The Travel of the Soul in Solstices and Equinoxes and the Masonic Tracing Boards

Masonic Tracing Boards

               Tracing boards are painted or printed illustrations depicting the various emblems and symbols of Freemasonry. They can be used as teaching aids during the lectures that follow each of the Masonic Degrees when an experienced member explains the various concepts of Freemasonry to new members. They can also be used by experienced members as self-reminders of the concepts they learned as they went through their initiations. From Wikipedia

Ancient Craft Masonry

Craft Masonry was reckoned from the date of the creation of the world –  Anno Lucis  A.L. approximately 4000 years before the Common Era,  as we read in the third verse from the Book of Genesis in the King James version of the Bible as well as in the Torah.

             1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

            1:2 – And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

               1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

The History of the Immortal Soul Teaching            

              Ancient Egyptians, like other pagan peoples, observed the unending cycles of nature: in the heavens, the sun seemed to be reborn each morning and die each night; spring was a time of birth, growth, and youth; autumn was a time of decline and old age; in winter plants died and even the sun seemed to fight for its existence; and the following spring the cycle began anew. Historians record that Egyptians interpreted these patterns of life, death, and renewed life as applying to humans as well.

            The concept of the immortality soul teaching came from the Egyptians which civilizations lasted for more than  3,000 years. The countless tombs unearthed by archaeologists along the Nile provide eloquent testimony to the Egyptian belief that man possessed a spiritual aspect extending beyond his physical life.

Passed on to Greeks

               The Greeks got the concept of an immortal soul from the Egyptians.  Plato, the Athenian Philosopher (428-348 B.C.), like his teacher, Socrates was initiated into the Greater Mysteries at the age of 49. The initiation took place in one of the subterranean halls of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.  Plato was the founder of the Academy, an institute for philosophical and scientific research just outside of Athens.

       It was Plato who popularized the immortal soul concept throughout the Greek world.  In the Phaedo, one of Plato’s most famous works, he recounts Socrates’ final conversation with his friends on the last day of Socrates’ life. Socrates declared to them:

           “The soul whose inseparable attitude is life will never admit of life’s opposite, death. Thus the soul is shown to be immortal and since immortal, indestructible… Do we believe there is such a thing as’ death? To be sure. And is this anything but the separation of the soul and body? And being dead is the attainment of this separation when the soul exists in herself and separate from the body, and the body is parted from the soul. That is death… Death is merely the separation of the soul and body.”

Aristotle  (384–322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidiki, in the north of Classical Greece. Along with Plato, Aristotle is considered the “Father of Western Philosophy”, and is known for the Chaldean order of the astrological principles of the journey of the soul by alighting at each of the planets spheres descending from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. With the pure essence of each planet collected in its downward movement, the soul arrived at the moon where it waited for the correct moment of the native’s birth where physical manifestation took place and soul joined with the body.

From the Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians,  Greeks, and the Romans,  Freemasons learned from them the writings the philosophies and rituals which became the main principles of Masonic teachings.

Summers Solstice

, the soul descends in Cancer as depicted in the Masonic Tracing Board  of  Entered Apprentice Masons Degree

Masonic Tracing Board 1st degree

Soul descends from Heaven by way of Jacobs Ladder allegory through the tropical point cardinal water Cancer, the Gate of Men.  The canopy of heaven with the hottest time of the year in the Fire Leo Sun combines the two other luminaries, the Moon ruled by Cancer with cluster stars of the Pleiades in Taurus and the Blazing Star Sirius properly illustrated by Masonic Philosophers, a belief emanated from Ancient Egypt passed on to the Greeks and Romans Philosophers.

Roman Writer Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius (390-430 CE) is famous for his classical Seven Books on Saturnalia. According to Macrobius, the galaxy crosses the Zodiac in two opposite points, Cancer and Capricorn, the tropical points in the sun’s course, ordinarily called the Gates of the Sun.  Through these gates, souls descend to earth and re-ascend to Heaven.  In Cicero’s Dream of Scipio, a discourse on the nature of the cosmos, the Gate of Men; and the other, the Gate of the Gods. Cancer was the former because souls descended by it to the earth, and Capricorn the latter, because by it they re-ascended to their seats of immortality and became Gods.

         According to Macrobius, the soul descended through the spheres of the seven planets as it descends from the highest heavens to manifest as a physical matter on earth. When the soul encounters Saturn’s heaven, the seventh sphere, it gains the power of reasoning and theorizing.

           In the next sphere, the sixth level closer to earth, the soul alights on Jupiter where it showed the Saturn’s gift of reason and critical analysis that can be put into practice so that the soul can direct the earthly body towards success or spiritual enlightenment.

          In the 5th heaven Mars, the soul obtains the passion, courage and zealous qualities to the soul.

         Below Mars, the soul encounters the Sun in the 4th level, where it meets glorious light in the purest form and envisages the potential for its own illumination or enlightenment. It absorbs the Sun’s spirit and brings with it the soul potential during the lifetime.

         In the third heaven Venus, the soul inherits the motion of desires, beauty, and balance.

        At the second level from earth, Mercury bestows the power of language and communication in order for it to be capable of interpreting human feelings and giving expression to its emotions.

        When the soul enters the Moon’ realm the sphere nearest to Earth, the soul absorbs the Moon’s essence which includes the awareness that it will soon experience the changes of physical movement, growth, and eventual decay.

        When the soul is drawn towards the body, it begins to experience a material agitation, matter flowing into it and likens to the human experience of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol as Plato’s remarked in the Phaedo.

The Seven Ages of Man

Moon                     0  –  4               years old

Mercury               4  –   14             years old

Venus                   14  – 22             years old

Sun                        22 – 41             years old

Mars                      41 –  56            years old

Jupiter                    56  – 68           years old

Saturn                    68  –  98          years old

Moon                    98   –  102         years old

 

33 Degree Scottish Rite Freemason Albert Pike’ summarized in his book Morals and Dogma the journey of the soul from heaven to earth;

         “The ancient Philosophers regarded the soul of man as having had its origin in Heaven. That was, Macrobius says, a settled opinion among them all; and they held it to be the only true wisdom, for the soul, while united with the body, to look ever toward its source, and strive to return to the place whence it came. Among the fixed stars it dwelt, until, seduced by the desire of animating a body, it descended to be imprisoned in matter.

              Let us, in order to understand this old Thought, first follow the soul in its descent. The sphere or Heaven of the fixed stars was that Holy Region, and those Elysian Fields, that were the native domicile of souls, and the place to which they re-ascended when they had recovered their primitive purity and simplicity. From that luminous region the soul set forth, when it journeyed toward the body; a destination which it did not reach until it had undergone three degradations, designated by the name of Deaths; and until it had passed through the several spheres and the elements.

               All souls remained in possession of Heaven and of happiness, so long as they were wise enough to avoid the contagion of the body and to keep themselves from any contact with matter. But  those who, from that lofty abode, where they were lapped in eternal light, have looked longingly toward the body, and toward that which we here below call life, but which is to the soul a real death; and who have conceived for it a secret desire,–those souls, victims of their concupiscence, are attracted by degrees toward the inferior regions of the world, by the mere weight of thought and of that terrestrial desire.

           The soul, perfectly incorporeal, does not at once invest itself with the gross envelope of the body, but little by little, by successive and insensible alterations, and in proportion as it removes further and further from the simple and perfect substance in which it dwelt at first. It first surrounds itself with a body composed of the substance of the stars; and afterward, as it descends through the several spheres, with ethereal matter more and grosser, thus by degrees descending to an earthly body; and its number of degradations or deaths being the same as that of the spheres which it traverses.

           This fiction is also found in Virgil. “If souls,” says Macrobius, “carried with them into the bodies   they occupy all the knowledge which they had acquired of divine things, during their sojourn in the Heavens, men would not differ in opinion as to the Deity; but some of them forget more, and  some less, of that which they had learned.”

         The celestial bodies, Heaven, the Stars, and the other Divine elements, ever aspire to rise. The soul reaching the region which mortality inhabits tends toward terrestrial bodies and is deemed to die. Let no one, says Macrobius, be surprised that we so frequently speak of the death of this soul, which yet we call immortal. It is neither annulled nor destroyed by such death: but merely enfeebled for a time; and does not thereby forfeit its prerogative of immortality; for afterward, freed from the body, when it has been purified from the vice-stains contracted during that connection, it is re-established in all its privileges, and returns to the luminous abode of its immortality.

            All this agrees with the doctrine of Plato, that the soul cannot re-enter into Heaven until the revolutions of the Universe shall have restored it to its primitive condition, and purified it from the effects of its contact with the four elements.” …From Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike.

Autumnal Equinox

, the soul with the earthly body is in a temporal sojourn to balance the movement of time in cardinal air Libra, savoring the pleasure of good harvest in the Eleusinian Mystery Rite of Demeter and Persephone.

Bible with compass

The interlaced male principle and the female denote sexuality, the ancient symbolism of the communion of the Hierophant and the High Priestess to celebrate the bountiful harvest in Hieros Gamos holy ceremony,  the opening and closing ritual of the Masonic Lodge is an analogy.

         As the Time passes, the soul is allowed to rest before moving into the transformative struggles of a Scorpio incarnation. A sense of self, it has been developed during the first six zodiac signs; now, Libra will focus on relationships, on balancing the personality and soul while relating to the external world.

      The person who is Libra incarnated to search for the soul mate. Libra attempts to balance the polarities of life, especially as they relate to the masculine and feminine energies.

The soul was fortunate and happy under the Empire of the first six; and began to be sensible of evil, when it passed under the Balance or Libra, the seventh sign. Thus the soul entered the realm of Evil and Darkness when it passed into the Constellations that belong to and succeed the Autumnal Equinox; and it re-entered the realm of Good and Light, when it arrived, returning, at those of the Vernal Equinox. It lost its felicity by means of the Balance and regained it by means of the Lamb. This is a necessary consequence of the premises, and it is confirmed by the authorities and by emblems still extant.

Sallust the Philosopher, speaking of the Feasts of Rejoicing celebrated at the Vernal Equinox, and those of Mourning, in memory of the rape of Persephone, at the Autumnal Equinox, says that the former was celebrated, because then is effected, as it was, the return of the soul toward the Gods; that the time when the principle of Light recovered its superiority over that of Darkness or day overnight, was the most favorable one for souls that tend to re-ascend to their Principle; and that when Darkness and the Night again become victors, was most favorable to the descent of souls toward the infernal regions.

For that reason, the old astrologers, as Firmicus states, fixed the locality of the river Styx in the 8th degree of the Balance. And he thinks that by Styx was allegorically meant the earth.

Emperor Julian gives the same explanation but more fully developed. He states, as a reason why the august Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone were celebrated at the Autumnal Equinox, that at that period of the year men feared lest the impious and dark power of the Evil Principle, then commencing to conquer, should do harm to their souls.

They were a precaution and means of safety, thought to be necessary at the moment when the God of Light was passing into the opposite or adverse region of the world; while at the Vernal Equinox there was less to be feared, because then that God, present in one portion of the world, recalled souls to Him, he says, and showed Himself to be their Saviour. He had a little before developed that theological idea, of the attractive force which the Sun exercises over souls, drawing them to him and raising them to his luminous sphere. He attributes this effect to him at the feasts of Atys, dead and restored to life, or the feasts of Rejoicing, which at the end of three days succeeded the mourning for that death; and he inquires why those Mysteries were celebrated at the Vernal Equinox.

The reason, he says, is evident. As the sun, arriving at the equinoctial point of Spring, drawing nearer to us, increases the length of the days, that period seems most appropriate for those ceremonies. For, besides that there is a great affinity between the substance of Light and the nature of the Gods, the Sun has that occult force of attraction, by which he draws matter toward himself, by means of his warmth, making plants to shoot and grow, etc.; and why can he not, by the same divine and pure action of his rays, attract and draw to him fortunate souls?

Then, as light is analogous to the Divine Nature and favorable to souls. struggling to return to the first principle, and as that light so increases at the Vernal Equinox, that the days prevail in duration over the nights, and as the Sun has an attractive force, besides the visible energy of his rays, it follows that souls are attracted toward the solar light. He does not further pursue the explanation; because he says, it belongs to a mysterious doctrine, beyond the reach of the vulgar and known only to those who understand the mode of action of Deity, like the Chaldæan author whom he cites, who had treated of the Mysteries of Light, or the God with seven rays.

Winter Solstice

Soul ascends to Heaven cardinal earth Capricorn as depicted by Winding Stair’s representation in the Fellowcraft Degree Tracing Board

masonic tracing boards in Capricorn

Depicted on the tracing board is St John the Baptist at the foot of the winding stair and St John the Evangelist at the entry of the Middle Chamber

             On its return, it restores to each sphere through which it ascends, the passions and earthly faculties received from them: to the Moon, the faculty of increase and diminution of the body; to Mercury, fraud, the architect of evils; to Venus, the seductive love of pleasure; to the Sun, the passion for greatness and empire; to Mars, audacity and temerity; to Jupiter, avarice; and to Saturn, falsehood and deceit: and at last, relieved of all, it enters naked and pure into the eighth sphere or highest Heaven..  from Morals and Dogma

The ascending  pattern  is the reverse  of the descent which starts from the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, then Saturn until enters the eight sphere of the highest Heaven,

All this agrees with the doctrine of Plato, that the soul cannot re-enter into Heaven until the revolutions of the Universe shall have restored it to its primitive condition, and purified it from the effects of its contact with the four elements.” …From Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike.

 A CAPRICORN incarnation is one of initiation—the “gateway through which the Accepted Disciple, having walked the Path of life through nine tests (or zodiac signs), is now ready to culminate her journey and ascend to the Mountaintop.”  (Oken)  Whereas Cancer is the “gate in,” CAPRICORN is the “gate out” where freedom from the personality, by successfully passing the initiatory tests, is granted.

 

Vernal Equinox 

the Master Masons allegory of the death and rebirth of the soul

masonic tracing boards in Vernal Equinox

Let us follow the path of the soul journey in heaven after its ascent to the Gate of the Gods in the Winter Solstice Capricorn.  From Saturn reverse travel to the moon in water element Pisces to end its journey in a symbolical death to reborn again in the vernal equinox. The end of the mystery cycle of the sun to be resurrected again in the spring equinox.

Resurrection is defined as being:

          “a coming to life again; rising from the dead.”

A second definition given for this word is, “a being alive again after death.”

THE HIRAMIC DEATH AND REBIRTH

The Hiramic legend is a symbolic death and rebirth of the soul in the vernal equinox because its teachings and rites are consistent with the Ancient Mystery Schools principles on the immortality of the soul.

Initiation into the Ancient Mysteries was not simply a means of attaining intellectual knowledge or learning. Aristotle wrote that it was actually the “experience” and not knowledge learned, that allowed the initiate to comprehend the secret meaning of the mysteries. This enlightening, transformative experience has generally been termed rebirth and appears to be the central theme of the most important rituals of almost all the Ancient Mystery Schools as well as modern initiates organizations.

At Eleusis, the teaching on rebirth was revealed through the symbolism of Persephone’s descent into the underworld, her ascension from it, and the subsequent return of fertility. In the cults of Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, and Adonis, the main rite is their violent death and rebirth. In Mithraism, we find representations of Mithras slaying a bull whose blood turns into a grain. In Christianity, the unjust crucifixion of Christ leads to the ultimate redemption of mankind. And within Freemasonry, we learn of the murder of our beloved Grand Master Hiram Abiff by three impatient craftsmen and his subsequent raising.

It appears that all the violent deaths—of Osiris, of Christ, of Hiram—have something in common. They symbolize vice, ignorance, and chaos, inevitably slaying the pure self and thereby making rebirth necessary for salvation. These legends reveal the nature of our circumstances and enlighten us to the trials that we must overcome. Only through the death of one’s imperfect self, the leaving behind of the old, and acceptance of transcendent truth, can one truly be reborn into a new self, no longer tainted by the sins of one’s past. In a certain sense, and depending on one’s perspective or religious background, rebirth or regeneration is a process that is constantly occurring.

The main body of surviving Hermetic wisdom is called the Corpus Hermeticum and, incidentally, book 13 of the Corpus is entitled On Rebirth. The text is in the form of a dialogue between Hermes Trismegistus and his son Tat.

Tat begins by asking his father to reveal the teaching on rebirth, by saying that he is now “ready to become a stranger to the world,” as this was the condition that Hermes had previously set forth. Hermes then explains that all things come from God and are one with God, and it is His will only that determines who shall achieve rebirth.

The dialogue continues with Hermes teaching Tat that it is only through mastery of self and transcending of the senses that the Divine intellect, or Nous, can be discovered.

The soul in heaven suffers the symbolical death after completion of its journey to be reborn again as a new soul to start another beginning for its downward descent to earth. The new cycle begins.

“Thus the scientific theories of the ancients, expounded in the Mysteries, as to the origin of the soul, its descent, its sojourn here below, and its return, were not a mere barren contemplation of the nature of the world, and of the intelligent beings existing there. They were not an idle speculation as to the order of the world, and about the soul, but a study of the means for arriving at the great object proposed, the perfecting of the soul; and, as a necessary consequence, that of morals and society.

This Earth, to them, was not the Soul’s home, but its place of exile. Heaven was its home, and there was its birth-place. To it, it ought incessantly to turn its eyes. The man was not a terrestrial plant. His roots were in Heaven. The soul had lost its wings, clogged by the viscosity of matter. It would recover them when it extricated itself from matter and commenced its upward flight.

Matter being, in their view, as it was in that of St. Paul, the principle of all the passions that trouble reason, mislead the intelligence, and stain the purity of the soul, the Mysteries taught man how to enfeeble the action of matter on the soul, and to restore to the latter its natural dominion. And lest the stains so contracted should continue after death, lustrations were used, fastings, expiations, macerations, continence, and above all, initiations. Many of these practices were at first merely symbolical,–material signs indicating the moral purity required of the Initiates; but they afterward came to be regarded as actual productive causes of that purity.

The effect of initiation was meant to be the same as that of philosophy, to purify the soul of its passions, to weaken the empire of the body over the divine portion of man, and to give him here below a happiness anticipatory of the felicity to be one day enjoyed by him, and of the future vision by him of the Divine Beings. And therefore Proclus and the other Platonists taught “that the Mysteries and initiations withdrew souls from this mortal and material life, to reunite them to the gods; and dissipated for the adepts the shades of ignorance by the splendors of the Deity.” Such were the precious fruits of the last Degree of the Mystic Science,–to see Nature in her springs and sources, and to become familiar with the causes of things and with real existences.

Cicero says that the soul must exercise itself in the practice of the virtues if it would speedily return to its place of origin. It should, while imprisoned in the body, free itself therefrom by the contemplation of superior beings, and in some sort be divorced from the body and the senses. Those who remain enslaved, subjugated by their passions and violating the sacred laws of religion and society, will re-ascend to Heaven, only after they shall have been purified through a long succession of ages.

The Initiate was required to emancipate himself from his passions, and to free himself from the hindrances of the senses and of matter, in order that he might rise to the contemplation of the Deity, or of that incorporeal and unchanging light in which live and subsist the causes of created natures.

“We must,” says Porphyry, “flee from everything sensual, that the soul may with ease re-unite itself with God, and live happily with Him.” “This is the great work of initiation,” says Hierocles;–“to recall the soul to what is truly good and beautiful, and make it familiar therewith, and they its own; to deliver it from the pains and ills it endures here below, enchained in matter as in a dark prison; to facilitate its return to the celestial splendors, and to establish it in the Fortunate Isles, by restoring it to its first estate. Thereby, when the hour of death arrives, the soul, freed of its mortal garments, which it leaves behind it as a legacy to earth, will rise buoyantly to its home among the Stars, there to re-take its ancient condition, and approach toward the Divine nature as far as man may do.”

Plutarch compares Isis to knowledge, and Typhon to ignorance, obscuring the light of the sacred doctrine whose ‘blaze lights the soul of the Initiate. No gift of the gods, he holds, is so precious as the knowledge of the Truth, and that of the Nature of the gods, so far as our limited capacities allow us to rise toward them. The Valentinians termed initiation LIGHT.

The Initiate, says Psellus, becomes an Epopt, when admitted to seeing THE DIVINE LIGHTS. Clemens of Alexandria, imitating the language of an Initiate in the Mysteries of Bacchus, and inviting this Initiate, whom he terms blind like Tiresias, to come to see Christ, Who will blaze upon his eyes with greater glory than the Sun, exclaims: “Oh Mysteries most truly holy! Oh, pure Light! When the torch of the Dadoukos gleams, Heaven and the Deity are displayed to my eyes! I am initiated, and become holy!”

This was the true object of initiation; to be sanctified, and TO SEE, that is, to have just and faithful conceptions of the Deity, the knowledge of Whom was THE LIGHT of the Mysteries. It was promised the Initiate at Samothrace, that he should become pure and just. Clemens says that by baptism, souls are illuminated, and led to the pure light with which mingles no darkness, nor anything material. The Initiate, become an Epopt, was called A SEER. “HAIL, NEW-BORN LIGHT!” the Initiates cried in the Mysteries of Bacchus.

Such was held to be the effect of complete initiation. It lighted up the soul with rays from the Divinity, and became for it, as it was, the eye with which, according to the Pythagoreans, it contemplates the field of Truth; in its mystical abstractions, wherein it rises superior to the body, whose action on it, it annuls for the time, to re-enter into itself, so as entirely to occupy itself with the view of the Divinity, and the means of coming to resemble Him.

Thus enfeebling the dominion of the senses and the passions over the soul, and as it was freeing the latter from a sordid slavery, and by the steady practice of all the virtues, active and contemplative, our ancient brethren strove to fit themselves to return to the bosom of the Deity. Let not our objects as Masons fall below theirs.

We use the symbols which they used; and teach the same great cardinal doctrines that they taught, of the existence of an intellectual God, and the immortality of the soul of man. If the details of their doctrines as to the soul seem to us to verge on absurdity, let us compare them with the common notions of our own day, and be silent. If it seems to us that they regarded the symbol in some cases as the thing symbolized, and worshipped the sign as if it were itself Deity, let us reflect how insufficient are our own ideas of Deity, and how we worship those ideas and images formed and fashioned in our own minds, and not the Deity Himself: and if we are inclined to smile at the importance they attached to lustrations and fasts, let us pause and inquire whether the same weakness of human nature does not exist to-day, causing rites and ceremonies to be regarded as actively efficient for the salvation of souls.”..Morals and Dogma

References:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/md/md26.htm

https://www.scribd.com/document/173201733/Masonic-Astronomy-and-the-Royal-Arch-of-the-Heavenshttps://www.hwalibrary.com/cgi-bin/get/hwa.cgi?action=getmagazine&InfoID=1335279106

http://www.jjcrowder743.com/threedegrees.html

https://www.hwalibrary.com/cgi-bin/get/hwa.cgiaction=getmagazine&InfoID=1335279106

https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=11ZgDwAAQBAJ&pg=GBS.PP1

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-myth-of-er-120332

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“MAY THE FORCE ( GOD) BE WITH YOU”, STAR WARS

morals and dogma

FORCE, unregulated or ill-regulated, is not only wasted in the void, like that of gunpowder burned in the open air, and steam unconfined by science; ” the first sentence in  the monumental book Morals and Dogma by Ill Albert Pike, 33 Degree. “Our free agency and our will are forces. Thought is a force. Prayer is a force.”

This word caught  my attention sometime in 2005 when I joined the Scottish Rite Freemasonry. Why Force? Was it because of the symbolism of the three great pillars in the Lodge represented by  the Worshipful Master, the Senior and the Junior Wardens  which means Wisdom, Strength or Force, and Beauty, or was it the  Force that created God  as allegorically  emphasized  by Ill Albert Pike, that consequently made the universe.” Or was  it  Force that started all things. “In the beginning God (force) created the heaven and the earth.”

albert pike

Albert Pike (December 29, 1809 – April 2, 1891) was an attorney, soldier, writer, and Freemason. Albert Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with a statue in Washington, D.C.

From the:   Knight of the East and West, Chapter XVll, Morals and Dogma

“A ray of Light, shot from the Deity, is the cause and principle of all that exists. It is at once Father and Mother of All, in the sublimest sense. It penetrates everything; and without it nothing can exist an instant. From this double FORCE, designated by the two parts of the word IHUH emanated the FIRST-BORN of God, the Universal FORM, in which are contained all beings; the Persian and Platonic Archetype of things, united with the Infinite by the primitive ray of Light.”

“This First-Born is the Creative Agent, Conservator, and animating Principle of the Universe. It is THE LIGHT of LIGHT. It possesses the three Primitive Forces of the Divinity, LIGHT, SPIRIT, and LIFE [Φώς, Πνευμά, and Ζων]. As it has received what it gives, Light and Life, it is equally considered as the generative and conceptive Principle, the Primitive Man, ADAM KADMON. As such, it has revealed itself in ten emanations or Sephiroth, which are not ten different beings, nor even beings at all; but sources of life, vessels of Omnipotence, and types of Creation. They are Sovereignty or Will, Wisdom, Intelligence,Benignity, Severity, Beauty, Victory, Glory, Permanency, and Empire. These are attributes of God; and this idea, that God reveals Himself by His attributes, and that the human mind cannot perceive or discern God Himself, in his works, but only his mode of manifesting Himself, is a profound Truth. We know of the Invisible only what the Visible reveals.”

 

MORALS AND DOGMA.

I.

APPRENTICE.

THE TWELVE-INCH RULE AND THE COMMON GAVEL.

FORCE, unregulated or ill-regulated, is not only wasted in the void, like that of gunpowder burned in the open air, and steam unconfined by science; but, striking in the dark, and its blows meeting only the air, they recoil and bruise itself. It is destruction and ruin. It is the volcano, the earthquake, the cyclone;–not growth and progress. It is Polyphemus blinded, striking at random, and falling headlong among the sharp rocks by the impetus of his own blows.

The blind Force of the people is a Force that must be economized, and also managed, as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron arms and turning the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon and to weave the most delicate lace. It must be regulated by Intellect. Intellect is to the people and the people’s Force, what the slender needle of the compass is to the ship–its soul, always counselling the huge mass of wood and iron, and always pointing to the north. To attack the citadels built up on all sides against the human race by superstitions, despotisms, and prejudices,

p. 2

the Force must have a brain and a law. Then its deeds of daring produce permanent results, and there is real progress. Then there are sublime conquests. Thought is a force, and philosophy should be an energy, finding its aim and its effects in the amelioration of mankind. The two great motors are Truth and Love. When all these Forces are combined, and guided by the Intellect, and regulated by the RULE of Right, and Justice, and of combined and systematic movement and effort, the great revolution prepared for by the ages will begin to march. The POWER of the Deity Himself is in equilibrium with His WISDOM. Hence the only results are HARMONY.

It is because Force is ill regulated, that revolutions prove fail-tires. Therefore it is that so often insurrections, coming from those high mountains that domineer over the moral horizon, Justice, Wisdom, Reason, Right, built of the purest snow of the ideal after a long fall from rock to rock, after having reflected the sky in their transparency, and been swollen by a hundred affluents, in the majestic path of triumph, suddenly lose themselves in quagmires, like a California river in the sands.

The onward march of the human race requires that the heights around it should blaze with noble and enduring lessons of courage. Deeds of daring dazzle history, and form one class of the guiding lights of man. They are the stars and coruscations from that great sea of electricity, the Force inherent in the people. To strive, to brave all risks, to perish, to persevere, to be true to one’s self, to grapple body to body with destiny, to surprise defeat by the little terror it inspires, now to confront unrighteous power, now to defy intoxicated triumph–these are the examples that the nations need and the light that electrifies them.

There are immense Forces in the great caverns of evil beneath society; in the hideous degradation, squalor, wretchedness and destitution, vices and crimes that reek and simmer in the darkness in that populace below the people, of great cities. There disinterestedness vanishes, every one howls, searches, gropes, and gnaws for himself. Ideas are ignored, and of progress there is no thought. This populace has two mothers, both of them stepmothers–Ignorance and Misery. Want is their only guide–for the appetite alone they crave satisfaction. Yet even these may be employed. The lowly sand we trample upon, cast into the furnace, melted, purified by fire, may become resplendent crystal.

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[paragraph continues]They have the brute force of the HAMMER, but their blows help on the great cause, when struck within the lines traced by the RULE held by wisdom and discretion.

Yet it is this very Force of the people, this Titanic power of the giants, that builds the fortifications of tyrants, and is embodied in their armies. Hence the possibility of such tyrannies as those of which it has been said, that “Rome smells worse under Vitellius than under Sulla. Under Claudius and under Domitian there is a deformity of baseness corresponding to the ugliness of the tyranny. The foulness of the slaves is a direct result of the atrocious baseness of the despot. A miasma exhales from these crouching consciences that reflect the master; the public authorities are unclean, hearts are collapsed, consciences shrunken, souls puny. This is so under Caracalla, it is so under Commodus, it is so under Heliogabalus, while from the Roman senate, under Cæsar, there comes only the rank odor peculiar to the eagle’s eyrie.”

It is the force of the people that sustains all these despotisms, the basest as well as the best. That force acts through armies; and these oftener enslave than liberate. Despotism there applies the RULE. Force is the MACE of steel at the saddle-bow of the knight or of the bishop in armor. Passive obedience by force supports thrones and oligarchies, Spanish kings, and Venetian senates. Might, in an army wielded by tyranny, is the enormous sum total of utter weakness; and so Humanity wages war against Humanity, in despite of Humanity. So a people willingly submits to despot-ism, and its workmen submit to be despised, and its soldiers to be whipped; therefore it is that battles lost by a nation are often progress attained. Less glory is more liberty. When the drum is silent, reason sometimes speaks.

Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate–that is, enyoke the people. Then they plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon-shot; while the monks mingle with the troopers, and the Church militant and jubilant, Catholic or Puritan, sings Te Deums for victories over rebellion.

The military power, not subordinate to the civil power, again the HAMMER or MACE of FORCE, independent of the RULE, is an armed tyranny, born full-grown, as Athenè sprung from the brain of Zeus. It spawns a dynasty, and begins with Cæsar to rot into

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[paragraph continues]Vitellius and Commodus. At the present day it inclines to begin where formerly dynasties ended.

Constantly the people put forth immense strength, only to end in immense weakness. The force of the people is exhausted in indefinitely prolonging things long since dead; in governing mankind by embalming old dead tyrannies of Faith; restoring dilapidated dogmas; regilding faded, worm-eaten shrines; whitening and rouging ancient and barren superstitions; saving society by multiplying parasites; perpetuating superannuated institutions; enforcing the worship of symbols as the actual means of salvation; and tying the dead corpse of the Past, mouth to mouth, with the living Present. Therefore it is that it is one of the fatalities of Humanity to be condemned to eternal struggles with phantoms, with superstitions, bigotries, hypocrisies, prejudices, the formulas of error, and the pleas of tyranny. Despotisms, seen in the past, become respectable, as the mountain, bristling with volcanic rock, rugged and horrid, seen through the haze of distance is blue and smooth and beautiful. The sight of a single dungeon of tyranny is worth more, to dispel illusions, and create a holy hatred of despotism, and to direct FORCE aright, than the most eloquent volumes. The French should have preserved the Bastile as a perpetual lesson; Italy should not destroy the dungeons of the Inquisition. The Force of the people maintained the Power that built its gloomy cells, and placed the living in their granite sepulchres.

The FORCE of the people cannot, by its unrestrained and fitful action, maintain and continue in action and existence a free Government once created. That Force must be limited, restrained, conveyed by distribution into different channels, and by roundabout courses, to outlets, whence it is to issue as the law, action, and decision of the State; as the wise old Egyptian kings conveyed in different canals, by sub-division, the swelling waters of the Nile, and compelled them to fertilize and not devastate the land. There must be the jus et norma, the law and Rule, or Gauge, of constitution and law, within which the public force must act. Make a breach in either, and the great steam-hammer, with its swift and ponderous blows, crushes all the machinery to atoms, and, at last, wrenching itself away, lies inert and dead amid the ruin it has wrought.

The FORCE of the people, or the popular will, in action and

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exerted, symbolized by the GAVEL, regulated and guided by and acting within the limits of LAW and ORDER, symbolized by the TWENTY-FOUR-INCH RULE, has for its fruit LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY,–liberty regulated by law; equality of rights in the eye of the law; brotherhood with its duties and obligations as well as its benefits.

You will hear shortly of the Rough ASHLAR and the Perfect ASHLAR, as part of the jewels of the Lodge. The rough Ashlar is said to be “a stone, as taken from the quarry, in its rude and natural state.” The perfect Ashlar is said to be “a stone made ready by the hands of the workmen, to be adjusted by the working-tools of the Fellow-Craft.” We shall not repeat the explanations of these symbols given by the York Rite. You may read them in its printed monitors. They are declared to allude to the self-improvement of the individual craftsman,–a continuation of the same superficial interpretation.

The rough Ashlar is the PEOPLE, as a mass, rude and unorganized. The perfect Ashlar, or cubical stone, symbol of perfection, is the STATE, the rulers deriving their powers from the con-sent of the governed; the constitution and laws speaking the will of the people; the government harmonious, symmetrical, efficient,–its powers properly distributed and duly adjusted in equilibrium.

If we delineate a cube on a plane surface thus:

we have visible three faces, and nine external lines, drawn between seven points. The complete cube has three more faces, making six; three more lines, making twelve; and one more point, making eight. As the number 12 includes the sacred numbers, 3, 5, 7, and 3 times 3, or 9, and is produced by adding the sacred number 3 to 9; while its own two figures, 1, 2, the unit or monad, and duad, added together, make the same sacred number 3; it was called the perfect number; and the cube became the symbol of perfection.

Produced by FORCE, acting by RULE; hammered in accordance

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with lines measured by the Gauge, out of the rough Ashlar, it is an appropriate symbol of the Force of the people, expressed as the constitution and law of the State; and of the State itself the three visible faces represent the three departments,–the Executive, which executes the laws; the Legislative, which makes the laws; the Judiciary, which interprets the laws, applies and enforces them, between man and man, between the State and the citizens. The three invisible faces, are Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,–the threefold soul of the State–its vitality, spirit, and intellect.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Though Masonry neither usurps the place of, nor apes religion, prayer is an essential part of our ceremonies. It is the aspiration of the soul toward the Absolute and Infinite Intelligence, which is the One Supreme Deity, most feebly and misunderstandingly characterized as an “ARCHITECT.” Certain faculties of man are directed toward the Unknown–thought, meditation, prayer. The unknown is an ocean, of which conscience is the compass. Thought, meditation, prayer, are the great mysterious pointings of the needle. It is a spiritual magnetism that thus connects the human soul with the Deity. These majestic irradiations of the soul pierce through the shadow toward the light.

It is but a shallow scoff to say that prayer is absurd, because it is not possible for us, by means of it, to persuade God to change His plans. He produces foreknown and foreintended effects, by the instrumentality of the forces of nature, all of which are His forces. Our own are part of these. Our free agency and our will are forces. We do not absurdly cease to make efforts to attain wealth or happiness, prolong life, and continue health, because we cannot by any effort change what is predestined. If the effort also is predestined, it is not the less our effort, made of our free will. So, likewise, we pray. Will is a force. Thought is a force. Prayer is a force. Why should it not be of the law of God, that prayer, like Faith and Love, should have its effects? Man is not to be comprehended as a starting-point, or progress as a goal, without those two great forces, Faith and Love. Prayer is sublime. Orisons that beg and clamor are pitiful. To deny the efficacy of prayer, is to deny that of Faith, Love, and Effort. Yet the effects produced, when our hand, moved by our will, launches a pebble into the ocean, never cease; and every uttered word is registered for eternity upon the invisible air.

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Every Lodge is a Temple, and as a whole, and in its details symbolic. The Universe itself supplied man with the model for the first temples reared to the Divinity. The arrangement of the Temple of Solomon, the symbolic ornaments which formed its chief decorations, and the dress of the High-Priest, all had reference to the order of the Universe, as then understood. The Temple contained many emblems of the seasons–the sun, the moon, the planets, the constellations Ursa Major and Minor, the zodiac, the elements, and the other parts of the world. It is the Master of this Lodge, of the Universe, Hermes, of whom Khu_ru_m is the representative, that is one of the lights of the Lodge.

For further instruction as to the symbolism of the heavenly bodies, and of the sacred numbers, and of the temple and its details, you must wait patiently until you advance in Masonry, in the mean time exercising your intellect in studying them for yourself. To study and seek to interpret correctly the symbols of the Universe, is the work of the sage and philosopher. It is to de-cipher the writing of God, and penetrate into His thoughts.

This is what is asked and answered in our catechism, in regard to the Lodge.

*      *      *      *      *      *

A “Lodge” is defined to be “an assemblage of Freemasons, duly congregated, having the sacred writings, square, and compass, and a charter, or warrant of constitution, authorizing them to work.” The room or place in which they meet, representing some part of King Solomon’s Temple, is also called the Lodge; and it is that we are now considering.

It is said to be supported by three great columns, WISDOM, FORCE or STRENGTH, and BEAUTY, represented by the Master, the Senior Warden, and the Junior Warden; and these are said to be the columns that support the Lodge, “because Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, are the perfections of everything, and nothing can endure without them.” “Because,” the York Rite says, “it is necessary that there should be Wisdom to conceive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn, all great and important undertakings.” “Know ye not,” says the Apostle Paul, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man desecrate the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

The Wisdom and Power of the Deity are in equilibrium. The

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laws of nature and the moral laws are not the mere despotic man-dates of His Omnipotent will; for, then they might be changed by Him, and order become disorder, and good and right become evil and wrong; honesty and loyalty, vices; and fraud, ingratitude, and vice, virtues. Omnipotent power, infinite, and existing alone, would necessarily not be constrained to consistency. Its decrees and laws could not be immutable. The laws of God are not obligatory on us because they are the enactments of His POWER, or the expression of His WILL; but because they express His infinite WISDOM. They are not right because they are His laws, but His laws because they are right. From the equilibrium of infinite wisdom and infinite force, results perfect harmony, in physics and in the moral universe. Wisdom, Power, and Harmony constitute one Masonic triad. They have other and profounder meanings, that may at some time be unveiled to you.

As to the ordinary and commonplace explanation, it may be added, that the wisdom of the Architect is displayed in combining, as only a skillful Architect can do, and as God has done everywhere,–for example, in the tree, the human frame, the egg, the cells of the honeycomb–strength, with grace, beauty, symmetry, proportion, lightness, ornamentation. That, too, is the perfection of the orator and poet–to combine force, strength, energy, with grace of style, musical cadences, the beauty of figures, the play and irradiation of imagination and fancy; and so, in a State, the warlike and industrial force of the people, and their Titanic strength, must be combined with the beauty of the arts, the sciences, and the intellect, if the State would scale the heights of excellence, and the people be really free. Harmony in this, as in all the Divine, the material, and the human, is the result of equilibrium, of the sympathy and opposite action of contraries; a single Wisdom above them holding the beam of the scales. To reconcile the moral law, human responsibility, free-will, with the absolute power of God; and the existence of evil with His absolute wisdom, and goodness, and mercy,–these are the great enigmas of the Sphynx.

 

You entered the Lodge between two columns. They represent the two which stood in the porch of the Temple, on each side of the great eastern gateway. These pillars, of bronze, four fingers breadth in thickness, were, according to the most authentic

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account–that in the First and that in the Second Book of Kings, confirmed in Jeremiah–eighteen cubits high, with a capital five cubits high. The shaft of each was four cubits in diameter. A cubit is one foot and 707/1000. That is, the shaft of each was a little over thirty feet eight inches in height, the capital of each a little over eight feet six inches in height, and the diameter of the shaft six feet ten inches. The capitals were enriched by pomegranates of bronze, covered by bronze net-work, and ornamented with wreaths of bronze; and appear to have imitated the shape of the seed-vessel of the lotus or Egyptian lily, a sacred symbol to the Hindus and Egyptians. The pillar or column on the right, or in the south, was named, as the Hebrew word is rendered in our translation of the Bible, JACHIN: and that on the left BOAZ. Our translators say that the first word means, “He shall establish;” and the second, “in it is strength.”

These columns were imitations, by Khu_ru_m, the Tyrian artist, of the great columns consecrated to the Winds and Fire, at the entrance to the famous Temple of Malkarth, in the city of Tyre. It is customary, in Lodges of the York Rite, to see a celestial globe on one, and a terrestrial globe on the other; but these are not warranted, if the object be to imitate the original two columns of the Temple. The symbolic meaning of these columns we shall leave for the present unexplained, only adding that Entered Apprentices keep their working-tools in the column JACHIN; and giving you the etymology and literal meaning of the two names.

The word Jachin, in Hebrew, is ‏ו ?Yך?Yנ‎, It was probably pronounced Ya-kayan, and meant, as a verbal noun, He that strengthens; and thence, firm, stable, upright.

The word Boaz is ‏ו ?B?O?Z‎, Baaz. ‏ו ?O?Z‎ means Strong, Strength, Power, Might, Refuge, Source of Strength, a Fort. The ‏ו ?B‎ prefixed means “with” or “in,” and gives the word the force of the Latin gerund, roborandoStrengthening.

The former word also means he will establish, or plant in an erect position–from the verb ‏ו ך?Wנ‎, Ku_n, he stood erect. It probably meant Active and Vivifying Energy and Force; and Boaz, Stability, Permanence, in the passive sense.

The Dimensions of the Lodge, our Brethren of the York Rite say, “are unlimited, and its covering no less than the canopy of Heaven.” “To this object,” they say, “the mason’s mind is continually

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directed, and thither he hopes at last to arrive by the aid of the theological ladder which Jacob in his vision saw ascending from earth to Heaven; the three principal rounds of which are denominated Faith, Hope, and Charity; and which admonish us to have Faith in God, Hope in Immortality, and Charity to all mankind.” Accordingly a ladder, sometimes with nine rounds, is seen on the chart, resting at the bottom on the earth, its top in the clouds, the stars shining above it; and this is deemed to represent that mystic ladder, which Jacob saw in his dream, set up on the earth, and the top of it reaching to Heaven, with the angels of God ascending and descending on it. The addition of the three principal rounds to the symbolism, is wholly modern and incongruous.

The ancients counted seven planets, thus arranged: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. There were seven heavens and seven spheres of these planets; on all the monuments of Mithras are seven altars or pyres, consecrated to the seven planets, as were the seven lamps of the golden candelabrum in the Temple. That these represented the planets, we are assured by Clemens of Alexandria, in his Stromata, and by Philo Judæus.

To return to its source in the Infinite, the human soul, the ancients held, had to ascend, as it had descended, through the seven spheres. The Ladder by which it reascends, has, according to Marsilius Ficinus, in his Commentary on the Ennead of Plotinus, seven degrees or steps; and in the Mysteries of Mithras, carried to Rome under the Emperors, the ladder, with its seven rounds, was a symbol referring to this ascent through the spheres of the seven planets. Jacob saw the Spirits of God ascending and descending on it; and above it the Deity Himself. The Mithraic Mysteries were celebrated in caves, where gates were marked at the four equinoctial and solstitial points of the zodiac; and the seven planetary spheres were represented, which souls needs must traverse in descending from the heaven of the fixed stars to the elements that envelop the earth; and seven gates were marked, one for each planet, through which they pass, in descending or returning.

We learn this from Celsus, in Origen, who says that the symbolic image of this passage among the stars, used in the Mithraic Mysteries, was a ladder reaching from earth to Heaven, divided

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into seven steps or stages, to each of which was a gate, and at the summit an eighth one, that of the fixed stars. The symbol was the same as that of the seven stages of Borsippa, the Pyramid of vitrified brick, near Babylon, built of seven stages, and each of a different color. In the Mithraic ceremonies, the candidate went through seven stages of initiation, passing through many fearful trials–and of these the high ladder with seven rounds or steps was the symbol.

You see the Lodge, its details and ornaments, by its Lights. You have already heard what these Lights, the greater and lesser, are said to be, and how they are spoken of by our Brethren of the York Rite.

The Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses, are not only styled the Great Lights in Masonry, but they are also technically called the Furniture of the Lodge; and, as you have seen, it is held that there is no Lodge without them. This has sometimes been made a pretext for excluding Jews from our Lodges, because they cannot regard the New Testament as a holy book. The Bible is an indispensable part of the furniture of a Christian Lodge, only because it is the sacred book of the Christian religion. The Hebrew Pentateuch in a Hebrew Lodge, and the Koran in a Mohammedan one, belong on the Altar; and one of these, and the Square and Compass, properly understood, are the Great Lights by which a Mason must walk and work.

The obligation of the candidate is always to be taken on the sacred book or books of his religion, that he may deem it more solemn and binding; and therefore it was that you were asked of what religion you were. We have no other concern with your religious creed.

The Square is a right angle, formed by two right lines. It is adapted only to a plane surface, and belongs only to geometry, earth-measurement, that trigonometry which deals only with planes, and with the earth, which the ancients supposed to be a plane. The Compass describes circles, and deals with spherical trigonometry, the science of the spheres and heavens. The former, therefore, is an emblem of what concerns the earth and the body; the latter of what concerns the heavens and the soul. Yet the Compass is also used in plane trigonometry, as in erecting perpendiculars; and, therefore, you are reminded that, although in this Degree both points of the Compass are under the Square, and

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you are now dealing only with the moral and political meaning of the symbols, and not with their philosophical and spiritual meanings, still the divine ever mingles with the human; with the earthly the spiritual intermixes; and there is something spiritual in the commonest duties of life. The nations are not bodies-politic alone, but also souls-politic; and woe to that people which, seeking the material only, forgets that it has a soul. Then we have a race, petrified in dogma, which presupposes the absence of a soul and the presence only of memory and instinct, or demoralized by lucre. Such a nature can never lead civilization. Genuflexion before the idol or the dollar atrophies the muscle which walks and the will which moves. Hieratic or mercantile absorption diminishes the radiance of a people, lowers its horizon by lowering its level, and deprives it of that understanding of the universal aim, at the same time human and divine, which makes the missionary nations. A free people, forgetting that it has a soul to be cared for, devotes all its energies to its material advancement. If it makes war, it is to subserve its commercial interests. The citizens copy after the State, and regard wealth, pomp, and luxury as the great goods of life. Such a nation creates wealth rapidly, and distributes it badly. Thence the two extremes, of monstrous opulence and monstrous misery; all the enjoyment to a few, all the privations to the rest, that is to say, to the people; Privilege, Exception, Monopoly, Feudality, springing up from Labor itself: a false and dangerous situation, which, making Labor a blinded and chained Cyclops, in the mine, at the forge, in the workshop, at the loom, in the field, over poisonous fumes, in miasmatic cells, in unventilated factories, founds public power upon private misery, and plants the greatness of the State in the suffering of the individual. It is a greatness ill constituted, in which all the material elements are combined, and into which no moral element enters. If a people, like a star, has the right of eclipse, the light ought to return. The eclipse should not degenerate into night.

The three lesser, or the Sublime Lights, you have heard, are the Sun, the Moon, and the Master of the Lodge; and you have heard what our Brethren of the York Rite say in regard to them, and why they hold them to be Lights of the Lodge. But the Sun and Moon do in no sense light the Lodge, unless it be symbolically, and then the lights are not they, but those things of which they are the symbols. Of what they are the symbols the Mason in that

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[paragraph continues]Rite is not told. Nor does the Moon in any sense rule the night with regularity.

The Sun is the ancient symbol of the life-giving and generative power of the Deity. To the ancients, light was the cause of life; and God was the source from which all light flowed; the essence of Light, the Invisible Fire, developed as flamemanifested as light and splendor. The Sun was His manifestation and visible image; and the Sabæans worshipping the Light–God, seemed to worship the Sun, in whom they saw the manifestation of the Deity.

The Moon was the symbol of the passive capacity of nature to produce, the female, of which the life-giving power and energy was the male. It was the symbol of Isis, Astarte, and Artemis, or Diana. The “Master of Life” was the Supreme Deity, above both, and manifested through both; Zeus, the Son of Saturn, become King of the Gods; Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, become the Master of Life; Dionusos or Bacchus, like Mithras, become the author of Light and Life and Truth.

*      *      *      *      *      *

The Master of Light and Life, the Sun and the Moon, are symbolized in every Lodge by the Master and Wardens: and this makes it the duty of the Master to dispense light to the Brethren, by himself, and through the Wardens, who are his ministers.

“Thy sun,” says ISAIAH to Jerusalem, “shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever.” Such is the type of a free people.

Our northern ancestors worshipped this tri-une Deity; ODIN, the Almighty FATHER; FREA, his wife, emblem of universal matter; and THOR, his son, the mediator. But above all these was the Supreme God, “the author of everything that existeth, the Eternal, the Ancient, the Living and Awful Being, the Searcher into concealed things, the Being that never changeth.” In the Temple of Eleusis (a sanctuary lighted only by a window in the roof, and representing the Universe), the images of the Sun, Moon, and Mercury, were represented.

“The Sun and Moon,” says the learned Bro∴ DELAUNAY, “represent the two grand principles of all generations, the active and passive, the male and the female. The Sun represents the

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actual light. He pours upon the Moon his fecundating rays; both shed their light upon their offspring, the Blazing Star, or HORUS, and the three form the great Equilateral Triangle, in the centre of which is the omnific letter of the Kabalah, by which creation is said to have been effected.”

The ORNAMENTS of a Lodge are said to be “the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star.” The Mosaic Pavement, chequered in squares or lozenges, is said to represent the ground-floor of King Solomon’s Temple; and the Indented Tessel “that beautiful tesselated border which surrounded it.” The Blazing Star in the centre is said to be “an emblem of Divine Providence, and commemorative of the star which appeared to guide the wise men of the East to the place of our Saviour’s nativity.” But “there was no stone seen” within the Temple. The walls were covered with planks of cedar, and the floor was covered with planks of fir. There is no evidence that there was such a pavement or floor in the Temple, or such a bordering. In England, anciently, the Tracing-Board was surrounded with an indented border; and it is only in America that such a border is put around the Mosaic pavement. The tesseræ, indeed, are the squares or lozenges of the pavement. In England, also, “the indented or denticulated border” is called “tesselated,” because it has four “tassels,” said to represent Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. It was termed the Indented Trassel; but this is a misuse of words. It is atesserated pavement, with an indented border round it.

The pavement, alternately black and white, symbolizes, whether so intended or not, the Good and Evil Principles of the Egyptian and Persian creed. It is the warfare of Michael and Satan, of the Gods and Titans, of Balder and Lok; between light and shadow, which is darkness; Day and Night; Freedom and Despotism; Religious Liberty and the Arbitrary Dogmas of a Church that thinks for its votaries, and whose Pontiff claims to be infallible, and the decretals of its Councils to constitute a gospel.

The edges of this pavement, if in lozenges, will necessarily be indented or denticulated, toothed like a saw; and to complete and finish it a bordering is necessary. It is completed by tassels as ornaments at the corners. If these and the bordering have any symbolic meaning, it is fanciful and arbitrary.

To find in the BLAZING STAR of five points an allusion to the

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[paragraph continues]Divine Providence, is also fanciful; and to make it commemorative of the Star that is said to have guided the Magi, is to give it a meaning comparatively modern. Originally it represented SIRIUS, or the Dog-star, the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God ANUBIS, companion of Isis in her search for the body of OSIRIS, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of HORUS, the son of OSIRIS, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time; Son of Isis, who was the universal nature, himself the primitive matter, inexhaustible source of Life, spark of uncreated fire, universal seed of all beings. It was HERMES, also, the Master of Learning, whose name in Greek is that of the God Mercury. It became the sacred and potent sign or character of the Magi, the PENTALPHA, and is the significant emblem of Liberty and Freedom, blazing with a steady radiance amid the weltering elements of good and evil of Revolutions, and promising serene skies and fertile seasons to the nations, after the storms of change and tumult.

In the East of the Lodge, over the Master, inclosed in a triangle, is the Hebrew letter YO_D [‏ו ?Y‎ or ]. In the English and American Lodges the Letter G∴ is substituted for this, as the initial of the word GOD, with as little reason as if the letter D., initial of DIEU, were used in French Lodges instead of the proper letter. YO_D is, in the Kabalah, the symbol of Unity, of the Supreme Deity, the first letter of the Holy Name; and also a symbol of the Great Kabalistic Triads. To understand its mystic meanings, you must open the pages of the Sohar and Siphra de Zeniutha, and other kabalistic books, and ponder deeply on their meaning. It must suffice to say, that it is the Creative Energy of the Deity, is represented as a point, and that point in the centre of the Circle of immensity. It is to us in this Degree, the symbol of that unmanifested Deity, the Absolute, who has no name.

Our French Brethren place this letter YO_D in the centre of the Blazing Star. And in the old Lectures, our ancient English Brethren said, “The Blazing Star or Glory in the centre refers us to that grand luminary, the Sun, which enlightens the earth, and by its genial influence dispenses blessings to mankind.” They called it also in the same lectures, an emblem of PRUDENCE. The word Prudentia means, in its original and fullest signification, Foresight; and, accordingly, the Blazing Star has been regarded as an emblem of Omniscience, or the All-seeing Eye, which to the

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Egyptian Initiates was the emblem of Osiris, the Creator. With the YO_D in the centre, it has the kabalistic meaning of the Divine Energy, manifested as Light, creating the Universe.

 

The Jewels of the Lodge are said to be six in number. Three are called “Movable,” and three “Immovable.” The SQUARE, the LEVEL, and the PLUMB were anciently and properly called the Movable Jewels, because they pass from one Brother to another. It is a modern innovation to call them immovable, because they must always be present in the Lodge. The immovable jewels are the ROUGH ASHLAR, the PERFECT ASHLAR or CUBICAL STONE, or, in some Rituals, the DOUBLE CUBE, and the TRACING-BOARD, or TRESTLE-BOARD.

Of these jewels our Brethren of the York Rite say: “The Square inculcates Morality; the Level, Equality; and the Plumb, Rectitude of Conduct.” Their explanation of the immovable Jewels may be read in their monitors.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Our Brethren of the York Rite say that “there is represented in every well-governed Lodge, a certain point, within a circle; the point representing an individual Brother; the Circle, the boundary line of his conduct, beyond which he is never to suffer his prejudices or passions to betray him.”

This is not to interpret the symbols of Masonry. It is said by some, with a nearer approach to interpretation, that the point within the circle represents God in the centre of the Universe. It is a common Egyptian sign for the Sun and Osiris, and is still used as the astronomical sign of the great luminary. In the Kabalah the point is YO_D, the Creative Energy of God, irradiating with light the circular space which God, the universal Light, left vacant, wherein to create the worlds, by withdrawing His substance of Light back on all sides from one point.

Our Brethren add that, “this circle is embordered by two perpendicular parallel lines, representing Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, and upon the top rest the Holy Scriptures” (an open book). “In going round this circle,” they say, “we necessarily touch upon these two lines as well as upon the Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps himself circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he should materially err.”

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It would be a waste of time to comment upon this. Some writers have imagined that the parallel lines represent the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, which the Sun alternately touches upon at the Summer and Winter solstices. But the tropics are not perpendicular lines, and the idea is merely fanciful. If the parallel lines ever belonged to the ancient symbol, they had some more recondite and more fruitful meaning. They probably had the same meaning as the twin columns Jachin and Boaz. That meaning is not for the Apprentice. The adept may find it in the Kabalah. The JUSTICE and MERCY of God are in equilibrium, and the result is HARMONY, because a Single and Perfect Wisdom presides over both.

The Holy Scriptures are an entirely modern addition to the symbol, like the terrestrial and celestial globes on the columns of the portico. Thus the ancient symbol has been denaturalized by incongruous additions, like that of Isis weeping over the broken column containing the remains of Osiris at Byblos.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Masonry has its decalogue, which is a law to its Initiates. These are its Ten Commandments:

I. ⊕∴ God is the Eternal, Omnipotent, Immutable WISDOM and Supreme INTELLIGENCE and Exhaustless LOVE.
Thou shalt adore, revere, and love Him!
Thou shalt honor Him by practising the virtues!
II. ○∴ Thy religion shall be, to do good because it is a pleasure to thee, and not merely because it is a duty.
That thou mayest become the friend of the wise man, thou shalt obey his precepts!
Thy soul is immortal! Thou shalt do nothing to degrade it!
III. ⊕∴ Thou shalt unceasingly war against vice!
Thou shalt not do unto others that which thou wouldst not wish them to do unto thee!
Thou shalt be submissive to thy fortunes, and keep burning the light of wisdom!
IV. ○∴ Thou shalt honor thy parents!
Thou shalt pay respect and homage to the aged!
Thou shalt instruct the young!
Thou shalt protect and defend infancy and innocence!
V. ⊕∴ Thou shalt cherish thy wife and thy children!
Thou shalt love thy country, and obey its laws! p. 18
VI. ○∴ Thy friend shall be to thee a second self!
Misfortune shall not estrange thee from him!
Thou shalt do for his memory whatever thou wouldst do for him, if he were living!
VII. ⊕∴ Thou shalt avoid and flee from insincere friendships!
Thou shalt in everything refrain from excess.
Thou shalt fear to be the cause of a stain on thy memory!
VIII. ○∴ Thou shalt allow no passions to become thy master!
Thou shalt make the passions of others profitable lessons to thyself!
Thou shalt be indulgent to error!
IX. ⊕∴ Thou shalt hear much: Thou shalt speak little: Thou shalt act well!
Thou shalt forget injuries!
Thou shalt render good for evil!
Thou shalt not misuse either thy strength or thy superiority!
X. ○∴ Thou shalt study to know men; that thereby thou mayest learn to know thyself!
Thou shalt ever seek after virtue!
Thou shalt be just!
Thou shalt avoid idleness!

But the great commandment of Masonry is this: “A new commandment give I unto you: that ye love one another! He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, remaineth still in the darkness.”

Such are the moral duties of a Mason. But it is also the duty of Masonry to assist in elevating the moral and intellectual level of society; in coining knowledge, bringing ideas into circulation, and causing the mind of youth to grow; and in putting, gradually, by the teachings of axioms and the promulgation of positive laws, the human race in harmony with its destinies.

To this duty and work the Initiate is apprenticed. He must not imagine that he can effect nothing, and, therefore, despairing, become inert. It is in this, as in a man’s daily life. Many great deeds are done in the small struggles of life. There is, we are told, a determined though unseen bravery, which defends itself, foot to foot, in the darkness, against the fatal invasion of necessity and of baseness. There are noble and mysterious triumphs, which no eye sees, which no renown rewards, which no flourish of trumpets salutes. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are

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battle-fields, which have their heroes,–heroes obscure, but sometimes greater than those who become illustrious. The Mason should struggle in the same manner, and with the same bravery, against those invasions of necessity and baseness, which come to nations as well as to men. He should meet them, too, foot to foot, even in the darkness, and protest against the national wrongs and follies; against usurpation and the first inroads of that hydra, Tyranny. There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in indignation. It is more difficult for a people to keep than to gain their freedom. The Protests of Truth are always needed. Continually, the right must protest against the fact. There is, in fact, Eternity in the Right. The Mason should be the Priest and Soldier of that Right. If his country should be robbed of her liberties, he should still not despair. The protest of the Right against the Fact persists forever. The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive. Reclamation of its rights is barred by no length of time. Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic. A people may endure military usurpation, and subjugated States kneel to States and wear the yoke, while under the stress of necessity; but when the necessity disappears, if the people is fit to be free, the submerged country will float to the surface and reappear, and Tyranny be adjudged by History to have murdered its victims.

Whatever occurs, we should have Faith in the Justice and over-ruling Wisdom of God, and Hope for the Future, and Loving-kindness for those who are in error. God makes visible to men His will in events; an obscure text, written in a mysterious language. Men make their translations of it forthwith, hasty, incorrect, full of faults, omissions, and misreadings. We see so short a way along the arc of the great circle! Few minds comprehend the Divine tongue. The most sagacious, the most calm, the most profound, decipher the hieroglyphs slowly; and when they arrive with their text, perhaps the need has long gone by; there are already twenty translations in the public square–the most incorrect being, as of course, the most accepted and popular. From each translation, a party is born; and from each misreading, a faction. Each party believes or pretends that it has the only true text, and each faction believes or pretends that it alone possesses the light. Moreover, factions are blind men, who aim straight, errors are excellent projectiles, striking skillfully, and with all the violence that springs from false reasoning, wherever a want of

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logic in those who defend the right, like a defect in a cuirass, makes them vulnerable.

Therefore it is that we shall often be discomfited in combating error before the people. Antæus long resisted Hercules; and the heads of the Hydra grew as fast as they were cut off. It is absurd to say that Error, wounded, writhes in pain, and dies amid her worshippers. Truth conquers slowly. There is a wondrous vitality in Error. Truth, indeed, for the most part, shoots over the heads of the masses; or if an error is prostrated for a moment, it is up again in a moment, and as vigorous as ever. It will not die when the brains are out, and the most stupid and irrational errors are the longest-lived.

Nevertheless, Masonry, which is Morality and Philosophy, must not cease to do its duty. We never know at what moment success awaits our efforts–generally when most unexpected–nor with what effect our efforts are or are not to be attended. Succeed or fail, Masonry must not bow to error, or succumb under discouragement. There were at Rome a few Carthaginian soldiers, taken prisoners, who refused to bow to Flaminius, and had a little of Hannibal’s magnanimity. Masons should possess an equal greatness of soul. Masonry should be an energy; finding its aim and effect in the amelioration of mankind. Socrates should enter into Adam, and produce Marcus Aurelius, in other words, bring forth from the man of enjoyments, the man of wisdom. Masonry should not be a mere watch-tower, built upon mystery, from which to gaze at ease upon the world, with no other result than to be a convenience for the curious. To hold the full cup of thought to the thirsty lips of men; to give to all the true ideas of Deity; to harmonize conscience and science, are the province of Philosophy. Morality is Faith in full bloom. Contemplation should lead to action, and the absolute be practical; the ideal be made air and food and drink to the human mind. Wisdom is a sacred communion. It is only on that condition that it ceases to be a sterile love of Science, and becomes the one and supreme method by which to unite Humanity and arouse it to concerted action. Then Philosophy becomes Religion.

And Masonry, like History and Philosophy, has eternal duties–eternal, and, at the same time, simple–to oppose Caiaphas as Bishop, Draco or Jefferies as Judge, Trimalcion as Legislator, and Tiberius as Emperor. These are the symbols of the tyranny that

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degrades and crushes, and the corruption that defiles and infests. in the works published for the use of the Craft we are told that the three great tenets of a Mason’s profession, are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. And it is true that a Brotherly affection and kindness should govern us in all our intercourse and relations with our brethren; and a generous and liberal philanthropy actuate us in regard to all men. To relieve the distressed is peculiarly the duty of Masons–a sacred duty, not to be omitted, neglected, or coldly or inefficiently complied with. It is also most true, that Truth is a Divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be true, and to seek to find and learn the Truth, are the great objects of every good Mason.

As the Ancients did, Masonry styles Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice, the four cardinal virtues. They are as necessary to nations as to individuals. The people that would be Free and Independent, must possess Sagacity, Forethought, Fore-sight, and careful Circumspection, all which are included in the meaning of the word Prudence. It must be temperate in asserting its rights, temperate in its councils, economical in its expenses; it must be bold, brave, courageous, patient under reverses, undismayed by disasters, hopeful amid calamities, like Rome when she sold the field at which Hannibal had his camp. No Cannæ or Pharsalia or Pavia or Agincourt or Waterloo must discourage her. Let her Senate sit in their seats until the Gauls pluck them by the beard. She must, above all things, be just, not truckling to the strong and warring on or plundering the weak; she must act on the square with all nations, and the feeblest tribes; always keeping her faith, honest in her legislation, upright in all her dealings. Whenever such a Republic exists, it will be immortal: for rashness, injustice, intemperance and luxury in prosperity, and despair and disorder in adversity, are the causes of the decay and dilapidation of nations.

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Below are some articles about the Beginning or Force.

 

Good bye, old friend. May the Force be with you.
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Anakin Skywalker, before traveling to Utapau[src]

“May the Force be with you” was a phrase used to wish an individual or group good luck or good will, one that expressed the speaker’s wish that the Force work in favor of the addressee. The phrase was often used as individuals parted ways or in the face of an impending challenge.

Qui-Gon Jinn wished Anakin Skywalker “may the Force be with you” shortly before the start of the Boonta Eve Classic.[1] Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobiused the phrase throughout his life, including at the end of his message sent through the Jedi beacon, warning any possible survivors of Order 66 that the Galactic Republic had turned against the Jedi and that those who remained should not return to the Jedi Temple.[2] He later told Luke Skywalker, “The Force will be with you. Always.” during the Battle of Yavin.[3

Non-Jedi

Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, while overviewing the plan to destroy the Death Star, General Jan Dodonnatold the Rebel pilots, “May the Force be with you.” Similarly, Han Solo said “May the Force be with you” to Skywalker while preparing to leave Yavin 4, despite not being a strong believer in the Force. The phrase was later used by Admiral Gial Ackbar before the Battle of Endor, saying “May the Force be with us.[4] Prior to her departure in the Millennium Falcon to seek out Luke Skywalker, General Leia Organa told ReyMay the Force be with you.[5]

Behind the scenes

The phrase “May the Force be with you” originated in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope[3] and has continued to be part of Star Wars stories ever since. In his introduction for Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide, Dave Filoni told readers that “The Force will be with you, always.[6] In his introduction for A New Dawn, he stated that “Because of fans like you around the world, the Force will be with us, always.[7] The final page of The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight features the phrase “May the force be with you!” against a backdrop of stars, echoing the final lines of the story: “Luke Skywalker fulfilled his destiny. He became a Jedi Knight and saved the galaxy. More important, he saved his father and found his family. The Force was with him.” The final line of The Rebellion Begins reads “May the Force be with them all.”

From the Stars Wars Movie Series, Author George Lucas centered on the principle of “ May the Force be with You”.

G force

The Star Wars Series was started in 1977 by the creator George Lucas

According to George Lucas on the cosmological principle, something had to cause the beginning.  That something, the ‘First Cause‘, had to be timeless and eternal.  Since its actions created time, it had to exist outside of time… before time began.

A long time ago, in a movie multiplex not so far away, a child looked up and asked: “Mom, Dad, is the Force the same thing as God?”

Children have been asking that question for 20 years. The simple answer is “yes.” But this raises another question: Which god or God is at the center of the “Star Wars” universe?

The trilogy’s creator was well aware that his work invaded turf traditionally reserved for parents, priests and preachers. George Lucas wrote “Star Wars” shortly after the cultural revolution of the ’60s. He sensed a spiritual void.

“I wanted it to be a traditional moral study, to have some sort of palpable precepts in it that children could understand,” said Lucas, in a recent New Yorker interview. “There is always a lesson to be learned. … Traditionally, we get them from church, the family, art and in the modern world we get them from the media — from movies.”

Lucas set out to create a modern mythology to teach right and wrong. The result was a fusion of “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe” and Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” of Arthurian legends and Japanese samurai epics, of Carlos Castaneda’s “Tales of Power” and the Narnia tales of C.S. Lewis. Along the way, Lucas sold $1.3 billion worth of tickets and “Star Wars” merchandise sales have topped $4 billion. Now, a revamped “Star Wars” is back in theaters, to be followed by its sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi.” A trilogy of “prequels” is set to begin in 1999.

The impact of Lucas’ work has led some researchers to speak in terms of a “Star Wars” generation. A modern preacher who wants to discuss self sacrifice will be understood by more people if he refers to the death of Jedi knight Obi Wan Kenobi, rather than that of St. Stephen.

“It was natural that my generation would latch on to these stories,” said Jason Ruspini, webmaster of the unofficial “Star Wars Home Page,” one of nearly 1,000 “Star Wars” Internet sites. “They were much more attractive and appropriate than the ancient myths of Judeo-Christian theology. How could these draconian and antiquated stories possibly compete with the majesty and scope of the Star Wars universe?”

Lucas grew up in the 1950s in Modesto, Calif., reading comics, escaping to movies and watching TV. Although he attended a Methodist church with his family, biographer Dale Pollock notes that he was turned off by the “self-serving piety” of Sunday school. Lucas also visited the housekeeper’s German Lutheran congregation, where he was impressed by the elaborate rituals.

Traces of these experiences are woven into his work. “The message of `Star Wars’ is religious: God isn’t dead, he’s there if you want him to be,” writes Pollock, in his book “Skywalking.” Lucas puts it this way: “The laws really are in yourself.”

The faith in “Star Wars” is hard to label. The Force is defined as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us.” It contains both good and evil. Jedi master Yoda clearly teaches a form of Buddhism. Yet the Lucas liturgy also proclaims “May the Force be with you,” a variation on the Christian phrase “May the Lord be with you.” The plot includes other symbols and themes from biblical faith. Lucas has embraced both “passive Oriental philosophies and the Judeo- Christian ethic of responsibility and self-sacrifice,” according to Pollock.

Thus, some Christians hail “Star Wars” as evidence of a cultural search for moral absolutes. On the World Wide Web, others use the films as glowing icons that teach Eastern philosophy.

By Terry Mattingly

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star wars 1

THE FORCE AWAKENS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erLk59H86ww   to be released for showing on December 2015

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Ang artikulong ito ay isang sensitibong panulat na kinakailangan ang malalim na kaisipan at malawak ng pagsusuri ayon sa kanyang paniniwala sa relihiyon na kanyang nakagisnan. Maaring tama ito o hindi.  Hindi ito basehan ng duality principle of good or evil. .. Gabcomia