UniversalFreemasonry: The genesis of initiatory Freemasonry
UNIVERSAL FREEMASONRY - The article tries to bring to light how the hermetic-spiritual mysteries of the Illuminati joined the art secrets of the Freemasons, transforming a guild of craftsmen into a huge initiatory container that must be read and interpreted in the correct way.
The genesis of initiatory Freemasonry
«Like any other physical entity, the Corpus massonicum as well is made up by ideas and materiality. It is up to the will of the single adept to let one or the other prevail. The initiate, on the other hand, balances, sums and cancels any differentiation in the whiteness of the synthesis that enlightens his mind.»
The compagnonage of freemasons was a craftsmen Corporation that in Europe was devoted to the building of Temples, Churches and Cathedrals. They were free because in a time of obscurantism and submission their workers were relieved by duties, taxes, feudal slavery and obligations of arms.
In order to do their jobs groups of craftsmen moved from kingdom to kingdom, without particular duties to obey. In this way, by the rule of «up as is down» workmen, stonecutters and carpenters enjoyed exemptions that at the time were a privilege for very few men, all of high descent. The reason for so much esteem was the power of the Order behind them. The minds that conceived Temples and Cathedrals as they had never been seen before belonged to the Templar Order. In the elevation of the gothic style was elaborated the silent sound * that resounds in the inner space of every Temple and Cathedral (the sonorous area). The sound (symbol of God) that vibrated in the handmade stone products (symbol of materiality) became the living symbol of the Great Work of the universe . Every Cathedral (that reflected the precise analogy with an astronomical point, just like the templar Commendam), represented an act made by man for the honor and glory of the Great Builder of the creation.
* on the subject of spaces that resound the researcher can go from the science of sound of Pythagoras , to the analysis on Harmonics by Hans Kaiser , to the present physics of sound or, better still, he can refer to the short essay: “the Stones that sing” by Marius Schneider pref. Elèmire Zolla.
Obviously the art secrets of the masonry Corporations referred to ways of building, carving and engraving. The devotion of those craftsmen, when they were devoted, was towards the stone images and the symbols that they carved with their own hands. Therefore, beyond any mystic legend and considering the transcendent aspect that is at the base of any initiatory order, the origins of Freemasonry didn't have a classic initiatory imprint. They were founded on severe rules of a rigid manual character of the art, they were committed to corporative interests and mutual assistance as it was in the spirit of many other guilds of craftsmen and merchants. The key to the unpredictable development of Freemasonry, then, even on the subjects of transcendence that accompanied the ancient mysterial Mediterranean tradition, is to be found in the oppressing obscurantism of the time.
Intolerance of power persecuted any diversity, vehemently killing any hotbed of illuminism, science and spirituality that wasn't in tune with the sovereign principles and the interests of the Church of Rome. In a time of persecution the privileges given to Freemasonry made it the ideal and anonymous refuge for men on which the shadow of inquisition hung, threatening their freedom and life.
Thirty-three survivors of the Templar Order established the Order of the Consoled Friars (the Rose+Cross) and some of them, together with others, reflowed in the ranks of craftsmen who stayed free and steady (see the article on the Templar Order). The intellectual spark that derived made the Lodges of freemasons a pole of attraction for other victims of persecution who didn't want to abjure their convictions of any nature. Scholars, researchers, experimenters and reformers found refuge in the Lodges, putting their intellectual abilities and spiritual virtues into them.
A renewed eclecticism encouraged ideas that were then transferred into signs and symbols of the fellow masons turning their art jargon into a container of initiatory knowledge. Even though big Orders were destroyed by the barbarism of the times, the ideas that transmigrated into the masons' symbols kept their essence intact. Their meanings were hidden in architectural signs whose geometry seemed meaningless and in decorative art that only appeared as an interpretation of principles of harmony and beauty. Nothing could have been more deceptive. Therefore, despite all, the most pregnant meanings of an ancient initiatory tradition were preserved.
An example can be seen in the constitution of the degree of master mason. When the rose+cross founded this degree they centered the initiation ritual on a psychodrama in which was represented the resurrection of the spirit of a divine Master in the flesh of man , that reminded of the resurrection on earth of the Initiate as it was conceived by the Gnostic mystic. Like this, any other grafting as well joined elements of enlightened intuitiveness to rough manual practices, originating a precious jewel box of ancient knowledge that not everyone knows yet and not everyone wants to know.
Athos A. Altomonte
Re: Universal Freemasonry
UniversalFreemasonry: In Our Most Holy Numbers
UNIVERSAL FREEMASONRY - In Our most holy Numbers is - in the Mediterranean Mysteries - the ritual greeting of the Highest degrees of the Scottish rite. Some might ask why.
IN OUR MOST HOLY NUMBERS
The Scottish Rite is a container of ancient initiatory traditions, often yet to be discovered. An example? The Pramantha , which is the symbol of the 18 th degree, is a Sanskrit word that, in the eastern esoterical culture means « the cold fire of the soul ».
Without going too far in the deep initiatory meaning ( cold fire ), considering the Brahminic root of the word, the first elements that spring to mind are the Rig-Veda (oral tradition) and the Veda (written tradition), which are millenary texts of the ancient Indian wisdom.
This should be enough to confirm the genuine ancientness of some symbolism.
Freemasonry re-proposes the fundament of its secrets (mysteries) through the symbolical structures, the geometrical relations of space, the schemes of architectural forms, acts, steps and words (as it happens for Kabbalah, on the other hand).
These “repetitions” can all be brought back to a common denominator: the Number, which represents the heart and soul of the initiatory Freemasonry. Heart for the meaning and soul for the motion towards abstraction and absolute elevation of the thought. Therefore, if the Number is the heart and soul of every symbolical representation, the Number is also the fundamental Symbol of Freemasonry.
Blue Freemasonry relies on Numbers
1st, 2nd, 3rd, which, in the Number 6, generate the mystery of the Hexagram , s acred to the Initiates and sign of the Great Opera.
White Freemasonry relies on Numbers
- 31st whose reduction brings back the Number 4 that hides the Mystery of the Form: (Quaternary)
- 32nd whose reduction brings back the Number 5 that hides the Mystery of Man: (Pentalpha, and the 5 kingdoms of Nature).
- 33rd whose reduction brings back the Number 6 , hides the Mystery of the Initiate: (the Hexagram, sephirotic symbol of the union between heaven, God and earth, Man)
This reminds us that even though every number and its meaning are sacred, their soul is reduced in the same value and Symbol, which is the ONE.
The scheme above leads us back to the principle that the degrees of the initiatory process are always three, repeated in order to widen the previous concepts. The three degrees, or levels, are represented in the three temples of humankind.
The Temple of Solomon , allegory of the work of humankind for the construction of the «reasoning mind». The balance and the knowledge of the rational soul that builds one's own inner Temple. The inner Temple is the Secret Chamber of the minor initiate, the Laboratory of the spiritual Alchemist.
The Temple of Ezekiel is the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Initiate, the holy perimeter of the heart that surrounds the personal Work. The heart joins all men of good will in a «Fraternal Communion of intentions» that occurs inside a major Work called Great Opera. It is implied in the building of the profane world in the Temple of Melchizedek.
All old doctrines follow the same principle. The levels, stages or degrees of learning are three. In the first, the conscience must learn to dominate the attributes of the physical plane (body, impulses and reason). In the second the conscience must learn to dominate the attributes of the mental plane (the personal self with its levels of thought ). In the third the conscience must learn to dominate itself in order to express the qualities of the metaphysical plane, of soul and spirit.
The three degrees of Blue Freemasonry represent the symbolism of the so-called minor Catechisms. Their counterparts are the three degrees of the White Freemasonry, which represent the major Catechisms. The static form of the unsolved Hexagram is animated by the appearance in its center of the “primogenial logos”, which represents its soul. Once animated, the unsolved Hexagram becomes perfect; just the same as the energetic scheme of Lodge (Eggregore) is enlightened by the 7 Masters that “represent” its ritual ganglia.
In the ceremonial, though, it is necessary to make use of the principles of the holy theurgy in order to go from the symbolic representation to the ritual practice.
In the unsolved Hexagram , sacred symbol to the Freemasons, the three minor Elements of Man (physical, thought and spirit) are intersected with the three major Elements of the divine Work (*note).
This “intersection” is ritually evocated in the sacred greeting of the Masonic High Degrees, which we'll realize in its complete geometry.
As shown in the image, the three aspects of Man can be developed in the three levels of his inner universe. Starting from the shadow at the bottom, which is the metaphor of the physical appearance and of the caducity of mortal beings; these two, though, don't affect the immortality of his spiritual entity.
Here we have, then, OOO Our  HHH Most Holy  NNN Numbers  originating 3 x 3 = 9 (999) . The sacred Number whose meaning is re-veiled (veiled twice) in the exoterical myth of Masonic degrees.
From the Trinity originated by the “Most Holy Number One”, is reflected the Number Two and then the Number Three , the latter being re-absorbed by the Two, just as the Two is absorbed in the One.
In this rule is the metaphysical meaning of the initiatory Work. This meaning allows a point of contact with the universality of the Masonic initiation, not at all administrative.
Athos A. Altomonte
(*note) in the holy Astronomy, the three minor (energetic) aspects of cosmic manifestation interact with the three (energetic) aspects of Divinity. The conjunction is balanced by a 7th element “periodically predominant” which, in a planetary system, is the sun. In the human being the cardiac center accomplishes this regulating function, reviving the six surrounding centers with its quality. We find the same representation in the ceremony for the elevation to master mason, where a predominant element in the initiatory chain “re-awakens” the heart of the Neophyte, reviving him only symbolically. Because modern Masons have forgotten the fundamental principles of the theurgic practice.
Re: Universal Freemasonry
UniversalFreemasonry: Sacredness of Numbers
UNIVERSAL FREEMASONRYThe meaning of every Arcanum is given by the body, the geometrical structure of the symbol, and from the soul, that is the Number. Therefore, for the researcher who wants to interpret the Symbols it is fundamental to understand the origin of Numbers. For this reason we present the introductory comment to the “Sacredness of Numbers” according to Virio.
Sacredness of Numbers
«God geometrizes the universe» - Plato
We know that all the divine creative activity proceeds in accordance with Numbers; that creation itself is a complex context of harmonies ruled by Numbers or by relations which can be brought back to numbers; that the main historical events, those which have a decisive task during human life, are a series of rhythms which are definable and expressible through harmonies of numbers.
Sounds too can be brought back to numbers. Not only sounds «that can be set to music» , but also «articulated» sounds. That is letters and words made by numerical rhythms, which are the creative fundament of one's own language according to the Hebrew culture.
Therefore the name of every person or object can be converted into a number which will reveal its strength, nature, character and destiny.
The common man upsets himself and Nature; he blindly violates the laws and the harmony of creation because he doesn't have any contact left with the divine Wisdom. He acts in a way that doesn't correspond with either divine or natural rhythms. The names he chooses for himself and for things around him don't correspond anymore to numerical values, whose laws he misleads and subvert.
But given that Numbers express different values, relations, rhythms and tensions they can't be understood in the same way. Therefore, according to the different occasions and to what one wishes to know better, it is necessary to maintain their particular study, which can be numerical, geometrical, cabalistic or biblical, but not in the common sense of religious beliefs.
«All things, truly, appear in form of numbers».
Iconography before the middle Ages was liable to rules of holy maths, in which the order, the symmetry and the number had an extraordinary importance.
It was the tradition of the initiatory Wisdom, expression of inner values that followed deep spiritual processes. Therefore every form was considered the covering of a thought which works inside the matter and gives it an appropriate form and it can't be separated by the Idea that creates it and animates it.
The thought originates from an Idea and Ideas express Numbers. The Number is essentially continuous. The Number is infinite!
The infinity towards which man is intent, projects its clearer image in the infinite series of numbers. Western numerology had in Dante its poet. In fact, Dante was an unparallelable Master of the mystic of Numbers.
Numbers are «divine reality». Pythagoras saw the Number as a divine creation: a transcendent vision of the ideal Numbers. It was the “pythagoric revelation” to announce a Universe ruled by Numbers.
«Everything is Number» «Numbers are the essence of things».
Every space is number and Points are essential components of Space.
Nevertheless Indian numerology marked deep wakes in the metaphysical speculations of ancient Greeks.
«Mathematical truth exists outside us».
«Numerical truths subsist independently from senses».
«The Number exists so that the soul can ascend from transitory to perennial and participate the eternity». «The Number must be contemplated until its deepest nature can be understood, with the only help of the mind».
Still today, if we are not closed in the sterile field of material reason, the metaphysical value of numbers and their transcendent meaning can be understood.
Mathematical sciences try and empty numerical concepts from any memory of reality, turning them into abstract creatures, deprived from any concrete objectivity.
Numbers themselves are abstract expressions but their concrete value, their metaphysical nature is in their true and deep, transcendent and immanent reality; that spiritual reality that is the only true existence.
The ancient wisdom considered Numbers under three points of view: practical, scientific and mystical. Computable Numbers, scientific Numbers, divine Numbers of universal Ideas.
The pure Number, or divine number, was the archetype, the ideal model from which the scientific number comes from.
Divine Numbers are the Archetypes of everything. They are prototypes of every manifestation in God's mind. They are the Ideas of the archetypical sphere which, through Numbers, create the geometry of forms, ruling the order in the Cosmos, its rhythm and its balance.
Numbers, thanks to their properties, virtues and relations, reflect in the natural world the Order of the Divine World. Everything, both in the archetypical sphere and in the natural one, is set following an order which progresses by Numbers, because Order is Number, metaphysical Harmony and harmonic correspondence.
Initiates have the task to find again the harmony of this Order, if they want to understand the creative divine Wisdom and become masters, creators and builders themselves.
It is necessary to understand and to respect the Numeric Order, because according to this Order God created the Cosmos, arranged the stars and conceived the human body.
The symbolical use of numbers is found in any people, time and social condition. The symbolic comparison given by the number is a reality of metaphysical order, a transcendental truth and a spiritual process.
«Symbols are pure condensers and accumulators of spiritual forces»; Virio writes in «Arcane Wisdom». Symbols are not simply indicators of forces, but they are forces magically enclosed in condensers.
The Words of Power are sonorous structures of spiritual energy. They are rhythmical contraction of a key formula. This key is harmony of rhythms ruled by numerical orders. It can also be the harmony of only one number whose occult force is sometimes hidden in the form of a symbol.
The Number brings to the relation between terms, between proportion, progression and harmony. Proportion brings to the “rhythm”, that is the periodicity occurring in time and space, building up chains of harmonies and proportions between lengths, surfaces and volumes, up to reach, in this way, the Harmony of creation.
The rhythms of natural energies are the expressions of the spiritual forces which reflect in themselves rhythms of superior orders.
«Rhythm is the perception of periodicity».
As far as time is concerned rhythms are expressed through successions whilst in space they are revealed through the superimposition of several elements.
«Numbers can be perceived in the Rhythms».
In Arithmosophy, numbers make sense when they express the rhythm of spiritual forces, therefore becoming arcana of superior worlds.
«Numbers express relations of different rhythms».
The study of the rhythms assigns sacred features to some numbers rather than others.
The numerical harmony is a complex of rhythms and tunes which are ruled by the same generative principle, even if they are different. Each series of tunes is, or reflects, the process of an arcane spiritual process.
Albert Jounet defines Arcana: «the value of those relations which are reflected from the spiritual world on the natural one»; he adds that: «the character of the number is a high extraction. Therefore the number itself doesn't designate any element of the Great Arcanum, but it's the degree of a correspondence that will designate their value».
As far as the Kabalah is concerned, usually three methods are used to penetrate the «Sod» (mystery) of the sacred Letters and Numbers.
• Gematria, based on the numerical value of the Letters.
• Notarikon, based on the initial, middle and final Letters of the revealed words.
• The Temurah, based on the principle of the transposition of Letters and their combination.
For instance, through Notarikon, the word Pardes, which means “Heaven of the divine Knowledge”, contains four keys for its interpretation.
P – Peshat which means – method –
R – Remes which means - hidden meaning –
D – Derash which means – Doctrine, Truth –
S – Sod which means – Mystery –
«The divine Number is a Model which has character of permanence»; «Unity and the even number exist eternally».
The Number is the essence of things. Each number has its own special expression or physiognomy. And the infinite series of numbers is divided into even and odd numbers.
Even and odd , which are the principles of numbers, correspond to the finite and infinite and they are the principles of everything. The even number, for its symmetry, gives a sense of rest. The odd number, which tends to reach this symmetry, can give a sense of dynamism.
Symmetry can be reached also by the odd number, if its disposition is made in the right proportion. A number with many figures is symmetrical when the same figures read back to front give the same number.
The prime Numbers are so called because they can only be divided by one or themselves, but they have unitary characteristic.
Number two is considered a prime number: it can only be divided by one or itself, that is two. But, since it is an even number, the unity corresponds to its half.
In the numeric symbolism the procession of numbers, which is expression of a creative spiritual process, has a special importance. The relation between some numbers demonstrates how some numbers are made by others.
These are the figurative Numbers.
The pyramidal Numbers are always obtained in association with the value of the «relations» between numbers and numbers: metaphysical relations. Where a close correspondence between number and number exists, the metaphysical relation exists, too.
The perfect Numbers are those whose World is complete. It is a Number which has closed the itinerary of its process, whose perfect rhythm, after having expressed its formation and life, becomes a seal which closes and stops.
The Numbers in relation with the great Arcana or Archetypes are Perfect, the creative Process – 1 – 3 – 7 – 10.
Numbers are considered for their quality value relating to the Reality to which they are referred, with special ability of understanding and deepness of conscience of numerical intuitions or intellectual principles.
We then find the operations or theosophical reductions , which are useful to understand the spiritual value of a number, its affinity and rhythm. According to the Kabalah every Letter has a numerical value which represents a sound expressing a rhythmical movement of the vibration.
500 Kaf final
600 Mem final
700 Nun final
800 Pe final
900 Tzade final
Every number is an emanation of the preceding number and they all come from the One.
The symbolic sense of the number is in relation to its process.
The creative process goes from the essence to the existence, from spirit to matter.
The redemptive process goes from the existence to the return to Unity.
In the creative process every increase of a number marks a step towards the fall into materiality. Whilst in the redemptive process the size of the number shows the degrees conquered in the ascent towards Unity.
The world of manifestation (physical world) is based on two polarities, that is a contrast of forces. Where these forces meet a synthesis occurs. Synthesis as unity, but it is duality which rules every existence. The manifestation itself involves dualism. It involves separation from the primitive unity.
Love is the force of duality. It is the divine force which tends to join the opposite poles and return to Unity. Duality regards any aspect of manifestation, even if all that is manifested is radiated by only one central point which is its principle.
We have then a monism in the essentiality of the Principle, but there will be dualism on all levels of existence.
Athos A. Altomonte
Re: Universal Freemasonry
UniversalFreemasonry: Uniformity as an initiatory instrument
UNIVERSAL FREEMASONRYMan’s behaviour is the exterior expression of his inner status. In the initiate, this status is the antithesis of the conformism lacking in critical sense, which is typical of the profane culture....
Uniformity as an initiatory instrument
Man's behaviour is the exterior expression of his inner status. In the initiate, this status is the antithesis of the conformism lacking in critical sense, which is typical of the profane culture.
Through the search for truth the mason starts working on himself and he learns the use of his own tools with the help of expert masters, up to the point where he can use them «professionally».
Through the «Straight edge» of reason, the «Mallet» of will and the «Chisel» of incisiveness, the mason “learns” to hew the thoughts of the vulgar world, rectifying those meant only for the satisfaction of ephemeral and vain needs.
The result is a balance which stops emotional swinging. Because of the silence of the inferior impulses, the initiate can be in line with his noblest part, as it is represented by the Plumb Line.
Therefore the exterior behaviour is uniformed through the evolution process symbolized by the “smoothing of the stone” which wears out the oscillations of passions and cancels them.
Once he's educated the unreasonable impulses, the mason's attitude is uniformed to the harmony of the initiate; he is beyond any ideological part or faction because he is loyal to the universal principles he's acknowledged in himself.
After having “travelled” in the maze of the vulgar world, the master mason re-lives the initiatory resurrection of Master Hiram. That is the last «representation» offered to him in order to uniform himself with the highest principles of the Three Blue degrees: the spirituality of his initiatory masterhood.
Free from ideological strings and emancipated from the impulses of egocentrism and egoism, the master mason is not only a free man, but also a man capable of benevolent consideration. Therefore the master mason is the Free and Moral Man; not only for the tolerance he's able to express but also for the loving understanding that pushes him in help of those who “travel” with their eyes blinded by the veil of ignorance. It is an obstacle in their conscience which doesn't let them see the light of intelligence, which is not given by culture but by a superior sensitivity. In fact, only thanks to the light of intelligence (intelligere, to see inside) one can penetrate the exterior forms of ritual representations and reach their inner tuning.
Since he is a member of an initiatory Communion, the mason must also observe exterior rules. Examples of these rules are those regulating the “ritual clothing”; it is used to express the initiatory uniformity and to allow to recognize and to be recognized during the activities in the Temple. Furthermore, it becomes the mark of belonging to a Lodge or a Chamber of perfection, or an element of qualification to a degree or a hierarchic level, specifying particular functions and Masonic dignities.
Among the main ritual clothing we find the ‘Clamide' (*) , the Masonic Apron and the Gloves. Together with the jewels and the decorations of Sashes and Collars with the degrees' badges, they are the esoterical elements which are connected the most to the Masonic heraldry.
(*) Clamide is a short men's mantle held by a buckle on the shoulder or the chest.
The ‘Clamide' is not often used nowadays and it's no longer considered as an essential part of the Masonic uniformity. Those who still wear it know that it symbolizes the separation from the profane world; it highlights the annulment of the value of profane clothing which, incidentally, represents an element of obvious inequality.
And again: the colour of the fabric of the clamide is black; its shape is similar to the TAU (T).
In the profane world the colour black reminds of dark, lack of physical light, fear of the unknown and of the death.
Whereas for the initiate, the colour black represents the detachment from the illusory world and the annulment of the diversity which will be completed in the Light of illumination and gnosis.
Furthermore, the colour black is not a colour but the result of the absorption of all the visible lights. For this reason the colour black is used not only for the Clamide, but also for the inside of Aprons and Sashes as a catalyser of the impure energies irradiated by the inferior Centres.
This leads us straight to the consideration of the alchemy in the personal work of the mason: it is a work of transformation of man, which corresponds to the Work in Black and the Alchemic Putrefaction (see the black degrees of the Scottish Rite), whose Sublimation ends in the Work in White (see the white degrees of the Scottish Rite).
Athos A. Altomonte
Re: Universal Freemasonry
UniversalFreemasonry: Esoterical Landmarks
UNIVERSAL FREEMASONRY - Many modern traditions preserve the memory of “old precepts”. Nevertheless, they have narrowed their concepts to suit them to the modern society’s culture. This didn’t happen in the past because profane and initiatory cultures were kept separated and they could meet only through scientific principles. This essay reproposes the reading of some “old precepts”disguised as esoterical landmarks and aphorisms. At the end we add a specific form for admission.
Amongst the modern initiations with the highest historical value that I've known, I would certainly put the so-called primitive first and foremost, because in each of them is preserved an original characteristic of ancient ages of a part of the humankind. Each initiation at that time had a specific goal. It could involve the aspects of courage and strength of the applicant, as in the initiation of the young Masai warriors; it could deal with the supernatural aspect as for the Yaqui, or the Mongols of the deep Siberia which dedicate an offertory ritual to their spiritual Tree. Some other initiations used to be, and still are, of a more practical kind. They concern the ability of survival of the hunter as it happens in the indigenous people of Mato Grosso, the Australian aboriginals or the Inuit, the Canadian people of the “great cold”. They are all initiations which, together with other similar ones, regard man's physical constitution; the social use of his resistance, strength and ability.
On the contrary, in more modern structures of the eastern hemisphere, because of the very reflective attitude of its peoples, originates the barycenter of a complex system of initiations founded on the principle of introflexion. Introflexion and interior research of the physical and hyper-physical realities were the origin of the so-called inner Path. If we observe it from the outside, this path is characterized by three elements: vision in the inner silence, compassion and understanding.
It is taught that: only he who understands can forgive and forgiveness is the highest form of altruistic love.
It isn't correct to say that the so-called inner Path is a prerogative reserved to eastern initiates. It is fair to say, though, that this path didn't attract most of the western postulants because of their extroflexed attitude. When it was experimented, it was always misunderstood and, what is worse, applied in a personal, differentiated and separative way. So much that its realization was left unfinished.
An extroflexed attitude has always characterized the initiatory action of the western hemisphere, where work is done in a practical way, to make it visible and enjoy it tangibly through the pleasure of emotions and senses of taste and touch.
Because of these reasons, the main western initiatory systems were the operative ones expressed in the so-called exterior Path. Even many mystics undertook this path. For most of them the labora (manual activity) was always more effective than the ora (the prayer). And even the most mystical ones, such as Franciscans, Benedictines and Carthusians were not an exception. Other religious people, monks and even popes, went as far as taking up arms to defend their very personal ideal of love and spirituality , drowning in their own and others blood.
Given the circumstances, if exterior activity is the specific quality of the white race it doesn't surprise that the west has become the barycenter of initiatory systems characterized by elements such as action, strength, power of judgement and application of punishment.
If the distinctive sign of the Initiate is the inner development in the fusion between mind and spiritual conscience, it looks like the eastern barycenter is the most suitable to the needs of the aspirant. We could wonder, then, why bother with the imperfect western initiatory system! Why so much energy is spent in a soil which is apparently not dry but rather arid, materialistic and conservative. And also why not undertake the more ancient and deeper path of the eastern initiatory barycenter?
These questions, all legitimate but superficial, need nevertheless an answer. In this instance we won't touch on the subject, even though it is an important one, of the cultural imprinting to which the postulant has been subjected in the previous profane status. The element of imprinting of culture and faith has a primary role in the absorption of values different from those of his original culture. The importance of imprinting can be compared, for analogy, to the ability of the intestine of absorbing several elements for the physical nourishment.
Therefore we will simply say that, from an esoterical point of view of a non-selfish vision , it is important to spend energies in order to allow the outbreak of the synergies sleeping in the pole of activity: here initiation is still exoterical and virtual and there's a lunar representation which slightly reflects the sense of the ancient and burning value whose contents have been tampered with and manipulated. There is, though, an even more «esoterical» reason to move towards this direction.
To say it clearly the problem is: the introflexed or interior Path is a way of non-action and action is as important as interior and spiritual meditation to the initiatory work, as we'll see in the aphorisms. Without action the «spirit» can't find a form to express itself.
On the other hand, too much action without careful planning and depth of intention is a rough, unclean and worthless activity from an initiatory point of view. Therefore we must turn the opposite features of interiority and exteriority into complementary elements, just as we did for masculine and feminine. We must combine them in the conscience of the Initiate in equal amount so that one can't prevail against the other. This balance between exterior and interior, between high and low and left and right joins strength (masculine) and wisdom (feminine), expressing the harmony that is the sum of the two, motion and action.
Modern Freemasonry, like the Church, can't give any direct initiation. Both can be considered as a whole made of notions. We can start by distinguishing the parts that constitute them and progress through their peculiarities.
In this way, Freemasonry will appear as a structured system able to contain, absorbing them in a big summary , all the initiatory experiences occurred in the western hemisphere and not only there .
Although Freemasonry was born as a manual operating system, the convergence of intellectual, speculative and spiritualistic fringe groups brought the idea of an interior way.
The Western Brothers, though, let this initiatory path go through the head and not, like the Eastern Brothers did, through the heart.
Morals, ethics, reason and logic were the elements used at this turning point, which was opposed by many Brothers because of their nature. They tried to bring the «path» back towards the outside, concealing this attitude as tolerance towards the different and charity towards others.
In this way a simplified and exoterical interpretation of complex and esoterical ideas appeared. The memory of the old spirit represented in the ancient Mysteries was kept alive in the Pillars of the temple, though, even with the separation between initiatory and ordinary Freemasonry. The spirit of the Mediterranean mysterial Schools is for many only a memory. Others think it's lost but it has never been actually forgotten. It might sound incredible, but the researcher can find the best traces of the western initiatory history in the initiatory memory of the Eastern Brothers. Otherwise, by developing intuitively his ability in analysis, he can find what he's looking for hidden in the meanings of the initiatory traditions absorbed, for example, in the huge encyclopaedic tree of the Pyramid of the Scottish Rite A A .
Introduction to the concept of esoterical Landmark
Freemasonry appears in two forms: exoterical and esoterical.
The exoterical aspect helps concealing the initiatory aspect hidden by symbolic, mythical and allegorical structures of different origin and language. Besides, the exoterical function is to rule the Order. It governs the institutional divisions through a hierarchy which is never esoterical and manages their strengths and energies. The exoterical aspect also shows to the outside of the Institution the most obvious aspects of its principles. This must happen in the form which is most suitable to the slavish attitude and to the much elastic morals of those who are the target.
Proselytism is used in both aspects.
The exoterical aspect is used to choose those who aim at being «accepted and introduced» in the various degrees of the Order. The esoterical one is used internally to screen the qualities of some adepts and possibly let them join an initiatory education at a superior level.
Each level of the ritual Pyramid is an apparently complete circuit which can be independent as well. The degree of visibility of the connections between these levels marks the difference between esoterical and exoterical education; the result is a completely different overall view.
The depth of the teaching to interpret the meanings of symbols and ritual gestures is different in the two types of education; therefore their results will be different as well. These meanings, in fact, can be limited to an allegorical and representative initiatory reality ( minor initiation ) or they can express real operating abilities ( major initiation ).
The fact that an initiatory representation is virtual or operational doesn't depend on the symbol, the words or the ceremonial used in it, but on the maturity reached by the adept or the Initiate.
Not necessarily every adept wants or can recreate in himself one or more of the levels he has available. Sometimes they are left as dead letter, motionless and useless. The ability to revive their forms depends on the talents that the adept can or want to develop. His advancement is not due to causes like the length of his service, but to the quality of his will and perseverance.
We report below some examples of esoterical landmarks to give an idea of the will and perseverance expected from a true aspirant. Although their account is brief, the esotericist will be able to imagine the level of awareness required by some orders to admit a novice. These orders can be still found today in the biggest summary of the Masonic ritual Tradition.
• The Order of Freemasons is a Communion, or universal Brotherhood based on initiatory Work and planetary co-operation dedicated to the spiritual progress of humankind.
• Its structure is hierarchic with a Base and a Vertex.
• Each of Its fragments is a bond of the Vertex; such Hierarchy doesn't mean constriction but its Order expresses a similarity with natural, cosmic and universal structures.
• The initiatory Order can be represented as:
• A Confraternity of Masons dedicated to erect the Temple of Man.
• An army committed to the fight against the gloom of ignorance.
• A network of Lights and a Corps of guides spread everywhere to watch in the night and direct noble Travellers and Pilgrims.
• A bulwark of Towers guarding the passes that lead to freedom emerging from the profane world.
• A whole of Observers situated in the highest places to scan the sky and its causes.
• A network of Temples dedicated to invoke the Guide of the Great Architect of the Universe.
• A concrete and invisible Government of the initiatory destiny of the world.
• All these functions and more exist in the Order.
• All its Members, even though they are on different hierarchic levels, are in a condition of absolute equality.
• All its Members, even in the hierarchic whole, are «Free» in the Work and Service dedicated to Humankind.
• The whole Order, as one organism, tends to the Common Welfare through the spontaneous cooperation that is the best way to live together.
• All his activities tend to enrich the Knowledge and perfect the Beauty.
• The relationship between all his Members are ruled by the ancient formula: from Heart to Heart.
From an antique admission questionnaire
• Do you possess the firm will to apply to your life the General Principles of the Order?
• Do you accept the Law of the Order or do you think this idea limits the personal freedom?
• Are you willing to renounce personal comforts for the sake of the Order?
• Are you afraid of leaving your habits? Are you scared of travelling towards the unknown?
• Are you afraid of looking different to the eyes of the profane world?
• Are you willing to make the necessary efforts in order to widen your conscience and regenerate it?
• After looking for the truth in several directions, are you ready to anchor your thought to the Pillar of the Order?
• Whoever knocks at our door takes full responsibility for it. Do you feel free to choose?
• Would you be more severe with yourself or the others?
• The initiatory Teaching is carried like the last Fire, the last Food and the last Water. Are you willing to receive it, practice it and transmit it?
• The initiatory teaching presupposes a Master, or better still, an infinite chain of Masters. Can you accept this idea and observe it? Do you believe that the Teaching can be received from a real source even if it is still unknown to you?
• Are you able to tolerate the idea of endless Work? Do you prefer Work or rest?
• Are you ready to accept any task or function that the Brotherhood may assign to you?
• Perseverance is a necessary requirement for a Freemason because there is a lot of Work and many obstacles that renew themselves. Do you feel able to persevere?
• Difficulties are daily events. Can you accept the idea that they are blessed because they allow us to progress and learn?
• The Order seeks and calls those who, once made the decision, are able not to go back anymore. Do you think you can do it? Consider well what you own and you must leave.
• In an initiatory Brotherhood some faults are unacceptable: ignorance, fear, deceitfulness, cupidity, larceny, alcoholism, smoking, obscenity. Consider which of them corrupt you and see if you have the will to destroy them.
• The Order must be accepted in conscience. Verbal statements are not enough. Let the supreme concept of the Order go down your conscience and verify if it is welcomed.
• What brought you here? Explore in your deep self and answer.
• When did you realize for the first time the inconsistency of profane life?
• How does the idea of Master spring to your mind?
• The Freemasons carry out an infinite Work. One life is not enough to accomplish it. Are you willing to welcome the Mastership of the Work and of the Re-creation intended as a repeated and rhythmical descent in the concrete substance to redeem it, reviving it with your spiritual conscience?
• What do you wish to attain?
• What is your distinction between reality and evidence?
• Do you have time to dedicate to your Service and study?
• Since Family is Humankind, Initiates don't give more importance to blood relationships. Are you willing to accept this rule and practice it in your life?
• Who do you consider responsible for your past? Examine the journey you have done so far and answer: who or what originated successes and failures?
• How would you behave if, once accepted in the Brotherhood, you found a fault in the Lodge?
• Every structure and every stage of the building must be tested. Are you willing to undergo sudden and continuous trials and tests?
• Entering a Work environment requires caution and adaptation. Do you have the firm will to abandon your prejudices, your formed ideas and your favourite mental schemes?
• Do you find appealing a life of unknown heroism and sacrifice? Do you feel able to face lack of understanding from the profane world and interior solitude?
• A thousand external dangers undermine the life and Work of the Brotherhood. It is possible to defend yourself against them by continuously watching. It is difficult, though, to defend yourself from internal enemies: traitors. Before you knock at the Door of the Temple think about this statement: to bad brothers we say: «Be scared of the death».Explore yourself in deep and find out if a traitor lives inside you.
• When you think of the Infinite, which is the Homeland of the Order, your heart shakes in fear or bursts with joy?
There is a less accessible Freemasonry that can be entered through the difference between Saying and Being. I brought to you, with my responsibility, an example of interrogations to which you must answer in an ample and satisfactory way. I don't have any hidden goal other than widen your Masonic horizon, so far limited to the three questions on Homeland, Family and Humankind.
The Work of Freemasonry starts with men- initiated-masons and ends with masons-Initiates
The Lodge is a Group of men gathered to work for their perfection.
The Temple is constituted by a Group of souls gathered to elaborate the proposition of the Great Architect of the Universe; the fusion of what is at the top with what is at the bottom.
• Existence of the Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU).
• The GAOTU is expressed as Wisdom (love), Strength (will) and Beauty (harmony).
• The essence of man is immortal.
• The legend of the 3rd Masonic Degree is the allegory of death and resurrection.
• Freemasonry works in Three Degrees.
• Freemasons recognize each other.
• Three are their Jewels: the Square (Reason), the Compass (Intelligence) and the Book of Universal Laws.
• Men are equal.
• Seven Masters make a Lodge.
• The Order keeps its secrets.
• Initiatory Freemasonry is esoterically veiled.
• The Communion of the Freemasonry is ruled by a Grand Master which represents the Spiritual power of the Great Planetary Lodge.
• Freemasons work in formation of Lodge.
• The Sovereignty is of the Lodge, regularly constituted.
• The Landmarks are eternal.
• As Above so Below.
• There is a Universal project.
• Three Masters rule a Lodge triangle.
• Five Masters make an accepted Lodge.
• Seven Masters constitute a regular Lodge.
• Nine Masters create a right Lodge.
• Twelve Initiated Masters govern a perfect Lodge.
• In the five verbs is hidden the secret of the Masonic Work.
• The Order leads from the Darkness to the Light, from Unreal to Real, from Death to Immortality.
Landmarks and fundamental Aphorisms are not a human invention. They have been transmitted to Man since the ancient times of the Guardians of the divine Plan in order to show him the Way of the return, allowing him at the same time to work effectively to the Proposition of the Great Architect of the Universe: the consecration of the matter of the Planetary Logos. The Mater Matter, the Widow of the Spirit of the Great Architect, the Celestial Spouse.
The Guides of Humankind, spiritual Architects, are always in touch with their Manual Workers: those Initiates that work at the Building of the Temple of Humankind. They encourage them, instruct them and provide them with the material necessary to their Work.
Athos A. Altomonte
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