Monday, 13 December 2010

Morals and Dogma - Chapter 2 The Fellow-craft degree

"Masonry, successor of the Mysteries, still follows the ancient manner of teaching.  Her ceremonies are like ancient mystic shows - not the reading of an essay, but the opening of the problem, requiring research, and constituting philosophy the arch-expounder.  Her symbols are the instruction she gives.  The lectures are endeavors , often partial and one-sided to interpret these symbols.  He who would become an accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear, or even to understand the lectures; he must aided by them, and they having, as it were, marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and develop these symbols for himself  "

So begins the second chapter of Bro. Pike's Morals and Dogma - reading and re-reading this paragraph, it still resonates deeply.  Bro. Pike proclaims Freemasonry as the natural successor to the ancient mystery schools of Pythagoras, the Essenes, the rites of the Egyptians..that Freemasonry is influenced by the very fabric of social history - a history that gave us scientific breakthrough and new spiritual outlooks.

Bro. Pike looks at how the teachings of the ancient mysteries have changed since many of their teachings left Egypt and how these mysteries have been transplanted into various nations througout the earth, changing some of their essence and mis-translating or potentially losing their key messages.

Bro. Pike ascerts the original messages of the ancient mystery schools were:

"It was but a development of the original purpose of the Mysteries, which was to teach men to know and practice their duties to themselves and their fellows, the great practical end of all philosophy and knowledge"

The practical end of these duties seem to be the freedom of man in thought, word and deed, a freedom against the tyranny of spirit, which can easy overcome us - if we for one moment see ourselves as mere 'drones' of the system. My friends you are a free person, free to think and feel whatever you wish - this is the most precious truth of existence, this makes you conscious of your duties regarding choices in life.  If you were not free in a personal and indeed theological sense, you would have no real duty, for choice would not exist - and life is meaningless.

"Truths are the springs from which duties flow; and it is but a few hundred years since a new Truth began to be distinctly seen.  That MAN IS SUPREME OVER INSTITUTIONS, AND NOT THEY OVER HIM.  Man has natural empire over all institutions.  They are for him, acording to his development; not he for them."

"Once revealed , it imposed new duties on men.  Men owed it to himself to be free.  He owed it to his country to seek to give her freedom, or maintain her in that possession.  It made Tyranny and Usurpation the enemies of the Human Race.  It created a general outlawry of Despots and Despotisms, temporal and spiritual.  The sphere of duty had increased.  Patriotism had, henceforth, a new wider meaning.  Free Government, Free Thought, Free Conscience, Free Speech!"

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