THEOSOPHY, Vol. 58, No. 11, September, 1970
(Pages 334-342; Size: 27K)
(Number 35 of a 36-part series)



WHAT was then that mysterious name, that mighty "word" through whose potency the Hindu as well as the Chaldean and Egyptian initiate performed his wonders? In chapter cxv of the Egyptian Funeral Ritual, entitled "the chapter of coming out to the Heaven ... and of knowing the Spirits of An" (Heliopolis), Horus says: "I knew the Spirits of An. The greatly glorious does not pass over it ... unless the gods give me the WORD." In another hymn the soul, transformed, exclaims: "Make road for me to Rusta. I am the Great One, dressed as the Great One. I have come! I have come! Delicious to me are the kings of Osiris. I am creating the water (through the power of the Word).... Have I not seen the hidden secrets ... I have given truth to the Sun. I am clear. I am adored for my purity." In another place the mummy's roll expresses the following: "I am the Great God (spirit) existing of myself, the creator of His Name.... I know the name of this Great God that is there."

Jesus is accused by his enemies of having wrought miracles, and shown by his own apostles to have expelled demons by the power of the INEFFABLE NAME. The former firmly believed that he had stolen it in the Sanctuary. "And he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick" (Matt. 8:16). When the Jewish rulers ask Peter (Acts 4:7): "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" Peter replies, "By the NAME of Jesus Christ of Nazareth." But does this mean the name of Christ, as the interpreters would make us believe; or does it signify, "by the NAME which was in the possession of Jesus of Nazareth," the initiate, who was accused by the Jews to have learned it but who had it really through initiation? Besides, he states repeatedly that all that he does he does in "His Father's Name," not in his own.

But who of the modern Masons has ever heard it pronounced? In their own Ritual, they confess that they never have. The "Sir Orator" tells the "Sir Knight," that the passwords which he received in the preceding degrees are all "so many corruptions" of the true name of God engraved on the triangle; and that therefore they have adopted a "substitute" for it. Such also is the case in the Blue Lodge, where the Master, representing King Solomon, agrees with King Hiram that the Word * * * "shall be used as a substitute for the Master's word, until wiser ages shall discover the true one." What Senior Deacon, of all the thousands who have assisted in bringing candidates from darkness to light; or what Master who has whispered this mystic "word" into the ears of supposititious Hiram Abiffs, while holding them on the five points of fellowship, has suspected the real meaning of even this substitute, which they impart "at low breath"? How few new-made Master Masons but go away imagining that it has some occult connection with the "marrow in the bone." What do they know of that mystical personage known to some adepts as the "venerable MAH," or of the mysterious Eastern Brothers who obey him, whose name is abbreviated in the first syllable of the three which compose the Masonic substitute -- The MAH, who lives at this very day in a spot unknown to all but initiates, and the approaches to which are through trackless wildernesses, untrodden by Jesuit or missionary feet, for it is beset by dangers fit to appall the most courageous explorers? And yet, for generations this meaningless jingle of vowels and consonants has been repeated in novitiate ears, as though it possessed even so much potency as would deflect from its course a thistle-down floating in the air! Like Christianity, Freemasonry is a corpse from which the spirit long ago fled.

In this connection, place may well be given to a letter from Mr. Charles Sotheran, Corresponding Secretary of the New York Liberal Club, which was received by us on the day after the date it bears. Mr. Sotheran is known as a writer and lecturer on antiquarian, mystical, and other subjects. In Masonry, he has taken so many of the degrees as to be a competent authority as regards the Craft.... Following is the letter, which we place before the Masons as we desire that they should see what one of their own number has to say:

                NEW YORK PRESS CLUB, January 11th, 1877.

In response to your letter, I willingly furnish the information desired with respect to the antiquity and present condition of Freemasonry. This I do the more cheerfully since we belong to the same secret societies, and you can thus better appreciate the necessity for the reserve which at times I shall be obliged to exhibit. You rightly refer to the fact that Freemasonry, no less than the effete theologies of the day, has its fabulous history to narrate. Clogged up as the Order has been by the rubbish and drift of absurd biblical legends, it is no wonder that its usefulness has been impaired and its work as a civilizer hampered. Fortunately the great anti-Masonic excitement that raged in the United States during a portion of this century, forced a considerable band of workers to delve into the true origin of the Craft, and bring about a healthier state of things. The agitation in America also spread to Europe and the literary efforts of Masonic authors on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Rebold, Findel, Hyneman, Mitchell, Mackenzie, Hughan, Yarker and others well-known to the fraternity, is now a matter of history. One effect of their labors has been, in a great measure, to bring the history of Masonry into an open daylight, where even its teachings, jurisprudence, and ritual are no longer secret from those of the "profane," who have the wit to read as they run.

You are correct in saying that the Bible is the "great light" of European and American Masonry. In consequence of this the theistic conception of God and the biblical cosmogony have been ever considered two of its great corner-stones. Its chronology seems also to have been based upon the same pseudo-revelation. Thus Dr. Dalcho, in one of his treatises asserts that the principles of the Masonic Order were presented at and coëval with the creation. It is therefore not astonishing that such a pundit should go on to state that God was the first Grand Master, Adam the second, and the last named initiated Eve into the Great Mystery, as I suppose many a Priestess of Cybelè and "Lady" Kadosh were afterward. The Rev. Dr. Oliver, another Masonic authority, gravely records what may be termed the minutes of a Lodge where Moses presided as Grand Master, Joshua as Deputy Grand Master, and Ahohab and Bezaleel as Grand Wardens! The temple at Jerusalem, which recent archæologists have shown to be a structure with nothing like the pretended antiquity of its erection, and incorrectly called after a monarch whose name proves his mystical character, Sol-Om-On (the name of the sun in three languages), plays, as you correctly observe, a considerable share in Masonic mystery. Such fables as these, and the traditional Masonic colonization of ancient Egypt, have given the Craft the credit of an illustrious origin to which it has no right, and before whose forty centuries of legendary history, the mythologies of Greece and Rome fade into insignificance. The Egyptian, Chaldean, and other theories necessary to each fabricator of "high degrees" have also each had their short period of prominence. The last "axe to grind" has consecutively been the fruitful mother of unproductiveness.

We both agree that all the ancient priesthoods had their esoteric doctrines and secret ceremonies. From the Essenic brotherhood, an evolution of the Hindu Gymnosophists, doubtless proceeded the Solidarities of Greece and Rome as described by so-called "Pagan" writers. Founded on these and copying them in the matter of ritual, signs, grips, passwords, etc., were developed the mediæval guilds. Like the present livery companies of London, the relics of the English trade-guilds, the operative Masons were but a guild of workmen with higher pretensions. From the French name "Maçon," derived from "Mas," an old Norman noun meaning "a house," comes our English "Mason," a house builder. As the London companies alluded to present now and again the Freedom of the "Liveries" to outsiders, so we find the trade-guilds of Masons doing the same. Thus the founder of the Ashmolean Museum was made free of the Masons at Warrington, in Lancashire, England, on the 16th October, 1646. The entrance of such men as Elias Ashmole into the Operative Fraternity paved the way for the great "Masonic Revolution of 1717," when SPECULATIVE Masonry came into existence. The Constitutions of 1723 and 1738, by the Masonic impostor Anderson, were written for the newly fledged and first Grand Lodge of "Free and Accepted Masons of England," from which body all others over the world hail to-day.

These bogus constitutions, written by Anderson, were compiled about them, and in order to palm off his miserable rubbish yclept history, on the Craft, he had the audacity to state that nearly all the documents relating to Masonry in England had been destroyed by the 1717 reformers. Happily, in the British Museum, Bodleian Library, and other public institutions, Rebold, Hughan and others have discovered sufficient evidence in the shape of old Operative Masonic charges to disprove this statement.

The same writers, I think, have conclusively upset the tenability of two other documents palmed upon Masonry, namely, the spurious charter of Cologne of 1535, and the forged questions, supposed to have been written by Leylande, the antiquary, from a MS. of King Henry VI of England. In the last named, Pythagoras is referred to as having -- "formed a great lodge, at Crotona, and made many Masons, some of whom travelled into France, and there made many, from whence, in process of time, the art passed into England." Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, often called the "Grand Master of Freemasons," was simply the Master or President of the London Operative Masons Company. If such a tissue of fable could interweave itself into the history of the Grand Lodges which now have charge of the first three symbolical degrees, it is hardly astonishing that the same fate should befall nearly all the High Masonic Degrees which have been aptly termed an incoherent medley of opposite principles."

It is curious to note too that most of the bodies which work these, such as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Rite of Avignon, the Order of the Temple, Fessler's Rite, the "Grand Council of the Emperors of the East and West -- Sovereign Prince Masons," etc., etc., are nearly all the offspring of the sons of Ignatius Loyola. The Baron Hundt, Chevalier Ramsay, Tschoudy, Zinnendorf, and numerous others who founded the grades in these rites, worked under instructions from the General of the Jesuits. The nest where these high degrees were hatched, and no Masonic rite is free from their baleful influence more or less, was the Jesuit College of Clermont at Paris.

That bastard foundling of Freemasonry. the "Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite," which is unrecognized by the Blue Lodges was the enunciation, primarily, of the brain of the Jesuit Chevalier Ramsay. It was brought by him to England in 1736-38, to aid the case of the Catholic Stuarts. The rite in its present form of thirty-three degrees was recognized at the end of the eighteenth century by some half dozen Masonic adventurers at Charleston, South Carolina. Two of these, Pirlet a tailor, and a dancing master named Lacorne, were fitting predecessors for a later resuscitation by a gentleman of the name of Gourgas, employed in the aristocratic occupation of a ship's clerk, on a boat trading between New York and Liverpool. Dr. Crucefix, alias Goss, the inventor of certain patent medicines of an objectionable character, ran the institution in England. The powers under which these worthies acted was a document claimed to have been signed by Frederick the Great at Berlin, on May 1st, 1786, and by which were revised the Masonic Constitution and Status of the High Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. This paper was an impudent forgery and necessitated the issuing of a protocol by the Grand Lodges of the Three Globes of Berlin, which conclusively proved the whole arrangement to be false in every particular. On claims supported by this supposititious document, the Ancient and Accepted Rite have swindled their confiding brothers in the Americas and Europe out of thousands of dollars, to the shame and discredit of humanity.

The modern Templars, whom you refer to in your letter, are but mere magpies in peacock's plumes. The aim of the Masonic Templars is the sectarianization, or rather the Christianizing of Masonry, a fraternity which is supposed to admit the Jew, Parsee, Mahometan, Buddhist, in fact every religionist within its portals who accepts the doctrine of a personal god, and spirit-immortality. According to the belief of a section, if not all the Israelites, belonging to the Craft in America -- Templarism is Jesuitism.

It seems strange, now that the belief in a personal God is becoming extinct, and that even the theologian has transformed his deity into an indescribable nondescript, that there are those who stand in the way of the general acceptation of the sublime pantheism of the primeval Orientals, of Jacob Boehme, of Spinoza. Often in the Grand Lodge and subordinate lodges of this and other jurisdictions, the old doxology is sung, with its "Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," to the disgust of Israelites and freethinking brethren, who are thus unnecessarily insulted. This could never occur in India, where the great light in a lodge may be the Koran, the Zend-Avesta, or one of the Vedas. The sectarian Christian spirit in Masonry must be put down. To-day there are German Grand Lodges which will not allow Jews to be initiated, or Israelites from foreign countries to be accepted as brethren within their jurisdiction. The French Masons have, however, revolted against this tyranny, and the Grand Orient of France does now permit the atheist and materialist to fellowship in the Craft. A standing rebuke upon the claimed universality of Masonry is the fact that the French Brethren are now repudiated.

Notwithstanding its many faults -- and speculative Masonry is but human, and therefore fallible -- there is no institution that has done so much, and is yet capable of such great undertakings in the future, for human, religious, and political improvement. In the last century the Illuminati taught, "peace with the cottage, war with the palace," throughout the length and breadth of Europe. In the last century the United States was freed from the tyranny of the mother country by the action of the Secret Societies more than is commonly imagined. Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, were Masons. And in the nineteenth century it was Grand Master Garibaldi, 33, who unified Italy, working in accordance with the spirit of the faithful brotherhood, as the Masonic, or rather carbonari, principles of "liberty, equality, humanity, independence, unity," taught for years by brother Joseph Mazzini.

Speculative Masonry has much, too, within its ranks to do. One is to accept woman as a co-worker of man in the struggle of life, as the Hungarian Masons have done lately by initiating the Countess Haideck. Another important thing is also to recognize practically the brotherhood of all humanity by refusing none on account of color, race, position, or creed. The dark-skinned should not be only theoretically the brother of the light. The colored Masons who have been duly and regularly raised stand at every lodge-door in America craving admission, and they are refused. And there is South America to be conquered to a participation in the duties of humanity.

If Masonry be, as claimed, a progressive science and a school of pure religion, it should ever be found in the advance guard of civilization, not in the rear. If it be but an empirical effort, a crude attempt of humanity to solve some of the deepest problems of the race, and no more, then it must give place to fitter successors, perchance one of those that you and I know of, one that may have acted the prompter at the side of the chiefs of the Order, during its greatest triumphs, whispering to them as the dæmon did in the ear of Socrates.

                                    Yours most Sincerely,

                                                    CHARLES SOTHERAN.

Thus falls to ruins the grand epic poem of Masons, sung by so many mysterious Knights as another revealed gospel. As we see, the Temple of Solomon is being undermined and brought to the ground by its own chief "Master Masons," of this century. But if, following the ingenious exoteric description of the Bible, there are yet Masons who persist in regarding it as once an actual structure, who, of the students of the esoteric doctrine will ever consider this mythic temple otherwise than an allegory, embodying the secret science? Whether or not there ever was a real temple of that name, we may well leave to archæologists to decide; but that the detailed description thereof in I Kings is purely allegorical, no serious scholar, proficient in the ancient as well as mediæval jargon of the kabalists and alchemists, can doubt. The building of the Temple of Solomon is the symbolical representation of the gradual acquirement of the secret wisdom, or magic; the erection and development of the spiritual from the earthly; the manifestation of the power and splendor of the spirit in the physical world, through the wisdom and genius of the builder. The latter, when he has become an adept, is a mightier king than Solomon himself, the emblem of the sun or Light himself -- the light of the real subjective world, shining in the darkness of the objective universe. This is the "Temple" which can be reared without the sound of the hammer, or any tool of iron being heard in the house while it is "in building."

In the East, this science is called, in some places, the "seven-storied," in others, the "nine-storied" Temple; every story answers allegorically to a degree of knowledge acquired. Throughout the countries of the Orient, whenever magic and the wisdom-religion are studied, its practitioners and students are known among their craft as Builders -- for they build the temple of knowledge, of secret science. Those of the adepts who are active, are styled practical or operative Builders, while the students, or neophytes are classed as speculative or theoretical. The former exemplify in works their control over the forces of inanimate as well as animate nature; the latter are but perfecting themselves in the rudiments of the sacred science. These terms were evidently borrowed at the beginning by the unknown founders of the first Masonic guilds.

In the now popular jargon, "Operative Masons" are understood to be the bricklayers and the handicraftsmen, who composed the Craft down to Sir Christopher Wren's time; and "Speculative Masons," all members of the Order, as now understood. The sentence attributed to Jesus, "Thou art Peter ... upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" disfigured, as it is, by mistranslation and misinterpretation, plainly indicates its real meaning. We have shown the signification of Pater and Petra, with the hierophants -- the interpretation traced on the tables of stone of the final initiation, was handed by the initiator to the chosen future interpreter. Having acquainted himself with its mysterious contents, which revealed to him the mysteries of creation, the initiated became a builder himself, for he was made acquainted with the dodecahedron, or the geometrical figure on which the universe was built. To what he had learned in previous initiations of the use of the rule and of architectural principles, was added a cross, the perpendicular and horizontal lines of which were supposed to form the foundation of the spiritual temple, by placing them across the junction, or central primordial point, the element of all existences, representing the first concrete idea of deity. Henceforth he could, as a Master builder (see I Cor. 3:10), erect a temple of wisdom on that rock of Petra, for himself; and having laid a sure foundation, let "another build thereon."

The Egyptian hierophant was given a square head-dress, which he had to wear always, and a square (see Mason's marks), without which he could never go abroad. The perfect Tau formed of the perpendicular (descending male ray, or spirit) a horizontal line (or matter, female ray), and the mundane circle was an attribute of Isis, and, it is but at his death that the Egyptian cross was laid on the breast of his mummy. These square hats are worn unto this day by the Armenian priests. The claim that the cross is purely a Christian symbol introduced after our era, is strange indeed, when we find Ezekiel stamping the foreheads of the men of Judah, who feared the Lord (Ezek. 9:4), with the signa Thau, as it is translated in the Vulgate. In the Revelation, also, the "Alpha and Omega" (spirit and matter), the first and the last, stamps the name of his Father in the foreheads of the elect.

And if our statements are wrong, if Jesus was not an initiate, a Master-builder, or Master-Mason as it is now called, how comes it, that on the most ancient cathedrals we find his figure with Mason's marks about his person? In the Cathedral of Santa Croce, Florence, over the main portal can be seen the figure of Christ holding a perfect square in his hand.

The surviving "Master-builders" of the operative craft of the true Temple, may go literally half-naked and wander slipshod for ever -- now not for the sake of a puerile ceremony, but because, like the "Son of man," they have not where to lay their heads -- and yet be the only surviving possessors of the "Word." Their "cable-tow" is the sacred triple cord of certain Brahman-Sannyâsi, or the string on which certain lamas hang their yu-stone; but with these apparently valueless talismans, not one of them would part for all the wealth of Solomon and Sheba. The seven-knotted bamboo stick of the fakir can become as powerful as the rod of Moses "which was created between the evenings, and on which was engraven and set forth the great and glorious NAME, with which he was to do the wonders in Mizraim."

But these "operative workmen" have no fear that their secrets will be disclosed by treacherous ex-high priests of chapters, though their generation may have received them through others than "Moses, Solomon, and Zerubbabel." Had Moses Michael Hayes, the Israelite Brother who introduced Royal Arch Masonry into this country (in December, 1778), had a prophetic presentment of future treasons, he might have instituted more efficacious obligations than he has.

Truly, the grand omnific Royal Arch word, "long lost but now found," has fulfilled its prophetic promise. The password of that degree is no more "I AM THAT I AM." It is now simply "I was but am no more!"

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(1) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity.
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