Men and Women in Freemasonry
by Athos A. Altomonte
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Q : … I think that Freemasonry as we know it and practice it today, organized in lodges and communions, it's a product of the English eighteenth century, valid for the time and social classes that practiced it. Is the same structure valid for the twenty-first century man?... I don't consider a female Freemasonry impossible, although I don't think that our rituals are suitable for a female group and should probably be ‘revisited',…I think that certain symbols and instruments are more appropriate for men than women, but perhaps this opinion can be a prejudice resulting from thirty years of activity in a male Freemasonry. Nevertheless I am quite perplexed about a mixed Freemasonry.
A : Dear Friend, without going too deep in the conceptuality of the subject, I think that certain points, which are ‘usually skated over' are quite relevant.
1) The ‘right of access' of the other side of the world to the initiatory path.
2) The Equal Dignity of human Rights; material, social but most of all spiritual rights.
3) The need of ‘bipolar' energy for the Edification of an operating Chorda Fratres (Eggregore).
4) The utopist vision where Man and Woman are the first initiators of the infant, male and female.
5) The Lunar way is linked to sexual Magic and the physical substance of the being (man and woman).
6) The Solar way is connected to the metaphysical essence of the being (androgynous mind).
7) The old war of sexes.
I'll stop here. It would be interesting as well as topical to study certain subjects, rather than limiting ourselves to collect ‘Masonic cards' or similar.
I understand that to remain on the edges of problems is more reassuring, but the ostrich's technique doesn't make us more conscious.
Furthermore, I find aberrant the mass of conformism that covers (see VITRIOL) both the mysterial and mystic paths. And I wonder: 1) why, 2) to the advantage of whom and 3) for what?
I have been educated as a free man, therefore I am used to thinking and questioning everything, starting from myself and ending to all those who claim to be ‘leaders'. I analyze the meanings of any merry-go-round that we ride during a lifetime.
I think that instead of bringing ‘objective' arguments to this fundamental discussion on the (initiatory) future of mankind, we prefer to ‘quibble' about what we like most, instead of facing the ‘tiger' (feminine).
This continuous escape of the masculine in front of the feminine will have to stop at some point.
The time to change always comes, because it means to ‘grow'.
And where to start a change if not from the parts of the humankind that ‘should' be the most advanced and prepared fringes?
Cyclically the conscience of the being advances and this produces ‘crises' also called revolutions. Therefore we must ‘accept' the change as a fundamental factor of evolution which, like some people forget, is not founded on inactivity but on progress.
Therefore: advancing in order to grow. We can't stop the cycles of history. The man who remains attached to the past dies inside and the world is full of people dead inside. But the Mason should be part of the fringe of people ‘awaken' to the light of wisdom. Therefore a Mason should always be a revolutionary. Because he should be a thinker and the revolutions of thought precede the concrete and formal ones.
Afterwards, perhaps when they go down too low, intellectual revolutions can become ideological mush.
Past history shows this to us all the time. But in the meantime we all do a step forward: this is called progress. Without progress there isn't civilization but only ideological stall.
Nowadays we are going through another moment of full ideological stall (look around you). There are the signs for the next ‘maturation and change'. Are we ‘initiates-children-of-light' aware of this drive?
Are we the new Builders of Temples of the Humankind or only the followers of old superstitions?
This is the question that we need to answer and then decide if we ‘stay with history' that advances or ‘remain in history' that passes, in a sequence of images out of focus.
They say that everything changes and transforms. Will the Mason be able to accept the Change or does he think he has reached a point of perfection?
Those who ‘prefer' the second option can't do anything but keep ‘whitening their sepulcher'. But we know that they are exiting history and becoming a memory of old esteems.
Q: …in a solar (initiatory) tradition, I personally think it would be consistent to be strictly male.
A: Before ‘certifying' the meaning of solar and giving its exclusive right to only one human gender, reducing it to a simple statement of faith (we have had enough stakes), we should think which side we are observing its meaning from. Then we must decide the sense to give it; either the meaning originated from the exoteric view or consistent with the initiatory principles.
In a symbolic environment, therefore virtual, the ‘solar' is reduced to the lighting of some 100 Watt bulbs during a symbolic representation. This is the only ‘Light' that comes from the exoteric Orient of Freemasonry.
If you are happy with it, it's fine.
But if by solar we mean inner ‘illumination', which follows a precipitation of psychic energy coming from the superior Ego, or the soul, or spirit or eggregore, then it doesn't depend on any sexual attribute. Indeed, initiatorily, masculinity and femininity are physical-animal features with no value.
According to the universal initiatory principles of East and West, the Lunar path is all that belongs or originates from the physical-animal sphere of the being, included emotions and ‘virile' passion.
The best known Lunar path is the way of sexual Magic, interpreted by men as well as women.
The Solar way, on the contrary, is the path of those who reach illumination (Gnosis, or knowledge by contact) ‘deriving' from the metaphysical or spiritual sphere of the being. It doesn't rise thanks to any physical peculiarity.
Therefore the Lunar way is that of passion such as sex and pos-session (see note 1). It includes any kind of emotion, even high ones, such as the earthly ideals of god, homeland and family, which too often are at the root of conflicts.
The Solar path, on the other hand, is a line that separates from any kind of profane or material sensation, transforming the personal self in a magnificent ‘instrument' at the service of the welfare of the humankind, Men and Women.
The Solar way is that of the metamorphosis that changes the physical mind, extending up to the pure reason starting from the development of the sense of inborn justice masterfully described by Kant.
I don't think that there is much to add for a short introduction. Although we know that for those who want to understand all the common sense of the world won't be enough to destroy the ‘old prejudices' of the war of sexes.
But how many ‘valiant esotericists' know the ancient causes of this bullying race still going on?
Q: … I have always thought that Freemasonry was only male…
A: Dear Friend, I was born a boy! Therefore I belong to the part of Humankind ‘privileged by God'. If I believed this fib I would be well happy for this ‘divine fortune' and I would go on, but I don't believe it. Therefore, allow me to make a point.
I must state, with regret, that everybody is free to make the mistakes he wants.
The large path (of ignorance) is wide and spacious and many superstitions still cloud the path of civilization.
Therefore I don't have anything else to add. Nevertheless, I'd like to make a few dutiful rectifications.
1)... I don't have experience of mixed Workshops...
Dear Friend, there are ‘mixed salads' not Masonic Lodges made of Communions of Men and Women, which are the two parts of the Humankind. It is not your fault, I know, but I know the subtle tricks used to express depreciation through the reduction of terms.
The reason for stating such dignified presence is simple for me; I'll explain in a few words. If Men and Women recognize themselves as two parts of the same medal through Initiation, they will be better Mothers and Fathers, able to better educate sons and daughters on the way of perfection. They will avoid all the imprinting of profane culture.
Therefore the Initiation of Men and Women could turn into a system of immunization against the corruption of the material world, which will then be experienced in a less obsessive and more balanced way.
This is my wish for this initiatory Fusion (marriage).
2)… and the currents of Force circulate in a new and unusual way…
I would like to highlight, if it is still necessary, that energy, especially the Ritual one, is made of plus (positive-masculine) and minus (negative-feminine). The true ritualist knows that if he can't ‘activate' them nothing happens; the eggregore doesn't respond. Nothing but a pale form of thought that doesn't have anything to do with a ritual Eggregore. Indeed, if only one of the two energetic components of the Chorda Fratres is activated, the ritual calm that follows is a distension of inertia, because nothing happens but in the common imagery.
Therefore there are two options: the Initiate is so advanced that he has developed totally in himself his own masculine as well as his feminine (+ and – energy), or we need a Chain where + and – take turns.
And I can speak for direct experience.
My few reasons, as you can see, don't have anything to do with the passion and sexuality of the being, which is a totally profane view. A true initiate, neither symbolical nor virtual, places himself on the highest planes of the mind, in contact with the higher layers of conscience. There, no manifestation of the physical or sexual attributes arrives. This part is in equal measure in man and woman and it is the asexual or impersonal mind. If you understand this you will understand the alchemic meaning of Androgynous. At the same time you will discover how useless and stupid is to stir up the old war of the sexes.
You must wonder, though: who needs this war? Who are its speculators? If you understand this, you will immediately abandon your weapons to direct them towards the big puppeteers of the humankind, who divide in order to rule.
This is the element that escapes this argument.
I hope I have provided you with three reasons for reflections, so that you can decide who to ‘get passionate about' in a free and most of all non-conformist way.
(1) In Italian the word possesso (possession) contains the word sesso (sex).