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Chapter 13
Historical Degrees
N CONNECTION with the historical degrees, mention should be
made of the origin of both Scottish Rite Masonry and York Rite
Masonry. I do not wish it implied that I agree with Albert Churchward
in archaeological matters. But as he seems to be correct in his opinion of the origin of
these two orders of Masonry, and is himself a high degree Mason, I take the liberty of
quoting from his Arcana of Freemasonry.
Chevalier Ramsay stated that modern Masonry had its beginning in the Society of
Architects founded in Scotland under the protection of King Robert Bruce, and the
title of `Ancient and Accepted Masons of the Scottish Rite' may have possibly been
formed in Scotland there and then; but if that is so, we must trace the origin of this to
the Order of Knights Templar, who fled to Scotland, and through them to the ancient
Mysteries practiced in the East. From whence did these Templars receive them? It is
well known that one of the charges made against Jacques de Molay and his associates
was that `they used sacred rites in their initiation." Their four oaths are well known,
but who knew their rites of initiation? The aim of the Society of Architects was to
perpetuate the ancient order of the Temple, and they continued to use their initiations
of members, symbols, signs, and some parts of the initiatory rites, which had been
obtained in the East, but they only knew three degrees out of the seven lesser and ten
greater. The next question is: From whence did the Templars receive those symbols,
and their esoteric meaning, in which we plainly trace the doctrines of the old
Egyptians? No doubt from the Christians, who, like the Emperor Julian, the Bishop
Sinnesius, Clement of Alexandria, and many other philosophers, had been initiated
into some of the mysteries by the Priests of Egypt before being converted to
Christianity. In this way we can trace how part of the religious mysteries of Egypt,
signs and symbols, etc., came to Scotland.
Speaking further concerning the Egyptians he says: "There were also many who
crossed over to Europe from Egypt, and spread from Italy into France, who possessed
and clung to the true doctrines, endured torture, and some even death, by the early
Roman Priests, who tried to usurp the temporal power by destroying the spiritual
ideas; and yet these brothers would rather suffer death than give up their secrets and
beliefs. Many of these migrations can be traced through Europe and finally to
Scotland."
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Relative to York Rite Masonry, Churchward continues: "As regards the origin from
the Druids, I have given in `Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man' the proofs of the
origin of the Druids, and where they came from. They were High Priests of Egypt,
who left the mother country at the early part of the Solar Cult, and were therefore well
versed both in the seven Lesser Mysteries and the ten Greater Mysteries; and these
practiced their religious rites in England until the edict of Canute prohibited their
open worship. Canute reigned from 1015 to 1036. To evade persecution they
resorted to private meetings and secret celebrations. I do not entertain any doubt that
they formed the first so-called `Lodges' in England, as a cloak to screen their
religious rites and ceremonies, and to keep them as pure as they had received them
originally from their parent sources in Egypt. Many of these old Druid Priests joined
the Christian Church, and were the so-called Culdees, but although they had joined
the Christian Church, they kept themselves very much aloof for a long period, up to
the twelfth century.
"These were the last remnants of the old Druid Priests--descendants of their
Egyptian brethren--who practiced the pure Eschatology of their forefathers.
Gradually they all died out as a separate and distinct class, and those who remained
were merged into Christianity; but up to the twelfth century at least they brought all
their doctrines with them, and practiced them in secret places, in so-called Lodges.
"Here we have one source of the origin of Freemasonry, both in the Lesser Mysteries
(seven degrees) and in the Greater Mysteries--so-called Higher Degrees in this
country.
"The Druids, in Gaul, were mostly put to the sword, others fled to this country for
protection, when the Roman Christian doctrines were brought to them. In America it
was the same. As soon as the Spanish Priests arrived there they persecuted all the
Solar and Stellar people, murdered their priests, overthrew their Temples, and
scattered them with fire and sword. Yet there is sufficient evidence left in their Signs,
Symbols, and writings on the wall which may prove my contention that all these had
the same Eschatology, signs, symbols, and rites as the Old Egyptians, from whence
they came, and that all these are analogous to our own with really very little
innovation, considering the many thousands of years that these have been handed
down from country to country, and generation to generation, as we must
acknowledge to be the case if we study the history of the human past."
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Three Methods of Acquiring
Information From the Inner Plane
--Ancient Masonry presents not merely a philosophy of life based upon provable
information, but also instructions relative to the general principles, applying which
an individual can make the most rapid spiritual progress and develop his latent occult
powers. More specific instructions in such training should be reserved for those who
prove, by tests, that they have sufficient comprehension of occult matters that they
will not be likely to misinterpret or misapply the information presented to them.
These will find such detailed information presented in the systematic graduate
course embraced in the "Not Sold" Brotherhood of Light Award Manuscripts.
However, as reference repeatedly has been made in these Ancient Masonry lessons
to Extra-Sensory Perception, it should be clearly understood by anyone
contemplating psychic work of any kind that there are three distinct methods of
acquiring information from the inner plane, and just what takes place in each. The
three methods are: Mediumship, Feeling ESP, and Intellectual ESP.
Mediumship
--That which distinguishes mediumship is the partial or complete control of the
medium by some intelligence other than his own. Mankind owes a deep debt of
gratitude to spiritualistic mediums. I shall be the last to criticize them. Many in the
ranks of spiritualism have sacrificed tremendously that the race might advance;
many mediums have been martyrs to the cause of demonstrating human survival
beyond the grave. But in spite of this debt of gratitude, the very real dangers to those
who develop such mediumship cause us to discourage our students from attempting
to become mediums. The reason is set forth in detail in Brotherhood of Light Course
1, Laws of Occultism, published in 1919. The subsequent years, in which through the
many psychics contacted in connection with Church of Light work there has been
unusual opportunity to observe the effects of the various types of development and
psychic practice among a great many individuals, has but served more and more to
confirm the attitude then taken. To sum this attitude up, The Church of Light does not
advocate that anyone shall become a medium.
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Two Methods of Independent
Psychic Work
--The Church of Light has found, however, as the result of its own research and
observation, that psychic work in which there is no control by some other entity is
accomplished in two quite distinct ways. These two methods, even though exercised
and directed by the individual using them and not by some outside intelligence, are as
different as day and night, positive and negative. The one depends upon
hypersensitivity of the nervous system, and is called FEELING ESP. The other is
purely an intellectual activity, and is called INTELLECTUAL ESP.
Feeling ESP
--At the appropriate place in the "Not Sold" manuscripts I go into the details of these
two methods. Here I hope only to bring out their contrasts so clearly that the neophyte
will never mistake the one method for the other. The majority of independent
psychics employ Feeling ESP. They make use of the hypersensitivity system of
mental activity in which the nervous system or some part of it is tuned in on the astral
counterpart of the object or person about which information is wanted. The nervous
system, or some part of it, becomes a receiving set through which the electrical
energies and astral energies closely associated with it pick up, radio fashion, the
astral vibrations radiated by whatever is tuned in on. The individual then feels the
condition of that which is thus contacted. The energy causing this feeling is furnished
by that which is contacted. The individual who is hypersensitive is able to feel so
discriminatingly what is received that his unconscious mind can give detailed
information about that which is tuned in on, and perhaps about its past and probable
future.
A quarter of a century of experience with students all over the world who have
developed this Feeling ESP has convinced The Church of Light feels that this
method of psychic development should be approached with caution.
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Intellectual ESP
--The unconscious mind, itself occupying the astral plane, has faculties which,
given proper impetus and sufficient energy with which to work, on this inner plane
can examine objects and thoughts and communicate with other intelligences. In
Intellectual ESP hypersensitivity plays no part. Instead of becoming a receiving set,
the electrical energies of the nervous system radiate high-frequency vibrations which
afford the faculties of the unconscious mind the energies with which to perform their
work. Feeling or hypersensitivity plays no more part in such examination by the
unconscious mind on the inner plane than it does in a similar examination on the
physical plane, nor are the emotions more active.
The examination is conducted by the unconscious mind reinforced by the astral
energies provided by the high-frequency electromagnetic radiations of the nervous
system. This examination, which may include past and future as well as all aspects of
the present about which information is sought, is an intellectual appraisal the results
of which are not communicated to other sections of the nervous system, but, much as
something is remembered even though seen but a moment before, is communicated
directly to the brain as an Intellectual awareness.
The Brotherhood of Light ESP Research Department has found that the psychics
using Feeling ESP can acquire information readily from persons or other living
things which radiate strongly, or about people from objects which they have touched,
or from their thoughts; but do poorly with the ESP cards. Those among our students
who get the highest scores with the ESP cards, and in tests with inanimate objects in
which the human vibrations are absent, are those who, perhaps without knowing how
they do it, nevertheless, employ Intellectual ESP.
So far in our extensive investigation, and with numerous students who have made
tests with it, we have found no danger in cultivating Intellectual ESP.
Age of a Prince of Jerusalem
--Zerubbabel, while rebuilding the temple, was interrupted by the Samaritans who
finally forced him to abandon work. He thereupon sent an embassy to Darius,
representing the ruler of the winter sign entered into by the sun, who issued orders
prohibiting all persons from interfering with the work of construction on pain of
death on the cross of Aries. The lodge consists of two apartments connected by a hall.
The apartment in the west represents the western signs of the zodiac and is hung with
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yellow, the color sacred to Venus, which rules Libra, the sign of the western equinox
where Zerubbabel now holds court. The eastern apartment where the cabinet of
Darius is situated represents the eastern equinox of Aries; for Aries is the leader of
the eastern zodiacal signs. The hall connecting the two zodiacal divisions is the
solstitial colure.
The jewel of the order exemplifies the ritual accurately. It is a golden medal, or
zodiacal circle. On one side is a hand holding a balance, symbolizing the human soul
involving through Libra into the winter of matter, man entering into generate union,
and the five planets descending into the winter signs through the door of the autumnal
equinox. On the other side is a two-edged sword with five stars around its blade and
over it the letters D. Z. The sword symbolizes the vernal equinox. The five stars
represent man evolving into spiritual summer, man entering into regenerate union,
and the five planets emerging from the winter signs, victoriously crossing the vernal
equinox of spring. D. Z. are the initials of Darius and Zerubbabel, and also have an
esoteric significance. Thus the Hebrew letter Z means sword and symbolizes victory.
The soul enters matter through Libra, the door to realization, and emerges victorious
by means of the sword of intelligence, Aries. Man enters generation by D,
corresponding to the sex sign Scorpio, to realize sensation, but frees himself from
bondage by means of regeneration.
The candidate with four knights--the five symbolizing man--journey from the court
of Zerubbabel in Libra to the cabinet of Darius in Aries, and back to Libra,
completely circling the zodiac. Each time they pass through the hall they are attacked
by armed ruffians, symbolizing the struggle of the solar forces to become repolarized
at the solstitial points of Capricorn and Cancer. The password is Tebeth, which is a
Hebrew symbol for Capricorn, the point where the soul descends no lower and
becomes incarnated in the mineral. The sacred word is Adar, Hebrew symbol of
Pisces, the zodiacal sign in which thanks should be given for the completion of the
zodiacal temple. The age of a Prince of Jerusalem is said to be five times fifteen.
Fifteen signifies the passage of the twelve signs over the three visible angles, or one
diurnal rotation of the earth, which according to the Hermetic System of Astrology
measures out to man the events of one year of life. The fourth gate to the temple,
referring to the Nadir which is invisible, mythology informs us was always closed.
This explains why there were but three assassins. Five times fifteen also points
mystically to the sacred cycle of the soul, called Naronia, which governs the
expansion and contraction of the psychic forces and thought-cell energies within the
constitution of man. The age of a Prince of Jerusalem signifies that the candidate has
observed the Naronic cycles of soul development, explained in the 13th Award
Manuscript. from month to month and from year to year.
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Knights of East and West
--This degree is based upon a vision of St. John as given in the Apocalypse. The
book of seven seals is the septenary law of nature. The One Universal Principle is
refracted from seven sub-centers about the Spiritual Sun, partaking of the quality of
each medium through which it passes. As a definite portion of the divine essence
under the dominion of one of the planetary angels it bears the seal and is governed by
the laws relating to one planet. The twenty-four elders are the twenty-four hours, and
symbolize those who have endured through great time. The seven lamps are the
seven planetary angels. The four beasts, one with a head like a lion, one with a head
like a calf, one with a head like a man, and one with a head like an eagle, are the lords
of the zodiacal quadrants; and their many eyes looking within are the stars of these
quadrants which look within from the circumference of the constellations. Each
beast has six wings and rests not day and night, meaning that due to the earth's
diurnal rotation each quadrant flies by in six hours.
The candidate bares his arms and the wardens lance them so as to procure blood on a
napkin to represent those who have come out of great tribulation and washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. The blood of the lamb means the
spiritual life of regeneration by which the body is completely purified. The Master
then opens the seals of the great book. Opening the first he takes there from a quiver
of arrows and a crown. It represents Sagittarius and the planetary seal of Jupiter.
Opening the second seal he takes out a sword, signifying the sign Aries and the seal of
Mars. Opening the third seal he takes out a balance, representing Libra and the seal of
Venus. Opening the fourth seal he removes a skull, indicating the pale horse death,
the sign Capricorn and the seal of Saturn. Opening the fifth seal he finds a cloth
stained with blood, symbolizing the sign Virgo and the seal of Mercury. As the sixth
seal is opened the sun is darkened and the moon is stained with blood to indicate the
sign Cancer and the seal of the Moon. Opening the seventh seal he removes incense,
symbolizing Leo, the house of love, and also seven trumpets to show planetary
dominion, and thus the seal of the Sun. The four winds signify the aspirations of those
born in each zodiacal quadrant, and the precessional cycle which governs the
spiritual and mental influx received by men during different stages of evolution.
The draft on the floor, a heptagon in a circle, over the angles of which are placed
letters, represents the seven planetary angels surrounded by the zodiac. The six
elevated canopies in the north and the six in the south are the summer and winter
zodiacal signs, eleven of which are occupied by venerable Ancients who are the
ascended souls of those belonging to the state of life and degree of emanation of each
sign. The vacant seat is that from which Judas, the sign Scorpio, fell, later to be
occupied by the elect, or Eagle. The man in the center of the draft is the macrocosmic
man of the kabala.
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Knight of Rose Cross
--This degree is also called Sovereign Prince of Rose Croix de Harodin and Knight
of the Eagle and Pelican. There was once a tradition that the pelican feeds its young
with its own blood, hence it has been used as a symbol of sacrifice. The rose is the
ancient emblem of spring. Upon the cross it signifies the resurrection of the sun after
death on the autumnal cross, also signifies man regenerated. The eagle is sex, or
Scorpio, spiritualized. The special emblem of this degree is a pelican feeding her
seven young, on one side of her a rose and on the other side a sprig of cassia; above
her a radiant cross upon which climbs a rose. The pelican feeding her young
symbolizes the sacrifice of material aims to spiritual ideals. Each planet has its evil
side as well as a spiritual quality. The regeneration of all through sacrifice is
indicated by the seven young pelicans partaking of blood, or spiritual sustenance,
from their mother, who represents the universal mother Isis. The rose on the right
signifies the rejuvenating effect of partaking of spiritual nourishment; the cassia on
the left signifies immortality gained; and the radiant rosy cross above is the symbol of
the conscious translation to spiritual realms of those who have sacrificed all their
lower nature to the higher.
The lodge has three apartments. The first represents Calvary, or the autumn of life. It
is lighted with thirty-three candles to indicate full experience under the twelve
zodiacal signs and ten planets through the ten kingdoms of universal life, completing
the cycle of necessity. The thirty-third candle signifies transition to a new cycle.
Eleven lights are placed on each of three pillars six feet high. The number eleven (see
Course 6, The Sacred Tarot) signifies force. It is the force of the sanctified man on all
three planes, corresponding to the sun at the three visible angles, culminating six
hours after rising, setting six hours after culminating, and rising six hours after
passing the nadir, or material point, or plane below man. The second apartment
represents Christ ascending into heaven, and the third apartment represents hell;
symbolizing the relative conditions after death of the sanctified and the evil man.
The purpose of this assembly is said to be the recovery of the Lost Word. The means
of recovery is indicated by the candidate presenting to each of the brethren one pair of
men's gloves and one pair of women's gloves and two sticks of sealing wax,
symbolizing united work. The result is referred to as, "The moment when the word
was recovered; when the cubic stone was changed into a mysterious rose, when the
flaming star appeared in all its splendor; when our altars resumed their ordinary
form; when the true light dispelled darkness, and the new law became visible in all
our works." The cubic stone is physical gratification, which when the Lost Word is
found is transmuted into the rose of spiritual union, revealing the pole star, Truth;
illuminating all mysteries, causing oblation to be made to the soul rather than to the
senses, and work to be performed harmonious with the new laws thus discovered.
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Grand Pontiff
--The New Jerusalem as seen by St. John is the foundation of this degree. It is square
with twelve gates; and in the midst a tree bearing twelve kinds of fruit. Above the
earth, it descends upon the old Jerusalem crushing a three-headed hydra chained on
the ruins. The New Jerusalem is the celestial heavens bounded by the twelve zodiacal
constellations, or gates. The tree is that of immortal life, and the twelve fruits it yields
are the immortal souls of those born under each sign through which the sun passes by
precession of the equinoxes. The moon's nodes are known astrologically as the
dragon's head and tail. The dragon is the serpentine cycle of the moon;
corresponding to the cycle of the soul. The dragon has three heads, which symbolizes
that the cycle of necessity embraces three planes. The New Jerusalem, or angelic
realm, is attained only after the soul has successfully completed this cycle, leaving
the attractions of each realm conquered and chained to the plane of their origin. The
mountain at one side of the city indicates that the path to celestial realms lies along
the summit of the highest type of physical development and union.
Grand Master of All Symbolic
Lodges
--The brethren in this degree wear blue and yellow scarfs crossed in front and rear,
indicating the union of wisdom with love. The Wardens wear a jewel suspended from
the yellow scarf of love. It is a triangular golden plate with the word Secret on one
side and the letter R on the other. The Hebrew R symbolizes ascension. The jewel
signifies the secret rejuvenation of the soul through the power of love. The same
thought is more specifically expressed in the closing lecture: "My Brother, enter into
the cave of Silol, work with Grand Rofdam, measure your steps to the sun, and then
the great black eagle will cover you with its wings, to the end of what you desire, by
the help of the most sublime Princes Grand Commanders." The cave of Silol is union,
Rofdam is vibration, the sun refers to the virile power generated, and the eagle is the
spiritual plane contacted, by the help of whose denizens will be attained that which is
desired.
Chief of the Tabernacle
--This degree is based upon the establishment of the Jewish Order of Priesthood, and
their work of offering sacrifices. There are two side altars, one on the right in front of
a representation of the sun, for sacrifices; and one on the left in front of a transparency
of the moon, for incense. Man makes oblation of his animal nature to his ego, and
exerts his executive power to direct his energies to noble purpose. To his soul he
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offers the sweet incense of aspiration and loving thought. Both execution and
reception are necessary to propitiate his divine nature. The brethren, representing
Levites, wear white robes, symbols of purity. Over each robe is a scarlet sash
trimmed with gold fringe, and at the bottom on the right hip is a black rosette from
which hangs a golden censer. The black rosette symbolizes death on the physical
plane, and the scarlet sash symbolizes virile energies used to build up the spiritual
body, as signified by the censer. On the apron is pictured a golden chandelier with
seven branches, and on the flap is a violet colored myrtle. The chandelier symbolizes
the seven active principles of nature which are consciously utilized by the Magus.
Violet is the color sacred to Mercury. Myrtle is evergreen, and emits a
sweet-smelling odor. The violet myrtle symbolizes the intelligent use of the creative
principle which, typified by the flap, is directed to the construction of the spiritual
body, ruled by Mercury, and to the attainment of immortality as indicated by the
evergreen.
Prince of the Tabernacle
--The main apartment in this degree is made perfectly circular to represent the
zodiac. In the middle is a chandelier with seven branches, each branch having seven
lights. There is also a round table on which is a cluster of inflamed hearts and some
incense. The apartment symbolizes the zodiac as the cycle of life, and the seven
branches of the chandelier represent the septenary of planetary influences affecting
the physical under which the neophyte struggles. The other planets of the chain affect
man more through his mental and astral nature, thus operating indirectly to produce
physical conditions and events. The forty-nine lights symbolize seven branches of
astrology, seven branches of alchemy, seven branches of magic, man's septenary
constitution, seven physical senses, seven psychic senses, and seven states of
consciousness; all of which must be mastered before reaching adeptship. The
inflamed hearts symbolize the burning desire of the aspirant to learn the great truths
concerning life and immortality, and his devotion to the Cosmic Work which has
been given him to perform. The incense symbolizes the thoughts and aspirations
ascending to higher worlds. The candidate approaches the altar by six equal steps and
one long one. The long seventh step symbolizes that in evolution when the six states
below man from mineral up are passed, and the seventh state, the state of manhood, is
reached, there is offered the possibility of encompassing much in one life and gaining
heaven, as it were, in a single bound.
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Knight of Brazen Serpent
--This degree is founded upon the history of the brazen serpent set up by Moses that
those bitten by fiery serpents might look thereon and live. Fiery serpents symbolize
impure desires. The brazen serpent entwined on a T, or on a phallic Tau, symbolizes
wisdom of good and evil gained through experience with generation. Moses healed
his people of their licentiousness by teaching them the truths concerning generation.
And it is of equal importance today that proper generation should be understood. No
one can truly be regenerate until he has mastered the mysteries of generation. Those
who isolate themselves from the other sex in the hope of attaining regeneration
without passing through the intermediate grade of generation only deceive
themselves, and become bitten by the fiery serpents that infest the astral regions and
prey upon the imaginations of celibates.
The lodge is opened at one past meridian, the time when the sun is transiting the
house in the horoscope ruling instruction and philosophy. The nature of the
instruction is disclosed by the lodge being closed at four past meridian, the sun just
having completed its daily journey through the house of death, ruled by Scorpio, the
sign of sex. The serpent is of brass, a union of positive and negative metals; and on the
flap of the apron is the Hebrew feminine letter He, indicating the importance of both
man and woman to produce the serpentine spiral called life.
Prince of Mercy
--The Bible speaks of three sacred covenants: one with Abraham by circumcision,
one with the Israelites in the wilderness through the intercession of Moses, and one
with mankind through the resurrection of Christ. These are the acts of mercy upon
which the degree is founded. Circumcision is a rite symbolizing the passage of the
sun completely around the zodiac, and is performed to commemorate his virile
strength in triumphing over the forces of evil. Abraham means the father of a
multitude, and the first covenant signifies the law of physical union as applied merely
to multiplication of the species. Israel means one who wrestles with the Lord, and the
second covenant indicates the struggle to subjugate the law of multiplication to the
law of generation as taught by Moses; for generation is not confined to the production
of physical offspring. The third covenant made through the resurrection of the
mystical Christos after crucifixion on the material cross, refers to the laws of
regeneration.
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The jewel is a golden equilateral triangle, upon which is a heart with the Hebrew He
in the center. It symbolizes the receptive quality engendered by the affections
resulting in illumination. A special emblem of the Order is an arrow, the feather on
one side green, on the other side red, the shaft white, and the point gold. It symbolizes
the soul penetrating all mysteries by means of its spiritual illumination supported by
purity and guided by the dual attributes of execution and reception.
Sovereign Commander of the
Temple
--This is a Chivalric Degree. The Wardens wear the order of the degree about their
necks. It consists of a white ribbon edged with red, symbolizing purity and energy;
and having embroidered on it four Teutonic crosses, each indicating one cycle of the
sun past the solstices, and all symbolizing complete realization; the passage through
the three planes of the cycle of necessity, after the cycle of involution. From the
ribbon hangs a golden triangle upon which is engraved the Tetragrammaton, or
sacred name of Deity, meaning that the wearer has complied with the requisites of the
divine law on the three evolutionary planes. On the flap of the apron worn by the
brethren is a cross encircled by a laurel wreath, signifying victory over death; and on
the apron is a key, indicating that the region where the apron is worn is the key to
higher life and attainment.
Knights of the Sun
--This degree is said to be the key of historical and philosophical Masonry. It is
really the key to the history of the world and the philosophy of its inhabitants. Father
Adam is stationed in the east to symbolize primitive man, and Brother Truth in the
west to represent intellectual man. They signify the alpha and omega of the human
race. The lodge is lighted by a sun in the south. There are seven officers called
Zaphriel, Zebriel, Camiel, Uriel, Michael, Zaphael, and Gabriel. These are ancient
names for the seven planetary angels, who after God actuate the universe. The deific
radiance of Life, Light, and Love from the spiritual sun is refracted from these seven
sub-centers, and constitutes the source of all life, love, energy, and intelligence
manifest on earth. This one universal principle received from the sun enables man to
grasp truth, and this truth embraces the law of cycles. The sun's cycles are the key to
history and philosophy; for by calculating his precession at the vernal equinox at the
rate of 2,156 years through each sign, the quality of mental and spiritual force
received by humanity at any date can be determined. A definite section of this
precessional influence by sign is under the rulership of each of the planetary forces
named above
1
, and this directs the channels into which the mental and spiritual forces
are turned for its term of power; whether for military, artistic, literary, or other
purpose. And as the earth's climatic condition is determined by solar periods it will
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be seen that the physical environment as well as the intellectual and moral status of
the earth's inhabitants at any time past or future can be calculated within certain
limits by a true Knight of the sun. The jewel of the degree is a golden sun with a globe
engraved upon it, signifying that the earth owes its existence to the sun and depends
upon him for all. The sign is made by placing the hand upon the heart, the thumb
forming a square. The answer is to raise the hand with the index finger pointing to
heaven. It means that as the heart is the source of will and energy to the body, so is the
sun the source of all power in the solar system.
Knight of Kadosh
--This is a higher aspect of the principle exemplified in Knights Templar work, and
is also called Knight of the White and Black Eagle. The eagle is the symbol of sex
spiritualized, the power that carries the soul to higher spheres. The white eagle is
regenerate and spiritualized man, the black eagle represents woman similarly refined
and elevated. Five apartments are necessary, the first four typifying the zodiacal
quadrants, symbolizing the completion of the cycle of earthly experience. The fifth
represents the spiritual realm to which the adept has been translated. It is hung with
red to indicate action and energy. In the east is a throne over which is a crowned
double-headed eagle with wings outspread, holding in its talons a two-edged sword.
This is the reward awaiting the spiritualized man and woman, the white and black
eagles. The two-headed eagle represents the permanent reunion of soul-mates, both
intelligences occupying one body. The crown symbolizes the natural right to rule of
those who have attained this exalted state. The jewel of the order is suspended from
the neck of the eagle to indicate the victory won by love. On its breast is an equilateral
triangle bearing the letters of the Tetragrammaton, meaning that the sovereignty was
gained through obedience to divine laws on all three planes.
The candidate during initiation must climb a ladder having Two supports and Seven
steps. The supports of all initiation are the two pillars, Wisdom and Love. The steps
are the seven states from man to angel, the two-headed eagle symbolizing angelhood
attained. The crown of human life is the attainment of angelhood through the reunion
of the two portions of the ego, the reunion of soul-mates. Human no longer, the angel
then occupies a throne at the right hand of Deity.
Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
--The lecture of this degree explains, "That the mysteries of the Craft are the
mysteries of religion." The special emblem of the degree figures a human being
having two heads, one a man's and one a woman's. It stands on the back of a dragon,
the dragon crouched on a winged globe. On the globe is traced a trine, a four-sided
square and a cross dividing the globe into quadrants. The human being holds in his
right hand a compass, and in his left a square. In a semi-circle over him are the
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planets, each sending a ray to a cuirass on the front of which is the word Rebis. This
figure reveals man's past, and his future destiny. The globe is the earth, and the
dragon represents the cycle of necessity that the soul must travel. The globe is
winged to indicate its motion. The cross marking the quadrants represents the
crossing of the solstice and the equinox. At the lower solstice is the letter Z,
indicating the victory over matter. At the upper solstice is the letter I, representing the
divine fire that exalts the soul above matter. The trine and square on the earth, and the
numbers 3 and 4 accompanying each, symbolize the harmonies and discords through
which the soul evolved its septenary constitution and became a microcosm. The
feminine hand holding the square indicates the laws of physical union that were
obeyed, and the compass in the masculine hand that spiritual laws also have been
complied with. The rays of the seven planets converging on the breast-plate bearing
the word Rebis means that they have an influence and perfect correspondence within
this being. This figure stands on the dragon, having passed triumphantly through the
cycle of necessity, and has a man's head and a woman's head to indicate the two
halves of the divine soul permanently united. The whole is enclosed in an oval like an
egg to convey the idea that every immortal soul when united to its mate is the germ of
a future universe. The lodge is always on the top floor of a building, representing the
realm of spirit.
Knight of the Sword
--The Knight of the sword is intimately connected with the Prince of Jerusalem, and
is founded upon the first journey of Zerubbabel to Persia, during which he obtained
from Cyrus, King of Persia, permission to rebuild the temple and the freedom of
Jewish prisoners who had been held captive seventy years. Ten is the number
expressing cyclic duration. The seventy years refer to the seven cycles through the
seven states of life from mineral up to and including man during which the soul is
imprisoned in matter or the astral realm immediately associated with it. Cyrus
typifies the material captor, Saturn, the King of the winter zodiacal signs. He is said
to have had a dream as follows: "I imagined I saw a ferocious lion about to throw
himself upon me and devour me; his appearance terrified me, and I hastily looked for
shelter from his fury; but at that moment I saw my two predecessors, habited as
slaves, beneath a glory, which Masons designate by the name of the Grand Architect
of the Universe. I was made to understand two words which I saw issuing from a
blazing star. They signified, Liberate the Captives, and I understood that if I did not
do this my crown would pass from me to strangers."
The lion symbolizes the creative energy which misused destroys. It thus enslaves the
soul to the senses, making it a captive of its appetites while on earth, and after death
still bound to earth by the magnetic ties of its desires. The creative energy may be
used also to free the soul from the senses, even as Leo draws the sun from the domain
of Saturn. The blazing star is enlightened man, and the two words that liberate him
from bondage to the flesh are Wisdom and Love. The glory spoken of is represented
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in the lodge by a triangle in which is the ineffable name of Deity. It rests upon a
luminous cloud from which an eagle soars, carrying in its beak a banner on which are
the words, "Liberate the Captives." It is the eagle of spiritual love freeing the soul and
carrying it into brighter spheres than the sub-lunary realms of suffering where it so
long has sojourned.
Sovereign Grand Inspector
General
--The lodge of this degree is painted with skeletons and skulls and cross-bones. This
symbolizes association with the dead. The room is lighted with eleven candles, the
number symbolizing psychic force, and at the north of the pedestal on which rests the
Bible is a skeleton holding in its left hand the banner of the Order, and in its right hand
a poinard as in the attitude of striking. This signifies that while members of the
Supreme Council on the external plane are the physical instruments through which
are governed the lodges of any country, the real Masters have passed the borders of
physical life, yet are still potent to enlighten and protect those who have proved
worthy neophytes and to strike down any who attempt to desecrate and profane the
sacred mysteries. The jewel of this degree is the thirty-third degree emblem.
This emblem is a two-headed golden eagle, wings outspread, holding a sword in its
talons. From the two ends of the sword hangs a belt forming an under arc. Below the
outspread wings are thirty-two stars. Above and between the eagle's heads is a
golden crown surmounted by a Maltese cross. The upper bar of the cross touches an
inverted radiant trine having in its center the number thirty-three. The two-headed
eagle symbolizes two intelligences occupying one spiritual body, soul mates
permanently reunited in one form on the spiritual plane. An eagle is the symbol of sex
in its spiritual aspect; the two-headed eagle thus representing the fusion of two
spiritually evolved souls who have obeyed the inner promptings of their sexual
natures. In this final Masonic revelation is disclosed the reason that prompted the
ancients to commence the symbolic cyclic pilgrimage of the soul in the zodiacal sign
Leo; for Leo is the sign of that love which springs into existence as the result of
natural affinity between soul-mates. These were differentiated at the same moment
and constitute the eternal north and south poles of one deific ego. Leo, the mansion of
Sol, well represents the spiritual spheres of the angelic parents; and as the sign ruling
the house of love in a natural birth-chart it symbolizes that form of spiritual love
resulting from common angelic parentage and identical Cosmic Work. Love, as
signified by Venus and her signs, on the other hand, may be the result of planetary
affinity, mental compatibility, or other causes.
The belt suspended from the sword on which the reunited souls rest is the zodiacal
cycle of necessity from which they are now ready to soar, having risen superior to its
attractions by means of the intelligent use of the regenerate sword, the vernal
transmutation on the cross of Aries. This means is still further exemplified by the
words on the belt signifying, "To me God's Will is Law." And the result of the
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adoption of the spiritual life is signified by words above the belt meaning that Order
has been established from Chaos. The thirty-two stars under the wings represent the
twelve zodiacal signs, ten planets, and ten kingdoms of universal life under whose
influence the soul pilgrimaged. These kingdoms are: I Celestial, II Spiritual, III
Astral, IV Mineral, on the involutionary arc; and V Vegetable, VI Animal, VII
Human, VIII Astral, IX Spiritual, X Celestial, on the evolutionary arc.
The crown above the heads of the eagle symbolizes the ego to which both have
become united, completing the trinity and conferring upon them the crown of
everlasting life. The Maltese cross above the crown indicates the beginning of a new
cycle in realms above the spiritual, that they will now enter, which opens up vistas
and possibilities undreamed of by man. The ego, as it were, is at the lower solstice of
this new cycle; the upper solstice contacting the very presence of the triune God,
symbolized by the effulgent trine. Such is the exalted destiny of man. The number
thirty-three signifies the cycle of necessity having been completed that the
triumphant souls are translated to a new and higher round of life and action. The two
threes united as thirty-three indicate the union of two souls having had complete
experience on all three planes. And by their union their powers are multiplied as
greatly as is the case when the two separate threes are joined in the manner indicated.
Conclusion
The ancient Masons, or Magi, specialized in acquiring knowledge that would enable
man to live to his highest and make the most rapid spiritual progress. The information
thus gained they passed on to posterity in the language of universal symbolism. In
particular they emphasized these four things:
1.
That the soul survives physical death and sometimes communicates with those
still in the flesh. Also that man has faculties by which, while still on earth, he can
explore the inner plane where later he will dwell and prove for himself that
personality survives physical death.
They left instructions for the cultivation of such faculties, and for their use in
acquiring information. The Brotherhood of Light ESP Research Department is
engaged in ascertaining the details of the safest and most effective method of
employing these faculties.
2.
That energies from the planets exert an influence over human life and destiny.
The Brotherhood of Light Astrological Research Department is engaged in acquiring
as complete a knowledge as possible of these planetary influences, and of the precise
manner in which they influence human life.
3. That love is a powerful constructive agent. The basic vibratory level on which an
individual functions, now or in the hereafter, is determined by his own dominant
vibratory rate. This dominant vibratory rate is determined by his governing mood, or
feeling.
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Cold asceticism, intellectual activity, and disregard of the welfare of others cultivate
a dominant vibratory rate which enables the individual to contact only lower astral
levels. Family life, including the unselfish affections of parents for children,
provides opportunity for cultivating a high dominant vibratory rate, through which
alone upper astral levels or spiritual realms can be contacted.
Selfishness is the most unprofitable of all things. It chains the individual, until he
replaces it with love, to the animal levels of existence. Feelings engendered by
parenthood, by caring for the weak and helpless, by harmonious marriage, and by
eagerness to contribute to Universal Welfare, raise the basic vibratory rate, and this
alone permits spiritual progress.
4.
That thought is a powerful influence to shape human life and destiny. The
Brotherhood of Light Control of Life Research Department is engaged in
determining the most effective way of handling thoughts, feelings and planetary
energies to the end of controlling life and destiny.
Note
1. For further information on this subject see Elbert Benjamine, Astrological Lore of
All Ages
(Los Angeles: The Church of Light, 1945/1994).