‘Death is next to us since birth. Death is the Expert Brother who knocks at the Door of the eternal East, accompanying us to the last earthly trial, which for the ‘reawakened’ means to be initiated to eternity.’
The Light of the Initiation
By Maurizio De Pascalis
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An Alchemic praxis, the knowledge of Black and White
Alchemy reacts to the principle of regeneration with ‘Solve et coagula'. This is the fundamental principle of initiation. But it is a hard journey and the path of the Mason looking for the light is long. It starts with the Expert Brother knocking three times at the Door to allow him to be received in the Temple and it continues with the passage to the eternal Orient. The journey towards the ‘True Light' is very long but actually very short; it has three stages: THE PURIFICATION OF METALS, THE SACRIFICE AND THE PHILOSOPHIC DEATH.
Which journey do we carry out in the initiatory way? The long one, that lasts a lifetime, the ‘Humid' path or the short one, the ‘Dry' path? Both aim at the ‘Red', the initiatory irradiation, sacrifice, virtue, ideal. The Mason that chooses the ‘dry' path goes through BLACK, the NIGREDO, the loss of personal egoisms, the loss of metals. He reaches WHITE, ALBEDO, the calcination of his old profane essence; once he is free from it he walks on the initiatory path guided by the Light of the soul. The journey finishes at the RED, symbolized by a flaming Pentalpha that irradiates the conquests of knowledge in the exterior life.
The knowledge of Black and White
The ‘HUMID' path is the long way that crosses the lunar conscience. It is a very long way which in the earthly life can stop at the BLACK. The ‘DRY' way is short and it is carried out by those who aim towards the solar conscience, towards the soul and the divine monad of which we are the shadow in the material world.
Two paths and one ideal: the KNOWLEDGE that comes from the achievement of the ability to UNDERSTAND the Black first (the material concept) and then the White (the immaterial concept).
The path of KNOWLEDGE ‘transforms' the Lead in Sulfur by reaching the RED that produces the initiatory charisma, which is the condition symbolized by the flaming Pentalpha.
The journey to perfection causes suffering in this case, too. Indeed, to get closer to the different degrees of truth means to adapt one's mind to change the form of one's own thoughts, in order for purer and purer concepts to come in through the MERCURY of the concrete mind and sublimate it.
The mind lives in the space of conscience and the conscience acts through mental strength. Life and strength joined together reflect the beauty of the cosmos. The mind is free, but at the beginning it is imprisoned in the senses of the lower spirit and hidden under the weight of prejudices, rules and profane conventions. The man who is free from them lives to accomplish the sacrifice of the lower spirit: the philosophic death which the initiate has long prepared for.
So the Great Work will be achieved;
The Above will reflect in the Below;
The initiatory way will be concluded;
Ouruborus, the Snake, will be able to accomplish its work.
The Broken Key
Nothing can be created or destroyed, but everything can be transformed. What can the Mason who is looking for the true initiation do, then? He must keep this principle in his heart.
Only through MERCURY he will be able to detach from matter, from LEAD; only by achieving the GNOSIS he will be able to reach SULFUR.
The Great Architect has provided the mortal body with reason, but he offers true knowledge only to those who choose to ‘recognize themselves as a reflection of the Highest'.
Is GNOSIS the key to understanding when man has lost this precious gift? Why is the KEY to UNDERSTANDING BROKEN?
By devoting exclusively to the world of forms and appearance, by concentrating on the practical, vain and volatile side of life, the conscience slowly slips into oblivion; it has become ‘heavy metal' and has lost Light and memory of itself. We were born forgetful, for us Diogenes' lantern is still off. Man wanders in a universe without stars to guide him and light to illuminate his way. At night, instead of facing himself, he indulges in sleep and he doesn't confront what the inner mirror might reflect. The only way to go up is to use the initiatory path.
Man can develop intelligence, but does he use it for good or evil? On the path towards realization there is a junction. We must choose to stay on the BLACK or to venture on WHITE. We must decide if we want to detach from oblivion and nothing, or if we want to carry out an apparently painless journey.
The pain and pay of the ‘good laborer'
To undertake the initiatory path means to lose one's own lower spirit, that is to face the killing of a part of oneself. To kill the animal spirit in actual fact means only to transform it into a different unit of conscience (sublimation). Along this process there are many points to be transformed and every transformation brings sacrifice and pain. The question that the ‘good laborer' asks himself is if he feels ready to suffer pain and to face the sacrifice necessary to sublimate, ‘rectify' oneself or if he is only keen to simulate the change with suitable disguises.
Small and Great Mastership
The rectification of the primitive individuality is called ‘SMALL MASTERSHIP' and it is accomplished with the Philosophic Death of the conscience that has entered the Masonic Temple first. From the ‘inner rebirth' we can access the ‘GREAT MASTERSHIP', which is the continuous work in the impersonal world. This transformation leads to Gnosis, which originates from the contact with one's super-individual nature, which can't replace anything else.
Initiation, too, involves violence
What drives man on the way of research and transformation even after he discovers that it brings sacrifice and pain? Is it perhaps the memory of the time which we hardly bear the signs of, the modern low middle ages?
To re-run along the same path is not easy, initiation also involves violence, which we carry out on ourselves with the DESTRUCTION of the entire mental superstructure built during years of life in the profane world, from when we are children, into adolescence and until maturity of the material man.
This superstructure is finished in the accomplishment of the nothing, but it can be killed by the conscious choice to travel the initiatory path, which means the DEATH of the material man in the rebirth of the NEW MAN.
The last earthly trial
The mystic Francis called it Sister DEATH!
Death is next to us since birth. Death is the Expert Brother who knocks at the Door of the eternal East, accompanying us to the last earthly trial, which for the ‘reawakened' means to be initiated to eternity.
Death continuously challenges the material existence; it is the Knight of the Apocalypse that plays a chess match that no animal spirit has ever won. But if Man is allied with ‘Light' he can win, surviving in the sphere of conscience of the subtle dimension.
In the symbolic dimension to be in ‘sleep' means to go towards death, viz. the DEATH of the project that ‘animates' it.
The Light inside oneself
The profane crosses the threshold of the Temple looking for light. He asks for light, full light, without realizing that he himself is the Light that Diogenes was looking for, since he didn't understand that what he was looking for was inside him.
The true Mason lives free and aims at the celestial Vault that symbolically dominates the Temple. Symbolically the Light that Freemasonry represents in rites and symbols comes from there. During the initiations Masons are taught how to fight ignorance by defeating the spiritual idleness that obscures the mind.
Silence is the strength of those who work to shape their metal through mind and knowledge. Knowledge is lost when the KEY is BROKEN, but it can be found again by rebuilding in oneself the TRUE LIGHT of the LOST KNOWLEDGE.