“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Masonic New Year Dates

HAPPY NEW YEAR

TO THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS' - HAPPY 881


TO THE ROYAL AND SELECT MASTER'S - HAPPY 3009


TO THE ROYAL ARCH - HAPPY 2539


TO THE ANCIENT CRAFT - HAPPY 6009






Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." ~Charles Dickens

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lose Your Head - Find Your Heart

Ours is but a journey, some would call us a traveler, our path, a flight of winding stairs.
When we began out journey, we were entrenched in the lower aspects of the mind of our own creation, the realm of the Entered Apprentice.
At this level, as if blinded, we are ego driven individuals, but something in our heart causes us to knock.
“His soul pierces through the shadows of materialism and earthiness toward the Light for which his search has begun. He is prepared for his onward and upward course in Freemasonry.”
In the mind of the Entered Apprentice, the motivating forces, or first three stages of ego are:
Physical survival – meeting the individual’s basic physiological needs so that he or she can survive one more day.
Relationships – meeting the individual’s basic emotional need for love and belonging so that he or she can feel safe and protected.
Self-esteem – meeting the individual’s basic emotional need for respect so that he or she can feel as sense of self-worth.
From the ego’s perspective, all three of these needs are dependency-based. We satisfy them by trying to get what we want from the external world.
Why do so many remain ego driven, and in the dark? Our maps are very difficult to change because our ego is absolutely convinced that its own personal map is the correct view or understanding of reality. As a result, we often find ourselves passionately defending the maps and beliefs we learned in childhood from adults we trusted. We do not often remember how or where we learned a particular belief in childhood because we simply assumed that the adults in our lives knew what they were talking about. We just accepted their wisdom.
The human face of that ego is pride; is arrogant self-importance; is narcissistic self-infatuation; is the need to see oneself as being separate at all times, in all places, through all circumstances, the world of the uninitiated.

It is my belief that the Fellowcraft degree represents transformation, the purposeful move or transformation from ego centered consciousness to soul, or spirit, development. The Fellowcraft Degree addresses the mind and its faculties. We are instructed in the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, which were formulated hundreds of years ago in order to develop and perfect the mental nature. The intention was to prepare the mind for spiritual truths. Light is now beginning to break through.

After one is raised (the symbolic death journey from ego to unity) as a Master Mason, the truth should become self evident of the pitfalls and shortcomings of the ego based consciousness. It is at this level the motivating forces that correspond to the first three stages in the unfolding of the human soul are understood:
Internal cohesion – finding personal meaning in life by uncovering and integrating the motivations of the soul.
Making a difference – acting out the soul’s motivations by making a difference in the lives of other individuals or the community through the expression of our unique abilities.
Service – when making a difference becomes a permanent way of life we enter the path of self-less service

To put it simply, Freemasonry is a path from mind to heart, love, relief, & truth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Masonic Symbols 101 (A MUST)


You have to check out this gentleman’s videos, they are truly informative! If he isn’t a Mason, he sure should be one!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Favorite Metalsmith - Tubal Cain


I couldn’t help but notice the two poems below may look the same, but read them carefully, both were written by Brother Mackey. Although I am sure they were meant to be the same, the endings would certainly convey a different message.

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
In the days when Earth was young;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright
The strokes of his hammer rung;
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork!
Hurrah for the spear and sword!
Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord!"
To Tubal Cain came many a one,
As he wrought by his roaring fire,
And each one prayed for a strong steel blade
As the crown of his desire:
And he made them weapons sharp and' strong,
Till they shouted loud for glee,
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold,
And spoils of the forest free.
And they sang, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain,
Who hath given us strength anew!
Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire,
And hurrah for the metal true!"
But a sudden change came o'er his heart
Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain
For the evil he had done;
He saw that men, with raga and hate,
Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with the blood they shed
In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said, "Alas! that ever I made,
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose
joy
Is to slay their fellow-man."
And for many a day old Tubal Cain
Sat brooding o'er his woe;
And his hand forbore to smite the ore,
And his furnace smoldered low.
But he rose at last with a cheerful face,
And a bright, courageous eye,
And bared his strong right arm for work,
While -the quick flames mounted high.
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handicraft!"
And the red sparks lit the air;
"Not alone for the blade was the Bright steel made";
And he fashioned the first ploughshare.


TUBAL CAIN #2

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
In the days when the earth was young;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright
The strokes of his anvil rung ;
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron growing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang, " Hurrah for my handiwork !
Hurrah for the spear and the sword !
Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord ! "
But a sudden change came o'er his heart
Ere the setting of the sun ;
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain
For the evil he had done.
He saw that men, with rage and hate,
Made war upon their kind ;
That the land was red with the blood they shed
In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said, "Alas ! that I ever made,
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy
Is to slay their fellow-man! "
And men, taught wisdom from the past,
In friendship joined their hands,
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And ploughed the willing lands ;
And sang, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain !
Our stanch good friend is he ;
And for the ploughshare and the plough,
To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lifts its head,
Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for the plough,
We '11 not forget the sword."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Adi Da Samraj (November 3, 1939 – November 27, 2008)

Some of you may be familiar with Adi Da and some may not. No matter, the sad news is that he has passed (30 Non 2008).

The first time I was introduced to the writings and thoughts of this man was through the writings of Ken Wilber. He was a fascinating man, with a true depth. I hope you enjoy some of his thoughts:
“You spend your entire life within the dream, within this vast adventure, to find the princess in the crystal palace and save her from the dragon, or to wait in the crystal palace to be rescued by the prince. You live an endless, endless adventure, millions and millions of ages, year after year after year, of numberless complications. But at some point along the way, you become serious enough to examine your motivation to seek, to examine the cause, the root, for which this goal is only the symbol. At last one realizes that one cannot find one’s symbolic satisfaction. And this falling into one’s dilemma, then falling through it, is the unqualified Intuition of one’s Ultimate Nature and Real Condition. . . . “The waking state promises something relatively undesirable to one who is suspended in the twilight state of a pleasant dream. Such a one is reluctant to understand, too distracted to be interested in understanding. The ordinary reluctance of people is not truly caused by a premonition that the life, or sadhana, of understanding is so difficult. It is only that they do not yet care about it. Somehow, for the moment, everything seems all right. For the most part, the usual man or woman possesses a relatively healthful physical life, with certain satisfactions, certain opportunities, things to do, books to read, a future of places, physical pleasures, mental pleasures. With all of that, who wants to Awaken? And most people come to Me in that condition. Therefore, I do not take them seriously. I know they are only indulging themselves, even if to others the new arrivals seem to deserve only mercy and the grin of promised salvation. When these seekers come to Me, they make all kinds of complaints about their fundamental suffering. ‘Please give me this salvation, this realization, this release!’ But they are not really looking for that. They are unwilling to endure the discipline of Truth.

“There are certain limitations to the entire adventure and pleasure of ordinary life. You know you are going to die some time, but, essentially, mysteriously, life still seems to be full. Thus, Truth is not likely to enter the usual picture without the intervention of some fundamental, transforming event. But if you are smart, if your life is generated with Conscious Intensity, you do not have to become desperate before you will turn to the Truth. Your circumstances do not have to become empty, corrupted, and diseased. You do not have to wait for the failure of life itself before you will turn to the Truth. Someone who is waiting for life to disprove itself is only indulging himself or herself. There is nothing profound about the search or suffering of such a one. But if one is smart, if one’s life is an intensity, one is always turning to Truth from birth. . . .
“When you become less concerned for your particular search, for your inwardness, for your adventure, you have simply become more sensitive to your Real Condition. You have felt the sunlight falling on your sleeping eyes. When your eyes have opened in the morning light, everything will be obvious to you. And you will know that you have never slept, that you have never dreamed, that you have never been limited to any thing that has appeared. You have never been in any condition that you have assumed. There was always only Reality Itself, your True Nature, Which is Love-Bliss, Consciousness, the Unqualified Intensity.”
–Adi Da, The Method of the Siddhas, pp. 261-265



How about a different point of view on LIGHT!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vampires In America?

Would you consider this the dumbing down of America?

In 2005, Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University awarded Hannity an honorary degree, the Nobel for dummies.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Is So Evil About The Rights of Man

Give a man a pen and you will never know what he may write. As I was exploring the tie between naturalism and Freemasonry, I happened upon this article below. What I found interesting was how the author states, “the Declaration of the Rights of Man had been conceived and elaborated in the Masonic lodges before it was presented to the States-General of France. Accordingly, the infamous Declaration, a naturalistic or anti-supernatural document, is in reality a declaration of war on membership of Christ and on the whole structure of society based on that supernatural dignity.”
After you read his opinion, please read the Declaration and ask yourself what are they so afraid of?

Father Denis Fahey (1883-1954)a priest who resided in Ireland his entire life, explained some aspects of Judeo-Masonry this way:
There is unorganized opposition to the supernatural life of grace in each one of us, owing to the fall. This unorganized opposition of individuals leads to the formation of little anti-supernatural groups here and there, even without the concerted action of vast organized forces. The existence of united anti-supernatural action on the part of organized bodies is so far removed from the mind of the average Catholic that it needs to be stressed particularly and its aims made clear. The Christian framework of society is destined not only to aid us in attaining union with Christ but to serve as a bulwark against the assaults of the forces organized against our supernatural life. These forces are three in number, one being invisible, the other two visible. The invisible host is that of Satan and the other fallen angels, while the visible forces are those of the Jewish nation and Freemasonry.
(my note: The word for Satan in the Old Testament Hebrew was ha-satan which meant "The adversary." In the Old Testament, Andrew Collins tells us that "this term is used exclusively to describe either the enemies of God or the enemies of the Israelite race in general. Never is the Devil referred to as the evil one. Not until the advent of the New Testament...does the term ha-satan take on the all important role. At this point, Satan becomes an angel fallen from grace and expelled from heaven" (1).
Dr. George Lamsa, now deceased Aramaic scholar, also confirms that the term Satan simply means adversary or evil intent. It was NOT a literal person. It started out as a term to describe anyone who was an enemy or in an adversarial relationship, and was finely honed down into a literal being in the New Testament.)


More from Father Dennis Fahey:
The Jewish nation is not only a visible organization, but its naturalistic or anti-supernatural character is openly proclaimed by its refusal to accept the supernatural Messiahs and by its looking forward to a naturalistic messianic era. The Masonic society or group of societies is a visible organization, but its naturalistic or anti-supernatural character is secret or camouflaged. The naturalism or anti-supernaturalism of its aims, as well as of its ritual and symbolism, is clearly grasped by only relatively few of the initiated. The pantheistic deification of man, which is the consequence of this naturalism, is the supreme secret of Freemasonry. Both of these visible societies, however, make use of subterfuge and secrecy in their modes of action against the supernatural life of the nations of the world. Accordingly, the most vitally real struggle in the world is that waged by those naturalistic or anti-supernatural armies, under the leadership of Satan, against those who accept the supernatural life of grace, participation of the life of the Blessed Trinity, under the leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ. (From Chapter 5, The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation)

(Pope Leo giving the peace sign)


In his Encyclical letter on Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII teaches authoritatively: “From what we have already set forth, it is indisputably evident that their [the Freemasons’] ultimate aim is to uproot completely the whole religious and political order of the world, which has been brought into existence by Christianity, and to replace it by another in harmony with their way of thinking. This will mean that the foundation and the laws of the new structure of society will be drawn from pure naturalism.” Now, it is historically certain that the Declaration of the Rights of Man had been conceived and elaborated in the Masonic lodges before it was presented to the States-General of France. Accordingly, the infamous Declaration, a naturalistic or anti-supernatural document, is in reality a declaration of war on membership of Christ and on the whole structure of society based on that supernatural dignity. The same naturalistic hostility to membership of Christ and the supernatural life of grace runs through all the documents concerning human rights drawn up under the influence of the organized forces that were responsible for the Declaration of 1789. That is the real struggle going on in the world, and in it every member of Christ is called upon to play his or her part. There can be no neutrality. “He that is not with me is against me” (St. Matthew XII, 30.) -- (From Chapter 2, The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation)


(This sure makes our fraternity look bad. That is until you actually read the Declaration of the Rights of Man!)

Approved by the National Assembly of France, August 26, 1789
The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man, in order that this declaration, being constantly before all the members of the Social body, shall remind them continually of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, as well as those of the executive power, may be compared at any moment with the objects and purposes of all political institutions and may thus be more respected, and, lastly, in order that the grievances of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all. Therefore, the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:
Articles:
1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.

2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.

3. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.

7. No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law. Any one soliciting, transmitting, executing, or causing to be executed, any arbitrary order, shall be punished. But any citizen summoned or arrested in virtue of the law shall submit without delay, as resistance constitutes an offense.

8. The law shall provide for such punishments only as are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one shall suffer punishment except it be legally inflicted in virtue of a law passed and promulgated before the commission of the offense.

9. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner's person shall be severely repressed by law.

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.

12. The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces. These forces are, therefore, established for the good of all and not for the personal advantage of those to whom they shall be intrusted.

13. A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.

14. All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes.

15. Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.

16. A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.

17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified.
(I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How About A Little Fear

Are you afraid?
According to the boob tube, and just about every other talking head that works behind a microphone, you should be afraid.
Just the other night, as I was lying in bed, I was listening to one of the late night radio talk shows featuring the author/minister of the Purpose Driven Life. As I lay almost asleep, I thought I heard him say something disturbing, but I wasn’t actually sure.
I woke myself up, turned up the radio and listened intently.
I’ll be dammed if he didn’t say it again!
Not believing what I just heard from a minister, a so-called man of G**d, and
because the hour was getting late, I wrestled my mind to a manageable level and drifted of to sleep.
The essence of his babble was, no matter how good you live your life, no matter what good you do for humanity, even if you live a truly spiritual life dedicated to humanity, if you are not a Christian you are going to Hell.
And this is from a man of G**d!
This talk show made me think, not about the idea of Christian dogma, but about the idea of fear, how fear has become so prevalent, controlling, and addictive, and in Pastor Warren’s world G**d was using fear to control, if you didn’t believe his son was the savior you were doomed, no matter how just and compassionate you were. How absurd!
One need only look at the body and mind experience when one experiences fear, the body and mind go into fight or flight response, a natural response to and for the survival of all sentient beings, or Darwin would say the species.
As a meditation teacher, it has been my experience that the ability to access higher states of consciousness is near impossible when the body and mind is in fight or flight. In essence, you are functioning from your lower primal consciousness, a consciousness that is contracted in self, what I would call the little mind, totally egocentric.
One need only look around, and listen, people are living fearful lives. The boob tube is filled with talk show hosts using words like terrorist, WMD, recession, unemployment, Hell and on and on, all causing viewers and listeners to shrink into primal consciousness. We have preachers and pastors scaring the shit out of already paranoid people telling them of the gloom and doom that awaits those that do not believe in their absurd doctrines. Look at the faces of those walking through the aisles of stores and shopping centers, how many are smiling?
Not many, they are all stuck in their primal conscious, afraid to open up to the unity that is the real G**d, you call that a purpose driven life.
Misery loves company!
In closing, to those that believe only a certain few will rise to heaven, enjoy your little mind, as for me, I’ll see you all in Nirvana!




Recommended reading: Our Animal Instinctual Passions in the Primitive Brain

Friday, November 28, 2008

Feeling A Little Sad Today

As I watched the events unfold in Mumbai the last couple of days, I felt ill. Do not get me wrong, I know that ignorance has been around as long a recorded history, but when are we going to look at ignorance as the disease it is and attempt to find the cure?
As I searched the web for answers, I came across this wonderful insight on the International Association of Sufism website:
"There is always someone who, desirous of power and craving bloodshed, actively manipulates others by fanning the flames of misdirected religious fervor. The only solution when this kind of virus attacks the body of the whole, is to rely on the immune system to return health to the body, which in this case is wisdom.
We must ask ourselves: what condition nourishes the anger, hatred, greed, and other harmful qualities of those who like conflict?

The answer, quite simply, is ignorance. They remain on the superficial level, allied to names, impressed by titles, and bound to inherited systems of belief, and can easily become trapped in a tower of preconceived ideas that's mortared by their own imagination. This tower becomes a strong fortress, which they feel a primal urge to defend. They think that what they believe is right and what others believe is wrong and they look for evidence to prove their "rightness." Yet anyone who is trapped in this tower is wrong, for the fortress is an illusion.
Do we want to live in peace? If so, we each must search beyond titles and inherited systems of belief - all those things which divide us - and begin instead to truly practice Islam: submission of the false ego to the One, the source of mercy, peace and love. In such a state of unity, a state which must be actualized within, internal and external fractures heal, labels lose their meaning and power, and divisive ideology melts away."

The International Association of Sufism

"War is as outmoded as cannibalism, chattel slavery, blood feuds, and dueling, an insult to God and humanity...a daily crucifixion of Christ." -- Muriel Lester
Muriel Lester accompanied Mahatma Gandhi on his tour of earthquake-shaken regions in Bihar on his anti-untouchables tour during 1934.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There Is An Alien in Indra’s Net

(Image: Now this is what I call a checkered floor!)

As much as I try, I just cannot seem to get away from those darn conspiracy theorists. I am not kidding, it does not matter what subject I attempt to research on the web, they pop up everywhere.
Do not get me wrong, I do find most entertaining, especially the ones about Freemasons being controlled by the invisible Illuminati (6,410,000 hits located on Google), but please, how is a grown man suppose to research various philosophers’ when the web has become a haven loony tunes?
As one who believes we are all connected, and the only reason individuality exists is because of perception, I am perplexed why parts see the world as a mass conspiracy and base their intelligence on something somebody told them, which was probably erroneous and unverifiable in the first place.
Now I realize it is not my place to set the record straight as far as Freemasonry goes, even though I know it would be fun, it would be a fool’s game and only fall on deaf ears.
I enjoy a good fairytale as much as the next man, so much so I even bought some light reading by an author named David Icke (1,100,000 hits located on Google), now I no we are in trouble! Since I paid the money, I read the book.
I really do not think it would serve any purpose reviewing what I read, at least intellectually, and please do not buy it, it would be better to give your money away. Let me just say it was entertaining in a dumbing down way, if you actually believe in the alien domination.
I sure hope he donates some of his profits to doing some good on the planet (at least before the aliens take over).

Just the other day I had a young man sitting in my chair (I cut hair), and he started asking me questions about our impending doom. He was sure the Mayans had foretold the end of existence by 2012 (3,520,000 hits located on Google). I’m not sure, but for some reason this young lad seems to think I have some direct pipeline with the overlords and usually comes in with the strangest conspiracies.
As I reassured him that the world would still be around in 2012.
He had a tough time believing me. I told him I believed the only reason the Mayan calendar stopped in 2012 was because the calendar makers had to stop some where. Imagine spending a whole life making calendars, how boring.
After his haircut, I gave him my used David Icke book.

For all those crazies that actually believe that they are the center of the universe:
In an interview with Phil Donahue in 1984, Brother Norman Vincent Peale said: "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine. ... I've been to the Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere." Donahue exclaimed, "But you're a Christian minister; you're supposed to tell me that Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life, aren't you?" Peale replied, "Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere."
That a boy Brother Norman!
If Phil would have interviewed me I would of told him about the Avatamsaka Sutra
(Avatamsaka Sutra, Indra 2,190 hits located on Google)
Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net, which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it, stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a remarkable sight.
If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but also each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Climbing Jacob's Ladder - The Ladder of Freemasonry

image by "A Son of the Light"
Long before I became a Freemason, I had always been fascinated by the esoteric symbolism of the ladder. In fact one the very first blogs I had ever written was about the imaginary ladder all sentient beings existed on.
Sadly, I erased the blog, so I'll try to give it another shot.
As I said, all of us are living on this imaginary ladder, let us call it an invisible magical ladder. Now just because you cannot see it, don’t think it does not exist, let me help you envision it.
This magical invisible ladder is made out of wood, natural and organic. It reaches high, and I mean really high, so high the builder of this ladder knew that in order to hold all of humanity this ladder would have to be designed with the maximum amount of support. To allow for the growing population, and just in case of stagnation by certain climbers, the creator decided the ladder would be larger at the bottom, and slowly narrow towards the top.
So here, we have this huge ladder, made of invisible wood, large and wide at the bottom, narrow at the top, reaching towards the symbol of the creator, who we will call the G.A.O.T.U. (Remember the symbol, the Sun, hot, radiant, and light.)
The reason the ladder exists, to climb. Where are we going? To merge with the ultimate (or you can call it Nirvana, Christ Consciousness, or whatever unity principle you decide to choose).
So here we have ALL of humanity on this invisible magic ladder, each and every one of us. Yet not all of us are on the same rung. Some have climbed closer to the Sun, while others have chosen to stay put. Some people like to climb, others don’t, and the truly spooky ones are the ones that think they have climbed to the top when they have really only climbed a few rungs. When you encounter these non-climbing individuals, watch out, they will try like Hell to convince you that where they stand is the path.
Sadly very few will ever make it to the top, the ladder assuredly gets narrower and steeper as you climb, there will be less and less helping hands as you climb, due to the fact too many individuals get hung up for various reasons on certain rungs.
Have you ever wondered why people say “I don’t get it.”, its because we are not always on the same rung.
Now let me tell you about something I fear.
Remember, our invisible imaginary ladder is made out of wood, climbing to the radiant heat of the Sun. What would happen if too many individuals are stuck on a certain rung of the ladder, say the ignorance rung? How would the Sun penetrate through the mass of ignorance, without the heat of the Sun the invisible magic ladder would surely rot?

The image on this blog was created by me, agree or disagree it is something to think about!

The following are ladder references from various Masonic sources.

LADDER. A symbol of progressive advancement from a lower to a higher sphere, which is common to Masonry, and too many, if not all, of the ancient Mysteries.

LADDER, BRAHMINICAL. The symbolic ladder used in the Mysteries of Brahma. It had seven steps, symbolic of the seven worlds of the Indian universe.

LADDER, MITHRAITIC. The symbolic ladder used in the Persian Mysteries of Mithras. It had seven steps, symbolic of the seven planets and the seven metals.

LADDER, SCANDINAVIAN. The symbolic ladder used in the Gothic Mysteries. Dr. Oliver refers it to the Yggrasil, or sacred ash tree. But the symbolism is either very abstruse or very doubtful.
LADDER, THEOLOGICAL. The symbolic ladder of the Masonic Mysteries. It refers to the ladder seen by Jacob in his vision, and consists, like all symbolical ladders, of seven rounds, alluding to the four cardinal and the three theological virtues.

In the Persian mysteries of Mithras, there was a ladder of seven rounds, the passage through them being symbolical of the soul's approach to perfection. These rounds were called gates, and, in allusion to them, the candidate was made to pass through seven dark and winding caverns, which process was called the ascent of the ladder of perfection. Each of these caverns was the representative of a world, or state of existence through which the soul was supposed to pass in its progress from the first world to the last, or the world of truth.

Among the Kabbalists. the ladder was represented by the ten Sephiroths, which, commencing from the bottom, were the Kingdom Foundation, Splendor, Firmness, Beauty, Justice, Mercy, Intelligence, Wisdom, and the Crown, by which we arrive at the En Soph, or the Infinite.
From the illustrated manuscripts of St. John Climacus — one of them shows monks climbing the heavenly ladder of virtues and welcomed at the top by Christ or by an angel, while winged demons try to pull them down and make them fall into the jaws of a dragon below, which represents hell.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beauty - The Active Principle - The Active Pillar

“The Masonic Lodge, bounded only by the extreme points of the compass, the highest heavens, and the lowest depth of the central abyss, is metaphorically supported by three great pillars, which are denominated WISDOM, STRENGTH, and BEAUTY: because there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings.” (General Ahiman Rezon, by Daniel Sickels, [1868])

That sounds about right at least that is what we are taught. However, what if wisdom, strength, and beauty had another elusion.
In this blog, I thought it would be fun to look at the pillar of “Beauty”, and maybe shed a different light on one of the three lesser lights.

“Beauty to adorn, all great and important undertakings”

I do not know about you, but the statement above seems a little vague, not all undertakings are beautiful. Why use the word “Beauty”?

For those who know me up close and personal, I bet you sense where I may go here, and you are right. Let us look towards the deeper meaning of “beauty”, and a good place to start is the *Kabbalah. In fact, we are heading smack dab into the center, the center of God’s chest.
If you’re not familiar with the Kabbalah, trust me, if you research carefully you will find many believe Freemasonry and Kabbalah share many common denominators. Check out this small description from The Kabbalah Center website:

Kabbalah is not a philosophy or theosophy. Kabbalah is work to be done. The kabbalists of the past were people of action, not people of theory or philosophy. They were constantly traveling from town to town, giving charity, and assisting people in creating better lives for themselves.
I am sure I’ll be addressing the similarities down the road, but for now, let’s take a look at the word beauty from the perspective of the Kabbalah and see if it could be applied to our understanding of the symbolic pillar of Beauty.
In Freemasonry, Mackey states:
Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty were honored by them as supporting pillars for the perfect accomplishment of the works; and thence they considered them symbolically as essential pillars for the support of the Lodge. Wisdom, which, established on science, gives invention to the artist, and the right arrangement and appropriate disposition of the whole and of all its parts ; Strength, which, proceeding from the harmonious balance of all the forces, promotes the secure erection of the building; and Beauty, which, manifested in God's creation of the world, adorns the work and makes it perfect."

Of the three pillars, wisdom, strength, and beauty, beauty according to the description above
“adorns the work and makes it perfect."

If we use wisdom and strength in our endeavors, the result should be beauty, but I contend “Beauty” is actually an active principle. (As is Wisdom & Strength)If we look at the Kabbalah, the sixth sefirah, Tiferet represents beauty and is associated with the center of God's chest.
Tiferet (tiferet -- which literally means "beauty" or "glory”) is the force that integrates the sefirah of Khesed ("Compassion") and Gevurah ("Overpowering"). These two forces are, respectively, expansive (giving) and restrictive (receiving). Either of them without the other could not manifest the flow of Divine energy; they must be balanced in perfect proportion (by sharing), and this is the role of Tiferet, wherein the conflicting forces are harmonized, and creation flowers forth.
As you can see, Beauty as in the Tiferet is the active principle.

“as harmony is the strength and support of all institutions”

Chesed has an innate "ideology" of goodness (loving-kindness). It wants to give for the sake of giving. It sees in this the ultimate goal, and the more one gives -- regardless who is deserving -- the greater and better things.
Gevurah, on the other hand, sees giving as poisonous (judgment) . Only things earned by equal and fair labor are "good." Thus, it has a powerful ideology of "quid quo pro" and "no free lunches." It sees the ultimate goal of creation as every creature earning its own way.
Tiferet comes along creating a synthesis of both of these approaches. It includes both these approaches because it has a broader goal in mind, and therefore makes use of both. Its goal is "the development of the human being to his greatest potential." (Kabbalah 101 Aish.Com)

I have almost finished reading a real good primer on the Kabbalah, “Nano: Technology of Mind over Matter” by Rav PS. Berg. I recommend it highly!

*Kabbalah — the world’s oldest body of spiritual wisdom — contains the long-hidden keys to the secrets of the universe as well as the keys to the mysteries of the human heart and soul.


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Friday, November 7, 2008

Walt & June Cleaver Are Dead

There can be no denying Freemasonry has to change, as does the Republican Party. Before you go off in a tangent thinking I am linking the Freemasons with Republicans, I am making the case they both suffer from “trying to bring back” a bygone time.
For the Republicans, it seeks the days of white picket fenced homes, Ozzie and Harriet, and Walt and June Cleaver.
For the Freemasons, it was a time when the who’s who all joined the fraternity.
Both seemed to have lost sight of what there true intention was.
At its founding, the Republican Party was hardly a conservative party in the typical sense. Abraham Lincoln led a party that smashed the institution of slavery, waged all-out war, suspended and amended parts of the U.S. Constitution, launched a hugely ambitious social program known as Reconstruction, imposed a short-lived progressive income tax, as well as creating a national banking system, a Department of Agriculture, and a system of land-grant colleges. Here is how Lincoln himself, in his Second Message to Congress, characterized his party's governing philosophy: "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."Lincoln once described the difference between the Democrats and Republicans of his day as follows: Democrats, he wrote, "hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar." Lincoln, of course, was referring to the slavery debate and the claim of Southern Democrats to hold a property right in their slaves.
Is this the Republican Party of today?
That is not to say they have to look back, on the contrary, "As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
As for the Freemasons, I ask what our true intent was. Was it all about our numbers?
Was it all about charity and morals?
Do I know the answers, no, but I do know we have to change, or die.
We have become a more diverse society; does your lodge reflect this diversity? By some estimates, when the year 2040 arrives the white population will be a minority in America, shouldn’t Freemasonry also reflect this shift?
These are all questions we need to address, questions very few are willing to confront.
We are Freemasons, builders of a better temple, recently on Masonic Central I heard a speaker discussing Masonry of the past, a time when all the who’s who were masons, a time this gentleman thought we should return. It was his opinion that we needed to throw more black balls. I respect his opinion, but I fear this elitist attitude is dangerous. (By the way, I highly recommend the pod-casts; they are extremely insightful and fun.) We are creating a better temple, not a temple for a select group.
Our original masons were philosophers, theologians, scientists, and thinkers. At the time the world was masculine, women could not break through. Today we have women philosophers, theologians, scientists, and thinkers, why are we excluding a group because they bare children? (Talk about a hotbed issue!) What is it we are so afraid of?

"Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." -- The Kybalion.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Six Blind Men & Freemasonry

What is Freemasonry” is the question I am often asked by newly made masons, and by others outside the fraternity seeking answers, a question not so easily answered considering most Freemasons actually don’t know.
When I am asked the question I usually tell them the parable of “Six Blind Men and the Elephant”, the elephant represents Freemasonry and the blind men are Masonic brothers. For those that haven’t read the parable:

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village.
One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant is.
They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway."
All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no, it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no, it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated.
A wise man was passing by and he saw this.
He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like."
Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like.
The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said."
"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

I must admit, I am also one of the six blind men, and my slant on Freemasonry borders on what freemasons would call “fringe masonry”, a label I wear proudly.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sacred Geometry - Give It A Try

You have to check out these great videos!!

(by Charles Gilchrist)


The Story of the Ritual Cat


When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Freemasonry & The Elements (Alchemy)

Here is a little of something I am working on.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"They Will Kill Me" & The Buddha's Barber

I must admit, this truly happened to me the other day:
For those that do not know me up close and personal, I cut hair. Well, the other day I was cutting the hair of a very young man, of maybe ten years old. Beside me, overlooking stood his father, when the little one said to me “They are going to kill you!”
Looking at his reflection in the mirror, I asked whom.
“The Freemasons.” he responded sure in his answer.
I knew instantly he must have seen my ring and laughed gently.
I told him I was safe, and that I was a Freemason.
He told me, “They will kill you for saying that.”
All I could do was laugh; his father bowed his head and shook it back and forth.
From the mouth of babes!

The following is a tale of another barber. If your into meditation the story will resonate, if not, think about the message.

Buddha Gets a Haircut

Upali was born in a family of the Sudra caste so he was destined to be a slave. In ancient India, outcasts led a dog's life. An outcast must kneel aside if he happened to see the Brahmin or Ksatriya on the road. He must not peep at them; otherwise, his eyes would be dug out. If he argued with the Brahmin or ksatriya, his tongue would be cut off.
Outcasts were not allowed to receive education and hence when Upali grew up, his parents asked him to learn the skill of hair cutting to support himself. Upali was attentive and obedient hence he mastered all types of cutting in a short period. Then his parents asked someone to help arrange Upali to the palace and Upali became the barber of the princes.
Princes such as Prince Bhaddiya and Prince Aniruddha had their hair cut by Upali. They liked Upali as he handled their hair with extra care.

When Upali was twenty years old, Buddha returned to His hometown, Kapilavatthu. That was three years after the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Upali was recommended to do the haircut for Buddha. He was overwhelmed by the unexpected favor but hesitated to accept the honor, as he knew the Buddha was the Great Enlightened One and He possessed thirty-two Marks of the Saint. So he asked for his mother's advice.
His mother comforted him and said that the Buddha was benevolent and He would not despise outcaste. However, Upali was still afraid of going despite his mother's assurance. His mother could not do anything but accompanied him to do the haircut for the Buddha.

The next day, Upali, in the company of his mother, did the haircut for Buddha.
After a while, his mother knelt before Buddha and asked, "Lord Buddha, what do you think of his skill?"
"He bows too low, "
replied the Buddha.
Upali straightened his back when he heard this.
It was said that he attained the first stage of meditation.

After a while, his mother knelt down and asked,” Lord Buddha, what do you think now?"
"His body seems to be too straight,"
replied the Buddha.
When Upali heard this, he concentrated his attention and it was said that he attained the second stage of meditation then.

After a while, his mother asked the Buddha again, "Lord Buddha, what do you think of his skill now?"
"He breathes in too fast," replied Buddha.
When Upali heard this, he concentrated his mind on breathe-in and breathe-out. It was said that he attained the third stage of meditation then.

His mother asked Buddha again, "What do you think now?"
"He breathes out too fast."
replied the Buddha.
Now, Upali was mindful of breathing in and out and he did not know what he was holding a razor. It was said that he attained the fourth stage of meditation.

On the instance, the Buddha asked the Brethren to prop up Upali so that he would not fall down.
We could learn from here that Upali was very attentive in his work. He was strict with himself and could listen to people's criticisms with an open mind. Hence, he was pre-eminent among those who knew the disciplinary rules by heart.

Upali became one of the ten chief disciples of the Buddha. He asked the Buddha if a person of "low birth" such as he could join the order. Buddha ordained him before the princes and asked the princes to pay homage to Upali, who by then had become an Arhant with Buddha's sermons while Buddha was getting a haircut. He became the chief disciple in knowing the rules of the order and the foremost disciple in keeping precepts. .Later he became Buddha’s chief disciple on Vinaya (Monk Rules)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Saint John For Your Consideration

June 24th, the Nativity of St John the Baptist, is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church, and an important day in the life of freemasons. However, do you realize this is also the birth date of another Saint John, a widow’s son?
Born, Juan de Yepes Alvarez, his father died when he was young, John, his two older brothers and his widowed mother struggled with poverty, moving around and living in various Castilian villages, with the last being Medina del Campo, to which he moved in 1551. There he worked at a hospital and studied the humanities at a Society of Jesus school from 1559 to 1563.
Make no mistake, I am not implying anything by this coincidence, I am just bringing your attention to an interesting saint.
In 1564, he professed as a Carmelite and moved to Salamanca, where he studied theology and philosophy at the University and at the Colegio de San Andrés.
There can be no doubt that Saint John was influenced by Fray Luis de Leon, who taught biblical studies at the University. León was one of the foremost experts in Biblical Studies then and had written an important and controversial translation of the Song of Songs (The Song of Songs is thought by some to be an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel as husband and wife.)
Speaking of Solomon's Song of Songs, Akiba ben Joseph states: "Heaven forbid that any man in Israel ever disputed that the Song of Songs is holy. For the whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Writings are holy and the Song of Songs is holy of holies."
Saint John was ordained a priest in 1567, and then indicated his intent to join the strict Carthusian order, which appealed to him because of its encouragement of solitary and silent contemplation. Before this, however, he traveled to Medina Campo, where he met
Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Carmelite nun and a Spanish mystic.
Followers of St. John and St. Teresa differentiated themselves from the non-reformed communities by calling themselves the "discalced", i.e., barefoot
Thomas Merton called John of the Cross the greatest of all mystical theologians.

I recommend, if you have not already, read his poem, Dark Night of the Soul, a journey of the soul from her bodily home to her union with God. It happens during the night, which represents the hardships and difficulties she meets in detachment from the world and reaching the light of the union with the Creator. There are several steps in this night, which are related in successive stanzas. The main idea of the poem can be seen as the painful experience that people endure as they seek to grow in spiritual maturity and union with God. From Wikipedia

Faith and love are like the blind man’s guides. They will lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.” from the “The Spiritual Canticle” of Saint John of the Cross
As a candidate, blindfolded you followed your leader. Do you really believe this was to prevent you from seeing; after all, very little around you would have made sense even with eyes wide open.
Hoodwinked caused you to look inward, here was your first clue to the path you had choose to travel.

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.” Saint John of the Cross

“Each of us has a soul, but we forget to value it. We don’t remember that we are creatures made in the image of God. We don’t understand the great secrets hidden inside of us.” Saint Teresa of Avila

The Dark Night of the Soul
St John Of the Cross

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings
--oh, happy chance!--
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised
--oh, happy chance!--
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide,
save that which burned in my heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!)
was awaiting me--
A place where none appeared.
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping,
and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Myth of the Lemmings

The Myth of the Lemmings

Many reading this blog are not old enough to remember the days of “National Lampoon” and there humorous parody’s of the lemmings.
The gist was the of the myth: for some unknown reason a single lemming would begin running around in circles, soon others would follow, not knowing why, but the frenzy was on.
As the furry little buggers ran, more and more would join in. Before you knew it, hundreds, sometimes thousands would be following the leader, until finally the leader jumped off a cliff with the whole mass of brainless lemmings following the leader over the precipice.
In reality, lemmings do not exhibit such destructive behavior, humans do. For the lemmings, it was a comical myth created to entertain, for humans it is a sad reality. If you do not believe me, look around.
Have you ever questioned why, as a freemason, it was deemed important to study and understand the seven liberal arts and sciences? The answer is simple, it was to give you the ability, and tools necessary, to question the validity of certain positions, and to prevent you from suffering the same fate of the furry little lemming.
The world is filled with an abundance of followers than gain erroneous knowledge, beliefs, and sadly, ignorance from the minds of others, often without questioning the positions put forward.

"Wisdom hath built herself a house; she hath hewn her out seven pillars." Religious scholars have long speculated upon the seven pillars of Wisdom. Wisdom is poured out to seven vocations or callings. Wisdom also is seen presiding over branches of knowledge.”
Proverbs 9:1

All masons are taught the importance of Geometry, but I really believe the world needs is a good dose of logic. Logic directs and guides us after truth. It consists of a regular train of argument where we deduce or infer from the facts. Logic leads us to conclusions based on our knowledge. Logic trains the mind to think clearly.
In times like these where more than most follow distorted views and beliefs into deeper and deeper states of ignorance, where logic disappears only to be replaced by lemming mentalities we must pursue logic.
We still also need faith, but I will save that for another time. Until then:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Buddha

The Mandala of Freemasonry Part 3


PART THREE

Journey to the center of the mandala, the journey to “Cosmic Consciousness”.
It is my belief, the ultimate goal of all who journey to the center of the mandala of freemasonry, is “Cosmic Consciousnesses”.

I found this beautiful poem by Rumi:

You have said what you are.
I am what I am.
Your actions in my head,
My head here in my hands
With something circling inside.
I have no name
For what circles
so perfectly.
A secret turning in us
Makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
And feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
This moment this love comes to rest in me,
Many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye a turning night of stars.

As I sat and tried to formulate my explanation of cosmic consciousness, I came across this old article written in 1920 by a brother mason named Alfred Henry.

The New Age Magazine
By Scottish Rite (Masonic order). Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction
Published by Supreme Council, 33, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1920
BY ALFRED H. HENRY, 32°, K. C. C. H.
THE Nirvana of the East— of Buddhism and other faiths, — is not "Nothingness or Annihilation." Any such interpretation of the doctrine is a result of utter misunderstanding. The illuminating editorial on the "Cosmic Consciousness," in the December NEW AGE, shows this clearly. Nirvana is correctly spoken of as "A future without end," "Repose after limitless experience," "Peace which nothing can disturb." It is not escape from the limitations of an individualized consciousness by a plunge into unconsciousness, but a rise, through expansion and development, into that state where these limitations are outworn and cease to exist, and where consciousness ceases to be individualized because it has come to know itself as the all-consciousness. Rightly understood, this is also the doctrine of Christ, and of His mediator- ship between God and every upward- mounting soul. When the Great Teacher said, "I and my Father are one," He meant that the Christ-consciousness, which was His, was at one with the all- consciousness of God, and, as this Christ-consciousness was also the perfected consciousness of Humanity, so all men must come to the Father through Him — by rising, through expansion and development, until the limitations of an individualized unit of consciousness have been transcended and the aspirant knows himself as Humanity at one with the Father. Seeing this truth like a flaming light, Paul, the initiate, exclaimed exultingly, "I live, but not I. The life which I now live has risen above the limitations of a circumscribed individuality and has found itself in Christ." Christ's teaching is clearer than that of Buddha, and more helpful, in that it makes plain the truth, that the next stage in the development or expansion of the aspiring individual consciousness is the consciousness of Humanity, at the point where it knows itself as Humanity and knows also that it is essentially Divine. It was because Christ knew himself, not as a man, but as Humanity and as Divine, that He could say, ' ' No man cometh unto the Father but by me." It is therefore, not by escape from Humanity — as the Church too often teaches — that man mounts upward or attains his salvation or his initiation, but by identifying himself with Humanity by merging or refocusing his consciousness into that of Humanity — as Christ Himself did — that he advances on his way to the great goal of final liberation. At his present stage, it is the individualized self-consciousness of man that is most in evidence. Man loves his limited self and is not willing to lose it. It seems to him to be his very life and the only immortality, which appeals to him or attracts him, is a perpetuation of this individualized and therefore limited, self-consciousness, which he feels to be himself. To him the Great Teacher says, "If you would save your life, you must lose it." "Come unto me and I will give you life." The larger life is, therefore, not a perpetuation of the limited life but a complete losing of it, and a re-finding of itself in a life unlimited and eternal. This is the real teaching of Christ and the real teaching of Buddha. Eternal Life, and Nirvana, are each won by a self-denial, a forsaking of self, a self-crucifixion, that is absolute and real and that seems like "annihilation" and "nothingness" to the mortal who has not learned the higher truth. This also is the teaching of Masonry and is especially clear to the earnest student of the sublime principles of the interior doctrine of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dancing With Shiva

Lord Shiva

I came upon this wonderful poem the other day when surfing the web.

"The source of all movement,
Shiva's dance,
Gives rhythm to the universe.
He dances in evil places,
In sacred,
He creates and preserves,
Destroys and releases.
We are part of this dance
This eternal rhythm,
And woe to us if,
blinded By illusions,
We detach ourselves
From the dancing cosmos,
This universal harmony…"
by Ruth Peel

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Lily Work on the Porch of Solomon's Temple


For those familiar with a number of my previous posts there can be no doubt, I see very strong similarities with many of the symbols of the East. I must also reiterate it is not my intent to insinuate the roots of Freemasonry lie in the East; I will leave that to the historians of Freemasonry, my intent is to show the esoteric similarities, and the symbolic meaning.
So small of a symbol, so full of meaning, that was exactly how I felt when I was first directed to the lilies adorning the pillars.
I have no doubt that many of my brother masons, except the Senior Deacon, even gave much thought to the symbolism of the lilies, yet, here was one of the most universal symbols of the East high upon the pillars of our fraternity.
The lily work which is described as a part of the ornamentation of the two pillars in the porch of Solomon's Temple is said to be, from the whiteness of the plant, symbolic of purity and peace. Properly, it is lotus work.
The plant so frequently mentioned in the Old Testament under the name of lily, as an emblem of purity and peace, was the lotus lily of Egypt and India. It occupies a conspicuous place among the ornaments of the Temple furniture. The brim of the molten sea was wrought with flowers of the lotus; the chapiters on the tops of the pillars at the porch, and the tops of the pillars themselves, were adorned with the same plant.

The lotus was the sacred plant of the Brahmin rites of India, and was considered as the symbol of their elemental trinity, earth, water, and air. Because, as an aquatic plant, it derived its nutriment from all of these elements combined, its roots being planted in the earth, its stem rising through the water, and its leaves exposed to the air.

“ God is the Sun and when His rays fall upon your heart, not impeded by the clouds of egoism, the lotus blooms and the petals unfold.” Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The Egyptians, who borrowed a large portion of their religious rites from the East, adopted the lotus, which was also indigenous to their country, as a mystical plant, and made it the symbol of their initiation, or the birth into celestial light. They often on their monuments represented the god Phre (Sun God), or the sun, as borne within the expanded calyx of the lotus.
The lotus bears a flower similar to that of the poppy, while its large, tongue-shaped leaves float upon the surface of the water. As the Egyptians had remarked that the plant expands when the sun rises, and closes when it sets, they adopted it as a symbol of the sun; and as that luminary was the principal object of the popular worship, the lotus became in all their sacred rites a consecrated and mystical plant.

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
Bhagavad-Gita

In the Buddhist tradition, the lotus represents purity of body, speech, and mind, as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. The Buddha is often depicted sitting on a giant lotus leaf or blossom. According to legend, he was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, lotus flowers bloomed.

“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world”
Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

I, personally, believe it is our duty to understand the symbols of our fraternity, yet if we do not embrace and integrate them into our being, they serve no purpose.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Mandala of Freemasonry Part 2


Part TWO
As I have already inferred in part one of this premise, that freemasonry and the mandala share similar commonalities, I would now like to continue with the comparisons, and add a few new thoughts.
As I have previously noted, at the center of the mandala rests the deity to whom the mandala is dedicated, in the case of freemasonry, here rests the VSL

“There exists no circle in the world which is not made from within a single point which is located in the center…and this point, which is located in the center, receives all the light, illuminates the body, and all is enlightened.”-Zohar

In its most common form, the mandala appears as a series of concentric circles, its deity housed in a square structure with four elaborate gates, sometimes described as a four-sided palace or temple. For those familiar with the layout of the lodge, the four gates are the East, South, West, and the North.
Most are already familiar with the symbolism of the four gates, but just for review, I thought I would review some of the basics. I would like to thank the DeMolay for there wonderful descriptions, taken from one of there rituals.

THE EAST: From the Sun worshipers down through the ages, the East has always been considered the most honored place because the sun rises in the East and is the region from which light rises. "As the sun rises in the East…”
The East in Freemasonry is the Symbol of the Spiritual World.
From the DeMolay: The East is emblematic of the rising sun and the morn of life. As the sun rises in the East, drifts over the meridian heights in the South and sets in the West, so is our life. In the morning years of life, we have youth, with cheery smile and sparkling eye, like this rosebud fresh in the morning dew looking upon life with all the hopes of future years before him. From cradle to the crowning years of manhood, we are taught the virtues of Fidelity, Reverence, Cleanliness, and Truth. Following these cardinal virtues and with the guiding hand of parents, school and country, youth can resist the temptations thrust upon him from every source and will, when the morn of life is over, be ready to face the meridian sun or the years of manhood and womanhood unafraid.

THE SOUTH:As the sun in the South at meridian height is the beauty and glory of the day…”
From the DeMolay: The South is a symbol of the meridian sun or the noon of life, emblematic of manhood’s approaching years. It is that period of life when half our years lie behind us and half before, with opportunities remaining to do good or be better. The sparkle of youth is gone. The rosebud has emerged into a blooming rose. Those who have remembered their creator in the days of their youth and followed the precepts learned in the morning years of life have discovered that the world has the choicest places waiting for the young man and woman whose character fit them to take these places. Intelligence and industry, without integrity and fraternity, may seem to take some people far, but their apparent success will be found under close scrutiny to be unreal and will in the end bring disappointment and misery. It is integrity and fraternity as exemplified in our Orders added to intelligence and industry that leads us to real success and lasting happiness.

THE WEST: West (the Antipodes of the East) is the Sphere of the Material World.(Where there is Death - Darkness & Ignorance)
Thus - East = Life - Light - Wisdom West = Death - Darkness - Ignorance
Our Ritual tells us -The S.W. is in the West to represent The Moon, which governs the Night (Darkness). In the West he closes the Lodge as the setting Sun closes the Day. (He is the Representative of Darkness & Death) His Jewel of Office - The Level reminds us of the Great Leveler - Death.
From the DeMolay: The West is symbolic of the eve of life and I bring from the station of the setting sun, the consolation of a journey ended, the joy of life well spent. The rose has withered on the stalk. Its loveliness has vanished and the petals lie scattered on the ground. The search for the end of the rainbow is over for the sun has vanished from view. There is time for meditation and we are face to face with the realization that all that is born must die. If the journey from youth to age has been ill spent, there is doubt, uncertainty and confusion, but to those who knew the joy of looking back upon a life well spent, there comes to them this one great thought: It is not all of life to live. Tour soul, this truth applies, ‘tis not all of death to die.

THE NORTH: That part of the earth, which, being most removed from the influence of the sun at his meridian height, is in Freemasonry called “a place of darkness.” Hence, it is a symbol of the profane world.
From the DeMolay: The sun has set, the rainbow has vanished and the last faint ray of the sun has turned to darkness. In our journey from East to West, we have taken a survey of human life in all its thousand blended lights and shades and learned that all on earth is change, and now in the North we face the darkness. We have seen the rose withered and its petals scattered on the ground; the winter storms have left their trail of frost and snow and yet when the gentle breeze of springtime blew the deadest branches came to life and beauty. To those who have lived and planned each step of the journey from youth to age and to stand before the great white throne, is but to learn this lesson from the rose.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Mandala of Freemasonry - Part ONE

The Mandala of Freemasonry - Part ONE

It is not my purpose to imply or suggest that the design of the lodge is an actual mandala, yet if one does approach with an open mind, the similarities between the mandala and the layout of the lodge are remarkable, and for those esoterically inclined, well worth contemplating.

For those unfamiliar with the mandala, "mandala" comes from a Sanskrit word that generally means "circle” and mandalas are indeed primarily recognizable by their concentric circles and other geometric figures.
Mandalas are far more than geometrical figures, however. They are rich with symbolism and sacred meaning. In fact, the etymology of the word "mandala" suggests not just a circle but also a "container of essence."
Its symbolic nature can help one "to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditators to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises."

Long embraced by some Eastern religions, the mandala has now begun to emerge in Western religious and secular cultures. Awareness of the mandala may have the potential of changing how we see ourselves, our planet, and perhaps even our own life purpose
Simply stated, a mandala is a sacred geometric figure that represents the universe. When completed, a mandala becomes a sacred area that serves as a receptacle for deity and a collection point of universal forces. Mentally entering a mandala and proceeding to its center symbolically guide a person guided through the cosmos to the essence of reality.

The mandala is constructed from the center outward. The center of the mandala often depicts the deity the mandala is representative of, the point within the circle.
At the center of all lodges is the symbol of our deity, the holy book, resting on the altar. We must also remember that the bible is merely a symbol; it could also represent the divine nature within, the goal of our inner journey.
In the words of Carl Jung, “I had to abandon the idea of the super ordinate position of the ego. ... I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point -- namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation.... I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.”
“There is in every regular and well governed Lodge, a certain point within a circle.”
Alchemically, the point in the circle represents the sun and philosophic gold.

Circles

The moon is most happy When it is full.
And the sun always looks Like a perfectly minted gold coin
That was just Polished And placed in flight By God's playful Kiss.
And so many varieties of fruit Hang plump and round
From branches that seem like a Sculptor's hands.
I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly Shaped by a soul within,
And the Earth itself, And the planets and the Spheres
­I have gotten the hint: There is something about circles The Beloved likes.
Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, Within the Circle of a Perfect One There is an Infinite Community Of Light.