BEYOND MASONIC SYMBOLS
Extracted from Unity Magazine, July 1918, page 15
[The following detached extracts from “Three Master Masons,” a book by Milton A. Pottenger, a 32d degree Mason of St. Joseph, Mo., will be especially interesting to the students of Truth who have discerned the unity between esoteric Christianity and Freemasonry.]
THIS IS the true initiation. Ages ago, we are told, the Egyptian hierophants, after trying most severely the physical endurance and devotedness of their initiates, displayed to them certain symbolic representations, explaining to them nothing, but leaving the neophytes to discover the meaning for themselves. Some there were who discovered nothing, and who thus gained no wages for the trials they had endured; others, however, found their intelligences gradually awakened. New conceptions formed within their brains under the stimulus of the symbols which were kept constantly before them. Then followed spiritual unfoldment, the arousing of new perceptions, the development of latent powers, the leading of the quickened inner self into channels previously unknown. The blind were brought by ways that they knew not; they were led into paths that they had not known; darkness was made light before them, and crooked things straight.
As the body of the individual is the medium or vehicle through which the individual mind or spirit expresses itself, so the universe in its entirety is the body or medium through which the universal mind or spirit of God finds visible expression. . . . The spirit or mind of man acts through all his parts or members and organs of which his body is composed. He is glorified—made manifest—in and through them. As they respond to his will he is joyful. . . . Man’s physical body is a reflection of his mental or spiritual body, and just so the physical universe, including the sun and the starry heavens, is a reflection of the spiritual or mental universe, quite as real from the standpoint of mind as die material universe is real from the standpoint of matter.
Every man has his ideal woman. Every woman has her ideal man. Being unable to make the divine union of marriage (a union of the lower self with the higher, which simply means to recognize one’s own conscience), they take a substitute, and the union intended really becomes a separation, as the substitute wife or husband proves to be more attractive than the higher self. . . . Marriage then becomes a symbol of a universal law. It tells us in symbolic language that man has a bride or nature; that his own spirit or nature is his bride. . . . Every human soul is a reflector of divine love; every world is a radiator, by the medium of the life upon it.
If you had the power to speak the truth from the standpoint of soul, you could command the world to dissolve and immediately it would disappear. Truth is a most fearful and powerful weapon.
Masonry is a progressive moral science. It is taught by allegory and illustrated by symbols. An allegory, as you know, is not the truth, but something calculated to hide the truth, and yet so constructed to reveal it to those who possess the power to look behind the scenes or read between the lines.
Each human being is a soul or an idea of the great soul, the universal mind, and the only way a soul gains wisdom is by repeated births and deaths, each life or expression being an added strand in the cabletow of the individual life. . . . If, then, in the realm of the soul there is no time, you can comprehend what Christ meant when he said, “Before Abraham was I am.” Masonry teaches, then, by its symbols the laws of soul growth, or the unfolding of wisdom and the revelation of truth; and the candidate is a symbol of the soul of man, while the lodge room is a symbol of the universe. . . . Knowing that the fountain of life resides within himself, that its waters are pure or defiled according to the condition of his own mind, he comes into a realization of the fact that he is now a Freemason or builder, and no longer bound by the cabletow of necessity. No longer does he mechanically respond to the demands of time like the wheels of a clock. Being a free worker in the great temple of the universe, and knowing that every soul is, like himself of God (the Universal Mind), and destined for the same goal, he need take no obligation to regard man as his brother, neither need he be sworn to protect the virtue of woman; because he sees in every woman his own mother, sister or daughter, and in every man a brother. Simply to discover these virtues as being at his command, however, is not sufficient. He must incorporate them in his daily life by living them, as he comes in contact with humanity.
There is an ancient legend in connection with the building of King Solomon’s Temple, which relates that all the stones and timbers that were used were prepared in the quarries and forests of Lebanon, transported to Joppa on the sea coast, and then floated to the temple, where they were fitted into place without any further hewing, cutting or shaping. So perfectly were the materials prepared that the various parts fitted together without the sound of any metal tool being heard.
This is simply a Masonic kindergarten story, setting forth the labors of the soul during the nine months of gestation, for the materials that enter into the formation of the human foetus are floated to it through the umbilical cord, and the work of building is done from within. Pure arterial blood from the mother’s heart is sent through this umbilical cord to the builder, the soul, which works in secret and not having mortal eyes in darkness, erecting a physical temple for its future habitation, and the materials are fitted into place by the supreme power of love.
If we could think of God, not as a person nor as a spirit, but as Divine Mind, we might then come nearer comprehending what Job meant when he said: “There is a spirit [mind] in man, and the inspiration [breath] of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” . . . A compass describes a perfect circle, and a perfect circle is without beginning or end. It is therefore, a symbol of Divinity—the infinite, perfect mind, that mind which is limitless, boundless, and which includes within itself all real things—that mind which is at once all things, and yet no particular thing. . . . As the mind of man enlarges, and as he grows mentally and his consciousness enlarges, his sphere of activity and usefulness enlarges. He comprehends more of the Divine or Deific mind, and he finds himself the center of a larger world of thought. As a point he remains the same, but his mental sphere or circle of consciousness enlarges.
Give your mind freedom of action; place no restriction upon your search for truth; allow your mind full and perfect expansion, and your circumference of thought will expand into regions of unknown bliss and wisdom. Mortality will be swallowed up in immortality. Man is mind. He is constantly working in mind, and his mental picture language is followed by his word language, for he first sees his plans in a mental picture, and strives to externalize that mental picture.
We do not know what perfect health and harmony is because we believe in sickness. . . . Seeing is a mental faculty. . . . Just think for a moment how absolutely impossible it would be for a perfect mind, such as the Divine Mind must be, to conceive or give expression to an imperfect thought, which would necessarily be the process if one person or human being should be created more perfect than another. How could one idea be more like God than another—for that is all we are, simply ideas of the Divine Mind?
Adam is a human name applied to one man whose dominant principles were not innocence, childlike faith and pure-mindedness. . . . Pre-Adamic man was perfect in body and mind; he had no other mind but the Divine Mind. His trust was in God (himself) and he feared no evil for evil was unknown. All were of one mind. If you and I could read and know each other’s minds, language would be unnecessary; or at least it would not be necessary for us to use our vocal organs, and clothe our ideas in audible words and sentences. We would not divide the raiment of truth.
The world, including man, is a compound idea of infinite mind, and Jesus the Christ the most perfect type of man so far evolved. He claimed to be conscious of life before Abraham was, and to be at one with God before the world was in existence. . . . Disease cannot be of the creative mind, for the creative mind of God could not make disease and pronounce it good. Therefore it follows that pain is not of divine origin. . . . In the twenty-eighth degree of the Scottish Rite, the candidate is instructed as follows:
“God is the principle of everything that exists, and the Father of all beings. He is eternal, immovable, and self-existent There are no bounds to his power.”
“God is the first; indestructible, eternal, uncreated, indivisible. Wisdom, justice, truth, mercy, harmony and love, are all of his essence, and eternity and infinitude of extension. He is silent and consents with mind, and is known to souls through mind alone. In him were all things originally contained, and from him all things were evolved. From the divine silence and rest, after an infinitude of time, was unfolded the Word, or the Divine Power, and then in turn the mighty, ever-acting, measureless intellect; and from the Word were evolved the myriads of suns and systems that make the universe; and fire and light, and electric harmony, which is the harmony of spheres and numbers; and from the intellect, all souls and intellects of men.”
He is in constant communion with God. who speaks to him through the medium of conscience, and as the sound of the gavel is obeyed by the fraternity, so should the individual Mason respect the sound of the gavel of conscience, for it is the word of the law—the Master.
It is to man’s recognition of time that he really owes his downfall. Before time began or was known to man he was an immortal, but when he recognized time he became mortal, and therefore subject to death. With God there can be no future and no past—but one eternal Now. Time belongs to worlds—to planets—suns and systems of suns. . . . It is the false belief of heredity that like begets like. . . . Truth being impersonal, it follows that our father and mother are principles and not persons, and to such degree as we can think, speak and act truth, we are like our Father which is in Heaven, and the mantle of truth remains undivided. That is personal and individual which has limitations, boundaries and form and which are subject to change. That is impersonal which cannot be confined or limited, and which is forever the same under all conditions. You as an individual understand the impersonal principles of mathematics, such as multiplication, division, addition and subtraction, and while* you comprehend them they are also the property of anyone who can grasp them; but their comprehension must be mental.
If the Christ had had no other possessions than were visible to the physical sense at the time of the crucifixion, he would never have been seen or heard from after his body had been deposited in the tomb. But he had other possessions and those other possessions are the real secrets of a Master Mason, and are indestructible. . . . Every Mason is told that he is not only a humble workman engaged upon a spiritual temple, eternal in the heavens, but that he is a living stone in that temple, and that he is to present this stone (his mental body) to the Supreme Architect without a mar or blemish. The culminating lesson of the Master’s degree is the demonstration made to prove that life is eternal, and that it requires a master of life’s principles to speak the Word of Life that raises the dead.
God is omnipresent. You have but to ask a mental question, earnestly desiring a spiritual interpretation of the emblem, and the truth will be revealed to you. You may accept it as axiomatic that in no other way will the true Master ever recover the Lost Word or discover the Grand Secret . . . Mary, the mother of Jesus, discovered or perceived the spiritual law of God within her own consciousness and gave to that mental conception a physical body; in other words she established the mind of God in human form, and thus was established on earth the kingdom of heaven or the laws of divine mind.
The most noble gift of heaven to humanity is love; and woman is the embodiment of love. She is, however, powerless to express or manifest her love without the presence of wisdom or the male principle, the plumbline. . . . Faith is knowing that what you may pray for is already created and in existence in the Divine Mind and only needs recognition by yourself to become a reality. . . . Love is the Mother mind; Wisdom is the Father mind. Truth is the hypothenuse or the Word of God—that which is to become flesh and dwell among men. . . . The Masonic legend states that Solomon had the wisdom to “contrive” the house, but Hiram, King of Tyre, furnished the “strength” to establish. This is a very brief but accurate account of the female principle, as personified by Hiram. The feminine principle is as often crowned a ruler as the masculine. Therefore King Hiram, though a man, could represent in the legend the female principle. . . . So long as man dwells in houses made of clay, or houses made by the exercise of the five senses, he is a Fellowcraft Mason, mistaking his human education for divine wisdom.
Evil is the darkness of mortal mind, in which the light of the attributes of God is present, but the darkness comprehendeth it not.