The Hermetic Principles and Changing the Ruling Paradigm

I consider myself to be an initiate of the Mystery Schools and know in my heart of hearts that these teachings hold the key to unlocking the true potential of the human race. Religions of all different types around the world will espouse that their way is the only way and that the others are deceived and doomed.  While I believe that some of this bias comes from ignorance, I also believe that some of it is by design. If we all live in one collective consciousness and all derive from the same Mind of the Creator, how can one group be right, while the other is wrong? The truth is is that there is no one correct path. The idea that there is only one path is one of the most damning and dangerous falsehood ever concocted that has already caused so much pain, death and despair. We have all seen the effect of religious wars over time, and still feel their effects to this very day.

Being an initiate of a Mystery School has always required taking a solemn oath to not divulge the secrets of the order. While I believe that this is mostly symbolic, it is meant to test the will of the initiate, but it may serve an even deeper purpose.  I believe that the secrets (which are usually deeply veiled) that an order holds must be pondered upon at great lengths to understand. These teachings hold great truths that are inherent to unlocking our true potential.  They hold truths about the nature of our reality that science is constantly confirming (albeit hundreds, if not thousands of years later). They hold truths about the nature of our minds and of consciousness itself, which the initiate will come to understand IS reality. These teachings hold the sublime truth that we are all part of the One and that we always have been and always will be. They hold the truth that we are Spirit that has descended into Matter, but are capable of reattaining that Spirit by living within a moral code that inspires us to help the destitute and downtrodden.  I also believe that these teachings hold the key to saving the world from this dark path that we are currently on.

The modern church system has taken the lessons of Christ at face value and has presented them to the public in a watered down, non-symbolic manner. Whether this has been done out of ignorance, or by design, has stripped the true meaning from the Word and has drawn the veil over it’s power. The modern Christian teachings have also taught us that we are sinners and flawed and the only way to be saved it to accept Christ as our personal savior. This teaching is flawed and is used to demean the individual. I truly believe that these teachings were intended to control people and keep us locked in fear and servitude. As we all derive from God, and are a part of God, how can we be eternally flawed? At one point in time, Hermeticism was considered on-par with Christianity until it was squashed, along with other non-Christian religions during the late reign of Constantine the Great. This continued on, with brief periods of time where paganism was tolerated, until the reign of Theodosius, when paganism was wholeheartedly banned and pagans were persecuted, temples were destroyed and there was an attempt to destroy all remnants of pre-Christian religion.  It is imperative that we look at religions in a different light, and approach them with equal attention. We must also look at them allegorically, as opposed to treating them as historic fact and understand that each tradition holds important moral lessons for humanity.

The Hermetic teachings as presented in the Kybalion present a very different way of looking at our bodies, our minds, and our souls than contemporary Christianity. As I have previously discussed in my series on the Seven Hermetic Principles, these seven immutable laws govern the natural and supernatural world as we know it. The seven principles in and of themselves have an exoteric and esoteric meaning, and like the mystery schools of antiquity can be understood on multiple levels. One of the most striking revelations that an individual can take away from studying them is the concept of all things existing within a singular mind, or consciousness.  Science is confirming the concept of “infinite, living mind” as it uncovers the science of consciousness and the true nature of our existence. We all derive our being from vibrations and atoms that science has yet to fully understand, but we do know that we all come from the same origin. Not only every human, but all life as we know it (and some that we don’t currently think of as life, but will in time). In coming to terms with this concept the Hermetic student realizes that despite our subtle differences in appearance and belief system, we are all truly “One”. The Principle of Polarity teaches us that though things may seem opposed, they are truly just varying degrees of one another. Applying this to our thought process can help dismantle the “us versus them” mentality. It can help us understand our adversaries and can help them understand us as well. The Principle of Mentalism informs us that we are all created by and have our being within the infinite living mind that is the Universal Mind, therefore, as we are all made of and by the same substance we are all technically one.

Living our lives with the Hermetic Principles in mind can change the way we look at other people and their belief systems. It can help us overcome the prejudices that we have lived with our whole lives and help us see the greater picture. It can help us see that we are in-fact part of God and  In a time where we are all divided, we need these Hermetic Principles now more than ever.

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Alchemy and Freemasonry: Is there a Connection?

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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

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.

 

Jesus, the Essenes and Freemasonry-Is there a connection?

Who were the Essenes, how are they related to Jesus Christ and how does all of this relate to Freemasonry?

The Essenes are an enigmatic sect of Jews that lived in and around Palestine and according to Josephus, they had as many as four thousand adherents. They lived a holy, peaceful existence and held similar moral ground to the Pythagoreans.

Of the three sects of Jews that existed before the life of Christ, there were the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. It was said that Christ often denounced the Sadducess and the Pharisees, but never mentioned the Essenes. It is also striking to note that the virtues and morals by which the Essenes ascribed to, were much the same of the virtues of Christ himself. They believed in baptism, healing, and assisting the less-fortunate. They believed material wealth was a burden and that there was virtue in being poor and living in the most modest means possible. They abstained from eating meat and saw it as akin to slavery of the flesh.  They were strong adherents to keeping their wisdom secret, except to those of their order. Many of these concepts were attributed to the teachings of Christ as well and this idea of keeping the wisdom secret can be found in the fact that Jesus taught all of his word through parables, so that the commoner could not interpret their hidden meanings.

Masonic ciphers, or books of coded ritual work, have been available to Masons in America for some time. However, there was a time when this was forbidden, even if printed in coded cipher. There were some versions of the ritual that were released under different names so that they could be passed off without scrutiny. One of these “exposes” as many call them, has an Essene related name. It is called “Ecce Oriente; Or Rites and Ceremonies of the Essenes” by M. Wolcott Redding from 1870. It is my personal belief that Freemasonry teaches and promotes much of the original concepts that were embodied in early Christianity as well as other pre-Christian religions. Christianity was influenced by Gnosticism and Hermeticism, both of which are prevalent throughout the Masonic tradition. Check out the following articles for more on this fascinating topic:

 

The Jesus Connection

Jesus An Essene

Jesus and the Essenes

Freemasonry and the Essenes

 

 

 

 

The Point of a Sharp Instrument-Top 10

Number 3

In this installment, I discuss the mysterious Philosophers Stone. Is the stone a real object, or is it purely symbolic. Check out the article to learn more about this enigmatic topic!

The Philosopher’s Stone-The Key to all of the Mysteries?

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The Point of a Sharp Instrument-Top 10

Number 8

In this installment, I presented the argument that modern science owes a lot to the Ancient Mystery schools and several esoteric schools of thought. The Royal Society was a group of thinkers/scientists/philosophers who joined together to research and present new concepts and inventions and was made up of individuals who were deeply connected with the ancient traditions of alchemy, Hermeticism, and Freemasonry.

Esoteric Wisdom and the Birth of Modern Science

 

V0013122 Royal Society, Crane Court, off Fleet Street, London: a meet