Dedicated to Athos A. Altomonte’s work of instruction
Index: «Know thyself» - The Rays that manifest in Freemasonry - The Lodge Picture - «He who recognized triplicity» - The Three in the Threes
Initiatory Tradition passed on to us a representation of the Temple with the inscription Know Thyself on its front. It is supported by four pillars which allegorically represent four systems of understanding and separation of Knowledge, which cannot everbe learned completely. Furthermore, these four pillars are also an allegory in the catechism of the initiation to be a Fellow, where we find the reference principles and instruments that the mason must learn to use in order to become the Architect and Builder of his inner temple.
If we look at the temple from the outside we can see three things: a door, an indication - Know Thyself – and a method, the four pillars, the four systems.
The apparent confusion deriving from the presentation of seemingly distant topics and subjects lies in the fact that we must become familiar with the four "levels" at the same time (see The Four keys of interpretation of the Humankind), and take parts from each of the four systems. Here lies the difficulty of a journey that from wide (four pillars) becomes narrow (the door), because only the four together will allow an alignment able to introduce us to the access of the Temple, which would otherwise be unlikely.
Once introduced, we will be able to start looking around, accompanied to a "guided tour" by an Expert Brother.
We must understand, as far as us westerners are concerned, what Freemasonry is and especially the Freemasonry that has the Temple at its heart. Inside it there are not dates (1,400, 1,700, …) but there is a space of immobile timeless knowledge, because the speculative concept does not have time. Therefore, when entering this immobile space we will wonder: "what are the things we see, what are they for and how do we use them?". We need to ask ourselves what Freemasonry is, what is it for and how to use it; only then we will be able to build the Mason. That is by learning to understand the system and how to use it, understanding how to use it on us, recognizing the interaction between us and the system and vice versa for the purpose of reciprocal evolution.
The final goal, though, is not to create Masons or even a Lodge of Masons. If this was the only goal we would be talking about a separating, excluding result. The goal is to bring the Mason in harmony with the Lodge as a system, but most of all in harmony with all the other systems outside the Temple, the other Temples.
Therefore if the group is a dot and the Temple a circle, aiming the work to such realization is a separating action, therefore false. Whilst if we work towards the mutual recognition with other Temples, elevating one’s work up to making it harmonious and spiritually agreeable with other people’s level, this gives us the possibility to connect with a much bigger operating service logic. Indeed, there are other groups that have been working for years, even though they work on three levels (physical, psychic and spiritual).
This is the proposition of the Masonic Lodge; to create a structure that corresponds to the requirements of the Temple. It aims at the fact that the Temple, being built on a series of similar models, can produce a sound, a harmony, a work and a service such that it can connect with other Temples in a "chorda fratres", brotherhood, which is the true power of initiatory institutions. The Lodge must not be connected to a limited space, but to a space that will be much bigger as bigger are the consciences of the brothers that make it. Therefore the proposition to build the Temple is to build men, indeed, but to build the Temple itself such that it is in harmony with other Temples, which are harmonized with the Planet. The historical power of initiatory orders was founded in this total embrace, although it is not visible to profane eyes.
The Rays that manifest in Freemasonry
Keeping in mind the method represented by the four pillars, let’s continue, going slightly deeper into the concepts. This will allow us to connect them to "other pillars" of knowledge; once the connections are made, we can go further into it and we stop and connect again. This is how to move on the front of "four pillars".
With this method we can give indications on the topic of Rays (viz. the motion of energies) that manifest in Freemasonry, without going too deep into the subject but only starting to get an idea of it (see The Science of the Rays).
Starting from the questions we asked ourselves at the beginning, we will have:
What is it
How we work
Masons, Men, Humankind
What we do
The goal is
We have already mentioned thatFreemasonryis not of the 7th Ray, but the system, cycles, rhythms and cadences are the 7th Ray. The Ceremonial Order, substance that moves through rituality, which is made of cycles, cadences and rhythms with precise movements, times and words, studied in order to obtain precise effects. Therefore Freemasonry is not of the 7th Ray; it works on the 7th Ray.
Freemasonry is made of Masons but this definition is not sufficient. The Masons are men and women, viz. the Humankind that manifests the 3rd Ray.
To answer the question on what we do in the Temple, let’s look at the masonic catechism, where it is said that the "pay increases" can only be obtained by Knowledge (legend of Hiram) but we cannot have knowledge if we don’t receive Instruction and this is not possible if we don’t have Instructors. The Instruction is aimed at Initiation. Certainly the instructor works on the 2nd Ray. He who produces Instruction, working on the 2nd Ray whose purpose is Initiation, must be able to pass on the knowledge through the mental of the 5th Ray, which he must then convey back to the brothers using the 3rd Ray, which is Intelligence (the activity of 3rd Ray is expressed on a planetary level through the Humankind, whilst as a kingdom of nature is dominated by the 4th Ray). All that is contained in an energetic movement, which is the 7th Ray, the Ritual. The movement is on every plane: physical, psychic and spiritual.
If we wonder what Ray Freemasonry is, we could say that: will causes tension, which produces the effect. If there is not tension initiation cannot occur; in the various languages it has been expressed as the jump, the overcoming of the abyss, the crossing of the threshold, all symbols that represent initiation. Furthermore we know that the door doesn’t exist because we are the door. All this to say that everything originates from the will and the will is the 1st Ray.
On a systemic level (meaning our solar system) the origin and energy which the structure emanates from, comes from the G. L. of S. and it belongs to the 1st Ray; canalized by the H. which expresses energy of the 2nd Ray, reaches through It the Humankind which manifests the 3rd Ray.
The Rays, that is the energies corresponding to them, are never simultaneously in manifestation on a planetary level. Freemasonry, as we said, works on the 7th Ray and the planet has been under the influence of such Ray since 1625. This is the reason for the importance that the Order of the Temple (also read Church)has today; up until that date the 6th Ray was active (of abstract idealism) which manifested as devotional temperament, a lot of heart which, where it was ruled with little reason, took the features of fanatical mysticism (the Inquisition is an example) or of the wars of military devotees (see Crusades).
The Lodge Picture
The focal center, which is also the passage key in the Temple, is the speculum, the mirror, where it is truly possible to see something. At that special point traditional wisdom placed an image for each degree; each symbolic image represented a degree of conscience. We are talking about the Lodge Pictures in the degrees of A., F., and M.
The wisdom of those who decided to leave messages for posterity chose to place a symbolic picture in the heart of the Temple. Nobody, though, can see in the picture a mirror, the speculum where something is reflected. The speculum is the heart of the heart, through which we can see Reality, which will be the opposite of ours.
In one of his letters to the Corinthians Saint Paul says: "…in the mirror of the heart we find the image of God".
The Freemason is connected to the microcosmic and planetary mason who, lying on the floor of the Temple has the Lodge Picture in the direction of his heart, the mirror (Hiram, who must be awakened in all of us); in that mirror we can see the Celestial Man.
There are many references to the mirror; indeed, mental unity is called mirror, so much so that the man who thinks intensely is said to reflect; modern Freemasonry is not only moral, but also speculative. Through the mirror we go into other dimensions, those of abstract mental and intuitive plane. Therefore the Lodge Picture contains something very deep and a good key.
«He who recognized the triplicity»
In the Ancient Commentaries the definition of Aspirant is: «he who recognized the triplicity». If we wonder where, the answer is: everywhere. Only to the man who owns this key the symbol represented in the image below can be recognized as a seal. It is important to reflect on this as well as the other planetary symbols that follow, in order to understand modestly where to place oneself on the evolutionary ladder, especially those who work in an initiatory field. It is not enough to repeat Father-Mother-Son, Spirit-Matter-Conscience, Fire-Space-Order; we need to recognize this three-fold aspect in every field.
This symbol has always been represented in the ancient Eastern temple.
On a symbolic level the Commentaries of Ancient Wisdom pass as universal initiatory language the following ideograms:
Without going into the speculative study of the represented symbols, it is a good idea to start understanding assonances, small harmonics; also noticing where and how often these symbols have been represented everywhere in the world. As an example we can use two images which are culturally closer to us.
To a superficial eye the attention is attracted by the structure; indeed the interesting thing is the space left open, because that is where the light goes through. Indeed, what we need to understand is the light. The space contains the light and we know that Light equals universal Mind; therefore light is knowledge, cognition; all comes from the Light.
The mind that reflects is an enlightened mind. What the mirror reflects, the mental unity, is the higher light towards the lower darkness. Here’s when "I animal" understand myself, "psychic me".
The secret of Initiation is in the Electricity. Electricity is Energy, Energy is Light, which is color, but color is a reductive reality of the Light, which is unique, synthetic. Let’s use colors, because we are limited. This is because we stop at the effect; but the result of initiation is the white light, as a consequence of the illumination of the space that we contain as conscience, as opening.
The Three in the Threes
If we talk about Fire-Space-Order or Father-Mother-Son, it is not easy and immediate to understand each other. This is because we stop at a superficial stage of knowledge. Knowledge is like a mirror; either we go in or the eye will remain on the surface, generating a reflection, viz. Illusion, Maya for Eastern people. Either it is so transparent that it allows to penetrate what I am watching or it creates my reflection and confuses me to the point that I don’t understand any longer.
Since the true Aspirant is he who recognized the triplicity, let’s find some three in the threes in the things we know.
For example, Freemasonry is divided into three "branches" : a) the Human one, which fights against astral instinct, emotion and delusion, with moral purposes – where morale is a kind of discipline for those who don’t understand; by itself morale doesn’t give understanding (an evolved person does not commit an action that would damage someone else because he spontaneously refuses to do so, not because morality condemns that action), but it rules a behavior that doesn’t come substantially natural yet. b) the second branch is the Mental one, it is directed at the superior mind, it works on the Planet and in particular on the centers of the planet. c) finally, there is the Universal branch, which is directed at the stars and it studies the connections with them.
If we observe the Freemasonry that teaches us the morale in this unity divided into three (by morale we mean to condition one’s lack of education, which generates chaos, through a rule) we might in turn observe three further divisions in the degrees of A. F. M. Indeed, in order for the individual to express the rule, he must first learn it, practice it and finally embody it.
The triplicity is made of many threes in the threes.
If we want to go further down in scale, each degree has its triplicity, constituted by the entrance in the degree, its knowledge and its control; then we go into the next degree.
This is quite interesting in order to fix our attention on how many times the system triplicates. In the Scottish Rite from the 4th to the 33rd degree on a philosophical level there are three divisions: Red, Black and White Freemasonry. They are allegories of the three stages of focalization of man. At first in his personality, where the blood is the vehicle and it expresses in the color red the nature of the desire that is sublimated in the 18th degree. Then on the psychic plane, the "phosphoric" plane, where the soul lets the last delusion of the physical nature drop, represented by the demolition of the pillars of the Temple of the 30th degree (the black of death but also the necessary condition so that, in full concentration, light appears). Finally on the spiritual plane symbolized by the color white, the light of spiritual Truth. This is how the Great Work is accomplished in three stages, which are an expansion of the three Symbolic degrees on a greater spiral of the coil that leads to the unique Origin.
Another triplicity known in Freemasonry in its manifestation but less in its meaning is kept in a familiar symbol that finds a sonorous correspondence in the three degrees of A. F. and M.
The man on the threshold of the path of trial, symbolically represented by the Apprentice introduced to the Temple at the beginning of his initiatory journey, starts penetrating in the world of quality and values; he starts discovering the nature of the soul and transferring the importance from the appearance to the quality of the Life that produced it.
The identification of quality with appearance constantly grows on the path, until the fusion of quality and appearance of energy and what it pervades is so perfect that appearance doesn’t hide reality any longer and the soul prevails. Now the conscience identifies with itself (or its own ray) and not with its own phenomenal appearance. Later the soul itself is replaced by the Monad that becomes, in truth, embodied proposition.
This process can be expressed by a very simple symbol as it follows: O OO, or OO … O, or O … OO, representing the separation of the three aspects, then the joining of the three aspects of appearance-quality-life or proposition, it produces the abstraction of the appearance and therefore the end of the phenomenal existence.
O O O
Appearance, quality, life
OO … O
Appearance-quality … life
O … OO
Appearance … quality-life
Within the circle of infinite
The simple arrangement of these signs describes the life and progress of the individual and the groups on the initiatory path.