in contact."...Brother Manly P. Hall (the purpose of Freemasonry in a nutshell)
Although Brother Hall is referring to alchemy as a spiritual process (which it is), a progression where the initiate travels from "ego to unity" by realizing our true divinity within (not up there), this is the same process at play when we practice plant alchemy (in my kitchen) known as spagyric, where we are going to tap into essence of the plant (my purpose being medicinal).
I never said it was going to be easy, but please continue, it just may change your life! (If you get it)
The concept of the spagyric alchemy in turn relies upon the three cardinal principles of alchemy, termed as salt, sulphur and mercury, all familiar symbols to the students of Freemasonry (at least before WW2, after that Freemasonry sadly begins to forget its roots, but we esoterics are making a comeback).
"The basis of matter was the alchemical trinity of principles – salt, sulfur and mercury. Salt was the principle of fixity (non-action) and in-combustibility; mercury was the principle of fusibility (ability to melt and flow) and volatility; and sulfur was the principle of inflammability."...Paracelsus (water, air, fire)
The intuitive brother should be associating the three degrees with the three principles right about now. Salt, refers to the first degree, where the tide ebbs and flows, salt water, mercury, refers to the second degree, the beasts of the field and fouls in the air, Mercury was the god that could descend to the earth (the field) and as send to to the heavens (fowls of the air), and sulfur, symbolic the third degree, have my body burned to ash, fire (or spirit) and he would be right (except for English brothers who unknowly and wrongly have removed the penalties not knowing what they really meant).
So here's whats going on in my kitchen. I'm about to release the essence of a couple herbs for medicinal purposes, what the alchemist would call the sulphur element (within the human some would call this the divine, hoped for during the third degree of Freemasonry).
In the picture above you see three different plants, one is hawthorn, a medicinal herb known to decrease hypertension, turmeric root, a great antioxidant (to clean out the impurities in the body), and chaga mushroom, the king of shrooms, anti-viral, anti-cancer, known as the "Mushroom of Immortality", three I've randomly picked for there medicinal properties . All three of these represent salt, the earth element (they are all matter). This is the beginning of the process (the entered apprentice) matter (the rough ashlar).
In the Plant Kingdom, the physical body of the plant itself is the Salt, its essential oil is the Sulphur, and alcohol (and occasionally water), is the Mercury.
If we use the vernacular of today we have (simplified) body (salt or matter), mind (mercury or air), and spirit of soul (sulfur or fire).
For those that would like to make their own tincture fill a mason jar half full with your herb of choice. Next add equal amounts of 100 proof vodka, which will become the carrier (just like the god Mercury who had the ability to descend to the world of matter and ascend to the heavenly realm).
Now comes patience as we let the vodka extract the essence of the plant, in this case it's attributes (it's medicinal components).
Six or seven weeks (I prefer seven for occult reasons) later the the mixture will be ready to be transferred to smaller bottles. But first we have to remove the herb the has given up its essence. This is done with a funnel and coffee filter.
Without getting to technical in the alchemical department, next we can take the refuse (sound familiar brother) and boil it in water and create a double extraction. This is done by boiling the soaked herb (or mushroom) mash in water until you have reduced the liquid by half. Strain the reduced liquid and add it to your single extraction. This yields a stronger, more robust medicinal tincture (all from the refuse of the temple, the plant).
Myself, personally, prefer to bottle my tinctures in a 4oz. eye dropper bottle, taking the medical tincture subliminally where it enters the bloodstream directly avoiding the gastric juices (more bang for the buck).
Thursday, November 15, 2012
One of the problems we often bump into in today's Freemasonry is the lack of familiarity with myth and comparative religious thought, two important subjects that were very much on the mind of those that created what we call modern Freemasonry.
Many of these myths were stories told with a purpose, a way of explaining the world in which we live and the outcomes of certain actions we take if we continue on a certain path..
Take for instance the myth of Sisyphus, who is condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. We all see this myth repeated daily by those individuals that repeat the same actions day after day expecting different results only to find themselves stuck in the '*Groundhog Day' of there own making.
Or how about the myth of Narcissus, a gentleman so enamored with his own beauty that when he sees it reflected in water he stares so long he eventually falls in the water and drowns himself (the ultimate story of the dangers of the inflated ego).
So important are these myths we find them in every culture on the planet, with some often boring myths from others.
Associated with my Lodge here in New Hampshire we have a chapter of the Eastern Star named Pleiades. According to the ancient Greek myth, the Pleiades were seven sisters. In Greek, the word "pleiades" means "doves." Their parents were Pleione and Atlas who was condemned by Zeus to support the Heavens on his shoulders. One day, the Pleiades were traveling with their mother and met the hunter Orion.
Orion fell in love with Pleione and her charming daughters. He spent a great deal of time chasing after them, trying to win their affection. After several years, Zeus intervened and transformed the women into doves to help them escape. They flew into the sky to become the cluster of stars that today has their name.
However, only six stars are visible in the sky without a telescope. The ancient Greeks explained the absence of a seventh star with several different stories. According to one story, one of the Pleiades, Merope deserted her sisters because she was ashamed of having a mortal husband, who also happened to be known as know other than Sisyphus.
Those esoteric minded brothers can have a field day exploring Pleiades, which is pictured above the ladder in the Entered Apprentice ritual, and it's esoteric connection to Freemasonry. Here's a little example (from the 25th degree of the Scottish Rite) as for what it means, I'll leave it to you figure it out, why take away all the fun:
"The Sun, marching victorious toward the Lion of the Summer Solstice, will tomorrow meet the new Moon, and Earth will thrill with joy through all her veins, at the new life which the fortunate conjunction promises. Then, also, with him will rise the Pleiades, and the rainy Hyades, in whose front marches Aldebaran, Leader of all the Heavenly Armies."...Brother Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction
People have always tried to figure out common questions like who made the universe or simple questions like what causes the weather. Religion, gods, and myths were all created to help make sense out of these questions. For early people myths were like science because they attempted to explain how things work.
Sadly today many individuals have never had contact with these beautiful myths and there symbolic thought, collateral damage of an education system that streamlined education to point where students are only exposed to those subjects that can get them employed at Walmart, myth not being part of the curriculum,
and today many of these individuals are entering Freemasonry where much of its underlying philosophy contains a boatload of myth.
“Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life”...Joseph Campbell, American prolific Author, Editor, Philosopher and Teacher
Allow me to introduce the seeking brother to a mythical god that may help him on his journey, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, also known as Hermes, son of Zeus, and child of **Maia (one of the seven sisters).
Mercury is frequently depicted as the winged "messenger god" who shuttled between heaven and earth, delivering messages from the gods to the humans. For this reason, astrologers saw the planet Mercury as symbolic of the transmission of knowledge and ideas.
Now you may be asking what has this got to do with Freemasonry, the not so simple answer is you just may be symbolic Mercury (hypothetically). You have the ability to shift your consciousness between what we call call heaven, the spiritual, and earth, the material. When the candidate in Freemasonry stands before the altar he stands between Matter (earth) and Spirit (heaven). If you look at the staffs of the Junior and Senior Deacons you'll see one topped with the sun (spirit) the other the moon (matter), and you are usually in between them during ritual. As I have alluded to in the previous blog entrees when we stand at the sacred altar of Freemasonry facing east we have the northeast corner on our left, symbolic of St. John the Baptist, symbolic of water (matter) and the southeast corner on our right, symbolic of St. John the Evangelist, symbolic of fire (spirit), and here we stand mercury in the middle. What beautiful symbolism!
Hermes (mercury) was very much on the mind of early modern Freemasonry (early seventeen hundreds), as we have learned he was the mythical messenger to whom Egypt gave the name of Thoth, to whom Greece later gave that of Hermes, and Rome that of Mercury, three different names, symbolic of the same person (a common practice where the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptian preferred to give the gods their own names and often exchanged myths).
He was said to cloth his message in the symbology of 'Light', the very substance all masons seek.
He taught that the higher self is one, "the Person in the Sun", and that all selves are rays of that "***Sun behind the Sun".
It has been said that same idea was carried by Hermes to Egypt, but the symbology was that of 'Light'. For he said that the 'Light' dwells in Heaven, and yet finds its home in every heart of man, that 'Light' in the heaven above us is identical with 'Light' in the heart within us (as above, so below), and that when once men have seen the 'Light' in their own hearts, then they can look abroad and see it everywhere in Heaven and Earth. The message was still the ancient teaching, but in the new form the message spoke of 'Light', where in the earlier time it had spoken of the 'Sun'.
During the inception of modern Freemasonry (early 1700's) many of the brothers arrived on the scene with a background in philosophy, an interest in myth, and especially the mystical writings attributed to ****Hermes Trismegistus, a writer that even captured the attention of Sir Isaac Newton himself (who I personally believe to be instrumental in the creation of Freemasonry, but we'll leave that for another time).
Look at what Brother George Oliver, from his Antiquities of Free-masonry, has to say about this mysterious Trismegistus, you just might find a perfect description of Freemasonry and its purpose:
"Trismegistus concealed the mysteries of religion under hieroglyphics and allegories, and exposed nothing to the eyes of the vulgar, but the beauties of his morality. This has been the method of the sages in all times, and of the great legislators in all countries; these divine men were sensible that corrupted minds could have no relish for heavenly truths, till the heart was purified from its passions; for which reason they spread over religion a secret veil, which opens and vanishes when the eyes of the understanding are able to support its brightness." (I love that paragraph!)
"We are told that Alchemy (a favorite metaphoric science practiced by many early brothers), otherwise styled the Hermetic Philosophy, because it is supposed to have been first taught in Egypt by Hermes Trismegistus, comprehended three distinct pursuits, the discovery of the Philosopher's Stone, of the Universal Medicine, and of the Elixir of Life. The Alchemistical or Hermetical philosophers, it is further asserted, communicated their thoughts to each other in a language and in symbols understood only by themselves. It has also been assumed from the traditionary lore which has gathered round the names of these philosophers that all the sages of antiquity, such as Zoroaster, Plato, Socrates, and Pythagoras, were initiated into the secrets of their science; and that the hieroglyphics of Egypt, together with all the fables of a collective mythology, were invented for the purpose of veiling in allegory and symbolism the teachings of the Hermetic Philosophy."...Brother Robert Freke Gould, On the Traditions of the Craft
The following is Isaac Newton's translation of the Emerald Tablet attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, look closely at the symbolism you'll find many of the same symbolism contained within a well governed lodge, you just have to know where to look.
"Tis true without lying, certain & most true. That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.
And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation. The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here. lts force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing. So was the world created. From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means is here in this.
Hence I am called Hermes Trismegistus, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended."
How important is the writings of Hermes to the tradition of Freemasonry, I think the answer can be found in Brother Piles Morals and Dogma of Freemasonry: "He who desires to attain the understanding of the Grand Word and the possession of the Great Secret, ought carefully to read the Hermetic philosophers, and will undoubtedly attain initiation, as others have done; but he must take, for the key of their allegories, the single dogma of Hermes, contained in his Table of Emerald."
So my brother Mercury, where shall we go, up or down?
*If you aren't familiar with this classic film, the premise is simple: Bill Murray, somehow, gets stuck reliving the same day over and over.
**Maia is the goddess of the fields in Greek mythology. She is the oldest of the Pleiades. She is also the most beautiful and the shyest.
***Sirius, the blazing star often times symbolized in Masonic Lodge Rooms, was of a great importance in astronomy and mythology. Mystery schools, which Freemasonry is one of, consider it to be “sun behind the sun” and, therefore, the true source of our sun’s potency. If our sun’s warmth keeps the physical world alive, Sirius is considered to keep the spiritual world alive. It is the “real light” shining in the East, the spiritual light, where as the sun illuminates the physical world, which is considered to be a grand illusion.
****It was during this time, the late 1600's & early 1700's, that the Hermetic writings, also called Hermetica, a collection of writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, the Greek name for the Egyptian Thoth, resurfaced and attracted the attention of those that sought to make sense out of centuries of inquisitions, suppression, and church control. Even in England during the inception of modern Freemasonry the church and state walked hand and hand, something our American Freemason Founding Fathers would make sure didn't happen again.
Hermeticism itself is an ancient philosophical tradition that emphasizes the importance of inner enlightenment or gnosis, rather than that of pure rationalism or doctrinal faith.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Each and every Freemason asks for 'light', the question I have is 'what is that light' and did you receive it?
Monday, October 1, 2012
In my last blog I addressed the mistake I believe United Grand Lodge of England made when it removed the penalty portion of the degrees, penalties I believe that were meant to inform not warn.
Now I would like to address another change in Masonic ritual that should be looked at.
It is said in Freemasonry we meet upon the level, meaning we are all equals.
The fact is that makes no sense, in Freemasonry we have more titles then the military.
We are also told to square our actions, another symbol taken out of context.
Enter Brother William Preston who wrote a series of lectures on the degrees in the late 1700s which Thomas Smith Webb revised and rewrote for American use in the early 1800s. Almost all Grand Lodges in the United States work a ritual derived from Preston and Webb’s work. Here is where we find the lost in translation moment.
In Preston's ritual we find "we meet upon the square and hopefully depart on the same level.", a simple sentence brother Webb may of misunderstood when he rewrote the American ritual.
I believe Preston's makes more sense when you understand the underlying philosophy of Freemasonry (oh yes brothers there is a philosophy).
Allow me to explain; the square is symbolic of matter. What is matter, none other than this life, our body, this earth. This is the plane in which we now meet, matter, the square.
As for the level, once one begins to understand the symbolic meaning of the seven levels (or steps) to the Master of the Lodge and how they relate levels of consciousness (or understanding) than one will understand why it's actually alluding to a high level of awareness we hope to depart with (not some rank system).
I guess Webb just didn't understand what Preston was trying to convey (I guess they weren't on the same level).
What if said to circle your actions, or triangle your actions, would that make sense?
Monday, September 24, 2012
Now before you get your hackles up, at the time I thought our brother was wrong (and out of place), how arrogant!
Well that was a couple of years ago, and guess what, I get it.
Allow me to make my case...
As I see it (and many may not), Freemasonry is a philosophical tradition, which only reveals itself to those that are willing to spend the time unlocking its veiled symbolism (a task few will do).
I would love to share tales of knights and wandering masons, but the fact is (as I see it) modern Freemasonry arrives at the party in the mid to late sixteen hundreds when a philosopher named Descartes rocks the world, Cartesian philosophy is born.
It's important you grasp this, Cartesians view the mind (the stuff in your head) as being wholly separate from the corporeal body. Sensation and the perception of reality are thought to be the source of untruth and illusions, with the only reliable truths to be had in the existence of a metaphysical mind.
Why is Cartesian philosophy, something rarely discussed in your local Masonic Temple important?
When you begin to unlock the veiled symbolism of Freemasonry you begin to see a philosophy that may be a reaction to a mode of thought (your mind is separate than your body, and the world is outside your head) that still to this day defines the way many see reality.
Many reading this blog have never heard the name Descartes, or even heard of Cartesian philosophy, but this wasn't always the case when it comes to Freemasonry. During the inception of modern Freemasonry (late 1700's) this was a hotly debated issue, so hot that if you went too far out on a limb repercussions could come from all fronts, church, state, and universities.
Now to the crux of what this blog was meant to address, most (if not all) of the founders of modern Freemasonry were men of science, philosophy, and theology, many being giants of their time. Today we have become Joe the plumber.
I now get it.
(I apologize, I'm not picking on plumbers, after all I just cut hair!)
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
If your one of the two readers that view my blog, thank you, your on your way to a Masonic education that only your great great great great grandfather would understand (hope I said enough greats).
Now to the crux of this enlightening blog entry, the real reason Freemasonry probably chose a secretive path (in my opinion).
Time to go back the fall of 1670, forty years before Freemasonry would out itself. Many of the cast and characters your about to meet were not Freemasons themselves, but I bet they may have had more influence in the hidden symbolism of Freemasonry than most would think.
In October (1670) Henry More (philosopher, theologian) was visited at Cambridge (England) by Francis Mercury van Helmont (Kabbalist), son of the famous alchemist Jan Baptista van Helmont. (you gotta love an alchemist that names his son Mercury)
More asked van Helmont, who was also a physician, if we would visit his friend and fellow philosopher Anne Conway, to treat the incessant debilitating headache which had troubled her for many years (and which had defeated every other medical practitioner).
It was during this time, and under the tutelage professor More, a German scholar named Christian Knorr von Rosenroth (and friend of van Helmont) undertook the task of translating the Zohar into Latin.
The western world was about to learn the secrets of the Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism), but it would come with a cost.
Within the intellectual association of More and Conway were many of Enlightenment giants that I believed influenced the origins of modern Freemasonry, including Robert Boyle (Royal Society), John Locke (Royal Society, philosopher), and Isaac Newton (Royal Society, the real deal), all of which took a particular interest in the Kabbalah, an interest that would soon turn into secrecy.
Viscountess Conway's landmark treatise of the time, "Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy", is saturated with Kabbalist ideas, ideas apparently ruffled the wrong feathers. It should be noted that the separation of church and state had not occurred yet.
Newton himself was so strongly influenced by the Kabbalah that his theory of the mutual property of gravitation is rumored to have been derived from Zohar. He spent the last three decades of his life in relative seclusion in order to try to solve hidden codes and messages in the Bible, suggested by his reading of von Rosenroth's translation.
The Enlightenment's attempt to bring the Kabbalah out of its primarily Jewish domain ended with disaster. Conway's treatise was branded heresy by the college that “claimed” her, Cambridge, and effectively condemned her work, Indexed as Prohibited.
In the 1690s. Newton and Locke were both brought before Parliament and charged with heresy, largely because they refused to take Christian vows, but also because of their known association with Viscountess Conway, who's heretical Kabbalist treatise was published in London the previous year.
Locke escaped punishment by penning "On the Correctness of Being Christian" 1694. Newton was embarrassed by the charges on him, abdicated his Lucasian Chair at Cambridge as well as resigning his position as accountant to Parliament, also in 1694, in order to protect his reputation among scholars.
The heresy charges on Newton were dropped about the time of Conway's formal prohibition, which made one of the key pieces of evidence against him inadmissible in court.
I do understand that most would like to date the inception of Freemasonry to the time of Pythagoras, Seth, or even Osiris, I think (personally) you might want to look a little closer at the cast and characters above (and maybe look at the six degrees to Bacon, not Kevin, Francis). Some things are better discussed behind closed doors, our founding brothers learnt the hard way!