On the contrary of what we think, it is necessary to refuse and disown the exoteric isolation of the High ritual Chambers and to understand the invisible connections of the initiatory activities through which Esoteric Philosophy joins in the Scottish Pyramid the commitment of initiates of different levels and abilities. Like in the economy of any other ‘body’ in the Scottish Pyramid as well the hermetic Philosophy of the High Degrees emanates its prerogatives dispensing them in the work, through the subordinate elements connected with them.
We will use as an example the Guardians of the Threshold of the Temple (philosophy of the 4th degree) and the Executors of Justice (Philosophy of the 9th degree), which symbolize the connection with the Greater Initiates that must emanate that Justice (Philosophy of the 31st degree) and that Balance (Philosophy of the 32nd degree).
The initiatory activities which connect hermetically among various levels (Ars Pontificia = Art of Connection) the ability to work in the same function are contained deep within the sacred symbolism of the Secret Master and Guardian of the Threshold of the Ritual Temple (the IV degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite) and of the Executor of Justice (the IX degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). These activities express and individualize that Justice (which lies in the ‘occult philosophy’ of the XXXI degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite) and that Balance (which lies in the ‘Sublime Secret’ of the XXXII degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish rite) which, from the top of the White Freemasonry descend through what is called the Descending Initiation* along the whole Hierarchic Pyramid of the Scottish rite up to reflect, through each single Mason, in the World of Chaos.
* Descending Initiation – it obeys the Law of Balance. In the physical world we might simplify this law into two definitions: the volume of the content cannot be bigger than the capacity of the container, that is the energy transmitted by the generator (the Soul) must be proportional to the resistance ability of the conductor (the Mind). The Triad as well, through the Ego, which works as a positive pole of the manifestation of microcosmic man, must necessarily limit its ‘help’ to the lower self, which in turn is the negative pole of the same manifestation, in proportion to the limitations that affect this second element, lower and receptive (passive). If this doesn’t happen there can be serious damage, even the destruction of the (energetically) lower element or parts of it.
We must remember that the work of Ars Pontificia doesn’t only consists of creating ‘Bridges’ connecting what is earthly with what is celestial and super-mundane, but it also supports the Initiate in recognizing the ‘invisible geometries’ that connect the development of Philosophies of the initiatory system. They coexist developing indissolubly through the entire journey up to the top of White Freemasonry, the highest initiatory expression of the Western Branch.
To help clarify with another example how we can deal with the ‘reading’ of hermetic Philosophies, apparently different if they are considered disjointed, we will re-form a particular cycle of cadences that like others artfully goes through the Scottish Rite, obfuscating to the eyes of the profane ‘who looks without seeing’ the innermost esoteric values that join the various itineraries of Masonic knowledge.
Through this journey which develops in several sections and goes back to different levels of the Scottish rite, we must remember that this geometry as well as all others in hermeticism, is obvious only to those who are well educated in the Free Art of Thought and thus have developed the ability of the pontiff. The latter is, as esoteric Commentaries state, he who «…is able to connect through golden bridges (the solar color of the spirit, the Monad) the outside to the inside (the occult meanings that they re-veil) and to his own inner self (inner perceptivity) and the latter with the Spirit (one’s own metaphysical appearance, the Soul) and vice versa».
In the Masonic 3rd degree we find the psycho-drama of the inner resurrection of the spiritual entity of man, which occurs at the achievement of the 3rd Initiation.* In this initiation we recollect the drama of the Spirit of the Humankind which, called Hiram, lies buried in the ground of one’s own physical Form and on whose grave ‘memento homo’ flourishes, the evergreen memory of his immortality symbolized by the indestructible Acacia.
With this Initiation the personal Work of the re-generated man ends.
*3rd Initiation – If it was real, with this Initiation the joining between the 3rd and the 2nd Aspects of the Triad (Intelligence and Love), which blend and become one unique Aspect (see note on the Triad in the Chapter 2.1), would occur in the psyche of the Adept. We will realize the range of this indication later on, when we get to the glyph of the Sephirotic Tree.
The psychological rebirth that follows the spiritual reawakening leads the Builder now initiated to own the ‘Secret of Hiram’. This secret known only to the Masters is not communicable through profane languages and methods and yet it is transmissible through the Master-Disciple Mouth-Ear afflatus. We will deal with its most occult ‘meaning’ in the Chapter dedicated to the initiatory meaning.
Certain Eastern Schools suggest the technique called ‘heart to heart’ contact in order to ‘blend’ the conscience of the Master with that of the Disciple. By heart they mean the Cardiac Center seat of the Intellectual Bridge with the Triad (Gnosis) not to be confused with one of the passive practices of the devotional church.
The maturation of that condition that marks so deeply the symbology of the 3rd degree projects the initiate in the personal Work of ‘construction’ of the Royal Arch (the XIV degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite) which in the Temple of Solomon* is the support and Keystone of the Sancta Sanctorum. In the Tabernacle of the Third Temple of Melchizedek** the Sign of the Holy Alliance between God and man was kept. The Royal Arch of the Holy Alliance with God and the Ars Pontificia of the Initiate, with the bridge that connects him with his own Spirit are similar concepts. This analogy is thoroughly expressed in the esoteric Philosophy of the degree «…of those who conquer the sacerdotal Initiation by building Bridges between Earth and Heaven».
* The Temple of Solomon – the immortal destiny of each and all of us is to acquire the conscience of the higher Self and then that of the Divine Spirit. When the form is ready, when the Temple of Solomon has been built with the stones of the personal life, the life of the ‘Cosmic’ Christ penetrates and the glory of the Lord veils his own Temple – (Considerator)
** The Temple of Melchizedek – From an ancient esoteric Commentary: «after the third initiation, called of the Transfiguration, when the personality is subjected to the soul, or inner Christ, and the Glory of the Lord will shine through the flesh, we will have to face the supreme completion, the Crucifixion (aware of the reawakened Spirit in the material Form) and the Resurrection (in the Form of the Spirit’s conscience). Then, we’ve been told, that mysterious Being which the Old Testament calls Melchizedek and the Ancient of Days, will do His part and will initiate us to the even higher mysteries.»
Of him it is said: «Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God […] was first of all, as His name says, King of Justice and also King of Salem (King of Peace). He, born without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life […] remains priest forever.» (Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, VII 1-3)
[…] it is He who welcomes the Initiate and who superintends to the highest transitions of conscience, which are the rewards for the successfully completed tests. It is He whose star shines when the Initiate enters the light. Thus there are three initiators; first the soul of man, then the Historic Christ and finally the Ancient of Days, ‘He for whom we live and move and exist’ (Acts of the Apostles, XVII, 28)
The Planetary Logos could be considered as the God of our planet who, in his divine essence, like Soul, is above the monadic plane. Esoterically the seven great planetary worlds are nothing but the under-planes of the Cosmic physical World. But there are other great Planes or Cosmic Worlds and the Planetary Logos, the great Being that informs our planet, with His Soul he seats in the Cosmic Mental World (The World of the Will of God). In his personal manifestation, so to speak, he is the Great Initiator who seats in the divine plane. What in Christian terms is called ‘the Father’ in the Bible is called the Ancient of Days or Melchizedek, which means Lord of Justice, because Justice, that is the Law in a cosmic sense, rules the whole evolutional plane, all the manifestation. Esoterically he is also called the Young of the 16 summers and this might appear as a contradiction, but it is not. Whilst in his essence he is ancient (he pre-exists to manifestation) in the evolutional cycle he is still young, because evolution is still at a non-advanced stage (16 summers must be meant as the number of greater cycles, of manifestation and reabsorption of the universe, of which He follows the Rhythms). – Considerator
The construction of the Royal Arch (individual) leads the Initiate to the ever closer contact with Learning and Knowledge. Knowledge forms the ‘active nucleus’ of the intimist Teaching of the Rose and Cross (the XVIII degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite) for which , through one’s own mystic Rose (the Mystic Cup of one’s own heart, the Cardiac Center) one tends to reach the stage of inner Illumination called Gnosis. The Esoteric Doctrine states that this Illumination occurs by contact with the Triad. This goal is offered to both Profane and Initiates of the West (represented by the 3 Wise Kings, Ars Regia) by the Master Jesus of Nazareth and later divulged by the Perfects of the Languedoc and by the Confraternity of the Rose and Cross.
Through a personal catharsis (symbolized by the crossing of the corolla of the rose) the conscience of man reaches the other side of itself, joining the horizontal and vertical banks of its thought (the two mental poles of North and South; East and West) reconciling them into an inner rebirth*. The inner (psychological) journeys of the conscience are facilitated by the practical implementation of the science called Spiritual Alchemy.**
The initiatory Knowledge or Gnosis leads the Man connected to his Spirit to discriminate real from unreal; the immutable reality of the universe and life from what has been created to virtually represent them. Thus we overcome the need for a macrocosmic representation, fictitious and limited by man’s imagination and we reach the direct vision of that reality represented by the Planet that becomes the new Temple of the Initiate with a Starry Vault that overlooks and envelops both. This new reality becomes for the Perfect, the Kadosh, the true image of the Temple: erected by the same Great Architect who himself becomes its best guardian by evoking its presence with his own spirit.
* Symbolism of the Rose – exercise used in psycho-synthesis to promote and ease the opening of the spiritual conscience. It is based on the development of the symbol of the rose and it helps unravelling the tangles in order to reveal the spiritual center. It consists of the visualization of the journey from the closed bud to the fully open flower. Its efficiency depends most of all from the ability to introject the rose and identify with it in order for the symbol to work (interiorly) creatively.
(R. Assaggioli: Lo sviluppo transpersonale; Principi e metodi della psicosintesi terapeutica [Transpersonal development; Principles and methods of therapeutic psycho-synthesis, Note of the Translator]).
** Spiritual Alchemy -
«Alchemy is the study of the Energy of the matter.
Spiritual alchemy is the study of the Energy in the Form.
The Alchemist is he who frees the energy from the matter.
The Spiritual Alchemist is he who frees the energy from the Form.»
This summation of mental and spiritual techniques called Spiritual Alchemy has the ‘secret goal’ of reaching self-initiation. This discipline performed totally naturally in the East disappeared among the Arians with the death of Moses.
From an Ancient Commentary: «the Hebrew embodies the prodigal son of the world. He is the symbol of the disciple that has not learnt the right sense of values yet. He has been a victim of the Law of Light and of his inability to follow it. He has sinned willingly with his eyes open to the consequences. Thus he knows the law like no other race, because he is its eternal victim. He enunciated the law from its negative side; the Law of Moses today rules most of the world yet it cannot instill justice and true legality into life.»
The mystery of self-initiation was restored again by the work of Master Jesus «…it is not me who heals you, but your faith!» and in his life full of solitary initiatory tests, from Bethlehem to the Calvary. Jealously kept, the mystery of self-initiation was later publicly identified with the ‘secret’ of the Albigensian Perfect and concurred to the appearance of the ‘so-called Cathar heresy’. The Albigensians’ and St Bartholomew’s genocides, - we will mention the latter in a minute - are a symbol, but not the only one, of the holocausts perpetrated in history by men for which in the esoteric Commentaries was said that ‘in them the indelible mark of Cain is kept’. This leads us to the immoral excess of fanaticism, which tends to express itself through two ideological channels: religious and nationalistic. They are both sectarian and separating agents.
The use of these ‘spiritual alchemies’ lead man to an intimate contact with one’s own spirit; thus reaching the goals of inner transformation and spiritual alliances indicated in the various degrees of the Initiation appears natural. The Path of self-initiation indicated unambiguously in all the sacred Books is the meeting or the Alliance between divine and human inside oneself. But the noble Traveler who tried, often succeeding, to embark on his ‘inner journey’ in that direction, has always met the opposition of those who, non-initiates and Pharisees (the political caste of religious people) with their ideological syncretism claim to have ‘monopoly’ and authority on that sacred Alliance between God and men.
The Perfects resisted the growth of those syncretistic doctrines which were slowly overlapping on the fundamental doctrine of the Church of Christ. The former gave more and more importance to the presence of the individual man in the rituals. Originally the latter were based on the evoking-invoking force originating by the whole Body of devotees-officiants without the supremacy of a man over another. The core of that heresy (not of the secret) was the statement of one’s own inner and individual spirituality. They advocated the return to the simplicity of the Apostles and disowned any intervention from an external mundane authority.
Then there was the secret of the Initiation of Jesus (The Holy Grail) which was supposed to be passed on in His own blood. This other heresy was nothing but the cosmogonic view of Initiation which can be achieved only with one’s own individual strength and the help of one’s own spirit. Indeed only one’s own spirit is connected with the cosmic Spirit to which it belongs. The elements of this self-Initiation between man and his own spirit are shown to every man, hidden in the allegory of the Eucharistic Ritual. But I’ll leave it to the reader to judge the content in full autonomy, through the description of a Brother (which I choose not to name) bishop of that same Church whose hierarchy didn’t want that teaching to be revealed to its own devotees.
«The Ritual of Eucharist represents in its ceremony the Great Work itself, with the elements that make it: the Chalice, the Bread-Matter, the wine Water-Spirit, the evocation, the liturgical elevation, the precipitation and Transmutation and sanctification. These are some elements to consider.
In the celebration of the Eucharist there are many symbols related to the monad, the ego and personality. First of all for the three elements of the Trinity, the Host represents God Father, the one and indivisible Divinity. The Wine represents the God Son, whose Blood has been shed in the Chalice of material form; the Water represents the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that was present above the reflecting water and it is itself represented by water.
Considering the divinity of man, the Host represents the monad, the whole, the invisible cause of all things. The Paten represents the three-fold Spirit through which the monad acts on the matter. The Wine represents the individuality poured in the chalice of the casual body; the Water represents personality, so intimately blended with it. On the subject of the representation of the Eucharist, the strength of the host is essentially monadic and it strongly affects all that in a man depends on the direct action of the monad. The Chalice is stronger than the ego, the Wine has a very powerful effect on the higher astral levels and the Water emits ethereal vibrations. When the officiant signs three crosses with the host on the Chalice he asks for the influence of the monadic level to descend on the ego in its three-fold manifestation. Later, when he signs two crosses between the Chalice and his chest, he attracts that influence on his bodies, mental and emotional, to irradiate it on his devotees.
This symbolizes the first stages of evolution, when the monad is suspended on its lower manifestations, acting on them without ever touching them. Similarly, the priest holds the Host above the Chalice without letting them touch each other before the established time and when he lets a fragment of the Host fall in the Chalice it symbolizes the descent of a ray of the monad in the ego.» Other indications follow.
I would like to mention a detail that should be particularly interesting for Masons.
The first ‘legend’ of the Grail in a Christian interpretation was called ‘Le Roman de Perceval’ or ‘Le conte del Graal’, attributed to Chretien de Troyes in the court of the countess Marie of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who dedicated it (1180) to Philippe d’Alsace count of Flanders. In that version Parsifal – the researcher – is called the Son of the Widow. This term was then used by the authors that later dealt with the same topic. Like in the ‘Roman de l’istoire du Saint Graal’ by Robert de Baron, of 1190 where the Holy Grail takes for the first time the image that will remain of the Chalice with Jesus’ blood saved by Joseph of Arimathea and Christian Symbol of Redemption. In 1470 the same topic was followed by the writer Sir Thomas Malory with the ‘hermetic’ title of ‘The death of King Arthur’, a symbolic medieval saga where the Knights of the Round Table acted; like in Greek mythology the allegory of their characters hid deep esoteric meanings. The major difference between this latest version of the Holy Grail and the original one was that this time any reference to the figure of Jesus disappeared.
The term Son of the Widow which existed before 1180 was, 537 years later, absorbed in the legend of the English Freemasonry called ‘modern’.