If you have never heard of the term “egregore”, join the crowd. Many people have never heard the word, and until recently, that crowd INCLUDED the author. A year ago, while on The Lodgeroom US, a fervent antimasonic… person, named Thomas “Skip” Sampson, tossed out an unsupported and off topic slander to the effect that we masons should go back to working on evoking our egregore in lodge.
At the time, the author was stunned, never before having heard the word. A quick internet search revealed nothing, and not having any information on the subject, a research project was born, and thence this paper.
At the time, very little was available, though that has changed recently. One of the problems is that egregore is spelled two different ways, with a “E” at the end, and without. This made is difficult at first to find information.
So, what is an egregore, and how does it relate to freemasonry?
Let start with a simple explanation of what an egregore is, or is reputed to be, and then move on from there. On this subject, there are various opinions, especially among “occultists” who seem to be the primary authors on the nature of the egregore. Following are the four primary occultist definitions:
An energized astral form produced consciously or unconsciously by human agency. In particular, (a) a strongly characterized form, usually an archetypal image, produced by the imaginative and emotional energies of a religious or magical group collectively, or (b) an astral shape of any kind, deliberately formulated by a magician to carry a specific force.
…from a Greek word
meaning “watcher.” A thought-form created by will and visualization. A group egregore is the distinctive energy of a specific group of magicians who are working together, creating and building the same thought-form or energy-form.
Any symbolic pattern that has served as a focus for human emotion and energy will build up an egregore of its own over
time, and the more energy that is put into such a pattern, the more potent the egregore that will form around it. The gods and goddesses of every religion, past and present, are at the centers of vast egregore charged with specific kinds of power. This power is defined by, and contacted through, the traditional symbolism of the deity in question.
An egregore is an angel, sometimes called watcher; in Hebrew the word is ir, and the concept appears in The Book of Enoch.... Thus, Irim, the city of the Nephilim is again linked with the Book of Enoch, since the Nephilim, according to that Book, were the sons of the Irim (the egregores.)....Although the Irim, the egregores, are angels on both sides of the camp - fallen angels as well as faithful ones.
First of all, we must point out that we have never used the word ‘egregore’ to designate what could properly be called a ‘collective entity’; the reason for this is that the term is wholly untraditional and only represents one of the fantasies of modern occultist language.
The first person to use it (egregore) this way was Eliphas Levy, and if our memory is exact, it was he who, to justify this meaning gave it the improbable Latin etymology, deriving it from grex, ‘flock’, whereas the word is purely Greek and has never signified anything more than watcher.
Of the definitions offered, that of Guénon seems to be the one that actually relates to masonry, while the others relate to religious/occult faith. The egregore is a psychic entity, existing between the material and the spiritual, in contact with both. It is the creation of the psychic will of the members of a group, and exists as a connection to the divine.
As we work rituals, the focused mental energy creates and invokes the egregore to fulfill the need of the group. An egregore is not a magical creature, it is not self aware, and is not a Djin, to carry out wishes. The egregore serves as a conduit, a nexus, to connect the group that created/invoked it to the spiritual.
Some egregores are temporary, while some, like the egregore of a lodge, a church, or a country, are the result of the continuous will that creates them, and this will also sustains them. The egregore of freemasonry has existed for centuries, and is the result of the focused will to connect with the spiritual from millions of men.
An egregore is the psychic “entity”. All members of a group, whether it is a club, your family, your lodge, a faith, a political party, a country, or even a single person, are united with the egregore of that group through a psychic connection. As a result, and given the nature of society, we are often included in the sphere of several egregores at once.
The strength and ability of the egregore to aid and assist the members of the group grows over time and through numbers, by drawing support from the members constituting it and through their repeated actions maintain its power. The egregore, in turn, invokes the immaterial and raises us from the material, connecting us to the subtle worlds.
Where the intent is positive and spiritual, the effect of the egregore consists in conveying spirituality to the members as in the initiatic process of the lodge. The intent is to divest the candidate of the profane and connect him to the spiritual, and for most masons, that effect is felt and received most profoundly. To the contrary, in the case of other groups, especially the counter-initiatic ones – which adopt rites and symbols to attain profane or negative goals – the egregore can be quite destructive to the lives and spirits of those members.
Each individual who is involved in a group is influenced by these egregores. For those that reach for a spiritual connection, the egregore assists and facilitates that connection. This process is unconscious, but is intensified through the initiatic process, which is designed to open the mind to the spiritual through the egregore.
A symbolic representation of this may be had in the examination of the Star of David, an emblem of the divine. The top triangle points the heavens, and to the spirit. The bottom triangle points down, to the material and profane. United, they form a new entity, the six-pointed star that represents the unity of the two, from material to the spirit, connection to the divine.
An example of this we are familiar with in Freemasonry is the Compasses and Square. The compass represents the male, the spiritual energy, while the square represents the material. The compasses enclose and define the spiritual, as in the point within a circle, while the square defines the mortal, the material world. United, these two symbols, like the triangles, which form the Star of David, an emblem the represents the divine, so, too, does the square and compasses united, represent the divine, as is shown by the letter G in the middle.
So, the nature of the egregore has been known since time immemorial, as shown above. Its function is that of a guide, and intercessory, to conduct the group members to the spirit and connect them with it. Some groups are connected more powerfully from the profane and mortal side to the spiritual than others, some less so, but to each group according to its intent. As with all things, it is the intent that matters, not the form.
Guénon goes on to state, in reference to the egregore’s influence:
Man has, however, to point out that the Egregore “can never transcend the individual domain since, in the final analysis, it is only a resultant of the component individualities, nor, consequently, can it go beyond the psychic order; now all that is, only psychic can have no effective and direct relationship with initiation since this latter consists essentially in the transmission of a spiritual influence meant to produce effects of a similar spiritual order, thus transcendent with respect to the individuality, whence one obviously must conclude that whatever is able to render effective the initially virtual action of this influence, must itself necessarily have a supra-individual and thus, if one may put it so, a supra-collective character.”
We have all experienced the thrill, the exhilaration of the initiation, and the emotional high that carries us for days afterward as the flame is kindled in our breast. This is the spirit the egregore connects us with that fills us and carries us. It is this spirit that breathes in us, inspires us with brotherly love, relief, truth and charity.
The spirit is from the divine. The egregore is the psychic link between the mortal to the spirit. The mason is inspired by the breath of the spirit.
And thus: freemasonry.
2 Golden Dawn Glossary http://www.thelemicgnosticism.org/aa/contacts.htm
3 John Michael Greer, from: Inside a Magical Lodge
4 Egregore by L.S. Bernstein, http://www.crcsite.org/egregor.htm
5 Spiritual Influences and Egregores by René Guénon, in Initiation and Spiritual Realization, Sophia Perennis, Hillsdale, N. Y. p37, paragraph 2
6 So it was in some Nazi esoteric groups, such as Thule or Vril. Also http://www.harare.unesco.org/hivaids/webfiles/Electronic%20Versions/malawi%20lifeskills.doc
7 Spiritual Influences and Egregores by René Guénon, in Initiation and Spiritual Realization, Sophia Perennis, Hillsdale, N. Y. p119
May the blessings of heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons, may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.