The institution of Freemasonry rests upon three essential propositions:
- The existence of the Supreme Being;
- The immortality of the Soul;
- The brotherhood of man
The lodge neither theologizes nor dogmatizes on these propositions. Loyalty to
these principles, traditions, and usages is the bond of union and the basis of
perpetuity. Masonry recognizes the “intrinsic”character of a
The ritual of initiation is the basic curriculum of the school of Masonry.
The education of the candidate occurs through appeal to his reason, his
understanding, and his conscience. He is not indoctrinated.
There is no dogmatizing. He is urged to use all his
faculties, capacities, and powers to test all that he sees and hears by his own
judgment in the light of his own conscience. In that sense my
Brethren we are “forever” all candidates in Freemasonry!
So let us consider the following:
- What is the basis for suggesting Freemasonry can be applied to
- How successfully Freemasonry been applied to living?
What is the basis for suggesting Freemasonry can be applied to practical living?
We have all developed our own codes by which we live. These
have evolved as a mixture of ethical rules and values, adjusted and fashioned
according to each person’s individual background, experience, environment,
conscience, hopes and expectations. Can our Masonic
involvement have relevance?
For its part, Freemasonry is described as a special system of moral instruction
passed down in a unique manner from the ancient stonemason’s tools of whose
craft have been used to illustrate principles of life.
Under the guidance of the Volume of the Sacred Law, which is held up as the
greatest light and example for a man to follow in his daily living, Freemasons
have prescribed for themselves three grand principles, namely, brotherly love,
relief and truth.
In our ceremonies, we are reminded of the need to adhere to the four cardinal
virtues: prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice. We are also to respect
the important principles of benevolence, charity, mercy, honor, fidelity,
loyalty, obedience and others. Indeed, Brethren are enjoined
to engage in the practice of every moral and social virtue.
We are instructed that the principles and tenets of the Craft should motivate us
to act at all times with rectitude and decorum. It is
recommended to us that when we see faults in others, we judge with candor,
admonish with friendship and reprehend with mercy.
In relation to three of the stonemason’s tools of craft, the square is used in a
symbolic way to teach morality, the level equality, and the plumb rule
We are exhorted to be ever mindful of our duty to the Supreme Being, to our
neighbors, and to ourselves, to regard all men as brothers, to turn away from
all thoughts of unkindness, malice or revenge in our dealings with others, and
in everything we do to have eternity in mind.
We are told that, leading up to our inevitable destiny, we should positively aim
to develop our minds and bodies to the utmost during our earthly sojourn.
This short exposition of our philosophy leaves no doubt that Freemasonry, based
as it is on the hallowed principles of piety and virtue, can provide for its
members a behavioral framework of the highest quality, a code of morality that
“can” be applied to daily living.
How successfully has Freemasonry been applied to living?
Many Brethren have spoken of the way in which their lives have been enriched by
their Masonic association. Living in accordance with the
Masonic philosophy has, without doubt, helped in the development of personality
and the strengthening of character and has caused many brethren to endeavor to
base their conduct in life on the principles of integrity and honor.
Freemasonry has brought a variety of benefits to its members.
Many have found a sense of peace and contentment, others have found a new
courage which has helped them in times of adversity. Some
have increased in understanding the virtues of patience and
tolerance, others have gradually built up a degree of confidence in themselves
which was missing previously. Others still have found in
Freemasonry a theme which complements their religious beliefs. ( Again,
remembering Freemasonry does NOT theologize, or dogmatize)
Many have profited from the simple pleasure of joining with other men in an
atmosphere of social togetherness. This opportunity to
develop an ability to mix has assisted them in their daily dealings with other
people outside the Craft.
Speculative Freemasonry formally arrived on the scene 294 years ago.
Surely it was in existence before, as it was not born out of nothing
overnight. Exactly when and where we will most probably never
know. Any organization with such an unbroken record is surely
soundly based. The principles and virtues underlying Masonic
philosophy have succeeded in capturing the imagination and attention of
thousands, indeed, millions, of brethren over this long period.
While Freemasons constitute only a relatively small group in the
community, the picture becomes larger when we add family members and others who
associate with brethren and come in contact with Freemasonry to some extent, and
who may be influenced to some extent by its pure principles.
The presence of a Masonic influence must surly have had a stabilizing effect on
Problems change continually. True ethical and moral
principles are eternal.
As Chaplain allow me to close with this thought, “In as much as ye have done it
unto the least of them, ye have done it unto me.”
That quote fits our overall Masonic philosophy well.
In the years following the formal establishment of the “Grand Lodge of England”
copious publications have been written and circulated concerning “Freemasonry”.
Currently such publications along with many inter-net web sites are appearing
with increasing frequency.
Said publications and web sites can be defined into two (2) main categories.
They are either written by Freemasons or non-Freemasons. Each of these
categories can then be further sub divided.
Masonic writers publish: 1. True documented research
2. Plausible speculation based on documented fact
3. Pure conjecture and sometimes-wishful thought
4. Unscrupulous work by masons with private agendas.
Non-Masonic writers tend to do the same with differing agendas.
First as true researchers
Second, with only personal financial gain as their objective
Third, with anti-masonry as their objective
Fourth, a combination agenda by means of two and three
The following is shared with you from my limited reading. Where it appears to me
as speculative, conjecture, or pure fancy I shall so state.
Quite possibly the most devastating loss of “primary” manuscripts in regard to
ancient philosophical thought was the burning of the Library of Alexandria
(Egypt) in 391 A.D. Along with that fact numerous other records and documents
were destroyed throughout the Roman Empire.
It is speculated the Knights Templar possibly made some significant discoveries.
Just what these discoveries were is unknown. However, suggestions range from
plausible, to speculation, to conjecture. These statements are always followed
by, much if not all of their discoveries were seized, and or destroyed by the
Inquisition against them. What did remain in Templar possession were hidden and
yet to be rediscovered. A theory is also advanced that the Rosicrucian’s, which
came into being some time after the demise of the Knights Templar, rediscovered
some ancient mysteries. Various other groups during the middle ages have also
have been purported to be associated with mysteries. In practical opposition to
this, statements in regard to the Templars have been made speculating remnants
of documents were preserved outside of the Papal States. It is further
speculated such remnants were preserved in Scotland and with the philosophers of
the subsequently emergent “Royal Society”. Exactly all and what documents we
shall never know.
The “Great Fire of London” caused the loss of even more documents. Sadly, again
we shall never know what. Document loss was further exacerbated by a change in
reigning royal dynasties, their philosophies, decrees, and enforcements. This of
course also caused a shift in parliamentary affiliations and documents again
being sidelined or at worst destroyed. Another deeply harmful affect because of
the previous conditions was, the dispersing of many erudite researches and
scholars throughout Europe into exile, and in the worst-case obscurity. Having
delivered the preceding qualifying background statements, I suggest the
Freemasonry as established in 1717 in England was a questing fraternity. (I say
in England, because it was introduced from Scotland into England. I have
addressed this matter in a previous short paper.) It was endeavoring to retrieve
and collate whatever could be salvaged from the then scant and scattered
documents of erudite and adept scholars and philosopher/scientists of the past.
This endeavor was short lived. The earthly mind set and practices of the
majority of those in position of social rank, wealth, and power aspiring to
become members of the “fraternity” had already begun to shift to worldly
pursuits and gains. The original goal of “Freemasonry” was beginning to become
Freemasonry as we know it today has evolved into a modern “charity” based social
institution. It retains just enough of the aspects of ritual, which marginally
satisfy the original philosophical ideals, although in greatly manipulated and
Freemasonry has been manipulated into a form, which has caused its original
precepts to become, in the main, forgotten.
Freemasonry is not a social club, but a sphere for social endeavor, combined
with training towards the perfection of the individual. Until the tenents of the
Craft are demonstrated in one’s life one is but a member of the Craft only and
not a real Mason. The nature of the word Craft itself defines it is something
that has to be practiced.
“The Fraternity has some of the best minds available, however, many times those
minds are not in tune with the needs and aims of the Fraternity. More especially
those same individuals do not even have a clue to the true purpose of the
Fraternity”. (Dudley Wright) The key reason one is “supposed to” attain a
suitable proficiency before advancing is not to prove they are a diligent
disciple of memory (although quite useful), but that they may translate their
intellectual knowledge into practical application. Freemasonry is not a
compulsory idealism. It impels, but does not compel.
The original purpose of Freemasonry *[Its “Prime Objective”] is to be found in
the definitive, not the superficial, explanation given in the “Standard Work”
meaning of “The Point Within the Circle”. (Addressed in a separate paper – “The
Point Within the Circle”)
The “Royal Art”, the “Gentle Craft”, is to research, study, and pursue that path
to the end! The effort of which is to awaken the intuitive faculty of perception
and understanding. This is to be accomplished by the individual brother, rather
than by being subjected to dogma and argument dictated by the Craft. The
“Ritual” is not the “Alpha and Omega” of freemasonry. It is the means to one’s,
or rather what should be one’s, end Goal. The means or philosophical tool is the
ritual. The pracitioner of that tool is the individual. The individual, who
through his studies will hopefully awaken and enhance his “intutive faculties of
perecption”. This should cause one to reflect on the prayer for the candidate on
the occasion of his first degree! In its entierity it is asking for this on his
To accomplish this one (I must again emphize it is an individual quest and
attainment) must progress beyond the philosophy of the Craft, which is a
superficial interlectual tool, and enter into the psychology of self, which is
the study of the principles, laws, and facts of one’s possible evolution. Then
one will truly practice the True “Royal Art”.
The true psychology of self not being what I am now, but to what I can progress
and evolve to! You, know as well as I, man is a “Self-Conscious Individualized
Intelligence”. It is a matter of Individual experience, from which the whole
tide of life flowes and the whole range of man’s varied experiences proceed.
Self-recognition in man enables him to also recognize the existence, relations,
and behavior of life. Next to man’s Self-Conscious Intelligence there presents
his Rational Volition, the power to act and the power to choose. Next in line of
normal action and progressive” evolution arrives the necessity and the “duty” of
self-control, and finally there dawns and develops in him the sence and
“obligation” of Personal Responsibility! Man has Self-Conscious Intelligence,
endowed with the power of Rational Volition or freewill, with the “Duty” of
Self-Control and the recognition of Personal Responsibility. Herein lie the
essential elements, the foundation of psychology and all true philosophy of the
nature and potential of man!
All knowledge for man proceeds from knowledge of self, an experience of his
relation to other individuals and other things; the Self and the Non-Self.
In reality that is the original form of psychology. It alone explains the
original form of the discipline or “art”! Psychologist Carl Jung equated it with
turning from a will-less person to a selfactualized individual. I must say that
statement being the worst condition in relation to this paper. This demonstrates
the important reason Freemasonry only accepts freemen, etc, etc, none in nonage
or dotage, and of their own freewill and accord.
Traveling this path of course means abandoning the “material I”, or what I seem
to be and my “worldly ego”! The goal of which is a reconnection to that which
has been lost!
To define it further, it is to reconnect to the Point Within the Circle. In Fine
and in time to reconnect with the “Alpha and the Omega”, the ONE and only Great
Creator of all that ever was, is, or shall be!!! If and while this is being
practiced and strived for, one becomes of immeasurable benefit to society as a
Once again, because it cannot be stressed enough, all this is accomplished by a
diligent focus on the psychology of self in its “original” form. The
philosophical lessons of freemasonry are one’s tools with to work toward that
end. This is your key to unlock the true secrets of the mysteries of all ages.
Without intending any insult whatsoever to any Brother, I have become convinced
to many Brethren this is a foreign concept. I too am learing every day and have
a long way to travel. However, I am also convinced the “Prime Objective” of
Freemasonry is to awaken the intuitive faculties of perception and
understanding, and by it a reunion with the “Alpha and the Omega”, “which
nothing earthly gives or can destroy, the Soul’s sunshine and the heartfelt
Henry A. Green Lodge #250
P.S. “To handle ourselves use our heads, to handle others use our hearts.”
“Love people and use things, do not love things and use people.”
“Treasure is love given or received.”
CHARITY, LOVE, HOPE, FAITH, & JOY
circumambulation of the second degree teaches judgment of
responsibilities to actions. The other circumambulation
teaches responsible actions of charity, and or love.
reflect on some aspects of charity and love. True charity is
love. Allow me to quote just two examples of such.
good act is charity.
smiling in your Brother's face is charity;
exhortation of your fellowman to virtuous deeds, is equal to
putting a wanderer on the right road, is charity;
removing stones and thorns, and other obstructions from the road is
giving water to the thirsty, is charity;
true wealth hereafter, is the good he does in this world to His
dies, people will say, "what property has he left behind?"
angels will ask, "what good deeds has he sent before him?"
make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred,
let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is
doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness,
light; and where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant
that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be
understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in
the giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assisi
LIGHT THAT IS BUT DARKNESS VISIBLE
Modified excerpts from:
Worshipful Brother (and Chief) Ranami Abah
P.M. Lodge Faith 1271, Nigeria
District Grand Lodge of Scotland
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good
works and glorify God.” Matt. 5.16
The concept of light or the word itself has always, from time
immemorial, occupied a dominant position in the philosophies of all
ancient religions and mystery orders. In ordinary language the word
is given several definitions, which on reflection tend to lead to a
realization of deeper meanings, which have adorned the philosophies
of ancient mystery orders including Freemasonry.
Some of the most common definitions are as follows:
It is the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things
It is also defined as the amount of illumination in a place or a
person’s share of it.
It is described as the object from which light emanates such as
sun, a lamp, a candle, fire, etc.
It can be defined as the quality of brightening with animation.
All of those definitions relate to sight, which is the faculty of
seeing by response of the brain to the actions of light on the eyes
in all things that relate to the gross material world limited to
time and space in accordance with the capacity of the brain, which
governs the intellect.
In all ancient philosophies man has always contended with the
doctrine of the two antagonistic principles of light and darkness,
wisdom and ignorance, good and evil. Indeed there is hardly any
ancient system that did not possess the basic recognition of light
with the reverence as being emblematically representative of the
eternal principles of goodness and wisdom as against evil and
ignorance. These ancient systems of religion and esoteric sciences
went further to exhibit prominently an emblematic relation between
material light and mental illumination, primordial knowledge or the
ever active primordial energy. Examples of these philosophies can be
found in the Jewish Kabalistic doctrine, those of the Egyptians,
Persians, the dogma of Zoroaster and Brahmans, to name a few. It is
a reflection of these doctrines that leads us also to a conscious
contemplation of the true meaning of the great phrase “Let there be
light, and there was light.” It is significant to note even man in
his material existence in reacting to his own surroundings is filled
with sentiments of fear when he is face to face with darkness while
his reaction to light is that of joy and happiness.
All Freemasons know or ought to know that “light” is one of the
cardinal words that form the main fabric of Speculative Freemasonry.
It is not only one the first symbol that is ceremonially introduced
to the initiate, but continues all through his progress in the
Craft. Truth and Wisdom constitute part of light, that which
pervades the whole basis of Freemasonry to the extent that
Freemasons are even called the Sons of Light. In the First Degree
alone the word is introduced to the candidate in three different
perspectives. Those perspectives being, the material light, or the
lesser lights, the emblematic light or the Volume of the Sacred Law,
and the spiritual light or the creative will of the Supreme Being.
These concepts and others that follow after the First Degree are
amply enshrouded in illuminating phraseology remembered by every
Freemason. Their full import may not be perceived by all but they
are constantly there in the rituals of our ceremonies. There are
other references to light that are still worthy of note. “To bring
to light” or “to see the light” technically means initiation. From
the foregoing it is obvious that to the mason light has a deeper
meaning which is darkness to the uninitiated or possibly even the
newly made Mason, but visible to the worthy Mason and only to the
What therefore is the light that is darkness visible?
The first and most important qualification for becoming a mason is a
“belief in a Supreme Being”. From this belief arises a second belief
that all things were made at the creative spark (WILL) of the
SUPREME BEING. What therefore is the creative spark at which all
things were first made? The VSL bears testimony that in the
beginning God created Heaven and earth, and the earth was without
form and void. Then came the great spark of creation, and God said,
“let there be light and there was light”. From this record in the
VSL, the transformation of voids into forms such as the firmament,
the sea, land and all living creatures, etc took place after the
creation or issuing forth light which was the animating force.
Indeed it was not until the fourth day that the sun to rule the day
and give light to the earth, and the moon to govern the night and
the stars were created. What was therefore the first light created
on the first day? This light has been described as the
primordial light, the driving force throughout creation, the
primordial seed, the ever active primordial energy.
What light does the Freemason seek to see? The light given in the
great creative spark can therefore be equated with the WILL of God,
the creative WILL of GOD, from which all forms emanate in perfection
and from which also the spirit core of man emanates in subsequent
creation. This is the beginning of creation and the understanding of
the place of man in creation, which Masonic science strives to
teach. The VSL bears further testimony in the following manner:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the
word was God. (St John 1.1)
All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made
that was made. (St John 1.3)
In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light
shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. (St John
The awareness and understanding of the interconnecting cycle in
creation is the knowledge that constitutes the Masonic light which
is darkness to the neophyte but visible to the initiated. As has
been mentioned earlier, all ancient religions and esoteric sciences
tend to have a relationship between illumination and the creative
WILL of God. These point towards the understanding of creation,
which is darkness to the uninitiated. Freemasonry is a science that
seeks to understand creation, particularly man in relation to
creation. (More especially man’s relation to God from that
If man fails it is always his own fault, and never because of the
strength or weakness of his particular gifts. The fundamental gift,
the actual power, the strongest part of man, which is the bearer and
center of all life and immortal is given to all men alike. This
fundamental gift is never dimmed or tarnished. It remains pure even
among the greatest debasement and filth. Man only need remove the
veil he has created, or discover the center. It is believed man shut
himself off from the center by no longer heeding its perceptive
intuition. If he removes this veil it was flare up again pure and
unsullied as it was in the beginning when he received it.
From the foregoing it is evident that true knowledge is light;
wisdom is light, ignorance is darkness.
My brethren as stated at the beginning, the foregoing is a modified
excerpt of W.B. Abah. I encourage you to explore his work in its
entirety and contemplate what you find therein. If interested obtain
a copy of:
“Light after Darkness”
Chief Ranami Abah
Lewis Masonic Pub.
Thank you for your kind attention: Bro. Karl S. Reith/Henry A.
From the Chaplain’s Station
You may ask: What makes a Nation Great? Is it
the vast number of people? No, otherwise China would be the greatest
nation. Is it great riches? No, in our early days we were puny and
poor. Is it military prowess? No, else Rome would have continued
as the greatest nation on earth. Is it intellectual genius? No,
otherwise Greece would have remained the greatest nation. The thing
that makes a nation great, that builds and upholds a nation, and
lengthens and strengthens the path of its glory is the morality and
patriotism of a law-abiding people, and a faith in the Supreme
Architect of the Universe!
“ Henry C.
I do not choose to be a common
man. It is my right to be uncommon if I can. This is a quote from
Dean Alfange’s famous poem entitled “My Creed”
How appropriate those sentiments
are to Freemasonry! We are taught as Freemasons that we should
constantly strive to improve ourselves, that we can never achieve
perfection in our human lives, but we can always improve upon what
we presently are.
The image of Freemasonry is
created by the lives and conduct of its members. It calls for
uncommon men. Freemasons are charged to be good citizens, serving
their God, defending their Country, providing for their families,
helping their communities, and extending brotherhood to their fellow
men. In general, living their lives in a manner so consistent with
their consciences that they will not fear to die.
Too often, common men do not
meet these qualifications. Too often common men have discarded
these values to conform to the practices of our modern times. Some
disavow religion, denigrate patriotism, and sneer at morality and
work to tear down all previous standards. Many others are simply
too apathetic to defend the right, and prefer the easy way of moral
Freemasonry has passed through
numerous cycles over the years, depending upon the public’s
appreciation of moral values. It (Freemasonry) has remained
faithful to its mission of improving men. It has been said that
mediocrity is a condition to which few men aspire, but yet few
escape. If Freemasonry is to enjoy a resurgence of popularity it
will depend upon the success of individual Freemasons in living
their lives in a manner that will reawaken the public awareness of
and appreciation for a belief in a Supreme Being, morals, family,
patriotism, and good citizenship, thereby establishing the fact that
Freemasons are indeed “Uncommon Men”.
Taken from J.J. Murchison
Past M.W. Grand Master
The Point Within The Circle
The study of “The Point Within
the Circle” must first commence with the symbolism and lesson from
the monitorial lecture of the First Degree. Wherein we are presented
with the following explanations, which have been excised from the
entire passage: “--- a certain Point within a Circle ---“. “The
point represents an individual Brother; the Circle is the boundary
line, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices or
interests to betray him ---.” However, what is not quoted as part
of the lecture although additionally presented at the end of the
standard quote is: “This is a symbol of great interest and
importance, and brings us into close connection with the early
symbolism of the solar orb and the universe, which was predominant
in the ancient sun-worship.” This shall be addressed later in the
This monitorial explanation,
trite and meager as it is, may well be satisfactory for a Brother.
It may be as far as he wishes to contemplate the matter. If a
Brother does choose to contemplate beyond the explanation given, I
humbly offer some suggestions to consider in reference to the
philosophical system, which constitutes the essence and character of
The point signifies unity, the
Origin and the center. It also represents the principles of
manifestation and emanation. The circle represents the boundary of
the perfect whole.
Contained within the “Gothic
Constitutions” are (15) fifteen points for the Master and (15)
fifteen points for the Craftmen. I believe it can be said without
argument these points should be at the center of those individuals,
and our being. These points are then to be practiced within the
bounds of their, and our whole or entire actions.
In the English working we find:
* Freemasons are taught in the
ritual that the compasses remind them of God’s unerring and
impartial justice, which, having defined for their instruction the
limits of good and evil, which will reward or punish according as
they have obeyed or disregarded his divine commands. The freemason,
also is taught to “keep within compass,” (“keep his passions within
due bounds”) a phrase which we find in general literature as early
as 1619, and probably could find much earlier.
* In the Irish workings the
compasses are regarded as an instrument for drawing the prefect
figure, the circle, which teaches us to place a curb upon our
passions, (“keep his passions within due bounds”) while the point
within denotes to us the eternal source of life.
* A truly remarkable verse in
Milton’s Paradise Lost, written in the middle years of the 1600’s at
the very time when symbolic freemasonry was seeking the inspiration
of word and phrase is, as quoted: “Then stayed the fervid wheels,
and in his hand
He took the golden compasses,
In God’s eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things,
One foot He centered, and the other turned
Round through the vast profundity obscure
And said, “Thus far extended, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just circumference, O World!”
Many students, scholars, and
writers describe “the Point Within the Circle” as God in the center
of his universe. Many philosophers have hypothesized and expounded
on and from this definition.
A quote from Albert Pike is as
* “Masonry to the Masonic Brethren is a search after, and a
journeying towards, Light.” All things considered therefore, the
Masons’ Word is undoubtedly related to Light, in perfect accord with
the “point within the Circle”.
* In ancient Egypt the Sun
symbol was represented by a point within the circle.
Later it (the Point Within the
Circle) also became the alchemical symbol for gold.
The Heliopolis bird of
enlightenment, the Phoenix, was known to the Egyptians as the ‘benu
bird’, which came from the east as a physical manifestation of Ra.
(Ra of course, being the light or Sun God.) (Therefore associated
with “Light or “The” source of creation, the “All”.)
* Newton believed that the
dimensions and geometry of the Jerusalem Temple floor plan contained
clues to timescales, and he used these mathematics in his
calculations when developing his theory of gravitation. The Temple,
he said, was the perfect micro-cosm of existence, and his
diagrammatic Description of the Temple of Solomon is held at the
Bodleian Library in Oxford. At the center of the Temple, in the
Sanctum Santorum (Holy of Holies) was kept the Ark of the Covenant,
and Newton likened his heart of the Temple to a perpetual fire, with
light radiating outwards in circles, while also being constantly
attracted back to the center. (Not unlike the Egyptian consept of
the Pheniox when studied in depth.) In line with this thinking, a
point within a circle was indeed a symbol for light in ancient
Egypt, and in the lodge ritual of Freemasonry, there is a related
conversation, which takes place between the Worshipful Master and
his Wardens concerning the lost secrets. ( An old English ritual
that has been exposed and published. There are Not any secrets being
divulged at this point.) The Master asks the Question: ‘How do you
hope to find them?’ Answer: ‘By the center’. Question: ‘What is a
center?’ Answer: ‘That point within a circle from which every point
The Light being pursued by
Freemasons is the light which is both emanating from and vanishing
into the Point Within the Circle! It is his being. It is the
perfect self, that which was created and given by the Almighty
Creator of the Universe.
* It is said by some, with a
nearer approach to interpretation, that the Point Within the Circle
represents God in the center of the universe. In fact in the
Kaballah the point is Yod. So, it may also symbolize His “image and
likeness” man, in the center of his universe, the vast expanse of
which is the only “boundary” or “limitation” placed upon him. From
this man may learn that the possibilities of human evolution are as
boundless as infinity, the Universe itself.
* Geometry is half of the
science, the other half is the geometer. Geometry deals with only
one of the tools, namely the square, which is used to draw straight
lines, horizontals and perpendiculars, and to prove corners. The
other tool, the compass draws curved lines between two points and
describes a circle which is one continuous line without end, each
part of which is equally distant from the center. Within the bounds
of the circle all true building must be erected on the square.
We as Freemasons are to act upon
the square. Acting upon the square takes us back to the two sets of
fifteen points mentioned early on in this paper. It also reminds us
of our own monitorial explanation. A square is constructed from a
center point! *Our ancient brethren used the point within the
circle as a test for the rectitude of the tools by which they
squared their work and built their buildings. In the Speculative
sense, we use it as a test for the rectitude of our intentions and
our conduct, by which we square our actions with the square of
virtue. They erected cathedrals we build a house not made with hands
but with intent and actions. Their point within the circle was
operative, ours is speculative and esoteric.
*Just as the operative renews
the square by relying on the central point, so is the regeneration
of the soul to be found by faith on the Divine Center. The secret
is lost, not destroyed, It can be found. The universe is built on
mathematical lines. As Plato puts it, “God is always geometrising.”
The master secret of true building, physically and mentally, is only
to be found on the Center, and the symbol of “the Point Within the
Circle” contains the secret by which we may find that right angle to
which all our building must conform, if is to be upheld by the
infinite central forces in the material and moral world.
Do not regard the Point Within
the Circle lightly my Brethren. Regard it with the due reverence it
truly deserves, for it is the greatest symbol of freemasonry. On
the surface it is revealed, its inner recesses concealed!
My Brethren there have been many
writings produced in regard to the meaning and possible origins of
the “Point Within the Circle”. It can be found in many ancient
cultures and religions. It appears in many works of symbolism,
philosophy, and mythology. No matter what form or methodology a
particular philosophy exercises they all ultimately conclude, the
“Point Within the Circle” is the original source, the “Absolute”.
All there is originates, emanates from and returns to, and
re-emanates from the source point. It is both finite and
boundless. It is everything in and of its self. It is the “Alpha
and the Omega”! If you so choose, I encourage you to pursue your
own investigation and study in the matter, and reach your own
conclusions. Every Freemason is entitled to do so --- as long as he
stays within due bounds.
We may individually proceed on
different paths of thought and yet be equally true to the same great
Truth. Our views and creeds may not proceed on parallel paths, yet
our hearts can all be true to “THE” one Great Center.
We can only know in part and must believe in part.
Therefore Faith, through the very limitations and conditions of our
individual knowledge, becomes the great factor that enables us to
move forward and ever closer to the eternal Center of all Light and
I do hope my short and
incomplete offerings have been of some interest and worth.
Thank you for your kind
attention and indulgence.
R.W.B. Karl S. Reith, Henry A.Green
Lodge #250, F&AM, WA.
What Makes A
What makes you a
Mason, O brother of mine?
It isn’t the due guard, nor is it the sign,
It isn’t the jewel which hangs on your breast,
It isn’t the apron in which you are dressed,
It isn’t the step, nor the token, nor grip,
Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip,
Nor yet the possession of that mystic word,
On five points of fellowship duly conferred.
Though these are essential, desirable, fine,
They don’t make you a Mason O brother of mine.
That you to your
sworn obligation are true-
“Tis that, brother mine, makes a Mason of you.
Secure in your heart you must safeguard your trust,
With lodge and with brother be honest and just,
Assist the deserving who cry in their need,
Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed,
Support him who falters, with hope banish fear,
And whisper advice in an erring one’s ear.
Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine,
And you’ll be a Mason, o brother of mine.
Your use of
life’s hours by the gauge you must try,
The gavel to vices with courage apply;
Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plumb,
On the level, to bourn whence no traveler come;
The Book of your faith be the rule and guide,
The compass your passions shut safely inside;
The stone which the Architect placed in your care
Must pass the strict test of His unerring square,
And then you will meet with approval divine,
And you’ll be a Mason, O brother of mine.
Direct copy from George H. Free
Taken from “A Masonic thought for each Day of the Year” (Alphonse
WHEN DOES A MAN
BECOME A MASON?
Many diverse opinions have been expressed on this question down
through the years. There are even some who advance the position
that a man can actually become a Mason in his heart without
petitioning Masonry, by simply leading a life consistent with all
Masonic principles. While we recognize there are many good men
outside Masonry, merely living an exemplary life does not make a man
a Mason. Something else is required.
Some Masons suggest that a man becomes a Mason when he assumes the
obligation of the E.A. Degree. Others require he complete the
degree. Still others adhere to the belief one becomes a Mason only
when one has fully satisfied the E.A. Degree requirements by passing
one’s proficiency in that degree. It is clear by this point one is
a Mason of some description.
This, however, is not a satisfactory answer to some of our
scholars. The same arguments are presented relating to the M.M.
Degree. Some favor the obligation stage, some the completion of the
degree by raising, and still others require completion of all
details by passing the proficiency exam. Some reasonable argument
may be made in support of each and all of these positions, when
considered from legal and technical viewpoints.
Philosophically, however, it seems likely none of the above
considerations fully answer the question. We must remember Masonry
is a philosophical moral science, and all Masonic questions should
be approached from that viewpoint. Probably a deeper significance
was intended when the question was first propounded. A man may
become a Mason at any stage in his particular Masonic career. It
occurs when the teachings of masonry make a lasting impression upon
his mind and soul. It causes him to see himself in a new light. It
brings a profound change in his priorities in life and he learns
that the things of true value are spiritual rather than material.
At this stage the Mason puts the good of the Lodge ahead of his own
honors and advancement. He becomes impressed with value of such
virtues as justice, right and truth. He learns no man can enjoy
peace of mind or serenity of soul unless he can be convinced in his
own mind and conscience he is doing that, which is right, rather
than that which is convenient.
He is in fact a Mason when the Masonic teachings have caused him to
have a comfortable relationship with his God and sees himself as a
spiritual being, able to look at his present life from an eternal
point of view. He can live with confidence when he has considered
his ultimate destiny.
When a man has become a Mason he will live a life outside the Lodge
a life, which exemplifies the lessons he has learned within, he will
give to the world a true and favorable impression of our beloved
Order. By his life’s actions you will know when a man has become a
M.W.B.: J.J. Murchison
(Oregon) May 1988