“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”

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.