What do the five senses mean in a Masonic context?

In the Fellowcraft degree of Freemasonry, there is a lecture that follows that includes discussion of the five senses. They are so described as to their pertinence to Masonry and Masonic recognition, but have a much deeper meaning.

The five senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. These faculties assist the person in experiencing and understanding the world around them. They frame our experience of the world in a way that our brains can interpret our surroundings and make sense of all that we experience. These five senses, along with the reasoning of our minds helps us to receive data and produce feedback to our surroundings.

The five senses is only one point of many made during the lecture, but it may be the most important. As the student of the Craft learns, as they move along, the Three Degrees are a progressive science. It is this point in the Masonic education that the student becomes aware of the importance of letting go of the strong grasp of the material world and embracing the importance of the spiritual world. Our five senses are the bridge between the known of the material world, and the unknown of the spiritual world.

It is these five senses that are our bodies Graphic User Interface with reality, but just like a computer, the GUI is only part of the equation. The GUI is how the person interacts with the whole of the computer and is able to navigate usage of the machine. This is what our five senses are for our body. As materialism has a strong hold on our bodies, senses and therefore our minds, there is much more to the world and universe that cannot be understood by these five senses. This “beyond” is what the student of the Craft is tasked to explore.

The lecture of Fellowcraft degree uses a winding staircase to represent the ascent of our minds and spirits as we advance in knowledge. The five senses are explained as part of these steps. The part that may not be evident to the casual observer, is that these steps are discussed, but then passed on by. It is not so much the importance of the five senses that is the key, but the overcoming of their grasp on our consciousness. Just like our body is tethered to the earth, our minds are on in the highest point in our physical body. Like an antenna between the earth and the heavens. If we are continually held down by our attachment to the material, it is impossible to advance spiritually.

Check out the following excerpt from the book Symbolic Masonry, by H.L. Haywood for more:

The Five Senses

 

Five Senses in Freemasonry

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Freemasonry and the Nazi’s

Among the many different types of victims of the Holocaust, there were many non-Jewish people that met their demise. Among them were many Freemasons. Why were the Freemasons a target of the Nazi’s? It comes down to bizarre conspiracy theories. Hitler believed that the Jews and the Freemasons owned the media and were plotting against him. Hitler also thought that Masons were secretly training men to be “Jews”. The Nazi’s used the book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as propaganda and as supposed proof of the Jewish plot to conquer the world. This work has been proven time and time again to be a hoax, but it is still being propagated by antisemitic groups to this very day. Freemasons were rounded up and put into concentration camps. They were tagged with an inverted red triangle  , the Nazi symbol for “political enemy”, which was also bestowed upon social democrats, socialists, trade unionists, communists, and anarchists.  In the linked article from The Laudable Pursuit, the history of this persecution is examined. Many good men were murdered for simply taking part in a fraternal organization. This is a tragedy that not many are aware of. Make sure to read some of the other great articles that The Laudable Pursuit has to offer as well.

Freemasonry and the Holocaust

 

inverted red triange freemason holocaust

The Philosophical Background for Masonic Symbolism

The best and most commonly used description of what Freemasonry is, is that it is  “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”. The reason that this is the most popular descriptions, is because it is the most accurate description that can be given for it. What does this mean, exactly? There is no simple way to describe the degree system that the initiate goes through as part of the Masonic system. The reason for this is that the experience is meant to be trans-formative for the individual and no one person will find the same path to illumination. Freemasonry holds the keys in it’s ritual, but it is up to the individual to truly find the “light”. In the following lecture, distinguished Brother W. Kirk MacNulty discusses the philosophy in Masonic symbolism and it’s connection to other philosophical systems, such as Hermeticism and Neo-Platonism.

 

Freemasonry and Youtube

As most of you probably know, searching on Youtube for esoteric related videos can be quite the adventure. Especially when it comes to searching for Freemasonry.

A typical Youtube search for keyword “Freemasonry” or “Freemason” comes up with a bevvy of garbage. You can fall into the dark recesses of Youtube within a matter of minutes if you start watching the video links that come up. Before you know it, you are learning that Freemasons are reptilian aliens from Saturn that have infected the mind of humanity through brainwashing with their symbolism, and run everything from the film and entertainment industries, to our monetary systems and of course, all of the powerful governments of the world. You will also learn that Masons are Satanists and pedophiles and that they eat babies.

Anyone in their right mind, especially those who have studied any occult philosophies will see that these are the blind delusions of the horribly misinformed and under-educated. The sad part is, many people believe these theories and it has caused lasting damage to The Craft. Many prospective Masons may never join if they start their search by watching these videos.

This being said, I thought that I would list a few Youtube channels and videos that are actually truthful and well-made. These are primarily made by actual Masons who know and understand Freemasonry’s true meaning.

“Seek and ye shall find, knock and it will be opened unto you…”

 

Three Distinct Knocks

Masonic Books

Phoenixmasonry

LewisMasonic

Masonic Roundtable

 

The following are not strictly Masonic channels, but contain a lot of Masonic content and their producers are Brother Masons.

Occult of Personality

The Hermetic Hour

 

 

MasonicSlides31

Are 3, 6, and 9 the Keys to Creation?

Are 3, 6, and 9 the keys to our creation? Nikolai Tesla thought that they were. These numbers are everywhere in the Masonic tradition, as well as other mystic traditions from antiquity. There are three degrees to the Masonic Blue Lodge. The number three is mentioned time and time again in Masonic ritual. In the York Rite, the number nine is found repeatedly through the ritual. The six sided hexagram is not specifically a Masonic symbol, but is present in many lodges and is one of the most ancient mystical and magical symbols that is found all over the world. As I have discussed in earlier blog posts, the hexagram is the polarized version of the triangle. The triangle (or tetrahedron in 3D) is the most simple geometric shape and is the point at which form emerges from the linear. So are these numbers holding a deeper secret than we currently understand? The following article delves into some of the deeper symbolism and talks about how they relate to the creation process in our world. Check it out and see what you think.

 

The Secret Behind the Numbers 3, 6, and 9 Is Finally Revealed!

 

Vortex Math

Memento Mori-Death and the Mysteries

From dust we came and to dust we all must return…

Masonic symbolism and ritual is riddled with images and symbols of our mortality. Why is this? Is it because the fraternity is morbid, or is there a deeper, philosophical reason behind it?

There are very few things that we can all be certain of in this world, but our mortality is not one of them. We all will inevitably come to an end and thus continue the infinite cycle of life. We have always been taught to fear death, ever since we were old enough to understand what it is. But do we really know what it is? The simple answer is “no”. Many mystical traditions teach that death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. This concept caries through nearly every religious tradition up to the current day.

Death as a symbol is very powerful. It reminds us of the short time that we have here. When we face our mortality it has a profound effect on our consciousness. Not only does it remind us that we should make the most of our short time on earth and to do good in the world, but it also helps us accept that change is inevitable and that we should embrace the unknown. It is also symbolic of the endless cycle of the universe. The universe is constantly dying and being born again. It is this concept that brings us to symbolic death and rebirth.

We see this concept of death and rebirth in the majority of, if not all ancient religious traditions. We see this in the slaying of Osiris by Set and his Resurrection, by Jesus’s death and Resurrection, etc. It is the death of the material and the birth of the spiritual.   It is symbolic of a new start that an individual has after becoming enlightened, or saved. It also serves the reminder that we must do our best to live life to the fullest and not take anything for granted. With this rebirth, after a symbolic death, we are encouraged to start anew, with a new sense of obligation to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures.

The symbolism of Freemasonry contains many references to death, or Momento Mori. As previously discussed in my blog, the Chamber of Reflection is a perfect example of Masonic symbolism in which the individual is brought face to face with their own mortality. The Chamber consists of a dark room, lit only by candlelight, a table with various symbolic items including a skull, and an ink well and quill for writing a last will and testament. There is also a bible, or holy book that the candidate must read certain passages from that remind them of the importance of living a virtuous life.

Another instance of death symbolism in masonry is in the Legend of Hiram Abiff. Hiram Abiff is the craftsman that is brought in by King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre to adorn Solomon’s Temple. Hiram Abiff is given the keys to the mysteries by King Solomon and is the Master Craftsman of the Temple. He is later accosted by three ruffians who hope to obtain the secrets from him, but he refuses, as they are not ready to receive them yet. They end up taking his life. Hiram Abiff is eventually raised by King Solomon and resurrected, bringing the legend full-circle. It is through this legend as told in the Third Degree that the candidate is taught not to be greedy and to seek what is not entitled to them, but to also understand the virtue in secrecy. They are also taught that they must die a symbolic death, to be reborn as a new, spiritual being.

The trestle board or tracing board (a wooden board with symbols on it) that is used for the Third Degree has a coffin and a skull on it. These symbols are representative of Momento Mori, and of the death of the material that the initiate is to go through on their path to finding Light.

To the casual observer these symbols may be grim, or even frightening, but to the initiate they take on much more positive and reaffirming concepts that can be a constant reminder of the impermanence of life and the importance of living with fervency and zeal and being constantly ready to alleviate the suffering of others in any way possible. In doing so, our existence can be etched into the fabric of time as our charity extends beyond the grave.

3rd Degree Tracing Board

 

Here is another article that I found that relates. Hope you enjoy!

The Skull and Crossbones and it’s Masonic Application

The Masonic Apron

The Masonic apron is one of the most iconic symbols in Freemasonry. It is the first gift that a Brother Mason is presented with after taking their obligation. We are taught that the apron was used by our ancient, operative Brothers who labored in the quarry and served a practical use at that time. In modern Speculative Masonry, it serves a different, symbolic purpose and is to be worn in the lodge setting and is to be placed upon our lifeless physical body as we prepare to move into the next stage of our existence.

We are taught that it is the most noble badge of a Mason and that it should never become soiled or impure and is made of white lambskin. The color and substance of the apron is symbolic of the purity and innocence that we are expected to live in harmony with as a Mason.  Much of the symbolism of the apron is explained to the new Brother Mason in the form of a lecture. However, as with all Masonic symbolism, there is more to it than is originally explained.

The apron is worn in a different manors, depending on which degree the candidate is receiving. Each one is distinct and different and is explained as such in the lectures. One of the more esoteric aspects of apron symbolism is the shapes that the apron consists of. The apron has gone through various incarnation over time, but has mostly consisted of a square with a triangular flap. This is significant in itself as the apron consists of two of the most simplistic, yet important geometric shapes that are used by operative builders. These shapes are also incredibly important in all Masonic teaching. The triangle and square appear time and time again throughout all Masonic symbolism and philosophy.

The serious student of esotericism will also note that the apron is representative of the Pythagorean theorem, which Masons (both operative and speculative) hold dear to their hearts. The triangular flap has three points, the square of the main covering has four points, and when combined, there are five points. These are the four corner points of the square and the point of the triangle as it lays upon the square. This is 3, 4, 5 of the Pythagorean theorem.

The apron is also used to subdue our passions. As the apron is worn at the waist and extends downward over the sex organs, it is a reminder that we must control our lower, sexual nature and not let it rule over us in our daily lives. It is imperative to the spiritual seeker to learn to subdue this lower, animal nature to purify the soul. It is also the location of the Root Chakra that we must all learn to overcome to advance on our spiritual path.

There are many more aspects to the Masonic Apron that can be studied and meditated upon. Check out the following links for further information, and while you’re there, check out some of the other great articles that they each have to offer. Enjoy!

Masonic Apron Symbolism by Greg Stewart of masonicinformation.com

The Symbolism and Design of the Masonic Apron by phoenixmasonry.org

Entered_Apprentice_Freemason_apron