Q: ...not being poor certainly helps in traveling
the path; nonetheless there are initiatory organizations, especially
Freemasonry, where costs (enrolment, etc.) are far too high for a man
with a medium income…what I think, but that is my opinion, is
that a true initiatory organization should never refuse the initiation
to those who prove to be spiritually suitable to receive it only because
they cannot afford the enrolment and a monthly fee that is beyond their
Not all initiatory organizations are the same. Fortunately there are
some, in my experience, which are within everyone’s reach, rich
and poor. Nevertheless I have no intention to disdain Freemasonry…’
A: Dear Friend, you are right. What you say on the
‘costs’ needed to join Freemasonry is based on personal
calculations which cannot be considered as a general criterion. Clearly
these opinions are affected by the size of a ‘Compass’ with
a far too small aperture.
Therefore, considered the reality of things, I don’t think we
should linger on utopic considerations. Nonetheless on your letter there
are other points that deserve attention. Indeed you have touched a topic
that is much more important of a calculation between costs and earnings.
It is a topic that I tackle with great sense of responsibility since
I would like to shed some light on the most ambiguous point of masonic
reality. And it is not a relief at all that the same ambiguity weighs
on most of the initiatory organizations, starting from mysteric ones
and ending with mystic-devotional ones.
The crux to tackle is called ‘initiation’.
I’ll start by saying that, despite high ambitions, no freemason
is able to ‘transmit’ any initiation that is not a purely
symbolic expression. This is because the masonic perception of the ceremonial
is not the theurgic one, but only of the ‘symbolic representation’,
that is a use of the initiatorily ‘unfinished’ ‘ritual
power’, which remains crystallized in the superficial and emblematic
forms of the Rite. And I don’t believe that a virtual initiation
can be considered real.
What value would a dinner have if the plates, even splendidly engraved,
did not contain any food?
There is a play on ambiguity which swaps reality with appearance. This
also happens with ‘mystic initiations’, which in actual
fact contain nothing but an emotional and devotional tint.
But modern Freemasonry is not only artifice. Its only artifice is to
gather under one unique seal the memory of several initiatory journeys.
Thus Freemasonry is also the container of a consistent system, on the
contrary of other organizations. But even a consistent system is only
transmitted through surfaces that reflect its contents. And these reflecting
surfaces are certainly not the customs of an initiatory Association,
but only the mind and conscience of its adepts.
This is the theory. In practice people are happier to emulate the exteriority
of the initiatory principle (spiritual Light or Gnosis) than to reflect
its Model, by just covering its symbols even without absorbing its meanings.
It is not the system that is inconsistent, then, but rather the attitude
of those Masons, even high ranking ones, who make Freemasonry one of
the many Associations that give its members virtual and exoteric psycho-dramas.
Despite the fact that the attitude of many of its participants appears
ambiguous, conceited and arrogant, Freemasonry still contains all the
seeds of initiation, whose principles are still able to enlighten the
Mysteries of the humankind with the only possible Light, the spiritual
The true heritage of Freemasonry, then, is not represented by its Masonic
codes, but by what is passed on with the inheritance of an ancient gestural,
vocal, pictorial and literal symbology of which only the outside layer
is known. A shell which in its own forms protects and contains but also
veils the truth that not everybody is prepared to find. Indeed, to understand
those meanings also means to lose oneself, to let one’s own shell
go with one’s material sub-stance. For many this implies giving
in to fear, to the dread of losing a security based on profane models.
The latter are like walls, hiding but also protecting from wide and
Thus it is the fear of sacrificing a part of oneself that stops many
masons on the threshold of good intentions. Stopped from the dread of
abandoning the certainty of the ‘vile metals’ for the uncertain
goal that is initiation. It is usually easier to choose the tangibility
of the exoteric bank over uncertainty.
Therefore many choose the associative formula, beautiful décor,
aristocratic appearance, titles that titillate hidden vanity, showy
decorations and regalia made with precious fabrics. They then neglect
a much more difficult initiatory Pyramid made of inner values.
For those who choose the exterior path the ancient signs (colors),
ritual words (sounds) and symbols (forms) will remain like clutched
fists. Unfathomable cups protected by loyal guards that form the Silent
Circle of the initiatory Brotherhood.