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, October 1, 2012

We Meet Upon The Square

Freemasonry's mode of transmission is symbolism, a type of language that has to be studied to be understood, where a symbol may have multiple meanings. In Freemasonry we call these multiple meanings levels.
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?