Alchemy and Freemasonry: Is there a Connection?

alchemical pillars

 

Both Alchemy and Freemasonry are ancient arts that relay a certain philosophy and method of personal growth, but do the similarities end there? There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether or not, Freemasonry and Alchemy are formerly linked together. However, as a student of Freemasonry and other esoteric traditions, the similarities are striking.

Alchemy is thought to have originated in Hellenistic Egypt, especially in Alexandria. It’s very possible that it goes back even further, although there is no definitive proof of this. Hermes Trismegistus is thought to be the father of alchemy and translations of The Emerald Tablet that are attributed to Hermes Trismegistus describe the alchemical process in veiled language. Most historians believe that alchemy was simply an early version of chemistry and that the ultimate goal of the alchemical process was to change lead into gold. Despite the fact that this was a procedure in alchemy that is thought to have been possible, true alchemists had a much greater work that they would strive for. The true alchemical process was to help connect the alchemist both physically and spiritually with the universe in which they resided. The process itself was not only to achieve a physical transmutation, but to also produce a mental and spiritual transformation as well. With each step of the process, the alchemist was shedding the superfluidities of life and learning to temper emotions in a pursuit of the betterment of self. The end result of this “Great Work“, was not only to extract the physical Philosopher’s Stone from the materials with which they worked, but also to extract the spiritual Philosopher’s Stone that was within their own being. This “Stone” being the perfected self, or illuminated soul. This process, like all other mystery traditions, required deep introspection of the individual and the coming to terms with inner demons and vices that keep one from their true potential.

Freemasonry has some obvious similarities with Alchemy, but may have some much deeper, symbolic connections as well. Though there is nothing definitive that ties modern Freemasonry to ancient Egypt, most Masons believe that the connection is there. Freemasonry uses many of the same systems that can be found in other Western Mystery Traditions that have their origins in ancient Egypt, and it could be said that the builders of the temples and pyramids in Egypt, may have been the first Master Masons. Like Alchemy, Freemasonry uses a series of steps, or processes to get the initiate from one point to another. The ultimate goal in Masonic Philosophy is the betterment of self, through introspection and acknowledgement of  immortality. The masonic initiate is encouraged to temper their emotions and control their vices. In this regard, the philosophy of the two traditions are on equal footing. As I have mentioned in the past, there is a strong correspondence of the Hermetic Tradition with Freemasonry as well. The Hermetic tradition being derived directly from the writings of the original alchemist, Hermes Trismegistus. Both traditions are searching for that which is hidden or lost as well. In Alchemy, it is the search for the hidden stone, or Philosopher’s Stone. In Freemasonry, it is the search for the lost word, or the Divine Name. It seems logical, on the surface, that the two traditions are similar, but does the similarity go even deeper?

As with all ancient mystery traditions, there is an exoteric aspect, and an esoteric aspect. The exoteric aspects become obvious rather quickly to the observer, but the esoteric aspects may take decades, or even lifetimes to come to light for the initiate. Alchemist and Freemason, Timothy Hogan has written extensively on alchemical symbolism that is hidden within free-masonic ritual. In his work The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual, Brother Hogan goes into great detail regarding these symbolic connections. One of the key connections between Freemasonry and Alchemy is the use of metals. Metal’s importance in Alchemy is easily understood within the context. The Alchemist is made aware of the correspondence between the Seven Planets (Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, and the Sun and Moon), the human body, and the Seven Metals (lead, tin, iron, copper, quicksilver/mercury, silver, and gold). Each metal is thought to have intimate connection to the planet of it’s origin and is also said to have a connection to certain essential organs in the human body.

How does this figure into Freemasonry though? Isn’t masonry about building with stone? Mysteriously, metallurgy and metal substances factor heavily in Masonic ritual and literature. Right off the bat, prior to initiation, the new candidate for masonry is divested of all metals. This is not only to remind him of the impermanence of material wealth, but more importantly it is to teach the student the concept of superfluidities and that which is lost and can be gained through trial and spiritual growth. Even though Freemasonry primarily uses the allegory of stonework, metals and metallurgy continually pop up throughout the various Masonic degrees, as well as masonic-related works.

The most intriguing connection is that of the importance of the Sun and the Moon in both Alchemy and Freemasonry. The Sun and the Moon allegorically represent the masculine and feminine principle. The Sun being the masculine and the Moon being the feminine. In Alchemy, as previously stated, the Moon is equated to silver and the Sun is equated to gold. These are the two most powerful metals in the alchemical hierarchy.  It should be no big surprise then, that the Sun and Moon (silver and gold) feature prominently in Freemasonry as well. The two Deacons (junior and senior) in the lodge setting carry wooden rods that are topped with symbols. The Junior Deacon’s rod is topped with a Moon symbol and the Senior Deacon’s rod is topped with a Sun symbol. References to the sun and moon also figure prominently into the Masonic ritual and come up time and time again.

Since both Freemasonry and Alchemy are veiled traditions that are illustrated with symbols, it is up to the individual student of these varying disciplines to explore their connections further. If you would like to know more, take a look at some of the links that I have posted below. Best of luck on your own Magnum Opus!

 

Alchemy and the Transmutation of a Freemason

Is there any connection between Alchemy and Freemasonry?

Scottish Chemistry

Alchemy in the Entered Apprentice Degree

Advertisements

Venus Rising

mvms_042304_richard_f2

Right as dusk is overtaken by the night, a bright object becomes strikingly visable in the sky. What is that radiant object on the western horizon that shines like a star? Is it a star? Actually, no. It is the planet of Venus in it’s most visible state of the year. During the month of November, Venus is at it’s brightest moment. It was known in ancient times as the “evening star”(or the “morning star” depending on what cycle it was in). Venus is the only planet in our solar system named after a female figure. In Ancient Greece, there was a deity name Aphrodite that was the Goddess of Love. This character was used later in Roman mythology as the deity Venus. She was a symbol of femininity and love. Our fellow planet Venus being her namesake. This divine feminine character has been perpetuated in all great traditions in one way or another. Ancient Egypt has Isis, who represented the same attributes. Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, once claimed that Venus was the Roman equivalent of Isis. This sacred feminine spirit even finds it’s way into Christianity today with the Virgin Mary. What these women-figures represent is pureness and love. They represent the caring side of our consciousness that we so often lose touch with.

Robert Lomas explains a special significance given to Venus in his book “Turning the Solomon Key“. He explains that George Washington, along with Pierre Charles L’Enfant, set out to design the new capital city of Washington D.C. with certain stellar alignments at work. This tradition of stellar alignment goes back to time-immemorial and has been used by all great civilizations. They laid out the city planning with Sacred Geometry in mind, as well as the implement of an alignment of Venus with the Capitol building. Once every eight years, when rising on the easter horizon, Venus aligns perfectly with the point on top of the Capitol building’s dome. This alignments was a symbolic way of blessing the city with the divinity of Venus. It was also thought to imbue the city with the power of good and balance needed to create a working democracy. This is a far cry from what conspiracy theorists have said about the Capitol City!

The symbol for Venus is the same symbol that is used to denote the female gender. The symbol consists of a cross with a circle on top of it. images This is the very same symbol used in alchemy to represent copper. Copper is a powerful conductor and is abundant in the earth. It is one of the most widely used metals on the planet. It is primarily abundant at the earth’s core. Our planet is often referred to as the feminine deity of “Gaia” or “Mother Earth”. It would make sense that this metal would be associated with the feminine deity of Venus as well. The Greeks also referred to Venus as “Phosphorus”, which meant the “bringer of light”. It just so happens that phosphorus is a widely used element in Physical Alchemy.

In Latin, the term for Venus was a “lucifer“, which meant “shining one”, “light-bringer” or “morning star”. Venus also appears on the eastern horizon when it is not in the west. The term “lucifer” became the name for the fallen angel in the bible. As Venus rises on the western horizon, it appears before the light of all of the other stars of the sky can be seen. It therefore, has the appearance of falling from, or being detached from the heavens. Despite the fact that the name Lucifer is only mentioned once in archaic versions of the Bible, and was meant to be a reference to the King of Babylon, it has become synonymous with Satan in our modern society. This is a long-standing misinterpretation which has caused so much confusion and so many problems. One such major issue that it has caused is in it’s misinterpretation from an infamous hoax, started by Leo Taxil. Leo Taxil, who was an infamous hoax artist, played a prank on Freemasonry that is still the fodder of anti-masonic sentiment, even to the present day. Lampooning Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic churches opposition to Masonry was the intention of the Taxil Hoax. Taxil accused the Freemasons and the Catholic church of working together in satanic bonds. This hoax was perpetuated by Taxil until, after converting to Catholocism, he decided he should revoke his statements. He came out publicly and admitted that it was all a fabrication. Unfortunately, the damage to Freemasonry was permanent. Anti-masonic groups use this very hoax against Masonry to the present day. This, along with the misinterpretation of the term “lucifer”, just goes to show how far a misunderstanding can go. Venus to the ancients was looked at as representing love, light and beauty, yet the term lucifer which was given for Venus has been turned into something that represents darkness and Satanism. What a mess!

The bright evening star or morning star, depending on what cycle Venus is in, has obvious significance. Whether we realize it or not, our lives are being effected by it’s presence in our skies. Through this month of November, we should take notice of this brilliantly-shining planet and revel in it’s beauty and think of it in the way the ancients did. As a symbol of purity and love. We should take this purity and love and apply it in our own lives. Passing their beauty to all fellow creatures. This is our own way to become a bright light, lighting our way through the dawn’s and dusk’s of our lives.

330px-Sandro_Botticelli_-_La_nascita_di_Venere_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited

What Was the True Purpose of the Pyramids?

As we progress in our study of the great pyramids of the ancient world, old paradigms of belief are being dismantled. We have been taught that the Egyptians used primitive tools to carve and sculpt the massive stones used in the construction of the pyramids. Some of these stones weighing over 20 tons. We are also taught that these stones were raised from quarries many miles away from the site where the pyramids were constructed. We are taught that primitive man didn’t have the wheel to help in the transport of these stones. These stories simply don’t add up.

Ancient texts, including the Bible, allude to great miracles that were supposed to have taken place that defy common logic. Scientifically-minded skeptics like to look at these stories as purely allegorical and not meant to be looked at as facts. This is simply a way for modern science to dismiss what it cannot understand or rationally explain using our current understanding of the world. The problem with this paradigm is that it doesn’t take into account the immense improbability of these beliefs actually holding water!

With our modern machinery we have difficulty moving giant blocks of stone even a short distance, let alone miles and miles. When will the scientific community admit that these concepts of how the pyramids were constructed are incorrect? Nassim Haramein comments on the pyramids in many of his lectures. He believes, along with many others that the pyramids may not have been built by humans at all.

Others feel that the pyramids were built by humans, but that these people had been given access to great technologies from visitors to this planet. Call them Sun Gods, aliens, angels, whatever you like. These beings were thought to visit earth frequently in ancient times. Perhaps bolstering our evolution. If the pyramids were constructed by visitors from another world, or by people with access to technology beyond our current understanding, we must admit that their existence really is quite puzzling.

Egyptologists believe that the pyramids were built to be tombs for the Pharaohs, despite the fact that no actual mummies have been discovered in pyramids. The Great Pyramid at Giza has at it’s core, a sarcophagus that was sealed with a huge block of granite. When explorers were finally able to remove the lid to look inside, they found nothing. Just an empty sarcophagus. Their explanation of what had happened to the body of the Pharaoh? Grave robbers! The fact that these same explorers couldn’t find an entrance and had to use dynamite to blast their way into the pyramid does add up with the concept of grave robbers. How could they have possibly gotten into the pyramid and back out of it, put every stone back the way they found it and, be able to remove the giant granite block off of the sarcophagus and then to get it back on unscathed? This story doesn’t add up at all.

If the pyramids were in fact used as tombs for the dead Pharaohs, could they not have other more esoteric uses? As the building blocks of existence, the first Platonic solid to form a 3 dimensional object is a tetrahedron. Although, the pyramids in Egypt have one additional side, this may be a huge clue as to what kind of technology the “Sun Gods” may have had. As Nassim discusses in several of his lectures, the tetrahedron is at the core of creation. When the angular momentum of space is applied to the developing proton, it spins causing a second tetrahedron to be formed interlocked with the other. The shape that it forms is a 3 dimensional Star of David, or Sign of Solomon. It is a balanced system consisting of one tetrahedron pointing one way and the other, the opposite way. This is described through the symbolism of the ancient mystery schools and is being perpetuated even today.

It is thought that this may be the very essence of creation. The structure of the vacuum that hold everything together. In the ancient mysteries, it is taught that the upward pointing tetrahedron, or triangle, represents the masculine power or the power of the physical world, it being phallic-like in nature. The downward pointing triangle is symbolic of the feminine power, it being shaped like a vessel or container. When the two meet and combine, interlocking with one another, balance is obtained and creation has begun.

It has often been discussed that perhaps the pyramids were some kind of resonance chamber or power station. Perhaps they were used to transmit signals into space, or to other pyramids around the planet. The pyramid is a 3 dimensional upward pointing triangle. The male/earthly or animalistic-minded realm portion of the equation. What if, the “Sun Gods” had the other half of this polarized equation and when combined, allowed them to travel to and from the earth? There are several “vents” in the pyramid that seem to align perfectly with several stars in the Orion constellation. Could it be that these vents were used to direct or attract something out in space, or that they were used as energy conduits to extrude energy to something specific?

The Ark of the Covenant was used to transport some sort of powerful object. It was said to have moved large objects and to part the sea. It is theorized by Haramein that the Ark had at one time been with the Egyptians and maybe even used in the pyramids. This would lend credence to the idea of the pyramids being a transmitter and perhaps a source of transportation or a control center for travel. It may be that the “Sun Gods” or aliens may have understood the power of this formation of interlocked tetrahedrons or triangles and used it for a higher and more advanced purpose than we can understand. This is obviously a concept and nothing more at this point, but I thought it would be worth sharing. If the structure of the vacuum, and to creation itself lies in a spinning set of triangular shapes, it seems no coincidence that these great monoliths portray that very shape. Since they are missing their polar opposite they sit dormant on the surface of the earth. What would happen if their polar counterpart (whether it be physical, or merely energy based) should come into contact with them? Perhaps they are a keyhole waiting for their key. Maybe as we advance in consciousness, it will become clear. Only time will tell.

images

The Truth about Masonic Symbolism

Freemasonry is a misunderstood tradition. People have all sorts of wild ideas about what Masonry really is and what it’s symbolism could possibly mean. The truth is, even many Masons out there are not aware that Masonic symbolism goes very deep and has an esoteric, as well as exoteric meaning. This symbolism is the heart and soul of Masonry and teaches truths that defy words.

Before written languages, ancient civilizations used symbols to communicate ideas and to teach truths. Many of these symbols are so similar across the globe, that it leads one to believe that they might be inherent to the human mind. Even if these symbols are not understood at first glance, they still have an effect on us.

Freemasonry uses symbols in addition to ritual to communicate great moral truths. As the candidate advances through the initiations, they are given explanations of the exoteric meanings of these symbols. It is up to the candidate to dig deeper and find the esoteric meanings within these symbols that will open the doors of the mind. Like the layers of an onion, these symbols can be peeled away layer by layer revealing new truths each time.

Going into the entire gamut of Masonic symbolism would take more time than I have, so I will go into just a few of the most iconographic symbols of the Craft. The Square and Compasses and the letter G and the point within a circle.

First off, we have the most recognizable of all Masonic symbols. The symbol by which the Craft is known. The Square and Compasses with the letter G in the center. The square and compasses are actual masonry tools of the operative stone masons. They are used by the craftsmen to design and perfect stones for building. Why then were these tools used to represent speculative, or philosophic Masonry, in which no actual operative masonry is conducted? The Regius Poem, or Manuscript circa 1390, that operative stonemasons were taught to live by a moral code and that this was inherent to the early craft guilds. These tools were used to perfect stones for building and are used in Speculative Masonry to represent the perfection of the self through moral teachings. The letter G in the center is an open-ended symbol and can stand for God, Geometry, Genesis, or even the Generative principle. It is to show that these concepts are at the center of Masonry and are the backbone of the teachings.

This exoteric explanation is only part of the story of the Square and Compasses. These symbols hold a much deeper and profound teaching. We learn through the Mystery traditions that the square is likened to the earthly realm, while the circle is likened to the heavenly realm. This is encapsulated in the alchemical concept of “squaring the circle”. Both of these elements are tied together by the very symbols used to denote the Craft. These elements can be looked at metaphorically as well. The earthly realm is that of animal instincts and is ruled by creature comforts, whereas the heavenly is ruled by the virtuousness and morality. As the candidate advances through the degrees of Masonry, the Compasses are said to be elevated above the Square, symbolizing that the individual’s soul is on the path to perfection and that they should be driven by divine pursuits rather than the vices of earthly pleasures. This is, in essence the goal of the Masonic teachings.

Secondly, is the point within a circle. This symbol is one of the oldest symbols known to man and has carried over into all parts of the world. It is the symbol for the sun in ancient cultures such as Egypt. It also resembles an eye, which is often a symbol for God. In Masonry, the point is representative of the individual and the circle represents the moral boundaries of society. This is to show that we belong within these boundaries and should never stray.

Yet again, this is only the exoteric meaning of “the point within a circle” symbol. Alchemy is one of the great mystery traditions of antiquity and uses a process to achieve and end result. Like Freemasonry, Alchemy also employs an operative process to teach an internal, moral perfection. Alchemy is most commonly known as a process of changing base-metals into gold, and although this may have been one of it’s goals, it was not the primary goal. Alchemical Gold is a metaphor for perfection. Perfection of the human soul. The alchemical symbol for gold (or perfection) is a point within a circle. This perfection of the self, or soul, is the same goal of Freemasonry.

In the quest for enlightenment, we must look to all of the ancient mystery teachings for guidance. Each system has it’s own powerful system of symbols. These symbols may seem mysterious at first, but if studied can unlock great truths. They should be understood, rather than feared. Hopefully, through this latest series of blogs, I have shone some light on the misunderstood elements of Freemasonry. It is up to you to explore them further and to find your own truths within.

masonic_symbols