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The Journey through the Great Work /3.1

by Athos A. Altomonte

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Ars Muratoria describes in detail the ‘geometry’ of a method and its instruments.
These instruments hide the virtues of the Initiate’s Psyche in the allegory.

The ‘Quaternary of the Elements’ shows in man the qualities of the first four Kingdoms of Nature, domains of the Initiate.

a) The ‘Earth’ Element, 1st Kingdom, Mineral, equated to the skeleton of man;

b) The ‘Water’ Element, 2nd Kingdom, Vegetable, equated to his fluids and humors;

c) The ‘Air’ Element is equated to the thought of the 3rd Kingdom, Animal and the 4th Kingdom, Human in his lower counterpart;

d) The ‘Fire’ Element is equated to the growing 5th Kingdom of Man spiritually emancipated from drives and logics of the previous kingdoms.

When in the evolution of the Human Kingdom the air element of the thought got in contact with the fire element of the spirit, an aqueous and voluble element appeared in the lower levels of mind; it still accompanies Personality up to its complete individualization.* That element of the Human Kingdom, unstable and changeable in its colors (sounds) and infinite in its refractions (emotions) is commonly called Astral World and great tank of the collective and emotional unconsciousness of the Humankind. Moved by changeable desire and unreasonable passions of the instinct of the animal-man, the astral world corresponds to the Waters (of the sea) of Chaos.


*Alchemic Rule of the 4 Elements – although we are dealing with states of conscience and psychic elements, I decided to follow integrally the symbolic terms used in the hermetic tradition, in order to make a connection to the traditional mannerism of the Western esotericism. As we advance in this work and accomplish the necessary ‘historic’ re-interpretation of the symbolic language of hermetic tradition we will try, more and more, to highlight the technical characteristics of the topics at a higher level. As a consequence the language, especially in the notes, will have a more and more scientific aspect.

We still need to remember the Ancient Postulate where the Initiate encloses in himself three essential virtues: to be above any (particular) education, any (particular) religion, any (particular) science and to be able to understand them all. For the Tradition of the Initiates, this is the Key to Universalism.

Going back to the present, this presentation respects the terms of the alchemic rule of the 4 Elements, by which:

Constitution of the 1st Element; Warm + Dry = Fire
Constitution of the 2nd Element; Warm + Humid = Air
Constitution of the 3rd Element; Cold + Humid = Water
Constitution of the 4th Element; Cold + Dry = Earth

The Square of the Elements is an esoteric symbol of the material Form that is often put in relation to the ‘stone’, symbol of the Man in the masonic Work which, through personal work, becomes a Cube to be smoothed until it reaches the perfect initiatory uniformity.

The perfection of the Cube hides the relation by similitude between microcosm-man-manifest and macrocosm-man-immanifest, described by the notorious statement ‘as above as below’, from the Emerald Tablet and coined by the think tank called with the name of one man: Hermes Trismegistus. But this re-veiled (veiled twice) truth has been among men for an even longer time. Indeed it does not only appear in the recent Egyptian and Hellenic cosmogony, but also in the archaic Chinese and Vedic traditions which come from even more ancient knowledge, as it is stated.

These ‘recent’ archaic traditions state that the concept of ‘generation and formation’ of the universe originates from the number 12. Plato said that the dodecahedron is the geometrical shape used by the Demiurge when building the universe.

The Masonic Cube of the microcosm-man as well is a 12-faces shape, like its archetype. There are 6 outside faces of the shape to be added to the 6 invisible ones inside it.

«The number 6 is the number of form or manifestation, which is the agent or means through which we can understand the will or proposition of the Divinity and we can identify with it. Through it we develop our conscience so much so that we can become the basis of the higher process established at the third initiation».

It then becomes 666, considered as the number of the Beast or materialism, the number of the dominance of the three worlds (spirit, soul and physical body, each expressed by an hexagram) before the process or re-orienteering and the expression of developed idealism and proposition.*

The number 666 is the symbol of the descent in the matter by the Adam Kadmon (Celestial Adam) in the oblivion of himself. It is the symbol of the human-spirit in the animal-man, still unconsciously immersed in the Matter and therefore victim and oppressor of his own mistakes.

«In an ancient book on numbers, the initiate is described as ‘he who experienced and expressed the 666 and found it empty, worthless. He who dropped the 6 and became 66, thus finding himself on the PATH. Later he drops another 6 and he becomes the perfect 6-shape, the instrument and expression of the spirit».

By adding to each 6 our own metaphysical and occult ‘face’, we will obtain the Number 12.

Every Cosmogony that uses the Number Twelve to join microcosm and macrocosm hides the presence of a 13th metaphysical pole, necessary for the aggregation of the nucleus of every form, even with solid structures such as the Universes.

The 12 signs of the Zodiac plus their generator, the 12 apostles around the Christ, their generator, the Wheel of the Generation with its 12 rays (Eras) plus its central hub; they are all symbols of unification between two complementary concepts, the lesser generated and the greater generating, between microcosm, mundanity, and macrocosm, super-mundanity.

The Twelve is the form that supports the manifestation of any structure of universal order; the number 13 is their synthesis and the point where they start to express themselves.

In line with what we’ve said so far, we could give an example of a point of synthesis with a concrete literal form.

The twelve months of the year, despite being 12 separate entities of a tangible temporal reality, find their synthetic representation in an abstract but inclusive literal element called ‘solar year’. This word describes in only one element, abstract but global and synthetic, the sum of those twelve entities, real and tangible but separate, joining their presence in a unique thirteenth element.

It is common practice to use an abstract term to synthesize in one concept a reality that cannot be proven synchronically.

The synthetic point of any form (thought as well) is an extraordinarily important element, because it represents the boundary and the threshold between the two Worlds, Microcosm and Macrocosm. Between the visible and phenomenal world and the metaphysical and spiritual one.

The Point of synthesis has in itself, by its own nature, both realities and both truths; thanks to this dual structure it is the Point of passage, conceivable and reachable by every man in the (dual) conditions of Form and Spirit. We can describe simply and efficiently the Greater Initiation by stating the achievement through the Path of duality of that Point of Threshold and its crossing, realizing the synthesis of our whole feeling ‘Being’ (I am).

Our own (spiritual) Synthesis or our own Point of Synthesis (joining in the same area the 3rd pole [Intelligence] and 2nd pole [Love] of the Triad and both to the 1st pole [Will]) are a naturalreality that can be reached by any man who wants to invest his own will and intelligence in that inner ‘discipline’ called the Initiatory Path.


*The Number of the Work – the number gives the key of the form and proposition of the life veiled by the form. When calculating the value of this symbol we must consider that each Hexagram, 3 x 6 = 18 (8 + 1 =9) hides inside it a point of synthesis that leads to the 7 mathematical or energetic points of this form, 3 x 7 = 21 (2 + 1 = 3). Thus we will have a first exoteric number 9 and a second esoteric number 3. But the concept of the three symbols that express in the three levels of manifestation the value 3, leads to recognize in the philosophy of the Work the value of nine. We can therefore state that the Number that contains the whole of the Work is the number 9, that the synthesis of its occult form is 3, whilst the value in the Work of its exoteric form is 9 (3 x 9 = 277. 2 + 7 = 9). In a further synthetization we have 9+3+9=21, and again 3.

In the first Temple, that of Solomon*, the Mason-Initiate is taught that the cubit stone is the introjected and symbolic representation of the lower substance of the Initiate. It must be then carved artfully, viz. in the ‘right’ proportions that make it suitable to be joined harmoniously with all its sisters (the Personalities of men, humid and passive vehicles, until they are enlightened by the sun-like features of the Triads that turn them dry).

This universal initiatory unification of all the regenerated Personalities occurs in the Initiation and strengthens the ideal form of the second Temple shared by the whole Humanity, called the Temple of Ezekiel.

For this work each Mason not only must find the ‘instruments of the Art’, but he must also learn their artful use. In actual fact the instruments of speculative Freemasonry are an ability of the Psyche.


*The Three Temples – the three Temples, Solomon’s, Ezekiel’s and Melchizedek’s, are in esoterical terms the symbolic representation of the three states of conscience that characterize the inner progress of the initiate. The first Temple, Solomon’s, represents the sphere of Personality still unconscious and separate. At the top of its Hierarchy there are the two best elements of the lower mental level, reason and logic.

The second Temple, Ezekiel’s (for the vision he had of the descending and re-ascending spiritual Hierarchy) represents the sphere of Personality as well but enlightened by the Triade through intuition or inspiration. At this level (psychic frequency) the Adept works with the higher or abstract, dynamic and receptive mental level. He becomes aware of the plurality of the Work and of the multiform and necessary elements that make it. He starts being able to harmonize different elements (situations and men) and make them complementary. This is when we say he has a magnetic personality.

In the third Temple, Melchizedek’s, is hidden the deepest meaning of ‘transformation’. By reaching its highest expansion the conscience of man who has already crossed the boundaries of the personal sphere tends to contain the conceptual expansion that leads him to conceive deep down the reason of the Planetary Logos of which he is the life. This expansion that occurs adding the dynamic element (individual frequency) and the receptive one (to the frequency of the Logos) gives the Initiate a privileged observation point towards his own outside and the whole solar system. He then recognizes and understands (as above as below) that the observed System is in the macrocosmic Economy (of the Celestial or Divine Man, the Adam Kadmon of Hebrew tradition) what the Cardiac Center is in the microcosmic Economy of man.

The first symbolic instrument that the Freemason learns to recognize in his own Workshop is the Square.

This allows the ‘Worker’ to cut his own stone in the dimensions given by the Golden Rules of the Ars Muratoria, Ars Regia and Ars Pontificia. The Square represents reason in that part of the individual Work of re-established knowledge that allows the appearance of logic through the development of intelligence.

The Plumb-line allows the Worker to define the right ‘vertical perspective’ of the building Work, between the Cube of the Form and the top of his own hierarchic Pyramid.

The vertical one allows us to design the sides of the ideal Triangle (two-dimensional view of the lower mind) and of the Pyramid (three-dimensional view of the higher mind) that have their base on the higher side of the Square of the Elements or the Cube of the Physical Form. That Triangle merges up to joining in its own synthesis the vertex where the lower part of the Triade seats. In this symbolic expression we obtain the conjunction between the maximum of the minimum (microcosm) and the minimum of the maximum (macrocosm).

The sides of that Triangle that cover the lower Body of the Psyche, starting from the level called abstract Mind, are symbolically represented by the two legs of a Compass. The latter represents the virtue of Logic, the stronger and wider depending on how many degrees the instruments can reach by opening the tips and expanding its sphere of thought (the circle). The action of opening the Compass means to work for the expansion of conscience of the initiate.

The three-dimensional concept of Pyramid placed on the Cube of the Form or the two-dimensional concept of the Triangle placed on the Square of the Elements create in the sacred geometry as many symbolic representations whose esoteric meanings are also contained in the Masonic Apron*. The importance of those meanings in the Masonic Orthodoxy is demonstrated by the fact that it is the only compulsory vestment to ritually access the Ceremonies of the Temple.


*The Apron – in the degree of Introduced Apprentice the flap (the Triangle of the Triad) is raised and detached from the apron (a square that represents the lower Quaternary). In the degree of Fellow Craft the flap is turned down and is part of the geometry of the lower Square. This symbolizes the appearance in the ordinary conscience of reason and logic (a first intelligent interaction between Psyche and the elements of the lower mind). In the degree of Master Freemason the initiate symbolically carries the flap (the Triangle of the Triad) in the geometry of the lower Quaternary and the latter inflames its form with its action (the color red).


Another instrument of relevant symbolic and esoteric interest is the Level. We can say, approaching the ‘Craft mastership’ that it becomes the main instrument for the Freemason and the ability to use it becomes absolutely necessary.

This instrument shares the virtue of balance with the Scales. But this time the balance is emotional and it refers to the execution of the personal Work.

Balance between the horizontal plane of reason and logic and the vertical plane of intuition and intellect, which produces the amalgam between learning and knowledge.*


*Learning and knowledge – Initiates highlight with emphasis the necessary distinction between learning, which belongs to the sphere of memory and therefore is an unmovable element, and knowledge, which on the contrary is ductile, recognizes itself and is able to project itself between the moment of learning and the intuitive research in the future. A statement defines all this and perhaps more efficiently: ‘Knowledge is not erudition, knowledge is identity’. In this difference is the access key to the understanding of two occult concepts: gnosis and knowledge by contact (of the Triad). The former is receptive and passive; the latter is dynamic and active. As we will see later on, on this mechanism originate what is called the two Souls of the initiatory system. The former is devotional and passive; the latter is mysteriosophic and active.

In the higher Initiation called «of the Royal Art» (in Freemasonry the figure of king Solomon is its ideal symbol, whilst in another Psychodrama the symbol is king Arthur), the Level expresses the Harmony in the execution of the Work and the Light of Justice.

This ‘virtue and power’ arises for the knowledge of the Balance that rules all the (energetic) Laws contained in the Great Book of Nature.*

Balance and therefore Justice (righteousness) in the widest sense of the word.

Balance and righteousness make the perfect synergic expression that moves the microcosm, allowing its re-creation in more and more advanced forms. **

The Adept is aware by now of this evolutional Plane. But he needs to conceive the macrocosmic synthesis of this dynamic and constructive energy.

This goal might appear unachievable if the macrocosmic synthesis itself, which rules all the external levels, didn’t enclose it in its innermost essence.

The Ancient Masters used to say to their Disciples: «Enter yourself and you will understand the universes».

Only a fool, then, would keep travelling outside in order to reach and penetrate the sphere of knowledge called by hermeticists the Holy Grail.


*Relative and absolute Truths - «The teaching of the Law by the Reawakened is carried out on the basis of two truths, the truth relative to the world and the absolute truth. Those who can’t see the difference between those two truths cannot recognize the deep reality inside the Doctrine of the Reawakened. Absolute reality cannot be taught before relying on the practical order of things first, whilst the complete reawakening cannot be reached without understanding absolute reality.» - Mdhyamika Karika XXIV 8,9,10.

**Recreation – in the Masonic ritual it is said in an occult sense that the Workers (Personalities) are sent paid and satisfied (by the judgment on their Work which, by the Law of Cause and Effect, creates the premises to the constitution of what we can profanely call the ‘destiny’, future Destiny, which has been created thanks to one’s own past choices) to the re-creation and then they can be called back to work (of a new life).

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This article comes from Esotericism Readings

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