Dormer Index

Symposium of Papers Contributed by Members of the Circle

(Part Four)


Wor. Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679

President of the Circle

It is my privilege as President of the Circle to introduce to members the fourth part of the excellent symposium of Papers contributed in response to the invitation issued by the Governing Council, as follows: -

"SYMBOLS" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth, Victoria Park Lodge, No. 48 Western Australia

"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF FREEMASONRY" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth & W. Bro. W.C. Ginbey, Lodge of Research No. 277

Western Australia

I would once again take this opportunity of conveying to the authors of these Papers my personal thanks for the high standard of the work submitted, and I trust that their example will encourage others to write suitable Papers to be read before the Circle. Manuscripts should be addressed to the Secretary direct, and it is the intention of the Governing Council to print regular contributions from Brethren resident both at home and overseas.

"SYMBOLS" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth, Victoria Park Lodge, No. 48, Western Australia.

Few people realise, amid the hurry and scurry of modern existence, how large a part symbolism plays in the life of every person.

To give you a topical illustration, the solemn crowning of England's young Queen means much, much more than the simple circling of her head with a glittering crown. It is symbolic of greater things than ordinary citizens realise. Such ceremonies date back long before recorded history, and even as each solemn act has its own special meaning, understood by few, so has symbolism in general, and Masonic symbolism in particular, a great unrealised background - and a world of meaning often lies behind each simple act or movement.

So very many of our Masonic signs and symbols have come down to us through almost uncounted generations, that it is quite understandable how sometimes the symbol has been mistaken for the original fact. In the days when Egypt was great in mind-power, the people of Egypt were divided into three kinds, divided more by mental attainment and capacity than by possessions or lineage. First, there were the "common" people - and I must point out that the meaning of this word in modem understanding is somewhat different from its meaning in those far- off days. By "common", we should mean vulgar or rough - in those days, the "common" people were simply the thousands of normal, uneducated labourers. The second division was the "educated" group - and as the priests were almost the only people capable of giving instruction, education was almost wholly confined to priest-families, and noble-families, or proteges of either. The third group, very small in number, comprised those who sought inner meanings, and who cultivated their mind-senses, thus taking education a step further.

Thus, the religion of those days could be viewed from three quite different angles. The "common" man (even as today in many countries still) obeyed the orders of his superiors, and was not expected to think for himself, indeed was scarcely capable of so doing. He could neither read nor write nor figure and his knowledge was practically always confined to the "tricks" of whatever trade he was bound to, whether vine-growing, stone-masonry, household tasks, or labouring on a noble's estate. The beliefs of the "common" man, therefore, had to be inculcated entirely by spoken word or by picture - there is no alternative where there is no education! Religious instruction, also, had to be by symbol. Such a man could be taught, by the spoken word, that the Maker of All, the Great Architect who planned and made the Sun and Moon, the Stars, the Wind and the Rain, and all the other great forces of Nature, was the Great RA - but how, if he knew not the arts of reading and writing, was it possible to express "Maker of...." ......... in picture? The sun symbol, therefore, among the "common" people, became the symbol of RA, the Lord of All - the Sacred Symbol.

In generations when knowledge was not disseminated to the common people, it can readily be understood that the Sacred Symbol, the sign of RA, would become distorted in meaning - and sun-worshippers could easily be the result (instead of RA - worshippers, with the sun for their symbol).

The second section of people, those who sought, or were given, education by right of birth, were taught more than were the common people. The ordinary "Picture" language, which was all that the simple peasant could understand, was interpreted and enlarged upon to the man who sought education. He was taught to fashion the accepted symbols, and to express his thoughts in these and other symbols. His mind began to function in a more orderly fashion, as he was taught to count (in numbers far exceeding his own fingers and toes, which was the ultimate accuracy of most ordinary men, to make calculations mentally (without the aid of sticks and stones and counters), and to think originally! The people who belonged to this section knew symbols for what they were. POINTERS TO UNDERSTANDING - not the whole belief!

In the unenlightened ages, the common folk would not even know the meaning of the symbols - living and procreating were almost their sole interests - while the "educated" would retain simply the "surface" knowledge, learning, in their childhood, to fashion the symbols and characters, but knowing, and caring, little of their meanings.

Thus would the characters be handed down, generation after generation, with less and less understanding, if the priesthood were darkened and uncaring to teach and to know of the Light.

Then the third section, the higher ranks of the Priesthood. In the time when the Light of RA burned brightly, the young men were diligently taught the meanings and the import of the symbolic language. Their work was then to instruct the common people, to bring to them a simple understanding of the God who made the Sun and the Moon - and who also made them! The older Priests were themselves learners in the School of Wisdom, which has, throughout all the ages, entailed a voluntary search, and a mental understanding. As today, in Masonic Lodges and ceremonies, some priests became expert in ritual and its punctilious observance - others sought power through high office - while the few cared nought for office or ceremonial, merely accepting it as a duty, but sought the deeper meaning and the soul-unfoldment behind the Ritual and behind the Symbol.

So, in those far-off days when Egypt was mind-great, the Light shone brightly and clearly for the few (in the knowledge and sincere seeking of years) - it was disseminated in a golden glow to the younger men of the priesthood and the nobility - and Egypt's thousands of peasant families knew the sign of the Sun to be His symbol - the Sun was one of His creations, not the object to be worshipped!

Even as today, the deeper meaning was only given to the few - and every man had perforce to seek for himself. Instruction and knowledge were there, on the higher levels, for those who were fitted to learn - but the way was hard! The Teachers were trained to use their mental eyes and ears - their eyes searched for the symbols of guidance - their ears listened for the word, and if it came not, they knew that the seeker was not ready for further enlightenment. Every Teacher knew the Light in his soul and innermost being, through a lifetime of seeking and training - and he knew RA, the Most High, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Great Architect of the Universe - and Holy was His Name. In our ceremonies, a word is given to initiates, so that fellow-seekers may recognise him as a Brother. Signs and tokens and symbols are revealed to him, as he progresses along the Masonic path, but once these signs and symbols were revealed mentally, and the ability to receive them mentally, showed the candidate's readiness for advancement. It is so, even today, in certain sects in America (not Masonic sects, but groups vowed to mental, spiritual and psychic study). Our Masonic Ritual shows no signs of such a custom - we have only the symbols left!

Symbols! - everyday life is full of symbols, and so many people never manage to get past them. They gaze at the symbols as at the shining images in a sacred building. Even today, in many churches of Christendom, the language of imagery is largely used. Unobservant and ignorant people think that the worshippers worship these sacred images - but the statues, large or tiny, are only symbols for the Person, or Persons, they represent.

The most ancient races of whom there are any records, made these records almost entirely in the language of symbolism. The early statuary of such lands as Egypt and Assyria, was an attempt to give shape to the imaginations of the potters - the sculptors of those and even earlier times were really "thinking aloud". Only a strong imagination, in these modern days, can help us to understand the symbolism which the sculpture of Ancient Egypt grew to be. The sculptors created magnificent forms to represent the gods which their more knowledgeable and racially - advanced leaders conceived as ruling the world, and in the making and setting - up of those symbols, they sought to propitiate the great God-Beings.

To guide them they built up, through the centuries, a definite and powerful religion comprising simply the few primary ideas - the consciousness of Life - the certainty and mystery of Death - the fear of the Unknown - and the inner knowledge of the existence of some Great Person or Force. The set of rules or symbols which became the governing code of their lives, helped them to face with courage and calmness the inevitable "Death". and the unknown (or almost unknown) Hereafter.

In later centuries, the statuary which is now described as "Egyptian Art" was really born. Representation of long-dead heroes and kings, and their glorified deeds, show, in their largeness of spirit, and their grandeur of symbolism, the central idea of that long-dead race. ENDURINGNESS seems to be this idea - hugeness - calmness - and enduringness! The calm, weather - worn features of the Sphinx, seem to personify this idea - colossal symbols in stone of the mysterious, all-powerful, all-pervading Architect of the Universe! The 150 ft. long. 70 ft. high, portrayal of this man-headed-lion symbol, the mighty Sphinx near the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, gazes out upon the "lone and level sands" with unutterable calmness, the inscrutability, and the enduringness, of the Creator- God.

Those who have studied Art through the centuries, say that Mind's expression seems to show a definite trend from symbolism to realism - from allegory to reality - and they say that this expression is making "full circle", in the queer "realistic" and "futuristic" art of the present day. These Art-studiers, who claim to understand this modern trend in decoration and design, say that it is pure imagery - if that is so, then Art must surely be at the beginning of a new cycle - the period of formless, unreal striving after expression - the symbolism of our ancient forefathers. To return to everyday thought - the average man hardly realises how much of modern life is symbolic!

The symbolism and imagery of the various Churches is simply reminding, by sight instead of word, of Christ and His mission in life on earth.

We build great War Memorials, whether stone monuments or hospital buildings, as a symbol that the dead are not forgotten! We say: "At the going down of the sun ... we will remember them", on Poppy Day, and at other times. Our marble-laden cemeteries, and our Shrines of Remembrance, all carry on the same idea.

Does the bereaved father really imagine that the marble effigy in the churchyard is his beloved child? Of course not.

Does he really imagine that the placing of that tombstone there will affect the wee babe he lost? Of course he does not - but the symbolism is there - the remembrance and the love of those who are left!

We use symbolism every day of our lives -every time we look at the calendar or write the date at the head of a letter! Today's date - 1st August, 1955 - as we write it, we are, in symbol, paying tribute to the memory of the Master Jesus, born, we are taught, 1,955 years ago. The pound s. d. symbols are so much second nature to most of us, that they are almost part of the language - the $ and the "?" - the inverted commas denoting speech - the + and the - of the figure-world - the symbols of the phonetic alphabet the written language of music (itself a series of symbols to represent vibrational sounds) - yes, when you take time to consider, life today is full of symbols!

Similarly, the path of the Mason is full of symbols - signs, tokens, words, gestures, knocks, tools, the furniture and accoutrements of a Lodge, the clothing and adornments of a Mason - and every symbol has a meaning!

As with the things of Matter, so with the things of Mind, and so also with the things of our beloved Craft - most things have a deeper meaning, but unless you dig for it, you will never find it. May I leave with you this thought - DO NOT BE CONTENT WITH LIFE'S SYMBOLS! Strive to get behind the allegory and the parable and the emblem - delve into the deeper meanings - for he who is content with the symbol, can never rise above it, and misses all the real beauty and glory of Life.

"THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF FREEMASONRY" by Bro. B.C. PORTSMOUTH & W. Bro. W.C. GINBEY, Lodge of Research, No. 277, Western Australia.


We live in perilous times. Even the most ignorant and godless among earth's inhabitants, must surely realise that no race, no nation, no group or section of humanity, no individual even, can know much of true security.

In the material world, it is impossible to forget the horrors of the war so recently ended. Quite apart from the immense numbers of killed and wounded, of all nations, in actual combat, there is the stark fact that nearly seventy thousand people were killed, and almost as many more wounded and injured, when one atom bomb was dropped over a single city. The researches of such groups as the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (sponsored by America), have found that even today, 12 years afterwards, the survivors of that terrible blast are still suffering from such diseases as cataract of the eyes. Europe is still an armed camp, her cities still partly in ruins, and a goodly proportion of her people starving. Mentally, the nations of the earth seek desperately for guidance, and for Light, and the divers creeds and religions seem unable to supply this universal need.

It is public knowledge that in the mad race for armaments, and the lust for power, ever deadly and more deadly means of extermination have been devised. Across the horizon the shadow of the grim spectre of War still looms and those individuals and nations who fain would live at peace with their neighbours, dare not neglect the precautions against treachery which past experience has shown to be necessary.

It becomes increasingly evident to the thinkers of every nation, that the lust for power and the greed for wealth will eventually destroy this whole civilisation, unless there is a re-assessment of values, and unless a realisation of the deep mysteries of life and death becomes public knowledge.

Masonry today is sharing in this awakening. Wor. Bro. Harland, President of the Dormer Masonic Study Circle, in London (of which Circle both Bro. Ginbey and myself have the privilege of being members), says: "Freemasonry today is awakening to the great value of its own peculiar treasure of thought and word. On all sides there are signs that it is on the verge of entering into a Kingdom of Research, of such breadth and fertility as it has perhaps never before known. It is as though the Masonic world were undergoing a spiritual revitalisation, spurring it on to experience a fuller measure of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth."

The state of the world, both mentally and materially, is such that Masonry cannot stand aside. It is well expressed by Bro. A.H. Bentley, in his "Message to the Craft", when he says: "In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the membership of the Masonic Order. Every year many new Lodges are consecrated, each new Lodge, under its Charter or Warrant of Constitution granted by the United Grand Lodge of England, is empowered to make, pass, and raise Freemasons according to the ancient custom of the Craft in all Ages, so that each Lodge becomes a potential nucleus within the corporate body of the Craft, helping numerically to increase by natural growth, what has now become an elaborately organised Institution. Among so large a membership it cannot be denied there are many Brethren who, having entered the Masonic Fraternity, and in due time have passed through the established Degrees of the Order, are generally left to their own resources to make any further advancement in Masonic knowledge. Quite naturally they are at a complete loss to comprehend the deeper symbolism of the ritual, or to interpret the allegory with which our ceremonies are so heavily veiled, for the true meaning and purpose of Freemasonry is often left entirely unexpounded in our lodges. The 'Royal Art' which Freemasonry was designed to impart to its Initiates, remains quite unrealised by the majority of its members, except a few who, having discerned beneath the surface of the ritual the hidden verities that are concealed therein, have sought to make a daily advancement by means of private study."

From the earliest times wise men have insisted upon the necessity for self- knowledge as the prerequisite to Wisdom, and we are told that the Mystery- Schools had inscribed over their portals, the exhortation, " Man - know Thyself!"

The famous "Essay on Man", by Alexander Pope, contains these words: "Know then thyself, presume not God to scan. The proper study of Mankind is - Man!"

So then, to love you, Brethren, the proper personal background to my lecture tonight, I must confess that for the last 10 or 11 years, I, and others of my friends of like mind, have been engaged on this study - the study of Man - to each man the study of himself! Early in our researches, we became aware that Mind formed a far greater part of Man's make-up than the ordinary individual realises. We began to study Mind - our own individual minds - and the possibilities of Mind - and soon this led to the startling realisation that our minds were receptive. Being modern people, we studied this phenomenon in the light of modern knowledge of radio, electronics, and frequencies - and then came the certainty that Psychic Research would one day evolve into Psychic Science - and become simply the study of Mind.

In our Ritual, the attention of every Brother is directed to "that most interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself". And what could be a better beginning to the study of the "hidden mysteries of nature and science", than the understanding of Nature's most perfect mechanism, Man?

Thomas Carlyle, in his " Sartor Resartus ", says: "By Symbols is man guarded and commanded, made happy, made wretched. He everywhere finds himself encompassed with symbols, recognised as such, or not recognised. The universe is but one vast symbol of God. Nay, if thou wilt have it, what is Man himself but a symbol of God? Is not all that he does symbolical, a revelation to Sense of the mystic God-given Force that is in him, a Gospel of Freedom which he, the Messiah of Nature, preaches, as he can, by word and act? Not a Hut he builds, but is the embodiment of a Thought - but bears visible record of invisible things; but is, in the transcendental sense, symbolical as well as real."

So, in the following pages, I shall endeavour to point out to young and seeking Masons, who strive to follow in the steps their knowledgeable Brothers have trodden before them, the deep spiritual truth and psychic significance there is, in our own little book of ritual. In the light of my years of research into psychic matters (during which time it has been borne in upon me ever more strongly the sometimes startling similarity between the findings of Psychic Science and the inner teachings of Masonry) - I will try to point out the possibilities of Thought - and how careful thinking, about those ceremonies and those oft-repeated words of our own beloved Craft, will help to shed a new Light and meaning on our symbolic teaching.

IN these modem times, the word "psychic" almost immediately conjures up something to do with supernatural possibilities, with spiritualism, or with spirits in general; yet, in truth, this simple word "psychic" has a far deeper, more embracing meaning than any of these. It pertains to the soul or mind - and although there are countess sections of Masonic teaching and Masonic literature which all tend to make an ordinary man think, the psychic aspect of Freemasonry is, in truth, the study of Man's power to think - that is, the study of his mind.

From time immemorial, Man has felt within himself that spark of Divinity which was ever urging, urging, and spurring him on to greater and greater achievement, to wider and more careful research, with past achievements as a foundation and starting point. Hand in hand with physical attainment, has always gone the deeper searching, the mind's longing for fruition. In Ancient Egypt, for instance, scholars and candidates for the priesthood learned the hieroglyphic language, learned to inscribe it and to understand it. But to the very few, it was given to understand the inner meanings of the pictorial script. This knowledge was almost always taught by word of mouth; the records were contained within the minds of the seekers. Thus was the deeper significance, the hidden mystery, always safe from prying eyes - for naught was there to see, but the symbols which were available to all who possessed enough patience to enable them to master their intricacies.

Even so with Masonry - the small book of Ritual is available to every Master Mason. Every man who is patient and painstaking enough can commit to memory the responses and exhortations. Every man who is diligent in his study of Masonic teaching, can learn of Masonry's beginnings, and the meaning of its various signs and symbols. But to understand the true psychic aspect of Freemasonry, you have to realise that Masonry is essentially a teaching of Mind - and to study for a while this psychic aspect, is to study the whole integral structure, its hidden, inner meaning, and the true, simple purpose behind the literal interpretation of the Craft ritual.

I will not refer, in detail, to any of the various signs and symbols, for each has its own special significance - and each its deeper meaning, known only to those who seek in the time-honoured fashion; but I will ask you to follow with me various quotations from our own little book of instruction, the Mason's volume of guidance to deeper things.

First I would direct your thoughts to the very first page of instruction, where we are bidden to open the V.S.L. at Psalm 133. "Behold how good and pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity " ... ending with "even life for evermore". I suggest that we scarcely realise the wonderful meaning behind these words as we repeat them, time and again. Instead of thinking of the literal dew of Hermon, and the literal mountains of Zion, where the Lord commanded the blessing, "even life for evermore", Master Masons could with benefit realise that to everyone there comes eventually the time of passing to that "Life for Evermore" and those who seek an inner meaning could seek, in very truth, a way in which those who have gone before are not cut off from the good and pleasant meeting of friendship and brotherly love - the which friendship and brotherly love we all can share in such meetings as these.

Our Chaplain's prayer, before a Lodge is declared open, invites the company to invoke the blessing of T.G.A.O.T.U. on all our undertakings. The Lodge is thereby put on a spiritual or psychic basis from the very beginning. In case there should be a query in your minds whether these two words can have the same meaning, I would remind you that the Standard Dictionary defines "Spiritual" as "relating to the soul or spirit, or pertaining to religion", and "Psychic" as "pertaining to the soul or spirit or mind, or to the spirit world". So the two definitions are not so very different in essence. We all, whatever our religious convictions, acknowledge T.G.A.O.T.U. as Spirit, dwelling in a world of spirit - and in our opening invocation, therefore, we freely acknowledge the G.A. as the Spiritual Head of All.

With each advance in Lodge procedure, from the opening of the Lodge in the First Degree, especially noting the interrogation of the S.W. and the J.W. in the opening in the Third Degree, many of the exhortations, and much of the ritual, has an obvious spiritual meaning. When the Lodge is closed in the Third Degree we hear the W.M. say: "Brethren, before the Lodge is closed in the Third Degree, let us unite in humble acknowledgement of our dependence on the M.H., and when this transitory life shall have passed away, may we be found worthy of a dwelling place in his spiritual mansion, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." We reiterate, in these simple words, our belief in that "Life Everlasting" which was named in the Psalm, as the "Blessing of the Lord".

Review, mentally, the questions which are asked of a candidate before raising. Even as our antient brethren went to the m ... c ... of K.S.T. to receive their wages, so must the spirit or soul of Man review the acts of his life on earth - not according to standards of wealth and position, but according to whether he has been a builder - or a destroyer. Even as a builder must seek to understand both the work which is required of him, and the tools by which he is to accomplish that work, even so should a M.M. seek to research into the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science, for only so can he hope to build a Temple, fair to the eye, and pleasing to T.G.A.O.T.U.

W.Bro. J.S.M. Ward, in his "Masonic Why and Wherefore", says: "The m ... c ... is that secret recess within the soul, where lies hidden the Divine Spark. Our wages are knowledge of God, an experience which each must discover for himself and in himself, as every mystic has taught, and it is only when we have trampled under foot and brought under control the sins of the senses, etc., that we can hope to enter this hidden chamber of our heart, where dwells the Spirit of God."

Pass now to the Ceremony of Initiation. The Candidate enters the Lodge "in a state of darkness, yet comes of his own freewill and accord, humbly soliciting to be admitted". Man's mental state, before he starts to think, is darkness. No man can be forced to think. Before a man can be helped in the mental path, he must ask, having realised his lack of knowledge. "Relying on the sure support of a belief in God, you may safely rise and accompany your conductor with a firm but humble confidence, for where the name of God is invoked, we trust no danger can ensue." Research in spiritual and psychic matters should never be undertaken, unless the gathering be first committed to the care of T.G.A.O.T.U. As happens in a Lodge, there may be happenings which you do not understand, but trust in God will ensure your safety at all times of difficulty and danger

The Candidate is asked to declare that "avoiding fear on the one hand, and rashness on the other" he will "steadily persevere", etc. To travel the mental path, one must clearly understand that such research (like true Masonic membership) should not be undertaken for the possible mercenary benefits which may accrue. Fear is a barrier to mental progress, on the one hand, for one cannot advance where one fears to take the next step forward. John Hetherington expresses this well in his words: "Only when the human Spirit conquers fear, can it be strong and dignified and free". Rashness is a barrier to progress, on the other hand, for even if one does not fear the path, one should nevertheless test each step carefully, for reckless, precipitate action could bring discredit on one's teachers.

Still in the Initiation Ceremony, wherein the Candidate is first shown the Light - so, in a spiritual sense, does every man search and long for the light of knowledge, to illumine the dark places of his soul; the light of consciousness to give meaning and purpose to his mind. After the Candidate is presented with the Apron by the S.W., and is by him instructed in its significance and its meaning, the W.M. further advises on the need for Love and Harmony between the brethren in a Lodge. The purpose of meeting together in a Lodge, is to seek instruction - in like manner there must be harmony among a group seeking spiritual knowledge - both harmony of purpose, and harmony of vibrations.

The W.M. in his address, explains that from the foundation laid by the Candidate in the Initiation Ceremony, he is adjured to "raise a superstructure perfect in all its parts, and honourable to the builder". Even as the Candidate has found the Light, and must now learn how to use it, so the building of character, and the travelling of the mental path, can only be achieved by the individual. He can be assisted to obtain the Light of knowledge - but he alone can decide in what manner he will use that Light, and how he will build his individual Temple, for build he must, while consciousness persists, his every thought being a vibration, etched indelibly upon that vibration record, his memory.

The Candidate, while realising that the W.M.'s words apply to his bodily state at time of entry for initiation, becomes increasingly aware that they have a deeper meaning. The state of utter darkness, while apparently applying literally to his entry, is symbolic also, as says the Ritual Book, of his being in a state of utter darkness respecting the s ... s of Freemasonry, and to teach him to keep others in a similar state of darkness until brought to L .... in the same regular manner as he himself has been. The deeper student will realise that Man's thinking can so be as utterly changed, when he is assisted by the Light born Above - not only as a Freemason, but as a seeker after Truth. From a state of mental darkness, he can gradually be brought to a realisation of the wonder of human mental achievement - and the immenseness of the horizon which opens out before him once the Light of Understanding has illumined the pathway. The "general desire for knowledge" becomes, under the intensity of that Light from Above, a passionate yearning for Truth, and a need to prove and verify each separate step of the way.

Truly, "the mind must be made to conceive, before the eye can be permitted to discover" - and unless the mind is capable of understanding, the mere physical action of the eye can count for little. One could draw an analogy here, by referring to a prayer which is, after all, a mental message to the G.A. from one of His children. The secret signs and attitudes of the various religious ceremonies are, after all, the prerogative of the officials who are members of that certain religion. The secret sign, while apparently allowing the priest to draw near to the M.H., is, in reality, useless if the man has not learned to draw near, mentally, to the Sacred Presence. The mind of the earnest seeker can gradually be guided to conceive of the reality of T.G.A.O.T.U., and then, and only then, can visible symbols take on a true and vital meaning - as Mind speaks to Mind - not as lip-service and outward show alone.

Again, in the Initiation, "the 24 hours of the day, part to be spent in prayer to Almighty God, part in labour and refreshment, part in serving a friend or brother in the of need". Literally, these words are undoubtedly true, and a more literal carrying out of the simple command among the nations of the present day, would indeed revolutionize the present moral standards. But, in the deeper or psychic sense, all who travel the mental path must be careful to keep their lives properly balanced. Labour and refreshment, both in the physical and the mental sense are necessary-prayer and "linking up" should be performed every day.

Service is the true reward of learning - to be able to help another, brings its own reward in mental peace, for the mental striving. In olden days, and even among some modern communities, this sense of balance was often lacking. Old- time hermits withdrew from the temptations and demands of the world, and persecuted the flesh. By so doing, they hoped to achieve mental advancement. Some sects, even today, still teach mental progress by the mastery of body processes. Others, again, almost ignore the mental side of things, and worship bodily perfection and bodily attainment. A balanced advancement, ignoring neither the unique opportunities for experience given by the senses, nor the intensity of enjoyment that mental achievement can bestow - is, of course, the ideal. And so would the 24-hour partition signify, part to bodily fulfilment, part to mental satisfaction, and part to service and helping of others by the knowledge and experience gained.

The Candidate is given an explanation of much that has perhaps seemed to him strange, and he realises that most of the symbolic actions and words are fraught with deeper meaning. But, even so, many Masons fail to realise that the explanation itself may be twofold, one meaning being easily understandable, and the deeper meaning only perceivable after diligent spiritual study. Such study is, of course, commended in this same charge. "You are especially to study such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass of your attainment" is surely clear enough! In no other way can the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science be made clear to you - and foremost in the study of Nature is the study of Man. The study of Man is the study of Mind and Matter - for Man is simply a combination of the two.

Certain of the deeper sciences may not be within the compass of a Candidate's attainment, due to lack of opportunity, means, or mental power - but every man, however limited his means or opportunity, or however untried his mental ability, can still learn of himself, and of the possibilities of Mind and Spirit. From time immemorial our Institution has existed (as the Candidate is in various places told), and as in earthly Brotherhoods, the secrets of building a solid edifice, were propounded to those found worthy - so in the deeper significance, Freemasonry provides a means whereby those found worthy may study the deeper meanings, may advance by mental steps to a fuller knowledge, as a Candidate advances across the tessellated pavement.

Consider for a few minutes the Lecture on the First Tracing Board. I will not attempt to speak of this in entirety, but would, in pursuance of the theme of tonight's discussion, point out several passages which bear out the special part which the "spiritual" plays in Freemasonry. On the surface, most of the words relate to the erection of an earthly building, but thinking more deeply, as in the very first paragraph we are told the Egyptian philosophers did, we realise that most phrases are capable of this hidden meaning - and the whole lecture may be understood to represent the spiritual building of Man's Temple.

The Universe is the Temple of the Deity we serve - and Man builds his own Temple, in spirit and in truth, from the very day of his birth. Beauty shines through the whole of the Creation in symmetry and order - Man has freewill to build the Temple of his character as he chooses, in Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, as is the Greater Temple, or without the graces which should adorn his finished edifice. We learn that we, as Freemasons, hope to ascend by the assistance of Jacob's Ladder. "Belief strengthens our faith, and enables us to ascend the first step. This faith naturally creates in us a hope of becoming partakers of the blessed promises therein recorded, which hope enables us to ascend the second step, but the third and last being charity, comprehends the whole, and the Freemason who is possessed of this virtue in its most ample sense, may justly be deemed to have attained the summit of his profession, figuratively speaking, an ethereal mansion, veiled from mortal eyes by the starry firmament ....." We are taught to believe that the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man is a truth - God is a spirit, and we believe that those who have gone on before, now live in the land of Spirit, in an ethereal mansion, not made with hands. We have faith that when our time comes, we also shall become partakers of this other life; we hope that we shall be found worthy to join that "great band of witnesses, which compasses us round".

Endeavouring to live Charity, to give out thoughts of goodwill and goodness to all men, as well as helping where possible with material benefits - is the hallmark of a seeker after truth (which every true Mason should be). If you read your V.S.L., you read there of the promises of T.G.A.O.T.U., that every earthly son shall live with Him in the Eternal Mansions, where "in spirit and in truth must He be worshipped". You read also of the Communion of Saints - and it is our earnest hope, therefore, as we ascend the second step, that we may learn to share in this communion. Once being assured of this true communion, and having trodden the mental path sufficiently far to make it possible, it is our delight to be able to comfort those who suffer bereavement and loss, not only with money, but with positive assurance of reunion in that land of Spirit "veiled from mortal eyes."

Later, in the First Tracing Board Lecture, there is mention of the Rough Ashlar, and we are told that "The Rough Ashlar is a stone, rough and unhewn as taken from the quarry, till by the industry and ingenuity of the workmen, it is modelled, wrought into due form, and rendered fit for the intended building. This represents the mind of man in his infant or primitive state, rough and unpolished as that stone, till by the advantages of a liberal and virtuous education, his mind becomes cultivated, and he is thereby rendered a fit member of civilised society ".

Man is hereby exhorted and advised to realise that he has a mind, as well as a body, and that just as a good education can correct errors of speech, etc., so, in a deeper sense can mental instruction, and mental seeking, result in a broadening and a deepening of spiritual knowledge and insight, making perfect the tool, for the use of T.G.A.O.T.U.

It is noticeable that, in every ceremony, mention is always made of the transience of this our earthly life; that we should so live as to be worthy of that higher life - that a Freemason should "so conduct himself towards this world" - should "make his passions and prejudices coincide with the just line of his conduct, and in all his pursuits to have eternity in view". We are continually reminded of "those eternal mansions, whence all goodness emanates" - and also we are charged continually to "extend your researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science ".

We learn, in the Second Tracing Board, that "it was through Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians including their antient mysteries, that Freemasonry derived its origin directly from those mysteries of antient Egypt ". The ancient Egyptians, without any doubt, knew of Man's glorious heritage, the inheritance of those "Ethereal Mansions". Incorporated in their mysteries were instructions for the understanding of Mind - for the training of Mind - and for the certain communication between Mind and Mind, wherever Mind should be found. Therefore, in enquiring with studious minds into the psychic and spiritual side of Freemasonry, we are simply following the lead of our great predecessor, Moses - for, many centuries later (we read in the V.S.L.) the same Moses, together with the prophet Elisha, talked with the Master Jesus, upon a mountain top. Undoubtedly - Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians".

The Exhortation after the Raising to the Third Degree, in particular, is full of references to the spiritual and psychic nature of our Craft. The newly-made Mason is reminded that in the earlier degrees he was shown how to live! In this final admission, he is shown how to die! We learn that "nature prepares you by contemplation, for the closing hour of your existence, and when by means of that contemplation, she has conducted you through the intricate windings of this mortal life, she finally instructs you how to die ".

Let me now beg of you to observe that the light of a M.M. is but darkness visible, serving fitly to represent that mysterious veil of darkness which rests upon the prospects of futurity, and which the eye of human reason cannot penetrate unless assisted by that Light which cometh from above. Ward says of this: "It (the Light) represents the Divine Spark within, and therefore cannot be entirely extinguished, no matter how far we wander from the paths of rectitude. Even when our body fails us at the hour of death, that spark will remain with us to light us on our journey, as it were going before us like a lamp to our feet". Therefore, by using the Light to guide our feet, we can penetrate a little way, sometimes, into that "prospect of futurity" - not, as do the fortune-tellers, to gain foreknowledge of a personal future on this earth, but that by diligent study it is possible to "guide your thoughts to that most interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself". We realise, in this respect, that "in this frame dwells a vital and immortal principle" - that this visible, atomic body of ours is but the temporary housing for a mind and personality which lives for a time on the earth, but will live for eternity in those "Ethereal Mansions". In the light of modern knowledge of radio and electronics, it is now possible to understand how these things can be, how the body of energy which is a separate thing from the body of clay can be at one with Mind while still on the earth, and at one with the Greater Mind in that Greater World of Spirit.

Those who today understand the simple law involved in the "tuning in" of a radio to the frequency of the required broadcasting station, should not find much difficulty in realising how the self-same laws can apply in the world of Mind - and in the study of himself, therefore, Man, with his modern knowledge, can the more easily understand how Mind, as well as body, can be the subject of meditation. The whole ceremony, from the entry of the Candidate in the First Degree, to the end of the Third, can be thought of as denoting the life of Man. He comes in first blindfolded, in a state of utter darkness, and in the bonds of ignorance, but assisted by his guide he is taught how to see the light, and is instructed in knowledge. He is told to study, and given certain working tools to carry on with. Then in the Second Degree he is given more working tools, instructed further, and told to extend his researches, particularly into the hidden mysteries. In the Third, the Lodge is made to represent the Valley of the Shadow - but the whole time, except just at the actual death, he is attended by his guides, and immediately he is raised they automatically join him again. Even so is the mental and spiritual pilgrimage of Man. Vibrational harmony and unison make possible mental kinship and guidance - and this mental and spiritual closeness does not end with physical death. Beyond the grave, in the Kingdom of Mind, are those waiting to receive us, who are our vibrational kin.

Arthur Edward Waite, P.M., P.Z., says: "He alone is a master mason who understands in the light of other and greater mysteries what is implied byfigurative death, and being raised from the tomb of transgression."

Every M.M. is bidden to study the hidden mysteries. Charles E. Green, in his "Keys of Freemasonry" says: "Having obtained an exoteric knowledge, there still remains the esoteric knowledge, which as in all religions, is only for the few. Some call it the secret doctrine, but put plainly it is that inner knowledge of the divinity within us, which is, concerning most of us, so hard to discover. We live by substituted secrets, yet the genuine ones are within us concealed, and to be revealed when we have recovered on the centre ".

Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, in "The Builders", says that: "The more withdrawn teaching has come to be known as the secret doctrine or the hidden wisdom. A persistent tradition affirms that throughout the ages, in every land, behind the system of faith accepted by the masses, an inner and deeper doctrine has been held and taught by those able to grasp it. Qualification for the knowledge of higher things is, and must be, a matter of personal fitness. Other qualification there is none. For those who have that fitness, the secret doctrine is clear as sunlight, and for those who have it not, the truth would still be secret though shouted from the housetop". Masonic secrets are in reality soul secrets, and Masonry itself a discipline in spiritual culture.

W.L. Wilmshurst, in his "Meaning of Masonry" says that: "It is not feasible, nor is it within the law governing the process of spiritual evolution, for any who have not experienced the stage of mystical death to have experience of that which lies beyond that death."

And again, Wilmshurst says: "The psychical organism becomes detached from the physical and the mind is free to become introverted and work exploratively upon its own ground to search the contents of its own unplumbed depths, to probe deeper and deeper into itself, eradicating defects and removing rubble, pushing in and in by the energy of a persistent will, yet retaining contact the while with the outer, physical nature by a subtle filament or lifeline which prevents their entire separation. Thus we see at once something of the true, deep significance of the ceremony".

And having, by diligent search and industrious study, learned some of those secrets of Nature and Science, some of the inner and Spiritual side of Freemasonry, what is a Mason to do with his knowledge, and with the re-alignment of values which that knowledge brings? Surely, the answer is simple. Every Mason is (or should be) a Builder. As Green says: "The real builder is he who realises that this great structure of the centuries, antedating all religions and all superstitions whose footing stones holding it true and secure for ever, are brotherly love, relief and truth, whose pillars holding it four-square to all the wickednesses, are those of wisdom, strength and beauty, had its foundation stone laid in the dun and distant beginnings of man's history by the great builder of builders, he who reigns supreme in the heavens, who was and is and ever shall be. Puny man can never destroy it. On the other hand, every son of the dust who believes and practises the doctrines of brotherly love, and who acknowledges the fatherhood of God, can add to it".

With Froude we realise that "the knowledge which a man can use is the only real knowledge the only knowledge which has life and growth in it, and converts itself into practical power. The rest hangs like dust about the brain, or dries like rain off the stones."

So brothers all, I commend to you the spiritual and psychic side of Freemasonry - by diligent study of which, we may be enabled to live more fully and completely during our pilgrimage on this earth, and to die, when our time comes, knowing that the Ethereal Mansions are not just a figurative symbol, but a living reality. May we all, who seek these spiritual realities, be assisted by that "Light which cometh from above ", in whose mercy we trust. May we keep always open the Dormer Window, the means by which the Divine Light penetrates the deepest recesses of every man's nature.


In conclusion, may I present to you two short poems, the authors of which are English Brothers who desire to remain anonymous.

First, "The Craftsman's Temple."

An ancient temple spread abroad its fame; 'Twas flanked by two Great Pillars at the porch, For us today each has a secret name, And what they mean doth serve us as a torch.

To practise virtue and to conquer fear, Are tasks to which apprentices are pledged, In virtue's strength their first column they rear, And persevere till they be fully fledged.

Each Craftsman then must learn to use his mind, And balance virtue with much knowledge new; And if towards hidden mysteries he's inclined, On stable base no danger can ensue.

Stablished in Strength his House will stand for ever, Continuing so, must be his prime endeavour.

And secondly, "Secrets".

We seek for genuine secrets which were lost, Which time or circumstance may yet restore;

While some there be prepared to count the cost, Too few persist to reach the Central Core.

This Centre, which we seek, is whence we came, Also the goal to which we turn our eyes, By yearning towards the Sacred Mystic Name In manner which is known to all the wise.

The Centre reached, the secrets too are found, It is a point from which we cannot stray, No need remains for us to look around, Full near at hand it is, not far away.

Circumference nowhere, everywhere the Centre, The door is there for all who will to enter.

Brothers, in these perilous times, when the insecurity of material things becomes ever more apparent, it behooves us all, as men, and as Brothers, to seek understanding, of ourselves, and of the greater world of the Great Architect's creation. And having gained that understanding, aided by the Light which cometh from above, we should seek wisdom to use that understanding, not only for ourselves, but for every Brother in our Great Brotherhood, and to help and uplift all Mankind.