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An Edgar Casē Study / Freemasons
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  1. Edgar Cayce Reading
08/13/1941

9. For, with those changes that will be wrought, Americanism - the ism - with the universal thought that is expressed and manifested in the brotherhood of man into group thought, as expressed by the Masonic Order, will be the eventual rule in the settlement of affairs in the world.

10. Not that the world is to become a Masonic order, but the principles that are embraced in same will be the basis upon which the new order of peace is to be established in '44 and '45. (1152-11)



  1. Similarities
    1. Spiritual Regeneration
Freemasonry, though not a religion, is essentially religious. Most of its legends and allegories are of a sacred nature; much of it is woven into the structure of Christianity. We have learned to consider our own religion as the only inspired one, and this probably accounts for much of the misunderstanding in the world today concerning the place occupied by Freemasonry in the spiritual ethics of our race. A religion is a divinely inspired code of morals. A religious person is one inspired to nobler living by this code. He is identified by the code which is his source of illumination. Thus we may say that a Christian is one who receives his spiritual ideals of right and wrong from the message of the Christ, while a Buddhist is one who molds his life into the archetype of morality given by the great Gautama, or one of the other Buddhas. All doctrines which seek to unfold and preserve that invisible spark in man named Spirit, are said to be spiritual. Those which ignore this invisible element and concent rate entirely upon the visible are said to be material. There is in religion a wonderful point of balance, where the materialist and spiritist meet on the plane of logic and reason. Science and theology are two ends of a single truth, but the world will never receive the full benefit of their investigations until they have made peace with each other, and labor hand in hand for the accomplishment of the great work – the liberation of spirit and in telligence from the three-dimensional prison-house of ignorance, superstition, and fear. That which gives man a knowledge of himself can be inspired only by the Self – and God is the Self in all things. In truth, He is the inspiration and the thing inspired. It has been stated in Scripture that God was the Word and that the Word was made flesh. Man’s task now is to make flesh reflect the glory of that Word, which is within the soul of himself. It is this task which has created the need of religion – not one faith alone but many creeds, each searching in its own way, each meeting the needs of individual people, each emphasizing one point above all the others.

Twelve Fellow Craftsmen are exploring the four points of the compass. Are not these twelve the twelve great world religions, each seeking in its own way for that which was lost in the ages past, and the quest of which is the birthright of man? Is not the quest for Reality in a world of illusions the task for which each comes into the world? We are here to gain balance in a sphere of unbalance; to find rest in a restless thing; to unveil illusion; and to slay the dragon of our own animal natures. As David, King of Israel, gave to the hands of his son Solomon the task he could not accomplish, so each generation gives to the next the work of building the temple, or rather, rebuilding the dwelling of the Lord [see: the spiritual regeneration of man], which is on Mount Moriah [see: 'in the physical body, in the mental body, in the spiritual body'1].2


When worn over the area related to the animal passions, the pure lambskin signifies the regeneration of the procreative forces and their consecration to the service of the Deity. The size of the apron, exclusive of the flap, makes it the symbol of salvation, for the Mysteries declare that it must consist of 144 [see: Revelation 14:1-4] square inches.

The apron shown above contains a wealth of symbolism: the beehive, emblematic of the Masonic lodge itself, the trowel, the mallet, and the trestleboad; the rough and trued ashlars; the pyramids and hills of Lebanon; the pillars, the Temple, and checkerboard floor; and the blazing star and tools of the Craft. The center of the apron is occupied by the compass and square, representative of the Macrocosm an the microcosm, and the alternately black and white serpent of astral light. Below is an acacia branch with seven sprigs, signifying the life Centers of the superior and the inferior man. The skull and cross bones are a continual reminder that the spiritual nature attains liberation only after the philosophical death of man's sensuous personality.3

In an old manuscript appears the statement that the Freemasonic Order was formed by alchemists and Hermetic philosophers who had banded themselves together to protect their secrets against the infamous methods used by avaricious persons to wring from them the secret of gold-making. The fact that the Hiramic legend contains an alchemical formula gives credence to this story. Thus the building of Solomon's Temple represents the consummation of the magnum opus, which cannot be realized without the assistance of CHiram, the Universal Agent. The Masonic Mysteries teach the initiate how to prepare within his own soul a miraculous powder of projection by which it is possible for him to transmute the base lump of human ignorance, perversion, and discord into an ingot of spiritual and philosophic gold.

Sufficient similarity exists between the Masonic CHiram and the Kundalini of Hindu mysticism to warrant the assumption that CHiram may be considered a symbol also of the Spirit Fire moving through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column. The exact science of human regeneration is the Lost Key of Masonry, for when the Spirit Fire is lifted up through the thirty-three degrees, or segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name. Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus. In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man--the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia.4


In the schools of the Mysteries, when aspirants for the higher life were wont to quit the outer world and enter temples or sanctuaries of initiation, prolonged periods were allotted to the practical achievement of what is briefly summarized in our first degree. We are told seven or more years was the normal period, though less sufficed in worthy cases. The most severe tests of discipline, of purity, of self-balance were required before a neophyte was permitted to pass forward, and a reminiscence of these tests of fitness is preserved in our own working by the conducting of the candidate to the two wardens, and submitting him to a merely formal trial of efficiency. For it is impossible to-day, as it was impossible in ancient times, for a man to reach the heights of moral perfection and spiritual consciousness which were then, and are now, the goal and aim of all the schools of the Mysteries and all the secret orders, without purification and trial. Complete stainlessness of body, utter purity of mind, are absolute essentials to the attainment of things of great and final moment. “Who?” says the Psalmist (and remember that the Psalms were the sacred hymns used in the Hebrew Mysteries), “Who will go up to the hill of the Lord, and ascend to His holy place? Even he that hath clean hands and a pure heart”; whence it comes that we wear white gloves and aprons as emblems that we have purified our hearts and washed our hands in innocency. So also our Patron Saint (St. John) teaches, “He who hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He (i.e., the Master whom he is seeking) is pure.” For he who is not pure in body and mind he who is enslaved by passions and desires, or by bondage to the material interests of this world, is, by the very fact of his uncleanness, prevented from passing on. Nothing unclean or that defileth a man, we are told, can enter into the kingdom; and, therefore, our candidates are told that if they have “money or metals about them”; if, that is, they are subject to any physical attraction or mental defilement, their real initiation into the higher things, of which our ceremony is but a dramatic symbol, must be deferred and repeated again and again until they are cleansed and fitted to pass on.

After purification come contemplation and enlightenment, which are the special subjects of the second degree. Aforetime the candidate for the Mysteries, after protracted discipline and purification enabling his mind to acquire complete control over his passions and his lower physical nature, was advanced, as he may advance himself to-day, to the study of his more interior faculties, to understand the science of the human soul, and to trace these faculties in their development from their elementary stage until he realizes that they connect with, and terminate in, the Divine itself. The secrets of his mental nature and the principles of intellectual life became at this stage gradually unfolded to his view. You will thus perceive, Brethren, that the F.C. degree, sometimes regarded by us as a somewhat uninteresting one, typifies in reality a long course of personal development requiring the most profound knowledge of the mental and psychical side of our nature. It involves not merely the cleansing and control of the mind, but a full comprehension of our inner constitution, of the more hidden mysteries of our nature and of spiritual psychology. In this degree it is that our attention is called to the fact that the Mason who has attained proficiency in this grade has been enabled to discover a sacred symbol, placed in the centre of the building, and alluding to the G.G.O.T.U. [see: Grand Geometrician of the Universe] Doubtless we have often asked ourselves what that phrase and what that symbol imply. Need I repeat that the building alluded to is not the edifice we meet in, but is our own selves, and that the sacred symbol at the centre of the roof and of the floor of this outward temple is but symbolic of that which exists at the centre of ourselves, and which was spoken of by the Christian Master when He proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven is within you”; that at the depths of our own being, concealed beneath the heavy veils of the sensual, lower nature, there resides that vital and immortal principle, which is said to “allude to” the G.G. [see: Grand Geometrician] because it is nothing other than a spark of God Himself immanent within us. Over the old temples of the Mysteries was written the injunction “Man, know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and God.” Happy then is the Mason who has so far purified and developed his own nature as to realize in its fulness the meaning of the “sacred symbol” of the second degree, and found God present not outside but within himself. But in order to find the “perfect points of entrance” to this secret (and we are told elsewhere that “straight is the way and narrow the gate, and few there be that find it”) emphasis again is laid in our teaching upon the necessity of complete moral rectitude, of utter exactness of thought, word and action, as exemplified by rigid observance of the symbolic principles of the square, level and plumb-rule.

Here again the symbolism of our work becomes extremely profound and interesting. He who desires to rise to the heights of his own being must first crush and crucify his own lower nature and inclinations; he must perforce tread what elsewhere is described as the way of the Cross; and that Cross is indicated by the conjunction of those working tools (which when united form a cross); and that “way” is involved in the scrupulous performance of all that we know those working tools signify. By perfecting his conduct, by struggles against his own natural propensities, the candidate is working the rough ashlar of his own nature into the perfect cube, and I would ask you to observe also that the cube itself contains a secret, for unfolded, it itself denotes and takes the form of the cross.

The inward development which the second degree symbolizes is typified by the lowering of the triangular flap of the apron upon the rectangular portion below. This is equivalent to the rite of Confirmation in the Christian Churches. It denotes “the progress we have made in the science,” or in other words it indicates that the higher nature of the man, symbolized by the trinity of spirit, has descended into and is now permeating his lower nature. Hitherto, in his state of ignorance and moral blindness, the spiritual part of his nature has, as it were, but hovered above him; he has been unconscious of its presence in his constitution; but now, having realized its existence, the day-spring from on high has visited him, and the nobler part of him descends into his lower nature, illuminating and enriching it.

Now the man who so develops himself, speedily becomes more conscious of the difficulties of his task, more sensitive to the obstacles the life of the outer world places in the way of the spiritual life. But he is taught to persist with fortitude and with prudence, to develop the highest within him with “fervency and zeal.” Upon self-scrutiny, too, i.e., upon entering into that “porchway” of contemplation which like a winding staircase leads inward to the Holy of Holies within himself, he realizes that difficulties and obstacles placed in his way are utilised by the Eternal Wisdom as the necessary means of developing the latent and potential good in him, and that as the rough ashlar can only be squared and perfected by chipping and polishing, so he also can be made perfect only by toil and by suffering. He sees that difficulty, adversity and persecution serve a beneficent purpose. These are his “wages”: and he learns to accept them “without scruple and without diffidence, knowing that he is justly entitled to them, and from the confidence he has in the integrity” of that Employer who has sent him into this far-off world to prepare the materials for building the temple of the heavenly city. And so, as the sign peculiar to the degree suggests, he endeavours to examine and lay bare his heart, to cast away all impurity from it, and he stands, like Joshua, praying that the light of day may be extended to him until he has accomplished the overthrow of his own inward enemies and of every obstacle to his complete development.

The aspirant who attains proficiency in the work of self-perfecting to which the F.C. [see: Fellow Craft] grade alludes, has passed away from the N. side of the Lodge, the side of darkness and imperfection; and now stands on the S.E. side in the meridian sunlight of moral illumination (so far as the natural man may possess it), but yet still far removed from that fuller realization of himself and of the mysteries of his own nature which it is possible for the spiritual adept or Master Mason to attain. Before that attainment is reached there remains for him “that last and greatest trial” by which alone he can enter into the great consolations and make acquaintance with the supreme realities of existence. In the places where the great Mysteries have always been taught, what is ceremonially performed in our third degree is no mere symbolical representation as with us, but an actual, vital experience of a most severe character: one the nature of which can hardly be made intelligible, or even credible, to those unfamiliar with the subject. I refrain, therefore, from more than mere mention of it, observing only that it is one not involving physical death, and in this respect only is our ceremony in accord with the experience symbolized. For if you follow closely the raising ceremony, although distinct reference to the death of the body is made, yet such death is obviously intended to be merely symbolical of another kind of death, since the candidate is eventually restored to his former worldly circumstances and material comforts, and his earthly Masonic career is not represented as coming to a close at this stage. All that has happened in the third degree is that he has symbolically passed through a great and striking change: a rebirth, or regeneration of his whole nature. He has been “sown a corruptible body”; and in virtue of the self-discipline and self-development he has undergone, there has been raised in him “an incorruptible body,” and death has been swallowed up in the victory he has attained over himself. I sometimes fear that the too conspicuous display of the emblems and trappings of mortality in our Lodges is apt to create the false impression that the death to which the third degree alludes is the mere physical change that awaits all men. But a far deeper meaning is intended. The Mason who knows his science knows that the death of the body is only a natural transition of which he need have no dread whatever; he knows also that when the due time for it arrives, that transition will be a welcome respite from the bondage of this world, from his prison-like husk of mortality, and from the daily burdens incident to existence in this lower plane of life. All that he fears is that when the time comes, he may not be free from those “stains of falsehood and dishonour,” those imperfections of his own nature, that may delay his after-progress. No! the death to which Masonry alludes, using the analogy of bodily death and under the veil of a reference to it, is that death-in-life to a man’s own lower self which St. Paul referred to when he protested “I die daily”. It is over the grave, not of one’s dead body but of one’s lower self, that the aspirant must walk before attaining to the heights. What is meant is that complete self-sacrifice and self-crucifixion which, as all religions teach, are essential before the soul can be raised in glory “from a figurative death to a reunion with the companions of its former toils” both here and in the unseen world. The perfect cube must pass through the metamorphosis of the Cross. The soul must voluntarily and consciously pass through a state of utter helplessness from which no earthly hand can rescue it, and in trying to raise him from which the grip of any succouring human hand will prove but a slip: until at length Divine Help itself descends from the Throne above and, with the “lion’s grip” of almighty power, raises the faithful and regenerated soul to union with itself in an embrace of reconciliation and at-one-ment.5



References

  1. (262-36)
01/22/1933

17. (Q) Please explain, "He with the cross, represents something in the experience of every entity in their activities through the earth and has led in all the experiences of thought in any of the presented forms of truth in the earth and comes at last to the cross."
(A) As we have given, and as was given by Him, in the beginning He was the Son - MADE the Son - those of the Sons that went astray; and through the varying activities overcame the world through the EXPERIENCES, BEARING the cross in each and every experience, reaching the FINAL cross with ALL power, ALL knowledge in having overcome the world - and of Himself ACCEPTED the Cross. Hence doing away with that often termed karma, that must be met by all. The immutable law of cause and effect is, as evidenced in the world today, in the material, the mental and the spiritual world; but He - in overcoming the world, the law - became the Law. The law, then, becomes as the schoolmaster, or the school of training - and we who have NAMED the Name, then, are no longer UNDER the law as law, but under mercy as in Him; for in Him - and with the desires - may there be made the COORDINATION of all things.

Remember the pattern in the mount, in self, in the physical body, in the mental body, in the spiritual body. THAT is the mount! So long as there is perfect coordination in the mount, all things work together for the GOOD of the mount. When there is the rebellion in the mount, then there is disconnection, destruction, disconcerted effort, and the coordination - the cooperation of activity - is made awry. Hence death in the physical ensues, by the disintegration, through the disconcerted action, through the INCOORDINATED action and this mental, and physical, and spiritual.

So, in overcoming all He set that as the Throne, or the mercy seat, that is within the temple, as the pattern, as in the mount - and in the mount, "I WILL arise and go to my Father, in Him, through Him. I WILL! I WILL! (262-36)


  1. Manly P. Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry or The Secret of Hiram Abiff (New York, N. Y.: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, 1942), xv-xvii.

  1. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy (The Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 2008), 77.

  1. Ibid., 79.

  1. W. L. Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry (New York: Gramercy Books, 1980), 36-43.

An Edgar Casē Study

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