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mmoonneeyy.info - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File ( .txt) or read online. All systems online, download all the things! New content added: /public/Posters/ | Bonus clip! - Join our Discord community and chat with the. Symbols of Freemasonry by Daniel Beresniak - photos by Laziz Hamani () - dokument [*.pdf] ~ ~..! ' PREFACE INTRODUCTION I. THE CALENDAR Dating.
Eighteenth century. By studying the Apollo-Athena couple, we can pen- etrate into the "beginning" of thought its archi- tect and find the road which leads us to an understanding of the relationship between effort and reward. The first article of the Constitutions states that people must be judged according to their conduct, and not their teligious opinion: It was placed in the courtyard of the temple and the people, believ- ing that it could heal the sick, sacrificed animals to it. Freemasonry's symbols are a part of our culture and of our lives, in the spiritual, intellec- tual and ethical realms as well as in our ordinary daily routines.
Following double page: Letter standing for the Boaz pillar. These are the oldest of the texts known as "The Old Charges". They Classify the different areas of knowledge and equate Freemasonry with geometry: It is the art of measuring everything on Earth and in Heaven.
The art of measuring in fact entails proof, and progress in this art teaches how to demonstrate the truth of a proposition by means of its tools, the set square and compasses. In the Middle Ages, the teaching of geom- etry cleared the way for objective thought. Until that time, all knowledge had been handed down from an authority: The expressions Magister dixit The Master has said it and Roma locuta, causa finita Rome has spoken, the case is closed were meant to put a stop to any debate and eliminate doubt or the need for proof.
Only one kind of knowledge could not be taught in this way: A theory about the properties of a shape can only be accepted when it has been verified using reason, and a square and compasses. The teaching of geometry implies there- fore the recognition of students as people who are able to think rationally and find meaning on their own. Such teaching creates and structures critical faculties and objective analysis. Most importantly, it develops the desire to prove the truth of a proposition.
Thus, the square and the compasses are essentially tools for verifying the truth of the marter. The oldest definition of Freemasonry emphasises its central function and role in the city: The geometrician-builder me f ures words with the yard-stick of meaning an not according to the social status of the speake. The square and compasses, therefore, are Emblems of ,Iu: They are the tools of a way of thinking which recognises the possibility of making statements about reality, understand- ing its laws and modifying it in order to better the human condition.
They take the place of amulets and talismans in the wake of the devel- opment of a higher consciousness. The square and compasses have no intrinsic power. They are tools invented by human beings to help them exercise the power they know they possess to shape reality. Symbolism makes the meaning of these tools clearer by depicting them as images of the mind that conceived and created them. The square and compasses are symbolic to the extent that they represent in a material form the shape and skill of the human souL The square and compasses are also used to represent rational thought.
This is, however, not understood merely as the ability to deduce and induce, without any assistance from intuition or imagination. To recognise one's faculties it is necessary to distinguish them. But, on the other hand, separating them off would be disastrous and unrealistic. Euclid's series of propositions offers a rational progression, in the strict sense of the term, but intuition and imagination must play their part.
The step from one proposition to the next is not a simple matter of deductive logic, it is also an intuitive and imaginative leap. In almost every tradition, the set square is associated with the geometric square, the Earth and matter; the compasses are linked to the cir- cle, Heaven and the spirit. The search for this meaning casts light on how mental struc- tures work. In the context of this exploration, psychology is more useful than metaphysics.
The latter is, in fact, a construct, and hence an effect. Psychology can explore the elements of the con- struct, and hence its causes. When beginning work as an Apprentice, the square is laid on top of the compasses to show that the spirit is still dominated by matter. At the second degree, that of Fellow, the square and compasses are interlaced.
There is balance. At the degree of master, the compasses are laid over the square.
Masons strike their chisel with the gavel to create the shape that they have imagined. The gavel is thus associated with the active wilL This explains why it is given to the Worshipful Master and the two Wardens. During a ritual, it is used to announce the beginning and the end of the work, and to request leave to speak.
During the initiation ceremony, the Worshipful Master places the sword on the new member's shoulder then hits its blade with the gaveL The gavel, derived from the Teutonic root geb, meaning "to give", is a double-headed wooden hammer.
A hand holding the stone-cutter's chisel symbolising the work which must be done on the self. This is futther brought out by the symbolic meanings associated with these two tools.
The gavel is, of course, the active element because it hits the chisel, thus giving it a force which the passive chisel directs, II. The line of the plumb rule has to cross the base of the triangle and form a perpendicular, such that the triangle is divided into two identical right-angled triangles. The vertical axis is obtained by simply looking at the line when it is completely still.
The hori- zontal axis can then be derived from it. A right angle must be created by adjusting the base of the triangle to the vertical line.
The triangle is adjusted so that its base the side facing the angle from which the line is suspended forms a cross with the line. Gravity allows us to deter- mine the vertical axis and, from that, determine the horizontal axis. The gauge is a measuring tool, divided into twenty- four sections, like the division of the day into twenty-four hours, and allows us to check that the finished building conforms to the original plan. The number of sections on the gauge is divisible by two and by three, and is the product of the first four natural numbers 1 x 2 x 3 x 4.
It is thus ideal for checking if proportions are correct. The lever is a tool which increases the worker's physical strength. Everyone knows the challenge: The lever is divided into two parts by its fulcrum, and it increases a man's strength in proportion to the length of the part he presses down on.
This part is called "the power". The other, which is shorter and lies under the object to be lifted, is called "the resistance".
THE TROWEL This tool represents the final stage of a job, the moment when mortar or plastet is applied over the walls, thus obscuring the differences between the stones. It is also associated with creative power, which is illustrated by the fact that in the Middle Ages the Creator was sometimes depicted Opposite: The symbolism of this tool is also based on its triangular blade and its jagged edge which looks like a bolt of lightning. Stone symbolises human beings in their natural state, before they work on themselves through introspection.
All writers agree on this view of rough ashlar as imperfect humanity. The symbolism of builders, guildsmen and Freemasons develops around the notion that "to make" refers to "making something of oneself".
We need to consider the activity of working "on" unhewn stone, a Masonic expres- sion which stands for introspection and self- improvement. Is it a question of forming identical stones, according to a pre-established pattern, so that they will fit perfectly together and form a pyramid? Or is it not rather a question of indi- vidualisation, during which process everyone discovers their particular self, getting rid of base "metals", which represent the prejudices we have about the outside world?
A reading of Masonic texts shows that role models are pre- sented with the invitation that they be copied. The models masons are asked to identify them- selves with are the sages and, to achieve master- ship, the architect Hiram. But, these same texts also contain countless injunctions to differentiate oneself rather than conform, to construct a new self, to enrich the group qualitatively rather than quantitatively.
It is an act which recognises the need for change. The uninitiated are full of metals that speak for them. When rid of these metals, the initiated can speak for themselves. The square of a square, the cube, has the same symbolism in three dimensions as the square does in two. It is an intrinsic part of the material world and the four elements.
Its appearance is identical no matter which face it stands on, which is why it is associ- ated with stability. On the other hand, the point- ed cubical stone is a cube topped with a pyramid; it can be set down only on the face opposite the pyramid.
Oswald Wirth says of it: The hard stone used for large- scale work was called "rough-stone". According to certain authors, the etymology of the word Freemason is "free-stone Mason". For others, the word was first used to describe a serf who was "freed" due to his skills as a Mason, and thus was allowed to travel as he pleased.
Perhaps it comes from the association between the softness of free- stone and the ideal of personal freedom, Free-stone encourages the freedom of the Mason because it is easy to carve.
It puts up no resistance, but readily adopts the form which the person working it desires, The softness of the stone sets the Mason free. Depending on their degree and rite, they may also wear a sash or collar. At the beginning dress was simple, thus conforming to the philoso, phy of the Craft, which required that its members put all superficialiry behind them. But the eigh- teenth century witnessed a burgeoning taste for luxury, as princes and commoners started to fraternise in the lodges.
A whole industry grew up, providing an enormous range of articles of all kinds. It goes back to the days of working Masonry, when masons wore a long apron of thick leather to protect themselves against splinter; of rock and blows from their tools. Entered Apprentices' aprons are made of a white hide, traditionally lambskin. The triangu- lar bib or flap is raised up.
The Fellows wear the same apron, but with the bib turned down. Masters' aprons are made of hide or satin, edged with red, green or blue depending on the rite, and lined with black. As a piece of protective clothing, the apron symbolises hard work because it is necessary to protect oneself from splinters of rough ashlar.
At the same time it helps create and maintain the bond of belonging to the same fraterniry. Their origin lies in the desire to show that all masons are equal. In pre-revolutionary France, the sash was worn only by the nobility.
The Masonic lodge became the first place where everyone, whatever their social status or origins, wore a sash, showing equaliry from "on high". A privilege had been shared, rather than. The collar is a ribbon indicating an offi- cial position or a degree of initiation.
A collar cannot be worn at the same time as a sash. At the beginning of Speculative Free- masonry, masons used to wear a sheet of vellum A pair of gloves given to an apprendce during iniciacion. Following doubk page: In the past, following the initiation cete- mony, an Apprentice received two paits of gloves: Nowadays, the second pair of gloves which was meant as a gift, has generally been replaced by a rose. In , having "been given the light" at the Amalia with Three Roses Lodge in Weimar, Goethe sent a pair of gloves to Madame de Stein with a letter containing the following words: This cus- tom is still current among some Masters when they meet alone together in the Middle Chamber.
The hat, like the crown, is an emblem of royalty and is associated with the Kether sephira in the cabbalistic Tree of Life. It is there as a reminder to the masters that their task is to rule, and not to wield power for their own purposes.
This is a collective ideal, the shining diadem, and must have once been reminiscent of the Worshipful Master's tricorn. This figure is not a leader, in the sense in which the term is used in the outside world.
The Worshipful Masters transmit what they receive and take part in a project which sur- passes them. In Germany, all the brethren work with hats on, but uncover their heads whenever the Great Architect is referred to.
In Germany, meetings are- conducted in tail coats and top hats. Female lodges in the Memphis Rite wear orange robes. In some lodges that observe the Rectified Scottish Rite, the men wear a blue chasuble.
Master Masons wear sashes and Wardens wear collars decorated with the symbols of their offices. ANCIENT chivalry, with its legendary magic swords for example, Excalibur ; the Bible which, in the Book of Genesis, talks of a "flaming sword"; and the Freemasons themselves who, in the eigh- teenth century when swords were a sign of nobil- ity, all wore them to show that they were equal and that nobility was a question of deeds and not of bitth.
The straight-bladed sword has two cutting edges and a handle in the shape of a cross. All the members of a lodge have a sword, which they use during ceremonies. The curve-edged sword is known as "the flaming sword" due to its shape. This is an allusion to Genesis 3, It represents the Word, thought and cre- ation.
The dagger appears various times during a Mason's progression through the ranks: The history of the dagger sheds light on its symbolism.
Daggers have existed since neolithic times right through to the present day. They are thrusting weapons, designed for stab- bing, and have a double-edged blade.
In neolith- ic times the shott blades, between 8 and 16 inches long, were made of stOne and had already been so perfected that the metal blades that were later made of copper, bronze or iron, fol- lowed the same pattern.
The blacksmith's art made longer blades possible, and so daggers became swords which are both thrusting and cutting weapons, allowing up and down blows. To understand the symbolic connotations of these weapons it is, then, vital to distinguish clearly between the sword and the dagger, between the act of cutting, slicing or splitting and the act of piercing.
The dagger can be seen as a symbol of that which pierces a mystery, a secret, words and enigmas, allowing meaning to gush fotth. In this way a weapon becomes a rool for thought. Polemus and Epistemes showed each other their reflections Mother Nature is fertilised by the rain, the seed 'of the Sky-Father, and lives an endless return through the cycles of the seasons. This created a.. Soon after this type of metaphor came into existence, human beings began observ- ing natural phenomena, and this study soon developed in opposition to mythological repre- sentations.
Logos and Mythos then became con- ceptualised as two distinct categories which were opposed but complementary. The most ancient rites of all dwell on the cycle of death and resur- rection. In every civilisation this was a way of structuring the important moments in a human life: Masonic symbolism emphasises change and metamorpho- sis, and makes its own use of vegetable symbols.
Freemasonry takes the essential part of its sym- bolic references from the world of minerals. Stone is both the medium and the raw material to be worked on, which is the task that builders' tools were designed for.
But, in the eighteenth century, there also existed a Freemasonry of. Forest rituals were practiced by guilds of carpenters, some of which have been retained by the stone Freemasons during their celebration of Midsummer Night. The following exposition of vegetable symbolism occurs in the light of rites practiced by stone Freemasons. This is introduced in a set of teachings related to the five senses, which we use to com- municate.
The death and rebirth of a seed is a theme common to most of the mystery cults of antiquity, particularly that of Eleusis. For the Egyptians, the ear of corn was the emblem of Osiris and symbolised his death and resurrection. It is important to remember in this context that Freemasons call themselves "children of the widow", an allusion to Hiram the architect who was "the son of a widow".
The oldest known ref- erence to "the son of the widow" occurs in an inscription on a tablet found in the pyramid of Cheops and refers to Horus, Osiris's posthumous child. A study of both sacred and secular ancient Com is part of the symbolism associated with the grade of Fellow. Aeneas consulted the Sibyl to find out if he could go down among the shadows and talk with his father. The Pythoness gave him the nec- essary encouragement, but told him that he would succeed in finding his father Anchises, the ancestor of the Trojans, only if he plucked the Golden Bough and kept it in his hand.
This Golden Bough could be pulled off its tree with ease. Similarly, Hiram is discovered under a branch: Virgil also tells a story which repeats some of the elements of Hiram's. The Thracians killed Polydorus and buried him in secret. By chance, Aeneas was travelling through that country and pulled up the branch of a bush, so discovering the remains of Polydorus.
There is a common element in these sto- ries: WORLD suggests that it had been uprooted elsewhere and replanted in the place where the dead man had been buried. This transplantation may be linked to a funeral rite, a basic rite which would have been provided even for a corpse that had been buried in secret.
The acacia grows in the desert and has extremely hard wood and dense thorns on its. Irs name in Hebrew is shita sin, thh, he. There are three references to it in the Bible: The legend ofrhis degree derives from the Bible and from the Arthurian cycles. The theme of building with wood comes from the Bible: Noah's ark and the Ark of the Covenant are the first and second temples. As for the Arthurian cycle of stories, it contributes the Round Table, whk: Later, Zerubbabel was to use them again for the construction of the second temple.
The extremely hermetic, esoteric teaching of this grade is the apotheosis of work carried out to make the Philosopher's Stone. The Ark of the Covenant, which was made of wood, sheltered the stone tablets of the Law.
The tem- ple was made of wood and stone. Work is an apprenticeship in rhe mastery of rhe mineral and vegetable worlds. Such work on an object, on "exterior" nature, is analogous to work on a sub- ject, on "interior" nature. The tree communicates. It is full of elo- quent symbols for those who wish to put rhe act of becoming into words: It is. But all that is well known and often repeated.
What is important is to recognise a tree from its flowers and fruit, and not from its bark. This work is connected with the re-establish- ment of the living word, where conventional misunderstandings emphasise the importance of A TOse. WORLD the bark, symbolising appearances or clorhing.
It is important to rediscover the true discourse which asks us to look at its flowers and fruit instead. The journey from the forest to the stately hall containing the Round Table whose shape abolishes any rank and around which sit only "peers" is clearly alluded to in the eighteenth- century ritual of the "Brethren of Charcoal- Burners" as recounted by Jacques Brengues: And the conclusion will be the re- building of the temple and the arrival of a better, more enlightened society, symbolised by the Round Table, which abolishes places of honour.
Initiates are experienced people and do not need leaders. If the assembly does have a president, that president is still an equal. A beautiful youth pursues a nymph who turns herself into a laurel tree in order to escape from him. This is the story of Apollo and Daphne, one of western ate's favourite subjects.
Sacred to Apollo, the laurel tree symbolis- es victory in a literary competition or in a war. A wreath of its leaves was placed on the brows of victorious Roman generals, and later of emper- ors. This association comes from the fact that, like all evergreens, laurel is linked to the symbol- ism of immortaliry.
It has a similar meaning in China, where the moon is said to contain one laurel tree and one immortal. As Apollo's tree, it brings together the wise man and the hero. In Greece, the Pythoness and her priests chewed or burned laurel leaves which, being sacred to Apollo, had divinatory powers.
Those who received a favourable answer from the Pythoness returned home wearing laurel wreaths. The olive tree is sacred to Athena. Anybody who damaged an olive tree was taken to courr. It was given divine status in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which intro- duced initiates in to the mysteries of Eleusis.
The dove brings an olive' branch to Noah at the end of the flood and some legends relate that the Cross was made of olive and cedar wood. In the language of the Middle Ages it was a symbol of gold and of love. Olive trees are found everywhere along the shores of the Mediterranean. Harvesting olives and making them into oil goes back to ancient times. The symbolism of the olive tree is thus rich in archaic experiences.
Since olive oil was used to feed lamps, the tree is associated. It is useful to consider how the laurel and the olive tree are brought together in two ways. On the one had, the symbolic meaning of each may be added to that of the other in the belief that they then offer the sum of their symbolic content. On the other hand, they join to form a "symbolic couple", with a life of its own-nurtured, of course, by the symbolism of each separate element-but whose very exis- tence, especially in view of their Telationship, forces us to choose, separate and develop.
Before going any further, it should also be pointed out Symbol of the Rose-Croix grade. This is a common factor in their respective symbolism.
The Greeks offered crowns of olive leaves to winners in the Olympic Games. If these two trees have been brought together to show that the most important thing is their similarity, then the Secret Master must now meditate on the reward which follows effort.
Without rejecting that possibility, the laurel- olive nexus also links Apollo and Athena. By studying the Apollo-Athena couple, we can pen- etrate into the "beginning" of thought its archi- tect and find the road which leads us to an understanding of the relationship between effort and reward.
It holds the same symbolic value as the lotus in the East. In the West, the rose is sacred to Aphrodite Venus. It was born from Cupid's smiles, or fell from Aurora's hair as it was being combed. The' first rose bush is supposed to have shot up from the ground as Venus emerged from the waves.
A drop of nectar, the drink of the gods, fell on it and gave birth to the rose flower. According to legend, roses were originally white but, when Venus ran to help Adonis, who was being threatened by jealous Mars, a thorn stuck in her foot and the blood from the wound poured over the rose's white petals, dyeing them red.
The Ass of Apuleius regains his human form by eating a garland of vermillion roses given to him by the High Priest of Isis. In sacred texts, the rose is often found together with the olive tree, which confirms the preceding interpretation. We read, for example, in Ecclesiasticus 24, Jean de Meung's Ranum de ILlRose is our first encyclo- pedia, the sum of thirteenth-century mediaeval knowledge.
The "alchemical" or "mystic rose", personified in Christianity by the Virgin, should also be understood as a symbol of knowledge. The mystic rose is the final illumination at the last stage of a spiritual quest. The rose represents wisdom, beauty and regeneration. Love transforms us by a process of metamorphosis. But these transformations are riot necessarily beneficial and in this sense the myth of Circe can be read as a clear allegory.
This dangerous sorceress transforms Ulysses's companions into swine because, unlike their leader, they are incapable of remaining clear- headed and wise during their orgy of drinking. Gimon, Memento des grades capitu- laires. Paris, Brengues, La Fmnc-Maqonnerie du Bois. Beresniak, "Ce que nous savons des mysteres d'Eleusis".
Laurel stnnds for victories over oneself. In such places characters from the Bible encounter Olympians, Egyptians, Knights, temple builders and Faustian, or Promethean characters.
In this collection of remembered images we discover our shared memory, the roots which give our experi- ences meaning. Real and imaginary animals take, naturally, their place these images. The crusaders learnt of it and adopted it in their turn. This symbol is, therefore, an example of what the West takes from the East.
Having first served as a symbol for the Austrian and Russian h: This is because it represents the dual nature of Unity.
Once the traveller has reached the camp of the Kadosh, the bicephalous eagle will always remain with him.
At this degree, it is black and white. At the thirty-third degree, it becomes completely black, while the J traveller is decked in white. During the final degrees of the rite, the double-headed eagle becomes more and more a symbol of power. To understand these words, it is enough to listen to their sound. The root letters nun, kaph, SIn give the word nahash, meaning serpent, and also nahash, meaning omen. But these two words are not true homophones, because although the root letters are the same, their vowel sounds are dif- ferent.
The "a" of nahash divination, omen is a pathah, a shorter sound than the qame, which vocalises the "a" of nahash serpent. The same root gives the verb nahoch, which means to prac- tice the art of divination.
The omen sense of these root letters is found in the Book of Numbers 23, 23 and 24, 1. Nahash vocalised as a serpent is also a proper noun, name of a king of the Ammonites and contemporary of Saul and David 1 Samuel 11, 1 and 2 Samuel 17, Derived from this root is nahoshet, with the same spelling plus the feminising taw suffix, which means copper, as well as brass and bronze, two alloys whose main ingredient is copper.
The leg- endary serpent of brass is called Nahash nahoshet Numbers 21, 9 and, was later to become an object of worship by the Israelites, who called it Nehushtan and made offerings of incense to it. It was then destroyed by King Hezekiah, a descendant of David 2 Kings 18, It should be noted that, w. The first appearance of a serpent, or snake in the Bible is in the third chapter of Genesis.
He predicts what will,happen when Adam and Eve have tasted the fruit from the forbidden tree. It should be remembered that the first verse of this chapter says "Now, the snake was the most naked of all the wild animals", and that in nearly every official translation the word naked aroum is wrongly translated as shrewd or subtle.
Its nakedness represents the fact that it hides nothing, that it shows its true nature, that it does not lie. As for the serpent of brass, called Nehushtan, it was kept by the Israelites after the' first temple had been, built.
It was placed in the courtyard of the temple and the people, believ- ing that it could heal the sick, sacrificed animals to it. The former is represented feeding its young with its own flesh and blood; the latter rising from its own ashes. Love which is capable of self-sacrifice is connected with knowledge,- transference and the renewal of generations.
Blood is seen as the tonic of life. The pelican and rhe phoenix are depicted on the aprons and ornaments of the eighteenth degree, called the Rose-Croix Knight or Rose-Croix Prince, depend- ing on the rite IV. It also appears in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, where it is associated with Krishna's interlocutor Arjuna, who rides on the back of a ram, and with the light at the cen- tre oflife. In the Masonic rites, the Iamb is repre- sented at the seventeenth degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite the Knight of the East and West , lying on the scroll of seven seals, an image from Saint John's Revelation.
At the eighteenth degree the Rose Croix , the yearly banquet includes a lamb, whose flesh is eaten while its bones are ceremoniously burned. At the fourth degree of the Rectified Scottish Rite the Scottish Master of Saint Andrew , the tracing board shows the slaughtered Iamb and the celestial city of Jerusalem.
I Opposite: The serpent which encircles the world is often depicted as Uroburos the snake which bites itSown tail. Tools are made from minerals and vegetable matter, but the ivory key is not a tool. It is a sign.
It represents its bearer's intention of opening his or her own interior locks to discover the future initiate in the depths where the master's body lies rotting. This etymology leads back to the Egyptian god Ptah, god of associ- ations, exchange and creation.
Ptah, the potter god, who was later associated by the Greeks with Hermes, was seen as being the master of artisans and scribes. He is the god of knowledge and cre- ation. Pythagoras and many other Greeks went to Egypt to follow the teaching of the priests of Ptah.
The name Pythagoras is itself a mystical name of Egyptian origin which phonetically reproduces in Greek the first words of the prayer to Ptah, P-T- Fh-Gh-R Egyptian hieroglyphs, like Hebrew, were written without vowels.
This inscription means "Ptah is great" or "the greatest", as Gardiner points out in his famous grammar. I The ivory key is also connected with Pythagorism and the sources of Pythagorism, which lie in Memphis and the "white walls" of Ptah's temple.
The oldest known text of Memphite teachings is a copy which the Egyptian king Shabaka made on black granite of a text which had, so it was said, been destroyed by WORLD worms. This text could well go back to the earli- est dynasties: It so happens that the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite teaches the symbolism of the ennead the group of nine at the fourth degree, whose emblem is the ivory key.
Sir Alan Gardiner, Egyptiangrammar, beingan inrroduction to the stud, of hierogl,phs, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press, The Hebtew root ntT has a set of different nuances, such as "to undo", "to untie", "to release" and "to withdraw". Vocalised as neter it means narron.
As a meraphor, it srands for whar is produced by dissolving. Crowned compasses plaad over the arc of a circle, inscribed with a Masonic alphabet. Rose-Croix jewelry , eighteenth century. That is why the Masonic temple depicts the Sun and Moon on its east wall, the blazing star on its west wall and the "starry vault" on its ceiling. The Freemason passes through a number of spe- cific natural locations during his journey of initi- ation.
The Hebrew language associates the cave with a hole and with the eye socket of a skull. The Hebrew root letters which contain these meanings are kaph and res, and the word meaning cave, hole and eye socket is pronounced khor or khour, the root being vocalised either with an "0" or an "ou". Khor is also the Hebrew form of the Egyptian god Horus, Isis and Osiris's posthumous son who, in the pyramid versions of the legend of Isis, is called "the child of the widow".
The association between cave and cavity as a hole or eye socket exists in many languages, including English.
Perhaps it is universal? Its symbolism must then be approached through this association. The walls of the temple are decorat- ed with fields, mountains and forests, rivers and waterfalls. At this degree, fresh questions are asked concerning everything that has been learnt. The great American Mason, Albert Pike , was particularly fond of this degree. He wrote the longest book ever published about the rite, Morals and Dogma, which is known as the "Bible of the Scottish Rite".
Of the book's eight hun- dred pages, two hundred and twenty of them are consecrated to the Knight of the Sun. To understand why Albert Pike attached such a great importance to this teaching, it is necessary to know about his own initiatory jour- ney through the course of an adventurous life.
For a long time he lived among the Native The acacia is one of the vegetable symbols which accompanies aMason's Ufe as an initiate.
He learnt the languages of the Creek, Crow and Cherokee and taught in a school hidden away in the middle of the woods, before becoming a lawyer, fighting alongside the Confederates and rising as a Mason to be the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The thinking of Native Americans is very close to the teaching of the Knight of the Sun. Albert Pike added a Native American ele- ment to it, and so enriched the Masonic tradi- tion.
This is justified by the Masons' notion of "gathering what is scattered" and also because a tradition is a form of memory which allows us to innovate. Thus, they do not transmit any dogmatic teachings, do not have any claims to an eternal truth, but allow an exchange of ideas and impressions.
That is why the Native Americans gave a friendly welcome to Christian mission- aries. They sawall cultures as being relative, and respected religious freedom.
Everyone could choose their beliefs, and change them if they saw fit, without judgment, criticism or hindrance.
They resisted the missionaries only when they realised that they were an advance guard of white plunderers, with the backing of a powerful army. Native American philosophy can be sum- marised as follows: Human beings are not superior beings, nor images of God at the summit of evolution.
We must, therefore, live in harmo- ny with nature and not attempt to dominate it. Each thing, living or inanimate, is unique and must be seen as a specific creation of the Universe.. Each existence is absolute. Hence Native Americans do not fear death, because they live from the death of planrs and animals. What is more, evil does not exist in itself.
Justice, like medicine, is there to re-establish trust and as a form of reconciliation with others or with nature. Land does not belong to anyone, not even to a clan or a tribe.
When the first Europeans arrived, the Native Americans wel- comed them and helped them to set up homes. They only became hostile when the Whites began to behave as if they were dominant, exclu- sive landlords. For the Native Americans, a tribe is a meeting of individuals and not the sum of the individuals that compose it.
When they hold counsel, they try to reach a consensus but pay no attention to any principle of leadership or of majority views. If a consensus cannot be reached, then each person does what they see fit. It was with such people that the great Mason, Albert Pike, lived his years of apprenticeship. This background made him a wonderfully charis- matic Mason. When he reached rhe teaching of the Knight of the Sun, Chief of Masonry, he realised how vital it was and gave it the impor- tance it deserved.
Detail of an engTaving depicring the legend of the discovery of one of Hiram's murderers. The banquet is one of the oldest and most solid of Masonic traditions. Anderson's Constitutions, the charter of modem Freemasonry, contains numerous descriptions and references to them. The tradition of the banquet explains the large number of meetings in restaurants and gave rise to the opinion amongst many people in the eighteenth century that Freemasonry was another Bacchic sect, many of which thrived at that time.
In Emulation Working, each meeting is followed by an obligatory banquet, or "fraternal repast". In other rites, this custom is not obliga- tory. The table is circular, and the Apprentices serve.
Lodges also organise solstice festivals which end with a banquet, to which their families and non-Mason friends are sometimes invited. The ritual of the Order Banquet is taken from the traditions of pre-revolutionary military lodges in France. The bread is the "mortar" or "rough ashlar", glasses are "cannons", napkins "flags", forks "picks", knives "swords", food "equipment", the salt "sand" and the pepper "yellow sand".
Finally, to fill a glass is "to load". In the eighteenth cen- tury, Freemasons met in the banqueting rooms of restaurateurs or innkeepers. They traced symbols on the floor with chalk, then wiped them off after the ceremony and sat down to have dinner.
The names of the lodges were often the same as the inns where they met and Freemasons were frequently the burr of jibes because of their ban- queting. In , a song about the Freemasons went round Paris: Freemasons are fine pretty lads, who meet together just ro drink, that's what their hocus pocus is all about. Glasses engraved with symbols used during banquets or repasts.
TIury are called "cannons" or "chalices". At table, tasty "equipment" washed down with "strong powder" first set tongues wagging, before finally weighing down on the stomach and extinguish- ing the flames of wit. News is exchanged; stories are told which can be racy or humourous. Witty remarks are sometimes made which go all around town the next day, and disturb the powers that be. Ideas are exchanged and events are discussed.
There are surprises, indignation, delight, people moan and people laugh. People who "would oth- erwise never have met", as the charters of mod- em Freemasonry put it, philosophers, artists, aris- tocrats, tradesmen and artisans, often of a modest station, share a meal in a friendly, relaxed atmos- phere.
Everyone can make their voice heard and everyone is listened to. Let us examine carefully the tableware decorated with the arms of lodges. It honours the banquet, a social event which allows the serious work that was carried out in the workshop, to be continued the following day, to be renewed and give life to the city.
The peace, calm and the quality of the work are guar- anteed because a time has been set aside for intoxication and regression. For the project to be accomplished, Apollo and Dionysus must take turns in the seat of honour.
A repast can also be called an agape, a Greek word which means ten- derness. The word tenderness contains notions of affection, love and devotion. The Latin equiva- lent of agape is caritas, which we translate by charity. Greek opposes agape to eros. Eros is a pos- sessive love, while agape is a kind, considerate. The former is appropriate to the inflamed love of lovers. Over time the meaning evolved until sexual passion became a metaphor for mys- tical transport and spiritUal fervour.
This change in meaning is already apparent in Plato's Phaedrus and Symposium. Agape is appropriate to brotherly love, to a calm peaceful love, to love of one's. And this must be done for pleasure if it is to be profitable. Companions who, as the etymology of the word suggests, share their bread, know that pleasure and happiness are legitimate aims. L Translared from Des fre ma,ons, ms. Bibliotheque nationale de France. Porcelain made in the Choisy and Creil pottery France in AU of the great European pattery-works produced dinner services for the Masans' tables.
Each involves the progres- sion from one degree or grade to another during the course of which symbols are revealed and leg- endary or Iiistorical stories are told. All of them begin with the first three degrees: Apprentice, Fellow and Master. The word "Scottish" stands for a rite, or rule as they called it in the eighteenth century, which is found all over the world. It contains thirty-three degrees.
Since then, it has spread across the planet. In France, one of this rite's lodges, Les Libres-Penseurs du Pecq, over- turned patriarchal thinking in by admitting a woman, Maria Deraisme. I which uses the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. France's Grande Loge Feminine, founded in , also works with this rite. The Rectified Scottish Rite or rule was set up between and and contains six degrees, while Emulation Working, which rejects the word rite, is the fruit of an reconcilia- tion between Masons who had been divided since over that vety question of rite and ritual.
Those are the rites which are most com- monly practiced throughout the world. But the list would be incomplete if we did not mention the Memphis Rite.
It has only a few thousand adepts, but the lodges which practice it can be found on evety continent. Its teaching is organ- ised into ninety-five degrees and refers to the Egypt of the Pharaohs.
It dates from with the merger of two rites, Memphis and Mizralm Egypt in Hebrew. The Memphis-Mizralm Freemasons are not dreamers who spend their lives squeezing drops of sublime truth from hieroglyphics. The best proof The square aM compasses are laidon top of Andersen's Constitutions when usedfor takingan oath.
I of this is to note that the fitst ad vitam Grand General Master of the old Memphis Rite one of the parts composing the present rite was Giuseppe Gatibaldi, the freedom fighter and architect of the Italian republic. He was one of the most remarkable men in history and the fight he led fits well into the Masons' grand project for raising human digniry. The ideals he fought for remain a subject fat debate and are still an issue today.
Masonic rituals, organised into specific rites, cre- ate an atmosphere which is conducive to the exchange of ideas. One of the characters in brother Goethe's tale Das Mdrchen says: What is more dazzling than light? An exchange of ideas. This phrase occurs in all the rites and in all commentaries on the rites.
It has different levels of meaning: This is common to all the rites. But each rite also has its own specific traditions and style. In the centre of the lodge, three columns carry candles, which are lit at the start of the work and extinguished at the end. They stand for the crinity of Wisdom- Strength- Beaury. The Rectified Scottish Rite or rule also uses Saint John's Gospel and places a broken pillar in the lodge which bears the Latin inscription adhw: This rite is unusual in the following way: What is also exceptional is the fact that offices are rotated.
A fixed order determines the officers of the lodges each year. The Rite of Memphis focuses more on Egyptian esoteric teaching. One point needs to be clarified. When we use the word "teaching", we do not mean a series of lessons given by a master. The term should be understood in the sense that Aristotle used it when describing how the mysteries of Eleusis conformed to the adage "Do not learn, experience".
All the different lifestyles inspired by the intellectual and spiritual currents of thought that constitute our Grreco-Roman, Judreo-Christian civilisation live on in these rites, ahd are brought to life again and experienced by Freemasons as A naive drawing from depicring a meering of the Dhnophiles Ladge, with the names of the parridpants.
Several rites depend on New Testament references, particularly to Saint John's Gospel and the Book of Revelations, as part of the teaching which surrounds the passage from certain grades to others.
Finally, the murder of Hiram, the architect of Solomon's temple, who was killed by three of his fellows, is the central legend of Freemasonry and is taught in all the rites. It is the legend of mastership. At the grade of Master, the Freemason has lived through the passion of Hiram. This legend, which does not figure in the Bible, is extremely ancient and is part of our shared cultural inheritance.
It has been made accessible to everyone by Gerard de Nerval in his text Les nuits du Ramazan, one of the chapters of his Voyage en Orient. And Nerval was not a Freemason. This brings us to the conclusion of this chapter. Freemasons do not have a special secret, or indeed any secrets. Readers who want to know about the various rites and rituals can turn to books available in shops or libraries throughout the world. Everything has been revealed.
Why is this? Just imagine a wine expert who has read everything about wine, but has never tasted any, and who then tries to preach to real connoisseurs. This takes us back to Aristotle's adage: It was reformed in and consisted of Masons' wives, daughters, sisters and orher close relations. There are traces of four similar lodges in Paris: These lodges were attached to male lodges. The Rite of Adoption had norhing to do with rhe symbolism of tools and referred above all to the Bible.
Its main themes were Eve's apple, Noah's. There were four degrees in rhis rite: Apprentice, Fellow, Mistress and perfect Mistress, or perfect Masoness. The Candeur lodge also had a fifth degree of Sublime Scotswoman.
Prior to , the lodges of adoption in France were mostly frequented by aristocratic ladies, such as rhe Duchesse de Lamballe and rhe Duchesse de Bourbon. These ladies above all undertook charitable works wirh great generosity. The Masonry of Adoption survived the Revolution.
In , the Empress Josephine brought it to life again and, on 16 March , the scientist and socialist politician Raspail made a speech at the Lodge of Adoption called the Amis Bienfaisants. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Grande Loge de France tried to revive Adoptive Masonry and, from to , set up ten workshops with rhis in mind. Outside of France rhere were no female or mixed lodges until rhe late eighteenrh century, alrhough a handful of women haw-usually in exceprional circumsrances-been accepted into male lodges over the centuries.
In the early twentieth century, however, female and "joint" Masonry, linked closely to the French lodges of Adoption and the French tradition, developed in England and rhe States. Today, rhe practice of mixed lodges, known as "co-Masonry", continues to develop around the world, though the all-male lodges of rhe English-speaking world, such as rhe United Grand Lodge of England, absolutely do not recognise co-Masonic lodges.
There have been Freemasons all over the world since the eigh- teenth centuty, but they do not all have the same objectives.
They do not all necessarily recognise one another and their different notions of what Freemasonry is, may cause them to reject one another. Sometimes, in the same country even, some are in prison while others are in power!
In terms of religion, there are Masons who are believers and others who are not. The latter may be indifferent to religion, well-disposed to it, or hostile. In politics they may be anarchists, democrats or conservatives, advocates of a free economy or of a planned one, nationalists or internationalists. They represent every current of thought, except for extremists and religious fanatics. If Freemasonry does influence the life of a city, then the city's active life also influences the lodges.
The history of Freemasonry is a history of the attempts to annex or manipulate it by evety sort of political or religious orthodoxy, by every sort of party that preaches an ideology, and by every sort of pressure group. To understand how Freemasonry works, it is necessary to explore different modes of thought: The symbolism of tools is basically about the act of becoming. In this context, the intelligence of the brain and the intelligence of the heart feed each other.
By the fifteenth cen- tury, Marsilio Picino, who helped establish Florence's Platonic Academy, one of the precur- sory institutions of modern Freemasonry, had already pointed to the fact that brotherhood, or true friendship, can exist only between those who share a desire to learn, whether it be for pleasure, or to gain a better understanding of the world.
The working model for the learned is a logical one, for ideas are the philosopher's raw material. Artisans, on the other hand, transform their raw materials, look after their tools and make new ones, acquire know-how and transmit it. This means there is no dependency or relative order of importance between artisans and philosophers.
They are simply analagous and complementary. Opposite pageo a stone-cutter by Fm11fo;, Sicard showing the working origins of the Masonic order. Masons are described as adding their cut stone to the ediJU;eof humanity.
The Worshipful Master then appoints three investiga- tors, who work in ignorance of one another. Each investigator meets the candidate and drafts a report which is read out in the lodge. Then the candidate's photo, with name, address and pro- fession are put up on a noticeboard in a place fre- quented by all the members of the obedience, so that brethren from other lodges can examine them.
Masonic teaching is known as "The Royal Art", a term which used to be applied to alchemy. Many books exist on this subject, but they are generally so strange and difficult to understand as to infuri- ate any reader who is unused to going beyond the literal meaning of things.
However, there are two aspects of the Royal Art-the tradition from which Freemasons draw most of their symbols- which should encourage us to examine it more closely. The first reveals its central role in the history of human behaviour. Whenever an all- embracing orthodoxy has the power to exclude or kill those who have doubts or ask questions, whenever the pressure to conform is so heavily imposed that dissenters are threatened with death, free spirits have always found the means of sharing and spreading their ideas.
This may involve veiling them in allegory or wrapping them up in thick layers of lies and absurdity. The second aspect, which leads on from the first, places the Royal Art firmly within the history of ideas.
Even today, all the metap,hors which allude to the act of becoming, and which we still now use to describe reality, derive from the vocabulary of alchemy. The act of becoming is a metamorphosis. This concept underscores Masonic thought. A metamorphosis takes place during a journey through different landscapes, among forms and colours, during which each of us is transformed. But, in this context, the term has intentionally been trivialised into the act of putting on a costume and playing a role.
Those who undertake this adventure come out of it with varying rewards, depending on the land- scape they visit, their approach, what they make of it and how much of it they see. A journey of initiation is not. There are no sign-posts. The risk of becoming lost, of sliding back when attempting to go forwards, is what gives life to the unexpected. The intertwining of danger and promise creates the possibility of understanding and allows the idea of freedom to 6 PREFACE be considered a moral value.
What Freemasons have to offer is the notion of a society created around the union of diversity; the opposite of a union of conformity. This book is a collection of the symbolic images which Freemasons encounter on their journeys of transformation.! The texts and illus- trations form an intimate dialogue whose subject is Freemasonry, and which casts light on the rela- tionship between dreams and reality, reason, intuition and imagination.
Anyone who delves into the history of ideas must ask themselves questions about the connections between current ideologies and traditional, timeless representa- tions of the world. Such questions inevitably lead to a study of the symbols of Freemasonry, to watching Freemasons live with these symbols and myths, and to listening to them debate the subject.
They are delighted not to all have the same opinions, for debate is vital to a culture. Freemasonry is indeed a culture and, like all cul- tures, is a living fire where answers fuel new questions. The way in which Freemasonry uses sym- bolism gives us an insight into the word itself.
Masonic symbolism is based on the notion of building: This approach forges a relationship between the physical roads we walk along in the city on our way home and the spiritual paths which in each of us lead between our desires and our thoughts, Freemasons delve into myths in order to understand how the human mind works, with a view to becoming free people, which is to say, people who act rather than react.
During their journeys, they cast aside their layman's rags in order ro don their costume of light and live out different roles. In this way Freemasons are able to experience a reality which is often denied to or simply ignored by those people bound by the prejudices and certitudes of current, fashionable philosophies.
Imagination and reason feed off each other even, and perhaps especially, when they are opposed. Freemasonry's symbols are a part of our culture and of our lives, in the spiritual, intellec- tual and ethical realms as well as in our ordinary daily routines.
It involves thinking about thought and speaking about language. The first degree initiation ritual, that of Entered Apprentice, states: This point must be stressed, because symbolism is so often looked upon as merely a codified language, recognisable to members of the same group and nothing more. It causes us to accept the! The point is to recog- nise reality's true, living nature, to recognise the porousness of the boundaries that separate categories, in other words to "gather what is scattered".
Of course, symbolism can free us from pre- conceptions and knee-jerk reactions, only in so far as it is not dogmatic. If it becomes merely a set of memorised responses to a litany of simplistic equations, such as "this means that", then our spirits will become diminished and alienated instead of being enriched.
The same remedy can either kill or cure us. The difference is a matter of quantity: Symbolism opens the doors of perception when it explores the links between desires and ideas, imagination and reason, the mind which generalises and the mind which dissects, but only if it guarantees both elements their share and doesn't lose itself in comfortable prejudices.
Working with symbolism can have a prac- tical application when it helps us undermine our automatic responses and link words to their ori- gin. It corrects the formation of prejudices which in turn generate aberrant behaviour.
Symbolism is immune from. It does not confuse devotion with mysticism, faith with trust or servility with good will. It teaches us to think cleady and behave better. The Masons' viewpoint can be defined by two ideas which are repeated again and again during all the Masonic rites: It is by responding to these exhortations that progress is made towards objective knowledge.
For the men- tal processes which are needed to develop these theories and their practical applications involve acts of synthesis, association and application. It is these which are vital for the completion of the Mason's project. They indicate the in"'raction between mind and mat"'r and stand for the progression from the ma",rial to the spiritual. The use of symbolism encourages a form of introspection through free association, linking individual and collective history, as well as the laws governing all things.
Symbolists postulate that objective knowledge can only be approached through subjective knowledge, as in the Socratic aphorism, "Know thyself and thou shalt know the world and the gods". Recognising this, Masons explore the relationship betWeen desires and ideas and pick apart all dogmatic statements, even such dogmas as are based on proof.
They explore the different layers of meaning, performing the task urged upon us by Spinoza, when he said, "You say that you have chosen an idea because it is right. Know that you believe it is right precisely because you have chosen it. It is up to you to study and meditate until you understand why and how you are saying the same thing in different ways.
What better proof is there that the use of symbolism gathers what is scattered? Ler us look at them first of all in the context of biology. They are actu- ally techniques for increasing the efficiency of communication or signalling and serve to create a netWork of ties betWeen different members of a group.
In animals, ritualisation is seen to decrease the use of violence. It exists before language. As for human beings, it enables us to look at our- selves from the outside and view ourselves as objects of study. To a biologist, therefore, rites and rituals perform a vital function.