DORMER MASONIC STUDY CIRCLE #22
The Raising of the Dead 1
FREEMASONRY AND THE PAULINE DOCTRINE OF THE "GREAT WORK"
"It is thus, my Brother, that all M.Ms. are .... from a figurative ... to a reunion with the companions of their former toil."
"But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?"
(1st Corinthians, 15 - 35)
As but few members of the Craft may be expected to have even a superifcial acquaintance with ancient philosophy and variuos other associated subjects which must be understood, at least to some extent, before the allegorical portions of Masonic Ritual can be studied intelligently and to advantage, a brief sketch will first be given of the topics that are pertinent to this interpretation.
Every thoughtful student of the literature of the ancient religions, including that of early Christianity, cannot but be impressed by the fact that in each and all of them may be found very clear intimations of a secret traditional lore, an arcane science, handed down from time immemorial. Each of the great nations of antiquity had an esoteric as well as an exoteric religion: the secret body of knowledge was reserved for temple- initiates; while the popular religion was made up of moral precepts, myths, allegories and ceremonial observances, which reflected, more or less faithfully, the mystic tenets. "All the eastern nations," says Origen, "the people of India, the Persians, the syrians, conceal sacred mysteries under their religious myths; the sages and philosophers of all religions penetrate the true meaning, while the ignorant see only the exterior symbol - the bark that covers it." But this was equally true of all the cultured nations of antiquity; and the noblest of the philosophers and sages, with but few exceptions, gained their profounder knowledge through regular initiation at the schools of the Mysteries, which in ancient timesw were the true centres of learning. In Greece the Mysteries were established in various forms, and were under the direction of the State. The most notable were the Eleusinia, which were of great antiquity, and continued until the invasion of Alaric the Goth, in the year 396 of our present era. During the first century the Mysteries were the recognized religion of Greece, and were celebrated in every city of the country and in the Greek colonies in Asia Minor. The principal centre of the Greater Eleusinia was the superb temple at Eleusis, near Athens; while the Lesser Eleusinia, at which candidates participated in the purificatory rites and were given elementary instruction, preparatory to initiation into the Greater Mysteries, had their saeat at Agra, on the river Atissos. The Lesser Mysteries were celebrated in February, and the Greater in September, annually. The celebration of the Greater Eleusinia, which lasted nine days, began in public as a pageant and festival in honor of Demeter and Persephone; but the telestic rites were celebrated in the solemn secrecy of the temple, to which none but initiates were admitted. Every initiate was bound by an oath of inviolable secrecy; hence nothing of importance i sknown concerning the precise form of the initiatory ceremonies. There is good reason, however, for believing that in the Eleusinian ritual zodical symbolism was employed, and that some of the instruction was given in the form of dramatic represenations. The symbolism of Zodiac was really a cryptic language in which certain facts concerning the inner nature of man were expressed; and it was common to the initiates of all ancient religions. There was no concealment of the fact that the telestic rites were designed for moral purification, the developement of the spiritual faculties, and the attainment of conscious immortality; nor was there any secrecy about the general principles of the perfective philosophy, which were openly inculcated. Thus Plato, arguing always for the immortality of the soul and human perfectibility, expatiates upon moral subjects with the greatest clearness, but whenever he has for his subject the inner constitution of man he is purposely vague, and in treating of the subjective worlds and the post-mortem states of the soul, he invariably employes the medium of allegory. The main point where the arcane system sharply diverges from conventional schools of thought is in the means of acquiring knowledge. To make this clear, Plato s analysis of the four faculties of the soul, with their corresponding degrees of knowledge, may be cited:-
THE VISIBLE SENSUOUS WORLD
Soul faculty Degree of knowledge
- Perception of images opinion
- Psychic groping illusory knowledge
THE INTELLIGIBLE - SUPRA-SENSUOUS WORLD
- Philosophic reason wisdom
- Direct cognition true knowledge
The first degree - perception of images - covers the whole field of the inductive physical sciences; the second degree - psychic groping - embraces exoteric religion and all phases of blind belief; thus the first two degrees, both of which pertain to the lower mind, comprise all the knowledge that is available to those whose consciousness does not transcend the illusions of the material world. The third degree, however, relates to speculative philosophy which seeks to arrive at first principles by the effort of pure reason, while the fourth degree is the direct apprehension of truth by the lucid mind independently of any reasoning process. These two latter degrees, which pertain to the higher mind, represent the field of knowledge open to those whose consciousness rises to the world of spiritual reality. The exoteric scientist and religionist rely upon the physical senses, the psychic emotions, and the intellectual faculties, as these are in the present stage of human evolution; and although the scientist has somewhat enlarged the scope of the senses by the employment of mechanical devices, such as the telescope and the microscope, the religionist still puts his trust in mutilated records transmitted to him from the remote past. On the other hand, the esoteric student, refusing to be confined within the narrow limits of the senses and the mental faculties, and recognising that the powers of the soul are severly hampered and obscured by its imperfect instrument, the physical body, devotes himslef to intensive self-evolution involving the conquest and utilization of all the forces and faculties that lie latent within himself. By gaining conscious control of the Hidden potencies which are the proximate causes of his individual evolution, the candidate for intitation seeks to traverse in a comparatively brief period of time the path leading to spiritual illumination and liberation from terrestrial bondage, hurrying forward. as it were, towards that goal which the human race as a whole; advancing at an almost imperceptible rate of progress, wilI reach only after aeons of time. His effort is not so much to "known as.to "become"; and herein lies the tremendous import of the Delphic inscription, "KNOW THYSELF ; which is the key-note of initiation. For the initiate understads that true self- knowledge can be attained only through self-development in the highest possible sense of the term; he is aware that it is a process of trancendental self-conquest, the giving birth to himself as a spiritual being and the evolving from the concealed essence of his own embryonic nature of a self-Iuminous immortal body. In the present Paper it is proposed to examine the stages and the phenomena of psychological development as these are portrayed in the system we know as Craft Freemasonry, with special reference to St. Paul s description of them in the first Corinthan Epistle, which will be surveyed from the Maisonic standpoint and with the assistance of certain evidence that may be new to many of our Brethren.
It is desirable, however, before proceeding to the main subject of our Paper, to outline the principles; of the esoteric phiIosophy of the mystery systems of the past as this forms the philosophical basis of their lineal descendant modern Speculative Freemasonry. According to the esoteric philosophy the absolute Deity is considered to beyond the spheres of existence and ulterior to Being itself; the world of true Being is that of the Logos, or Nous, the realm of divine ideas, or archetypes, which are the eternal patterns, so to speak, of all things in the manifested universe. By a paradox which defies the reasoning faculty, but which is readily resolved intuitively, the God is said to be apart from, and independent of, the universe, and yet to permeate every atom of it. The God is the abstract Unit, which is the origin of all number, but which never loses Its unit-value, and cannot be divided into fractions; while the Logos is the manifest or collective Unit, a deific Individuality, tho collectivty of a countless host of Logoi, who ars differentiated into seven hierarehies, constituting in the aggregate; the Second Logos, the uttered Thought or Word. From the Archetypal world of the Logos emanate sucessively the Psychic and the Material worlds, and to these- three may be added a fourth, the Phantasmal world, which ancient writers usually include in the Psychic. The secret doctrine further teaches that all the universe contains is also contained in man; it affirms that the origin of man is in the Deity, and that his true self or individuality is a Logos, a Manjfested God. Hence, analagous with the universe or macroposm, man, the microcosm, has three bodies, which are alluded to in the Sacred Writings of the Eastern and Western traditions as follows:-
Upanishads V. of the S.L., (N.T.)
1. CAUSAL BODY. SPIRITUAL BODY
2. SUBTILE BODY PSYCHIC BODY
3. GROSS BODY PHYSICAL BODY
In mystical writings these three, together with a fourth body, the perfected vesture of the immortal Self, are given as corresponding to the four metaphysical elements, and also the earth, moon, sidereal system, and sun, they are therefore spoken of as the earthly or carnal body (the muddy vesture of decay"; Shakespeare terms it), the lunar or water-body, the sidereal or air body, and the solar or fire body. The spiritual body is, strictly speaking, not a body at all, but an ideal, archetypal form, ensphered, as it were, by the pneuma or primordial principle which is the duality of manifestation generates all forces and elements; it is therefore called the causal body, because from its sphere all the other bodies are engendered; amd all these lower forms are enveloped by the same circumambiet aura, which is visible to the seer as an oviform faint film of blusih haze. Semi-latent within this pneumatic ovum is the regenerative force, the Light of the Logos, which is energising becomes what may be described as living, conscious electricity, of incredible voltage; this the good serpent of ancient. symbology, and, taken with the pneumatic ovum, it was also represented in the familiar symbol of the egg and the serpent, It is called in the Sanskrit writings kundalini, the annular or ring-form force, and in the Greek "speirema"; the serpent-coil. It is this force which, in the telestic work, or cycle of initiation, weaves from the primal substance of the auric ovum, upon the ideal form of archetype it contains, immortal solar body of atomic non-molecular substance. The solar body is so called because in its visible appearance it is self-luminous like the sun, and has a golden radiance; its aureola displays a filmy opalescence. The psychic, or lunar, body, through which the Nous acts in the psychic world, is molecular in structure, but of far finer substance than the elements composing the gross physical form, to whose organism it closely corresponds, having organs of sight, hearing, and the rest. In appearance it has a silvery lustre, tinged with de;icate violet; and its aura is of the palest blue, with an interchanging play of all the prismatic colours, rendering it iridescent. The phyiscal body, its physiological relation to psychology will necessarily have to be considered somewhat in detail in elucidating the telestic work; but first it should be explained that another body is sometimes spoken of in mystical writings. This body is called in Sanskrit kama rupa", the form engendered by lust and it comes into existence only ofter the death of the physical body; it is a phantasm shaped. from the dregs and offluvia of matter by the image-creating power of the gross animanl mind, and it has the shadowy semblance of the physical body from which it was derived, and is surrounded by a cloudy aura of brick-red hue. The physicalbody may itslef be considered to be an objective microcosm, an epitome of the material world, to every department of which its organs and functions correspond and arein direct relation. Moreover, as the organism through which the soul contacts external nature, its organs correspond to, and are the repsective instruments of, the powers and faculties of the soul. Thus the body has four principal life-centres which are, roughly speaking, analogues of the four worlds of esoteric philosophy, and of the four manifested generic powers of the soul; these four divisions are as follows:-
- The head, or brain, is the organ of the Nous, or higher mind
- The region of the heart, including all the organs above the diaphragm, is the seat of the lower mnd including the psychic nature.
- The region of the navel is the centre of the passional nature, comprising the emotions, desires and passions.
- The procreative centre is the seat of the vivifying forces on the lowest plane of existence.
It is unnecessary, for the purpose of our present subject, to go into further details concerning these correspondences, save only in regard to the nervous system and the forces operating through it, There are two nervous structures: the cerebro-spinal, consisting of the brain and the spinal cord; and the sympathetic or ganglionio system. These two structures are virtually distinct yet intimately associated in their ramifications. The sympathetic system consists of a series of distinct nerve-centres, or ganglla - small masses of vascular neurine- extending on each side of the spinal column from the head to coccyx (the base of the spine) Some knowledge of these ganlia and the forces associated with them is indispensable to the student; and as the occult nature is more fully explained in the Upanishads than in any other available ancient works, the teaching contained therein will be taken as a guide, and utilised here. The ganglia are called chakras, and forty-nine of them are counted, of which the sevn principal ones are the following:-
Of these only the seventh, the conarium or pineal, need be spoken of particularly; it is a small conical, dark-gray body situated in the brain immediately behind the extremely of the third ventricle, in a groove between between the nates, and above a cavity filled with sabulous matter composed of phosphate and carnoate of lime. This pineal body is supposed by modern anatomists to be the vestige of an atrophied eye, and for this reason it is termed by them the unpaired eye ; but although atropied physically, the pineal body is still the organ of spiritual vision when its higher function is restored by the vivifying force known in the East as kundalini, and hence it is called esoterically the third eye, or the eye of the seer. The esoteric philosophy teaches that when, through the action of man s spiritual will, whether by his conscious effort, or unconsciuosly so far as his lower mind is concerned, the latent kundalini is aroused to activity, it displaces the slow-moving nervous force or neuricity, and then becomes the agent of the telestic or perfecting work. It is further stated that as kundalini passes from one ganglion to another its voltage is raised, the ganglia being like so many electric cells coupled for intensity, and that in each ganglion, or chakra it libreates and partakes of the quality peculiar to that centre. In the Sanskrit mystical literature the currents of the kundalini, as also the channels they pursue, are called nadis, meaning pipes or channels, and the three principal ones are:-
- SUSHUMNA: which passes from the terminus of the spinal cord to the top of the cranium, at a point termed the "brahmarandra". or door of Brahma.
- PINGALA: which corresponds to the right sympathetic.
- IDA: which corresponds to the left sympathetic,
The "kundalini" force, as specialized in the ganglionic systems becomes the seven "tattvas, which in the Apocalypse are called the seven pneumata ( breaths ), since they are differentiations of the Great Breath, the "World-Mother", symbolized by the moon. Concurrent with these seven lunar forces are five solar forces pertaining to the cerebro-spinal system, called the five pranas" vital airs, or "lifewinds". The tattvas, or subtile elements, with the ganglia ( chakras ) to which they correspond, are as follows:-
Element Ganglion Earth. Sacral Water. Prostatic Fire. Epigastirc Air. Cardiac Aether . Pharyngeal Undifferentiated Cavernouis Brahma, the Evolver (Logos) Conarium
The "pranas" are the following:
The distributing life-wind" connected with "earth. The "down-going life-wind connected with water The "uniting life-wind connected with "fire The out-going life-wind" connected with air. The "up-going life-wind" connected with "aether".
The Apocalypse represents these twelve forces, the seven breaths and the five winds", as corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac . Students will know that the zodiac is a belt of the celestial sphere, about seventeen degrees in breadth, containing the twelve constellations which the sun traverses during the year in passing around the ecliptic; within this zone are confined the apparent motions of the moon and major planets. The zodiacal circle was divided by the ancients into twelve equal portions called signs, which were designated by the names of the constellations then adjacent to them, in the following order:-
- Aries, the RAM.
- Taurus, the BULL
- Gemini, the TWINS.
- Cancer, the CRAB
- Leo, the LION.
- Virgo, the VIRGIN
- Libra, the BALANCE.
- Scorpio, the SCORPION
- Sagittarius, the BOWMAN
- Capricornus; the GOAT
- Aquarius, the WATER BEARER
- Pisces, the FISHES.
Aside from its astronomical utility, the scheme of the zodiac was employed to symbolise the relations between the macrocosm and the microcosm, each of the twelve signs being made to correspond to one of the twelve greater Gods of the ancient pantheon and assigned as the "house" of one of the seven sacred planets; each sign, moreover, being said to govern a particular portion of the human body. The zodiac is also divided into four trigons ( triangles ), named respectively after the four manifested elements, earth, water, fire and air, to each of which three signs are ascribed. Each zodiacal sign is divided into three decans, or parts containing ten degrees each, there being three hundred and sixty degrees in the circle; and to each deacn is attributed one of the thirty-six constellations which lie north and south of the zodiac. Thus there are forty-eight ancient constellations forming, as it were, four zodiacs and the sun its planets are considered as a central constellation, thereby making up the mystic number forty- nine, or seven times seven. Each of these constellations being made to symbolise a principle, force or faculty in man, the entire scheme constitutes a symbolic being, a celestial man, pictured on the starry vault. The Sun-God is the Self of this Grand man", and the four quarters of the zodiac, with the portions of the heavens associated with them, are the somatic divisions of the manifested form of the Heavenly Man.
The foregoing covers the topics which must necessarily be referred to in elucidating the recondite meaning of our Masonic Ritual; but in order to convey a clearer conception of its practical and psychologioal application, a further explanation will now be given of the action of the "serpent force ("kundalini ) in the telestic or perfective work. This work, which is spoken of in mystical literature as the Magnum Opus or "Great Work, has to be preceded by the most rigid purificatory discipline, and it is possible only for the man who has attained a high state of mental and physical purity. The neophyte who has acquired the "purifying virtues" before entering upon the systematic course of introspective meditation by which the spiritual forces are awakened, must aIso as a necessary preliminary gain almost complete mastery; of his thoughts, with the ability to focus his mind undeviatingly upon a single detached idea or abstract concept, excluding from the mental field all associated ideas and irrelevant notions. If successful in this mystic meditation, the candidate for initiation eventually obtains the power of arousing the speirema".("paraklete" or "kundalini"), and can thereby at will enter into the state of "manteia, the sacred trance of seership. The four mantic states are not psychic trances or somnambulic conditions; they pertain to the spiritual nature; and in every stage of the manteia complete consciousness and self-command are retained. Proficiency in the noetic contemplation, with the arousing of the "speirema and the conquest of the life-centres, leads to knowledge of spiritual realities (the science of which constitites the Gnosis), and the acquirement of cetrtain mystic powers, and it culminates in emancipation fron physical existence through the "birth from above" when the deathless solar body has been fully formed. In arousing the "kundalini" by conscious effort in meditation, the sushumna, although it is an all-important force, is ignored, and the mind is concentrated upon the two side currents; for the sunshumna" cannot be energised alone, and it does not start into activity until the "idai and the "pingala have preceded it, forming a positive and a negative current along the spinal cord. These two currents on reaching the sixth "chakra", situated at the back of the nasal passages, radiates to the right and left, along the line the eyebrows; then the sushumna, starting at the base of the spinal cord, proceeds along the spinal marrow, its passage through each section thereof (corresponding to a sympathetic ganglion) being accompanied by a violent shock or rushing sensation, due to the accession of force (increased voltage) until it reaches the conarium, and thence passes outward through the "brahmarandra, the three currents thus forming a cross in the brain. For further information concerning this aspect of the work students are recommended to study carefully the excellent Paper written by our Vice-President W.Bro. J.R. Cleland M.A., D.D., entitled, "The Masonic Trinity and the Way of the Cross. " In the initial stage of the work the seven psychic colours are seen, and when the sushumna" impinges upon the brain there follows the lofty consciousness or the seer, whoose mystic "third eye" now becomes as our Ritual poetically expresses it, "the dormer window". In the next stage, as the brain-centres are successively "raised from the dead" by the serpent-force, the seven "spiritual sounds" are heard in the tense and vibrant aura of the seer. In the succeeding stage, sight and hearing become blended into a single sense, by which colours are heard and sounds are seen, or, to word it differently, colour and sound become one, and are perceived by a sense that is neither sight nor hearing but both. Similarly, the psychic senses of taste and smell become unified; and the next step is that the two senses thus reduced from the four are merged in the interior, intimate sense of touch, which in turn vanishes into the epistemonic faculty, the gnostic power of the seer - exalted above all sense perception - to cognise eternal realities. This is the sacred trance called in Sanskrit samadhi", and in Greek "manteia"; and in the ancient literature of both these languages four such traces are spoken of. These stages of seership are, however but the beginning of the telestic labour, the culmination of which is, as we have already explained, rebirth in the imperishable solar body. It is desirable at this juncture, to refer to our Masonic symbolism relating to this Solar body which, in the platonist and other mystical schools, is called. the. "Augoeides" or "self-radiant" body, and by many other names. Its symbol is always the Sun, and is the figure of Ra (the Sun) carried upon a boat it is a well known feature in Egyptian hieroglyphs; and in the V. of the S.L., it is also uniformly alluded to as the Sun, appearing to those whose vision. can behold it as a "glistering body" of surpassing splendour, like "the Sun at the meridian." To those Brethren who are unfamiliar with the psychological symbolism of antiquity, it may seem strange to be told, as the Lecture on our First Degree T.B. tells us at a Sun, Moon and stars exist within the person of each of us, but we are intended to realise that in addition to our merely physical body, we each possess other interior bodies serving as the vehicles of our emotions, and of our lower and higher mentailty respectively. Man is a highly composite being, as he must needs be if he is an image and summary of the Universe; he wears not one but many bodies, each having its appropriate function and sphere of action, St. Paul, a great authority on this subject, asserts that man has bodies terrestrial and bodies celestial; one body of the Sun (i.e., a solar body), another of the Moon (i.e., a lunar body), and another of the stars (i.e., a starry or astral body); each of these differeing from the others in its glory or form, and each "seed" (distinctive principle) having its own body. Our physical husk is but the densest and external body of them all; it is an overcoat or rough shell into which the others are assembled into unity; and being the outermost and coarest it is the first to decay and decompose into its elements, leaving the real Man, after its death, standing clothed in his more ethereal sheaths. Our mental and emotional natures are symbolised by the Moon (mental body) and "the stars" (emotional body), and are numbered among our "bodies terrestrial", for they serve very useful purposes in our temporal life; by them we "govern the night", - "night" signifying the field of our rational worldlyconsciousness, which is from above. " This "light from above" is symbolised by the Sun, and as the natural sun is a body far vaster than our planet, and as it is ethereal and self-radiant while our earth is dense and non-luminous, so is this metaphysical "Sun" - the soul or "sol" - something far grander and wiser than the elementary personality revolving around it, and over which it is appointed to preside and "rule by day" i.e., form the perpetual light of the spiritual light of the spiritual world. The Masonic "Sun" is our real Ego, our Soul or Higher Self, the one permanent and incorruptible principle in every human being; it is a "body celestial", or solar body. Students should particularly note that on the T.B. of the First Degree the position of this Sun is in the N.E. corner, and is therefore in correspondence with the fact that it is in the N.E. corner of the Lodge that the physical person of the newly made Freemason is placed as a foundation, upon which he is enjoined to "raise a superstructure, perfect in all its parts". The suoerstructure referred to is, of course, the solar body, and although a superphysical one, it is none the less built up from the personality in the physical world, which serves as its fulcrum and foundation stone. We are all, at every moment, silently building soemthinginto our solar body, and in our Masonic system this is taught us in the narrative concerning the erection of King Solomon s Temple, when we are told that the various building materials for the Temple were prepared at a distance, then brought together to Jerusalem and there assembled silently, "without sound of axe or hammer, " into a perfect structure. All this is metaphor or picture-language, describing the work of spiritual Masonry, and is intended for the guidance and instruction of genuine aspirants for Initiation. How then must one set about it to become a real Initiate? To this question every detail of our Craft Ritual and its explanatory Lecture contributes an answer. The answers themselves are admittedly often deliberately cryptic and therefore need deciphering, but this is of set purpose and is designed in order to test our powers of insight, whilst it also ensures that secret truths are effectively veiled from those who are not qualified. Moreover, it is the expressed intention of our system, which is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, " that the answers provided by means of the monitorial instruction given in open Lodge should be supplemented by every possible research and study in other quarters. In practice, the really earnest aspirant will find light breaking in upon him from the most unlikely sources, he will find that every book he reads and almost everyone with whom he comes into contact, contrives to contribute something to the attainment of his quest, and he will wonder whether ther be not some conspiracy of invisible watchers at work guiding him to see truths formerly passed by without notice. There are, however, other and more effective means of grace and help. Throughout the ages the aspirant to Inititation has found it essential to pass under the personal tuition of some expert teacher who can give him the help suited to his personal requirements. Hence it is that, our Craft, following this traditional method, declares that the ApprenticeFreemason is, "To seek for a Master and from him to gain instruction" _(First Section of the First Lecture), for our Lodges were never intended to be places for instruction, but as places for corporate realisation of the truths in which we are to be instructed privately elsewhere. The true relation between Master and disciple is that of spiritual directorship, and it rests upon not only the moral duty of every more advanced Brother to help the less advanced, but upon the spiritual principle that whoever has freely received must as freely give, and that no one is initiated for his private advantage. This phase of our science is sadly neglected under exisitng consitions, although there are many of us who are convinced that the time is not far distant when our Craft will enter into its heritage and the teachers will appear in our midst; in the meantime this Study Circle exists to prepare the way by making known to all concerned the real meaning and purpose of Freemasonry. The present Paper is designed to show that our system of Speculative Freemasonry embodies the traditional three stages of philosophic mysticism; first, the preliminary stage of purification; second, the intermediate stage know as "Illumination;" these two stages leading to a third, the "Sublime Degree" of Perfection, by mystical death and resurrection. Of the nature of this great experience which is shadowed forth in our Craft Third Degree we shall speak later. For the moment we would direct the attention of students to the fact that such a subject could have no place in Operative Masonry, and that it belongs exclusively to the domain of philosophic mysticism to which our Craft became converted and comitted in the 18th century. It is, moreover, a subject requiring for its cultivation the privacy of an Order devoted to "the anceint Landmarks and established customs" in the line of mystical tradition, such as our Fraternity was intended to be, and is incapable of simple explanation. We shall be helped in our understanding of the subject, however, if this introduction is brought to a conclusion with a brief outline of the traditional gnosis which forms the philosophic basis of the Masonic system. This teaches that the human soul, once fashioned as a reflex and in the likeness, of the sevenfold perfection of the Divine Light, has fallen from that high estate, and that the "fall" or severance of the soul from its source, has involved for each one of us a death or deadening of the soul s powers of perception, will, understanding, and affection. In their place natural man employs only a substituted set of faculties which are relatively spurious, since they are but a travesty of those the use of which he has lost. Yet whilst these substituted faculties are the badge signifying our loss, they are also the very instruments by which, , in the first instance, the way to reintegration is prepared; whilst, subsequently, by their surrender and introversion, or, to use religious metaphor, by their sacrifice in a mystical death and burial, the restoration of the larger faculties they now inhibit becomes automatically effected. It is thus, then, and after this manner only, that we are "raised on the f...p... of f.... ", and we must look for the accomplishment in ourselves of the mystery implied in those words. It should be noted that the teaching recognises that the process of the resurgence of the soul from the "grave" of the senses complementary to, and the corrective of, the process ot submergence which it has previously undergone. In other words, we are given the assurance that "that which is lost" will, when "time and circumstances permit", be restored to as; and the doctrine indicates that in the course of our evolution re-creation through the ages we have in some small measure recovered from our loss of faculty, although it is emphasised that we are still far short of perfection and the possession of our full powers. The extent of our recovery is to be gauged by the present average standard of racial consciousness, and this, it must be conceded in mainly sensuous, human knowledge being substantially dependent upon and limited by the evidence brought to the mind by the five senses. For this reason Man, in the present age, and in his present imperfectly developed state, is symbolised in Freemasonry by the number Five which constantly recurs in our Craft system; the same significance is also attached to the Pentagon and the Pentalpha five pointed star. We are nows in the position to understand that our Masonic system proclaims that the real Initiate is one in whom the restituton of the "genuine secrets" of his own being has taken place; one who, by Divine help and his own industry, has outstripped the slow evolutionary progress of the race. But, we are shown shown in dramatic representation that such restoration is not possible until the senses are mortified and the supremacy of the reasoning minds is deposed, for these constitute an actual impediment to the knowledge of Reality, and it is only after undergoing "that last and greatest trial" that there dawns within us "that bright morning star whose rising brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient of the human race". Then the geometrical emblem of the five pointed star is superseded by a six- pointed star, the "Seal of Solomon" formal of two interlaced triangles in balance,and testifying to the "raising" or the rive senses to a higher power by the super-addition of a transcendent sixth sense, involving a new and higher quality of intellectual sight; this the the emblem of the man in whom the material and the spiritual natures have become so equipped that he is master of both, and can wield either of them with equal ease.
One final word; the subject of the Paper which follows this Introduction is one presenting many difficulties to the student, for those truths are difficult at first even to grasp notionally. What has been said here might be amplified and abundantly corroborated by reference to a vast range of literature, anciental and modern, but only personal experience can verify the vailidity of the records. We can never be book taught into a knowledge of the Mysteries of which our Craft treats; books, lectures and explanations serve a very useful purpose in stimulating the mind, but every Brother must test and learn these truths for himself. In our studies undertaken in this Circle we are constantly drawing aside veils - the veils of allegory that shroud the teachings of our Craft; let us remember that as "sons of the widow" we havve one common Mother. An ancient Hermetic oracle declares that to lift the Widow s veil spells death; the death signified, however, is death of the kind implied in our Third Degree, and just as in the Ceremony the candidate is directed to gaze upon the "emblems of mortality", so in the career of the true Master Mason there comes the time when he can look upon his former self as but a memory that has passed with the "hours of darkness", and thenceforward he enters upon a new life with the light of his own "morning star" given him for his guide. May these things com etrue for the members of our Circle and all others of our Brethren whom these words may reach.
SO MOTE IT BE