Within Freemasonry, there has always been and a lodge within the lodge. A light within the darkness of the chaos, drama, media propaganda and distractions of the world. A light that leads the way to full human potential through Freemasonry. This light is very dim now and getting dimmer.
“Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism, and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, would pervert it. So God Himself incapacitates many men, by color-blindness, to distinguish colors, and leads the masses away from the highest Truth, giving them the power to attain only so much of it as it is profitable to them to know. Every age has had a religion suited to its capacity.” ~ Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
What Bro Pike is saying is still true today. Many Freemasons in the U.S. don’t study or care about Symbology, Gnosis or Gnosticism. The Esotericism and Occultism that Freemasonry is based upon has become a rare light hidden within the organization and some of its lodges. Freemasonry is all about Symbology, Gnosis, Gnosticism, esotericism and occultism. I don’t think brothers are initially hiding this knowledge and wisdom from younger members because most of them have no idea what this knowledge and wisdom is or where it comes from but many will freely share their opinions and information on this subject. Today, it’s more like the blind leading the blind
“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.” ~ Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
“To study and seek to interpret correctly the symbols of the Universe, is the work of the sage and philosopher. It is to decipher the writing of God and penetrate into His thoughts. This is what is asked and answered in our catechism, in regard to the Lodge.” ~ Albert Pike
Again, from the paragraph above:
“Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism, and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it.” ~ Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
A Masonic Lodge is not a place to come together for socialization, gossip and to discuss and argue about politics and the drama of the world, it is a temple free from the drama of the world. It is a universal esoteric (group knowledge), occult (internal self-knowledge) temple where free thinkers use Symbology, Gnosis, Gnosticism to become enlightened and then add this light to others. We make a man a better man because we help them to become Enlighted and then shine this light on others in the lodge and for the world to see.
Many Freemasons in the past were great musicians, inventors, innovators, writers, and leaders. These great brothers tapped into the light within themselves to develop their creative, imaginative and innovative abilities to their full human potential.
The History of Freemasonry
In 17th century Europe, the Rosicrucianism cultural movement started and became very strong, especially in underground lodges and groups. There is plenty of evidence online and in many great books that point toward Rosicrucianism emerging during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe.
Keep in mind that Freemasonry formally started in 1717 in England and was formed during the Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason) the intellectual, scientific and philosophical movement which dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century.
A number of novel ideas about religion developed with the Enlightenment, including Deism. Deism, according to Thomas Paine, is the simple belief in God the Creator, with no reference to the Bible or any other miraculous source. Instead, the Deist relies solely on personal reason to guide his creed which was eminently agreeable to many thinkers of the time.(1)
The leaders of the Enlightenment included Freemasons such as Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Lessing, Pope, (2) Horace Walpole, Sir Robert Walpole, Mozart, Goethe, Frederick the Great, Benjamin Franklin, (3) and George Washington. (4) Norman Davies said that Freemasonry was a powerful force on behalf of Liberalism in Europe, from about 1700 to the twentieth century. It expanded rapidly during the Age of Enlightenment, reaching practically every country in Europe. It was especially attractive to powerful aristocrats and politicians as well as intellectuals, artists and political activists.
These brothers were creating and influencing their cultures through their music, literature, science, invention and politics as well as the world around them. Some U.S. Masonic lodges today may have a dim spark of this type of Freemasonry within them but most are decaying fragments of the past.
I believe that Freemasonry came together and expanded during the Age of Enlightenment from Rosicrucianism because it was a way for men of enlightenment to share their ideas and wisdom and to meet in a lodge and become free thinkers and free from the drama of the world and the hypocritical influence and domination of the Church of England and the Catholic Church. Keep in mind, that most of the founders of the U.S. were Freemasons and also practiced Deism, a philosophical, intelligent based form of Christianity that has nothing to do with biblical myths and supernatural events. It acknowledges a God or creator of the universe without defining this creator, just like Freemasonry does.
While many brothers want to trace Freemasonry back to the Knights Templar or Order of Solomon’s Temple, there is no historical record of a connection. Some of the Knights Templar beliefs and secrets may have made their way into what became Rosicrucianism but it’s a stretch to believe this information was hidden for three centuries and then suddenly emerged. Although the Masonic York Rite believes this to be true, there is no historical record or direct link to the Knights Templar.
Now that we have established a real Rosicrucian, Age of Enlightenment, Freemasonry connection, something else happened to Freemasonry in the 1800’s. It branched off into separate occult groups. The most well-known of these groups was The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn created by brothers William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers who were also members of the Masonic Rosicrucian organization, Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.). Bro. Dr. Woodman was admitted into the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia on 31 October 1867 and appointed to the office of Secretary General in February 1868. He was co-editor of the society’s journal, The Rosicrucian. In 1876, he was appointed Junior Substitute Magus, and in 1877 he was appointed Senior Substitute Magus. When Robert Little died in April 1878, Woodman became Supreme Magus. Under Bro. Woodman, the Order expanded from London to the rest of England and extending its influence to Australia and America.(5) The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had many famous and accomplished members like, William Butler Yeats, Bram Stoker, Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Frederick Leigh Gardner and Arthur Edward Waite and others.
Again, we see Freemasonry embracing its symbols and symbolic esoteric and occult roots to enlighten and increase the light of the group. Although, massive amounts of ego tore The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn apart in a short time, some of its members created new groups and others used their talents and skills culturally. The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.) or (Rosicrucian Society of England) is still active in Europe and has active Masonic Societas Rosicruciana groups around the world, including the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) or the Invisible College in the U.S.
It seems in U.S. Freemasonry that we have forgotten our roots and what a lodge is all about. I think there is time to change this and one thing we will need to look at is the technological revolution we find ourselves in right now and how it will relate to Freemasonry. I will get into that in another article. We also need to start acting more like what Freemasonry is all about and embrace Symbology, Gnosis, Gnosticism and our esoteric and occult roots and our past. Instead of representing ourselves like a combination of outdated groups like the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus. We need the mysterious put back into the mystery. Not the historical mythological past that has no historical evidence or proof but our Rosicrucian and Age of Enlightenment past. Then bring this up to date with our current times, and our technological revolution. How do we do this? This is what Masonic Enlightenment is all about.
In my next post, I’m going to heavily get into Masonic Symbology, Gnosis, Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Occultism, so don’t miss that one.
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- Ellen Judy Wilson; Peter Hanns Reill (2004). Encyclopedia Of The Enlightenment. Infobase Publishing. p. 148.
- Maynard Mack, Alexander Pope: A Life, Yale University Press, 1985 pages 437-440. Pope, a Catholic, was a Freemason in 1730, eight years before membership was prohibited by the Catholic Church (1738). Pope’s name is on the membership list of the Goat Tavern Lodge (p. 439). Pope’s name appears on a 1723 list and a 1730 list.
- J. A. Leo Lemay (2013). The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 2: Printer and Publisher, 1730–1747. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 83–92.
- Bullock, Steven C. (1996). “Initiating the Enlightenment?: Recent Scholarship on European Freemasonry”. Eighteenth-Century Life. 20 (1): 81.
- Doctor Woodman’s bio