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  Masonry as a Magical Act
Magick Posted by Adrian Dobbie on April 29, 2001 @ 01:28 PM
from the here-to-fraternity dept.

The works of Aleister Crowley expounding the Law of Thelema are now more widely published than even he could have foreseen. Books originally designed to be printed in limited editions on beautiful paper and sumptuously bound by hand can now be bought in well edited, mass-produced paperback versions in bookstores throughout the world, while whole documents can be downloaded from the internet for the price of a phone call. When Crowley was active, his writings only reached the very few who could afford them, or those who were already part of his (small) circle, but in the 21st century there is a wealth of information available to those with an attraction to the 93 Current. As a result of this explosion of interest in the works of Crowley, many options exist nowadays for those who choose to further their explorations into Thelema, from lone experimentation to joining an initiating body such as the O.T.O. or even forming independent working magical groups.


By its very nature, Thelema manifests differently for every individual. There is no right or wrong way to conduct one's experiments with the Thelemic paradigm. The personal relationship to Thelema can take any number of forms. Not all of these even incorporate Ceremonial work, whether individual or group based. In the wake of developments such as the rise of Chaos Magick and the information revolution, many modern magicians see little point in affiliating with orders like the O.T.O., while others more predisposed to graded initiation and structured study still reap many rewards from working within such groups.

In Crowley's day, one joined either the O.T.O. or the A.'.A.'. as the only real options for gaining the teachings expounded by the Thelemic system. The mutated Masonry employed by those orders tended to appeal to the sensibilities of the majority who sought the gnosis during that particular period of history, but today the information is out there for all who wish to see. Now you are as likely to find a thirteen year old net-surfer in possession of The Book of The Law as you are the learned occultist of thirty years' standing. In the view of the present writer this can only be a good thing. Although the O.T.O., for example, is still active in many forms, it is no longer imperative for the budding Thelemite to become an initiate of such orders. For some, it is simply an undesirable option. With a philosophy based as it is on individual evolution, many modern day adherents of Thelema are deeply mistrustful of established orders or groups, even the one re-structured by Crowley himself to embody the message of the New Aeon.

But what if you find yourself as a person with Thelemic leanings, more inclined to exploration of the ceremonial path, but for what ever reason unable or unwilling to commit to initiation into a strictly Thelemic order? The answer for some will undoubtedly lie in exploration of the roots of the Western Tradition through an involvement in regular Freemasonry.

The movement that gave birth to every important occult order of the late 19th and early 20th century is still the largest and most influential initiatory organization in existence. Its membership is said to be in the region of 6 million worldwide, a number that appears to be growing to this day. The origins of the Masonic movement -- which teaches veiled Qabalistic wisdom as well as the virtues of brotherly love, relief and truth through the use of allegory, symbolism and dramatized ceremony -- are unknown. It is not the intention of this article to speculate on the shadowy beginnings of the Craft, but rather to examine its status today and whether it has any relevance for the practising occultist at the start of the 21st century.

Traditionally the Masonic movement has been something of a haven for the mystic, occultist, freethinker, or scientist, a hotbed of radical thought and a breeding ground for revolution. At present, though, it is widely regarded as little more than a slightly sinister, secretive gentlemen's club that excuses its continued existence by donating large amounts of money to charity every year. Fundamentalist Christians deride Masonry as Satanic ("Former Mason reveals all about Baphomet!"), yet occultists on the whole see it as little more than an 'Old Aeon' order, patriarchal, conservative and monolithic, while its alliance to the Templar tradition makes it far too close to Christianity for comfort.

Although far from being an internationally unified Order, Masonry the world over is loosely based on the structure of graded initiation employed by the early Mystery Schools such as the ancient Egyptian priesthood. Initiates are drawn from many walks of life and are taken by degree through rituals pertaining to the fundamental mysteries of existence. The use of symbols that can be understood by any person of average intelligence regardless of their religious persuasion can be seen as one of the great strengths of the Masonic system. Craft (or entry-level) Freemasonry employs a three stage initiation process which takes its members through the grades of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. The methods and tools employed by stonemasons (to prepare rough blocks of stone in order that they may be used in the building of a Temple) are used as symbolic devices to illustrate the initiate's process of development through the Craft degrees. Allegorical stories alluding to the 'fact' that the original Freemasons were the architects and builders of the Temple of Solomon are also recounted to the candidate for his contemplation. Although the rituals contain mystical and religious overtones, the terms of secular religion are supplanted by description of god as being the 'Great Architect (or Geometrician) of the Universe,' implying that the divine force seeks to impose a grand design or order upon Creation.

Throughout its history, Freemasonry has managed to gain and maintain international popularity by paying lip service to the religions and leaderships common to the countries in which it appears, but this deliberate 'playing to the gallery' must not be confused with the real meaning behind the facade. For instance, as part of the ritual furniture in English Craft Lodges, a King James Bible lays open as the symbolic representation of the written word of god, but is never referred to as 'The Bible,' nor is any Christian emphasis placed on it or any of the workings in the Craft. Freemasonry is full of this kind of non-committal allusion to popular religion. This strategy enables it to bring in members who are still able to find some link to their own beliefs, while actually becoming involved in a 'modern' representation of the gnostic heresy. Veiled though it is, Freemasonry is actually a system teaching personal relationship with the divine, in contrast to conventional religion wherein one requires the mediation of an ordained priest. The culminating initiation in Craft Masonry is that of Master Mason, the third degree, where the candidate is lowered into a symbolic grave before being 'raised' as a new being. To all intents and purposes now his own priest, the new Master Mason can eventually look forward to not only becoming Master of his own Lodge, but also, if desired, gaining membership to any number of 'side degrees' open only to those of this rank.

So what the hell has all this got to do with being a Thelemite? Well, for many, absolutely nothing, but if you do harbor a desire to engage in ceremony, you may find that being able to do so in an environment devoid of Thelemic emphasis can actually be very much more instructive than it would appear at first glance. Crowley's writings are littered with exhortations to examine comparative religions or deliberately place oneself in uncomfortable or difficult situations as a method of pushing one's limits to encompass a greater amount of experience. If you choose to join Freemasonry as a Thelemite you will be doing just that. It is the opinion of the present writer that total adherence to the Thelemic philosophy without keeping an open mind with regard to other systems is oxymoronic and leads to becoming trapped in a restrictive reality tunnel much like any other. Rigid labelling of the self in such a fashion tends to draw one away from the formlessness that the magician seeks. Only by adopting different masks or identities can we hope to remain free from enslavement by the ego. Ultimately, the most powerful weapon at the disposal of the magician is the imagination. This can be put to good use by individuals who already have knowledge of the Thelemic use of symbol when participating in the rituals of Freemasonry.

Whatever your particular viewpoint on this, it can not be denied that Masonry was largely responsible for the occult renaissance in the West, giving rise as it did to the two orders with most import for the Thelemite, namely the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn and the O.T.O. Regardless of how you perceive these two systems, if you are a student of the works of Crowley it is important to bear in mind that his works regarding both Ceremonial and Sex Magick draw heavily on the teachings of the Masonic lineage of which Crowley was himself a part.

So if you decide that Freemasonry is worth a look and you happen to have a friend or associate willing to propose you, what are you likely to find once inside a Masonic Temple? Well, due to limitations of space/time this is not the place for a treatise on Masonic Symbolism -- if you are interested there are many books and websites on such matters, and it would be far better for you to draw your own conclusions on what you might find. Suffice it to say that Masonry is actually teaching what Mystery Schools, Old Aeon or New, have always taught, i.e. that the divine must first be sought within, and that by a process of initiation the candidate can become aligned with his or her own inner nature. Although there are no guarantees that by participating in Masonic ritual one will actually come to greater understanding of the mysteries of life, the structure of Masonry does build a conducive atmosphere in which the earnest seeker can make significant personal progress -- regardless of their religious or mystical preferences.

After his initiation into the Golden Dawn, Crowley was said to have been disappointed by the general qualities displayed by the order's membership. You may well find yourself echoing his sentiments if you join a Lodge of Freemasons. In this age of rampant capitalism, Masonry seems to have been somewhat hijacked by individuals motivated either by the prospect of fast-track promotion or political manipulation, or at the very least the desire to join an exclusive club where one is likely to procure business from the members, who supposedly favour their 'brethren' over others in such matters. Although a membership of this kind serves to swell the coffers of the order and ensures the upkeep of Temples and Lodges, Freemasonry today seems to be suffering from the near total lack of interest in its true aims by a significant proportion of it's members.

Of course, there are Masons who are excellent ritualists and they are to be commended in their work. But in the experience of the present writer, many modern day Masons view the ritual content of their meetings as perfunctory, a chore to be shuffled and mumbled through before the real business of eating, drinking, networking and socializing can commence. It seems that there are many Masons who although proud of their perceived status are unable to fully engage in the rituals of their Craft and give stuttering, lackluster performances which would have them kicked out of most serious occult orders for sleeping on the job! Nevertheless, the ritual structure is so effective in achieving success in terms of perpetuating the order, it leaves one to wonder how much more potent it would be if performed with proper intent by all participants.

What is needed to stop any further rot eating away at the essence of Freemasonry is an influx of members who are aware of the power of ritual and are able to lead by example by showing the proper levels of focus and intent. If you are a Thelemite experienced in ritual practice, but see no reason to investigate Freemasonry, I would suggest you reconsider. Examine your motives for ignoring Freemasonry -- are you simply uninterested or 'art thou afraid?' If Freemasonry really is as influential as we are lead to believe, surely a Thelemic presence within the system is desirable -- even if seen from the perspective of being behind enemy lines.

By participating in ritual which can be interpreted in Thelemic terms, yet devoid of any sectarian religious jargon, one finds that strong bonds are built with individuals that would not normally come into one's social or philosophical spheres. You will find that you have to project an appearance or persona other than that which you would normally adopt in purely Thelemic company. In so doing, the participant can remain relatively free from the danger of falling foul of the most hideous daemon Dogma, which so many self-proclaimed Thelemites are unfortunately prone to doing. This is not a criticism so much as an observation based on personal experience. It appears to the current writer that those who spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on the internet, picking over the fine points of Thelema whilst at the same time never getting involved in actual ritual practice would do well to look at the matter of developing a certain level of discipline in their lives in order to aid the deeper understanding of the system which they claim to expound.

Of course, Freemasonry is not the only way to build discipline in one's life (one may for example look into studying a martial art in order to do this), but the fact remains that to totally ignore Freemasonry is akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. After all, Thelema as we know it today would never have come into existence were it not for the Freemasonry studied by Crowley and his one-time mentors in both the Golden Dawn and the original O.T.O.



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    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by Martin Hettland. on Saturday May 05, @08:45AM
    Adrian is right in describing Masonry as "far from being an internationally unified Order."

    In 1904 Crowley had taken the third degree in the Craft of the Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343 in Paris.
    This Lodge was at that time governed by the French Grand Orient that do not demand its members to believe in God.
    The nonreligious French Grand Orient was not recognised by the British Grand Lodge which on the other hand Do demand its members to beleive in God, and hence it's members was not recognised as Masons.
    Therefore Crowley was never reconised as a Mason by the British Grand Lodge.

    If you are not willing to say that you believe in God, you will not be welcome in most American and English Lodges, I don't know if there are any Lodges governed by the French Grand Orient in Nort America, and in Sweden, Denmark and Norway you have to be a Christian if you want membership.

    The 'sisters' in the O.T.O. would also be banned from most Masonic Lodges, because they are for men only.

    Regards: Martin Hettland.

    • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
      by Adrian Dobbie on Tuesday May 08, @07:44AM
      Martin makes a very good point, one of the problems inherent within Masonry is the disagreement on points of detail between different rites. However, as Frater U.T. who comments below, points out, the individuals' relationship to the rites of Masonry in general are far more important than who recognises who as a 'real' Mason. If you have an interest, get involved rather than worrying unduly about joining the right camp. With regard to the question of belief in God as a prerequiste of membership, it all depends on how you personally view the word 'god'.

      Regards

      Adrian Dobbie


    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by Frater UT on Saturday May 05, @07:34PM
    Bro.Dobbie,
    I would be interested in how you have purged the Old Aeon teachings of Solomons Temple to justify a Thelemic Freemasonry?
    I will offer up one speculation I have used. The notion of the "G" meaning "God" seems rather shallow and over simple. But when it is interpreted in light of the verse from the Chaldean Oracles "God is he having a spiral force and the head of the Hawk" it takes on real meaning. I can look to the east and see the sprial force, radiating from the supernal triangle symbolized by "the letter G suspended in the east". Horus as described on the First Aethyr in the Vision and the Voice.
    And as far as the Sisters are concerned their is a wonderful lodge of Co-Masonry available, called Le Droit Humane.This lodge allows both men and women and uses the traditional masonic forms. It is not "recognized" by the "Grand Lodges" of the United States but to the "Thelemite" that is hardly a bar to attaining to the grades of Craft Masonry.

    Fraternally,
    Frater UT

    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by Tom Worrel on Thursday May 10, @05:48PM
    I appreciate many of the points of the article but must take issue with many parts. First your comments regarding the Bible. I have personally initiated candidates upon other VSL including the Koran and Liber Legis. But the symbolism of Masonry is from the Bible and if you have a problem with that you should not seek membership. Second, Masonry is a custodian of Truth which is ageless and not "aeon bound". Third, Blue Lodge masonry is not "entry level" as a Master Mason is considered just that symbolically. Fourth, I have been in Masonry for 15 years and have yet to see anyone initiated who thought to get ahead. Unless, getting ahead meant rubbing elbows with gardeners, chefs, retired people, and draftsmen. And brotherhood is one of the tenets of Freemasonry. If you don't like the people, then don't join for god's sake. And your comment about "behind enemy lines" betrays your ulterior motive. I have been in Thelemic groups, GD groups, and their ritual work pales in comparison to masons. IN conclusion, if you look deeply my brother, you may find what is truly concealed in the arts, parts, and points of the hidden mysteries therein.

    • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
      by Frater UT on Sunday May 13, @02:32PM
      Bro.Tom,
      You wrote: But the symbolism of Masonry is from the Bible and if you have a problem with that you should not seek membership.Second, Masonry is a custodian of Truth which is ageless and not "aeon bound".

      I am under the belief that Masonry does need to be purged for the Aeon. For while the ritual is based on historical accounts from the Bible, it does not imply that the Judaic interpretation of these historical events are still used today.Truth is stranger than fiction. Considering that the watered down version of the bible stories that we have received at the hands of the Christians are still being used to explain its enigmas. To discard the ages of propaganda surrounding the Bible and it's stories is vital to a True Freemasonry that involves Solomonic Energies and the hidden temple magick of the ancient Hebrew High-Priests. Something within Freemasonry is indeed 'ageless and not "aeon bound"', but to me, that would represent it's mystical core. The liturgy in the rites has changed forms so often to render it null. It is the geometric form, the notion of temple building, and the belief that through Initiation a personal contact with the Deity is possible that comprise this "mystical core",IMO. It is for these reasons that the mystical orders at the end of the Aeon chose to adopt a Masonic form of initiation. A better question is are these graded initiation schemas actually working at all in out times. I am beginning to have my doubts.
      One chief mystery of Blue Lodge is the Lost Mason's Word. This mystery is very relevant to Thelema. In Book 3, Verse two: There is a division hither homeward; there is a word not known. Spelling is defunct; all is not aught. Beware! Hold! Raise the spell of Ra-Hoor-Khuit! At the heart of both mysteries it is stated that something very important is lost. I see a New Aeon Freemasonry as Laboratory to discover the 'lost word' through geometrical temple initiations. It may be as simple as the name of your HGA, and that the murder of Hiram represents being divorced by the Self during incarnation or perhaps early ego-development when the psyche split in to Lower Will and Higher Will.
      In the final analysis, Freemasonry is ultimately a relationship between the Great Architect and a Temple Builder on a very personal and individual level. If it is to be purged, than this must take place in the inner fires of the individual. The exoteric order will remain that, an exoteric expression of the power of the mysteries. So powerful that they will be perpetuated blindly with little to no comprehension through the ages, for us to inherit, purge, and discover the lost rite!

      Frater UT

      p.s Was Solomon a Thelemite? I think he could pass for one of us: he practised ceremonial magick, worshipped the Goddess (presumably with sexual rites he learned from his many wives) as he willed, inherited a tradtion with its roots lost in Babylon and Egypt,in effect the perfect solar-king archytype.SOL-OM-ON. Sol-the Sun,Om-the Word 'utgita', On-the Angel.


      • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
        by Adrian Dobbie on Monday May 14, @09:58AM
        Dear Frater U.T.

        Well said, Sir!

        Adrian


      • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
        by Thomas D. Worrel on Monday February 11, @08:47AM
        I must admit that I have not been back to this page for some time. In reply to Frater UT: You mention something about Solomonic energies and the rites of the ancient Hebrew High Priests. I have to say that whatever you are talking about has nothing to do with Freemasonry. Possibly a little study of the history of Freemasonry would clear up those kind of misconceptions and frankly, unbased speculations. When you say New Age Freemasonry, I then understand where you are coming from. We had a magazine called "The New Age" (AASR) but changed it because we did not want to be associated with the new age movements.

        You also mentioned that mystical Orders at the end of the old aeon adopted Masonic forms of initiation. That is really too general a statement. The G.D. and OTO did because the founders were masons. There are several mystical and magical Orders who do not have any similarities with masonry.

        Fraternally,
        TW


    • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
      by Adrian Dobbie on Monday May 14, @05:47AM
      Bro. Worrel

      You make some very good points, however, I would just like to state my case regarding the those with which you have taken issue. If you have initiated candidates using other VSL, then were you not going against your own beliefs with regard to Masonry? Masonic symbolism is indeed heavily Biblical, but the stories themselves are allegories containing Universal Truths rather than historical facts. That they use Biblical symbolism does not mean that the Biblical paradigm is intrinsic to the Craft - did our Ancient Brethren in the times of Solomon have Bibles? What about the Cult of Mithras or the Rites of Eleusis etc. that also used initiation to bring about internal illumination? Masonry is the modern reflection of the Mystery Traditions, but in my view, the Bible stories in modern Masonry are there purely because the Craft as we know it today was conceived when that was the most popular religion. Actually, I do not have a problem with the VSL being a Bible as even Crowley's system of Thelema would not have come into existence without Christianity being part of the chain reaction that lead to the reception of the Book of The Law! Also, if you aren't interested in things Thelemic, then how did you come upon the article in the first place?

      You are indeed fortunate to have never encountered a candidate whose motives were less than pure - yours must be an excellent paragon of The J___ and P______ Lodge. Nevertheless I am aware of certain factions within the Craft who do not hold the excellent teachings of Masonry to be paramount, their eagerness to get to the bar after workings gives them away. My comment on 'being behind enemy lines' does not betray my ulterior motive - why one earth would I bother taking such a great step in life if I didn't even like the people I was allying myself to? The only enemies I would have are those who find themselves initiated without wanting to understand what the Craft is all about. My reason for joining was due to a great regard for Masonry - I am looking to help strengthen it, not help to break it down!

      As I believe that the only way to live life is to be as open-minded as possible, it continues to be a great source of enlightenment and pleasure to associate as a brother with so many that I would never have met otherwise. The article itself was meant for all, but my own motives I can assure you, are to be as useful and helpful to Masonry and my fellow creatures as I can possibly be - by active, focussed participation.

      Had I not been in agreement with your last point, I would have joined the GD or another recognised occult order, but as far as I am concerned, the arts, parts and points of Masonry are ignored at the peril of anyone engaged in work with the Western Tradition.

      Fraternally

      Adrian


      • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
        by Thomas D. Worrel on Monday February 11, @09:38AM
        Dear Adrian,

        In regard to your first question, about me initiating candidates on other VSL besides the Bible and, for some reason, you see that as going against my own beliefs? I do not know where you come up with that but I will try to explain it. Freemasonry is based upon biblical symbolism. Not Hindu, not Buddhist, etc. If someone has a problem with the Bible (because usually of their own childhood encounters) then they should reconsider participation. Why would one want to subject themselves to symbology they reject?
        We obligate on the VSL for obvious reasons and reasons which are told in the rite. In California, we allow other VSLs than the Bible, because that is what we stand for - unlike other orders which do not give you a choice (e.g. OTO). But, this does not change the fact that our symbolism is right out of the bible so its importance is obvious. So, initiating someone on their VSL in no way contradicts the importance of the Bible in Freemasonry.

        I am not sure what your comment regarding Solomon and the Bible is referring. These are all symbols to us. The Bible, Solomon, the Temple, etc are all symbols - it has nothing to do with the actual King Solomon.

        You also ask a question about my interest in Thelema and I really don't understand your point here either. I never said I was not interested in Thelema - again, where is that coming from? I have studied Thelema for 31 years.

        You seem bound and determined to try and pigeon hole masons as the bulk of them "eager to get to the bar." It is so odd that people love to perpetuate sterotypes even when they know better. Let me ask you: how many times have you seen someone under the influence (of something) over at Thelema lodge? How many Thelemites love to go out and party down after the rites - or during the rites? or before the rites? Are you not being a bit harsh on the masons?

        Then you say your only enemies are those who get initiated into the Craft without knowing what it is all about. You are dead wrong here. There are three principle tenets of Freemasonry - not one. It is ludicrious to think that every mason has to be a mystic. In my lodge, we have mystics and non-mystics, plumbers and lawyers, young and old, all stripes, all kinds. Masonry is about being a lodge, having deep friendships, caring about each other, helping each other grow - in freedom - not in some preconceived idea of what a mason should be. And yes, there are those of us who are really interested in the deepest traditions of Freemasonry. But we do not discount our other brethren who are not interested. That is their choice.

        If you are a mason, I invite you to come to our lodge in Mill Valley. And by the way, these guys who don't care to be mystics and magicians,interestingly enough sponsor meetings of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the Order Aurum Solis, and the Fraternitatis Lux Occulta in our lodge.

        Fraternally,
        TW


        • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
          by adrian dobbie on Tuesday February 12, @02:58AM
          Bro Worrell

          I thank you for taking the time to reply to my comments. It's funny how a certain amount of time can pass, and when we look again at our recorded thoughts and words they seem irrelevant, outdated or just plain immature. I'm not retracting anything in my article, which was written some time ago now, as it is a picture of how I viewed the subject at that time and as such may still have some use to others. I do however agree with you and your comments - having spent a little more time in the Craft I can now see far more clearly that it takes ALL sorts to make a Lodge and a World - if the world were full of mystics and naught else it would be a dysfunctional one. I concede! The time intervening between my writing the article and now has taught me much about taking any one belief system over another without due consideration of others, but by the same token I would rather that Masonry stayed true to it's Biblical symbolism rather than it fall prey to hasty revisionists with little true understanding of what the Craft can fully mean to the individual. The symbolism may be Biblical, but it remains potent nonetheless.

          Thanks for your invitation – I take it you are in the States, whereas I reside in England, but if I ever make it to your part of the world I would be delighted to be a guest at your Lodge.

          Fraternally

          Adrian


    • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
      by Adrian Dobbie on Monday May 14, @05:47AM
      Bro. Worrel

      You make some very good points, however, I would just like to state my case regarding the those with which you have taken issue. If you have initiated candidates using other VSL, then were you not going against your own beliefs with regard to Masonry? Masonic symbolism is indeed heavily Biblical, but the stories themselves are allegories containing Universal Truths rather than historical facts. That they use Biblical symbolism does not mean that the Biblical paradigm is intrinsic to the Craft - did our Ancient Brethren in the times of Solomon have Bibles? What about the Cult of Mithras or the Rites of Eleusis etc. that also used initiation to bring about internal illumination? Masonry is the modern reflection of the Mystery Traditions, but in my view, the Bible stories in modern Masonry are there purely because the Craft as we know it today was conceived when that was the most popular religion. Actually, I do not have a problem with the VSL being a Bible as even Crowley's system of Thelema would not have come into existence without Christianity being part of the chain reaction that lead to the reception of the Book of The Law! Also, if you aren't interested in things Thelemic, then how did you come upon the article in the first place?

      You are indeed fortunate to have never encountered a candidate whose motives were less than pure - yours must be an excellent paragon of The J___ and P______ Lodge. Nevertheless I am aware of certain factions within the Craft who do not hold the excellent teachings of Masonry to be paramount, their eagerness to get to the bar after workings gives them away. My comment on 'being behind enemy lines' does not betray my ulterior motive - why one earth would I bother taking such a great step in life if I didn't even like the people I was allying myself to? The only enemies I would have are those who find themselves initiated without wanting to understand what the Craft is all about. My reason for joining was due to a great regard for Masonry - I am looking to help strengthen it, not help to break it down!

      As I believe that the only way to live life is to be as open-minded as possible, it continues to be a great source of enlightenment and pleasure to associate as a brother with so many that I would never have met otherwise. The article itself was meant for all, but my own motives I can assure you, are to be as useful and helpful to Masonry and my fellow creatures as I can possibly be - by active, focussed participation.

      Had I not been in agreement with your last point, I would have joined the GD or another recognised occult order, but as far as I am concerned, the arts, parts and points of Masonry are ignored at the peril of anyone engaged in work with the Western Tradition.

      Fraternally

      Adrian


    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by Bryan Hooper on Wednesday October 10, @08:10AM
    Well done! An excellent read...
    As a past master of the largest masonic lodge in
    British Columbia Canada (242 members) I have found
    freemasonary as an excellent base on which to build my Thelemic and Magickal studies......

    • Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
      by Eric Evenhuis on Wednesday October 24, @02:29PM
      As the Senior Deacon in my Masonic Lodge and a new student to the Law of Thelema, I would like to add my 2 cents.
      Many of you who are not Masons may not realize the Magickial Value of the Masonic Lodge, I know I didn't until I met a Future Brother and a Thelemite. After going through the Ritual with him and then asking his thoughts from a Thelemic point of view I began to realize that everything we do in the Lodge has Magick to it and I would hope that there would be more Thelemites in Freemasony, not just for the Thelemites sake but for what Thelema can do for Freemasony.

      Fraternally,
      Eric Evenhuis
      Senior Deacon/Webmaster
      Weber Lodge #6
      http://www.geocities.com/weberlodge6


    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by starphoenix on Wednesday April 03, @11:24AM
    Hello Adrian -

    You cover a lot of ground in your exhaustive article and most of it ground that to some degree 'states the obvious' - but nonetheless you draw our attention to an institution, the grey eminence of which, we sometimes overlook due precisely to its lack of color.

    I'm Irish and at one time my father considered joining the Masons - referring to it somewhat facetiously as going off to 'ride the goat'.

    While I fully understand your point of view I remain miffed by one fundamental difficulty. The symbols and rites of Masonry, although undoubtedly of interest to the mystic and the antiquarian or the merely impressionable, aren't Thelemic. Thelema is a very specialised current, bearing the number 93. So I fail to understand why or how Masonry should hold esoteric appeal for we who stand beneath the banner of Horus.

    Maybe I'm missing something here ... and I don't mean to be placing you in the ranks of gullible, but we are two talking about two different animals when we compare Thelema and Masonry as it is practiced - even Masonry of the Scottish Rite.

    You spoke of A.C.'s injunction to the Thelemite to place his or her self in situations that may be experienced as unfamiliar and uncomfortable. The Lodges of Thelema are often exactly this, because they are working a current that is dynamic and that births highly individual players. Joining a Thelemic Lodge is a bit like applying for 'Survivor' - you will be challenged- but isn't that what its all about?

    Going to the Masons seems like a cop out to me, because it allows the aspirant the luxury of self-indulging in the armchair of middle class spirituality. While I'm sure there are many Masons who rise to the call, there are also legions of the dead who show up in the Temples to play the part.

    I would much rather be a part of a live and dynamic seed, than an autumnal leaf on a ancient and tired tree that seriously needs pruning!

    Love under will.

    Re: Masonry as a Magical Act
    by adrian dobbie on Thursday April 04, @06:05AM
    93 Starphoenix

    You make some very good points - and to a certain degree (no pun intended) I agree with your posting. To clarify my position, I do not see Masonry as Thelemic per se, but rather Masonry has had such an influence on the formation of Thelema as a system in its own right that I feel it deserves investigation. Many members of Thelemic Lodges style themselves Masons but remain ignorant of experience within a regular Masonic Lodge. This is somewhat akin to the old addage about knowing all about chocolate without ever having tasted it. Experience is Gnosis in my book and that is why I chose to investigate Masonry as an aspect of my daily Magickal Work. To address your allegation of 'Middle Class Spiritualism' I would say this - I have met many Masons who one could describe as middle class - but many who are definitely not in that category. Infact I was amazed at the multilayered, multicultural brotherhood that exists in the Order. I have to say that my initial thoughts on Masonry - long before I got involved - were negative in the extreme. I had read widely on the subject and had come to the very conclusions that you yourself allude to, but having experienced the Order from the inside, rather than forming romantic assumptions has been a 'klesha smashing' excercise I would not have missed for the world. I conclude by saying that although Masonry is not Thelemic, it can be interpreted as such by an individual who 'stands under the banner of Horus' - if it is his(or her) Will.

    Best regards

    Adrian

    93 93/93

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