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Ancient mysteries and the New Era – part 2
by Gaetano Dima
Towards a New Era – Time and Space – Cyclic and linear time – Cosmic Cycles and the precession of equinoxes – The Eras – From the Era of Aries to the Era of Pisces – Small and Great Mysteries – The Era of Pisces – On Art and Beauty – From the Era of Pisces to the New Era of Aquarius – The New Era of Freemasonry – Man and Woman in the signs of the zodiac
Small and Great Mysteries
Inside the Egyptian sacerdotal caste there was a double level: on one side the wide external circle of priests, believers and all those who wanted to approach knowledge and occult sciences; on the other side a close circle that could be accessed through a rite of initiation. Something similar happened in Greece; from many authoritative sources we know about the myth of Eleusis , where initiations to Small and Great Mysteries occurred.
Lucky who has seen all this and then goes underground, for he knows the end of life and the beginning given by Zeus. – Pindar
[the initiation to Mysteries] allows the participants to enjoy the sweetest hopes for the end of life and for the whole duration of their existence – Isocrates
At first we wander arduously, lost, running with fear through darkness without reaching any goal; then, before the end, we are flooded with any kind of terror, dread, trepidation, sweat and anguish. Finally a wonderful light comes towards us and we are welcomed in pure places with meadows, where we can hear voices, see dances, hear hieratic songs and we have holy apparitions. – Plutarch
From these quotes we can notice two important aspects.
First: the supreme moment of revelation is the paradigm of the highest point of the philosophic itinerary: Beauty seen in its splendor like in the Phaedrus by Plato, or the ‘thought of intelligible, pure and simple' by Aristotle.
The initiate has the chance to ‘touch' and ‘contemplate': to touch pure truth (is it the secret that can't be expressed through language only?). For the philosopher it will be mysterious and as much secret to reach in contemplation the ‘simple and immaterial' principle that is the ultimate goal of Sophia.
The second point is to be able to grasp the equivalence between the terms ‘cultivation' and cult', in the sense of religious cult. Also, if ‘cultivation' is the same as ‘cult', they both are at the basis of the word culture; to cultivate interests, to cultivate one's soul, etc.
Here we have, from an ancient age, the true definition of what we should mean by culture. To be born, live and die, ‘knowing' and ‘cultivating'. Beginning and end. Viz. theological poetry (then philosophy, science, metaphysics) revelation, eschatology, that is the roots of our imagining and thinking. On the front of Apollo's temple in Delphi there was only one motto: know thyself!
This warning is addressed to every man and in particular to those who aspired to truth and knowledge. One man more than others understood the sense of the warning; he was Socrates , who refused the earthly and utilitarian problems shared by his contemporary philosophers.
But for these things I don't have time. And this is the reason. I am not able to know myself yet, as the motto in Delphi says; therefore I think it is ridiculous to enquiry on things I am not familiar with if I don't know myself. I go round examining myself rather than other things […], to see if I am not possibly a very intricate beast and full of desires more than Typhon, or if I am a more docile and simple being who is participating to a divine fate thanks to nature and without cloudy arrogance. – Socrates
It is obvious, then, that all the traditional civilizations, next to the normal forms of religiosity, provided for rites of initiation that allowed to access small groups of wise people. Since then selection didn't happen by census or inheritance, but by examining potential and attitude, honesty and preparation; but most of all by verifying the steady will of the profane to carry on the path of knowledge.
The fact that there was a place destined to initiations and the following belonging to a small number of Masters was known by the whole population; of course it was kept in consideration in their uses, costumes and even in the laws of the state.
Esoteric and exoteric aspects were harmoniously mixed as faces of the same coin.
The heir to the throne of Ancient Egypt himself could become Pharaoh, therefore a God on earth, only after a long and complex ritual of enthronization. The only blood origin wasn't enough; for a man to be made Pharaoh it was necessary for the theurgist priest to invest him in a ritual.
The figure of the theurgist priest reminds us of Hermes Trismegistus, which in the West we have rediscovered thanks to the translation of the Corpus Hermeticum made by Marsilius Ficinus during the Renaissance.
Although the Corpus Hermeticum was written during the alexandrine period (I-II century of the Common Era) it is a summa of knowledge gathered from previous sources. It is very likely that it was written to preserve a teaching that until then had been transmitted ‘from mouth to ear'. For this reason we represent the passage between the two Eras with the Corpus Hermeticum ; it is the synthesis of a knowledge that was considered noble at first, then regarded with suspicion, misunderstood and finally persecuted.
In the Era of Pisces it will become an underground knowledge, a Karstic river that will be used by many esoteric organizations existed for the last two thousand years.
At the dawn of the common era there were two dominating ideas: Greek philosophic rationalism and the complex and varied world of biblic revelation (the Old Testament of the Jews and the New Testament of the Christians). Hermeticism (like gnosis and phytagoreanism ) represented the alternative.
If we look carefully we can follow the bed of the underground river that flows throughout the Era of Pisces until today, as expression of a fundamental resistance to the rationalist domain on one side and the fideistic abandonment on the other. Such idea has been able to maintain the view of a Cosmos that is manifestation and revelation of coherence, resonance and deep identity between what is authentically human and authentically divine.
One of the ways of doing so is gnosis , which has been much more than a simple idea of ‘knowledge' as erudition for itself or one of the several religious extremisms.
Hermetic gnosis is the ‘consciousness' that the single unit exists together with a Whole. But there is also the subject of man's nature, which in the Corpus Hermeticum is theorized to be similar and unique in relation with the divine nature…
Man is a divine being; man is not measured with the rest of lives of things upon the earth, but with the lives above in heaven, who are called gods. Even more, if we must boldly speak the truth, the true man is even higher than the gods, or at the very least the gods and men are equal. For no one of the gods in heaven shall come down to the earth, overstepping heaven's limit; whereas man does mount up to heaven and measure it; he knows what things of it are high, what things are low, and learns precisely all things else besides. And greater thing of all; without even quitting earth he does ascend above. So vast greatness he possesses. For this cause a man can dare say that man on earth is god subject to death, while god in heaven is man from death immune. – Hermes Trismegistus, ‘Corpus Hermeticum – Treaty X'.
This is a perennial philosophy that will be in antithesis to old and new religious monotheisms, dogmatic philosophies and dictatorships (intolerant towards the people who believed that all that is fully human is by its nature fully divine!).
The Era of Pisces
Going into the details of the huge amount of events happened during more than two thousand years of profane history doesn't concern our research, which moves on a different plane. Therefore we will only give a brief account of certain ‘lines of trend'.
With regards to the first Millennium, we must say that the government systems of empires first and nations later, had such proportions that they crushed individuality in favor of a uniform and homologating ‘collectivism'.
Monotheistic religions of the West became rigid and literal under the strict control of hierarchies.
The balance between theurgist and theologian broke ; from a certain point on theology will only be a literal orthodoxy. Outside this boundary free thoughts will be seen as heresy (fiercely persecuted and repressed in blood). The second Millennium brings the seeds of a deep and understandable reaction to this mantle that oppressed man's spirit.
Slowly and inexorably the spirit of classicism revived, together with the values linked to individuality. With Humanism man comes back to the center of the universe; the Renaissance is a further step. Another step and we reach the Industrial Revolution, the delirium of dominating nature thanks to the discoveries of a science that abandoned the path of wisdom. In profane history, along two millennia, some trends have interacted with the planes of esotericism.
- the progressive decline of civilizations that contemplated initiatory orders and therefore increased individual spirituality;
- the creation of esoteric groups that work at the borders of society, more and more often in absolute secrecy;
- the clear-cut separation between body and spirit, between immanent and transcendent;
- the loss of the direct relationship with nature;
- the passage from the unity of knowledge to specialist fragmentation;
- the affirmation of utilitarianism, with the consequent decline of arts and philosophy, which became like hobbies for the dominating classes.
On Art and Beauty
We must remember how traditional man didn't wonder what art and poetry were, but rather what was their purpose in order not to fall in a passive disposition of spirit.
They were subjected to an ethical pedagogical and even redeeming purpose. Therefore a generic inborn talent wasn't enough to practice art effectively and enter the elite of ‘masters'.
From spiritual beauty and aesthetics as a value shared inside a wide community, they go to the idea that beauty can be practiced and even possessed by small elite of men of power.
All this becomes the common feeling of the majority of men but, fortunately, not all of them! Because even during the Era of Pisces the Holy Science and Wisdom have continued to be embodied by men who kept the ancient flame burning and transmitted it from generation to generation. It is an uninterrupted chain of initiates and researchers; we have already compared them to a river whose bed is underground. Sometimes it came to the surface and limpid water gushed for some time; I am referring to Templar and Rosicrucian movements. But the hostility of civil and religious hierarchies have advised (Rose and Cross) and sometimes forced (Templar) these esoteric groups to work in the shadow, ‘three steps away from History'.
Therefore it is difficult today to completely rebuild the thread of a millenary history (we know it is uninterrupted). The only trace we can clearly follow is Alchemy.
The stage of the crow , better know as the Blackness
For historians of science Alchemy is a pre-scientific system, a kind of prehistory of modern chemistry. For other people it has been a kind of philosophical and religious system expressed by ancient civilizations (this interpretation is apparently confirmed by the relationships that it has with philosophical and religious currents such as Taoism, yoga, Sufism and Christianity itself).
There is also another school that sees Alchemy as a form of magic-esoteric knowledge whose true purpose is not the transmutation of metals but the transmutation of the operator himself, an Alchemist magician that wants to reach superior states of conscience and occult powers. Finally, Alchemy as a dimension of imagery is proposed by important psychology scholars, such as Carl Gustav Jung.
For this scientist-initiate Alchemy was such a heap of psychic experiences that the Adept was allowed a kind of individuation, viz. discovery and conquest of his own identity as a human being in the whole, through the progressive revelation of the archetype of the conscious mental world.
These interpretations and others have tried to offer acceptable explanations to a disturbing phenomenon which was impermeable to the cultures and ages when the Alchemists lived and worked.
Up to today more than a hundred thousand books have been counted; they are kept in libraries worldwide where men of different ages, cultures and religions talk about the same process (transmutation of the matter), have the same purpose (the philosopher's Stone), express themselves through enigmas (through the Cabbala , symbolic representations and the so-called ‘bird-language'), write exclusively for other Adepts, to whom they recommend wisdom and secrecy.
They looked for the truth inside humble laboratories, far away from ambition, power and wealth. There is no mention of sects or schools, although the school of the Children of Hermes was a proper caste of aristocrats and philosophers of the fire. Alchemic practice is a praxis that aims at destroying the steadiness of natural bonds to re-build a perfect material reality; this process is synthesized in the aphorism ‘ solve et coagula ' (dissolve and solidify) but it is developed through a wide and varied series of operations.
To be operative is a priority for the knowledge it produces, despite this knowledge is considered by alchemists as a necessary introduction to opus. Alchemists propose a substantially different model of physical thought and, most of all, of interaction between human beings and material reality.
Among countless definitions, this is probably the one we feel more suitable:
‘Alchemy is the art of liberating parts of the Cosmos from the temporal existence and of reaching perfection, which for metals is gold, for man is longevity, immortality and finally redemption'. – H. Sheppard
During the dark ages, when intolerance, dogmatism and religious and political extremism forced them to work in the highest secrecy, the image of the Alchemist-magician arose, the solitary researcher of the Philosopher's Stone . To the separation between flesh and spirit, immanent and transcendent, he opposed the unity of Nature and the demiurgic power of the human being. Many of the ancient mythologies pushed man to look for the golden fleece , metaphor of the journey that we should carry out towards a different plane, towards transcendent divinity.
The alchemist, on the contrary, doesn't have the goal of finding gold, but he gears up to make it himself! This is not a small difference, because in this determination we can see the spirit of the theurgic priest : man and only man is the maker of his own destiny.
Therefore the metaphor of the karstic river, which for its own nature flows in the depth of the Earth, is suitable to Alchemy. The only way to access these depths was a long and obstinate work of digging; indeed, the obscurity of alchemic essays has sometimes put off their readers, rather than encouraging them. The first thing to do was to dig the well; only afterwards, if the water-bearing stream was reached, one could hope to draw the crystal-clear water, that water of fire that extinguishes the thirst for knowledge.
The Rebis – the Alchemic conjunction of the opposites, from which Jung drew the psycho-analytical theory of ‘individuation of the superior SELF'.
A motto made by four verbs synthesized the work of alchemists:
SCIRE – POTERE – AUDERE – TACERE
This was the only journey suggested to those who wanted to be on the ‘right' path that will lead to the accomplishment of the golden teaching, to the creation of the Philosopher's Stone .
SCIRE (to know)
Study, reading and meditation. The acquisition of Knowledge has the intrinsic condition of the practice of silence, since the neophyte who knows nothing can only read and listen: what can he state if he knows nothing? Know thyself, descend deep down your soul and find the occult stone (V.I.T.R.I.O.L.).
POTERE (to be able to)
The logic consequence of a slow and meditative study. Progressive consciousness of the potential contained in the matter of the Great Work, which is consciousness of our potential Self. The apprentice practices constantly and humbly, putting the teachings received into practice. At this stage mistakes are accepted.
AUDERE (to dare)
Conscious of his own means and fortified by practice, the apprentice evolves towards degrees of masterhood; he can and must dare , because study and practice is not an end in itself. He understands how being part of the creation (macrocosm) allows him on a smaller scale (microcosm) to work the miracle of life. It is the start of the long-lasting work towards the Philosopher's Stone .
TACERE (to be silent)
At the beginning of the process ( scire ) the condition of silence, although implied, is not declared. On the contrary at the end of the ideal hermeneutic circle, the explicit and peremptory invite to silence must make us think. It is imposed not to divulge the knowledge we have acquired.
The profane wonders and he can't understand why the alchemist, who masters such great powers, shouldn't divulge them for the benefit of the needy humankind. Yet, all the ancient alchemic treaties agree on the need to keep the highest secrecy. Why? For the substantial uselessness of the revelation; whoever hasn't carried out the same journey can't be able to understand and use what the Stone means.
The Adept is on a different plane of the being; as Evola says, he is in the overworld. For this reason he would risk very serious consequences if he revealed the arcane to men who are not ready to receive it.
During the Era of Pisces, then, the concept of reservedness is fortified; this concept is very clear to all true esotericists and it is different from secrecy. Knowledge can and must be revealed, passed on and nourished in order for it to live in the heart of righteous men, without limits of race, culture and class.
This is the wish implied in the Royal Art: that one day a significant number of Adepts can educate a wide part of the population with their knowledge.
From the Era of Pisces to the New Era of Aquarius
On the trail of what we have said so far, it should be clear that in the New Era Freemasons will be operating again. If single Brothers will have to carry out both an esoteric and an exoteric work, from the Institution as well (Universal Freemasonry) is expected both esoteric and exoteric work. All this is the logic evolution of what our Order has done and that the symbology of the Temple fully expresses.
The builders of ancient temples (in the image on the left Master Hiram is pictured between the holy pillars ‘J' and ‘B', the builder of the Temple of Jerusalem) have always divided the space in two sections: an internal space harmoniously joint with an external one.
The internal space could only be accessed by priests and initiates, whilst believers and profane gathered in the external one. An example is Greek and Egyptian Temples, which had a central body surrounded by tall and thick walls and by colonnades.
The holy part could be accessed through a door, where righteous men who looked for hidden truths would knock at. Everybody knew where the source of truths was and how to access it; this created a kind of osmosis between inside and outside, like a synergic interconnection.
Let's talk about the structure of the Temple, paying attention to the lines of force between inside and outside, viz. between initiates and profanes.
The action from the inside towards the outside and vice versa developed along a horizontal line (immanent).
Likewise, inside the Temple the effect of the rituals developed an eminently vertical action (transcendent).
All those who are familiar with Alchemy can't help notice the perfect correspondence with the horizontal line that symbolizes the elements of Water and Earth , whilst the vertical line symbolizes Fire and Air.
The meeting point of the two lines of force represented the mystery of Quintessence.
The Fifth Element (Quintessence, note of the Translator) is made by four elements; all the elements are in action, matter and shape very subtle and close to simplicity. – Raymon Llull, ‘Treaty on Quintessence'.
Today philosophers call the Heavens Quintessence for what concerns the four elements […] – John of Rupescissa, ‘Treaty on Quintessence'.
If we copy and cross the horizontal and vertical axes, on the image of the Temple we can see how the intersection occurs precisely inside the walls where, thanks to the commitment of the brothers and the grace of the Great Maker of the Worlds, the flower of gnosis blossoms, the mystic rose (here the reference to Rose and Cross is obvious).
The Masonic Temple was and still is a powerful catalyzer of energies animated by the Brothers that work inside it. This work expands, pervades and educates society. In this sense we can only wish a return to the origins of our noblest tradition, in order to be fully and consciously more and more Operating Masons. This is why it is important to highlight the need to restore the union between horizontal action, which includes the whole Human Family, and the verticality of the initiatory journey.
The Freemasons of the Third Millennium are called to reinstate the ancient balance between the two directrices, viz. the process that leads from Me to Us.
In ‘ The invisible Masters' Igor Sinisbaldi deals with this subject from an eminently esoteric perspective; he reminds us that the Self o the soul is the veil that we carry on us all the time like a dress. Rather than a quotation or a summary, we would like to propose a sketch drawn immediately after having read Sinisbaldi 's book:
Inside Freemasonry this journey will lead the apprentice to become conscious of being a small but necessary link of the initiatory chain and, broadly speaking, of the eggregore.
In this sense when we hear about ‘globalization' and ‘network connections' we can't help thinking that such concepts have always been in the genetic inheritance of our Institution. Furthermore, the passage from Me to Us implies that there has already been some work done on the Self , that is a process of individuation which from an esoteric point of view we can express with three actions: a) fortify, b) synthesize; c) expand.
The starting point of the journey is in the ability to understand where the Self is and ends and where the Other starts. The strong individualistic spirit of the Era of Pisces only assumed the intentional subject, the biographic Self; it was found inside people, defined by their own skin and their immediate behavior. The Self was the familiar sense to cover the whole ‘philosophic system'; what it recorded was called ‘experiences'.
In actual fact mass society has been the sum of several monads strongly secured as well as inevitably alienated. Yet, two thousand and five hundred years ago Hippocrates wrote that the care for the inside requires attention for the outside, because most of the soul is outside the body, in the living and vibrating Nature.
In order to find this Self back, which is the center of ourselves as well as the center of Nature, we must start from who we really are, without running around looking for miraculous origins and solutions.
By thinking and fortifying the spirit in silence (in the picture Hermes imposes silence, because the work of art doesn't need any kind of explanation or interpretation; words would just thwart the intrinsic magic of the moment); it is meditated listening and selection of what is necessary to ourselves.
Only in the silence we will find the path that will lead us to the individuation of Self. It is silence itself, or rather BEING SILENT, that Alchemists used to recommend, not only for reasons of discretion and substantial uselessness or dangerousness of ‘casting pearls before swine'. It is not a coincidence that imagination and creative activities are developed in silence to facilitate concentration and introspection. This is even truer today, since newspapers, radios, televisions and the internet flood us with a huge amount of information.
Even by going out things don't improve, because audiovisual pollution is sometimes more serious: advertising posters, music, noises, signs and many other things that we can't ignore. Information, information and information again… but information is not knowledge and opinions are not judgments.
In order to have knowledge and judgment we need a slow process of sedimentation, reflection and meditation; this can only happen in the silence of our deepest being. Fortified in silence and perfected by the practice of synthesis, man will learn to expand creativity. He will be accompanied by the Freemasons able to elaborate and take out of the Temple (horizontal action) knowledge that is dynamic synthesis of Wisdom and Strength , that is initiatory knowledge and creative power.
[…] The Mason, with the use of his creative power, will contribute to set up the New Era and then he will have to demystify any situation and attempt to profane Freemasonry – Francesco Brunelli, ‘Principles and methods of operating Freemasonry'.
Wisdom and Strength would not be worth much without Beauty . Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are the stars, the three Great Lights that shine to guide the path of the New Man.
Beauty is a subject particularly loved by people who see it everyday because of what they do. We are not among those who think that beauty exists only in nature and that it is an intangible and unchangeable archetype, perhaps placed in a platonic world of ideas.
Once recognized that we must respond to the need for beauty, but that the physical nature is not the only place where to get the answer, then we will take our soul back in our hands; we will realize that what happens to it is not given but done – done by us working with it in the real world, so that the real world reflects the need for beauty that belongs to the soul. – James Hillman, ‘Politics of beauty'.
Deep is the hatred that the common soul has for beauty. – Ernst Junger, ‘On the marble rocks'.
The appeal to beauty and meditation and the wish for them to become again the pulsating heart of society are values shared by more and more people. Indeed, globalization and diffusion of technologies haven't brought only advantages!
Scientific and analytic knowledge of our time can't be compared to the past. The technology that we use today allows us to see things we wouldn't have dreamt about a hundred years ago. The vertiginous development of science and technological applications has led to a fall of the synthetic vision ; it is not true that the mysteries of nature have diminished, indeed, they've increased!
The universe hasn't become smaller and therefore more ‘readable', but it dilated and acquired levels of complexity that annihilate the common man.
[…] if there has ever been a civilization of slaves it is modern civilization. – Julius Evola, ‘Revolt against the modern world'.
The quality of life (which is a flaunted and abused concept) is all in the ability to perceive beauty, as well as in the firm determination to live in places where the relationship with Nature is direct and vital. It is a less stressful life, deprived of all the useless overtones and addressed to the essential: spirituality. Giordano Bruno in the XVI century highlighted the disharmony between ‘being' something and ‘looking like' the same thing.
The Cantus Circaeus (Circe's Song, Note of the Translator) by Bruno tells the story of the Sorceress that forces men to drink a magic potion; they are pigs deep down and the drink makes them pigs on the outside, revealing their true nature. After four hundred years we still need such a drink to reveal the intimate nature of our interlocutors.
We live and work in two worlds at the same time; one is the inner world of conscience and one is the outer world of participation to the history of our time and space. Technicians, scientists, professionals, merchants, military people, political and religious hierarchies of countries and churches, intellectuals who work in schools and universities all deal with the second world; it is the world of external things, where men are interchangeable and language is used to communicate information and commands.
On the contrary, the initiates reawaken the knowledge of the humankind in order for them to overcome the state of mere participation to this or that piece of History and become spirit and indissoluble part of the Being. To read Bruno's works today means to catch a glimpse of light beyond the dark tunnel of four centuries of political, ethnic, religious and cultural extremism and intolerance.
The New Era of Freemasonry
Freemasonry offers (and witnesses) a path of spiritual growth to ‘righteous' men who are ‘good' and most of all sincerely interested.
The profane reaches the doors of the Temple and knocks, showing the will to be admitted. Then he waits for the moment of initiation; if he becomes an initiate from that day and for all his life he is a Mason; he becomes a link of the eternal initiatory chain.
But the changing process continues, because through a personal as well as collective work, he expands his being in the Eggregore, becoming part of a spiritual entity that can't be expressed with common language. We can only mention that It is the crucible where Strength, Wisdom and Beauty of every single Lodge of Universal Freemasonry are mixed together.
It is a source of Spiritual Energy that has fed and supported the work of the Brothers for centuries. This energy has sometimes been able to determine the choice of groups and whole societies, in more or less obvious ways.
Today, at the beginning of the Era of Aquarius, we wonder about the possibility and the desirableness that Freemasonry opens to the profane society. The result would be: 1) to propose the excellence that is part of its historical and human patrimony; 2) to restore the old balance (see chapter on the Era of Pisces) when initiatory organizations were ‘naturally inserted in uses, customs and even laws'. This would lead to the esoteric and exoteric to be again ‘ harmoniously mixed like sides of the same coin' .
Man and Woman in the signs of the zodiac
An ancient legend tells us that at the beginning of time all men were fully aware of possessing a special organ that emitted psychic forces destined to preserve the balance of the Cosmos. This is what we vaguely perceive today and that we call soul.
All modern religions are the pale and degenerated memory of the primordial function of ‘participating to the balance of cosmic energies'. The source of the most ancient and therefore true religions can be found in the need to feed, modify and perpetuate harmony; the men of the golden Eras and their Giant Kings were perfectly aware of this need.
The harmony of the whole and every part of it and to understand and be part of this truth will allow the man of the New Era to master the elements (master doesn't mean power but service). Modern man's mistake is the mistake of the spirit, because he has abandoned his divine vocation ; it has reached extreme levels in the last centuries of the previous Millennium. The only chance to get out of it is to re-acquire the magic vision , abandoning the Copernican universe in favour of Plotinus' and Bruno's!
The substance which the world is made of is an image reflected on the immobile surface of a watertight. Without the surface, where water and air meet, there wouldn't be any reflection and the latter is the only existing thing. – Mark Hedsel, ‘The Initiate'.
At the end of this research we ask the reader to go back for the last time to the moment when the pillars of our Lodge were built. Was it a beginning? Can there be a beginning and an end to Universal Freemasonry? Beginning and end belong to the linear conception of time. At the opposite end we have the eternal return (of cosmic cycles and Eras) thanks to the circularity symbolized by Uroboros: serpens qui caudam devoravit.
Profane people are given the only possible ‘beginning' through Initiation.
But the true meaning of initiation is that the visible world where we live is a symbol and a shadow, that the life we know through our senses is a death and a sleep; in other words, what we see is an illusion. Initiation is the dissolution – a gradual, partial dissolution – of this illusion. The reason of its secret is that most men are not suitable to understand it; therefore if it was made public, they would misunderstand it.
The reason why the meaning is symbolic is that initiation is not knowledge but life; man must discover by himself what symbols show. By doing so, he will live their lives and not just learn the words used to reveal them. – Fernando Pessoa, ‘Esoteric pages'.
Knowledge and language can exist independently from each other. Normally our cerebral flow is fed and made by words , therefore we consciously are the words we think. When Pessoa writes that ‘initiation is not knowledge', he wants to remind us that we need to exit the flow of words; by stopping it, we will overcome the limit of the conscience. We will develop other subtler senses that will allow us to esoterically see , by emanating our Self beyond the threshold of the body and stretching it towards the object of the vision, that is the symbol. We will expand the Self in the field of consciousness.
Only the man who is enlightened by the True Light can really see and then choose to live a new life.
Sometimes one word is enough, if it is said at the right time in the right way, to change forever the life of the man who is on the path. – Mark Hedsel, ‘The Initiate'.
Supernatural friendship [brotherhood] among people that remember their origin and destination is the pearl to preserve in the present world and the access point for the other world. – Elemire Zolla , ‘Exit the world'.
Brothers are close to each other, deeply linked, like seeds in a pomegranate.