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Masonic_religiosity: Masonic religiosity - Part One
Topic:Freemasonry
FreemasonryIt is common opinion that the devotion of Freemasonry produced an initiatory anomaly that still exists in it. Indeed, it is not clear how an Institution considered ‘generated’ by the old mysterial System (see Mediterranean Mysteries) could mix abstract spirituality with an obvious religious romanticism; or how it could confuse the representations of an exterior cult with the inner principles of spiritual illumination

Documento senza titolo

Masonic religiosity – the denied aspect of a plain reality

by Athos A. Altomonte
graphics by Fabio Gasparri

© copyright by Esonet.it - Esonet.com


If we observe the ritual Masonic structure with a pure disposition, we are stricken by some aspects of religiosity in it; their obviousness is denied by some Masons who forget that devotional praxis is a reality in the operative Freemasonry since the beginning.

It is common opinion that the devotion of Freemasonry produced an initiatory anomaly that still exists in it.

Indeed, it is not clear how an Institution considered "generated" by the old mysterial System (see Mediterranean Mysteries) could mix abstract spirituality with an obvious religious romanticism; or how it could confuse the representations of an exterior cult with the inner principles of spiritual illumination.


Every researcher draws his own conclusion on the difference between the manifestation of an exterior devotion and the inner realization of the spiritual principle. There is no point in discussing them because they are the result of a free conviction which must be respected. What we can do is highlight the fundamental aspects of their difference.

The Freemasons' choice to put the (Hebrew) Bible on the sacred Altar of the Lodges and to open their "architectonic works" with the words of the (Christian) Gospels is a sign which must not be underestimated. The researcher should grasp its subtle aspect in order to understand the confessional aspiration revealed even in the most orthodox texts of Freemasonry.


Regius Poem

Other points in this assembly by the great lords and masters:

First Point

That who will know this craft and come to estate, he must love well God and holy Church always, and his master also that he is with; and thy fellows thou love also, for that thy craft will that thou do...

Cooke Manuscript

Other advices. These advices come from several lords and masters of different Freemasonry’s provinces and assemblies:

First Point

We must know that whosoever desires to become a mason, it behoves him before all things to love God and the holy Church and all the Saints; and his master and fellows as his own brothers


This feeling goes beyond blue Freemasonry and it reaches the High ritual Chambers of scotticism and not only that. An example is the very catholic Chapter of the Rose and Cross. The words «God» and «Amen» can be found in many occasions, even solemn ones, such as formulas for oath in the high degrees. They are pronounced clearly, without using the abstract formula of the «Great Architect of the Universe» used in the lower degrees.

This phenomenon must be studied; the syncretism between catholic religion, Hebrew symbolism (the Pillars of the Sephirothic Tree, the Hexagram, the ritual lighting of the Menorah) and a mysterial-like rituality, place Freemasonry into a limited and initiatorily uncertain basin, which has an aspect that can’t be ignored.


The ideological boundaries set to preserve any particular cultural identity (in our caseJudaic-Christian identity) prevent the lesser initiate from identifying with a greater principle, such as the principle of universalityexalted by the "initiatory Thinking".


The need to abandon models which are "too human" and to integrate with a higher model originates the alchemic principle of "solve et coagula". It can be translated with the need to dis-integrate (solve) from the profane models of every order and type, and to re-integrate (coagula) with universal, unifying and non-conflicting models.

The principle of initiatory universality is the heart of brotherly Comm-Union, which provides a non-competitive model of life; it gives meaning to the word religio, which means to join and not to separate as it happens in exterior cults.


Before we go any further we need to highlight the difference between initiatory mystery and craft’s secret. This distinction allows to understand how Freemasonry sustained two main influences. The first one is exoterical; it is inborn into the manual ability of the workmen’s tradition. The second one is initiatory and it is linked to the spiritual principles of illuminated minds that, discreetly, followed the evolution of the Corpus massonicum.


The primitive tradition of Freemasonry was based on professional secrets of the "art of masonry"; later on initiatory principles hidden in a symbolic guise were added to them.

These mysteries are unfathomable to a direct look; in order to be made clear they need an interpretation able to recognize their keystone, its intellectual apex.

The religious feeling that filled the heart of craftsmen working in the shadow of ecclesiastic Institution is what is left of the "old operating habits". These workmen must not be confused with the Builders of the Cathedrals, descendants of the older builders of Temples, whose ‘mysteries’ we are dealing with in the work: "invisible Geometries in Cathedrals".


In other words we must distinguish between "craft’s secrets" and "initiatory mysteries".

The former imply the manual practice directed to the substance; the latter imply the intellectual width which, through the concrete thought of physical reason, expresses the brightness of an initiatory conscience.

In this way we distinguish the conceptual, metaphysical and spiritual ability of Initiates, creators of Temples and Cathedrals, from the practical, propitiatory and superstitious culture of manual workers and wage-earners.

In this difference we see the first two steps of an initiatory Pyramid made by three levels, which we can indicate as follows:

1st level,

the introduced to the secrets of the art (craftsmen and manual workers) but not introduced to the initiatory mysteries;

2nd level,

the lesser initiates (architects and builders) introduced to the physical concept of mysterial planning;

3rd level,

the greater Initiates (makers of initiatory projects "for the benefit of the humankind"), initiators that pass on to the lesser adepts the spiritual rules of mysterial traditions.

In the Eastern and Western initiatory traditions we find the presence of another level, linked to the color white, like white is spiritual light.

This statement, though, is not materially proven, because none of the researchers can reach it unless he belongs to it; in this case, he must respect the oath of silencerequired in the previous levels as well.

 

In conclusion, the initiatory classification doesn’t consider exoterical initiations as "introductions to the craft’s mysteries" of the craftsmen’s guilds. This should be remembered by the man who wants to study the history of the Mystic and Mysteriosophical System, in order not to confuse initiatory chrisms with the exoterical ones belonging to devotional orders.


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