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Chapter 11
Degrees of the Cross
HE SIX DEGREES from the Heroine of Jerico to the Ineffable
Degrees, as given in Richardson's Monitor of Freemasonry, are each
based upon the Thirteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, which pictures
the transition from one life to another through death. They correspond thus to the
zodiacal sign Aries; for the sun each year expires on the autumnal cross of Libra and
is resurrected in spring on the vernal cross of Aries. One of the chief characteristics of
this sign Aries is a warring disposition, therefore its cross is more frequently
represented by a sword, the inversion of the cross of peace. This prepares us,
consequently, to find in the ritual symbolizing the transition from one cycle to
another through Aries, not only the emblem of the cross, but also much military
display.
Whether we cross the etheric Boundary-Line symbolically referred to as the River
Jordan through death, or temporarily through Extension of Consciousness, we
function in a region where, because velocities are greater than 186,284 miles per
second, time, gravitation and space take on entirely new characteristics, and the chief
motive power is thought. Therefore before considering the rituals associated with the
degrees of the cross which imply the individual moves to the inner plane, we should
examine in some detail these characteristics of the realm where he will function.
Time on the Inner Plane
--What is implied by the different order of time to be found on the astral plane is
illustrated by the report of the Zenith Foundation after thirty weeks of research into
the gigantic mass of data on little-known mental powers, made available through the
co-operation of its millions of radio listeners, from whom it received and tabulated
over a quarter of a million pieces of mail in the winter of 1937-38.
Authentic personal experiences indicate that time is not a factor in telepathic
communication. Possession of the ability to visualize in detail events which have not
happened, a phenomenon science calls precognition, seems but slightly less rare than
telepathy itself.
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Now a point is a cross-section of a line, a line is a cross-section of a plane, and a plane
is a cross-section of a solid. It must follow, therefore, that a solid object is a
cross-section of four-dimensional existence, if existence has four dimensions. And
certainly we cannot define an object's position completely unless we include time.
Thus in defining the position of an object it is not enough to say it is on the eighth
floor of a building located at Second and Hill Streets, Los Angeles. That defines its
position in three dimensions. But if the definition is to be complete it must contain the
year, month, day and minute. When this fourth- dimensional position is added, then
its place in the space-time continuum is completely defined. Furthermore, any solid
whose position is thus specifically defined is a cross-section of its existence in time,
that is, of the dimension extending from its past into its future.
One of the fundamentals of relativity is that there is no such thing as absolute time.
Time, as indicated in chapter 9 in connection with the space-time conditions that
express in the day-year progressed aspects in natal astrology, is relative.
The time of our clocks, for instance, is correlated to the velocity of the earth's
rotation on its axis. But when, through some means, our consciousness is able to
move more speedily to distant points on the earth's surface, we are able to apprehend
events in our Now which, relative to a time correlated to the velocity of the earth's
rotation, are in the past or in the future. By radio, for instance, on a Thursday evening
here in Los Angeles, we can hear broadcasts of news of what is happening in Europe
on Friday morning; and we can hear at 1:00 o'clock Thursday morning, a Hawaiian
band playing in Honolulu at 10:30 o'clock Wednesday evening.
The soul, or unconscious mind of the individual, is the organization in finer than
physical substance of the sum total of his past experiences. Its own particular
movement through the dimension designated as time is called its World-Line. Each
entity has its own world-line. And all back of the Now point in each world-line is
fixed in time, or the fourth dimension; in other words, the past cannot be changed.
Furthermore, the trend of world-lines can be projected into the future. But only in so
far as the future is perfectly predetermined and not altered through the intervention of
intelligent initiative.
When attention is turned from the physical world to the happenings of the inner
plane, where velocities are greater than that of light, consciousness becomes more or
less aware of what is happening there. And one of the characteristics of inner-plane
consciousness is that in addition to observing happenings in their Now, it can move
forward or backward along their world-lines. This it can do by virtue of its velocity,
which compared to the velocities of physical life is as much greater, and as effective
in altering the relation of time, as radio waves are in comparison to the turning of the
earth on its axis. Thus is the inner plane observer able to view what took place in the
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past as if he were witnessing it in the Now, and able to observe what probably will
take place in the future as if it were taking place in the Now. To the extent his faculties
are cultivated thus to look along world-lines, his ESP enables him to see in all its
details any event that took place in the past, and any event that, unless there is
intervention by intelligent initiative, will take place in the future.
Distance on the Inner Plane
--The Zenith Foundation reported after digesting the results of its comprehensive
tests: "That distance and space are not factors in telepathic communications seems
definitely indicated by careful analysis of test returns by geographical divisions."
According to relativity, anything moving with 90% the velocity of light shortens to
half its length, and at the velocity of light loses all its length. Now as an object cannot
have a minus length, that is, a length which is less than nothing, when its velocities
are greater than the Boundary-Line energies where it loses all its length, this matter
of length ceases to have significance; for the object then has moved into an order of
relations where the common conception of distance no longer obtains.
Yet vibrations are space-time relationships. Vibrations have amplitude and
frequency, which means that there are a given number of vibrations within a
specified interval of time and that each wave occupies a certain space, or if not of
ordinary Boundary-Line wave structure, of that which corresponds to space.
And when, through attaining velocities in excess of 186,284 miles per second, an
object exists on the inner plane, where distance cannot be measured in terms of
physical length, there is still distance of a new order, the distance between vibratory
rates. On the inner plane distances are as vast as on the external plane, even though
there are no longer such space relations as we are familiar with on the physical plane.
Physical space vanishes, and gives place to a space which is measured solely in terms
of vibratory difference.
This means that on the inner plane two people are as close together when one is in Los
Angeles and the other is in Hongkong as they are if both are in the same room in Los
Angeles, provided their vibrations remain the same when one is in Hongkong as
when both are in the same room in Los Angeles. This also means that on the inner
plane two people in the same room may be at a vast distance from each other, so far
apart that it is almost impossible for one to contact the other.
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Gravitation on the Inner Plane
--According to relativity supported by many experiments with projectiles shot from
radio-active matter, projectiles which at times attain tremendous velocities, not only
do objects shorten as they acquire higher velocities but they also acquire mass, so that
at the velocity of light their resistance to change of motion due to mass becomes
infinitely great.
Yet just as it is impossible to have a length which is less than nothing, so also is it
impossible to have a mass greater than infinity. Consequently, when velocities
greater than those of the Boundary-Line energies are attained, and due to this high
velocity something exists on the inner plane, gravitation no longer has an influence
over it, nor can physical things influence it in any way. The attraction of gravitation
has lost its significance, and attraction of an entirely different order takes its place.
This new order of attraction is the affinity of its dominant vibratory rate for a level of
inner plane existence of a similar vibratory rate.
Up and down on the physical earth are directions away from or toward the
gravitational center of the earth. But up and down on the inner plane are vibratory
rates which are higher or which are lower than those of the level where, because of
dominant vibratory rates, something habitually exists. Thus it takes effort, the effort
temporarily to increase or decrease the dominant vibratory rate, to move away from
the astral level where one commonly functions. The basic vibratory level, which may
be compared to the carrying wave of radio, attracts everything else having a similar
dominant vibratory rate to it very much as gravitation attracts physical objects to
each other. But instead of merely pulling down when an intelligence temporarily has
raised its dominant rate above that of its normal level, it also pulls up with equal force
when the dominant rate temporarily has been lowered by the intelligence below its
normal level.
Knights of Three Kings
--It is said that at the dedication of the temple Solomon invited all the Eastern
Royalty to attend and assist in the ceremonies. And it so happened that two of the
kings were at war. These two kings represent the summer and winter halves of the
zodiac, and are spoken of as Eastern because it is the Eastern point of union that is
considered. Solomon attempted to reconcile them, but to no avail. Finally he invited
them into a small apartment of the temple, locked the door, and informed them that
they would be kept in darkness with nothing to eat but bread and water until they
would agree to live in peace. Solomon went to the chamber on two consecutive days
without receiving a favorable reply, but on the third day he was informed that they
had agreed. He then advanced toward them holding a lighted candle in each hand
saying: "If you can agree in the dark you can in the light."
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Now at the winter solstice the sun sheds least light upon the northern hemisphere of
the earth, the home of the Ancient Masons. From the winter solstice to the vernal
equinox, through three zodiacal signs, Sol struggles to bring winter and summer
together. This is the rainy season of the year during which the earth is in darkness due
to obscuring clouds. It is the time when famine pinches hardest; for the food garnered
the previous autumn has been exhausted during the tedious barren winter. The frugal
fare of bread and water refers to this dearth of food and the prevalent rains.
The sign of the degree is to hold out the arms from the body to form a cross, with a
candle in each hand. The outstretched arms form the vernal cross, and the two
candidates represent the sun and moon in opposition as stationed at Easter, or the
resurrection; for this only takes place after the full moon after the sun has crossed the
vernal equinox. Agreeing in the light refers to the reconciliation of winter and
summer and the passing of the sun into the light of the summer signs, when the days
become longer than the nights. As the two kings kept each other from the light, so
man and woman in antagonism keep each other in spiritual darkness. The
watch-word is Agreed.
Knights of the Red Cross
--This degree originally was called The Order of the Knights of the East, signifying
the spiritual illumination of those who willingly sacrifice themselves on the cross of
expiation. Astrologically it refers to the rising vernal sun. Later it was changed in
Palestine to Knights of the Red Cross, representing the cross of the physical plane
rather than that spiritual, and as such symbolizing the effort to administer to the
physical ills of humanity, to alleviate suffering, save life, and protect the weak.
The sword, an inverted cross, plays an important role in this degree as do various
military maneuvers. The knights count themselves into two equal divisions which
stand facing each other to represent the signs of winter and summer, the two halves of
the zodiac. In fact, most ancient peoples had years of six months, a custom still
followed by the Jews. The sacred Year of the Jews is from the vernal equinox to the
autumnal equinox and their Civil Year is from Libra to Aries. The knights go through
sword play to indicate the struggle between the two opposing forces and then
communicate the Jewish Pass, which is given with three cuts over an arch of steel.
The three cuts represent the three months of struggle as the sun comes forth from the
tomb of winter, and is also symbolical of united action on all three planes of life.
The arch of steel is made by crossing the swords at the level of the waist line, or Libra,
symbolizing the autumnal equinox. Each brother steps forward with the left foot and
with the free hand seizes the opposite brother by the shoulder to signify union, and in
this position they alternately pronounce the passwords. The Jewish passwords Judah
and Benjamin symbolize the two signs in which the sun exerts its greatest power, Leo
and Aries. Jacob said of Judah: "Judah is a Lion's whelp, from the prey my son art
thou gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion," referring in an unmistakable
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manner to the sign of the Lion. The wolf equally with the ram is sacred to Aries,
denoting its fiercest aspect. Jacob said: "Benjamin shall rave as a wolf, in the
morning he shall devour the prey, and at night divide the spoils." These Jewish
passwords symbolize the home and exaltation of the sun, and are pronounced over
the equinoctial cross to indicate the reign of summer and the predominance of
masculine forces.
The Persian Pass is given under an arch of steel. The swords are crossed at the level of
the head to represent the vernal equinox, Aries being the sign ruling the head. Under
this arch the words are given alternately by each. The words are the names of the
Persian governors who for a time contended against permitting the temple to be built.
They were Tetnai and Shetharboznai. As alien rulers they represent the sun's
detriment and fall, Aquarius and Libra, and the triumph of winter over summer,
feminine forces over masculine. They are pronounced below the vernal cross to
indicate the sun's weakness when in these signs.
The Red Cross Word is communicated by giving three cuts and then drawing the
sword back as if to stab the companion of the opposite division to the heart, the word
"Veritas" being spoken by one, and the other answering, "Right." The four signs
presiding as rulers of the four quadrants of the zodiac symbolize the One Principle,
the One Law, the One Agent, and the One Truth that united sum up all possibilities.
The Lion, or Leo, sign of the heart in which the sun exerts its dominant power
symbolizes the One Principle. The opposite sign of the zodiac, Aquarius,
representing the perfection of intelligence, symbolizes the One Truth. The Red Cross
Word, Veritas, means Truth. The Red Cross Sign refers to Leo, and both sign and
word symbolize the action of the sun at opposite points in the zodiac; in Leo, the sign
of its rulership, and in Aquarius, the sign of its detriment. It emphasizes the truth that
man rises to his greatest potency when inspired by his affections. The three cuts
typify the three signs of each quarter presided over by each of the emblems, Lion and
Man, and to the three planes where truth and affection may be applied.
The sign, grip, and word of a Red Cross Knight are given by first clashing the swords
together to denote a struggle between opposing forces, between life and death. Then
the thumb and forefinger of the left hand are placed to the lips in the attitude of one
blowing a blast on a horn, signifying the trumpet of resurrection sounding the
triumph over death. Finally three cuts are made to signify the three signs through
which the sun passes from its tomb of winter to the cross of spring, and the fingers of
the free hands are interlaced to indicate that it is through union that the triumph will
be attained, the union of the sun and moon, of man and woman. In this position, with
the swords crossed level with the head, or Aries, the word Libertas is pronounced and
the opposing brother acknowledges it to be right. Libertas means liberty.
Resurrection is the freeing of the soul from earthly bondage. The powers of the sun
are freed by the moon on Easter after passing the vernal cross. Man's occult powers
are liberated by woman, their mutual efforts lifting them out of the winter of
materialism.
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The Chamber of the Order of the Red Cross is divided into two apartments by a veil.
The apartments represent the two halves of the zodiac and the veil symbolizes the
equinoctial colure. The Council being opened, the companions sit in a semi-circle to
represent the signs of one half of the zodiac. They each take their hats and toss them
on the floor to symbolize union to be lacking, the positive and negative forces
separated. They represent the sun. They place their elbows on their knees and bow
forward with their heads resting on and supported by their right hands, this dejected
attitude being meant to typify the weakness of the sun in the winter signs and the
weakness of man to resist the forces of evil when apart from woman. The Prelate then
reads at length how after the death of Cyrus, King of Persia, the Children of Israel
were interrupted in the building of the temple by their adversaries on the other side of
the river. The river, or dividing line, represents the equinoctial colure, and the
adversaries represent the forces of winter. A new King, Darius, having ascended to
the throne of Persia--that is, the sun having entered another winter
sign--Zerubbabel decides to make a journey to the new king and remind him of his
promise to send back to Jerusalem all the holy vessels remaining in Babylon. These
holy vessels are the planets remaining in the winter signs of the zodiac, and in man
represent his divine potentialities which are hidden and hampered by his material
inclinations.
The candidate now personates Zerubbabel and takes his obligations kneeling at the
altar on his left knee, his right hand grasping the hilt of his sword and his left hand
resting on the Bible, square and compass, on which are two swords crossed at right
angles. His attitude signifies not only his willingness to abide by the higher and lower
laws represented by compass, square, and Bible, but denotes by the crossed swords
his determination to conduct an actual warfare against the forces of evil and death.
Then the candidate in his travels comes to a bridge which he is told separates the
Jewish from the Persian nation. It is the equinox, which he passes by giving three cuts
and the Jewish Pass, indicating the fall of the sun from the summer solstice through
the sign of its greatest strength across the autumnal equinox of Libra through the
three first winter signs. Its entry into Capricorn is symbolized by the Persian Guards
taking him captive, making of him a slave in fetters, and putting sackcloth over his
head. This is the furthest point of winter; the point in the cycle of the soul where it has
evolved to the lowest state of matter and is ready for evolution back to spirit. As a
slave he is led to an audience with Darius, who represents the Man of the heavens,
Aquarius, presiding over the last quarter of the zodiac.
The candidate is freed by Darius, the king of the zodiacal quarter symbolizing Truth,
and invited to a banquet where it is the custom to propound and answer questions.
The question is asked, "Which is of greatest strength, wine, the king, or women?"
After a long discussion of the relative strength of each it is decided that Truth is
stronger than any of the others. The candidate is commended for this answer and is
reinvested with his weapons and insignia which were taken from him when he was
made prisoner. The royal sign of the zodiac, Leo, is meant by the king, the bibulous
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sign Scorpio is signified by wine, and the sign of Venus, Taurus, which is also the
Moon's exaltation is referred to as women. Truth is symbolized by Aquarius. The
Man of the zodiac is the product of the influence of all other signs, and represents the
climax of material evolution. Truth is the highest possible standard, and man through
his apprehension of truth is made Free and Immortal.
The particular emblem of the Knight of the Red Cross is a seven-point star in the
center of which is a red cross surrounded by a circle in which are the words: "Magna
est Veritas et Praevalebit." The red cross is emblematical of the world of physical
suffering. The seven-point star represents the seven active principles in nature. The
circle is the zodiac. The words mean that Truth is Mighty and Will Prevail. The
whole symbolizes the fact that One Indomitable Truth pervades alike the zodiac, the
spheres of planetary angels, and the world of mundane suffering; and that man's
individual progress depends upon his ability to comprehend that Truth and conform
his efforts to it.
Order of Knights Templar
--The Encampment of Knights Templar is divided by a veil into two compartments
to represent the summer and winter halves of the zodiac. In front of the throne is a
triangle, representing man's triune nature; body, soul, and spirit. Above it is a banner
with a cross upon it surrounded by rays of light, symbolizing renewed life through
death, and light received through union. On either side are sky-blue banners, the
color of Saturn, of wisdom gained through earthly experience. The one on the right
bears a pascal lamb above which is a maltese cross and the motto: "The Will of God."
The lamb is the equinoctial sign Aries, where the sun is rejuvenated in spring. The
maltese cross is the emblem of the solstice where the sun crosses from eastern to
western or from western to eastern zodiacal signs. Each of its arms represents one
quarter of the zodiac. The whole emblem symbolizes the sun sinking to the winter
solstice and relinquishing the virile powers conferred by Aries. The Son of Man
referred to this waning strength by saying: "Thy Will not mine be done," which is the
significance of the motto of the banner. The banner upon the left has upon it the
emblems of the order--a sword, a battle axe, trumpet, and shield--symbolizing by
their form the signs ruling the zodiacal quarters: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
Above these is a crowing cock, representing the triumph of virility over death and the
conditions imposed by the stars. It is typical of the sun resurrected into the signs of
summer, immortality victorious over mortality. The three banners symbolize the
cross of Christ between the two crucified thieves. The cross of Christ is the autumnal
equinox, from which the sun sinks into the tomb of winter. The maltese cross
dominating the lamb is the solstitial cross of winter, symbolizing the unrepentant
thief. The crossed emblems on the right of the cross of Christ being surmounted by a
crowing cock represents the vernal cross and the repentant thief to whom the Son of
Man promised: "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
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The knights are dressed in black to indicate the inevitableness of death. A black sash
trimmed with silver lace hangs from a black rose on the right shoulder across to the
left side, having suspended from it a poinard and a maltese cross. The sash as worn
represents the solstitial colure dividing the zodiac into east and west. The western
signs are symbolized by the black sash and the eastern signs by the white of the silver
trimming. The black rose symbolizes the extinguishment of life and the decline of the
sun from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice. The maltese cross is typical of
the solstice, and the poinard represents the vernal equinox; for by its form it is an
inversion of the cross of Libra. The particular emblem of the order is worn on the left
breast to indicate its dominance over the material motives. This emblem is a
nine-point star in the center of which is a golden serpent entwined about a cross and
surrounded by a circle in which are the words: "In Hoc Signo Vinces." The
nine-point star symbolizes the moon and the eight planets under whose influence
experience has been transformed into wisdom. The cross represents the cycle of life
completed, and the serpent entwined on it represents wisdom gained through
experience with good and evil. The words mean that Under This Sign Thou Shalt
Conquer. The whole symbolizes wisdom gained through cyclic experience, by
which death will be conquered and a new life gained.
The apron worn by a Knight is black, of triangular shape, trimmed with silver lace,
having on it a serpent entwined about a cross, skull with crossbones, and stars placed
in triangular form with a red cross in the center of each. The apron symbolizes by the
black trine involution, and by the trine of silver lace, evolution. The serpent entwined
on the cross means wisdom gained through experience during involution and
evolution. The skull and crossbones are a reminder of the inevitableness of death and
the following resurrection. The skull is typical of death and transition; the end of the
cycle of life, or zodiac, being ruled by Aries, the commencement of a new cycle. The
crossed bones signify the equinox, and being Marrow Bones signify renewed life; for
it is thought that blood corpuscles, emblematical of life, are formed in the red marrow
of the bones. Because of the red cross in the center, each of the three stars represents
one of the kingdoms of physical life; mineral, vegetable, and animal; through which,
amid suffering, the soul has evolved before arriving at the estate of man.
In this degree the Knights are arranged in the form of a trine to represent the union in a
harmonious manner of once opposing forces. The candidate is taken to the chamber
of reflection, which is a small room with its walls and furniture painted black to
represent the tomb. Upon a table in front of him is a Bible, typifying the Law, skull
and crossbones to signify his companionship with the dead, a bowl of water for
ablution to represent purification before ascending to higher realms even as the sun
must be baptized by the overflowing urn of Aquarius and pass through the waters of
Pisces before the resurrection; and a small taper symbolizing his consciousness
directly after death. Here he must write and sign his name to the answers to three
questions. The first is his affirmation never to draw his sword except in the defense of
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the Christian religion. It signifies his intent to combat evil only. The second answer
affirms he has nothing heavy on his conscience, referring to the expiation of ill deeds
in the astral worlds of purification. The third is his avowed intention to abide by the
rules of the Encampment, meaning that he will conform his endeavors to whatever
laws are necessary for spiritual advancement.
The question being satisfactorily answered he is dressed in pilgrim's weeds and sent
on a seven-year pilgrimage to represent man's experiences on the material plane. He
is provided with sandals, symbolizing the Oral Law, the traditional writings of men;
bread, symbolizing material experience; and water, symbolizing emotions. One after
another he passes the guards of the different veils, who each examine his script, give
him good advice at some length, replenish his supply of bread and water, and send
him on his way. This represents the sun moving past the summer solstice, past the
autumnal equinox and winter solstice, and thus through three quadrants of the
heavens. Finally the candidate is admitted to the fourth compartment to represent the
sun in the last quarter of the zodiac. This symbolizes man triumphing over the four
elemental kingdoms of earth, fire, water, and air. Having been found worthy, his
sentence is remitted from seven years to three and he is given a sword and buckler to
symbolize the sun passing to a new cycle. It also symbolizes the man, arrived at
physical adeptship before the allotted span of life has been passed, who undergoes
voluntary dissolution so that he may better support the heavens and combat the hells
of the astral region.
The candidate has now become a Pilgrim Warrior sentenced to serve seven years in
warfare, and has been given the Pilgrim Warrior's pass, Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz,
meaning to spoil. This is given with four cuts under an arch of steel, to represent the
necessity of conquering the four kingdoms of the astral world, the arch symbolizing
the vernal cross of Aries. He now goes on a pilgrimage of warfare and again passes
the three guards and comes to a halt before the fourth veil guarding the asylum. This
asylum, as the region where the step to a new phase of initiation is taken, refers to the
sign Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac, which rules imprisonment and places of
refuge. To indicate the candidate's desire to complete the cycle and pass to higher
realms the Senior Warden stamps on the floor three times four, referring to the four
zodiacal triplicities. Here he gives assurance that he holds no enmity toward any soul
on earth. This symbolizes the end of purification, typified in the zodiac by the urn of
Aquarius. He is now required to partake of five libations, signifying the synthesis of
the four quarters of the zodiac in the form of the fifth emblem represented by the
sphinx. The first four are water mixed with wine, material emotions mixed with those
spiritual; but the fifth is of pure wine to represent complete transmutation into
spiritual life. The first libation is to Solomon, King of Israel, or the ego. The second
libation is to Hiram, King of Tyre, the spiritual body. The third libation is to Hiram
Abiff, the Widow's Son, the divine soul. The candidate is in front of a triangular table
around which are ranged twelve burning candles and twelve cups, symbolizing life
and love, the positive and negative aspects of the twelve zodiacal signs. In the center
of the table is a black coffin, symbolizing the tomb. Above this is the Bible,
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representing the Law that progress is made through death, the latter represented by a
skull and cross-bones resting on the Bible. The Prelate then reads concerning the
betrayal of the Christos by one of the twelve, and orders the candidate to extinguish
one of the tapers to signify the apostasy of Judas Iscariot, the zodiacal sign of death,
Scorpio.
The skull, which symbolizes the soul-mate of Hiram, and Pluto, ruler of the sign of
death, is called Old Simon in memory of Simon of Cyrene who bore the cross of
Christ and shared his misfortunes. The history of the trial and crucifixion being read,
the candidate is called upon to drink the fourth libation to Simon of Cyrene. His term
of warfare is reduced from seven to three years on account of good behavior and he
must now pass a year in penance. He takes the skull in one hand and a lighted taper in
the other, symbols of life and death, and travels to the sepulchre of the sun. He gains
entrance to the sepulchre by means of five cuts, a symbol of intelligent dominion of
the four zodiacal quarters, and by means of the password Golgotha, which means a
skull, and symbolizes the end of life. At this point is read the portion of the Bible
relating how the angel of heaven rolled the stone away from the tomb of the sun. That
is, the sun descending from the cross of Libra into the Tomb of Capricorn reascends
to summer because the angle of heaven of equinoctial Aries rolls away the stone of
winter.
The candidate is now given a black cross, symbolizing the autumnal cross of death. It
signifies the stage of the adept's journey representing the second death, the transition
of the spiritualized man of the higher astral realms into the realm of pure spirit above
the astral. The candidate is shortly admitted to the asylum, or fourth room and
requested to drink from the skull the fifth libation of pure wine. This fifth libation
symbolizes the spiritual body that survives the second death. It also symbolizes the
reunion of soul-mates, the first libation representing the ego, the second the spiritual
body of Hiram, the third the divine soul of Hiram, the fourth the soul-mate who
shares all spiritual vicissitudes, and the fifth the spiritual body of the soul-mate which
blends with Hiram's after the second death. In case the candidate refuses to take the
fifth libation as ordered he is charged by six knights with drawn swords. He is the
seventh, thus indicating that the septenary of existence compels this spiritual reunion
if immortality is to be attained.
Having partaken of life from the cup of Aries, the skull, he is appointed to fill the
vacancy caused by Judas Iscariot, and so relights the extinguished taper; for Aries,
the sign of life, is presided over by the same planet as the co-ruler of Scorpio, the sign
of death. The dieugard is given by placing the end of the thumb under the chin, the
fingers clenched. It denotes the Will to conquer death by passing into the new cycle
represented by the chin which is the particular portion of the head where Aries exerts
its most pronounced rulership. The cross is given by drawing the hand horizontally
across the throat and then darting it up before the face. This is the vernal cross of life.
The grand hailing sign of distress is given by placing the right foot over the left,
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representing the solstitial cross, and extending both arms to signify the autumnal
cross, the head inclining to the right in dejection to indicate lack of power. The grip is
given by interlacing the fingers of the right and left hands with the opposite brother,
and as each crosses his arms pronouncing the word Emmanuel. It refers to the
reascension through union after transition.
Knights of Malta
--This degree is usually given with the Order of Knights Templar. The sign is made
by holding out the hands as if warming them, representing the heat of summer. The
lower edge of the left hand is then seized near the middle with the thumb and
forefinger of the right hand, representing the painful influence of the sun as it crosses
the vernal equinox after being attacked by the claws of the Scorpion, and then the
hands are raised in this position to a level with the chin, or Aries, and finally
disengaged with a quick motion that extends them down at an angle of forty-five
degrees, as if the evil influence of death, or Scorpio, has been thrown off. It is said to
refer to Paul when shipwrecked on the Island of Melita being bitten by a serpent as he
warmed himself at a fire.
The grand word of a Knight of Malta is INRI, said to be the initials of the words, Iesus
Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, meaning Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. But all
well informed occultists know these initials are of the words, Igne Natura
Renovature Integra, meaning All Nature is Renewed by Fire. This refers to the
rejuvenating effect of the creative principle when properly applied and transmuted
on the rosy cross of spring.
The grip and word of a Knight of Malta are given by interlacing the fingers of the
right hand, placing the forefinger in the other's palm, reaching across with the left
hand and pressing the fingers into the other's side at the waist line, or Libra. With the
arms thus crossed one pronounces the words, "My Lord," and the other rejoins, "And
My God." Their union in this fashion forms a maltese cross and an equinoctial cross,
over both of which the sun passes annually. The fingers in the palm refer to Jupiter
ruling the sign Sagittarius from which the sun crosses the winter solstice into
Capricorn. Jupiter is the greater fortune, the planet of generosity, and this emphasizes
the necessity of unselfishness in united effort to gain immortality. The exclamation,
"My Lord," means all is under Law; and "My God," refers to the ego overshadowing
counterpart souls the final reunion of which results in immortality. This sign is said to
refer to Doubting Thomas who must feel the nail prints and the spear wound in the
Master's side.
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Knights of Christian Mark
--The ritual of this degree is based upon resurrection and punishment or reward for
deeds done upon earth. After prayer each knight, one after another, takes the Bible
and waves it four times over his head saying, "Rex Regnantium et Dominus
Dominantium," (King of Kings and Lord of Lords), then kisses the book and passes it
to the next and so on around the circle. It symbolizes the sun's passage through the
four quarters of the zodiac, signifies that all is under law, and that the sun is the source
of all physical and spiritual life. The sign is given by each knight interlacing the
fingers of his left hand with those of his brother, and pointing a sword towards his
heart, at the same time saying, Tammuz Toulimeth, meaning that life is uncertain and
transitory. The sign symbolizes the fall of the sun from Leo, or the soul from spiritual
realms, across the equinox where summer and winter, or spirit and matter, join. The
candidate is dubbed a knight of the Christian Mark by interlacing his fingers with
those of the Invincible Knight and placing his other hand over his heart. The
Invincible Knight and the Senior Knight then cross their swords on the back of the
candidate's neck, to symbolize the equinoctial cross of spring, and give him these
words, "Tammuz Toulimeth," an assurance of the certainty of death and the
uncertainty of life.
Next, the Senior Knight reads a long passage the purport of which is, "For he that
overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and his name shall be written
in the book of life." Six Grand Ministers, representing the six summer signs of the
zodiac, come forward with swords and shields and one with an ink-horn. They are
told to execute the judgment of the Lord, whereupon the candidate bewails his fate
that his lips are unclean. The first Minister takes a live coal from the altar and touches
it to the candidate's lips, representing the purification after the resurrection, and the
sun's passage through Aries after its rebirth. The candidate is then marked on the
forehead with a signet leaving the words, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and is
told that the number of the sealed is one-hundred-forty-four-thousand. This refers to
an ancient tradition that each volute of every round of humanity produces its harvest
of immortal souls. A volute is one precessional cycle. The twelve signs through
which the sun annually passes while the equinox is in each sign, multiplied by the
twelve signs that the equinox passes through in the precessional cycle, make up the
one-hundred-forty-four varieties of souls born during one evolutionary volute of
time. Those of all the one-hundred-forty-four zodiacal possibilities who find the
Law, or Lord, and abide by it become spiritual kings.
The insignia which is worn over the heart is a triangular plate of gold, representing
body, soul, and ego. On one side is the letter G in a five point star. It symbolizes that
intelligent man is the climax of evolution through generation. On the other side are
seven eyes, symbolizing the seven states of consciousness attained by the adept.
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Order of Knights of the Holy
Sepulchre
--This degree is said to have been founded by St. Helen, mother of Constantine the
Great in gratitude for her success in finding the true cross. She had made a journey
into the Holy Land and found three crosses but was unable to determine which was
the right one. Pope Marcellimus made a test by taking them to the bedside of a dying
woman. Touching the first cross, the autumnal cross of Libra, did not affect her. The
second cross, the solstitial cross of Capricorn, produced no beneficial effect. But on
touching the third cross, the life giving cross of Aries, she immediately was restored
to perfect health. It is this latter cross which in spring revivifies the whole world.
The most significant ritual of this degree represents the candidate taking up arms,
Aries fashion, to "guard the Holy Sepulchre," the body and material possessions; to
"defeat our enemies," the negative forces of evil or winter; to "unfurl the banner of
our cross," life through union; to "protect the Roman Eagle," transmute the sex
forces into constructive channels; to "return with victory and safety," return to
spiritual realms consciously victorious over sense and seeming. The candidates first
interlace their fingers, cross their arms and say, "de mortuis, nil nisi bonum,"
meaning that nothing should be said but good concerning the dead, as the so-called
dead are often conscious of our thoughts and words. The interlaced fingers indicate
union in accomplishing their mission to overcome the forces of evil denoted by the
autumnal cross.
They sally forth, going toward the south, even as the sun after the summer solstice
moves south to the struggle with winter after passing the autumnal equinox. They
meet a band of Turks, representing the feminine forces of winter, with whom they do
battle, seize the crescent and victoriously return north to the Cathedral, the summer
signs. They triumphantly place the banner, eagle, and crescent before the altar. The
Holy Sepulchre is the winter solstice, matter, or when applied to the incarnating soul
it is the mother's womb through which it comes into a new life. As applied to
incarnate man it is the body in which he is encased awaiting the period when earthly
gestation shall be accomplished and he shall be set free from matter. Applied to the
departing soul it is the grave. Yet for the righteous death has no sting and the grave
has no victory. This is the significance of the Word of the Order, Sepulchrum,
meaning sepulchre. The Roman Eagle bears testimony to the thought; for the same
sign representing death, the stinging Scorpion, through regeneration becomes the
soaring eagle of spiritual life. In this regeneration the sun is not alone; for the crescent
moon is also given a place before the altar even as man and woman mutually sustain
each other.
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Order of the Cross
--The Provost reads the following in opening this degree: "It is now the first hour of
the day, the time when our Lord suffered, and the veil of the temple was rent asunder;
when darkness and consternation were spread over the earth; when the confusion of
the old covenant was made light in the new, the temple of the cross. It is the third
watch, when the implements of Masonry were broken; when the flame, which led the
Wise Men of the East, reappeared; when the cubic stone was broken, and the word
was given." The first hour when the Lord suffered refers to sunrise on the day of the
autumnal equinox, the veil of the temple which was rent being the equinoctial colure
which was passed by the sun. Nights then became longer than the days and the
covenant of summer gave place to winter. The sun had passed through three signs
since the summer solstice, or now the third watch. The virility of the sun, mace and
plumb, are broken on the cross. The cubic stone is the winter solstice, the dividing
line of inertia, which is broken by the reappearance of the sun at Epiphany, the word
then being given that heralds resurrection.
The sign is made by looking a brother full in the face and touching him on the right
temple, the phrenological faculty of construction, meaning the use of constructive
effort which is a quality ruled by Aries. The mark is Baal, Sha-Lisha, Lord of the
three, meaning control over the three bodies; physical, astral, and spiritual. The
candidate must give correctly his name, age, birth place, and residence; the data for
erecting his birth-chart. The initials of the mark, IHS. Iesus Homium Salvator, Jesus
Savior of Men, are in Hebrew, Jod-He-Shin, man and woman together attaining
adeptship. In Latin they are the initials of words meaning, Son of Man Triumphant.
Secret Monitor
--This trading degree is founded upon the Twelfth Major Arcanum of the tarot,
called the Hanged Man, corresponding to the sign Pisces, ruling universal
brotherhood as well as intrigues and secret organizations.
The history of this degree refers to the brotherly love existing between Jonathan and
David in the time of Saul. By means of arrows, symbolical of evil news Jonathan
warned David to flee the wrath of Saul, or Saturn. David represents the sun, and
Jonathan represents Jupiter, the co-ruler of Pisces and the ruler of Sagittarius, the
zodiacal sign of the arrows, which is adjoining the sign Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, or
Saul.
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The signs of this degree are made secretly to assist each other in financial
transactions. Yet to use psychic warnings from the invisible brethren for material
advantages over our fellowmen is contrary to occult law, and is apt to be punished
with the arrows of affliction. Those who proclaim the Piscean doctrine of universal
brotherhood should be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to practice their
doctrines. Failing to do so the penalty of expiation will fall as indicated by the
dieugard, which is made by assuming the attitude of one who shoots an arrow. It is
the symbol of vengeance.