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: Freemasonry and Initiation
Topic:Freemasonry
FreemasonryFreemasonry is an initiatory oriented School of thought; but this detail doesn’t seem to interest all masons. After all, not even Churches manage to engage the interest of the devotional people towards a spiritual Principle that, paradoxically, is demonstrated only outside the official structures of its hierarchies. It follows that no good School can make a ‘good pupil’ if he doesn’t want to be one.

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Freemasonry and Initiation

by Athos A. Altomonte

© copyright by Esonet.it - Esonet.com

A Friend of Esonet wrote: ‘...I found many affinities of thought in the Masonic current. To say the truth some time ago I read a book by Epiphanius which certainly didn’t highlight the beauty of Freemasonry. But of course there are many points of view for everything. Nevertheless, I started off very skeptically on the propositions of Freemasonry itself. Along the way, and the study, Freemasonry ended up being the mirror of all my ideas, at least as far as I know about it. A model of democracy, globalization, Universal Church, Libertè, Fraternitè, Egalitè. My question is therefore simple: how could I, tabula rasa but with all the ingredients to make ‘a beautiful cake’, approach Freemasonry? I feel that Rose and Cross is the best form of language for myself, but then again, after all, I know very little about it...’

The question asked by the reader gives me the chance to call into question some of the elements around which the fog of incomprehension is quite thick. Even as far as many masons are concerned.

For reasons that I don’t think appropriate to deal with in this short comment, I will only state that Freemasonry contains the principles of Initiation of the mysteriosophic System, re-veiled (veiled twice) in a symbolic or allegorical key. This kind of Initiation, born in the East, established itself in the language of the ancient Mediterranean Mysteric Schools. Freemasonry is based on a spiritual Principle which certain illuminated Masons, in order not to ‘show off’ any particular faith, called the Great Architect of the Universe. Later, though, other masons placed the Bible on their Altar; by doing so they produced a paradox.

Wanting to demonstrate the universality of their position towards the religious multiplicity, they ended up by banning any ‘difference’ by admitting into their Temples only their particular preference.

Freemasonry is an initiatory oriented School of thought; but this detail doesn’t seem to interest all masons. After all, not even Churches manage to engage the interest of the devotional people towards a spiritual Principle that, paradoxically, is demonstrated only outside the official structures of its hierarchies. It follows that no good School can make a ‘good pupil’ if he doesn’t want to be one. The ‘Masonic people’ as well as any other people is made of men; excellent, good, less good and much less good men.

But certainly, after all, the Masonic people got ‘excellent marks’ in the past.
In the last few years, though, a moment of initiatory ‘tiredness and slackening’ has occurred. Perhaps because this people have been busy with other issues.
It is undeniable that for a long time, now, Masons have spent too long admiring themselves in the ‘mirror’ to please others and themselves. The Masonic people have a growth crisis which, like any other teenager, is marked by deep and narcissistic attention to themselves. Hedonism doesn’t allow them, for the moment, to see that the projection of themselves and their ‘own images’ that they want to believe, hardly allows them to recognize that the reality around them looks like something else.

I have already written in other articles about the limits that a closed system imposes. Well, today, the mysteriosophic people and even worse, the devotional people, suffer with the closed-system syndrome. The limits don’t allow to those who remain inside the system to self-affirm in a determining manner, neither inside nor outside oneself. Many attempts are made to overcome the deadlock, but all of them, as any careful observer can notice, are ‘weighed down’ by profane elements such as sensationalism.

The passionate research for the spectacular and attractive effect that channels on oneself the approval, empathy and consent of a mass homologation is the extreme sign of an anticlimax that arises because of a severe lack of ideas; it is also an obvious sign of lack of confidence. After all Initiation is not any longer a tangible ‘fact’ that undeniably distinguishes who has it and who hasn’t. Initiation has become unreliable because it is virtual on both banks of the river. Rather, it is the exterior signal of a ‘career’ bestowed ‘by courtesy’ of a power that seems far from owning and demonstrating a spiritual or initiatory essence. Indeed, in certain bands ‘of initiatory interest’, initiation is the instrument of one’s own power; power and infallibility both supported only by conformism and dialectic obviousness that is the ‘flatus vocis’ through which Bernard of Clairvaux, creator of the Templar Rule, boldly ‘corrected’ the sleaze of the temporal and churchy powers.

Those we have taken into consideration are only some of the factors that concern a very delicate passage of the initiatory movement. And they alone cannot certainly shed light on the stage of extreme exotericism that goes through all the initiatory Societies. But the exotericism that confusedly tinges most of the initiatory field is ascribable to other reasons. Some of them, we are told, are quite complex. Therefore we will try to broadly convey their meaning by choosing an allegory with a devotional imprint.

’A light hanging in the darkness of the night attracts both the traveler and any kind of insect, even pesky ones. The traveler ‘uses’ the light to ‘adjust’ the direction of his journey. Insects, on the contrary, disorderly fly ‘towards’ the light and, buzzing away, they end up going around it aimlessly without a goal or a purpose. But by going round and round some end up getting burnt by the ‘heat’ of its flame’.
I think that this allegory doesn’t need any interpretation.
Another motivation, a more western one, is to imagine the initiatory System, be it mysteriosophic or devotional, as a ‘window’ towards the outside: an exit from the restraining prison of the profane world.

It is indeed around those few, very few ‘gaps’ that all the efforts of those forces ‘contrary to initiation’ focus; because initiation is a viaticum of freedom from their influence.

Nevertheless this statement must not be read as a fight between democracy and dictatorship or as a conflict between an illiberal power and a liberal system. The most appropriate interpretation is (and I apologize for the strong expression I am using) of a contrast between the initiatory forces that fight to illuminate the conscience of the humankind and to free it from the delusions of ignorance and the counter-initiatory forces that have always fought to keep men under the yoke of the power of material darkness. A fight translated into the contrast between knowledge and superstition, reality and illusion, conquest and loss, concrete and ephemeral.
In actual fact, then, the Armageddon, the conflict between ‘black and white’, between ‘good and evil’ is not yet to come but, like any initiate knows, has been among us for a long time.
At this point it is quite clear the importance of the ‘choice’ that each of us makes; the great importance of choosing to remain ‘on this side’ in profanity and material blindness or to go ‘to the other side’ in the clear-vision of the initiatory faculty. This choice, which seems to be individual and isolated, in actual fact reinforces one or the other of the two sides. This is why it is said that on those ‘frontier territories’, where the escape hatches are present (the initiatory systems), there is a very fierce and venomous opposition of those who want to ‘hold and curb’ the will of aspirants and adepts, keeping their consciences in a state of confusion, indecision and numbness. All in order for the mental ‘reawakening’ (illumination) that follows initiation to be obstructed or even only slowed down.
As it is reminded in Freemasonry, the bad Fellows who kill the Spirit of initiation (Master Hiram) are always present ‘inside’ the walls of the Temple and not outside; mixed up and apparently similar to any other adept.

It is enough to ‘know’ the Rules of the initiatory teaching, be it expressed in the eastern or in the western sapiential languages (even better if they can be both recognized by analogy), because the exoteric language, even when presented in erudite and scholarly ‘form’, discloses and reveals the ‘initiatory inoperativeness’ of the bad Fellow, in front of which any Initiate will know how to behave. He will indeed be able to avoid his attacks with light strokes of intellectual foil and he will ward him off with the strong strokes of sword of his will.

Westerners talk a lot about their own initiatory Systems, but what do Eastern observers say and how do they envisage the initiatory future of Freemasonry?
If the question interests the Esonet’s readers, I’d like to offer, for the sake of research and comparison, an overview of thoughts and wishes on the Masonic future from the eastern point of view (see Dialogues of an Oriental Master). Perhaps what is shown in these comments, quite flattering comments, I may say, could be useful to those who are in search of a kind of Freemasonry in a less exoteric, public and charming view than that built to please the masses.

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