The Number Three - the Foundation of the Masonic Work
We can say that this Number is the Symbol and the Foundation on which Freemasonry rests.
We have indeed dealt with the application of the three and the three-fold several times in all the previous topics of our journey; for the economy of this work I think it is pointless to re-propose all those meanings. Likewise I think it makes no sense to anticipate for all numbers concepts that we will treat later.
The Initiatory vertex of the Scottish rite follows the same pattern, resting in both cases (Order and Rite) on three Numbers or degrees.
In the Order, on the degrees:
1, 2, 3 whose reduction is synthesized by the Number 6, the Mystery of the Masonic Hexagram and Symbol of the Great Work.
In the Rite, on the degrees:
The 31 whose reduction, the Number 4, veils the Mystery of the Form:
The 32 whose reduction, the Number 5, veils the Mystery of Man:
The 33 whose reduction, the Number 6, veils the Mystery of the Initiate:
But it is not yet time to look into the meaning of those Degrees. We only need to remember that Order and Rite, where the latter is the expansion of the former, are spent in the same numerical value and in the same Symbol.
The Hebrew mystique draws the origin of all the Forms of the Universe from the Number Three.
«Three created things preceded the formation of the Universe: water, wind and fire. The water conceived and gave birth to darkness; the fire conceived and gave birth to light; the wind conceived and gave birth to wisdom. By these six principles the Universe is ruled: wind, wisdom, fire, light, darkness and water.» - (Sources: Everyman’s Talmud by A. Cohen, 1932 and Fuego he venido a traer a la tierra by J.H. Lago 1999)
It will not be difficult for the researcher to connect the Water Element to Space, of which the circumference (female, value two) is part, and the Fire to the prime emanation (the One, male) of He who seats behind the zero’; then the latter with the Motion of Life in the Universe in the Air Element (value three and result of the conjugation between the Two).
See the image that expresses the Three (energetic) Elements.
The Number Three is geometrically expressed by the triangle, but before continuing an explanation is necessary.
Although it is true that the concrete manifestation of Man, the physical Body, lies on four elements, the Earth element of the concrete Form is not considered as a "Principle" by the Initiatory Schools, because it is absorbed and held only by the "will" of the Ethereal Body, ultimate Principle of man. Therefore Man considered in his whole (the 9), is formed by a superior Triangle, the Monad, which projects in a intermediate Triangle, the Triad, which on its turn "supports" the ternary of Their last material manifestation in the three Principles: the Mental Body, the Astral Body and the Ethereal Body.
The three Ternaries and one of the three Bridges that connect them.
Therefore we can repeat definitely that the One (dynamic) and the Two (magnetic) highlight in the space the Three. This last Aspect, Motion, objectively manifests the Universe in all its levels of Form.
During his research the Mason will have to refer to this cosmic mechanism and to its three primary Elements (Aspect I, II, III) from which, as we will see more and more clearly, through the contact with the elements of the lower spaces will originate the IV, the V, the VI and the VII Aspects (see the characteristics and qualities of the 7 sacred Planets of the Tradition - Imago Templi 5.3 / 5.4). And this is independently and beyond any name or term with a human aspect used to cover them in the lesser Catechisms, in order to make them simile and assimilable to the lower dimensions of Man.
For the initiate introduced to the Mysteries aware of being an objective manifestation of this Universe, the reference point towards the superior Self will only always be the Number Three in its qualities and characteristics (see 3rd Aspect). This is true until it will become Ego in manifestation and it will stop considering itself as a separate Entity (Personality).
The Three in the Science of Harmonics (musical, see from Pythagoras to H. Kaiser: Leherbuck der Harmonik), means the interval between two sounds.*
As we will see in the Starry Vault the interval (between two sounds) represents the way of access to what is called the Silent Sound. Through the vibration of its movement from it emanates the primordial Sound. It is the archetype of all archetypes (metaphysical and energetic) which Pythagoras referred to.
Once the Initiate finds that access again, viz. the Golden Silence of lower dimensions (dimensions: physical, ethereal, astral, lower and higher psychic), he starts walking the "attractive and magnetic" Path that leads to the sphere of influence of the Second cosmic Aspect, advancing more and more towards the liberation from the domain of the matter (from the aqueous and heavy elements interwoven in the lower part of the Psyche).
* Interval - «In music we call Interval the difference of pitch (or frequency) between two sounds, and in acoustics it is expressed by the relation between their frequencies or wavelengths.
Therefore in the broadest sense interval means Relation or Rapport. Nevertheless it is not only the sum of two sounds, but it is their synthesis; it is a new sound that it is impossible to reproduce without the support of two distinct notes, be it instrumental or vocal.
It is an independent being provided with its own psychic qualities produced by the resounding (simultaneous or consecutive) of the two components. The rapport, the relation is therefore, in Harmonics, clearly recognized as entity that manifests itself to the hearing and the psyche with its own distinct characteristics.
The Interval is the intermediary between two sounds and Harmonics studies it in this view, which is numerical, knowable and exact.
But the idea of Interval in music can be – and must be – broadened up to the extreme consequences; therefore it can be applied to all the fields of human knowledge and perception.
All that is rapport can be brought back to a certain interval, even logic oppositions, complementary principles and energetic transformations.
Interval means Conscience. In the infinite and living space all the elementary charges of Fire (the Points) are in mutual relation with all the others and this infinite field of relation is universal conscience, different from a Point to another but never completely absent.» - (extract from the document the Creating Sound /from the site The Planetary System)
Analytical Psychology and Psychosynthesis, the language of the Initiate, subconscious, unconscious and Ego; the Path of V.I.T.R.I.O.L.
What we read in the last lines of the previous paragraph is true and suitable to the teachings of the Tradition of the Temple.
But although we are trained to intelligere (to read within, Note of the Translator) the esoteric language, we have lost the ability to identify ourselves with the culture, now archaic, that expressed those terms and that language, whose meanings in terms of efficiency usually remain obscure to the lesser Brothers.
Once the Bro. has reached the consciousness of this problem and he doesn’t want to stop, he will necessarily choose between three paths.
By choosing the first path he decides to leave everything where it is, without changing anything in the relation between himself and the knowledge, impossible to interpret correctly, passed on by that language and with those terms. The cost of this path’s choice will be the loss of the chance to reach out, grasp and take possession of that substance that, hidden in the language, will remain an unapproachable and unusable reality.
For the lesser initiate this choice will result in him experiencing symbolism and philosophy of the esoteric Sciences with a kind of devotional bedazzlement and an often strict attachment to symbols, words, gestures and ritual and ceremonial colors that he will not understand at all, because they don’t give him anything but their exterior form. And they will not have for him any operative value whatsoever; they will only have characteristics of myth and legend that badly match his culture and the scientific culture where his daily life is immersed.
This choice is anti-economical (contrary to the Law of Economy) because it is fruitless for the initiatory purposes and useless to the progression in the project of his own spiritual Triad.
By choosing the second path he decides to dive into himself and undertake the painstaking work of reconditioning of his forma mentis that leads him to reconnect with the past and intertwine with those archaic matrixes that lead Ancient people to shape those terms and that language, adapting it in order to transmit a concept not present yet in the microcosmic reality of man’s mind. In this renewed psychological link between the present initiate and the Brothers from the past there are the ideal conditions for an intuitive transmission (as by osmosis) of that substance and those concepts hidden in the form of language.
This choice is anti-economical because in order to achieve it a huge investment of energy, time and psycho-physical tension is necessary. It is not very fruitful because, in harmony with an archaic mental and emotional code, that Brother will find himself lost in the reality of the present emotional and rational language where he will be unable to recognize himself.
But the essential point for an Adept that works in Brotherly Communion for the "benefit of the humankind" is that with this new code of language and thought built ad personam he will not be able any longer to communicate what he learnt to others. Drawing from a reality commonly considered as "archaic", now become personal and separating because he is the only one able to understand it, he will become himself cryptic and incomprehensible like the substance of those concepts he reached out to.
By choosing the third path he decides to hold in himself all those expressions and terms in the language of Tradition but only to use them as a grid of measurement to overlap in his research, in order to find the most similar elements in the expression of present practical and scientific culture at the time of his own manifestation.
This ability to connect the past with the apparent diversities of one’s own present culture appears as the most economical and rapid way for an Adept to give ‘luminescence’ back to the substance of the concepts contained in the archaic Cosmogony and in its teachings, without deleting in himself the memory of his own tradition and the initiatory genesis of the human Family.
In our particular instance, what does it represent, in the reality of the present culture of man, to obtain the Masonic Initiation through the transmutation or abandonment of the metals, which is a perfect precept per se? And even with the "solvi et coagula" of hermetic Alchemy, what practical sense does that teaching make nowadays for the man who would like to achieve that transformation? Perhaps none. Here, then, is born the need for the Adept to prepare the instruments he recognized and learnt from Tradition, but taking its "instructions for use" from an initiatory language readily assimilable because it is the result of his own present culture, therefore it is easily accessible in its dynamics.
The World of Chaos, the astral part of Personality, the Mind and Triad or Ego, are all elements of an ideal journey that the Adept must undertake in order to subdue, as an Initiate, his own domains, that is the Five Kingdoms of Nature.
In order to understand the difficulties and rules of that inner journey, the western thinker can be shown in the present language three schools and therefore three paths, but which are complementary among them, so much so that they can become a unique path. From the conscience of animal-man to the conscience of spiritual Man.
The first path crosses and defines the field that originates from the interaction between physical Body, animal instinct and concrete mind, in the psychological habitat that Esoteric Sciences call Body of Desire or Astral Body. The founder of the school that studies and describes it doesn’t need any presentation: it is Sigmund Freud.
The second researcher doesn’t need any presentation either: it is C. G. Jung. His thought has revealed the relation between man and his own Ego in the sphere of mind.
The part of the mind addressed to instinct and subconscious is called inferior, whilst the part that undergoes the attraction of energy and it is addressed to the qualities of the Ego and unconscious is called superior. The presence of the emotional activity of the two mental poles not yet made complementary is at the root of all states of conflict and pain of the Human Psyche, boundary between Triad and Personality.
Another researcher, doctor and psychotherapist as well, drew the best from the experiences of those schools and gave life to a study that allowed to cross completely (we might say from South to North) the field where these two elements have an influence. Subconscious, viz. the psychological background of Personality (called the Guardian of the Threshold and sum of the previous experiences) and unconscious, the becoming of the personal mind of man and seat of the higher Ego or Triad (the Solar Angel or Guardian of the Flaming Sword!).
When that researcher, Roberto Assagioli, defined and expressed that journey and the techniques that allow us to elevate ourselves towards our ‘Self’, created Psychosynthesis. Around that school and its techniques of mental dynamics more than twenty academic and scientific foundations appeared in the USA and UK, and later in Italy as well.
In order for the lesser initiate to "smooth his inner stone" he has nothing to do but to carry out the journey hidden in the motto V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem. This astral-mental-psychic-spiritual journey has been thoroughly described by Freud, Jung and Assagioli.
This journey goes through the three levels of man, from the disorientation of Chaos produced by the irrational instinct of the concrete mind to the orientation of reason and logic, up to re-orientation towards the comprehension of the Ego; from the obscure conscience of the Profane to the illuminated conscience of the Initiate.
This inner Path becomes clear and accessible with the harmonious unification of the 3 segments: subconscious-reason, intuition-intellect, unconscious-Ego.
The Brother that went or was wisely led to undertake that itinerary, would find himself in front of the solutions to the 3 questions which the initiate must answer after assimilating the three segments mentioned above, in order to be accepted in the Chamber of Greater Mysteries: where I come from, where I go, how and why.