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: The inspiring Muses and the esoteric meaning of senses
FreemasonryThe inspiring Muses – The energetic centers of man – The senses in the development of conscience – The esoteric meaning of the senses

The Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, symbolize the instruments of knowledge, the senses, which inspire any manifestation of thought, art and science. The senses are the instruments used by the individual relate with the environment around him; thanks to them he gains experience and consciousness and he expands his knowledge.

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The inspiring Muses and the esoteric meaning of senses

by Athos A. Altomonte

© copyright by Esonet.it - Esonet.com

The inspiring Muses

The Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, symbolize the instruments of knowledge, the senses, which inspire any manifestation of thought, art and science; each of them is represented and protected by a goddess.*


*In particular, Clio protects epic and history; Euterpe, music and song; Terpsichore, choral lyric and dance; Erato, love poetry; Polyhymnia, lyric and eloquence; Urania, astronomy; Calliope, poetry and in particular epic poetry.


The senses in the whole constitute the faculty to perceive and react to the action produced by suitable stimuli, both external and internal; on the most concrete plane of manifestation, on its lowest level, the latter are expressed through the organs of sense and sensation: ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, which respectively allow hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. The organs of sensation are the reaction of Self to sensation itself. Besides the organs of sensation we have organs of action, which produce the effects of the desires of the Self. They are: the mouth that allows to speak, the hands that grasp, the legs that walk, the anus that allows excretion and the genitals that allow procreation.

The first senses to develop are hearing, touch and sight. There are the three vital senses and personality is already coordinated in them, therefore they are called greater senses. Taste and smell are lesser senses and they follow later. They are closely associated to the sense of touch, of which they are subsidiary. Whenever they are absent the individual is deprived of the contact with that part of the world. The development of the metaphysical counterpart of the senses reflects the same sequence.

Each of the first three senses is associated to an aspect of manifestation; the hearing is connected to the third aspect, which is closely connected to the activity of the matter and the recognition of the four-fold world and responds to the Law of Economy . Touch relates to the second aspect, it is linked to the construction of forms, their rejoining, getting closer and interrelating and the recognition of the seven aspects of manifestation. It responds to the Law of Attraction , the attraction of the non-self towards the Self during its progressive work. Sight is connected to the first aspect of manifestation, which relates to the recognition of the totality, the synthesis of the whole, the fulfillment of the One in Many. It responds to the Law of Synthesis , working within all the forms occupied by the self, the recognition of the essential unity of the whole manifestation.

The senses are the instruments used by the individual to relate with the environment around him; thanks to them he gains experience and consciousness and he expands his conscience. They are the result of the activity of the soul, ways of contact generated by the need to penetrate from its plane of conscience into the lower worlds and to receive their experiences. They are paths to the spiritual approach of the various aspects of divine manifestation in the worlds of human evolution, otherwise sealed and unknown to the experience of the soul. To contact the lower worlds consists of recording ‘what is different from the Self, even though it is the Self Itself', revealing the non-self and taking ownership of it, allowing the Self to distinguish between real and unreal.

The senses allow the incarnated man to distinguish himself, in an indistinct whole, from the surrounding phenomenal world, to be interested in and to know the phenomenal world, to discover the inner world. The Development of the metaphysical sensitivity is connected to the human response apparatus, personality. The changed perceptiveness depends on the structural modifications of the psychic components related to the various spheres of conscience, which originate structural modifications of the various bodies. The latter reflect in the lower plane, at first with the heightened sensitivity of the physical senses (reduction of the perceptive threshold of one or more senses, with consequent increase of the perceptivity of the same sense/s); at a later stage with the recognition and comprehension of the metaphysical senses, starting from the densest levels.

The five senses are the faculties of the soul being expressed; therefore their number cannot be considered as absolute or definite. Furthermore the boundaries between them are relative, since each sense is connected to one of the seven planes of manifestation. Hearing is connected to the physical plane, touch to the astral plane, sight to the mental plane, taste to the intuitive plane and smell to the spiritual, but it pervades all the other senses, therefore they are all on all planes.

The senses, which man has learnt to know at least on the physical plane, are the result of peculiarities of the various races that came or that will come, during evolution; each of them has brought or will bring one of the senses to its highest expression. The first references to the senses as we know them start from the third race, the Lemurian Race, which developed, during its third wave, the sense of hearing, as an effect of the reaction to sound. At present, hearing is the fundamental note of the evolution in progress on Mars. Touch is the result of the reaction to contact and vibration; it developed during the fourth wave of the fourth seed race, the Atlantean Race. At present it is the fundamental note of the evolution in progress on Venus. Sight is the result of the reaction to view, developed during the fifth wave of the fifth seed race, the Arian Race.

At present it is the fundamental note of the evolution in progress on Earth. The sixth and seventh race, which will sum them all up, will develop and bring to conclusion the remaining senses as well as the aspects of all the senses not yet expressed.

The energetic centers of man

The three main centers, even in less advanced men, are so powerful that, although they are not properly open, they have produced the glands that have a closer relation with the centers above the diaphragm than those below it. Their vibration is such that they already resound in all men, and with this they attract and therefore they produce a form. In the disciple or in the initiate not only they resound, but they form words; therefore they direct the constructing work of the vital forces and rule the whole of man.

The centers and the body areas that they rule are:

Greater centers:

• Head: brain, pineal gland, pituitary body.

• Throat: larynx, vocal cords and palate, thyroid.

• Heart: pericardium, ventricles, auricles, influence on the spleen.

Lesser centers:

• Solar plexus: stomach.

• Spleen: spleen.

• Sacrum: reproductive organs.

• Basis of the spine: waste organs, kidneys, bladder.

Head – The center at the top of the head is a direct way of contact of the Ego, the densest part of the soul, to guide personality. It is activated when it responds to the metaphysical aspects of hearing. Such center, of a spiritual quality, as we have seen, rules the brain, the pineal gland and the pituitary body. The latter becomes active at a later stage, when the Ego permeates the most concrete planes and reawakens the occult correspondence of touch. Later on, when the Ego involves the highest mental planes, we can perceive the sense of sight, which stimulates the pineal gland and almost simultaneously it activates the center between the eyebrows. This projects the light of the head on the ‘subtle, obscure, hidden or remote' things, and it is the result of the development of heart and head.

Throat and heart – The centers of the throat and the heart are of an intuitive mental quality. The psychic powers of a mental nature depend on the opening of the centers of the throat and eyebrows, whilst the corresponding powers connected to the higher levels depend on the action of the centers of the head and the heart. All the greater centers are made active by effect of meditation and service.

Solar plexus and basis of the dorsal spine – The center of the solar plexus and that at the basis of the dorsal spine have a mental nature, the energy of the former must go up to the heart, the energy of the latter must go up to the head.

The opening of the solar plexus means that the psychic powers of emotional and instinctive nature, which men share with animals, by now fallen under the threshold of conscience and therefore unrecognized and useless, are consciously and actively operating. The lack of control of the various powers is considered undesirable.

The solar plexus is one of the five most important centers, because:

• It is placed in the central part of the torso; it corresponds to the middle principle. (This was also true for the Atlantean man, whose greater centers were: head, solar plexus and basis of the spine, which correspond respectively to the aspects Father, Mother, Son or Soul and to the aspect Son, Holy Spirit or Matter.

• It is the organ of desires and feelings; therefore it is very active in everybody. Through it the contact with the lower centers is established, in order to call them to cooperate or to allow the stimulation of the lower functions, viz. desire to eat, drink and procreate. In the disciple the solar plexus is replaced by the heart; in the Master by the head.

• It is the center where all lower and animal desires turn into higher desires.

Genital – The sacral center is of an emotional quality; its energy must go up to the center of the throat.

Splenic – The center of the spleen has a strictly` ethereal quality. It was very relevant especially during the Lemurian era. Nowadays it is among the centers in full automatic and subconscious working order.

The senses in the development of conscience

The personal conscience, or lower self, with the information passed on by the five senses, becomes conscious of the vibration aspect of all the forms contained in the environment where it is a working entity itself. The humankind then reaches the knowledge of manifestation, third aspect of the Great Architect of the Universe, and the establishment of communication between the Self and what we call natural world. The hearing gives him an idea of the relative direction of the space he entered in contact with and where he can place himself. Touch gives him an idea of relative quantity of such space, allowing him to fix his relative value compared to the other bodies external to him. Sight gives him an idea of the proportions of space, allowing him to adapt his movements to other people's movements. Taste gives him an idea of value, allowing him to fix himself on what he thinks is best. Smell, finally, gives him the sense of inborn quality, allowing him to find what attracts him because it is made of the same quality or essence as himself.

Whilst the mind takes possession of such knowledge and synthesizes it, the man that dwells in the form goes through the following stages:

• The vibration within the form is recorded and it produces its effect on it.

• Later on the vibratory effect is noted; at first it is not understood, but then it consciously reawakens the conscience.

• The form, in its three worlds, starts progressively inspiring interest and desire.

• The vibration of the forms in the surrounding phenomenal world becomes monotonic and man, detaching from its vibratory pressure, becomes insensitive to the world of desire and more and more conscious of the vibration of Self. The difficult process of re-orientation towards a new world starts; it tests the resoluteness of the aspirant, because the inner subtle apparatus suitable to respond is only at its embryonic stage. To strengthen the spiritual body means to feed its needs.

• The inner world of Self takes a prevalent place compared to the three surrounding phenomenal worlds of desire; we have reached the Path of Trial and Discipleship.

• The disciple builds a new subtler apparatus for response. He consciously learns to distinguish between vibratory impressions that are slightly different, although tinted by the personality that perceives them. They make different channels along which energy can contact its conscience on the mental plane; later he will ease the contact by recording them consciously on the suitable plane. Once this stage has been reached, the vibratory contact with the exterior world of form is atrophied.

Every sense includes cerebral conscience, since it is associated to the mind. The events recorded on the subtler planes must be recorded, recognized and interpreted properly and simultaneously on the physical plane. Each of the five senses, plus their common sense (mind) must gradually demonstrate the effectiveness of the superior correspondent, therefore the development of the subtle apparatus. After a certain degree of development, each of the senses starts synthesizing with the others, making the boundary between one and the other unperceivable. This develops inside the individual a concept that includes past, present and future that allows the highly advanced man to transcend time as it is conceived in the three worlds. Such instruments allow the soul to adapt its relationship to the different aspects of the phenomenal world and the initiate to get in contact with wider and wider areas of the divine ‘mental status'.

The esoteric meaning of the senses

Freemasonry recognizes that the five senses have a meaning that goes well beyond the physiological one, which in the higher planes reaches the meaning of the initiatory senses that we find expressed in symbolic form in the Temple and in the Ritual.


The first aspect of manifestation is sound and hearing is the first sense to manifest itself; therefore it is assigned to the lowest plane of evolution, the physical plane, and to the lowest sub-planes of each of the five planes. It is related to the perception of sound in its wide range of vibrations, not only those perceived by the human ear. It can be addressed to the phenomenal world of chaos, or, sublimating the hearing, it can be directed to the interior world, hearing the inner voice of the higher Self, voice of conscience, which guides, manages and controls, through which the revelation of the Greater Mysteries is perceived.

Sound, and therefore language, enclose in itself the triplicity expressed as thought, word and action on the physical plane. It is the highest means used by man to mould himself and his environment. The purpose of the word is to cover the thought and make it available to others. When we talk we evoke a thought, we make it present and bring what is inside us into an expression sensible for the hearing. The word that reveals, the righteous thought creates beneficial effects; it frees by unifying. Whilst the wrong word can produce effects that imprison by separating, both in the man who says it and in the man who hears it.

The choice of words must be calibrated depending on the thought we want to express, on the words suitable to express such thought and on the person who is supposed to receive it. It must be chosen depending on the pronunciation and emotional tone which they are expressed with. This way the uttered word will create a form that incorporates the idea that we have in our mind. The right talk will lead the humankind to express the great harmonizing chord or unifying word that the humankind has the task to make definitely resound (see The Art of Saying and not Saying ).


- Sense of hearing on the physical plane: perception, even simultaneous, of a small range of sounds and only certain vibrations; many sounds are completely missed by the ears, others are not well identified. The complete auditory perception on the physical plane – impossible today because it would break the body – will be as such when man will become conscious of the sounds on other conscience planes as well. On the seventh plane, the densest plane, man must find his note; despite the density of the form the individual must reach the full knowledge of the effect of the Sacred Word that resounds constantly. By reverberating in the whole system it leads the matter in the predestined places. The purpose of the form created by the sound is to be source of revelation; to reveal the truth and bring an aspect of reality to the spectator's knowledge.

- sense of hearing on the emotional plane: faculty to hear the sounds on the emotional plane, which are perceived in the whole of the emotional body and not only with the specialized organs, the ears, which are the product of the action of the sound and the reaction to it on the physical plane.

On this plane man must find the note of his brother, recognizing him through the identity of emotion; the hearing on the planes mentioned so far is related to the vibration of the matter, the non-self (it doesn't have anything to do with the psyche), the sound of form, power through which the separated unity of conscience is aware of another unity which is not itself.

- sense of hearing on the mental plane: the extension of hearing to the psyche is called telepathy, that is communication without words that goes from mind to mind (levels without form of the mental plane), synthesis of the hearing on the three lower planes. On the mental plane we start finding the note of our own group.

- sense of hearing on the intuitive plane or plane of wisdom : hearing manifests itself as total understanding, because it involves the knowledge and recognition of the individual sound and the group sound and their total unification, which involves perfect understanding. The individual start finding the note of his planetary correspondent.

- sense of hearing on the spiritual plane : this perfect hearing becomes bliss, that is realization through the non self; the sound becomes the foundation of existence, method of being, evolutionary method, ultimate unifier. The note of his planetary correspondent starts resounding within the conscience.

Masonic Symbology – in Freemasonry there are several moments linked to the use of sound:

- Sacred Word : given to the Apprentice during his first day of Life in the Temple

- Pillar of Harmony : accompanies the ritual entrance and exit of the Temple and other particular moments linked to the Law of Cycles, Cadences and Rhythms.

- Lost Word of the Freemasons : in actual fact never lost, but only forgotten; it is the word of the first aspect, whose search can be carried out only by the initiate to the third degree.


Touch is the only fundamental sense as far as inclusiveness is concerned; this is also true on the physical plane because, on the contrary of all the other senses, which are focused on the head, touch involves the whole epidermis.

It is the second sense to develop and it has major importance especially in this solar system, the second, characterized by sensation, emotion, feeling, that can become intuition, spiritual perception and unity.

Sensibility is the answer to vibration and the recognition of what appears, up to the door of Initiation, external to the human unity, separated on the physical plane. It can be directed either to the higher or to the lower planes; in both cases we have Knowledge and Understanding of what we ‘touch'.

The organs of sensation are the reaction of the Self to sensation itself. As well as the organs of sensation, the stimulation is extremely increased and the ability of contact intensified. It allows to establish a relation with the essence of all the Selves at all stages, helping the right evolution of their covers and serving actively. It is the first step towards the universal spiritual key, whose lower expression is psychometrics.


- sense of touch on a physical level : it allows to know and recognize certain physical characteristics of the objects we get in relation with.

- sense of touch on the emotional level : psychometrics. It consists of the ability to get in emotional contact with any form with similar aspirations.

- sense of touch on the mental level : planetary psychometrics. Ability to reach the essence (soul) through the correct recognition of the cover, whatever the form it hides it with; ability to contact and operate with the soul of the higher group, which the unity of the lower tends towards. The contact through the mind is inborn recognition; it can be expressed in three different ways: as recognition, as memory or as anticipation.

- sense of touch on the intuitive level : healing. To feel and participate allows to heal and to correct the incompleteness of the non-self, therefore actively serving the plane of evolution. The hands are powerful instruments in any act of healing, the use of touch is a true esoteric science.

- sense of touch on the spiritual level : active service. The total work of the Self for the non-self.

Masonic Symbology – the sense of touch is represented in Freemasonry by the touching , a sign transmitted and used already as Apprentices; it changes gradually as the Initiate gets to higher degrees. It allows to recognize and be recognized by other masons as brother or sister. It also allows to express and live the Masonic principles of any hierarchic degree.


Sight is the third sense that develops in man. The development of the sight is parallel to the ability to acquire knowledge, connected to the development of the mind. The relation between sight and mind is very close indeed; it is expressed by the eye, one of the most powerful transmitters of energy. Sight doesn't only imply physical, but also metaphysical vision. Such sight is due to the development of the third eye, the esoteric center of force that exists on an ethereal level and must not be confused with the pineal gland, which is a physical center. The pineal gland must work before the third eye can become active. It is formed thanks to the activity of three factors: by direct impulse of the Ego from its plane; through the coordinated activity of the main center of the head, which affects the pineal gland and their mutual action produces the organ of conscience, the third eye; by reflected action of the same pineal gland.

The center between the eyebrows is the instrument of the first aspect of manifestation, the aspect Will; it responds to the will to reveal the two-fold nature of love-wisdom in the various kingdoms of nature, the aspect Son. It is the eye of inner vision; it involves the recognition of the essential unity in the whole manifestation, of the totality, the whole, the realization of the One in Many, the synthesis in totality (the recognition of the Law of Synthesis working within all the forms occupied by the Self).

The opening and control of the third eye has the effect of creating several abilities; to direct and manage the energy of the matter, to see the being and becoming in an Eternal Present (contact and comprehension of the causes of events, rather than only a partial observation of effects); reading the mind of the Great Architect of the Universe, for the first time possible on the mental plane, although not belonging to it (such reading on the emotional plane is possible only for small fragments, often not understood); vision of elements belonging to various planes, starting from the emotional and mental plane. From the third initiation the third eye undergoes some training and it starts working in two ways: as ability to interpret the environment and the experience and as a lens that gathers the light coming from the inner and higher worlds. At the fourth initiation it involves sudden comprehension of a level that is elementary compared to the comprehension of the ninth initiation.

The color of the energetic ganglion between the eyebrows allows man on the path to identify himself because before the sixth and seventh initiation it is colored depending on the characteristics of his own personality; later on it will always be blue, like the Thinking Mind used as a reference for the humankind.

The sense of sight marks therefore the definite correlation of ideas, relationships among things, of Self and non-Self, supreme sense, correlator of the solar system, inseparable from the advent of the Mind.

Meaning :

- sense of sight at the physical level : physical sight. It can be ideological, moral and conflicting.

- sense of sight at the emotional level : vision of colors.

- sense of sight at the mental level : vision of symbols and geometrical forms.

- sense of sight at the intuitive level: divine vision. Inner vision that existed already, but of which we become aware during the process of initiation; it originates the conscious recognition of what is seen.

- sense of sight at the spiritual level: realization. Recognition of the triplicity necessary in the manifestation or the action reflected of the Self and non-self.

Masonic Symbology - We find the symbol of sight both in the Temple and before we enter it:

- In the Chamber of Reflection: light of wax of animal substance;

- In the Temple : the half light and then the full light is symbolically asked and given to the Aspirant. The half light : seen by the lower mind, seat of the intellect, rational, logical and calculating. The full light : the inner vision of the higher mind, seat of intelligence, abstract thought and intuition.


Taste is the great sense that starts to prevail during the discriminating process, which occurs when the illusory nature of matter is in the process of being understood, when man starts distinguishing himself from his mind, containing it. Discrimination is the educative process that leads to developing intuition; it is an ability through which the Self recognizes its own essence in and under all forms.

The development of the sense of taste on the higher planes leads to subtler and subtler distinctions, until finally we are lead to the heart itself of our nature through form.


- sense of taste on the physical plane: discrimination of the various sub-modes of taste.

- sense of taste on the emotional plane : imagination.

- sense of taste on the mental plane : discrimination. It concerns the duality of nature, the Self and non-self.

- sense of taste on the intuitive plane: intuition. It concerns unity and it is the ability of the Self to get in contact with other Selves, not a faculty for getting in contact with the non-self. It involves the immediate knowledge of every possible thing gained not through leaning, but through the direct perception of what is known. In such act conscience is external to the object of knowledge.

- sense of taste on the spiritual plane : perfection, evolution completed using the non-self and its perfect adaptation.

Masonic Symbology

The sense of taste in Freemasonry is symbolized by:

- The Cup of Libations : Masonic representation of the sense of taste, which leads to knowing sweet and bitter, distinguishing pleasant from unpleasant sensations (1 st initiation) and being able to recognize and appreciate Truth and Beauty, discriminate good from evil and acquire the duality of nature, the Self and non-self, means that allows to distinguish real from unreal, which, at a higher level, will lead to learn the Law of Justice, symbolized by the sword that divides white from black.


Smell is such a penetrating faculty of perception, that it leads man up to the source where he came from, the plane of archetypes, the plane where his true abode is. Cultivating the perception of differences developed the other four senses; now the faculty of vibratory recognition of the vibration of the abode intervenes. It is the spiritual counterpart of the sense that allows animals, such as birds, to unfailingly go back to the place where they started their journey. It is the perception of the vibration of Self, and it is the quick return through this instinct to the original source.

Meaning :

- sense of smell on the physical plane : every smell excites certain psychic components, originating the corresponding emotions that change the mental disposition. Psychic excitement due to the sensorial stimulation regards all senses, especially taste, but it is particularly true for the sense of smell. By selecting smells we can determine a particular state of alignment and receptivity in the people that make the Lodge, making it resound unanimously on the range of vibration chosen for a certain work.

- sense of smell on the emotional plane : emotional idealism.

- sense of smell on the mental plane: spiritual discernment (on the densest plane, the 3 rd level), response to the group vibration (on the 2 nd level), spiritual telepathy (on the 1 st level).

- sense of smell on the intuitive plane : idealism.

- sense of smell on the spiritual plane : omniscience. The principle of mind in its discriminating activity, which perfects the interrelation between Self and non-self.

Masonic Symbology

The sense of smell in Freemasonry is symbolized by:

- Fumigation : it is the moment when incense and other essences are burnt on the Altar. They are connected both to certain zodiac characteristics of the Lodge's components and to the kind of work or ceremony to be carried out, creating an appropriate vibratory quality.

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