True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Further Light in Masonry…

In lodge, we speak of traveling from west to east in search of further light in Freemasonry. We speak of it so often that it almost become cliché. In fact, when we meet a brother on the street, we may ask him: Are you a traveling man? and Of what are you in search? Our dating system begins 4000 BC (the purported year when the earth was created by g-d’s fiat. We note that the Masonic date is AL, Anno Lumis, the year of light.

So, given that we speak of it so often… have you ever stopped to think: What they heck does “seeking more light” actually mean?

Until recently, I hadn’t really either. Russell Holland posted, in response to my article about the Masonic Pencil as post #4: It may be useful to consider what it is you mean by Light and how your Beacon of Masonic Light connects to that source or sources.

Now, Russell and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, he is given to tossing out one-liners and walking away, but for the first time in, oh, six years, what he wrote struck me, differently than I think he intended, to be sure, but it made me stop and ask, so what IS this “Further Light In Masonry” we are all seeking. I had an answer, one I had formed over the years, but I thought I would look at what other brothers had said, rather than reinvent the wheel:

WHAT IS LIGHT? At first glance it would appear that we should begin by asking "What is Light?" Over the seven years that I have lived in Alberta, I have come to love the Ancient York Rite. I will strive to the utmost to defend it for I believe that it contains the last existing vestiges of the work of our ancient Operative brethren. Nevertheless, I have to concede that it does have one glaring omission. One that our Canadian Rite brethren will instantly recognize. Every other ritual for the High and Sublime degree that I have ever read or seen worked, contains the statement: "I beg you to observe that the Light of a Master Mason is Darkness Visible." The Light of a Master Mason is Darkness visible. I put it to you, Brethren, that this is the most accurate description of Masonic Light that you will ever find.(1)

As I searched for… well, light, on this subject, I came across the above, written by Wr. John W. Alexander of Britania Lodge #18. At first, I was appalled, but in keeping with my search, I finished reading his article, and began to realize… he was right. Later in his article, he goes on to say:

For primitive man, the absence of light, by impairing his ability to see, seemed to plunge the world into nothingness. Thus, even from the earliest times, we find darkness, as the negation of light, regarded as a cause of fear and, therefore, of evil. The Ancient Mysteries, which coexisted with and underlay the conventional religions of those far-off times, developed the idea of Light as a symbol of Knowledge and Truth. Thus we find that they all regarded its opposite as representative of Ignorance and Error. It is in this form that Freemasonry, the heiress of all the Systems of Initiation, has received the concept. Our candidate, like those of the Ancient Mysteries, enters the lodge room enshrouded in darkness. This is not to hide anything from him. After all, once he has assumed the necessary obligations, he will be shown everything. No, it is to impress him with the idea that he is blind in spirit, that he lacks knowledge, that he is in a State of Darkness. Hopefully he comes to understand that it was not the lodge which was darkened but he himself and will realize the truth that he brought his own darkness in with him! The item that we use to blindfold him is called, Masonically, a hoodwink. But a hoodwink means more than a simple blindfold. The Peerage Reference Dictionary defines the verb 'to hoodwink' as 'to deceive' thus the candidate's condition on entry is considered to be that of a man deceived. Deceived by Ignorance.(1)

I had always considered the “light” to be that of discovery, of knowledge, of ignorance dispelled. To seek further light in Masonry is to seek further understanding, of ourselves, of our brothers, of our society, of our place in the universe, and last, but certainly not least, in our g-d. After all, the source, The Fount Of All Knowledge Is The Deity, The Godhead, The Supreme Being, The Grand Artificer Of The Universe… in a word, g-d.

After all, we have the “Great Lights of Masonry” open in front of the candidate when we announce to him that he is seeing the light by which masons see… the Holy Writings, the Square and Compass. The three (there is that three thing again!) together form a single symbol for the godhead… a direct connection between Freemasonry and the light… dispelling ignorance.

As a mason advances in his degrees, he is shown more and more light, and in the third degree, is told that he is about to receive all the light that can be conferred upon him in a lodge of master masons. Once he is raised, it becomes incumbent upon the master mason to SEEK OUT THE LIGHT, to educate himself, to seek g-d, within and without. Receiving the light, the master mason cannot help but shine WITH that light, to spread the light, as he becomes a veritable Beacon of Masonic Light.

May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.

(1) FIAT LUX - SOME THOUGHTS ON MASONIC LIGHT, by John W. Alexander, WM (Britannia Lodge No. 18)


Anonymous said...

"May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us."

Uh, how about moralistic irregular masons? They are unworthy of heavens blessings?
Just because you and yours consider them "irregular", they made masons just like you and me, so, would not it be truly masonic to wish the blessings on heaven upon all of gods children, and not just your recognised clique?

pretty pretentious, no?

why the discrimination?

May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us ALL as one family under G-d.

that carries the true feeling of Freemasonry.
Your American/UGLE "regular" attitude is small minded my brother. Love and accept all as equals, not just some more equal than others.

wish the blessings of heaven upon all men and masons, my brother.

strive to cement all of us!
not just your recognised crew!

Anonymous said...

"Your American/UGLE "regular" attitude is small minded my brother. Love and accept all as equals, not just some more equal than others.

wish the blessings of heaven upon all men and masons, my brother.

strive to cement all of us!
not just your recognised crew!"

You are 100% correct, but you are talking to a wall. Theron thinks the way he is told to think. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

BC 2006

Theron Dunn said...

Please see my blog entry: May the Blessing of Heaven for my response to this contrived issue.

Anonymous said...

In church, we pray for specific people. Our family members, our friends, our acquaintances. While it is beneficial to pray for the entire world, most of us don't. In lodge, we pray for our Masonic family. That is all. As mentioned, there are 'moralistic irregular masons'. If so, there are possibly 'immoral irregular masons' as well.
That is the point of there being 'regular' masonry in the first place.

Yes, it is discriminatory to pray for your sick grandmother and not for someone else's, but you are allowed that. Directed energy in prayer is less diffuse than undirected. No, nobody is unworthy of the blessing of heaven, Masonic or not.

Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote:

"Love and accept all as equals, not just some more equal than others."

None are more equal than others, but who exactly are we to accept as Masonic? If all are accepted, then Masonry does not exist. If it ceases to exist, so to the lessons. If we are to accept everyone as a Mason without having it shown, that's called an undirected crowd. That includes, not only people who do not care about Masonry and unity, it includes people who are juxtaposed to these concepts. Kierkegaard makes a similar statement in relation to Christianity. Why would we destroy the fraternity to just let any cowan in claiming to be a Mason? There was recently a gentleman on the internet who claimed to be a Mason but spouted material that represented anything close. To accept and respect your detractors
as divine creations is one thing, to accept them as trustworthy is another.

Anonymous said...

God, if you guys could step outside of yourselves and see how you really look and sound

As TD said elsewhere, this is how a CA lodge is closed. Oh, being the awesome masonic scholars and wise men/women you are, you already knew that.

Why is it that you all have a comment for everything,but bring no solutions or even smarts to the table?

Galen Dean said...

Bro. Dunn,
How good of you to create and maintain this website for the benefit of lurkers that cannot come forth as men of honor and speak their piece in a non-confrontational or non-hostile manner. Why, without this website, what would all of these people named "anonymous" do to express themselves?

Seriously, though, it's a shame that society has lost the ability to debate and/or exchange ideas, opinions and/or perspectives without resorting to character assasination. I'm sure that there are just as many contrived reasons for this behavior as there are people that practice this behavior.

Through the fraternity, I have come to know many men that I can have very enlightened discussions with regarding religious beliefs and no one gets offended over the differences in perspectives. We each accept that a religious belief is completely unique to the person and, therefore, cannot be used to judge others on their beliefs. It's akin to claiming that one person's fingerprints are "better" or more "correct" than another person's.

Accepting that each person is entitled to their beliefs does not imply that you accepted it as your own; only recognizing that we are each entitled to our own beliefs.

I once walked out of a church service because the guest pastor that was speaking was up there claiming that if we didn't do as he said, that we could not call ourselves "Christians". Since I didn't get the memo from God that this pastor had been appointed as His only spokesperson, I left the service. This pastor did not have the right to pass judgement on me based on what he thought constituted a "Christian".

Although I don't always agree completely with your perspectives, I do understand them and find them interesting and fodder for more intelligent discussions.

Keep up the good work.

Galen Dean
Fellowship Lodge #668
Yucaipa, Ca

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