FREEMASONRY AND THE ROMAN SPIRIT
FREEMASONRY AND THE ROMAN SPIRIT
Retarded spiritual stream:
First Roman Empire (Rome) --- Papacy --- Second Roman Empire (USA: New World Order)
Perverted spiritual stream:
Gnosticism --- Manichaeism --- Catharism --- Templars --- Freemasonry --- New World Order
Legitimate spiritual stream:
Gnostics --- Manichaeans --- Cathars --- Protestant/Mystical groups --- Rosicrucians --- Anthroposophers
Look into the manifestations of Evil and there you shall perceive the Good - in torment - striving for liberation
Christ came to earth so that each one of us could find the meaning of our own being - our relationship to the spiritual world - for ourselves in true spiritual freedom. With the Incarnation of Christ the age of spiritual elitism or spiritual aristocracy - the age of priests - came to an end; the seeds were planted for a spiritual democracy. Few lessons stand out more clearly from the way in which Christ dealt with the spiritual authorities in the Holy Land at that time. He referred to those would-be spiritual authorities, the Sadducees and Pharisees, in no uncertain terms. He may have told Peter to feed His sheep, but this was no injunction to perpetuate priestly elitism in the form of a Roman Papacy, although the Bishops of Rome and the later authorities in the Vatican were to take it as such. His disciples, still uncomprehending, may have called Him "master" (Rabboni) but he called them brothers and said that human beings were to become as gods. The spiritual childhood of the mass of mankind was drawing to a close. However, it was to be a very long time - until the Reformation of the 16th century - before this was realised in Europe.
A great historical irony has taken place since the Incarnation, the kind of irony with which history is replete, though this has been one of the greatest of all such ironies. Many of the Gnostics and Manichaeans knew the secret that ultimately, evil is a former good turned bad, and that evil can also be turned once again to the good. Despite the Incarnation and Christ's union with mankind and the Earth, those who could not free themselves from the thinking of the spiritual aristocracy of priests and priest kings - sought to maintain dominance of that aristocracy in the Churches of Rome and Byzantium. Those who had justifiably been the shepherds of mankind prior to the Incarnation wished to remain the shepherds for all time; this is still the intention of the Vatican today. Consequently, they sought to repress those who, either out of a pre-Christian or out of a Christened Gnostic consciousness, wished to find their own path to the divine. This led to the persecutions of 'the heretics' and a centuries-long attempt to snuff out a Christian Gnosis based on the individual's self-enlightenment. From Rudolf Steiner's insights into the deeper structure of history and the evolution of consciousness, it is clear that this effort by the authoritarian forces of the past, doomed though it was in the long term, nevertheless played a vital role in the development of mankind, because without it, the European culture of the West would not have been able to develop a materialistic and scientific society. It would, like the non-European cultures, have remained focused on the spiritual and divine planes of existence Natural science would not therefore have developed and the modern world would not have have developed its rich knowledge of the physical and material aspects of earthly life. This knowledge is essential to earthly man; it is part of the the total process of self-knowledge, but only insofar as we are physical beings. Since we are not merely physical beings but also spiritual beings, physical knowledge must be complemented by spiritual knowledge. One of the most important keys for understanding the history of the modern age since 1500 is the thought that the age of natural scientific knowledge is being permeated with and complemented by spiritual scientific knowledge and indeed, if this process is somehow frustrated and blocked by those convinced materialists who believe that only natural science has validity, then human culture will increasingly be afflicted by sickness and death.
The Gnostic and Manichaean stream with its rich veins of Near Eastern esoteric knowledge of spiritual illumination available to the individual was forced underground as a result of repression by the established Church. Over the centuries it flowed on underground and metamophosed into the streams of the Bogomils and Cathars. With the Crusades, it returned to its roots in the Near East, was replenished and flowed back with renewed vigour into Europe in various forms, for example, in the form of the Templars and their later successors, the Freemasons as well as various later Protestant mystical sects. However, while the Bogomils and Cathars had few friends in high places and were rooted out and exterminated wherever they could be found, the more successful Templars and Freemasons managed to ensconce themselves within the very Establishment of Christendom. The Templars became the elite knights and bankers of Christian Europe, while Freemasonry was ultimately to become the private religion of many in the social elites of 18th and 19th century Europe and America. After the brutal suppression of the Templar Order throughout Europe by the French King Philip IV aided by his puppet, Pope Clement V, the surviving Templars re-established themselves in Portugal, where they became the Order of Christ; in Prussia, where they joined the Teutonic Knights; and especially in the Scotland of Robert the Bruce, where they married into Scottish aristocratic families and, led by the Sinclair family, later midwifed the birth of modern Freemasonry.
And now comes the great irony. A significant part - though not the whole - of this great stream of underground Gnostic esoteric life which had been constantly persecuted by that ghost of the Roman Imperial spirit, the Vatican, and had been constantly struggling against that spirit in innumerable ways, has itself, since the 18th century, metamorphosed into that same Roman spirit: anti-democratic, imperial and aristocratic. This transformation reached its apotheosis with the founding of the United States of America, or better named, the United States of Freemasonry. Such a nomenclature may seem like an exaggeration, but that was how the USA was in fact regarded by many Masons, especially in the period 1775-1830.  The momentous year 1776 - which incidentally also saw the publications of Adam Smith's Weath of Nations, the first volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Friedrich von Klinger's Die Zwillinge (The Twins) and Sturm und Drang, as well as the founding of the Illuminati secret society by the Jesuit-trained Adam Weishaupt - witnessed the foundation of a completely new kind of state, a self-conscious Utopia or Promised Land, forged and led by men who were either Freemasons or who were infomed by the spirit of Freemasonry, a spirit which, by the late 18th century, had become largely non-Christian and was predominantly Deist. The United States was self-consciously founded by Freemasons and non-Freemasons with a New Rome in mind. The early 18th century Freemasonic emphasis on brotherly love and gentility receded in favour of the patrician Roman concept of virtue, which was seen as the glue that would be able to hold together the turbulent social forces of the insecure new Republic. Ancient Rome of course saw a continuous struggle between those within it who wished to maintain Rome's republican heritage and those who looked back to an older monarchical heritage; these latter were the supporters of Roman imperialism, who backed the Emperor against the Senate. The republican tradition was the legitimate and modern historical direction for Rome; it was a step forward in social and political development, whereas the notion of the divine Caesars was a harking back to the past ages of Egypt, Persia, Babylon and the age of oriental despotism. A similar struggle between the imperial and aristocratic element on the one hand and the republican or democratic element on the other hand revealed itself very early on in the history of the United States in for example, the struggle between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Something of the same had been prefigured in the split that broke out within Freemasonry itself in the 1750s, first in Britain, the homeland of Freemasonry, and soon spread to the colonies. The wealthier, more elitist gentlemen of post-1717 Freemasonry, identified with the Hanoverian successionm who became known as the Moderns were opposed by the upstart Antients, whose members often had Jacobite sympathies and were initially drawn more from lower social orders. By the time of the Revolution, the Antients had come to dominate American Freemasonry yet by 1820 they too had become elitists as American Freemasonry enjoyed its golden age of prestige and authority.
Right from the very beginning of the colonisation of North America by the British, there had been this polarity. In Virginia the first royal colony was founded at Jamestown under the aegis of King James I, formerly James VI of Scotland (1603-25), who had himself brought the Templar heritage of Freemasonry south when he succeeded Elizabeth I as King of England. A highly complex character, a dualistic Geminian named by Steiner as the greatest occultist of his day, James attempted to make peace with Rome and the Catholic Powers, was severe with those he considered witches and Puritans, was responsible for the production of the King James Bible, refused to aid the Rosicrucian-inspired Frederick of the Palatinate, King of Bohemia, his own son-in-law, thus unintentinally provoking the 30 Years War, and held strongly to the mediaeval notion of the divine right of kings. Steiner saw James as a symptom of his age in that he had a foot in both the mediaeval and modern consciousnesses. In much of James' life we do indeed see the symptoms of the ancient stream of Gnostic wisdom but his case, as with King Solomon (and James was often called the Solomon of his time), attached to a royal and imperial cause which had its roots in even earlier times. With the Crusades, however, the Gnostic stream had bifurcated into an aristocratic and hierarchical, even priestly element - the Templars - and a more democratic element: the Cathars and those proto-Protestant groups that came after them, such as the Wyclifites, the Lollards, the Brothers of the Common Life, and others who became ever more radically democratic, culminating in the Levellers and Diggers of the English Civil War. James' aristocratic Freemasonic stream put down roots in Virginia and the later southern states of the USA, while the more democratic Protestants arrived in the North on the Mayflower in 1620. Already in that year the seeds of the American Civil War were planted, for the two streams - the one more modern, democratic, and egalitarian; the other ancient, oligarchic, hierarchical - were bound to clash, as they had in their homeland of England.
The result, in 1865, was an inevitable victory for the forces of historical progress. Just as Roman imperialism was doomed to collapse under the weight of its own obsolescence and decadence, so too was Southern aristocracy. And yet within a year, the ancient forces struck back, using the old weapons of clandestine manouevre the Gnostic underground had been forced to rely on during their long centuries of suppression by the Vatican. In April 1866, Albert Pike, a leading member of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the USA was invited to the White House by President Andrew Johnson, "whereupon he was conferred the title of 32nd degree Scottish Rite freemason. Just a few months prior to that, Pike was hiding in Canada, hunted by the U.S. Army for complicity in the Lincoln assassination. Johnson, however, soon pardoned him upon assuming office." . Both in Britain and in the USA in the 18th and 19th centuries, aristocratic, oligarchical and anti-democratic forces working within the hierarchical structure of Freemasonry ensconced themselves within the political establishments of those countries - to what end ? Study of the ideas of the leaders of these forces within Freemasonry reveals that their dream, intention and plan was to create out of Britain and America a New Rome, a new World Empire, a new uniformity of thought and lifestyle that would embrace the whole world. To this end, a new state, the United States of America, was established, the first "world state", made up of immigrants from all over the world rather than just from one ethnic community - a New Atlantis as intended by the British Elizabethan occultist John Dee, adviser to the Virgin Queen, and by Francis Bacon, James I's Chancellor, and ruled by a scientific priestly elite. This is how the Freemasons of the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary generations saw themselves. "Through Washington, Lafayette and other master mins and heroic brethren Freemasonry gave to this country the principles of civil and religious liberty, and has preserved those very 'fundamental laws and principles' which guarantee to all freedom and eqality." The Masons suffered a major setback in the northern States of the Union when their movement fell from grace in the late 1820s and early 30s as a result of the populist Antimasonic campaign which even produced the USA's first third political party, the Antimasonic Party. Although the aristocratic South was not as strongly affected by the antimasonic furore in the North, Masonry suffered a huge blow to its reputation in the USA; membership plummeted and did not revive until the 1850s. The insecurities of the Civil War and President Johnson did much to restore its fortunes, so that by the 1880s Freemasonry was once again at the top of the American social pole. When the 22-story Chicago Masonic Temple was opened in 1894, it was the tallest building in the world and the most expensive.
The aristocratic and elitist social order of the 19th century received a severe setback in the cataclysm of the First World War; in Europe aristocracy could no longer flaunt itself in the way it had done before 1914. Alarmed by the victories of the Communists in Russia and elsewhere, aristocrats and hierarchs in European and American 'democracies' veiled themselves and retired from the limelight. So too did their accomplices and fellow travellers in the Freemasonic movement. Before 1914, Masonic processions and ceremonies in public were common throughout Europe and America. After 1918 they became less and less visible. The trappings of pseudo-mediaevalism were less attractive in the harsh modernist atmosphere of the 1920s. The Craft became tremendously popular in the USA in the 1920s but was forced by the temper of the times to become increasingly secular. The Depression was a hammer blow to American Masonry just as the Antimasonic movement had been exactly a hundred years before. Masonry in the UK, where socialism in the 20s and 30s was a more real threat to middle class values, hid its light under a large bushel of silence and invisibility which continued until the early 1980s when it was forced back into public scrutiny by critical expose books such as Stephen Knight's The Brotherhood . In response, the Masons, led by their Grand Master, the Duke of Kent, were forced into damage limitation PR exercises. In the context of the enormous social changes brought about by the First World War, the oligarchical forces which had been working through the higher echelons of Freemasonry sought new avenues by which they could influence events in a semi-clandestine way. There were the so-called 'thinktanks' and research institutes such as The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), founded 1919 on the back of The Round Table (1910) and the American offshoot of the RIIA, The Council On Foreign Relations (1921). Many more followed and are still with us. These organisations, such as the Bilderbergers (1954), the Trilateral Commission (1973), the New Atlantic Initiative (1996) and the like pretend to be non-conspiratorial and open to public scrutiny, but in fact, their networking and policy-influencing operations, more or less clandestine, are elitist to the marrow. They are merely instruments of applying oligarchical leverage in a democratic age, when the more overtly ancient ceremonial forms of the secretive Freemasonic lodges arouse too much suspicion and are no longer deemed as effective.
Continue to read: