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Chapter 12
Ineffable Degrees
F THE EMBLEMS belonging to the Master's degree, the naked heart
symbolizes conscience, and indicates that on the inner planes the
motive of any action can never be concealed, and that every impulse is
laid bare.
The three steps on the Master's carpet symbolize the three steps in the sun's annual
journey; its fall from summer into winter over the autumnal cross, its encasement in
the tomb of winter at the southern solstice, and its final resurrection into a new
summer by way of the vernal cross. In the cycle of the soul this represents the soul's
descent into the mineral realm, its evolution through lower forms of life up to the
state of man, and from man, by way of the equinox of regeneration, evolving into the
still higher state of angelhood.
The sword pointing to the naked heart signifies remorse for past misdeeds; true
repentance followed by penance. It exemplifies the truth that every mistake must be
atoned for, and every debt of conscience paid to the last farthing before the spiritual
plane is reached. Evil done on earth pursues the soul, as signified by the sword, into
the astral. In this realm the conscience is laid bare, as signified by the naked heart, and
atonement made through suffering and purification.
The hour-glass is an emblem showing the point where angel and animal meet in the
soul and body of man; the up-pointing trine indicating the sands of time through
which, in evolving from the animal to the human, there were developed the required
initiative and selfish propensities. The down-pointing trine represents not the selfish
acquiring of material things denoted by the sand accumulating below; but the
evolution of man to angel, which requires giving to society, not receiving from it,
well symbolized by the sand of this trine flowing freely away from it.
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That Which Determines Control
--As the degrees upward from those of the cross, representing transition of the
activities to the inner plane, repeatedly refer to ability to control the energies thus
contacted and to ability to prevent control by entities thus contacted, this seems to be
the place to set forth the principles on which rest such control.
To contact through the inner plane anything belonging to any realm the vibrations
must be raised or lowered until they are similar to the vibrations of that which is to be
contacted. When such contact is made, the similarity of the vibrations affords
opportunity for the exchange of energies. The energy flow is always from the highest
potential to the lower potential. This potential difference between individuals and
between persons and objects is well illustrated by the Contact Potential Difference
between metals discovered by Volta:
Volta found that when pieces of two different metals, otherwise insulated, are
brought into contact, they acquire opposite charges and maintain a difference of
electrical potential even while still touching. This potential difference he found to be
characteristic of the given pair of metals. Thus when the metals are iron and copper,
the iron has a potential about 0.15 volts higher than the copper, while for tin and iron
the difference is 0.31 volts, tin being the higher. Volta listed a series of several
metals, viz., zinc, lead, tin, iron, copper, silver, gold, such that when any two are put
in contact, the one first named is at the higher potential.
I have quoted this principle of Contact Potential Difference from a standard work on
electricity because it operates in all action of the mind and is an outstanding factor in
ESP and in every variety of psychic phenomena. When we say, for instance, that one
person is positive and another is negative, it implies that the one has a high potential
and the other has a low potential. Yet, as illustrated by Volta's discovery, such
positiveness and negativeness are not absolute, but relative. Iron is in this sense
positive to copper, but is negative to tin; and a person who is positive to one
individual may be negative to another individual.
In reference to mental and psychic phenomena of all kinds, it is customary to state
that the positive controls the negative. In the sense with which positive and negative
are thus used this signifies that a higher potential, or voltage, is able to overcome a
lower potential, or voltage, and direct whatever action takes place.
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From this it will be seen that a positive individual is one who habitually has so high a
potential that he strongly resists control from any outside force, and a negative
individual is one who habitually has so low a potential that he is easily controlled by
outside forces. Also it will be plain from this that a negative thought is one which
tends to lower the individual's potential, and a positive thought is one which tends to
raise his potential. Fear, worry and anxiety arise from thoughts that rapidly lower the
electrical potential of the body, and if intense and persistent enough, after a time can
lower the potential differences in the body sufficiently that death results.
The vitality and life of the human body depend upon differences in electrical
potential between different organs. The brain has the highest potential--otherwise it
could not control the movements--and the liver has the lowest. But when through
negative thinking over a long period, or through fatigue, shock, or loss of sleep, the
electrical energies are exhausted to a point where there is no difference of potential
between the brain and the liver, the body is dead.
In the nervous system there is a continual competition between electrical energies of
different potentials, the highest potential always being successful in exercising
control over the movements. And there is ever a similar competition between the
potentials mobilized by the different thoughts which strive to get attention. The
thought having the highest potential at the moment gets the attention.
These competitions between electrical energies of different potentials are mentioned
to introduce the principle with which we are here concerned, that when on the inner
plane we contact closely another individual, a condition, or a thought-form, there is a
similar competition between astral potentials. Whether through hypersensitivity of
the nervous system, or through extension of consciousness, we make a close contact
with something on the inner plane, some part of us has tuned in on it. In the case of
hypersensitivity we have used the electro-magnetic energies of the nervous system,
or some portion of it, to tune after the manner of a receiving set. In the case of
extension of consciousness we have used the electromagnetic energies to give the
faculties of the unconscious mind an activity which places them in contact with that
to be apprehended. In either instance we have tuned the astral energies associated
with our nerves or associated with our intellects to the object, thought-form,
personality, or whatnot about which we seek information.
If we acquire the information through hypersensitivity, this means that the astral
energies associated with the nerve currents of our nervous system or some part of it
have a lower potential, even though temporarily of the same vibratory frequency and
vibratory modulation, than the astral energy being radiated by that which is
contacted. For the reason the energy it radiates is thus of higher potential, we FEEL it
distinctly.
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On the other hand if the astral energies associated with the nerve currents and
radiated from our nervous system have a higher potential than the vibrations tuned in
on, the astral vibratory rates radiated by that which is contacted fail to move in on the
electrical currents carried by the nervous system, and they are not felt by any portion
of it. There is a competition between the vibrations radiated by that which is tuned in
on and the vibrations of the individual who has thus tuned himself to these same
vibratory rates.
An individual who has tuned in on something else either as a receiving set or to make
an examination by the faculties of the unconscious mind, is as closely in contact with
it on the inner plane through this similarity of vibratory rates as are two things on the
external plane when they physically touch each other, and the energies as readily
flow from the one to the other. The direction of flow of the astral energies when such
contact is made is from high potential to low potential.
In Extension of Consciousness properly accomplished, the potential of the
individual making the contact is at all times kept higher than the potential of that
which is contacted. He does not, therefore, "take on" the condition which he contacts.
Instead of being like the individual who, witnessing another in a serious accident
sympathetically feels the other's pain, and thus is partially incapacitated from
effective action, he is like the skilled surgeon on the scene who has trained himself
not to respond sympathetically to the patient's pain, but to keep his intellect alert
examining the condition and directing action in the most effective way.
In acquiring information through the positive method of Extension of
Consciousness, the individual can recognize sound, colors, thoughts, even the feel of
things. But in thus using the senses of the astral body he employs them from the
standpoint of intellect, and does not permit energy from that which he contacts to
flow to himself. Instead, through his own higher potential, the energy used in the
examination is furnished by himself.
Secret Master
--The Secret Master degree is based upon the Fourteenth Major Arcanum of the
tarot, which symbolizes regeneration and the application of the Master's Word. The
latter was recovered in the Seventh, or Royal Arch degree. Astrologically the Secret
Master degree corresponds to the zodiacal sign Taurus where, after the resurrection
on the cross of Aries, the sun fecundates the earth and brings forth the succulent
verdure of spring. It is the positive rays of the sun mingled with the negative nature of
Taurus, where the moon is exalted, that regenerates the whole world.
A Secret Master Lodge is said to represent the Sanctuary of Solomon's Temple, the
astral plane, which adjoins the Sanctum Sanctorum, or world of spirit. It is hung with
black sprinkled with white tears to symbolize the realm of purification entered into
after the resurrection from the wintry tomb of Aries. It is lighted by nine candelabra
of nine lights each. The nine candelabra represent the nine decanates the sun passes
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through in its regeneration from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. The
eighty-one lights symbolize the eighty-one days it takes the moon to thrice circle the
zodiac, each time being born to new life, to represent the life of the soul and its
transition on all three planes. The Master is dressed as King Solomon, and sits before
a triangular table to signify his actions on these three planes of life. He is dressed in
royal robes to symbolize his authority, and holds in his hand a scepter, symbol of his
virile power. A large ribbon of blue indicates knowledge gained through experiences
with matter, winter, or Saturn. It extends from the right shoulder to the left hip,
indicating knowledge of sex energy; and at the hip is suspended a golden triangle,
signifying that this energy may be used on all three planes to gain illumination.
The second officer is Adoniram, representing Pluto and the soul-mate of Hiram
Abiff. He is clothed in black robe and cap to indicate mourning, and decorated with a
white ribbon bordered with black, to indicate the dawning light of hope for
immortality. The ribbon has a black rosette on it, representing the autumnal equinox
and the triumph of material forces. Also suspended from it is an ivory key, a spiritual
key, with the letter Z engraved upon it. Z is a double 7, a union of a positive 7, or
physically perfect man, with a negative 7, or physically perfect woman. It is the
union of two open trines, an open trine meaning energy expended. But in this union
there is compensation, and the energies are directed along the highest lines possible
to embodied man, regenerate forces being used for a definite purpose.
The other brethren wear black robes and caps, white aprons with black strings, and
white gloves. They represent the union of positive and negative zodiacal signs, the
apron strings indicating the equinox. The flap of the apron is blue, denoting
knowledge of sex gained through experience. Upon the flap is a golden eye, symbol
of spiritual wisdom.
Adoniram, asked if he is a Secret Master, replies, "I have passed from the square to
the compass; I have seen the tomb of our respectful Master Hiram Abiff, and shed
tears at the same." This symbolizes the moon as well as the sun passing through the
rains of winter and crossing the vernal equinox. The winter union with the sun is
signified by the square and that of summer by the compass. To the soul the tomb of
the missing mate is the material world where both must sojourn, usually separated by
its barriers, a cause for mourning. But there is also cause for hope as indicated by
Hiram saying, "The dawn of day has driven away darkness, and the great light begins
to shine in the lodge." This is the dawn of resurrection, or in physical life illumination
through regeneration. The Master raps seven times to signify that the brethren are
perfect physical men, and says, "If the great light is a token of the dawn of day, and
we are all Secret Masters, it is time to begin our labors." The labor refers to the work
of the sun in summer preparing the crops for harvest, and to the work on the astral
plane of assisting others less progressed, the assistance being rendered by those who
have entered into regeneration; and it refers to the even more strenuous labor
performed in that region by those who have consciously passed through the tomb of
death.
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The candidate when admitted is led to the altar and kneels on his right knee,
symbolizing his desire to render positive service. His head is bound, and fastened to
his forehead by the bandage is a square, symbolizing the duties and obligations that
still bind him to those yet struggling in the throes of matter. In his right hand is a great
light, signifying his intention to labor spreading knowledge. On the altar is a crown of
laurel and olive leaves, indicating his double victory, that of strife and that of love.
The words are Shaddai, Adonai, and Juha, mystically signifying, Praise be to the
Lord of the new Light. The password is Zizon, signifying a double triumph; that over
the physical and that over the inner nature. The sign is given by placing the two
forefingers of the right hand on the lips, indicating silence concerning the mysteries
of both planes. The token is given by crossing the legs as the hands join in the Lion's
grip. The crossed legs symbolize the solstitial cross, and the grip indicates the power
of the sun in Leo by which he raises the moon from the winter signs to be united with
him in the regenerate signs of summer. It represents the power of the purified soul to
find and rescue its lost mate from the bondage of matter.
In closing, Adoniram is asked his duty, and replies that it is to guard the furniture of
the Sanctorum, consisting of the altar of incense, the two tables of shew-bread and
the golden candlesticks. The tables of shew-bread signify the result of experiences
with good and evil which is assimilated by man's spiritual nature. The candlesticks
are placed five on the north and five on the south of the holy place, and thus
symbolize man and woman. The age of Adoniram is stated to be three times
twenty-seven, meaning the twenty-seven days it takes the moon to complete its circle
of life around the zodiac, three times around symbolizing the soul's progress through
three planes. The special emblem of the Secret Master degree is a triangle in which
are the Hebrew letters Jod-He-Vau-He surrounded by light. This is the Master's
Word as revealed to Enoch, applicable alike on all three planes. It is the secret of
uniting positive and negative forces to produce the spiral of life.
Perfect Master
--The Perfect Master degree is based upon the Twentieth Major Arcanum of the
tarot, symbolizing the day of judgment and corresponding astrologically to the
moon. The lodge is hung with green tapestry--the color of the moon--on eight
columns, four on each side at equal distances, symbolizing perfect equilibrium, and
justice received. There are sixteen lights placed at the cardinal points to represent the
three signs and the presiding ruler of each zodiacal quarter. A pyramid stands in the
north with open compass upon it, symbolizing the earth as an epitome of the universe
under the direction of stellar law. The pyramid is the most stable form. The base is
typical of the square of matter and the sides represent the four zodiacal triplicities
meeting in a common point. Its most important significance is that of the earth being
the womb of the universe from which is born, after its period of gestation, the Son of
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God. The pyramid at the north symbolizes the earth under law, but as yet uninhabited
by intelligent life. Another pyramid in the south has a blazing star upon it to represent
gestation completed and the earth being delivered of its child, Man, who rules the
world while in it, and when born into the realm above may become a god. A table
stands before the canopy covered with black to typify the plane of death.
The assistants are decorated with a green ribbon about the neck from which is hung a
compass extended to 60 degrees, symbolizing by the green ribbon, love received, and
by the compass, harmonious union. The brethren wear black caps and robes,
indicative of having passed the tomb of materialism, aprons of white leather with
green flaps, signifying the reception of the reward for purity. Upon the apron is
embroidered a square stone surrounded by three circles with the letter J in the center,
symbolizing the earth surrounded by Mundane Houses, Zodiacal Signs, and
Constellations, through all of which penetrates the divine fire, or J. The hour being
four, the time when the sun at the equinox enters the first house of the horoscope, or
house of life, it is time for the brethren to go to work, or enter upon the duties of the
new life beyond matter.
The candidate has a green cord placed about his neck which is finally withdrawn by
the Master to symbolize the moon passing out of the spring sign Taurus to a more
elevated station, and man ready to be raised to a love higher than that of earth, and to
an immortal work signified by the sprig of cassia placed in his left hand. The first sign
is given by placing the palm of the left hand upon the right temple and stepping back
with the right foot and again bringing it to its first position. It refers to the
constructive use of virile energy in recovering the lost spiritual state. The second sign
is made by raising the hands and eyes upward and letting the hands fall crossed in
front, at the same time dropping the eyes downward, meaning the fall into
temptation, from spirit into matter, or the sun across the autumnal equinox. The
password is Acacia, symbolizing immortality. The token is that of a Mark Master,
given on the five points of fellowship as explained in that degree. The Mysterious
word is Je-Vau, meaning divine fire in union. The candidate approaches the East by
four times four steps, from a pair of compasses extended from an angle of seven
degrees to that of sixty degrees. The four times four refers to traversing the zodiacal
circle, twelve signs ruled by the lords of the four seasons, corresponding to the
sixteen Court Cards of the tarot. From seven degrees refers to perfect physical
manhood, and sixty degrees refers to perfect union.
The tomb of Hiram was of black and white marble, good and evil experiences on
earth. It was entered between the two pillars, winter and summer, supporting a stone
surrounded by three circles, already explained. The heart of Hiram was enclosed in a
golden urn, symbol of spiritual affection. It was pierced by a sword to indicate the
afflictions befalling those who attempt to realize their spiritual ideals of affection on
earth, and the resurrection of those ideals beyond matter; the sword representing
transition over the cross of Aries. It is the action of a luminary in Leo, the heart; in
Scorpio, the urn; and in Aries, the sword. On the tomb was engraved the letter J, the
virile Hebrew Jod. To the side of the urn was fastened a triangular stone on which
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were the letters J M B, surrounded by a wreath of cassia. The urn was placed upon the
top of an obelisk erected on the tomb, symbolizing the solstitial colure, the foot
resting on the tomb of winter, and the top, or summer solstice, being the highest point
of heaven where the luminary passing through the tomb will finally be elevated. J is
Jachin from which the soul falls. B is Boaz, the winter signs, or material realm where
it falls, and M (see Course 6, The Sacred Tarot) is Aries where resurrection takes
place. The triangular stone represents the experience of body, soul, and ego with
material conditions, and the wreath of cassia surrounding the letters denoting the
pilgrimage indicates that immortality has been attained. Hiram, the moon, returning
to its home in Cancer, the summer solstice, is greeted by Solomon, the sun, who says
with joy in his heart, "It is accomplished and complete." The special emblem of this
degree is a coffin with a five-point star on the lid, and leaning over it a sprig of cassia.
It signifies man enshrouded in the tomb of earth being promised immortal life in
other realms.
Intimate Secretary
--The Intimate Secretary degree is based upon the Eighteenth Major Arcanum of the
tarot, symbolizing false friends and deception. It corresponds astrologically to the
sign Cancer. The Lodge is hung with black spangles with white tears to represent the
realm of purification after death. There is a triangular table on which is a scroll and
crossed swords, representing the record inscribed in the astral light of man's
struggles on all three planes of endeavor. The Masters wear long blue robes and caps,
symbol of wisdom gained through experience; their aprons are bordered with red, the
white symbolizing purity, and the red symbolizing passion of purpose. On the apron
is a scroll, and a golden triangle with the letters A P P in its corners. The letter A of the
tarot symbolizes will, and P symbolizes hope. The scroll and lettered triangle signify
spiritual effort on all three planes is sustained by will and two hopes; hope of future
life, and hope of future love. All are recorded in the book of life. They also wear a red
ribbon with a golden triangle suspended from it, meaning energy to be used on three
planes. Their gloves are white, bordered with red, signifying purity and energy in
execution. On the Bible is laid a triple triangle, symbolizing the law of perfect
co-ordination between body, soul, and ego on all three planes.
The candidate in this degree takes the part of a spy who listens at the veil, is captured
and condemned by Hiram King of Tyre, and is freed by the intercession of Solomon.
Astrologically it symbolizes the moon separating from the sun and passing into the
captivity of opposite zodiacal signs and finally being rescued from them by its return
to the sun. It represents the soul of man after death, in the twilight realms of the astral,
undergoing judgment for deeds done in the flesh and being found worthy after some
purification to enter more spiritual realms because of the strength of its rapport with
the ego.
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The first sign is made by closing the right hand and drawing it from the left shoulder
to the right hip. It refers to the fall of man through the destructive use of sex. It is also
the fall of the sun into winter. The second sign is made by crossing the arms in front
and holding them up so the thumbs touch opposite temples, speaking the mysterious
word Je-Vau. It refers to constructive use of virile powers in union; astrologically the
resurrection of the sun on the vernal cross, the mysterious word signifying its
subsequent union with the moon. The grip is given by joining the right hands and
turning them downward thrice, saying one of these words at each turn: Berith, Nedir,
Shelmoth. These words symbolize the autumnal equinox, the winter solstice, or
lowest point, and the vernal equinox, respectively; and each turn of the hands
signifies the union of the sun and moon after the sun passes these points. It signifies
man and woman united in indulgence, in proper generation, and in regeneration. The
password is Joabert, and the response is Terbel. Joabert is the listener, or the soul
seeking to be conscious of the inner voice. Terbel is the guard of the inner realms, the
dweller on the threshold.
Provost and Judge
--The degree of Provost and Judge is based upon the Seventeenth Major Arcanum of
the tarot, symbolizing the star of hope, and corresponding astrologically to the sign
Gemini. The lodge is hung with red tapestries to represent the energies actuating life.
There are five candelabra of five lights each, four being at the corners of the room and
the other being in the center. The number five is the symbol of man. Each of the
candelabra at the corners symbolizes man evolving through the zodiacal quarter
corresponding to one of the four kingdoms, mineral, vegetable, animal, and man; and
the candelabrum in the center represents man after his transit to the realm of
purification where he recapitulates his past evolution and passes judgment upon his
conduct. In the east is an illuminated transparent triangle in which is a circle around
which are the letters J A I N, with a blazing star in the center on which are three J's.
The triangle represents infinite Life, Light, and Love, the source of all being. The
circle is the zodiac, and the letters symbolize the divine influx from above as
transmitted through each zodiacal quadrant. J represents the divine fire in Leo, A
represents the will in Scorpio, I represents intelligence in Aquarius, and N represents
regenerate energy in Taurus. The blazing star in the center is man, the focus of
universal forces, retaining a portion for his own use, reflecting the finer essence
above, and refracting the grosser portions of the One Life Principle below, as
symbolized by the three J's.
The brethren wear black robes and caps to symbolize their passage through the tomb
of death; white aprons trimmed with red to symbolize purity sustained by virile
energy; with a red and a white rosette on the apron to signify regeneration and
translation to spiritual life; and a pocket in which to carry plans, the ideas formulated
and vitalized in union. On the flap is a golden key, and another is suspended from a
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red collar. The red collar is symbol of ardent affections, and the golden key signifies
astrological knowledge. The hour is said to be break of day; 8,2, and 7; meaning the
entrance into a new life in higher realms has started through 8, Judgment; 2, with the
aid of Esoteric Science; and 7, Victory over all temptations. They all combine in
seventeen, the Star of Hope for future joy (see Course 6, The Sacred Tarot).
The candidate is led to the southwest corner of the lodge where the sun sinks in winter
at the close of day, and is there instructed to kneel and pronounce the word Beroke,
meaning to descend. The Master then says "Kumi," meaning to rise, signifying a new
epoch begun even as the sun rises at break of day. The first sign is to place the first
two fingers of the right hand to the side of the nose with the thumb under the chin,
symbolizing the will to use the energy of Mars, signified by the chin; to vitalize the
etheric body, signified by the Jupiter finger; in the process of breathing, indicated by
the nose. The physical body is also to be considered in this process as the finger of
Saturn is used as well as that of Jupiter. The second sign is like the first except that
one finger only is used, signifying the use of Mars energy to vitalize the etheric body.
The token is given by clenching the three first fingers over the thumb and interlacing
the little fingers. It means that will is to be subjected to science, as Mercury rules the
little finger and also rules science. The password is Tito, the first to draw plans for the
workmen. This signifies the formulative power of the intellect. The candidate having
given the password and signs is presented with a key to a small ebony box which
contains the plans for building the temple, and a key for opening an ebony box
containing all the temple keys. The ebony box is man's physical constitution,
containing a correspondence to the universe. It is unlocked by practical astrology.
The ivory box is man's spiritual constitution and soul, containing the keys to all
spiritual mysteries. It is unlocked by the spiritual astrology so carefully preserved in
Masonry.
Intendant of the Building
--This degree is based upon the Nineteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot. It
symbolizes reunion and corresponds to the zodiacal sign Leo. The lodge is lighted
with three candelabra with nine lights each, the symbolism of which has already been
explained. In addition there are five candles in the east to indicate man rising into
another sphere of influence.
The brethren wear white aprons lined with red and bordered with green, symbolizing
purity, energy, and receptive capacity. On the apron is a star with nine points,
symbolizing wisdom gained under planetary influence; a sprig of cassia,
representing immortality; and a balance, emblem of justice. On the corners of the
triangular flap are the letters B A J, symbolizing occult science illumined by divine
fire, directed by will. The collar is of red to indicate affectional energy, and from it is
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suspended a golden trine with the letters J A B in the corners, and in the center three
J's. The three J's represent the divine fire penetrating the three worlds. On the reverse
of the triangle the three J's are in the corners and G is in the center, indicating the
divine fire used in generation. As used on the first side they indicate that the divine
fire aids the will to remove the veil of Isis.
In this degree, a chief of the five orders of architecture is selected to fill the vacant
place of Hiram Abiff. The five orders of architecture are: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic,
Corinthian, and Composite. The first four represent the zodiacal quarters and their
correspondences. The composite, a combination of the others, symbolizes man. The
true soul-mate being lost, a worthy substitute is selected to assist in the work. The
obligation is taken while the candidate lies prostrate, and he is lifted under a sprig of
cassia by the Lion's grip. The signs and passwords all refer to the separation of sun
and moon, of man and woman, to the sorrowful descent into the winter signs, or
matter; and to the reascent to spiritual realms, reunion, and consequent immortality.
In the closing lecture the Senior Warden says: "I have made the five steps of
exactness; I have penetrated the inmost part of the temple; and I have seen the great
light, in the middle of which were three mysterious letters." The five steps of
exactness refer to evolution through four kingdoms and the entering of the fifth, the
kingdom of regenerate man. It also indicates the successive subjugation of the five
physical senses leading to illumination and the use of the creative energy to explore
the three planes, as signified by the three J's.
Master of Elect Nine
--This degree is based upon the Sixteenth Major Arcanum of the tarot, symbolizing
catastrophe. It corresponds astrologically to the planet Mars. Solomon had appointed
nine Masters to go to the spot where it had been learned one of the assassins of Hiram
Abiff was concealed. Mars, one of the nine planets, represented by Joabert, steals
ahead of the others and discovers the murderer asleep with a poinard at his feet. This
is the equinox at the foot of Pisces. Mars takes the poinard and stabs him first in the
head, Aries, and then in the heart, Leo. He then cuts off the villain's head and taking it
in one hand and the bloody knife in the other returns to Solomon's home. The place of
sunrise, Jubulum, is killed by the vernal cross, wielded by Mars. He is first stabbed in
the head to indicate the sun rising in Aries, and later in the heart, in Leo, to which the
sun returns. Cutting off the head signified that the rising sun has passed out of Aries.
Its influence in the sign of the head has been cut off, and he passes to the rightful place
of Solomon, in Leo. The sign is made by striking toward the companion's forehead as
if stabbing, and the companion placing his hand to the spot as if feeling of a wound;
then striking at the companion's heart crying Nekum, and the companion answering
by placing his hand on his breast and saying Necar. These words mean Vengeance,
and Vengeance Is Taken. The jewel of the order is a gold-handled dagger with a
silver blade. The handle and blade symbolize the summer and winter signs, and the
guard symbolizes the equinox.
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Masters Elect of Fifteen
--The degree Masters Elect of Fifteen is based upon the Fifteenth Major Arcanum of
the tarot. It symbolizes the fate of the evil, and corresponds astrologically to the
planet Saturn. The two other assassins of Hiram Abiff were not captured and
punished with the first. Through one of his Intendants, Solomon learned that two
persons answering their description had come to the country of Cheth and were
working in the quarries. Cheth is the eighth Hebrew letter and presides over the
Eighth Major Arcanum of the tarot, which symbolizes justice and corresponds to the
sign Capricorn, the home of Saturn. Capricorn is the winter sign that symbolizes
crystallization and has rule over quarries.
In front of each of the two officers that symbolize the sun and moon, one in the east
and one in the west, is a candelabrum of five lights; one candelabrum to represent
man and one candelabrum to represent woman. The brethren wear white aprons on
which is pictured a square city, a form of birth-chart still used by Raphael in his
annual ephemeris. It has three gates, and over each a human head impaled on a spire.
These represent the three visible angles of the heavens, or assassins. Jubulum was
captured in the preceding degree in a cave, that is, in Capricorn, stabbed with the
vernal cross at the foot of Pisces, decapitated by passing into Taurus; and finally this
representative of the Ascendant at sunrise returns to Leo carried by the strength of
regenerate Mars. In the present degree, Jubela and Jubelo, Midheaven and
Descendant, are captured in Capricorn and are carried from this region of
crystallization into the warm months of summer, or Jerusalem. Their heads are cut
off as they pass from Aries; and as they pass the summer solstice into Cancer, which
rules the belly, their bodies are cut open. The sign of the degree is to place the point of
a poinard under the chin and draw it downward to the waist, speaking the word
Zerbul. It symbolizes the passage of the sun from Aries across the solstitial cross to
the sign Libra.
Sublime Knights Elected
--This degree is based upon the Twenty-second Major Arcanum of the tarot,
symbolizing the foolish man. It corresponds astrologically to the planet Pluto.
Solomon rewarded twelve of the Masters for their efforts to apprehend the assassins
of Hiram Abiff by conferring upon them this degree and giving them command over
the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. The
zodiacal circle crossed by equinox and solstice is the symbol of the world. By
removing the circle, or spiritual portion of the symbol, we have the cross of earth in
its most material aspect. If the upper bar of the cross be removed the result is the Tau
Cross, or English T, emblem of the Lower-Pluto influence, the primitive phallic
symbol of creative energy directed to material ends. The lower bar, or vertical line,
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indicates the sun in Capricorn at the winter solstice. It represents man spending his
energies for material advantage, the worldly wise and spiritually foolish. By
reversing the T so that the lower bar is missing we have a representation of the sun at
the summer solstice as it enters Cancer, the emblem of the Upper-Pluto influence,
signifying the virile energies directed to spiritual construction. And herein lies the
paradox of the twenty-second card of the tarot, a card few students have understood;
for the man that to the worldly may seem foolish may really have reversed the Tau,
come under the Upper-Pluto influence, and being a true sage ignores the things that
many spend their energies to obtain.
The candidate in this degree is required to swallow a piece of the heart of Hiram Abiff
which is presented to him on a trowel by the Master. He is told that he may swallow it
without injury if he is a faithful Mason but that it will not remain in the body of one
perjured. This heart is the zodiacal sign Leo, symbol of affection, through the power
of which Hiram is again united to Solomon. The trowel is an instrument used to bind
together. Its form represents two souls occupying one form and overshadowed by a
common ego. The candidate partaking of the heart on the trowel symbolically enacts
the permanent reunion of soul-mates; the reward of the spiritually wise, whose
efforts are denoted by the reversed T. Astrologically it is the reunion of the sun and
moon in Leo, which is the sign that rules the house of love in a natural chart.
Grand Master Architect
--This degree is said to have been founded by King Solomon as a school of architects
where deserving craftsmen might receive proper instruction. These Grand Master
Architects are men who have mastered the various occult and lucidic sciences and
have been found worthy to serve as Masters to struggling neophytes. The Chapter is
decorated with white hangings, sprinkled with red flames, symbolizing purity
combined with fiery enthusiasm. The five orders of architecture are present,
symbolizing man who contains within himself the zodiacal quarters corresponding
to the four kingdoms of elemental life. Man's rightful place is that of Master
Architect directing the four elemental realms of life in their work of cosmic
construction. The apron is stone colored, to indicate work to be done upon earth, and
has a star on it to signify man as the chief of that work. The jewel is a gold medal with
the five orders of architecture, a star, and a case of mathematical instruments, on each
side. It symbolizes man measuring planetary angles and positions in the zodiac, and
utilizing his knowledge of astrological cycles, forces and angles to direct the
elementals in their work of assisting evolutionary progress.
The candidate makes a tour of the room, which represents the zodiac, and draws an
exact plan of it to illustrate his ability to compute astrological positions and map the
heavens. There is a star in the north with seven other stars around it to represent the
Polar Star, the "Rock of Ages," about which swings the septenary of naked-eye
planets. It is called the guiding star of the order; for it is symbolical of the
immutability of divine law, and is the axis of all mundane reckoning. The Chapter is
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said to be opened on the first instant, the first hour, the first day, the first year, when
Solomon commenced the Temple. This is according to the prescribed rules of
astrology; as a chart of the heavens for the instant commencing an enterprise
indicates its future success or failure, even as a chart of the instant of physical birth
reveals a child's physical destiny.
The sign is made by sliding the right hand into the palm of the left, clenching the
fingers of the right hand and tracing a plan with the thumb in the other's left hand,
looking at him as if taking dictation. It refers to man and woman united and taking
advantage of astrological conditions to promote their interests. It indicates that from
their knowledge of astrology they are able to formulate a plan of mutual effort. The
token is given by interlacing the fingers of the right hand with those of the brother's
left and placing the free hand on the hip. The united hands are at a level with the head.
It indicates united transmutation from Scorpio to Aries, or the sun resurrected with
the moon on the vernal equinox.
Knights of the Ninth Arch
--This degree revolves around a vision of Enoch in which he saw the letters of the
Ineffable Name engraved upon a triangular plate of gold which was lowered into the
bowels of the earth to the ninth arch. Later he and Methuselah built a temple
underground of nine arches and deposited a facsimile of the plate on a pedestal of
white in the ninth arch. He also built two pillars on a high mountain nearby; one of
brass to withstand water, and the other of marble to withstand fire. On the marble
pillar he traced hieroglyphics disclosing the whereabouts of the golden plate; and on
the pillar of brass he engraved the principles of geometry, or Masonry. This was
before the flood.
In clearing away the rubbish to rebuild the temple the vault is discovered and the
plate recovered in the same manner as the vault and Ark of the Covenant were found
in the Royal Arch degree. This ninth arch is the lowest grade of actual adeptship,
where the mysterious laws are fully revealed to the worthy neophyte. Enoch was the
perfect man, representing the natural adepts of the golden age. Methuselah was his
son who lived to great age, symbolizing those who through subsequent ages have
been found worthy custodians of ancient wisdom and who have proceeded with the
work outlined by the Ancient Masons. The Ineffable Name in the lowest grade of
adeptship is represented as mounted on a white marble pedestal to indicate that
understanding while in the body depends upon purity. The pillar of marble on the
high mountain is the physical means adopted by the Magi to preserve their
knowledge for posterity such as monuments, sacred allegories, hieroglyphics, and
the tarot. This marble pillar is said to have been destroyed by the flood, but a portion
is extant as we find in the next degree. The pillar of brass was not destroyed; for it
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represents the records left in the astral world where is preserved all the wisdom of
ancient days. The floods of religious emotionalism and sensualism may destroy the
material records of the past, assisted by physical floods due to climatic changes, but
neither are effectual to efface the records left by Enoch, the early spiritual adepts, on
the brazen astral column.
Degree of Perfection
--The degree of perfection is based upon the Twenty-first Major Arcanum of the
tarot. This pictures the Crown of the Magi, symbolizing the accomplishment of the
great work and corresponding astrologically to the sun. The lodge is represented as a
subterranean vault hung with red curtains. It symbolizes the earth from which the
adept is departing, the red indicating generated energy. A part of Enoch's marble
pillar, found among the ruins, is placed in the west. The pillar of Beauty, or astral
records, the Burning Bush, or divine fire, and the triangle of Enoch with the sacred
Jod-He-Vau-He engraved upon it are in the east. When the members are not at work
the lodge is lighted by the Burning Bush, and when they are at work they are lighted
by twenty-four lights. Three are in the north to represent the monad's evolution
through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms; five are in the south to indicate
that man is a fruit of material evolution; seven are in the west to symbolize man
arriving at physical perfection through the application of the subjective laws of
union; and nine are in the east to represent man's wisdom before he is permitted to
enter the ninth arch. These twenty-four lights correspond to the twenty-four hours in
which the earth completes one rotation on its axis and symbolize all the experiences
necessary to man upon the physical earth. Also before each of the officers is a
triangular white table, symbolizing the spiritual plane to which the adept is
translated.
For the same reason, that is, because it is meant to symbolize the voluntary
completion of earthly experience, there can be only twenty-seven working members
in a Grand Lodge of Perfection. These twenty-seven represent the twenty-seven days
it takes the moon, symbol of the soul, to make a complete transit of zodiacal
experience. The work of this degree is a recapitulation of preceding degrees, even as
the adept ready to leave the physical plane goes carefully over his past, tabulating
experiences for future reference. Here for the first time the candidate receives the
true pronunciation of the Word as revealed to Enoch; for Enoch, representing the
children of the golden age, walked with God and was not. That is, he was translated
consciously without the process of death as we know it. In the golden age when the
cycle of life had been run tradition records that there was a gradual voluntary
dissolution by which the soul liberated itself from the body and passed consciously to
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a higher realm. In those days there were neither phantoms nor shades in our earth's
electromagnetic sphere. The adept who succeeds in accomplishing the great work
while in the flesh understands the law governing translation and is able to pass to his
future work in the spiritual world even as did Enoch, without being hampered by
death or being detained in the astral worlds for experience and purification.